Film Version of Michael Pollan’s Botany of Desire Now Online

Michael Pol­lan’s best-sell­ing book, Botany of Desire, is now a film, and you can watch it online, cour­tesy of PBS. (Click to watch com­plete film.) The film takes you inside our rela­tion­ship with the plant world, and shows “how four famil­iar species — the apple, the tulip, cannabis and the pota­to — evolved to sat­is­fy our yearn­ings for sweet­ness, beau­ty, intox­i­ca­tion and con­trol.” Accord­ing to a piece in The San Fran­cis­co Chron­i­cle, it took eight years to pull togeth­er the fund­ing for the film, and that’s sim­ply because mar­i­jua­na was in the mix. The film runs close to two hours. The pre­view is above, the full film is here. For more films, please vis­it our col­lec­tion of Free Movies Online.

by | Permalink | Make a Comment ( 5 ) |

Stephen Colbert on Particle Physics

The Col­bert Report Mon — Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Big Bang The­o­ry
Col­bert Report Full Episodes Polit­i­cal Humor Reli­gion

Got­ta love com­e­dy that riffs on the Large Hadron Col­lid­er. I’ll have some more seri­ous things to say about the LHC in the com­ing weeks. In the mean­time, enjoy the com­ic bit. Have a good week­end…

by | Permalink | Make a Comment ( 4 ) |

Sita Sings the Blues Now on YouTube

Nina Paley, a self-taught ani­ma­tor, released in 2008 an 82-minute ani­mat­ed film, Sita Sings the Blues, that min­gles the clas­sic Indi­an myth, The Ramayana, with con­tem­po­rary auto­bi­o­graph­i­cal events, and it’s all set to the 1920’s jazz vocals of Annette Han­shaw. The film, which launched the San Fran­cis­co Inter­na­tion­al Ani­ma­tion Fes­ti­val, has won awards and gath­ered a lot of fans. In late Feb­ru­ary, Paley hand­ed the film over to the pub­lic, releas­ing it under a Cre­ative Com­mons license (down­load it here). And she has now made it avail­able on YouTube. Hence the visu­al­ly stun­ning film above. Nat­u­ral­ly, we’ve added Sita Sings the Blues to our col­lec­tion of YouTube favorites.

In the mean­time, check out our new col­lec­tion, 30 Places to Watch Free Movies Online

by | Permalink | Make a Comment ( 6 ) |

Free Philip Glass Album (Act Today)

A quick note: Ama­zon will let you down­load a Philip Glass sam­pler that con­tains 21 tracks. You can get them as mp3s, and they’re all free. But the deal ends (it seems) by the end of the day. So act quick­ly.

via Life­hack­er

by | Permalink | Make a Comment ( 14 ) |

This American Life Demystifies the American Healthcare System

When the glob­al finan­cial sys­tem col­lapsed last year, This Amer­i­can Life and its sis­ter pro­gram, Plan­et Mon­ey (iTunes — RSS Feed — Web Site) began doing some­thing that few oth­ers could pull off. They took very com­plex prob­lems and made them under­stand­able, often demys­ti­fy­ing dif­fi­cult con­cepts in a reli­ably engag­ing way. Now, they’re at it again. This time, they’re break­ing down the Amer­i­can health­care sys­tem and get­ting at the core ques­tion. Why can’t we con­trol ever-ris­ing health­care costs? That’s what the rag­ing health­care debate is effec­tive­ly all about. And, if you want to be an informed par­tic­i­pant in the debate, it’s worth lis­ten­ing to these two episodes that tease things out. The first episode, called More is Less, looks at doc­tors, patients, insur­ance com­pa­nies and their tan­gled rela­tion­ship. (Click here, then scroll down and find the “Full Episode” icon.) The sec­ond episode, Some­one Else’s Mon­ey, gets you inside the world of drug and insur­ance com­pa­nies and patients. Have a lis­ten, and thanks to Bob in Brook­lyn for the tip here.

by | Permalink | Make a Comment ( 1 ) |

Galapagos Rap: 3.5* ’til infinity…

Stan­ford stu­dents head to the Gala­pa­gos Islands, then rap about what they’ve learned. Evo­lu­tion­ary rap. What a con­cept…

Mean­while, the pro­fes­sor whose voice you hear at the out­set, Bill Durham, taught a course in Stan­ford Con­tin­u­ing Stud­ies (my day job) last year, and we have made it avail­able as a free pod­cast. It’s called Dar­win’s Lega­cy, and it brought togeth­er some of the world’s lead­ing Dar­win schol­ars for the 200th anniver­sary of Darwin’s birth. You access and learn more about the course here.

via Stan­ford’s Face­book page

Richard Dawkins v. Bill O’Reilly: Round 2

Back when Richard Dawkins (Oxford Uni­ver­si­ty) pub­lished The God Delu­sion in 2007, he made a fair­ly unex­pect­ed appear­ance on Bill O’Reil­ly’s show. Quite the con­trast in char­ac­ters. Now that he has pub­lished his lat­est book, The Great­est Show on Earth, it was time for Dawkins to meet up with the bump­tious one again. Here it goes. Watch above.

by | Permalink | Make a Comment ( 10 ) |

Yale Adds New Batch of Free Open Courses

A quick update for you. Yale Uni­ver­si­ty has added its third batch of cours­es to its open edu­ca­tion ini­tia­tive, bring­ing the total num­ber of cours­es to 25. (Find the com­plete list here.) The lat­est round is slight­ly big­ger than pre­vi­ous ones, which bucks the trend that we’re gen­er­al­ly see­ing. (Open Cours­es have been in a notice­able slump for the past year.) Below, I have list­ed the new­ly added cours­es and pro­vid­ed links to iTunes, YouTube, and pages where you can down­load the cours­es in var­i­ous oth­er for­mats. I have also added these cours­es to our online col­lec­tion of Free Cours­es from top uni­ver­si­ties. This col­lec­tion now fea­tures over 250 free cours­es, all ready to down­load to your com­put­er or mp3 play­er. iPhone own­ers can also find many oth­er cours­es on our free iPhone app.

by | Permalink | Make a Comment ( 4 ) |

More in this category... »
Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.