What’s the Internet? That’s So 1994…

Now mak­ing its way around the inter­nets, a lit­tle semi-vin­tage clip of Bryant Gum­bel and Katie Couric, then hosts of The Today Show, try­ing to sort out the new, new thing called “The Inter­net.” This bit was record­ed on Jan­u­ary 24, 1994, just months before Justin Bieber came into the world and Kurt Cobain exit­ed stage left…

What Technology Wants: Kevin Kelly @ Google

Kevin Kel­ly, the co-founder of Wired mag­a­zine and for­mer editor/publisher of the Whole Earth Cat­a­log (now free online), pub­lished a new book this past Octo­ber: What Tech­nol­o­gy Wants. Review­ing his own book on Boing­Bo­ing, Kel­ly sum­ma­rizes a few key points. “Tech­nol­o­gy is the most pow­er­ful force on the plan­et.” In fact, human­i­ty is a tool itself, and, like all liv­ing things, tech­nol­o­gy evolves, demon­strat­ing cer­tain uncon­scious “urges” and “wants” in the process. Tech­nol­o­gy can­not be held back. But we can try to opti­mize its ben­e­fits for human cul­ture, even while poten­tial­ly try­ing to lim­it the amount of tech­nol­o­gy in our own lives. It’s a heady book, and, per­haps fit­ting­ly, Kevin Kel­ly pulled through Google in Novem­ber and dis­tilled his new the­o­ry of tech­nol­o­gy in a 40 minute talk. Watch it above…

Bonus: You might also want to check out this con­ver­sa­tion record­ed at the New York Pub­lic Library. It fea­tures Kevin Kel­ly and Steven John­son (author of Where Good Ideas Come From) in con­ver­sa­tion with Robert Krul­wich, co-host of Radio Lab.

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An Evening with Werner Herzog

François Truf­faut once called Wern­er Her­zog the sin­gle most impor­tant direc­tor on the plan­et, and TIME mag­a­zine (with Rogert Ebert writ­ing the relat­ed arti­cle) ranked Her­zog as one of the 100 most influ­en­tial peo­ple alive today. Last April, Her­zog, a “roman­tic vision­ary” of the New Ger­man Cin­e­ma move­ment, vis­it­ed the UC San­ta Bar­bara cam­pus where he spent rough­ly two hours in con­ver­sa­tion with the author and essay­ist, Pico Iyer. The video above skips over two intro­duc­tions, includ­ing one by Iyer him­self. So if you’re look­ing for more con­text, you can always rewind to the very begin­ning… H/T to @eacion and via Film Stud­ies for Free.

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Smarthistory: Help Kickstart 100 New Art History Videos

Last week, Smarthis­to­ry, the mak­ers of out­stand­ing free art his­to­ry videos, launched a nov­el fundrais­ing cam­paign using Kick­starter, a fundrais­ing plat­form for the arts world. The goal? To raise $10,000 to fund 100 new art his­to­ry videos (like these), which will col­lec­tive­ly cre­ate a free alter­na­tive to the tra­di­tion­al and very expen­sive art his­to­ry text­book. Below, the founders of Smarthis­to­ry (Beth Har­ris, Juliana Kreinik and Steven Zuck­er) tell you more about the cam­paign. If you per­son­al­ly ben­e­fit from open edu­ca­tion­al resources, or sup­port the idea of democ­ra­tiz­ing knowl­edge, we’d strong­ly encour­age you to make a con­tri­bu­tion to the Smarthis­to­ry cam­paign, which can be as small as $10. Take it away Beth and Steven…

A WEEK AGO, we launched a Kick­starter cam­paign to raise $10,000 to help us cre­ate 100 more videos for Smarthistory.org, the Web­by-award win­ning art his­to­ry open edu­ca­tion­al resource (OER). It was a great week thanks to our amaz­ing com­mu­ni­ty of sup­port­ers, and although we’ve raised near­ly 50% of our goal, we need to keep this momen­tum going and would be extreme­ly grate­ful for your sup­port. These addi­tion­al videos will make Smarthis­to­ry a tru­ly viable, free alter­na­tive to the tra­di­tion­al and very expen­sive art his­to­ry text­book. If you haven’t watched the video, or looked at our page on Kick­starter, take a moment to do that—it explains every­thing.

The OER com­mu­ni­ty has has turned its focus to the ques­tion of sus­tain­abil­i­ty, how often cost­ly projects, can be sus­tained for the long term. Smarthistory.org was designed to be sus­tain­able and to have min­i­mal ongo­ing costs from the out­set; our back-end uses MODx, an open-source con­tent man­age­ment sys­tem, and all of our con­tent comes from vol­un­tar­i­ly con­tri­bu­tions. Last week, Philipp Schmidt, of Peer to Peer Uni­ver­si­ty, wrote a blog post about the pos­si­bil­i­ties of using Kick­starter to help sup­port the OER and OCW (open course­ware) com­mu­ni­ties. It will be inter­est­ing to see if Kick­starter is a viable means of sup­port for open edu­ca­tion ini­tia­tives like Smarthis­to­ry.

From incep­tion, we have sought to be a syn­thet­ic resource that push­es beyond insti­tu­tion­al boundaries—in terms of the col­lec­tions we draw from, our aca­d­e­m­ic con­trib­u­tors, and the stu­dents we serve. It’s worth not­ing that, in addi­tion to being a means to raise funds, Kick­starter is also a mea­sure of our project’s val­ue for oth­ers. For us there is an impor­tant para­dox, how­ev­er, since the bulk of the peo­ple we serve—college students—are per­haps the least like­ly to sup­port us with dona­tions, and are less like­ly to have the finan­cial means to do so. So far, the bulk of our dona­tions have come from fac­ul­ty, infor­mal users, the OER and education/technology com­mu­ni­ty, and our sup­port­ers.

In 2010, Smarthistory.org was vis­it­ed more than half a mil­lion times by vis­i­tors from more than 150 coun­tries. Near­ly one hun­dred uni­ver­si­ties, libraries and muse­ums now rec­om­mend Smarthis­to­ry and instruc­tors are increas­ing­ly adopt­ing it in place of the expen­sive text­book. The ques­tion is, can we trans­form this user base into a donor base. Please help us turn this goal into a real­i­ty (con­tribute here) and spread the word about Kick­starter. Maybe crowd­sourced fund­ing can offer a real alter­na­tive for open ini­tia­tives.

15 Free Alfred Hitchcock Films

Just a quick note: Ear­li­er this week, we post­ed a list of 25 Free John Wayne West­erns. Now comes a list of Free Alfred Hitch­cock films. We have 15 Hitch­cock films in total, most shot dur­ing the ear­ly stages of his career – that is, dur­ing the 1920s and 30s. And, on the list, you will find sev­er­al well known clas­sics, includ­ing The Lodger, one of Hitch­cock­’s great silent films; Black­mail, Hitch­cock­’s first “talk­ing” or sound film; The 39 Steps, a thriller that became an ear­ly com­mer­cial and crit­i­cal hit; and The Man Who Knew Too Much, a film that Hitch­cock lat­er remade for an Amer­i­can audi­ence with Jim­my Stew­art and Doris Day. These clas­sics and eleven oth­er films appear in the Free Hitch­cock col­lec­tion. Enjoy …

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The World’s Fastest Solar Car

Some con­grat­u­la­tions are in order for a team of stu­dents from The Uni­ver­si­ty of New South Wales. Ear­li­er this month, they set a world record for the fastest solar-pow­ered car. Their car, trav­el­ing 88km/h (or 54 miles per hour), broke the pre­vi­ous record of 79 km/h. We’re not talk­ing about NASCAR speeds, to be sure. But the research that went into mak­ing the UNSW car could mean big things for future gen­er­a­tions of green-pow­ered cars. Wired has more on the sto­ry, plus some pho­tos…

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Al Jazeera’s Live Stream of Egyptian Uprising

A quick fyi: We may be wit­ness­ing a water­shed moment in the his­to­ry of Egypt and The Mid­dle East, with police bat­tling mas­sive protests across Cairo and oth­er Egypt­ian cities. These protests are being cov­ered on the ground by Al Jazeera in Eng­lish, and you can watch the live stream on the web right here, or down­load the free Al Jazeera iPhone app and watch the stream on the iPhone.

Note: If you’re look­ing for some resources that explain what’s hap­pen­ing in Egypt, you might want to vis­it these resources here and here. Both come at the rec­om­men­da­tion of Jad Abum­rad, the host of Radio Lab.

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The Sandy River Flood

On Jan­u­ary 16th, the Sandy River flood­ed, spilling over its banks in Ore­gon, and Tyler Malay and Alexan­dra Erick­son cap­tured it all. Nature’s tor­rent ren­dered beau­ti­ful with a Canon 60d and Canon 7d…

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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.