New Magazine & Video Archives Coming Online

Lots of new archives have been com­ing online late­ly. So, why not give them a quick men­tion.

CSPAN: This week, the Amer­i­can cable net­work final­ly com­plet­ed the dig­i­ti­za­tion of its vast video archive. What does that mean for you? It means you can access online every C‑SPAN pro­gram aired since 1987. 160,000 hours of video in total, cov­er­ing 23 years of Amer­i­can polit­i­cal his­to­ry. The Times has more on this sto­ry.

Pop­u­lar Sci­ence: Thanks to Google, you can now freely access a 137-year archive  of Pop­u­lar Sci­ence. As Pop­Sci, found­ed in 1872, writes, “Each issue appears just as it did at its orig­i­nal time of pub­li­ca­tion, com­plete with peri­od adver­tise­ments. It’s an amaz­ing resource that beau­ti­ful­ly encap­su­lates our ongo­ing fas­ci­na­tion with the future, and sci­ence and tech­nol­o­gy’s incred­i­ble poten­tial to improve our lives.” If you spend some time with Brain Pick­ing’s recent post, you’ll see why the Pop­Sci archive holds so much inter­est. As a side note, you can also find a vast archive of Pop­u­lar Mechan­ics via Google Books. Just click here and, as Wired put it, “let the nerdgas­mic loss of pro­duc­tiv­i­ty com­mence.”

Spin Mag­a­zine: Google Books has also added to its vir­tu­al mag­a­zine shelf every issue of Spin, the music mag­a­zine Bob Guc­cione Jr. found­ed in 1985. As Boing­Bo­ing men­tions today, it’s inter­est­ing to see “how awful­ly dat­ed the design of the mag­a­zine is.”

Salman Rushdie: Now this isn’t a pub­licly avail­able archive, but it’s worth know­ing about. Archivists at Emory have been work­ing with the dig­i­tal assets of Salman Rushdie and devel­op­ing a new field — “dig­i­tal archae­ol­o­gy” — that will help schol­ars pre­serve and method­i­cal­ly study the dig­i­tal remains (text doc­u­ments, emails, brows­er logs and files) of writ­ers and artists. You can watch Rushdie talk about the project, its chal­lenges and ben­e­fits. (There’s anoth­er clip of him speak­ing here.) Then you have the archivists them­selves talk­ing about how they’re pre­serv­ing Rushdie’s lit­er­ary remains, down to the yel­low sticky notes he attached to his com­put­er. (Note: The Times has a piece on this project this week.)

The End of Attribution?

A cou­ple of days ago, we fea­tured a video post­ed on Pen­guin’s YouTube Chan­nel that used a smart video tech­nique to restore faith in the future of book pub­lish­ing. A cou­ple of our read­ers were quick to point out that the video’s cre­ative ele­ment was high­ly sim­i­lar to an award-win­ning video called “Lost Gen­er­a­tion”. (See above.) And yet there was no attri­bu­tion. A prob­lem? Par­tic­u­lar­ly for an enti­ty in the intel­lec­tu­al property/copyright busi­ness?

UPDATE: Tonight, anoth­er read­er tells us that “Lost Gen­er­a­tion” has its own ori­gins in a 2006 adver­tise­ment for Argen­tin­ian pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Ricar­do Lopez Mur­phy called “The Truth.” Does this make this style of video a meme of sorts? A style that’s so out there that attri­bu­tion is not worth a both­er? Per­haps I’m hold­ing Pen­guin’s feet too close to the fire on this one. Per­haps (as, Maria, a blog­ger col­league men­tions via email) this high­lights a big­ger prob­lem. Too much deriva­tion. Not enough orig­i­nal think­ing all around.

The Uniqueness of Humans

Robert Sapol­sky  — one of the world’s lead­ing neu­ro­bi­ol­o­gists, a MacArthur Fel­low, Stan­ford pro­fes­sor, and author of Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers — breaks down an intrigu­ing ques­tion. Pre­cise­ly in what ways are we (humans) dif­fer­ent from oth­er ani­mals inhab­it­ing our world? The dif­fer­ences are few­er than we think. But there are some, and they’ll make you some­times uncom­fort­able, some­times a lit­tle more con­fi­dent in human­i­ty, and some­times moti­vat­ed to change the world, even in these cyn­i­cal times. The inspi­ra­tion hap­pens dur­ing the last minute. So stay with this engag­ing talk until the very last.

via TED’s Best of the Web

The End of Publishing. Or Is It?

Smart and hope­ful. But you need to stick with it for a cou­ple of min­utes. A job well done…

Einstein in 60 Seconds (or 40 Hours)

Big­Think asked Dr. Michio Kaku to sum up Ein­stein’s lega­cy in a nut­shell. Above, you get his attempt in a quick minute. Obvi­ous­ly, this is just begin­ning to scratch the sur­face, and know­ing you, you want to go deep­er. So here you go: Leonard Susskind, a world famous physi­cist, offered a series of six cours­es for Stan­ford Con­tin­u­ing Stud­ies, which traced the arc of mod­ern physics. It goes from New­ton to Black Holes. Nat­u­ral­ly a tour of mod­ern physics would­n’t be com­plete with­out spend­ing a good amount of time on Ein­stein, and that’s what Susskind does. One course (runs about 20 hours) is ded­i­cat­ed to Spe­cial Rel­a­tiv­i­ty (iTunes – YouTube) and the oth­er focus­es exclu­sive­ly on Ein­stein’s The­o­ry of Gen­er­al Rel­a­tiv­i­ty (iTunes — YouTube). This series of cours­es (all per­ma­nent­ly found in the Physics sec­tion of our Free Online Course col­lec­tion) has been enjoyed by view­ers across the world, and we (at Stan­ford) have recent­ly shipped CDs of the course to remote places with min­i­mal band­width, includ­ing Nepal and Afghanistan. For more on how to learn physics online (for free, of course), see our post: Mod­ern Physics: A Com­plete Intro­duc­tion.

Tony Judt, Leading Public Intellectual, Confronts ALS

Dur­ing the past decade, Tony Judt emerged as one of Amer­i­ca’s lead­ing pub­lic intel­lec­tu­als. He’s com­bat­ive, often con­tro­ver­sial (espe­cial­ly when talk­ing about Israel), and some­times dis­liked. But he’s tak­en seri­ous­ly. And many have had noth­ing but sheer praise for his mas­ter work, Post­war: A His­to­ry of Europe Since 1945. The NYU his­to­ri­an had built up a career that many envied. But then things start­ed going wrong … phys­i­cal­ly, not intel­lec­tu­al­ly. In 2008, Judt was diag­nosed with ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s dis­ease. And he made his diag­no­sis wide­ly known ear­li­er this year, when he pub­lished an essay, “Night,” in The New York Review of Books. The arti­cle is short, but it brings you right inside his dai­ly expe­ri­ence. He writes:

Dur­ing the day I can at least request a scratch, an adjust­ment, a drink, or sim­ply a gra­tu­itous re-place­ment of my limbs—since enforced still­ness for hours on end is not only phys­i­cal­ly uncom­fort­able but psy­cho­log­i­cal­ly close to intol­er­a­ble. It is not as though you lose the desire to stretch, to bend, to stand or lie or run or even exer­cise. But when the urge comes over you there is nothing—nothing—that you can do except seek some tiny sub­sti­tute or else find a way to sup­press the thought and the accom­pa­ny­ing mus­cle mem­o­ry.

But then comes the night. … If I allow a stray limb to be mis-placed, or fail to insist on hav­ing my midriff care­ful­ly aligned with legs and head, I shall suf­fer the ago­nies of the damned lat­er in the night. I am then cov­ered, my hands placed out­side the blan­ket to afford me the illu­sion of mobil­i­ty but wrapped nonethe­less since—like the rest of me—they now suf­fer from a per­ma­nent sen­sa­tion of cold. I am offered a final scratch on any of a dozen itchy spots from hair­line to toe; the Bi-Pap breath­ing device in my nose is adjust­ed to a nec­es­sar­i­ly uncom­fort­able lev­el of tight­ness to ensure that it does not slip in the night; my glass­es are removed…and there I lie: trussed, myopic, and motion­less like a mod­ern-day mum­my, alone in my cor­po­re­al prison, accom­pa­nied for the rest of the night only by my thoughts.

This expe­ri­ence has­n’t slowed down Judt a bit. In fact, quite the oppo­site, Judt has been ramp­ing up his pub­li­ca­tions, prov­ing even more pro­lif­ic than before. (His lat­est book, Ill Fares the Land, will be pub­lished this week.) Judt’s bat­tle with ALS and his sense of intel­lec­tu­al urgency get dis­cussed in the lat­est edi­tion of New York Mag­a­zine. It’s a piece well worth read­ing. So also is the large pro­file that ran in The Chron­i­cle of High­er Edu­ca­tion in Jan­u­ary. Above we fea­ture an inter­view with Judt post­ed by The Guardian.

Julius Caesar Gets Clipped 2054 Years Ago Today

March 15th. It trans­lates to the Ides of March on the Roman Cal­en­dar. And it’s the date when Julius Cae­sar was famous­ly assas­si­nat­ed in 44 B.C. To mark the occa­sion (today is the Ides of March), we bring you a dra­mat­ic, six-minute clip of the assas­si­na­tion scene from the film ver­sion of Shake­speare’s Julius Cae­sar, direct­ed by Joseph Mankiewicz in 1953. The scene fea­tures Louis Cal­h­ern as Cae­sar, John Giel­gud as Cas­sius and James Mason as Bru­tus.  The film also stars Mar­lon Bran­do as Mark Antony, but we only get a fleet­ing glimpse of him in this scene as the plot­ters con­trive to sep­a­rate him from Cae­sar.

Note: You can down­load a free audio ver­sion of Shake­speare’s play thanks to Lib­rivox, or get a free etext here. And if you have an iPhone, feel free to down­load a free app that includes all of Shake­speare plays.

Mike, one of our faith­ful read­ers, gets all of the cred for this one! Many thanks.

The Greatest Film Scenes Ever Shot

This week­end, The Guardian film crit­ic and select film­mak­ers list­ed their favorite movie scenes of all time. It starts with the icon­ic show­er scene from Hitch­cock­’s Psy­cho (above). No sur­prise there. And then what? The very long car chase from The French Con­nec­tion, Robet DeNiro’s talk­ing to the mir­ror scene in Taxi Dri­ver, the mem­o­rable last min­utes of 2001: A Space Odyssey, the fight­ing skele­tons in Jason and the Arg­onauts, Bri­an DePal­ma’s “blood at the prom” scene in Car­rie, and some oth­er mem­o­rable ones.

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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.