Video from The Aspen Environment Forum

A quick heads up: The three-day Aspen Environment Forum is now underway, and it has gathered an impressive number of speakers (energy experts, government & business leaders, writers, photographers, and other thinkers) to take a serious look at our environmental challenges and the possible solutions. You can find video highlights from each day here, and you can also find live coverage on this National Geographic Blog.

The Hubble Space Telescope’s Greatest Images

In April 1990, The Hubble Space Telescope was launched into space and has since sent beautiful images back to earth. The Telegraph in the UK has gathered together some of the most spectacular ones. Click here to see some of the best. (And look to the top right for the “Next” button to see more.)

Jupiter Slips Behind the Sun

“NASA’s STEREO spacecraft sees Jupiter move behind the Sun in this 30 hour animation compressed into just 11 seconds. Meanwhile, you can see Jupiter’s moons orbiting it.” Get more on this cool footage from Discover Magazine and be sure to check out the Bad Astronomer Channel on YouTube, which features more videos along these lines.

Welcome New York Times Readers

If you’re visiting Open Culture thanks to The New York Times article, and if you’re looking for audio downloads for your next road trip, then please explore our Audio Collection, which includes (among other things) free audio books, free language lessons, free university courses, and much more. You can download these audio files — all for free — to your mp3 player or computer. Feel free to ask any questions. And if you like this kind of content, then be sure to visit us again at We make a point here of bringing you the best cultural media available on the web (if I may humbly say so). Thanks for visiting.

You can follow us on Twitter at @openculture. Hope you’ll join us.

Introducing YouTube EDU!

Here’s a little breaking news: Today, Google has launched YouTube EDU, which centralizes the content from over 100 universities and colleges (get list here).  This robust collection gives you access to lectures by professors and world-renowned thought leaders, new research and campus tours. At the moment, you can access over 200 full courses from leading universities, including MIT, Stanford, UC Berkeley, UCLA, Yale and  IIT/IISc.  And it’s all searchable within YouTube EDU.

I plan to follow up with a more extensive piece soon. But I just wanted to get the word out and let you start checking it out. If you have any first impressions, please let us know what you think in the comments. Nice work Youtube!

Lastly, if you want to download hundreds of free university courses (mostly in audio) to your computer or mp3 player, check out our collection of Free University Courses here.

Follow us on Twitter at @openculture or sign up for our rss feed here.

Podcast Lectures: Better Than the Real Deal?

Here’s an interesting factoid reported by The New Scientist… A study coming out of The State University of New York “measured the performance of 64 students, half of whom watched a lecture via podcast and the other half who attended the live lecture. Students who used the podcast averaged a 71 out of 100 on the follow-up test whereas those who actually went to the lecture averaged a 62.”  What explains the difference? According to the head researcher, Dani McKinney, it comes down to this: “If the [students] listened to the podcast just one time, they didn’t do any better than the people who came to the lecture. However, the people who treated it like a live lecture, and took notes or replayed certain sections… they did significantly better.” Or, to put things a little differently, “It’s no different than when students used to tape record lectures…. If something was presented too fast for them to take down, they could replay that section and complete their notes.” The bottom line: students who use the right tools to absorb classroom lectures end up doing better. But how much better? In this case, the students using podcasts got a C on the follow-up test. The students who didn’t got a D. I guess that says something for the podcast lecture, but don’t bank on them alone.

Thanks to @Cinetuyoymio for the lead here. Always feel free to send us tips at ma**@oc******.com, or @openculture on Twitter. The more tips you send, the better Open Culture becomes for all.

You can access the aforementioned study for a fee here: iTunes University and the classroom: Can podcasts replace Professors? 

Yale Courses on YouTube

In the past, I have written about Yale’s best-of-breed Open Course initiative, which makes available 15 free courses. They’re all recorded in high quality video and can be downloaded in multiple formats. You can access the full list here. Somewhere along the line (I’m not sure exactly when), Yale made these courses available on a dedicated YouTube channel, which means that you have another way to access these fine offerings. Above, I’ve featured a lecture on Jack Kerouac’s On the Road from a course called “The American Novel Since 1945.” You can find all of these Yale courses in our Free University Course collection. And, I’ve added the Yale YouTube channel to our list called Intelligent YouTube Collections.

Related Content:

Stanford Launches YouTube Channel, Oprah Gives Graduation Speech

UCLA on YouTube

Kerouac’s “On the Road” Turns 50

A Song for Paul Krugman

It’s not often than a song gets written for an economics professor. It’s so bad that it’s actually good. Add that to the soundtrack for the Collapse.

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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.