Vladimir Nabokov admired Franz Kafka’s novella, “The Metamorphosis.” Hence the lecture that Nabokov dedicated to the work here. But he also saw some small ways to improve the story, or at least the English translation of it. Above, we have some edits that Nabokov penned himself. And, just as an fyi, you can download a free versions of Kafka’s work in our collections of Free Audio Books and Free eBooks.
It’s rare that a video trending on YouTube actually fits the mission of this blog. But here you have one. As the producer of this video writes, this is a “musical tribute to two great men of science. Carl Sagan and his cosmologist companion Stephen Hawking present: A Glorious Dawn – Cosmos remixed. Almost all samples and footage are taken from Carl Sagan’s Cosmos and Stephen Hawking’s Universe series.” You can download the track here. And, meanwhile, I’ve added this clip to our YouTube Favorites.
Harvard University and WGBH Boston have posted online Michael Sandel‘s very popular course, “Justice: What’s the Right Thing to Do?” How popular is it? Over 14,000 Harvard students have taken this course over the past 30 years. The course takes a close look at our understanding of justice by exploring important, contemporary moral dilemmas. Is it wrong to torture? Is it always wrong to steal? Is it sometimes wrong to tell the truth? We have posted the complete playlist of lectures above.
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This comes to us via a tip from Twitter. The Khan Academy has now posted on YouTube over 800 videos (find a complete list here) that will teach students the ins-and-outs of algebra, geometry, trigonometry, calculus, statistics, finance, physics, economics and more. The clips have been recorded by Salman Khan, a Harvard Business School and MIT grad. And to give you a feel for them, we’ve posted above the first in a long sequence of lectures on differential equations. (The remaining lectures can be found here.) This YouTube channel, which now appears on our list, Intelligent YouTube Video Collections, is one of several video sites that provide free online tutoring via video. As mentioned in the past, you can find online good video collections dedicated to chemistry and calculus.
In recent years, we have seen a number of books published that have made the case for atheism: Richard Dawkin’s The God Delusion, Christopher Hitchens’ God Is Not Great, Sam Harris’ Letter to a Christian Nation, and Daniel Dennett’s Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon. It was almost as if a dam had broken, and suddenly a voice that hadn’t been heard in some time, at least not in the US, was let loose. The books hit hard, one after another, and they made their point. And now Karen Armstrong, who has written more than 20 books on Islam, Judaism and Christianity, offers a reply. Her new book published this week, The Case for God: What Religion Really Means, takes a historical look at God and concludes that we moderns (atheists, evangelicals and the rest) are working with a facile conception of God. And then she suggests an alternative way of seeing things. You can get a taste for her thinking in this NPR interview conducted this week: Listen with the player below, or via these links (MP3 – iTunes – Stream):
Thanks to Duke University, you can now access a digital archive of vintage television commercials dating from the 1950s to the 1980s. Eventually, this collection will feature close to 12,000 digitized commercials, and it will let you see how America’s traditional brands (IBM, Maxwell House, American Express, Avis, etc) evolved through the medium of mainstream commercial television. You can learn more about this collection called Adviews with this introductory video or via the Adviews website, and you can watch the vintage commercials through iTunes. (Unfortunately, I don’t see a way to access these clips via other means. Sorry about that.) Via @LibrarySecrets
Smithsonian.com is featuring a series of photos taken by spacecraft that have traveled across our solar system, reaching other planets and approaching the sun. To see these images, you can enter the photo gallery here, and to view more photos, make sure that you click on the small dots located on the right-hand side of the page. And note that you can download these photos as well.
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