Science Under a Microscope

What hap­pens when you study sci­ence in a sci­en­tif­ic way? When you apply sci­en­tif­ic meth­ods to sci­ence itself? When you put sci­ence under its own micro­scope and ask, “What is sci­ence real­ly all about?” These are some of the fun­da­men­tal ques­tions that the CBC pro­gram Ideas tack­les when it spends 24 hours inter­view­ing his­to­ri­ans, soci­ol­o­gists, philoso­phers and sci­en­tists who have thought long and hard about the nature of sci­ence. You can access the first five episodes below, or go straight to the full col­lec­tion here.

Episode 1 — Steven Shapin and Simon Schaf­fer
Episode 2 — Lor­raine Das­ton
Episode 3 — Mar­garet Lock
Episode 4 — Ian Hack­ing and Andrew Pick­er­ing
Episode 5 — Ulrich Beck and Bruno Latour

Many thanks to Paul for the tip here.

Christopher Hitchens on Cancer, Life and Religion

Christo­pher Hitchens has­n’t turned inward since his can­cer diag­no­sis in June. Nor, as some might have antic­i­pat­ed, has he budged from his athe­ist views out­lined in his 2007 best­seller God Is Not Great. And if you hear rumors of an even­tu­al deathbed con­ver­sion, don’t believe them. That’s the mes­sage he pass­es along to Ander­son Coop­er in a new CNN inter­view (above). Also, Hitchens has just pub­lished a new piece in Van­i­ty Fair where he talks about his intro­duc­tion to (esoph­a­gus) can­cer in a way that only Hitchens can. Regard­less of what you think about Hitchens, it’s def­i­nite­ly worth a read…

via Dai­ly Hitchens

Coltrane’s “Giant Steps” Animated (Part II)

Michal Levy takes John Coltrane’s clas­sic, “Giants Steps,” and inter­prets it through flash ani­ma­tion. We have post­ed a YouTube ver­sion above, but you should ide­al­ly watch this bril­liant clip on Levy’s web site here.

This is not the first time that “Giant Steps” has been ani­mat­ed. Last year, we high­light­ed a pop­u­lar video that makes Coltrane’s tune come alive on paper. You can watch it dance here.

Journey to the Center of a Triangle

In 1977, Bruce and Katharine Corn­well used a Tek­tron­ics 4051 Graph­ics Ter­mi­nal to cre­ate ani­mat­ed short films that demys­ti­fy geom­e­try. The films have now reemerged on the Inter­net Archive. Jour­ney to the Cen­ter of a Tri­an­gle appears above. You can also watch Con­gru­ent Tri­an­gles, which fea­tures the mem­o­rable ‘Bach meets Third Stream Jazz’ musi­cal score. Enjoy.

Harvard Presents Free Courses with the Open Learning Initiative

Always good to see anoth­er major uni­ver­si­ty mak­ing a con­tri­bu­tion to the open course move­ment. The Open Learn­ing Ini­tia­tive under­tak­en by the Har­vard Uni­ver­si­ty Exten­sion School now offers eight free cours­es. This clus­ter of cours­es – the first Har­vard has put for­ward – cov­ers a nice range of top­ics. They fea­ture some heavy-hit­ting mem­bers of the Har­vard fac­ul­ty. And they’re freely avail­able in audio and video. The full list appears below as well as in our big list of 500 Free Online Cours­es:

Relat­ed Con­tent:

What’s the Right Thing to Do?: Pop­u­lar Har­vard Course Now Online

by | Permalink | Make a Comment ( 24 ) |

Jorge Luis Borges Explains The Task of Art

As he neared the end of his life, Jorge Luis Borges (1899 – 1986) offered his thoughts on the “task of art,” essen­tial­ly dis­till­ing 80+ years of wis­dom into a few pithy lines. He says:

The task of art is to trans­form what is con­tin­u­ous­ly hap­pen­ing to us, to trans­form all these things into sym­bols, into music, into some­thing which can last in man’s mem­o­ry. That is our duty. If we don’t ful­fill it, we feel unhap­py. A writer or any artist has the some­times joy­ful duty to trans­form all that into sym­bols. These sym­bols could be col­ors, forms or sounds. For a poet, the sym­bols are sounds and also words, fables, sto­ries, poet­ry. The work of a poet nev­er ends. It has noth­ing to do with work­ing hours. Your are con­tin­u­ous­ly receiv­ing things from the exter­nal world. These must be trans­formed, and even­tu­al­ly will be trans­formed. This rev­e­la­tion can appear any­time. A poet nev­er rests. He’s always work­ing, even when he dreams. Besides, the life of a writer, is a lone­ly one. You think you are alone, and as the years go by, if the stars are on your side, you may dis­cov­er that you are at the cen­ter of a vast cir­cle of invis­i­ble friends whom you will nev­er get to know but who love you. And that is an immense reward.

Thanks to Matthew for send­ing this clip along. Also, on a relat­ed note, let me remind you of the doc­u­men­tary we high­light­ed ear­li­er this year. Jorge Luis Borges: The Mir­ror Man, a film that’s “part biog­ra­phy, part lit­er­ary crit­i­cism, part hero-wor­ship, part book read­ing, and part psy­chol­o­gy.”

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!

via Maud New­ton

Relat­ed Con­tent

Hear Jorge Luis Borges Read 30 of His Poems (in the Orig­i­nal Span­ish)

Hear the Enchant­i­ng Jorge Luis Borges Read “The Art of Poet­ry”

Jorge Luis Borges’ 1967–8 Nor­ton Lec­tures On Poet­ry (And Every­thing Else Lit­er­ary)

Borges Explains The Task of Art

What Does Jorge Luis Borges’ “Library of Babel” Look Like? An Accu­rate Illus­tra­tion Cre­at­ed with 3D Mod­el­ing Soft­ware

by | Permalink | Make a Comment ( 6 ) |

Balloon Flight Into Near Space

In June, a group of San Fran­cis­co-based design­ers and engi­neers launched a bal­loon into near space, cap­tur­ing the flight with two cam­eras that went along for the ride. Two hours into the flight, and at 80,000 feet of alti­tude, the bal­loon gives up the ghost and comes crash­ing back down to Earth. It all hap­pens around the 2:20 mark of the video, and the images are … um … out of this world. Amaz­ing­ly, all of the equip­ment onboard sur­vives the fall – cam­eras and all – thanks to the para­chute.

This was actu­al­ly the sec­ond bal­loon launch under­tak­en by this group. You can see images from their first launch here. Next time, they’re hop­ing to reach above 100,000 feet. And, yes, it’s final­ly worth not­ing that they con­tact­ed the FAA before let­ting these bal­loons take flight.

This clip was sent our way by an anony­mous view­er. If he/she wants to get in touch, we have a copy of Eat, Pray, Love ready to send your way.

by | Permalink | Make a Comment ( 1 ) |

Harvard Releases OpenScholar 2.0

Har­vard Uni­ver­si­ty has now released ver­sion 2.0 of Open­Schol­ar, an open source soft­ware pack­age that lets schol­ars build per­son­al and project-ori­ent­ed web sites in a mat­ter of min­utes. It’s a quick, easy, and free solu­tion (minus one mean­ing­ful caveat below) that allows aca­d­e­mics to build an online home for their “CV, bio, pub­li­ca­tions, blogs, announce­ments, links, image gal­leries, class mate­ri­als,” and even sub­mit pub­li­ca­tions to online repos­i­to­ries, such as Google Schol­ar. You can see an exam­ple of Open­Schol­ar in action here.

Now here’s the one impor­tant rub. Before a prof can start using Open­Schol­ar, some­one on his/her IT staff will need to install the soft­ware on their uni­ver­si­ty’s servers. Har­vard does­n’t host the solu­tion. The video above and Wired Cam­pus offer more details …

by | Permalink | Make a Comment ( 1 ) |

« Go BackMore in this category... »
Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.