Sunday, November 30, 2008

New podcasts in November 2008

Here is a short post to give an overview of the new podcasts that were reviewed this month.

Pods and Blogs (BBC) (review, site, feed)
medicalhistory (review, site, feed)
Armistice Podcast (National Archives) (review, site, feed)
La Resistance (review, site, feed)
Grammar Girl (review, site, feed)
History on the run (review, site, feed)
In My Living Room! (review, site, feed)
Political Science 10 (UCLA) (review, site, feed)
Leben und Überleben mit 45+ (review, site, feed)
Junggesellenblog (review, site, feed)
Meiky's Podcast Show (review, site, feed)
Das Rätsel der verschollenen Schatulle (review, site, feed)
Meetings Podcast (review, site, feed)
Geschichtspodcast (Chronico) (review, site, feed)

The Report a Podcast feature on this blog is beginning to supply such a huge amount of new podcasts to review, I will have to find ways of limiting my commitment. Even though I would love to review every single one that is recommended there.

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Natural Disasters - Environmental History podcast review

As much as Jan Oosthoek's Environmental History Podcast is first of all a history podcast, the focus on environment invites other disciplines, or, the lessons the history teaches, affects other disciplines. This is not always ecology or geology, as we found out in the last two issues of the podcast.

The question what exactly is environmental history, will be treated in the podcast however has been postponed until the next show, but we can at least take the last two shows and take their common denominator (natural disasters) and see what was done with that. The twentieth show about floods in Northumbria (mp3) takes this ecology and geology route. The history of floods in the Tyne basin, show us that the recent floods are of a bigger magnitude than the floods that were had in the past centuries. In addition to issues of climate change, this teaches us how human activity has affected the geological features of the area.

The twenty-first show about cultures coping with natural disasters (mp3) regularly, on the other hand, takes us into economics and anthropology. The country of the Philippines, for example, is naturally disaster prone on account of both meteoric and seismic conditions. The country doesn't have the economic capacity to put into place the kind of disaster coping systems rich countries have and so there is a reality that disasters happen, all the time. Consequently there is a different culture of coping with disasters. A wisdom is to be found in the approach that rather tries to live with hazards rather than avoid them at all costs.

We are looking forward to the next shows, when the definition of Environmental History is going to be tackled.

Image credit: public domain, United States Geological Survey

More Environmental History:
Canada and New Zealand
Environmental history,
Climate Change in recent history,
Urban Air Pollution,
Apartheid and Environmental History.

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Saturday, November 29, 2008

Gabriela Shalev - UCLA Israel Studies

The new ambassador for Israel to the UN was the guest of the UCLA institute of Israel Studies. She gave a lecture that was broadcast in the series of the Israel studies podcast.

The gathering starts with a lengthy introduction for the new ambassador, ms. Gabriella Shalev. She fulfilled a large variety of public functions in Israel and was a leading professor in civil law, until she was appointed to this post at the UN. There is both room to be impressed and room for doubt: where is her international and her diplomatic experience? It is a point that sticks with the listener and does not come out too well. She admits to be learning on the job and relates a couple of lessons she picked up, which, in my humble opinion, make her come out frighteningly naive. Too naive to be put on such a high function, to go and learn as you go. Israel, the UN and the world deserve better.

What remains to be impressed about is the rise of women in Israeli politics. Not only is Shalev Israel's ambassador to the UN. The president of the Israeli Supreme Court is justice Dorit Beinish, the president of the Knesset is Dalia Itzik and at the time of the lecture, Tzipi Livni was still trying to build a new government in place of Olmert. That is all nice and indeed these are very capable women, but Shalev is likely to be that more within Israel as leading legal professional than as a diplomatic experiment.

Previously about UCLA Israel studies podcast:
Galia Golan, Aaron David Miller,
Shimon Shamir.

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Friday, November 28, 2008

Listening Generously - Rachel Remen

Speaking of Faith's show with Rachel Naomi Remen was rerun this week. Here is my review about the original interview again. It was so wonderful, at the time I proceeded immediately to listen to the full, unedited interview (download) and found in that one even more gems of thought.

Rachel Naomi Remen is a medical doctor who has discovered how much healing is different from curing and how it needs to involve listening, what she calls generous listening - let the patient talk as long as he needs. Apart from explaining how this works, she really delves into the essential roots of this and that is how we deal with loss, or alternately with the imperfections of our lives. That, of course, is more universal than just disease and dealing with being ill, or the illness of a close one.

What she insists is that we can have the good life, even if it doesn't seem perfect, easy, or in any way exemplary, heroic, successful or whatever grand goals we are taught to strive for. In her opinion we do not need to be perfect and the next step is even more important. What does it mean if we do not need to be perfect; it means our wounds, our imperfections, our failures and drawbacks are an integral part and we are still exactly what is needed. That is not just consoling (one should hope), but is also pulling us back to our own responsibility to actively live the life we live.

There is so much more to say. You must hear Remen explain the importance of stories, you must hear two specific stories. One of these stories involves the sponge cake and unfortunately it has been cut from the broadcast parts of the interview. Hence, listen to this podcast and also, please do, to the uncut interview.

More Speaking of Faith:
The Sunni-Shia Divide and the future of Islam,
Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel,
Karen Armstrong,
Wangari Maathai,
Faith based diplomacy.

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Last weekend of November

Here we are at the last days of November. More than in other months I have attempted to project my posts ahead and announce them in posts such as this one. For me it works rather well, but I'd like to know whether they work for you as well - let me know.

This weekend, at least, we will have a review of
- Speaking of Faith. The rerun of that most ecellent interview with Rachel Naomi Remen.
- UCLA Israel Studies podcast. A lecture by the new ambassador of Israel to the UN: Gabriela Shalev
- An overview of the 'new' podcasts this month - those podcasts that were reviewed for the first time on this blog.
- Environmental History. A review about two issues exploring how people deal with natural disasters.

We also may have
- In Our Time
- The Word Nerds
- Freedomain Radio

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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

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Victor Davis Hanson - Hardcore History podcast review

The latest issue of Dan Carlin's Hardcore History is of an unusual format. Host Dan Carlin interviews historian Victor Davis Hanson, whereas normally the show consists of Dan Carlin retelling history in a very compelling narrative and ponder on it. It is interesting for the views expressed and for those who know Dan Carlin's work and want to understand a bit more of how he is influenced, but it is surely not representative for what Hardcore History is normally about.

The amazing talent Dan Carlin has in telling a story with contagious enthusiasm works slightly less in an interview. Dan's strength lies in how evocative he is, but an interviewer needs to be more in the background and cause the interviewed come out in a representative and coherent fashion. In this, Carlin succeeds less and so the quality of the show needs to be hauled in by Hanson and how his answers to Carlin's questions and remarks work together and make an impact.

Some subjects that are touched upon are, for one the importance of the classics for our culture and the impoverishment is caused by the fact that the classics are less known than ever. Another is a kind of nature versus nurture issue, translated to history: are people in the past significantly different, because of their profoundly different circumstances, or are people, just people and can we assume that they react to situations pretty similarly. The result is a good podcast, but not as excellent as the regular Hardcore History.

More Hardcore History:
Punic Nightmares III,
Punic Nightmares II ,
Punic Nightmares I,
Under the Influence,

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Geschichtspodcast - history podcast review

Here is a podcast in German I will be following as of now. Thanks to Volker Klärchen of the podcast Volkis Stimme I have finally been able to locate a history podcast in German: Geschichtspodcast from the history magazine and website Chronico. (feed)

A unique feature of the podcast, which sets it apart from English, Dutch and Hebrew history podcasts, is that Geschichtspodcast has two hosts (Marcel Schwarzenberger and David Maciejewski) and this makes it one of the very few that is actually a dialog podcast about history. In contrast with those few others that are out there, the dialog doesn't seem scripted and in any case, doesn't come out in an unnatural fashion at all. As a consequence, the Geschichtspodcast, is very accessible. Even if the dialog sometimes is minimal, as Marcel reviews a history book and David only chips in to read the quotes, the variation in voices is refreshing and pleasant.

The focus of subjects goes to the Middle Ages in about as wide as the definition can take us, from late Roman times well into modernity - Marcel and David are not very picky about this. The chosen topics are triggered by books, research, expositions, news items and upcoming reenactment events they announce and review. Consequently, apart from history, one will also learn about current events that deserve attention. In addition, there is always an item about historical music, some of which, where rules allow such, will be played on the show. In short, a full fledged, entertaining, informative, professional and highly accessible podcast about history.

More history podcasts with a reenactment attention:
All things Medieval.

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Chris Brogan - Meetings Podcast review

Spending a lot of mental energy on maintaining a blog and evaluating podcasts, draws my attention frequently towards technology in general and the rise of new media (social or not) in particular. I have not written a lot about it, because it is usually not relevant for the content of this blog. However, both my day-job and the maintenance of this blog make me very involved in the modern media and have me keep an eye on what's happening and what's hot.

A recurring name is Chris Brogan, who is a leading thinker and speaker in the world of social media and its application for business. Therefore, when he was interviewed on a podcast, I naturally tuned in and listened. He was on the Meetings Podcast, which is a business podcast that operates in the meetings and business events industry. (Meetings Podcast with Chris Brogan)

The hosts of the program and Chris Brogan are well acquainted to each other and that results in a very friendly atmosphere nearly closing out the listener. I had a feeling that maybe I missed out on a couple of inside jokes. Other than that, this was, in my opinion, a very typical business podcast: no very deep thoughts and theories but a lot of one-liners and indicative statements of what might be the trend.

See also:
Anne is a Man among Chris Brogan's 'Rockstars'

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German podcasts

I have not yet attempted a systematic search into German podcasts. Consequently, the material I have picked up, is what I stumbled upon. A bit of guidance I have begun receiving from Volker Klärchen of the podcast Volkis Stimme and so I hope to review some more German podcasts within my regular realm of subjects, beginning with history.

Until then, it may be interesting to note what it is I have ran into, by simply jumping from one train onto another. As Volker also noted, there seems to be a tendency among the German speakers to prefer the audio-blog. It is his observation there are mostly podcasts with people telling about their personal lives and indeed, those are the majority I have run into. The first, was the famous Schlaflos in München by Annik Rubens, but it was followed by the lesser known Leben und Überleben mit 45+ and Jungesellenblog. Leben und Überleben is a podcast by Frank Landschoof in which he relates his life after having recovered from leukemia. Junggesellenblog reveals the life of a student named Maxim who tries not to waste too much time on podcasting and watching TV and actually get some learning done.

My erratic search had to be stopped when I ran into Meiky (Micheal). He delivers two related feeds around his efforts in audio-drama. One is the podcast play per se and the other is the same alternated with interaction with his audience and fellow podcasters. Meiky points to so many of his colleagues, I overloaded and turned to Volker of Volkis Stimme for guidance. As to Meiky's Podcast Show it needs to be said we have a podcast that can not easily be pegged down in one category or the other, apart from being generally funny, a comedy show, that is thrown back and forth between the silly audio sketches and the hilarious interactions Meiky, or his alter-egos, engage in with the audience.

Volkis Stimme,
Schlaflos in München.

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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Political Science - UCLA podcast review

I am indebted to Dara of Do It Yourself Scholar for heading me to this political science course at UCLA. The course is from 2007, but is timeless and therefore no less valuable this year around. I have not yet been able to go through the whole course (far from it), but felt I needed not to wait and point you to it.

Political Science 10 is taught by the Canadian professor Brian Douglas Walker, who displays an immediately recognizable Canadian accent and throws his background in occasionally, but this (so far) never bothers. Aside from this warning, there is another thing you need to be aware of: the lectures do not necessarily appear out of the feed into your reader (for example iTunes) in their proper order. If however, you read the titles well, you will discern the lecture date and find which order to follow. In my case, the first lecture came out in third place, but again, with the date in the title, you cannot go wrong.

Very valuable I found the second lecture where Walker typifies Greek philosophy and effectively brings home what is so profoundly special about it. In simple terms: the Greeks discovered theory and as a result, until this very day, Western thinking is obsessed with abstract constructions, logic, reasoning and argumentation. Plato kicks this off, but Walker moves on, pretty quickly to Aristotle, who has had the greatest influence (on him). Of course, even with the clear speaker and the high quality audio, this lecture series, as always with this kind of series, requires intense listening.

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Music podcasts

There is a whole world out there, bigger even than ours, the educational talkative podcasts. It is the world of music podcasts. I lack the expertise as well as the capacity to venture into reviewing music podcast. However, as big as the branch is, it is inevitable I should bump into it after all.

My first encounter was with the easy listening music podcast Sunday Sundown as I was preparing for an article about the host, podcaster Maurice Zondag. Maurice's music show is most simply characterized as a radio show with accessible music, as it is featured on so many channels around the world. Recently, the podcast has even been promoted to become a live show on an on-line radio channel (Digital Music Radio). The whole difference with regular radio is that the music is podsafe. This is part of Zondag's idea that the revenue system in the music industry must and will change and that all music should be podsafe.

And so, any music show in podcast you are going to run into, is going to have its own signature niche, where it is seeking to give exposure. The podcast that was reported through report a podcast is called My Living Room! Radio Show. Here the focus is first of all on a style off the middle of the road. It is paced music with a lot of electronic elements. It creates an atmosphere of what reminded me of New Wave. An additional focal point is to have music of Canadian origin. The involvement the podcast has with Canadian music and musicians is especially tangible in the show (September 2008) that features an interview with Michael Perlmutter. Perlmutter is the coordinator of Canadian Music Cafe, a music encounter during the Toronto film festival which brings Canadian musical talent together with the movie industry.

The fact that podcasting is big and turns to a force of importance can be concluded also from the fact that regular music companies also engage in podcasting. An example of such is the company Naxos, whose podcast I have reviewed on this blog before.

More Maurice Zondag:
Podcasting has yet to break through,
Zoem podcast,
ICT Update.

More Naxos:
Pictures at an exhibition,
Hildegard von Bingen.

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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Virtue - Philosophy Bites podcast review

Even though the podcast episodes of Philosophy Bites are concise and accessible, also to the not-so-well-versed in philosophy, the issues stay untouched in my playlist for a long time. Still, the podcast is for the discerning and need to be enjoyed with attention and interest. Hence it could happen that I got around listening to the issue about virtue, only a month after publication.

My favorite line about virtue is actually about vice and it comes from Rochefoucauld: L'hypocrisie est un hommage que le vice rend a la vertu (Hypocrisy is the homage which vice pays to virtue). It goes to show that in world of vices, there is still room for virtue, even if that is with the help of hypocrisy. That still leaves open the meaning of virtue. I was not aware of the role of virtue in philosophy until the podcast of Philosophy Bites.

It turns out, virtue is an important concept in the realm of moral philosophy. I was aware of the divide between consequentialism and ontologists. Which puts me on the level hosts Nigel Warburton and David Edmonds call the postage stamp philosophy, in other words: the over-simplified summary of philosophy for the average student. In this chapter virtue is introduced as yet another pointer for ethics, apart from consequences and a priori moral obligations. Close listening is advised as per normal.

More Philosophy Bites
Life on the Scales.

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Hindenburg - veertien achttien podcast recensie

Het is met Paul von Hindenburg een beetje zoals met de naar hem vernoemde zeppelin. Een grote naam geplakt op een groots gevaarte dat een grootse reis aflegt en uiteindelijk in een vlammenzee, razendsnel een roemloos einde vindt. En is er alleen nog de huilende reporter, die weeklaagtover het vreselijke lot van de opvarenden. Dat is het gevoel dat ook beklijft na het horen van zijn biografie op Tom Tackens podcast Veertien Achttien.

Von Hindenburg vocht al in de Frans-Pruisische oorlog in de negentiende eeuw. Als de Grote Oorlog uitbreekt is hij eingelijk met pensioen, maar komt dan toch nog naar het fornt om Duitsland te redden tegen de Russen. Daarbij schijnt hij doorgedreven te hebben dat zijn de slag de slag bij Tannenberg werd genoemd, als verwijzing naar de middeleeuwse slag bij Tannenberg. Een man met gevoel voor historie dus.

Maar hoe goed was dat gevoel voor historie. Omkijken kon hij wel, maar vooruitkijken? De grote Hindenburg voerde de eerste wereldoorlog met alle anderen, als alle anderen. En als het misgaat weet hij het blazoen schoon te houden, al suggereert de versie van Tacken dat Hindenburg, als hij de dolkstootlegende al niet verzonnen heeft, er toch gretig van geprofiteerd heeft. Zo schopt hij het als krasse tachtiger to president van de Weimar Republiek. Hij helpt Adolf Hitler in het zadel, zij het niet van harte, maar zeker niet mwet het idee dat dit het doodvonnis van zijn Duitsland is. Al gauw sterft hij. En niet lang daarna is de ramp met de Zeppelin en daarna een nog grotere vlammenzee. Niets rest de kijker dan te weeklagen over het lot van de opvarenden.

Meer Veertien Achttien:
Oskar Potiorek,
Kato Takaaki,
Maximilian von Spee,
Khudadad Khan,
Käthe Kollwitz.

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Monday, November 24, 2008

UCLA Israel Studies - podcasts reviewed

It is about a year ago, I discovered the podcast series from the UCLA institute of Israel Studies. Soon after that, the feed went off line for nearly a whole year, only to be revived very recently and be enriched with about four new lectures. (Israel studies podcast) Two of these I want to review here.

The first is a lecture by Galia Golan in which she tries to argue that a two-state solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict is still possible. It has been noted in reviews on this blog also, that there is a considerable worry that neither the Israeli leaders nor the Palestinian leaders have enough authority and legitimacy to broker such a deal and successfully convince the public to accept it. Golan admits the leaders are weak, but her main point is that everybody around the conflict still steers towards such a solution (see for example the Arab peace initiative) and the populations, are so desperately longing for a settlement, they will be happy to accept a peace, even from a weak government. In this whole reasoning, Golan ignores the point made by the pessimists that the Palestinian authority has deteriorated beyond the point of being weak, they claim Palestine is a failed state (in advance of its existence) and therefore simply cannot exist. (see: Rise and demise of Palestine)

The second podcast is a lecture by former American diplomat Aaron David Miller (photo). This lecture is very similar to the one he gave on UChannel (see: The Arab-Israeli conflict). Miller has interviewed a whole range of important figures around the diplomatic channels within the conflict and has critically analyzed the history, which includes his own work, of diplomacy in the Middle East. He tried to understand why Kissinger, Carter and Baker succeeded and why Clinton and Bush failed. He discovered how ethno-centric his views always have been and how he underestimated the cultural difference between him and the Israelis and Arabs even if they looked and sounded so thoroughly western like for example Netanyahu. He also figured how religion has been neglected as a factor in diplomacy. (similar to Douglas Johnston on the podcast with SOF) What I find especially good in the lecture by Miller is this quality to be self-critical and show the open ends, even if this keeps us stuck with too few conclusions.

UCLA Israel Studies

more on Israel
The Arab-Israeli conflict,
The denials of yesterday,
Rise and demise of Palestine,
The Israel lobby and US foreign policy.

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The week of 24 November - Anne is a Man

There have been so many podcast I have listened to in the past days, that I have not yet reviewed, I may decide on skipping a couple or lumping them together in single posts. As to new podcasts (new for this blog) we have the following.

- A number of German podcasts. One about history, that I will take separately (Geschichtspodcast) and a couple more that I am likely to review in one post together.
- I heard the meetings podcast in a conversation with Chris Brogan
- Music Podcasts - God knows I tried to avoid these. I understand very little of music. I listen to talk talk talk on my iPod all the time, what can I possibly say of a music podcast? I have had Sunday Sundown on my list to review for a long time and In My Living Room recently joined. So I will have to delve in.
- Also from Report a Podcast is UCLA's Political Science 10

On the returning front we have
- Exploring Environmental History
- UCLA's Israel Studies
- Dan Carlin's Hardcore History with Victor Davis Hanson
- Philosophy Bites about virtue
- The Word Nerds about Irony and Satire and George Carlin
- '14-'18, the Dutch podcast Veertien Achttien

That is at least eleven posts. I am not sure if I can churn out eleven posts before Friday. Wait and see.

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Sunday, November 23, 2008

History on The Run - podcast review

History on the Run is much less a history podcast than an audio blog in which the hosts, mostly a guy named Daniel Froehling expresses his views. Even though his historic sense plays an important role and there are a handful of episodes labeled 'History Lesson', the opinions and observations are the most important part.

What makes me downplay the history quality of the show is also the large amount of freedom the host allows himself to overly generalize or be quite inexact about his history. To have Napoleonic France make war on 'Germany' is not completely wrong, but inaccurate and basically anachronistic. To talk about the Dutch Tulip craze in the 17th century and not come up with exact figures, while they are readily available, is also not wrong, but certainly moves the focus from the history to the point that is being made. Another thing that struck me is that in one show Daniel proclaims to be of Belgian descent and in another of French descent.

So, the real value of following this podcast is if you find connection with the positions that are taken or if you find entertainment in the broad sweeps with which historic and current affairs are painted.

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Grammar Girl - podcast review

Grammar Girl is a weekly podcast that delivers practical tips for all those that write in English. The episodes are short, pragmatic instructions that are given within the span of seven minutes. Grammar Girl does not try to teach you the linguistically correct English, but rather concentrates on a descriptive grammar. She tries to help you write the way is most generally accepted.

Over the years she has compiled some 150 tips varying from pure grammar to stylish instructions, whatever she deems relevant. The show has acquired a large following and consequently can draw upon an stream of requests, should the girl run out of ideas of her own.

The best way to handle this podcast is to pick and choose, although it is certainly instructional and possibly entertaining to indiscriminately take in the episodes. For those who are non-native speakers, there is much to learn, although occasionally one is presented with something that is too much specific for native users of English. By all means a very valuable technical guide into writing. It should therefore come as no surprise, the Grammar Girl podcast is available as a book as well.

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The Sunni-Shia Divide - Speaking of Faith review

In the latest edition of Speaking of Faith, Krista Tippett speaks with Vali Nasr, Islam expert in the US or Iranian descent. (The Sunni-Shia divide and the future of Islam) Nasr and Tippett delve into the divide between Sunni and Shia that make up a 90 and respectively 10% of Muslims in the world. However, this division is not evenly dispersed. In Iran 90% are Shia and in Iraq 60%. Elsewhere Shia are a minority by far, if existent at all. (transcript, full interview)

Little attention is awarded to what makes up the divide and what are the cultural and historical differences. What Nasr has come to speak of is the effect on the world that the regime change in Iraq has. Iraq had been ruled by the Sunni minority, but American intervention has brought a fledgling democracy a majority rule. Not only does this mean for Iraq, the Shia suddenly find themselves in power, it also enhances the power of Iran, the previously only Shia ruled state. It also brings the Shia influence into the Middle-East, into the Arab world and has put Shia power on the map for the whole world, Muslim or not. Where Shia was formerly unknown or ignored, it has become a power to reckon with. And where Shia people accepted their submissive position, the idea is rising that political power is an availability for them.

The change in Iraq was triggered by force, because the Americans, as Nasr with tangible disappointment continues to point out, thought they could fast-track Iraq to western society. However, as impossible as it is to fast track any development in whole countries, let alone cultures, the power change has only revealed and unleashed old fashioned tribalism. In spite of that, no more and no less, Islam on the whole is struggling with modernity. In Nasr's mind, modernity will eventually find its way in to Islam, but not for another 60 or 100 years.

More Speaking of Faith:
Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel,
Karen Armstrong,
Wangari Maathai,
Faith based diplomacy,
Rachel Naomi Remen (highly recommended).

Saturday, November 22, 2008

La Resistance - history podcast review

A new podcast has started that is about the French in World War II , mainly about their resistance, but not just that by the name La Résistance. (feed) Host Kensington addresses the wide American audience and makes sure from the start they leave the romanticized depicting of France in the Second World War they may have gotten from the movies. For those, such as myself, who grew up in Europe and have a depiction of the World War from its civilian survivors, no such deconstruction is needed. Good for us, Kensington doesn't take too much time and dives into the history pretty soon.

Not only that of resistance heroes and the odd soldiers under De Gaulle. She also makes sure we understand the background of the collapse of France and the establishment of the Vichy regime. In addition, she points out there has been resistance of anonymous heroes and how the whole range of French activities under German occupation ran from straightforward collaboration fluidly into commonplace neutral into passive and active resistance, without much in the way of means to draw a line.

After a mere three podcasts into the series, still a lot remains to be seen, but this surely kicked off as a promising new podcast in the wide range of history podcasts we have met.

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Video explaining RSS

Previously I explained about RSS in text (RSS readers and can start following this blog with Google Reader. I just found the video below, more generally and visually explaining about RSS and its use.

Under the label Instructions, I try to compile a set of help posts, giving some guidance to listening to podcasts and more. Here is what we have had so far.
listen on line (beginners 1)
download audio files (beginners 2)
get iTunes (beginners 3)
put feeds in iTunes (beginners 4)
For advanced users I posted my own strategy to manage podcast feeds by the dozens with the combined use of iTunes and Google Reader.
For advanced users is also the tip how to use preferences per podcast in iTunes.

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Friday, November 21, 2008

Armistice Podcast - National Archives

There is an inherent weakness to the podcasts of The National Archives in that that they just quote from the sources they keep, whether directly to the recording or in a recorded lecture. This usually lacks the drama, the plot, the narrative arch and the punch line, a scripted history podcast has, or a lecture podcast from a university. However, in the Armistice Podcast (feed), the material speaks for itself.

The best of this is in the 19 minute podcast in which an unofficial account of the armistice negotiations is read. Nobody should need imposed drama and punch lines to be drawn in by this text and come close, as close as a fly on the wall of the Marshall Foch's train cart in Compiegne, to these fateful days in November 1918. Granted, it takes sufficient knowledge and understanding of the era in general and the Great War and its consequences in particular to really appreciate the intensity of the report.

I felt the arrogance of the French, the passiveness of the English, the scrambling for better terms and contact with the new government of the Germans and the absence, yet tangible influence of President Wilson of the US. I felt the nineteenth century ethics still at play, with attention to the ranks and attire of the officers present and the fact that negotiations were mainly conducted in French. Yet there is also the very modern warning which will stick with the world for the decades to come in the plea of the Germans: make sure our people won't starve, lest you will see them fall prey to Bolshevism. A drama pinched between Bismarck and Gorbachev.

Also from the National Archives:
The National Archives Podcast

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A long weekend for Anne is a Man!

The weekly and weekend schedule posts I make, seem to serve a good purpose. I notice readers and prospectors react to it. For me, it also gives some direction. In the past I have been scrambling for ideas what to post. Now I have a schedule to go on. Sometimes rather stringent such as the past week when I had two posts a day planned, pretty exactly, or other weeks when I have a range to choose from. (Anne is a man, last week, seven posts in four days planned and executed)

In the coming weekend and the week afterward there will be a lot of attention for new podcasts. I have been picking up a wide variety of podcasts I had never listened to before and so you can expect for the coming seven days alternately a review on entirely new podcasts. Some are a bit outside my normal range, but then they came in through the Report a Podcast feature and those, my rule is, I will always give attention, no matter what.

I think I'll start with new history podcasts:
1- La Resistance about France in World War II.
2- History on the Run audioblog style history podcast
3- Armistice Podcast an exhilarating find (thanks to Jim Mowatt of Historyzine); podcast about the Great War from the National Archives in Great Britain

What I will add in the weekend to these three, I do not know yet, but they will come from the following list:
1- The Word Nerds speaking on the occasion of the late George Carlin being awarded a prize for his work
2- Speaking of Faith back on my blog after a long pause.
3- UCLA Israel studies back from being podfaded with a bunch of thrilling talks about Israel and the Middle-East.
4- Shrink Rap Radio

More new podcasts I have listened to are:
1- Free Domain Radio Is this an anarchy podcast?
2- In My Living Room music from Canada
3- Junggesellenblog is he podcasting or not?
4- Meetings Podcast with Chris Brogan
5- UCLA Political Science a 2007 course that was recommended to me by Dara from DIY Scholar
6- Sunday Sundown the easy listening music program by Maurice Zondag (interview of Anne is a Man! with Maurice Zondag)
7- Meiky's Podcast Show German audio-drama, very funny
8- Grammar Girl I have listened to grammar girl in the past and decided not to review, however, with such a famous podcast...

Eventually we will probably see our weekly report of Veertien Achttien around Sunday. Whatever is not attended to this weekend, will come next week. For now, listen again to my Anne is a Man promo, with thanks to Jim Mowatt - once more.

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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

PS - I will be posting a video that explains about RSS as well. Busy schedule, busy busy!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Baroque - In Our Time podcast review

BBC's In Our Time discussed today The Baroque. Much of the program was spent on defining the Baroque. If at all it was supposed to render some additional meaning, somewhat tentatively it was maintained Baroque was an expression of the counter-reformation. And with the counter-reformation Baroque came to its end.

Hence, most of the program engages in discussing the examples and the characteristics of Baroque. Somehow this indulged mainly in discussion of architecture and the visual arts. At this point, Baroque seems to start in Italy, but is taken over by the French of Louis XIV and continues in Habsburg Vienna and Prague when it eventually peters out in Bavaria and Scandinavia. If at all music is discussed, opera is mentioned and then mostly because of the scale of it. Because that is what Baroque is, wherever you find it: ornamental, huge, indulgent and impressive. My first association with Barogue is with music. Handel for example (listen to inserted player - IE only).

In the end, Baroque kept striking me as a pre-romanticism, both in its exaltation as well as in the fact that Baroque was much less self-conscious. Oddly, during the Romantic age, Baroque comes to be defined - so I learned on the show. Another fact that stuck me, was that the anti-thesis of Baroque, if it was the austere Protestantism, or Jansenism or the rationalism of Descartes, was always around. As if Baroque and Romanticism are one side, an exuberant, exalted, inspirational side of the Western identity throughout the ages and it is always juxtaposed by the sober, rationalist, restrained side.

More In Our Time:
Simon Bolivar,
The Translation Movement,

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What was has been - מה שהיה היה

Radio Har HaTzofim's alleged history program מה שהיה היה has done its second broadcast after the summer recess and once more my conclusion is this podcast is more of a culture podcast than a history one. Maybe the fact that two history students host the show, has had it pegged for the history department. Maybe it originally set out to be a history podcast. The title surely, if poetically, alludes to that: What was, has been, Ma SheHayah Hayah, bearing on a song by Arik Einstein.

The show still is a great podcast to listen to. The audio comedy is much to my liking, with its tendency to mock the Israeli stream of consciousness with mild satire and hilarious parody.

More מה שהיה היה:
Jacques Brel,
What was has been

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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Namaste Stories - podcast as an art

I find it fascinating to analyze what make good podcasts work and more and more I come to the conclusion it is an art. As the brothers Shepherd from the Word Nerds already pointed out, this might well be part of the art form of story telling. For history podcasts, my main focus, this certainly is the case. Expanding upon that, the true expression of the art should be found in the fictional podcast, the oral narrative per se. The best example I know in that respect is Namaste Stories.

A wonderful example is given in the latest issue Episode #31 "A girl has to do what she has to do". This is a 13 minute tale which stands independently in the string of tales provided by host, narrator and writer Dave P. It can be enjoyed repeatedly. One is bound to find, as I did, new angles in the story, with each new session. However, the story also works in the first instant.

It would be too much of a spoiler to give anything away from the tale, but let me say this much. The perspective of the story is the teacher who finds a girl in his class that he is attracted to. What triggers the attraction? Something purely sensual? Or perhaps some echo of the past? Could the attraction be mutual and if so, how good is that? And so, with what possible intention could it be that the girl is approaching him now? Listen and find out.

Earlier about Namaste Stories.
Namaste Stories - fiction podcast review.

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Sophie Germain - עושים היסטוריה עם רן לוי

The composition of the narrative, is what makes for the strongest history podcast. Dan Carlin does this very well in English, Tom Tacken is the genius in Dutch and the greatly talented composer of a captivating story in Hebrew is Ran Levi in Making history with Ran Levi. A superb example is given in the latest show, which is about French mathematician Sophie Germain.

In her days, women were not supposed to study mathematics, they weren't even supposed to be able to grasp math. However, as Levi presents the story, Mademoiselle Germain was captivated when she was still a kid by the story of Archimedes. The classic mathematician was so immersed in his math problem during a war, that he scowled at a an enemy soldier for disturbing him and consequently was killed. 'A problem so captivating, one risks death, that must be worth studying', Ran Levi has Sophie think. And so she embarks on investing her time in math, against all odds.

She impersonates a Monsieur Le Blanc in order to be admitted to the Academy. She ventures on solving Fermat's last Theorem (Levi plays a sound clip with Andrew Wiles that stems, it seems to me, from the BBC series about Fermat's last theorem. A pity there are no acknowledgments) and this brings her in contact with the great minds of math in her day. Among others she corresponds with the Prussian Gauss and to be on the safe side, she persists in using the pseudonym Monsieur Le Blanc.

When France and Prussia get into war and the French occupy Prussia, the story of Archimedes pops up again in our podcast. The first function was to deliver Sophie to math, the second is to make her worry about the fate of Gauss during the war. One may doubt the veracity of the construction, but for the narrative this construction is of great value. It helps all the facts fit into an effective composition and keeps the listener engaged and makes the story stick.

Max Planck,
Isaac Newton,
Making History with Ran Levy - Hebrew Review

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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Pick and choose with Bob - history podcast review

History according to Bob delivers a new podcast episode (nearly) every day. Professor Bob talks more than God can listen on the Holy MP3-Player. Professor Bob also covers more than a mere mortal can fathom. When it is history, it is prey for Bob. The way to go is pick and choose.

If Bob were to give more description in the RSS feed, there might be more, but as it is, you just have the title to go for. This has brought me to download and listen to Prince Henry the Navigator. This, I knew, was a figure from the earliest stages of the Age of Exploration. When the Americas were still non-existent and the cape of good Hope wasn't rounded yet. Henry was a Portuguese prince in the 15th century who put the first steps on the route around Africa. And so, this is a reason also to talk about the technical difficulties of sea-faring. And to talk about Africa, where the gold comes from and where one hopes to find Prester John, or the mighty Christian Kingdom of Ethiopia.

As usual, Bob's 10 minutes are only enough to reveal the tip of the iceberg. What sticks is the practical stuff. In a matter of years, the men of Henry round the West of Africa and make it to the gold coast. So much trade is going on between Lisbon and Lagos, the Portuguese go rich. Exploration continues, also after Henry's Death. Onward to Vasco da Gama. Columbus on the other hand, is not in this story.

More History according to Bob:
1000 AD according to Bob,
The battle of Tours,
The Franks,
Virginia Oldoini,
Alexander the Great.

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Ernst van de Wetering - Simek 's Nachts recensie

De finale batch van Simek 's Nachts bevat een interview met Ernst van de Wetering (stream, download), dat zeer de moeite waard is. Dat Van de Wetering 's werelds grootste specialist met betrekking tot Rembrandt van Rijn is, benadrukt Martin Simek tot vervelens toe. Zo is het wel genoeg, klaagt hij en Simeks excuus is (in de laatste minuten van het programma) dat er nog mensen ingeschakeld kunnen hebben. Laat Simek gauw gaan podcasten, dan hoeft hij daar niet meer aan te denken.

Van de Wetering is ook een van diegenen die in de jaren tachtig het grote zwijgen omtrent de 'Foute Ouders' heeft doorbroken. Daar gaat hij liever niet op in, al dwingt Simek hem er gelukkig wel toe. Dan zie je dat de rehabilitatie van zijn vader vooral op persoonlijk vlak geschiedt. Vader van de Wetering is vooral musicus en schilder. De politiek is gewoon niet relevant voor Ernst. Het is natuurlijk ook een vermijden van waar het omgaat, maar tegelijkertijd ook werkelijk niet relevant tussen vader en zoon.

Gelukkig komen daardoor ook wat wijder te spreken over schilderkunst en daar heb ik het gevoel een mini-college kunstgeschiednis gekregen te hebben en mijn ogen verrijkt te weten voor het volgende museumbezoek. Hoewel Simek haast storend is met matige vragen, toch zou je ook kunnen zeggen dat hij de juiste sfeer voor dit prachtige gesprek heeft gecreëerd.

Simek op dit blog:
Ageeth Veenemans,
Marc de Hond,
Geen podcast?,
Marjan Berk en Johnny Kraaykamp jr.,
Brigitte Kaandorp.

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