Ira Glass, the Host of This American Life, Breaks Down the Fine Art of Storytelling

Since 1995, Ira Glass has hosted and produced This American Life (iTunes – Feed – Web Site), the award-winning radio show that presents masterfully-crafted stories to almost 2 million listeners each week. What’s the secret sauce that goes into making a great story, particularly one primed for radio or TV? Glass spells it out in four parts. Watch them all above.

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The Photography of The Sartorialist & Musings on the Creative Life

In the latest video appearing in Intel’s Visual Life series, we get a look inside the creative approach of Scott Schuman, the editor of the very popular fashion photography blog The Sartorialist. On the surface, this is all about how an influential fashion photographer goes about his craft. But the message – it’s more about doing and refining your personal approach, than formal schooling – easily extends to most any other artistic endeavor. Along similar lines, if you’re looking for insight into the creative process, you will want to revisit comedian John Cleese talking about The Origins of Creativity itself…

“They Were There” — Errol Morris Finally Directs a Film for IBM

In the late 1990s, Errol Morris, the acclaimed director, was hired to make a film for an “in house” conference of IBM employees. Eventually IBM canceled the conference, and the film was scrapped. (Watch a clip of it here.) Now more than a decade later, IBM has brought Morris back, this time to direct a film meant to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the company’s founding. The 30-minute film, They Were There, appears on IBM’s YouTube Channel, and it notably features music by Philip Glass. As you will perhaps recall, Morris and Glass previously teamed up on the 2003 Oscar-winning documentary, The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara. Both films are listed in our collection, 1,150 Free Movies Online: Great Classics, Indies, Noir, Westerns, etc..

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Don’t You Eva Interrupt Me While I’m Reading a Book!

This is for every reader out there who gets the basic sentiment. A bit of random silliness, courtesy of YouTuber Julian Smith.

via The New Yorker

MIT’s Vintage 1970 Calculus Courses Now Online … And Still Handy

Long ago, long before MIT hatched plans for its OpenCourseWare initiative and later edX, the university taped a lecture series covering the equivalent of a freshman-level calculus course. Released in 1970, the introductory class taught by Herbert Gross was suited for any student brushing up on his/her calculus, or learning the subject for the first time. MIT has now revived the lecture series, called “Calculus Revisited: Single Variable Calculus,” along with two more advanced courses. Although times have changed, calculus remains the same. And you’ll still find the series to be quite handy.

The courses are also listed in the Math section of our Free Online Course collection (where you’ll find many other calc courses)…

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Beyond the Still: The Largest Online Collaborative Film Contest

A year ago, Canon launched a contest called “The Story Beyond the Still,” which encouraged photographers to become filmmakers, and help viewers see “beyond the still” image. Fast forward twelve months and we have the final result: A collaborative film, now being premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, that stitches together “chapters” (or film sequences) created by six contest-winning artists, all under the direction of Vincent Laforet. Each chapter ends with a still image that creates the jumping-off point for the next chapter, giving one artist the chance to pick up where a previous artist left off. The complete collaborative film (above) runs 37 minutes. You can find more contest-winning video on Vimeo right here.

via @webacion

Watch Alexander Calder Perform His “Circus,” a Toy Theatre Piece Filled With Amazing Kinetic Wire Sculptures

Alexander “Sandy” Calder (1898 – 1976) was one of America’s foremost modern artists, internationally recognized for his invention of the mobile and his large-scale sculptures. At the age of eight, he started working with wire to make kinetic sculpture (one of his first was a small duck that would rock when pushed, done at the age of 11). Although he became an engineer and worked a variety of jobs, he eventually enrolled in The Art Students League of New York. While there, he worked for the National Police Gazette, covering, among other things, the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circuses.




Calder had a lifelong fascination with the circus and, upon moving to Paris in 1926, he created the Cirque Calder, a collection of wire sculptures with complex mechanisms allowing them to move and do various tricks.  His first showing of his circus was to family and friends, but his popularity grew and he was soon giving shows lasting two hours in Paris and New York.  It was then that his artistic recognition spread, and he enjoyed a prolific career until his death in 1976. The video above comes to us via The Whitney Museum in NYC, which presented an exhibition called “Alexander Calder: The Paris Years, 1926-1933” in 2008-09. And we also recommend watching the 1961 short film, Le Cirque de Calder, where he talks about his toy-like creations.

This is the first of hopefully many guest posts by Adrienne Rumsey.

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The State of Wikipedia Animated

Amidst the celebration of Wikipedia’s 10th anniversary, Jimmy Wales has narrated an animated history of the web-based encyclopedia, and where he sees it heading in the future. One place you can expect to find Wikipedia going (something slightly hinted at here) is the classroom. In the months ahead, look for Wikipedia to develop an “open educational resource platform” that will help students make better use of Wikipedia in the classroom, if not contribute to writing stronger articles/entries. The Wired Campus has more on this new initiative coming down the pike.

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