John Hodgman@Google

He appears in the well-known Mac v. PC com­mer­cials, on The Dai­ly Show and occa­sion­al­ly on This Amer­i­can Life. John Hodg­man is kind of every­where these days, and now, pro­mot­ing his new book, More Infor­ma­tion Than You Require, he hits the stage at Google and gives the crowd an off­beat hour talk.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

The British Slant on the Mac v Pc Ads

Where Do You Go for Intelligent Video?

Folks, it’s time for a new group project. Last year, I asked you to tell us about your Life-Chang­ing Books, and we pulled togeth­er an excel­lent list that many read­ers have enjoyed. Now we want to know: where do you go for intel­li­gent video? If you list the sites that you like best — TED, Fora.TV, YouTube EDU, Snag­Films, Aca­d­e­m­ic Earth, etc. — we’ll pull togeth­er a big list and present it next week. My hope is that the list will include some well-known names and some less well-known names. If there’s a site where you find intel­li­gent video, we want want to know about, and your fel­low read­ers will thank you for it. Feel free to email me your picks at, or write them in the com­ments below. Thanks all!

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Christopher Hitchens Gets Waterboarded

If you’re won­der­ing what the much-dis­cussed water­board­ing expe­ri­ence is all about, you can watch it in real time. Above, the pub­lic intel­lec­tu­al, Christo­pher Hitchens, goes through the real deal. Although often known for tak­ing left-wing posi­tions, Hitchens sup­port­ed aggres­sive action in the Mid­dle East and par­tic­u­lar­ly the war in Iraq. Mean­while, if you’re look­ing for a round­ed response, you can also watch a con­ser­v­a­tive radio show host endure the “enhanced inter­ro­ga­tion tech­nique” as well.

If you would like to sign up for Open Culture’s free email newslet­ter, please find it here. Or fol­low our posts on Threads, Face­book, BlueSky or Mastodon.

If you would like to sup­port the mis­sion of Open Cul­ture, con­sid­er mak­ing a dona­tion to our site. It’s hard to rely 100% on ads, and your con­tri­bu­tions will help us con­tin­ue pro­vid­ing the best free cul­tur­al and edu­ca­tion­al mate­ri­als to learn­ers every­where. You can con­tribute through Pay­Pal, Patre­on, and Ven­mo (@openculture). Thanks!

The Infinite Jest Summer Challenge

When I devel­op the cur­ricu­lum for Stan­ford’s Con­tin­u­ing Stud­ies pro­gram, I often like to cre­ate cours­es around big, hard books that stu­dents have long intend­ed to read, but have nev­er quite pulled off: James Joyce’s Uly­sess, Pla­to’s Repub­lic, Tol­stoy’s Anna Karen­i­na, you get the pic­ture. For many stu­dents, it takes a course, or some­thing equiv­a­lent, to pro­vide the struc­ture and encour­age­ment to get through a tru­ly major work.  A more mod­ern exam­ple is Infi­nite Jest, David Fos­ter Wal­lace’s 1100 page sprawl­ing nov­el, which TIME Mag­a­zine includ­ed on its list of all-time 100 nov­els. To help you work through the nov­el, a web site called Infi­nite Sum­mer has invit­ed read­ers to tack­le the nov­el with oth­er read­ers start­ing on June 21. Here’s the basic invi­ta­tion:

You’ve been mean­ing to do it for over a decade. Now join endurance bib­lio­philes from around the web as we tack­le and com­ment upon David Fos­ter Wal­lace’s mas­ter­work, June 21st to Sep­tem­ber 22nd. A thou­sand pages1 ÷ 93 days = 75 pages a week. No sweat. 

Return to this site on June 1st for full details. In the mean­while, buy or bor­row a copy of the nov­el, fol­low us on Twit­ter (#inf­sum), join the Face­book group, and clear your lit­er­ary sched­ule for the fore­see­able future.

If I can wrap up Broth­ers Kara­ma­zov (my cur­rent read) by then, I’ll give it a go. In the mean­time, you should def­i­nite­ly give this some thought. Also, as a quick aside, you may know that David Fos­ter Wal­lace trag­i­cal­ly com­mit­ted sui­cide last year. To learn more about DFW, his writ­ing career, and spi­ral into depres­sion, give this piece in The New York­er a read.

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The Art of Trashing the Classics

From the Freako­nom­ics blog:

We’ve writ­ten before about the occa­sion­al hyper-crit­i­cal com­ments on cer­tain blogs, but such com­ments are like valen­tines com­pared to what some cus­tomers heap upon The Rolling Stones, The God­fa­therThe Diary of Anne Frank, and oth­er stan­dards. The Cynical‑C blog lists the most caus­tic of these every day.

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Listen to 1800 Free Audio Books on Your iPhone

The iPhone just got a bit smarter. Thanks to this new, free app, you can lis­ten to 1800 free audio books on your Apple device. The app lets you lis­ten to pub­lic domain audio books from the great Lib­rivox (whose works, read by vol­un­teers, also appear in our Free Audio Books col­lec­tion). The ad-sup­port­ed soft­ware is straight­for­ward and easy to use. The only real down­side is that you’ll need access to Wi-Fi to down­load the books. (I could­n’t get things to work on Edge). But that’s not a huge impo­si­tion. You can down­load an entire book in no time, and then sim­ply take it to go. Check it out. Get some Dick­ens, Twain or Tol­stoy. And let us know your thoughts. 

P.S. If  you start a 14 day free tri­al with Audi­ble, you can down­load two free audio books. This will give you access to many cur­rent best­sellers (Mal­colm Glad­well, David Sedaris, Barack Oba­ma, etc.). Whether you stick with the mem­ber­ship (as I did), or can­cel, you can keep the free books. Get more details here.

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Stanford and iTunes Offer 30 Free Songs

From Stan­ford’s Face­book Page:

Thanks so much for becom­ing a Fan of Stan­ford Uni­ver­si­ty on Face­book! As a small token of our appre­ci­a­tion, we’ve teamed up with the iTunes team to bring you a spe­cial sum­mer mix with 30 free songs. Down­load at (US res­i­dents only).

While we’re talk­ing Face­book, you can become an Open Cul­ture Fan on FB here and also find us on Twit­ter (@openculture)

Technology Is Amazing, Nobody Is Happy…

A good clip that comes from Alec Couros’s 80+ Videos for Tech & Media Lit­er­a­cy. It fea­tures come­di­an Louis C.K. offer­ing his fun­ny thoughts on how our gen­er­a­tion han­dles new tech­nol­o­gy. We’ve added it to our YouTube Favorites.

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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.