Friday, September 5, 2008

Geography C110 - Berkeley Lecture series

There is a Geography course on Berkeley's Webcasts called Economic Geography of the Industrial World (link) by Professor Richard A. Walker. The list of subjects look very promising. It looks very economic also, but in the first lecture Walker emphasizes the geographical nature of the course. This means, less equations than to be expected in economics and more importance attributed to geographical notions such as regions, resources and so on.

The first lecture is also an expose about crisis and Walker claims he has been able to explain and even predict the most economic crises of the last decades. His analysis, if not convicing, at least shows how regions are important. The housing crises, now and the one of the early nineties, he demonstrates, occurred in very specific and even roughly the same areas and left the rest of the country rather unaffected. What he goes on to explain about price and credit developments not only sounds completely economic, but also the dynamic doesn't seem to me entirely alien to what economic models show.

So it is going to be really interesting to see how this claim of geography on economic issues will develop. The course is easy to follow, even if you miss out on the graphs Walker shows. I am definitely goign to sit this one out until the end. When relevant, I will write more reviews.

More geography:
Global Geopolitics,
Geography of World Cultures,
Natural Resources and Population,
Plate Tectonics.

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Cooking with Forgotten Classics - podcast review

Mostly Forgotten Classics is about fiction; Julie reads a novel to you. Here is an episode that is about cooking though. The major part of this, rather long, podcast consists of Julie reading from John Thorne's Mouth Wide Open.

I found it the most interesting part where Julie reacted to the content and told how she deals with recipes and how others she knows do. She sees two types of people: those who roughly follow recipes, and make their variations as they go and those who either improvise while cooking, or follow recipes and then follow them rather strictly. In theory there would be people who only cook by recipes and then follow, but nobody seems to know them.

John Thorne explains, among others, in the sections that Julie reads out loud, why he hardly ever cooks from recipes and when he does, he allows himself vast freedom to alternate. His way of dealing with cookbooks, is read them. The recipes are not to be tried, but to be learned from, to give ideas. In addition there are thoughts about traditional cooking, theme cookbooks, cooking magazines and on and on. The reading section is actually too long, I think. And the whole subject, is much more alive when Julie discusses it. I think she could have summarized Thorne's view and made more of a free-style podcast. But hers is a podcast in which she reads to the listener. And this she does very, very well.

Forgotten Classics - podcast review,
Podcast history of cooking,
Anne is a Man - recipes.

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