Tuesday, September 30, 2008

New podcast reviews at Anne is a Man

September was a month I dedicated to picking up as many academic podcasts from the new year as I could. Apart from those, there were also other types of new podcasts I reviewed for the first time. A side-effect of this month's new reviews, I will have to start a new category list: Economics. There are some known podcasts that may fit into the category, but two new ones this month have made creating it a necessity as they would not go anywhere else:

Economics 100B (Berkeley) Economic Analysis--Macro (review , site , feed )
Now is a particularly interesting time to study macro-economics. Not only in the light of the upcoming elections, where the suggested economic policies can be measured with what you learn on the podcast. Also because of the stormy developments in the global economy and national economies.

Harvard Business IdeaCast (review , site , feed )
Innovative business ideas laid out in short podcasts.

In the category of History Podcasts:
History 5 (Hesse - Berkeley) (review , site , feed )
European history from the Renaissance till today with the personal, somewhat thematic, touch of Professor Carla Hesse.

East Asian Thought (UCSD) (review , site, feed )
Excellent Professor Magagna does it again. Your access road to understanding East-Asian philosophy and culture.

MMW6 (UCSD) (review , site, feed)
Modern history told with a political science touch.

In the category of Science Podcasts:
Letters and Science (Berkeley) (review , site , feed )
Physics for future presidents, or: technology without the math.

In the category of Philosophy and Thought Podcasts:
Ancient Philosophy (Berkeley) (review , site , feed  )
Introduction into classical thinkers such as Socrates, Plato, Aristotle.

Philosopy 6 (Berkeley) Man, God, and Society in Western Literature (review, site , feed )
Hubert Dreyfus's search with Heidegger.

In the category of Geography Podcasts:
Geography 110C (Berkeley) Economic Geography of the Industrial World (review, site , feed )
Thought-provoking course about our world today and the toughest issues it faces.

Geography of Europe (ASU) (review , site, feed )
Low level introductory course into Europe.

In the category of Arts and Culture Podcasts:
Practice of Art (Berkeley) Foundations of American Cyber-Culture (review, site , feed )
An exploration of cyber-culture

The Bitterest Pill (review, site , feed )
The stylized lamentations of a failed comedian and actor who is condemned to lead the live of a stay-at-home dad.

In the category of News & Politics Podcasts:
Political Science 179 (Berkeley) (review , site , feed )
Provocative introduction into politics.

In the category of Psychology Podcasts:
Real Talk (review , site , feed )
The podcast for the eavesdropper. Listen in to adolescent talk.

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I love to get new podcast recommendations. You can let your preferences  know by commenting on the blog or sending mail to The Man Called Anne at: Anne Frid de Vries (in one word) AT yahoo DOT co DOT uk

Monday, September 29, 2008

Hildebrandslied - German Cultural History podcast review

The German Cultural History podcast remains a feast of tangents, or so it seems. It is nearly impossible to make out a structure for these talks, but yet, they remain fascinating at the same time.

Host Tom has returned with yet more thoughts on the German language and spends the major part of his latest episode on discussing the Hildebrandslied. This is an old Germanic tale of a father and son who engage in battle as champions for their armies. The Lied is sung in the Old High German and that is why it is so important for the podcast. It is of course one of the few sources in Old High German.

As usual, for me, there is a lot of recognition with the teachings of German Literature in High School. Only, it is so much more leisurely to get it on podcast.

Picture: Page 1 of the Hildebrandslied (public Domain)
Landes- und Murhardsche Bibliothek, Kassel, Germany, 2° Ms. theol.54, Bl. 1r (Wikimedia Commons)

Previously about GCH podcast:
Old High German,
Sound Shifts and Umlauts,
Why Iceland,
German Cultural History - Podcast Review.

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Herbert Hoover - veertien achttien

We kennen Herbert Hoover natuurlijk van de mislukte economische politiek na 1929, maar wat minder bekend is, is Hoovers humanitaire werk. Dat begint in 1914 met de voedselhulp voor de Belgen, maar daarna zal er nog meer volgen. Dit is de aanleiding voor Tom Tacken om Hoover's biografie in de podcast Veertien Achttien te bespreken.

Zoals altijd ligt er niet alleen een biografie op tafel, maar stipt Veertien Achttien ook een belangrijk historisch aspect van de Grote Oorlog aan. In dit geval gaat het om de omstreden kwestie van de Duitse gruweldaden in Belgie in 1914. Geruchten daarover zijn koren op de molen van de geallieerde propaganda machine en worden daarom gretig opgeblazen. Het is een van de redenen waarom Hoover als fanatieke hulpverlener op pad gaat, maar later volgen de revisionisten en worden de verhalen over Duitse moord- en plunderpartijen in twijfel getrokken. Wie andere podcasts hierover al gehorod heeft, onder meer VPRO's OVT, weet dat er inmiddels voldoende aanwijzingen zijn van misdragingen in het begin door de Duitsers.

Hoover moet zijn werk voor de Belgen overdragen aan de Hollanders en de Spanjaarden, zodra de Amerikanen partij kiezen in WO I. Als de oorlog voorbij is organiseert hij de voedselhulp aan Duitsers en Russen. En na de tweede wereldoorlog vraagt Truman hem dit opnieuw te doen. Tacken heeft het weer prachtig gedaan. Deze keer zijn er zelfs verschillende geluidsfragmenten om de podcast compleet te maken.

Afbeelding van The Great War Different.

Meer Veertien Achttien:
Otto Weddigen,
Helmut Von Moltke,
Joseph Gallieni,
Alexander von Kluck,
Alexander Samsonov.

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Sunday, September 28, 2008

DIY Scholar - a blog you all should follow

If you like my blog, you should also be aware of at least one other blog that is around: The Do It Yourself Scholar, or DIY Scholar. DIY Scholar is run by Dara, who manages to keep track of whatever free material is available from the world's universities and informs us how to obtain that stuff.

Since a lot of these are recorded lectures and among those are quite a few podcasts, Dara and I frequently report about the same material, but if you are interested in academic level educational material, a lot more can be found at her site. She will be the first to let you know what new institutions have started sharing their audio on iTunes U. She also helps using that directory and gives technical tips for converting files (where needed). Her attention goes not only to audio, but also to whatever course material is available as text or video.

There are numerous podcasts I have discovered thanks to Dara. Recently, thanks to her, I found out about the Teaching Company, which delivers a huge amount of streams, but also a new podcast. I might be reviewing the two lectures about the historical backgrounds (or lack thereof) for Dan Brown's best-seller The Da Vinci Code. On Dara's site you can already read a review about the lecture addressing the extinction of the dinosaurs.

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Psychologist writer - podcast review

One of the recent editions of Shrink Rap Radio featured an interview with crime writer Roberta Isleib. For those who wonder why this shows up in Dr. Dave's feed and not in that of The Writing Show, one should know that David van Nuys has an affinity with creative writing and Isleib is not the first fictional writer interviewed on Shrink rap Radio.

One of Dr. Dave's favorite subjects is discussed with Isleib (who is a psychologist herself) as well: the way psychology and psychologists are portrayed in fiction, be it literature, TV or film. It turns out that this is one of the reasons Isleib has psychologist characters; to counter-weight what awful imaging goes on. She doesn't try to describe an ideal situation, but rather a more realistic one as opposed to some of the examples from film she describes.

Another subject for discussion is how psychology is helpful for the writer. Isleib acknowledges it is. It helps for giving characters a life-like feel and obviously for situations that involve therapy. As to writing about golfers - this is where the interview starts - I am sure it doesn't hurt.

More Shrink Rap Radio:
Dana Houck, Prison Psychologist,
The humane working place,
Nirvana and the Brain,
Psychoanalysis - Shrink Rap radio review,
Conscious Living.

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Saturday, September 27, 2008

Barbary is not primordial - a revelation

Why Civilizations can't climb hills, was the odd title for Professor James Scott's talk at the London School of Economics earlier this year. I missed it in the LSE podcast, but fortunately picked it up from UChannel. This has been the most inspiring and thought provoking podcast I have listened to in the past year. I think I have learned and come to understand something about our history that wasn't clear to me at all until now.

Professor Scott is a political scientist and an anthropologist specialized in an area of South-East Asia he calls Zomia(?) (The South-East Asian Massif) which is the hill and mountain range that stretches from the East of India to Vietnam. He admits his analysis is still tentative and lacks sufficient supporting data, but what little there is, not only seems to make the ideas applicable in SE Asia, but also in other places, such as the Atlas, Central Asia and the fringes of the Roman Empire. The idea here is that there is and always was the stateless areas that border state areas, not only coinciding with rugged terrain such as hills and mountains, but also marshes and deserts. And these stateless, small entities are not just remnants of an old tribal past (though that may also be so), but they are also a conscious alternative to the state. They are a refuge for those who want to escape the grip of the state, for whatever reason.

The bottom-line that appeared to me is not that people on the fringe are backward, but that they are choosing their lifestyle and organizational structure of their own accord. It also shows that there must have always been an exchange between the barbarians and the civilized. It enriched my historical awareness. I already learned thanks to so many historical podcasts that there has always been more exchange between civilizations than I have always thought. But not only that, there always must have been also exchange with the allegedly uncivilized world. Consequently, uncivilized is not the correct term. There has always been an alternative to the state. The whole mechanism of civilization takes on a different capacity, an entirely non-Hegelian quality: it is not a matter of progress, it is a continuum of increasing order and decreasing freedom. And people make choice what depth of organization they appreciate.

There has always been movement in and out of the state. In and out of order. In and out of complex organization. We all carry the traditions of both, I venture. Scott makes this visible with loads and loads of examples from the region he has come to know so well.

More UChannel:
New World Order,
The Invisible Hand,
The Second World,
Repairing Failed States,
The Collapse (Republicans and America).

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New World Order - UChannel podcast review

Uchannel presented a lecture by General Tony Zinni at Cornell University. The general analyzed the world in which we lived today and the US foreign policy and came up with a whole that was very reminiscent of Barnett's talk on UChannel earlier this year.

From his army perspective Zinni sees exactly the same things as Barnett emphasizes from a diplomacy and business perspective. The US tackles the world with old doctrine, based on the Cold War and enters the world with an army that is an army for battle, but finds itself in the position to build nations and social structures. The bottom line for both Barnett and Zinni is that the new government, the new president, whoever this will be by January 2009, must very seriously take up analyzing the new world order. Foreign policy and US interventions must be adapted to that analysis and serious strategies need to be developed. Otherwise disaster lurks.

Zinni is a very accessible speaker and especially the beginnign of his talk is filled with observations and anecdotal evidence that is both functional as well as entertaining (I laughed out loud on his Berlin adventures in 1989). The message seems clear and when you see it supported from various other corners and a strong one to be taken very seriously. I am hoping the government of Israel will study pages from the same book.

More UChannel:
The Invisible Hand,
The Second World,
Repairing Failed States,
The Collapse (Republicans and America),
New Map for the Pentagon.

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Friday, September 26, 2008

Miracles - In Our Time

BBC's In Our Time is back from summer recess. Melvyn Bragg and his panel spoke about miracles in the first issue of the season. A lot of fascinating aspects were touched upon, but the subject flows like fine sand between your fingers; it is so difficult to get a grasp.

Miracles, as alleged facts that happened, force questions about their nature. By modern times, this also triggers skepticism, though the program shows that skepticism about miracles starts much earlier. If you do not look at them as tales about reality, but rather as tales, as a narrative, the meaning of miracles become the issue. Also about this some is said. Miracles are taken in a certain way in Judaism and Christianity and this is the center of attention in the program. But it is noted that Islam and the East, takes miracles differently, just as the definitions of nature and the divine are different.

I have listened to this episode three times in order to put some these trains of thought in the center and see to a special reason to go and listen. But I have not succeeded and this is a weakness that is unlike In Our Time: it was too fragmented. There are glimpses of intelligent and provocative thoughts, but they fleet a bit too easily. Still, this is In Our Time, one of the best podcasts around. But be prepared.

More In Our Time:
John Donne (The Metaphysical Poets),
The Arab Conquests,
BBC's In Our Time (podcast review),
General review of In Our Time.

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Simek: nieuwe website, nieuwe opnames, geen podcast

Simek 's Nachts is natuurlijk een prachtig en uniek radio programma. Simek als podcast blijft daarentegen een onregelmatig ding. De radio luisteraar weet zich elk weekend verzekerd van een nieuwe aflevering en doorgaans betekent dat dat de stream ook snel beschikbaar is. Er is nu ook een nieuwe, prachtig gestileerde website waar de streams en in principe ook de podcasts te vinden zijn.

Er is op de website ook een video gedeelte waar prachtige opnames te zien zijn van een optreden dat Simek in het Comedy Theater heeft gemaakt. Onder de tweeslachtige titel Simek Bedankt staat hij stil bij zijn jeugd in Tsjechie en zijn vlucht naar Nederland. Vooral het stukje 'Kameraden', maakte veel indruk. (Zie ook de foto) Dat en de foto's en de tekeningen, zijn prachtige toevoegingen, maar er is ook iets dat ontbreekt.

Wat gelinkt is als 'podcast' zijn gewoon de audio bestanden - in de feed staan de nieuwste niet. Dat is altijd al een probleem met Simek geweest. Steeds weer duurde het een tijd voor de feed werd bijgewerkt en zo zal het nu ook wel weer gaan. Een voorproefje van het gesprek met Jaap Amesz (aardig) en Simon Vroemen (fascinerend en compleet met een vorig interview) geven goede zin. Maar waar is het archief? Zoveel geweldige, oude aflevering, teruggaand tot diep in de jaren negentig, waren tot voor kort nog beschikbaar. De oude webpagina's zijn er ook nog, maar de links zijn dood. Daar moet iets aan gedaan worden.

(foto: RVU.nl)

Meer Simek 's Nachts op dit blog:
Marjan Berk en Johnny Kraaykamp jr.,
Brigitte Kaandorp,
Heleen Mees, Maarten van Roozendaal,
Barbara van Beukering, Gert Dumbar,
Jaap van der Zwan.

EN: Simek in Marathon Interview

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Thursday, September 25, 2008

Harvard Business IdeaCast - podcast review

Good ideas are lurking all over the place. The trick is to recognize them and mostly they look too banal or too weird to be right. The Harvard Business IdeaCast explored a couple of the wacky business ideas in the 112th issue of their podcast. There are two ideas that you can apply to driving and it just knocks me off my feet to think how odd, simple and unbelievable they are, yet effective.

Idea #1: no left turns. This works especially well for people who have to make a lot of rides in urban areas. Left turns involve more waiting time and are more accident prone. Frequently, if you have various options for a route to choose, you have alternatives that involve fewer left turns. Delivery companies that adjusted their pathfinding systems to weigh in the amount of left turns saved time, money on fuel and accidents.

Idea #2: never drive faster than 60 mph (alternately 90 kph). A lot of the speeding does not translate into time gain. It only is spent on more maneuvering between lanes and such. It is also more accident prone and it uses more gas. The latter is not only consuming more money, eventually it implies also waiting time for refueling. Hence, sticking to the speed limit means safer, cheaper and even faster transport. Out of my own experience I might add: it is also less stressing for the driver.

The podcast also offers seemingly good ideas that did not work. In other editions numerous other business ideas are reviewed. The episodes usually last around 10 minutes and can therefore be very leisurely be consumed.

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Marte Roling - Marathon Interview

Op 18 juli jongstleden sprak Ger Jochems met Marte Röling in een van de beste Marathon Interviews uit de serie van 2008. Daarin vond ik Jochems uitblinken als interviewer. Röling heeft de neiging om wel heel vaag te zijn en Jochems weet uit het gesprek een geheel te smeden en een behoorlijk compleet portret van de kunstenares naar voren te laten komen

Röling was geboren voor de kunst en tijdens het gehele gesprek blijft dat zo vanzelfsprekend dat haar artistieke waarde ook geen onderwerp wordt. Röling doet gewoon wat ze doet, ze vond haar weg en blijft dat zo doen, ook nu haar grote liefde Henk Jurriaans dood is. En daardoor gaat het portret helemaal niet over de maatschappij of over conventionele verhoudingen. Rölings leven is een existentialistisch festijn, een spel haast, een zich werpen in de malle molen van inspiratie en gevoelens en zien waar het je brengt. Het komt maar zijdelings ter sprake maar ik vond het wel tekenend: Röling blijkt te houden van stunts zoals het meevliegen op de vleugel van een vliegtuig - wat ze ooit in Engeland heeft gedaan.

Jochems speelt met verve de rol van de misschien wat burgerlijke buitenstaander die probeert door te dringen en te begrijpen. Zoals in eerdere interviews van hem, zijn er een paar momenten dat ik zijn vragen te gesloten vond of vond dat hij te weinig geduld had om het antwoord te laten komen, maar voor het overige is hij het vooral die Röling in staat stelt om haar portret helder te maken. Het geheel dat ontstaat laat zich misschien nog wel het beste kenmerken door de uitroep: Leuk! Leuk, zoals Röling het zegt: schor, doorrookt, opgewonden en lacherig - als een jong meisje.

Meer Marathon Interviews:
Remco Campert,
Marjolijn Februari,
Jan Blokker,
Martin Simek,
Abram de Swaan.

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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Philip Zimbardo - podcast review

Shrink Rap Radio is such a great podcast, it is worthwhile going through the whole archive. Way before I took up podcast reviewing I already was a great big fan of Dr. David van Nuys psychology podcast. Then as now, David van Nuys has some true celebrities among his guests. Such was the case in April 2007, when he had Dr. Philip Zimbardo, of the Stanford Prison Experiment fame, who had just finished his book The Lucifer Effect. Van Nuys did a fantastic interview with Zimbardo that is worth listening to again. (transcript)

Around the same time Zimbardo offered a lecture on more or less the same subject which was podcast on UChannel, the formidable lecture podcast collection from Princeton University(and others). It is fascinating to compare Zimbardo's lecture with the interview with Dr. Van Nuys. There are many repetitions, but the interview is very complementary and has the added value of a personal touch in an intimate atmosphere, which is the trade mark of Dr. Dave and make him such an outstanding podcaster.

Last February, Dr. Zimbardo was invited to TED and gave a video talk on yet the same issue. Beware, the TED talk by Dr. Zimbardo is illustrated with very horrific pictures from Abu Ghraib. What is more, Zimbardo is rushing. He fills a near 25 minutes, but he needed to cover all that the old podcasts gave him a near hour for. The visuals help, the talk is impressive, but I think I prefer the old podcasts.

More UChannel:
The Invisible Hand,
The Second World,
Repairing Failed States,
The Collapse (Republicans and America),
New Map for the Pentagon.

More Shrink Rap Radio:
Dana Houck, Prison Psychologist,
The humane working place,
Nirvana and the Brain,
Psychoanalysis - Shrink Rap radio review,
Conscious Living.

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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Bitterest Pill - podcast review

A nice way, close to serendipity, to discover new podcasts, is to check on a podcast you know in iTunes. This directory will list a number of other podcasts that listeners to the selected one, also listen to. This is what I did and what brought me to try the famous audio blog by Dan Klass: The Bitterest Pill. (site, feed)

These are the stylized lamentations of a failed comedian and actor who is condemned to lead the live of a stay at home dad. I am sure there is a huge autobiographical imprint on the show, but Klass carefully relates his fate and adventures as a dad, husband and podcaster from his garage in a particular character. That character is the tormented, neurotic and absent-minded, slightly forgetful underachiever who barely manages to stay alive among the pitfalls and banal mishaps of the suburban dweller. For him, taking your son to the dentist, flying to New York and helping your elderly neighbor installing anti-virus software turn into life threatening nightmares.

Dan Klass's tales put a magnifying glass over the little sufferings of everyday life we all know so well and takes them to the next level, short of disaster. The formula, started in 2004, has been so successful, he has won acclaim from serious media, fellow podcasters and listeners. The latter even subscribe to his premium podcast, which give them four times as many episodes. I was particularly struck by his talented use of silence - he frequently leaves the listener hanging in a dramatic moment without sound. No, you haven't run out of battery, you haven't lost your ear phones. Wait, wait, something is coming. It goes to show what talented actor he is and what great use of the new media he is capable of.

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Monday, September 22, 2008

Dan Carlin's Punic Nightmares II

In the second episode of Dan Carlin's Hardcore History about the Punic Wars, the dramatic height (or low, depending on your perspective) is reached. The mostly seafaring nation of the Carthaginians have made it into the heartland of Italy and threaten Rome from its backyard, over land.

The general that got the army there is the famous Hannibal and it is of course his legendary trek over the Alps that landed him in the north of Italy. Dan Carlin kicks off where Hannibal has just finished the passage. This marvelous achievement is a mixed bag after all. The crossing has cost Hannibal half of his army and his supply lines are too long to be considerable at all and his army is exhausted. The general keeps his army going though, manages to reinforce and to beat the Romans over and over again in battle.

Carlin's achievement in the retelling lies in this, that he manages to alleviate the battle chronicles from an expose of data, of strategy and tactics, of military and political struggle into a veritable drama. It is the trademark of his podcast and he gets better at it with every installment. He brings the history to life. He positions the listener onto the battle field and succeeds in delivering some of the experience. It is only then that we come to truly appreciate how precarious Hannibal's position was, how desperate the Romans were about this rogue army in their lands, how cunning the maneuvers were and how intensive and frightening the fighting was.

More Dan Carlin:
Punic Nightmares I,
Under the Influence,
and Dan Carlin praises Anne is a Man!

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Weddigen - veertien achttien recensie

In de laatste aflevering van Veertien Achttien behandelt Tom Tacken de duikbotenoorlog. De aanleiding is de biografie over Otto Weddigen, de duikbootkapitein die in September 1914, voor Hoek van Holland nog wel, drie Britse kruisers keldert, maar het gaat vooral over de duikboten en hun effect in de Eerste Wereldoorlog.

Het fenomeen duikboot was niet nieuw, maar voor het eerst werd er militair gewicht in de schaal gelegd door het onzichtbare vaartuig. Het zijn vooral de Duitsers die er gebruik van maken. Het idee is om Engeland te isoleren en om neutraliteit, van bijvoorbeeld Nederland, tegen te gaan. Tacken legt uit waarom het allemaal toch geen succes heeft opgeleverd.

Halverwege begon ik me af te vragen, waarom Kapitein Weddigen eigenlijk in het verhaal was gehaald. Behalve een kanttekening aan het begin, speelde hij geen rol. Maar dan komt het slot van Tackens verhaal. In 1935 laten de Nazis weer een duikbotenserie scheep gaan en deze krijgen de naam Weddigen (niet Weddingen zoals elders gespeld), ter ere van de kapitein. En zo zit andermaal in Tackens verhaal een zorgvuldige compositie. Hij is een van de zeer zeldzame podcasters die de geschiedenis op zo'n effectieve wijze weet te condenseren. De juiste mix van feiten en samenhangen.

Meer Veertien Achttien:
Helmut Von Moltke,
Joseph Gallieni,
Alexander von Kluck,
Alexander Samsonov,
Dicke Bertha; Bertha Krupp.

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Sunday, September 21, 2008

Tuvshin - ode to a fellow blogger

As a blogger you thrive on feedback and since there is usually none, you understand your quality from links. In my early days as a blogger, when I received no feedback mail and no comments, suddenly there was a link. Someone who decided to link to my blog. The first one in cyberspace to recognize the existence of Anne is a man!

That first link came from Tuvshin of Tuvshin's Web Log. A blogger who simply listed my blog among his links in the sidebar. Podcast reviews it says plainly and so it does until this day. I suppose you need to be blogger or one with a fledgling web site to understand the excitement about your first link. I was all the more excited when I saw who linked: a student from Mongolia.

Tuvshin's blog is largely in Mongolian, so there is very little I could find out about him. He might be studying abroad for all I know. Nevertheless, it shows the globalized character of  cyberspace, that is was a Mongolian student, who was the first to detect a a blog by a Dutch, Israeli about mostly American podcasts.

Also referring to my blog:
George Hageman (Military History Podcast),
Professor Charles Lipson (University of Chicago)

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Military History Podcast review

The Military History Podcast started off in 2005 as a high school kid, George Hageman, taking on the rising medium of podcast, decided to relate about his interest in military history. By now, podcasting has developed into a more diverse medium and the kid has graduated and is off to Harvard. His podcast, however, remains to exist.

Hageman maintained his old style format of reading a scripted monologue, even after 120 episodes spread over three years. I have listened to at least a dozen of them and reviewed the podcast in June last year and this review has made it to the podcast's homepage as a permanent link, back to my blog. This was one of the first links to my blog (though not the first - which is a story in itself). My view of the podcast, also after repeated listening has not changed. As monologue podcasts go, they are not the easiest to stick to, but if the information delivered, suits your interest, the podcast is good. That, no more and no less, is the merit of Hageman's podcast.

Some of the scripts are written by guest authors and whether by Hageman or others, the scripts invariably are read in about 20 minutes and relate the data of the subject at hand. On occasion, we are treated with Hageman's opinion, which most recently happened in the dual episode about the philosophy of war. (One and Two). He treats Sun Tzu, Von Clausewitz, Machiavelli and Hobbes among others. Even in these opinionated issues, Hageman is more eclectic, summing up what is to be known (in this case what has been said) rather than taking a strong opinion of himself.

More Military History,

The battle of Britain (Binge Thinking),

Hannibal (Stanford),

History Network,

The Military History Podcast.

Also referring to my blog:

Professor Charles Lipson (University of Chicago)

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Friday, September 19, 2008

Real Talk: conversation overheard - podcast review

Nick and Dan are friends and room mates and they record their conversations for podcast. They call it Real Talk and this is exactly what it is: virtually unedited, more or less natural conversation, therefore real talk. A changing crew of friends and acquaintances join in for the show, but Dan and Nick (mostly Nick) are the driving force. They discuss, what you may assume any group of adolescents will discuss. The question is, however, is it worthwhile to listen in? How valuable is the unstructured, unfounded, often bad mouthed conversation? If you don't want to admit to the joys of eavesdropping, you will need a good excuse and I can think of two.

For one there is the anthropology angle. The podcast allows insight in what occupies the minds of these young men (mostly men) and moreover, how they relate to each other. The conversations can be seen as an exercise of their friendship. The very fact that it is recorded and put on-line adds a delicate, but deliberate, therefore arguably ritual, dimension. It is interesting to observe this effect, together with especially Nick's incessant efforts to verbalize the relationships. There is also a very barely successful integration in larger society to be observed and one may interpret a large part of what is to be heard as a struggle with the ongoing initiation into adult life.

Secondly one can take the psychology angle and observe the participant's struggle with their insecurities; about money, sex, relationships, work, substance use and not in the last place about their relationship with each other. They are aware of their lack of achievement, but they seem to be far from finding a way around it. They are entangled in acquiring identity, meaning to their lives and stability in relationships. The decision to record and publish their talks demand a sound psychological explanation. Is it a plea for help? For confirmation? Is it a power struggle? A game of dare? Or...?

Then again, it takes a voyeur to make a good anthropologist and psychologist.

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Thursday, September 18, 2008

Jonathan Haidt at TED

Here is a talk on TED by Jonathan Haidt about morality. His angle is to analyze what morality is in our psychology. He differentiates the moral template in our minds to five different values and here goes something to think about.

We have met Jonathan Haidt on this blog before, where he was interviewed on the podcast Shrink Rap Radio and came with similar refreshing ideas about happiness.

More TED
Lennart Green,
Benjamin Zander,
Jill Bolte Taylor,
Karen Armstrong,
Ben Dunlap. (highly recommended)

More Shrink Rap Radio:
Dana Houck, Prison Psychologist,
The humane working place,
Nirvana and the Brain,
Psychoanalysis - Shrink Rap radio review,
Conscious Living.

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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Professor Charles Lipson - University of Chicago

It happens frequently that only by chance I discover other sites point to this blog. So far, nobody has sent me mail: hey, I am linking to your site. Sometimes, however, I can see it coming. For example when I have asked for a link, or from a podcast site, whose podcast I reviewed. Other than that, usually I only detect it unless people start clicking through, or when Google Alerts pop up.

Thus, I only recently found out a link that may have been there for quite some time. This was at a site with a page about Politics and Culture and I was listed as a source for finding quality audio on line. I proceeded to thank the site owner for linking through and this was his response:

Dear Anne—

I really appreciate your letter and your lovely words.  You not only have a very interesting site, you have one of the best names (and names for a Web site) I have ever seen.

I’m sure your American friends have told you about Johnny Cash’s hit song, many years ago, called “A Boy Named Sue.”  [...]  But “Anne is a Man” beats them all.  And it is a very useful site, too.  I find the podcast reviews thoughtful and helpful.


Please feel free to keep in touch and know that I enjoy checking in to your Web site.

Charles Lipson
Professor of Political Science
Director, PIPES: the Program on International Politics, Economics, and Security
University of Chicago

I'll do a search for other linking sites and will report about them soon. Should you know of any - tell me about it.

More Feedback:
Karen Roth from Arizona,
Jan Oosthoek (Environmental History),
Dan Carlin (Hardcore History and Common Sense),
And, Historyzine's Jim Mowatt in the promo for Anne is a Man: "Anne gives good, clear and insightful reviews of the finest podcasts on the net."

Remco Campert - Marathon Interview

Marathon Interview uit 1991. Jan Donkers spreekt vier uur met Remco Campert. Niet vanuit de studio, maar vanaf het noordfranse platteland waar Campert Donkers ontvangt in een buiten. Ze zitten in de tuin met de kakelende haan, zingende vogels en het geruis van het buitenleven en biertjes in de emmer. Een heel fijne, ontspannen sfeer, waarin er alle ruimte is om open te zijn en je niet te laten gaan in oordelen of om te verkrampen omdat er iets duidelijk zou moeten worden of anderszins de schijn opgehouden moet worden.

Mijn sympathie werd in hoge mate gewekt door Campert en Donkers doordat ze het gesprek serieus namen, maar niet zwaar maakten. Ze stoomden niet op naar zwaarwichtige oordelen, maar Donkers kwam toch met heel relevante vragen en Campert kwam met bescheiden, maar toch heel duidelijke antwoorden. Natuurlijk gaat het over Campert, maar dan toch vooral over schrijven.

Er komt wel een heel klein beetje biografie en meningen op tafel, maar het gaat toch vooral over Camperts werk. Het gaat over schrijverschap, over het creatieve proces, over wat hij wel en niet aankan, wat wel en niet werkt. Het totaalbeeld is tegelijk menselijk en indrukwekkend en dat maakt het geweldig mooi.

Meer Marathon Interviews:
Marjolijn Februari,
Jan Blokker,
Martin Simek,
Abram de Swaan,
Jan Vrijman.

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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Economics - Berkeley lecture podcast

Berkeley's course Economics 100B is about macro-economic analysis. In the dichotomy of classical and Keynesian economists, the lecturer, Steven A. Wood, confesses to be a Keynesian. Somehow I expected that with macro-economics, but that may just be my prejudice.

This course has by now proceeded to the fifth lecture and while it has been developing along the regular schemes of university lecture courses. These are some audio issues (most of which has been resolved) some visuals you miss out on (most notably the equations on the board) and there are the opening minutes with announcements for the students. The result is audio that is not particularly fit for leisurely listening to podcast. However, it sure delivers the goods and teaches macro-economics, without additional entertainment value.

As professor Wood points out: this is a particularly interesting time to study macro-economics. Not only in the light of the upcoming elections, where the suggested economic policies can be measured with what you learn on the podcast. Also because of the stormy developments in the global economy and national economies. Thus, this course is also useful for understanding in the light of all the historic, and geopolitical changes the world is going through - or so one may hope.

More Berkeley courses in the Fall of 2008:
Foundations of American Cyber-Culture,
Political Science,
Man, God, and Society in Western Literature,
Economic Geography of the Industrial World,
Ancient Philosophy,
Letters and Science (Physics for future presidents),
A survey of Europe from the Renaissance to the present.

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Marjolijn Februari - Marathon Interview

Voor het Marathon Interview met Marjolijn Februari heeft de interviewer - Pieter van der Wielen - vijf vragen op een papiertje geschreven en daarbij neemt hij ook nog een conflict met zijn telecom provider mee. Er wordt tot vervelens toe aan deze twee elementen gerefereerd, daar moet de luisteraar op voorbereid zijn. Verder was het een heel behoorlijk interview.

Dat de interviewer niet alleen maar met zijn eigen dingen bezig was en zich wel degelijk ook kon aanpassen aan de gast, blijkt uit het gemak waarmee hij een weinig voor de handliggende beeldspraak van Marjolijn Februari opppakt. De kwestie is dat ze kan leven als een konijn, maar ook als een paard. Veelal is ze het konijn, maar er is een paardenembryo dat in het konijn groeit. Je moet er maar mee uit de voeten kunnen. Het levert soms wat absurde teksten op (je moet een gewetensvol konijn zijn), maar wie de essentie oppakt kan er denk ik ook wel mee instemmen.

Er zijn veel hoogtepunten in het gesprek, maar wat mij toch het meest aan het hart ging, was Februari's uitleg dat 'regels zijn regels' niet hetzelfde is als 'Befehl ist Befehl' - integendeel zelfs. Dat is voor velen toch niet zo voor de hand liggend en ze maakt het heel goed duidelijk, vind ik. Voor al die hoogtepunten zijn de vragen op het papiertje niet nodig. En als de vragen eenmaal gesteld worden blijken ze even banaal als overbodig (wat is de beste LP van Barbara? Welk meesterwerk heb je niet gelezen? e.d.). Gelukkig dat we ons daar niet door hebben hoeven laten afleiden.

Meer Marathon Interviews:
Jan Blokker,
Martin Simek,
Abram de Swaan,
Jan Vrijman,
Maarten van Rossem.

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Monday, September 15, 2008

Shrink Rap Radio and the Prison Psychologist

The last interview Dr. David van Nuys did on Shrink Rap Radio was with Dr. Dana Houck. (And it needs to be said Dana is a man) Dana Houck has left his work in the Prison System, but he speaks with Dr. Dave about the ten year career he had as a prison therapist.

Houck invested his time in doing dream work with the inmates and he successfully managed to set up groups in which the convicts discussed their dreams. In addition he let them work with myths, legends and fairy tales. Houck could report some beautiful cases of prisoners opening up and gaining insight through his methods. He also did some counting and thinks the men he had in therapy had a strongly reduced chance of recidivism. Yet, he eventually left the system, becasue he was not allowed to continue working with his familiar methods, but rather had to follow the methods prescribed by the management.

The interview gets particularly interesting and surprising when Houck relates his explanation of the tale of the Three Little Pigs. He hastens to say that this is not exactly 'The Disney Version'. Not only are there some apparently unsavory elements cut from the story, but also, the deeper meaning is about integrating the shadow side of man into his whole person. For his detainees, as much as for anybody else, I venture, this is a valuable lesson. It is a typical example of what outstanding quality Dr. Dave can extract from these interviews.

More Shrink Rap Radio:
The humane working place,
Nirvana and the Brain,
Psychoanalysis - Shrink Rap radio review,
Conscious Living,
The Happiness Hypothesis.

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Invisible Hand Economics - podcast review

Professor Deepak Lal's lecture at the RSA (University channel podcast on August 8) bears in the title his defense for an old-fashioned idea of economic policy: the policy of the invisible hand. For some it may be very unexpected to have classical liberalism be defended in this day and age. I was surely eager to find out myself.

In many ways, Lal did not make a real case for liberalism in his lecture. The lecture was very valuable, but rather than making a normative point as expected, it was much more descriptive. The resulting historical analysis of capitalism and global economy was very instructive. The fact that Dr. Lal applauds all these developments, is tangible, but no so explicit.

The best explication he makes, nevertheless, but his case comes up only by the question and answer section in the end. This is not always the best part of UChannel lectures, but this is one to stay around for. Lal tackles the qualms of moderate, modern, non-liberal economy with the example of child labor, which, as you can see in a previous lecture on UChannel, would normally serve as the case against all out capitalism. His example is that of a factory in Bangladesh that extensively employs young girls. When modern requirements in the Supply Chain come into effect, this factory must lay off the girls, lest it loses its 'free of child labor' certificate.

Lal says: 'Child labor is a symptom of poverty. If standards of living sufficiently rise, the families will no longer send their girls out to work.' If you close their way in the official economy, like in the Bengal example, the next day they are on the street and will work in the unofficial economy (read: they will work in prostitution). Thus he shows a point also made by Thomas Barnett (earlier on UChannel) that nothing is achieved by imposing our standards on the developing countries. You cannot solve the problem by suppressing the symptoms. That I can understand, but I'd love to see another lecture from Lal, or anybody else, how the invisible hand can take these girls out of the factory to school.

More UChannel:
The Second World,
Repairing Failed States,
The Collapse (Republicans and America),
New Map for the Pentagon,
Slavery and the Supply Chain.

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Sunday, September 14, 2008

Cyber Culture - lecture podcast review

Berkeley's Practice of Art 23AC Foundations of American Cyber-Culture is a fascinating lecture series, but if it so far has taught me what American Cyber-Culture is, it did so more by showing than by explanation. I was expecting something of a distant academic course, but up to this point rather have the feeling of observing some of this culture.

The good thing is that this makes for an engaging podcast and another good thing is that it has a certain entertaining value. The lecturer, Joseph Donald McKay, is endearing, funny and authoritative at the same time. He used a good amount of time to properly explain some of the more complicated technical stuff as well as give an historical perspective at certain subjects.

However, what remains rather vague, even after 5 lectures, is where this series is going. What is McKay trying to achieve? It doesn't help that he refers to no small amount of visuals and the lecture doesn't feel to be very structured. If it is, nonetheless, the structure doesn't catch the podcast listener. So what remains is to bear with him and experience whatever he comes up with. Then, you can pick out, whatever you need, or like. Isn't that what cyber-culture is all about?

More Cyber Space:
Cyber Rules,
Cyber sexuality.

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De krijger en de zwever - Veertien Achttien

Tom Tackens historische podcast - Veertien Achttien - ligt keurig op schema. Ieder weekend blijft hij met een nieuwe aflevering komen in de 228 delige serie. Elke week is er een nieuwe biografie, een nieuw puzzelstukje om het enorme verhaal van de oorlog van '14-'18 in beeld te brengen, een klankbeeld dan wel.

Zoals ik al eerder schreef, Tacken levert in deze serie een prachtige prestatie. Iedereen die hem pas nu ontdekt kan ik aanbevelen om gewoon bij de eerste aflevering te beginnen. En als je er geen genoeg van kan krijgen, luister dan ook eens naar de andere podcast van Tacken: Sterke Geschiedenis.

De aflevering deze week gaat over de Duitse generaal Von Moltke, die het offensief tegen de Fransen in 1914 leidt en ondanks de successen er niet in slaagt om het westfront te breken, waarna hij vervangen wordt. Tom Tackens verhaal over Von Moltke gaat veel minder over het aangepaste Von Schlieffenplan dat hij op de kaart zette, dat is twee weken geleden met Von Kluck al aan de orde geweest. Tacken brengt Von Moltke, de mens, voor het voetlicht en komt op die manier terecht bij de New Age zweverigheid die honderd jaar geleden ook al opgeld deed. Ongewoon voor een militair? In ieder geval wel een realistisch facet van de wereld van 1914.

Meer Veertien Achttien:
Joseph Gallieni,
Alexander von Kluck,
Alexander Samsonov,
Dicke Bertha; Bertha Krupp,
Veertien Achttien.

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Saturday, September 13, 2008

Geography of Europe - Arizona State University

On iTunes U, at the Arizona State University, I found an undergraduate course Geography of Europe. (feed) This is available on podcast - this is how I went through the lectures. When you begin to follow, it becomes clear that there must be a video version somewhere, but possibly only for ASU students. There are visuals, but the podcast can easily be followed, even with minimal knowledge of Europe.

What is exceptional about this course, is that it is a new media course to begin with. The lecturer, Dr. Duncan Shaeffer, records the course from a studio, without an audience. From the explanations in the first podcast, I understood, that this course can be followed and credits can be acquired following, by iPod or video, in your own time. I assume there are some access requirements, but I did not pay attention to that. If you are just interested in the study credit, but just the content of the course, skip the first lecture.

The course is very long, some 60 lectures and goes over the following subjects in consecutive chunks of lectures: the physical environment, population, languages, religion, economy, tourism and services and geopolitics. This allows for you to pick out a section by theme. No matter which subject you take up, the speed at which the lecture proceeds is very slow. The course operates on a low level and each lecture takes a long time, a lot of arguments, to make a point. For example, the entire second lecture is dedicated to arguing Europe is not a separate continent from Asia.

For me, the course was too long winded. I am a European and consequently, most data were trivial to me and I couldn't stand to go through hours and hours of these basics. For those unfamiliar and in need of a comprehensive and complete introduction to Europe, this may serve quite well.

(Picture by NASA)

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

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