Tweets of the Week — February 20

A quick wrap up of the cul­tur­al items we tweet­ed and re-tweet­ed this week via our Twit­ter stream. You can start fol­low­ing us here: @openculture

Google Lit Trips

For three years, Eng­lish teacher Jerome Burg has been using Google Earth to teach lit­er­a­ture. Each “Lit Trip” involves map­ping the move­ments of char­ac­ters over a plot’s time­line and pro­vid­ing excerpts, pic­tures, and links at each loca­tion. I found a lit trip for one of my favorite nov­els, Cor­mac McCarthy’s Blood Merid­i­an, which involves a lot of move­ment across the old West. McCarthy him­self is said to have spent years trac­ing these paths and study­ing loca­tions in prepa­ra­tion for writ­ing the nov­el. You’ll find a com­plete list of lit trips here, includ­ing such clas­sics as Mac­bethPor­trait of the Artist as a Young Man, and The Odyssey. It’s dif­fi­cult to get a sense of the fan­tas­tic effect of visu­al­ly unpack­ing a plot with­out down­load­ing a lit trip and try­ing it with­in Google Earth (down­load here). But here’s a video of a lit trip for Make Way for Duck­lings by Robert McCloskey. It will give you a quick taste of the lit trip expe­ri­ence:

Final­ly, you can find a two-part video intro­duc­tion to Lit Trips by Kate Reavey, a pro­fes­sor at Penin­su­la Col­lege, here and here.

Wes Alwan lives in Boston, Mass­a­chu­setts, where he works as a writer and researcher and attends the Insti­tute for the Study of Psy­cho­analy­sis and Cul­ture. He also par­tic­i­pates in The Par­tial­ly Exam­ined Life, a pod­cast con­sist­ing of infor­mal dis­cus­sions about philo­soph­i­cal texts by three phi­los­o­phy grad­u­ate school dropouts.

The Stanford Mini Med School: Visit the Web Site

Back in Jan­u­ary, we gave you a heads up about a new course avail­able online: The Stan­ford Mini Med School. Now it’s time for a quick update: the Stan­ford School of Med­i­cine has launched a hand­some web site that con­ve­nient­ly cen­tral­izes the video lec­tures in one place. 10 lec­tures (from the Fall term) now appear. Even­tu­al­ly, anoth­er 20 lec­tures will get post­ed. You can start watch­ing here.

For more cours­es, vis­it this big list of Free Online Cours­es from top uni­ver­si­ties.

Bill Gates on Energy: Innovating to Zero!

The major TED con­fer­ence wrapped up late last week. And now the videos start to roll out. Above Bill Gates (to quote TED) “unveils his vision for the world’s ener­gy future, describ­ing the need for mir­a­cles to avoid plan­e­tary cat­a­stro­phe and explain­ing why he’s back­ing a dra­mat­i­cal­ly dif­fer­ent type of nuclear reac­tor. The nec­es­sary goal? Zero car­bon emis­sions glob­al­ly by 2050.”

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Werner Herzog Reads Curious George

Ok, it’s not real­ly Wern­er Her­zog. Just a lit­tle play­ful satire. A guess at how the Ger­man direc­tor might reinterpret/read the chil­dren’s clas­sic Curi­ous George. This ver­sion is dark and exis­ten­tial.

via Abe Books

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The Science/Liberty Nexus

You can’t get good democ­ra­cy with­out sci­ence, and you can’t get good sci­ence with­out democ­ra­cy. That’s why great polit­i­cal and sci­en­tif­ic rev­o­lu­tions have his­tor­i­cal­ly gone hand-in-hand. It’s an intrigu­ing argu­ment that Tim­o­thy Fer­ris (UC Berke­ley) makes in his new book, The Sci­ence of Lib­er­ty, and debates in an inter­view with Michael Kras­ny, aired last week on KQED in San Fran­cis­co. You can stream the inter­view below, or access it via mp3 or iTunes.

Deep Thinking on the Web

This morn­ing, a New York Times edi­to­r­i­al is help­ing get the word out. Deep think­ing is alive and well on the web:

There is a lot of talk about how the Inter­net is dri­ving cul­ture ever low­er, but it also makes a wealth of seri­ous think­ing avail­able. From the com­fort of home, one can down­load free audio books by authors like Jane Austen and Joseph Con­rad and free pod­casts of uni­ver­si­ty lec­tures ( has an assort­ment of both).

The rest of the piece right­ly focus­es on a BBC pod­cast called In Our Time (iTunesFeed — Web Site). It’s list­ed in our Ideas & Cul­ture Pod­cast Col­lec­tion, along with many oth­er thought­ful pro­grams that make mean­ing­ful sub­jects rel­e­vant to a broad­er, glob­al audi­ence. (For some­thing sim­i­lar in video, see our col­lec­tions of Intel­li­gent Video Sites and Smart YouTube Chan­nels.)

Yes, intel­li­gent media does­n’t dom­i­nate the web. But, it’s flour­ish­ing in the nich­es and crevices, and we want to bring it to the sur­face. Per­haps you’ll want to join us? If you’re inter­est­ed in con­tribut­ing to Open Cul­ture, we’re always look­ing for your sug­ges­tions. I have put togeth­er a page that out­lines our edi­to­r­i­al approach. Take a look, and if you find great pieces of intel­li­gent media while surf­ing the web, please send them our way. We thank you in advance.

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Carl Sandburg on “What’s My Line?”

What’s My Line? aired on CBS from 1950 to 1967, mak­ing it the longest-run­ning game show in Amer­i­can tele­vi­sion his­to­ry. Dur­ing its eigh­teen sea­sons, the show fea­tured hun­dreds of celebri­ties, includ­ing some of Amer­i­ca’s lead­ing cul­tur­al fig­ures. The clip above dusts off the 1960 appear­ance made by Carl Sand­burg, the poet, writer, and three time win­ner of the Pulitzer Prize. And now for a video that’s not all fun and games: a vir­tu­al movie of Sand­burg read­ing his anti­war poem Grass. (You can also get more free audio record­ings of Sand­burg’s poet­ry over at the Inter­net Archive.)

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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.