Saturday, January 31, 2009

New podcasts in January 2009 - Anne is a Man

New podcasts mentioned on this blog for the first time in January 2009.

Behind the News with Doug Henwood (review, site, feed)
Left leaning commentary show on politics and economics. With a surprisingly original choice of music around items.

Introduction to the Old Testament (Hebrew Bible) (review, site)
Professor Christine Hayes's fast paced comprehensive lecture series tackling the Hebrew Bible with modern scholarly methods. (Technically not a podcast)

University of California San Diego (UCSD):
MMW 2 - The Great Classical Traditions (review, site, feed)
History of the classical era covering not just the west. Professor Charles Chamberlain

CAT 2 - Culture, Art and Technology (review, site, feed)
Cultural history series that tries to show the dialectic of knowledge and society. Professor Tal Golan

VIS 22 - Formations of Modern Art (review, site, feed)
Art history class covering the last centuries of painting. Professor Salley Yard or Professor William Bryson

HUM 4 - Enlightenment, Romanticism, Revolution (site, feed) a lecture series in the humanities, trying to map the cultural development since the 17th century. Professor Eric Watkins.

POLI 120A - Politcial Development of Western Europe (site, feed) Political science course that assesses European history and attempts to explain the kind of sovereignty that developed. Professor Victor Magagna

PSYC 105 - Introduction Cognitive Psychology (site, feed) Introduction to cognitive psychology. Professor David Peterzell

SOCD 188J - Change in Modern South Africa (site, feed) Overview of recent history in South Africa. Professor Ivan Evans

SOCL 1B - The Study of Society (site, feed) Lecture series in Sociology. Professor Ivan Evans

Subscribe in a reader
Paste the link
into the RSS reader of your preference. (What is RSS?  - Help on getting subscription)

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

Connect with Anne is a Man on

Friday, January 30, 2009

UCSD's lecture podcasts

The University of California in San Diego (UCSD) has its own particularities of posting lecture series as podcasts on line. This will be a longer post in which I will sum up a couple of generalities I think I have figured on the basis of a combination of lectures.

All of the current podcasts by UCSD can be found on their, clear and accessible podcast website. This site, however, is redone at the start of every new learning cycle and at the same time, almost all of the feeds are removed. It is therefore always recommended to download UCSD lectures as soon as you can.

In addition, UCSD spends no time on the post-production of the podcasts. You get the lectures as is, with silences, interruptions, disturbances and whatever is the result of failures during recording. The recordings are apparently automatic and so they start at the proposed time, even if lecture was canceled, microphone not applied, an exam is held or lecture starts earlier or later. Similarly at the end. The recording stops at exactly the allocated 50 or 120 minutes regardless whether lecture has long ended or is still going on.

If you are ready to bear with all this, you can embark on a learning journey. I have picked up the following courses for you:

CAT 2 - Culture, Art & Technology II (feed) Cultural history series that tries to show the dialectic of knowledge and society. Professor Tal Golan (previous review)
HUM 4 - Enlightmnt,Romnt,Rev/1660-1848 (feed) a lecture series in the humanities, trying to map the cultural development since the 17th century. Professor Eric Watkins.
MMW 2 - The Great Classical Traditions (feed) History of the classical era covering not just the west. Professor Charles Chamberlain. (previous review)
POLI 120A - Pol Develop of Western Europe (feed) Political science course that assesses European history and attempts to explain the kind of sovereignty that developed. Professor Victor Magagna (review by DIY Scholar )
PSYC 105 - Introduction/Cognitive Psych (feed) Introduction to cognitive psychology. Professor David Peterzell (review by DIY Scholar )
SOCD 188J - Change in Modern South Africa (feed) Overview of recent history in South Africa. Professor Ivan Evans (review by Baxter Wood )
SOCL 1B - The Study of Society (feed) Lecture series in Sociology. Professor Ivan Evans (review by DIY Scholar )
VIS 22 - Formations of Modern Art (feed) Art history class covering the last centuries of painting. Professor Salley Yard (review of previous course by Professor William Bryson)

What I found the courses have in common is a strong personal touch by the professor and a heavy theoretical leaning. This allows for fascinating, but very abstract and demanding lectures such as those by Tal Golan and Victor Magagna. It can mean the lecturer is rather exclusively showing his personal perspective and style such as Charles Chamberlain and Ivan Evans even if this is not the main stream. It can also result in a strong overlap between courses such as the one by Eric Watkins and Tal Golan.

What all of this boils down to is that generally the UCSD podcasts have a high entry threshold. If however, you are determined to apply yourself and your interest is raised by the professor's approach, you are in for a great and rewarding personal experience. Otherwise, the lectures are seriously off putting. Try half an hour in a series and you will know whether you have a course that might suite you. If it does, cherish it. If it doesn't, stop torturing yourself.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Tackling the backblog

Dear readers,

due to an internet outing for over 2 days, I have not been able to post my blog entries for January 31st and February 1st yet. Neither have I been able to work on them and they are of the elaborate kind. So it will take me the coming 2 days to get back on track. My apologies for this inconvenience and asking for your patience,


Ward Ruyslinck - Marathon Interview recensie

De feed van VPRO's Marathon Interview is een weinig toegankelijk produkt voor de podcast luisteraar. Hoewel sinds enige tijd de aflevering eindelijk alfabetisch (oplopend van Z naar A weliswaar) geordend zijn, blijft het toch lastig om te zien of er al nieuw spul aan de horizon is verschenen. Plak de feed in je google reader en het wordt er alleen maar treuriger van: elk uur wordt de oude inhoud als nieuw geladen en dus blijft het ouderwets op gezette tijden controleren of er al wat nieuws is. En zo ontdekte ik deze week dat de interviews van 1992 en eind 2008 zijn toegevoegd. Sinds wanneer? Misschien al een maand.

De eerste keuze uit de lange reeks nieuwe luistermogelijkheden was snel gemaakt. Interviewer Ronald van den Boogaard heeft me al drie keer in verrukking gebracht (Jan Wolkers, Ina Muller-Van Ast en G.A. Wagner) en in 1992 was hij gekoppeld aan de Vlaamse schrijver Ward Ruyslinck en daar ben ik dan maar mee begonnen. Het werd een interview met kleine hoogtepuntjes, maar echt swingen deed het niet.

Niet alleen komt Ruyslinck uit de verf als een wat angstvallige en tegelijk rancuneuze, kleine man en Van den Boogaard kan voelbaar slecht met hem uit de voeten. Op veel momenten is dat ook wederzijds, dan is Van den Boogaard te ongeduldig en te cynisch voor het timide type tegenover hem. Als het niet om Ruyslinck de beroemde schrijver ging, maar een willekeurige Vlaming van de straat geplukt, dan zou je zeggen: dan moet je ook al die saaiheid en kleinzielige woedes verwachten. En waar hij zichzelf als goddeloze mysticus probeert af te schilderen, of militante pacifist of meer van dat soort gedragen paradoxen, kwam hij op mij meer over als de muizige burgerman die toevallig een literair talent heeft.

Wat ik wel weer amusant vond was een zijdelingse opmerking over Nijverdal. Ik kom uit Nijverdal en Ruyslinck beschrijft zijn bezoek aan mijn oude bieb en mijn oude school. En dan blijkt er in onbenulligheid zelfs nog baas boven baas te bestaan.

Meer Marathon Interviews:
Marte Röling,
Remco Campert,
Marjolijn Februari,
Jan Blokker,
Martin Simek.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Thursday, January 29, 2009

10 ways the world could end - TED Talk review

Stephen Petranek held this talk at TED in 2002, so it is not exactly crisp. But after having seen it, you have to conclude the 10 ways the world could end then, it can still end today and very little of what Petranek has suggested has been undertaken so far.

Before I embed the video, I'd like to tell how I found it. I was alerted to the talk by Peter Ward, which brought me to the site. Just as with every other TED video, there is a recommendation what to view next, what to see that takes on the same subject or elaborates on the same theme. And so I wandered off, to Martin Rees and from there to Stephan Petranek. A fine close to a TED journey.

More TED:
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi,
Philip Zimbardo,
Jonathan Haidt,
Lennart Green,
Benjamin Zander.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Behind the News with Doug Henwood - podcast review

One of the many podcast recommendations I have been receiving over the past weeks, came from a regular reader of the blog. He recommends the podcast Behind the News with Doug Henwood, which is a commentary podcast on politics and economics with a leftist inclination.

After having taken a couple of issues on my player my impression is that the leftist element is tangible in two aspects. One is the choice of subject, for example there was a whole item about the history, position and future of worker unions in the US. The second is in the way in which the speakers and audience are implicitly assumed to share a preference for liberalism and the Democrats and for a leftist style of economic policy.

The items are rather invariably: an analysis of the latest politics and economics news, followed by two thematic interviews. The show is aired on a New York radio station, before it is finalized for podcast, which results in the occasional inserted update in between items. It makes for slight variations in audio feel, but the true difference in audio feel, which makes this podcast stand out is the choice of music. All in all, this is a good background podcast which apart from having a left focus is also very much centered on the US.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

History of History - IOT podcast review

Before the week is over and the new In Our Time takes over the feed, I want to give a quick recommendation of the latest program. The history of history is a classical IOT that you should pick up, if you are an long time fan of IOT, if you are new to the show, if you are interested in history and if you are following the one history podcast after the other.

If anything, In Our Time is a program about the history of our culture. Needless to say, just as for any culture, history is important and this issue takes on the question how we have been shaping our narrative ever since we started retelling our past. Even if I can recount any specific aspect that stuck with me or any particular piece of interest - this is just generally relevant. And, as said, way into the heart of In Our Time's subject matter.

Lastly, I'd like to point to another piece of meta-history that has made it to podcast and that I have reviewed on this blog. Canadian broadcast TVO's podcast Big Ideas had a lecture by Margaret MacMillan, which pulls a nice twist to all this importance of historiography: over-indulgence in history. The massive application of historicist narrative to hammer down political and ideological points. History as a religion. She is the historian saying as it were: get your dirty hands off our discipline.

More Big Ideas:
The role of the intellectual,
Disaster Capitalism,
The Bad News about Good Work,

More In Our Time:
Darwin special,
The Consolation of Philosophy,
The Great Fire,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Franz Hipper - veertien achttien recensie

Ik heb al meerdere malen verwoord hoe de grote kracht van de podcast Veertien Achttien ligt in de narratieve kracht. Presentator Tom Tacken weet van elke aflevering een mooi afgerond verhaal te maken. Niet alleen staat dat garant voor de onderhoudendheid van de podcast, het versterkt de geschiedenis in twee opzichten. Het ene is dat meteen goed verhaal de feiten beter blijven hangen.

Het tweede opzicht waarin een goed verhaal de geschiedenis versterkt is dat het je opmerkzaam maakt op bepaalde patronen. Het kan goede, nieuwe vragen oproepen, of nieuwe perspectieven voelbaar maken. Zo ook in het relaas van afgelopen week over de Duitse marine-officier Franz Hipper. Wat altijd domineert in verhalen over de oorlog is hoe slecht de machten voorbereid waren. Het verhaal van Hipper laat zien dat de Duitse Marine echter, door en door modern was en wel goed voorbereid.

Dat is een nieuw perspectief dat verklaring kan bieden voor aspecten van de zee-oorlog. Het kan ook wellicht verklaren waarom de zee-oorlog zo miniem was, zo gespeend van de bloederige herhaling die de landoorlog kenmerkte. Het roept ook nieuwe vragen op, waarom kon die moderniteit in de marine niet doorsijpelen naar het leger en naar de politiek? Bestond die moderniteit ook bij de Engelse Marine, ook voor wat betreft de grotere meritocratie (en minder aristocratie)? Kan die moderniteit ook de muiterij verklaren die het Hipper eind 1918 onmogelijk maakt om een slotoffensief op zee te ontketenen?

Meer Veertien Achttien:
Enver Pasha,
Veertien Achttien premium,
Oskar Potiorek,
Kato Takaaki.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Bright Sheng - Naxos podcast review

The Naxos Classical Music Spotlight Podcast's latest edition is about the composer Bright Sheng. This composer of Chinese descent is not easy to place, just as, host Raymond Bisha compares, the Belgian composer Olivier Messiaen. Not that Sheng is like Messiaen, Sheng is not easily categorized, just as Messiaen was.

It seems to come with the territory. Bisha tells us that the Chinese, in order to compete with the West, started having their own orchestras with their own instruments, only in the 1950's. As Bisha points out: making orchestras is one thing, but developing a repertoire is much, much more difficult. So, just as the whole concept of orchestras was imitated from the west, the evolving orchestral repertoire, no matter how Chinese in nature, is borrowing from the west.

Sheng is one such Chinese composer that writes orchestral music. While he brings in his Chinese roots, he also learns from the western musical tradition. The result is profoundly Chinese, yet accessible for the westerner, as I found out while listening to the podcast.

More Naxos:
Sir Charles Mackerras,
Pictures at an Exhibition,
Hildegard von Bingen.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Monday, January 26, 2009

Hole in the wall - Thinking Allowed review

BBC's Thinking Allowed had this week the most exciting, inspiring, romantic and nearly unbelievable item: The Hole in the Wall project. Laurie Taylor speaks with Sugata Mitra, who started the project which has such amazing and nearly unbelievable results and which among others supplied the basis for a movie success such as Slumdog Millionaire.

Sugata Mitra placed computers in holes in walls in places in India to allow free access to internet and computer use for underprivileged children. He reports the most astonishing fact that in a matter of months the kids master the software, surf and apply and manage to educate themselves. This even stretches beyond the boundaries of language and into tough subject fields such as bio-mechanics.

It defies common, or at least my, observation. My children of 4 and 7 years old, have free access to a computer in much the same way. They have to rely on self-learning and accommodate the language barrier with the mainly English and Latin letter internet and their Hebrew starting point. After months of finding their way around without much assistance I can indeed report amazing feats of self-learning, however, my kids, as opposed to the slum kids in India, do not use paint and Google, but rather have built an endless supply of arcade games to enjoy themselves for hours on end.

Such observation, but by all means, any critical reception would demand more detailing and explanation than is offered. It needs to be noted again Thinking Allowed is too short. Let's not be discouraged though and explore the questions about this program and this specific issue on the Podcast Parlor

More Thinking Allowed:
Moral relativism,
Male Immaturity.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Podcast Parlor

Here is something new in our world of podcast reviews that hopes to be an addition to this blog and also to that of other reviewers of quality audio on line such as Do It Yourself Scholar and The Re-education of Baxter Wood. We have begun our blogs, not just to relate to cyberspace what we think of the podcasts we find, also to exchange thoughts with people who enjoy the same material.

What this demands is, apparently, more than just the comment option in our blogs. We have comments, but no serious dialogs have been kicked off there. And so, we want to invite you all to join us in an on-line community, where you can discuss and write your thoughts on the material we bring to the forefront or the content you want to present yourself: The Podcast Parlor.

Signing up is easy and discrete. From there you can observe the discussions we trigger, participate and instigate discussions and posts yourself. Feel invited and than ks in advance for joining.

Anne, Dara (DIY Scholar) and Baxter.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Alternative hedonism - Philosophy Bites review

The great podcast Philosophy Bites generally publishes every week and even if it has lapsed a bit on that demanding schedule these past weeks, the podcast is as great, as valuable, concise, comprehensive and thought provoking as ever. As a matter of fact, on a filled playlist as I have, it matches better with my pace.

Last week's edition (there is a new one in the mean time) had a compelling title to begin with: Alternative Hedonism. It featured an interview with Kate Soper who takes an unusual approach to tackle the problem of the impending environmental catastrophe, which she takes is at least in part is caused by our consumerism. Even if you are inclined to believe that such a connection is not actual, one may consider our consumerism destructive on other grounds and the whole idea of an alternative hedonism remains appealing.

Hedonism lies to the foundation of consumerism and possibly also (I might add) our inherited mind of the hunter gatherer: enough is never enough. However, if it is pleasure we ultimately strive to, changing the terms of hedonism, could channel this basic instinct into a more healthy direction. If other experiences are to counts as pleasurable rather than the amassing of goods and the size of our wealth, we'd be more healthily inclined. This would be a matter of cultural values, so that massive possessions are less valued than experiences. A best example Soper suggests is sex - a hedonistic pleasure that will not burden the environment. An example Philosophy Bites tentatively suggests, with some nod of Soper, is the podcast Philosophy Bites. Safe, healthy and green pleasure.

More Philosophy Bites
Non-realism of God,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Friday, January 23, 2009

Israel and Palestine - strategies for peace

The RSA Current Events is a podcast of many that are replicated in the compiled feed of UChannel Podcast. If you missed it in the one, you may run into it in the second - this has happened to me frequently also with other contributors such as LSE and CFR. A curiosity that struck me with the podcast Israel and Palestine - strategies for peace is that it appeared quicker in UChannel than in the original RSA feed. Apparently there was haste, haste to publish before the war in Gaza was over.

The Gaza war loomed heavily over this discussion forum and makes for more heat than debate. I have also picked up very little in the way of suggestions for strategies for peace. What remains is an experience of all the familiar accusations. Israel is committing atrocities and war crimes. Hamas has provoked the war. The Palestinians have mismanaged. The West has lost the moral ground to dictate the goings on in the Middle East.

What strikes me in this and many other debates I have witnessed is how old strands of western imperialist logic continues to dominate, on both sides. The old fashioned world view has an inherit hierarchy in which the West has the superior culture of morals and values. Other peoples are backward and barely capable to rule themselves. In the accusations of Hamas's incompetence this is present just as much as it is in the thorough victimization of the Palestinians - in neither picture they are capable of ruling themselves and take responsibility for their actions. Also when the West is accused to have lost the moral ground, the presumption is that the West had it in the first place or is supposed to hold the high ground. Any which way, this logic imbues the debates with strands of condescension that are strangling the dialog.

More Israel:
Terror and Martyrdom,
Gaza - podcasts on diplomacy and war,
Whither the Middle East,
Desiring Walls,
Gabriela Shalev,
UCLA Israel Studies.

More RSA:
Terror and Martyrdom,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Gilles Kepel's view on Terror and Martyrdom - RSA podcast

The RSA Event with Gilles Kepel was simultaneously published in the podcast of RSA Current Events as well as UChannel Podcast. Another RSA podcast I saw show up in the UChannel feed even before it did in the RSA feed. With other suppliers to the UChannel Podcast, I usually see the original feed carry a podcast far earlier than the UChannel sampler. But that is merely an aside.

What I found especially interesting about Beyond Terror and Martyrdom, the lecture of Gilles Kepel (and also a book he wrote), is that he took on the overall terminology that has taken a firm grip on the Middle-East and its tense relations also with the rest of the world and showed a perspective from which this clinging on to 'terrorism' and 'martyrdom' fails. Neither the western view, that the Middle-East has become a victim of terrorism and that its terrorism has been exported to the rest of the world works, nor the Islamist view that it is fighting a holy war against modernity and Israel, the view of martyrdom has solid ground.

The War on Terror fails. The bringing of democracy in Iraq or Afghanistan has failed. The west has not been able to stop terrorism, nor taken aways its roots. The Islamists on their part haven't stopped modernization, or the achieved any weakening of Israel or the US or western Culture altogether, nor have they managed to unite the Islamic, or even the Arab world. Kepel concludes that the narratives are bankrupt. The narrative of the west that solidifies the idea of terrorism has failed and so has the narrative of the evils of western culture to which the martyrs of Islam must be sacrificed.

Kepel's work is a strong demand to get out of this dichotomy and start approaching each other differently. His so-called critics that are allowed to speak in the podcast, although they disagree on some analysis of Kepel, basically agree to this general tenet.

More RSA:

More Israel:
Gaza - podcasts on diplomacy and war,
Whither the Middle East,
Desiring Walls,
Gabriela Shalev,
UCLA Israel Studies.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Gwynne Dyer - Hardcore History interview

The latest issue of Dan Carlin's Hardcore History is -again- an interview. As said before: Dan Carlin, as talented a podcaster as he is, is not cut to be an interviewer. His studio presence is too dominant, his voice too strong and it might help if he'd lower the audio level of the sections where he speaks, so as to enforce the guest. What is more, his questions are stemming from his own train of thought that, as fascinating as it is and makes for the brilliant Hardcore History shows, remains not transparent enough for an interview. There you find yourself listening to an analysis of the First World War causes, one moment and the next about ways to learn history and you suddenly wonder: How did we get here?

Still, this show has a truck load of veritable gems, partly because the lack of transparency is not permeating throughout and for a good deal thanks to the guest: Gwynne Dyer. Dyer manages to turn Carlin's shooting in all directions questions to relevant and deep interrogations and gives very fascinating and teaching answers. This alone makes for a great podcast.

By the end comes an additional highlight, when Carlin asks the closing question that boils down to: what haven't I asked you and you had wanted to answer to? Dyer then reveals he has been thoroughly interested in the geopolitics of global warming. He delivers a historic perspective on the test that the world stands to and that is really the cherry on the cake. A must listen.

More Hardcore History:
Interview with Victor Davis Hanson,
Punic Nightmares III,
Punic Nightmares II ,
Punic Nightmares I,
Under the Influence.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Moral Relativism - Thinking Allowed podcast review

I am still trying to get the hang of BBC's podcast Thinking Allowed. The personal touch of host Laurie Taylor is much less distanced than that of In Our Time's Melvyn Bragg and apparently I was expecting a social sciences show with a Melvyn Bragg. Taylor is more involved, more opinionated and even mildly joking from time to time. He is also actively relating to the audience. Now there is a nice opening for us podcast listeners: send mail to the show and interact with it.

The last show, about moral relativism almost begs for contribution. There is the beginning of discussion. The moral absolute and the tolerance of other cultures are sufficiently posed before each other and then what? The item is already over, because the show is really short (less than 30 minutes) and there is ample time used for Taylor's musings and reactions.

That is a pity because, as I see it, we were about to draw a major conclusion (or slide into the tedious and repetitive discussion between cultural tolerance and the absolute of human rights) and that is: our culture bears both principles within its moral framework. We have learned both to respect other cultures, opinions, values and morals and yet we have a couple of profound and allegedly universal values. The real issue is not how to choose between either, but rather how to weigh them together. Certainly the guests eventually seem to lean in that direction.

More Thinking Allowed:
Male Immaturity.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Monday, January 19, 2009

Anne is a Man - hoping for more growth

I have been reporting every quarter about the growth of Anne is a Man's readership and this time around I am not sure if I can really report actual growth. The feeling is that we are stabilizing and however nice that is, I am still hoping for more. The graph below shows the blog statistics (by statcounter) which is only one of the indicators. What you see is a stable interest that boils down to around 200 visitors per day.

Other indicators are the feed statistics (by Feedburner) which indicates the amount of regular readers who follow the blog not by visiting, but rather from an RSS reader. These are not caught by Statcounter and, once a visitor decides to start following through RSS, he or she will far less frequently visit the page. In other words, the blog stats are bound to lose to RSS readers. This is indeed what seems to be happening in the last three months. While my the amount of visitors stabilized around 200, the amount of feed readers shot up from a little over 50 to around 100.

The last two indicators are for one my Technorati rating which counts how many sources on the web point to the blog over the last 180 days. This number has gone down from 22 to 18. (Hey, where are those links?!) The second indicator is the following on Networked Blogs, which I set up only recently and has added already over 30 followers.

Rss following at the beginning of 2009,
October 2008: continued growth,
July 2008: small but growing.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Martin Simek podfaded en in de wacht

Het is sneller gegaan dan gerechtvaardigd. Simek 's Nachts is met ingang van 2009 als radioprogramma verdwenen, maar als podcast had het best nog iets langer mogen bestaan. Hoeveel podcast luisteraars downloaden nog uit de feed weken na verschijning - velen, vraag het maar aan onwillekeurig welke podcaster.

De RVU heeft echter de podcast feed al gede-activeerd. De laatste twee uizendingen hebben zelfs nooit in de feed gestaan en zijn alleen van de site (die is er nog wel) te downloaden: Tjeerd Bomhof en Sander de Kramer (Kramer alleen in stream). Verder zijn van de site alleen nog de uitzendingen van 2008 op te halen. Ooit was er een archief dat terugging tot voor 2005, met werk uit Kleur Bekennen dat -meen ik- al sinds 1995 bestond. Allemaal weg, fantastische audio met eeuwigheidswaarde. Nu alleen nog onbereikbaar achter de RVU-deuren.

Wat kan ik er verder nog over zeggen? Ik heb nog de interviews met K. Schippers en Theo Maassen kunnen beluisteren. Daarin is Simek zoals we hem gewend zijn. Met Schippers zijn er interessante verhalen over zijn jeugd in Amsterdam, met Maassen over lef op het toneel. Het is wachten of er nog wat komt van het eigen intitiatief van Martin Simek, samen met Gijs Groenteman op een eigen site.

Meer Simek:
Dhyan Sutorius,
Louis Tas,
Piet Hein Eek,
Ernst van de Wetering,
Ageeth Veenemans.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Saturday, January 17, 2009

The Hebrew Bible - Open Yale course review

I knew Yale offered great on-line audio, I just ignored them for a long time for the simple reason the content is not syndicated. The courses do not come in a feed. The audio is not a podcast. However, it is a damn pity to let the courses pass on a mere technicality.

One of the jewels in the menu is Professor Christina Hayes' Introduction to the Old Testament, that is to the Hebrew Bible. In addition to the audio/video of 24 lectures, also the handouts and other course material is available. This course invites for such serious study, that more than ever I regretted not being able to follow the discussion sections. Or abandon my day job and blogging and take up one story in the Tanakh and engage in the kind of analysis Hayes relates to us.

The truly amazing thing in this course is that Hayes manages to reveal a world of investigations and interpretations of the Bible's content, covering an enormous amount of it. Each story could receive an entire course in itself, but she has to move on. Yet, never does one feel the course becomes too superficial. Overall, the course deconstructs and reconstructs the Bible, from the revered unified source, to an inapt, compromised compilation of competing traditions, yet, still powerful in its narrative and inspiring for one who agrees to be open for the overt or concealed messages.

More Bible History:
MMW 2 - Classical Traditions,
MMW 3 - History Guided by Religions,
Early Christianity,
Samson, the conflicted hero,
The Historical Jesus.

More Open Yale:
Introduction to ancient Greek history,
Game Theory.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Friday, January 16, 2009

Formations of Modern Art

This review basically comes too late. I was just in time to download the lectures of UCSD's Formations of Modern Art by William Bryson. This was, as so often, recommended by DIY Scholar. Now that the podcast has podfaded, I am working my way through the lectures and have a sufficiently good time I want you to be alert, for UCSD will soon enough bring this one out again.

The code is: VIS 22. The title: Formations of Modern Art. The lecturer is William Bryson and this is especially worthy of note, because Bryson personality is one of the dimensions that make this series attractive - or repulsive if you are not in to it. Bryson has a flamboyant and affected speaking style that is very 'gay' so to speak. It makes for colorful and expressive comment, but again, you have to like it.

If you do, it adds to the entertainment of the series. The fact that art is discussed and necessarily not visibly (it is audio after all) may be a terrible disadvantage, but I find it just an additional challenge.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Dagelijks genoegen: hoor geschiedenis podcast

Een van de meest geslaagde podcasts van de laatste tijd begeleidt me elke dag. Het is Hoor! Geschiedenis, van Feico Houweling. Ik vind het indrukwekkend hoe Houweling er in slaagt om stipt elke dag een nieuwe vijf minuten uit te brengen. Elke dag ook weet hij zich te beperken tot een miniem aspect van de aanloopgeschiedenis van de Nederlanden. Een aspect dat klein genoeg is dat hij het in vijf minuten kan uitleggen en dat weer aansluiting zoekt bij de grote lijn van de historie.

Het is een knappe prestatie in meerdere opzichten. Het is knap om in vijf minuten een verhaal af te krijgen - de meeste podcasters lukt dat niet. Het is knap om de connectie met de grote lijn vast te houden. In kortere historische podcasts beperkt de verteller zich meestal tot het oplepelen van feiten. En het is knap om de gestage, dagelijkse productie op peil te houden. Vele podcasters knokken om een wekelijkse of tweewekelijkse productie vol te houden. Dagelijks is iets dat alleen Bob Packett klaarspeelt in History According to Bob. Bob daarentegen meandert door de geschiedenis en weet mij niet te binden zoals Houweling dat kan.

Zoals gezegd, voor mij is het een groot genoegen, iets dat het begin van elke werkdag markeert. Behalve zondag, want dat is voor Houweling geen werkdag, maar dan is er de onvolprezen Volkis Stimme.

Meer Hoor! Geschiedenis:
Hoor! Geschiedenis - historische podcast recensie.

Meer History according to Bob:
Pick and choose,
1000 AD according to Bob,
The battle of Tours,
The Franks,
Virginia Oldoini.

Meer Volkis Stimme:
Angela Merkel in Volkis Stimme,
Volkis Stimme - recensie van een Duitse podcast.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Doubt - Speaking of Faith review

On Speaking of Faith Krista Tippett spoke with Jennifer Michael Hecht about Doubt. Doubt seems like an enemy of faith or at least a problem to wrestle with, an emotion that is not welcome in faith and therefore, neither in religion. Doubt seems the realm of a negative philosophy, but as we find out in the program, none of that is the case.

Hecht made a study of the great doubters in religion and philosophy and apart from finding about thir tremendous contribution, she also found them to be negative hardly at all. Doubt can give rise to freedom, love of life and dedication to faith even. If anything, you leave this program optimistically happy with your own doubts.

The tradition of doubt is traced back to the Greeks with Socrates, with the Cynics and with the Epicures, but also to the Jewish sources, most notably Job. The effect is fundamental on both Christianity as well as modern philosophy and science. Doubt comes out as a quality, an essential element in thinking. Without doubt, there is no search, no development, no depth. There will be only fundamentalism.

More Speaking of Faith:
Listening Generously - Rachel Remen, (recommended)
The Sunni-Shia Divide and the future of Islam,
Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel,
Karen Armstrong,
Wangari Maathai.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Mesopotamian sources - MMW 2 podcast review

The first three lectures of UCSD's MMW 2 (Making of the Modern World - Classical Traditions) I learned something I did not know before. I knew the Sumerians were the first culture in Mesopotamia we know of, but I did not know it was only with the archeological discoveries in the area in the 19th century that we actually found out about them. The clay tablets of Ashurbanipals library mentioned them and this is how we know they preceded the Akkadians, Babylonians and Assyrians, to name a few. Those were in the Bible and hence were 'known' until then.

It makes Professor Chamberlain's lectures all the more interesting. As is his style, he takes this one through the texts. The two he discusses in the third lecture are the old Babylonian Enuma Elish and Atra-Hasis which are told to have roots as far back as Sumer, but are Babylonian after all. The first is a creation story and the second a flood story. Much is different with the stories of creation and of Noah's flood in Genesis, but by all means, there are parallels and unquestionably, the Babylonian version precede Genesis.

In the fourth lecture we are supposed to get some more insight in those Sumerian roots and I hope we will still get them. However, what is passed as Lecture 4 in the feed is an empty mp3 file. Maybe there was no lecture and we will still get this craved content. Otherwise, the recording may have failed and we have missed out on the Sumerians, once again and must wait until a later round of MMW 2.

Image: Cuneiform tablet of the Atra-Hasis in the British Museum on Wikimedia Commons (Public Domain)

More MMW 2:
MMW 2 - UCSD history podcast.

More Chamberlain:
MMW 3.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Monday, January 12, 2009

Philosopher's Zone - ABC podcast review

ABC's podcast Philosopher's Zone has not yet taken me in. Naturally, as with other philosophy podcasts, it is always a gamble, from issue to issue. Philosophy is so wide, there are necessarily only a few subjects and angles that appeal to you. Even then.

Philosopher's Zone is presented by Alan Saunders and the format is an interview with one or more guests on a specific subject. In the past weeks there were three subjects that I could make some connection with. The first was Asian Philosophy. The second was about Karl Popper. The third was an interview with Martha Nussbaum.

A recurring problem are the sudden interruptions which apparently correspond with the commercial breaks in the live program, but on the podcast they are outright disruptive. The speaker is in the middle of an interesting train of thought and you are waiting for continuation or a deeper question and then in stead you get a kind of reset and need to start all over. In the issue about Asian philosophy, the result is your are getting selected cuts from a lecture in stead of the whole and are reduced to the tip of the iceberg that is the tip of the iceberg of such a large subject as Asian philosophy. In the other two interviews it is less disruptive, but still a forced shift of subject or perspective.

Despite the quality of the subjects and the speakers, there is a fragmentation that bothered me most of all. More programs that are not live recordings are going through a director's cut, but Philosopher's Zone does not get comprehensive in the cut, it is just cut.

More Philosopher's Zone:
Mary Shelley and Frankenstein.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Power of Cities - UChannel Podcast review

Our Urban Future: The death of distance and the rise of cities, was the title of a recent podcast delivered by UChannel podcast which was a recording of a lecture by Professor Edward Glaeser at the London School of Economics. The title seemed paradoxical. The death of distance would entail the fall of cities. Alternately it would turn an entire territorial unit into one city.

My thinking was not far off. Indeed, in the historic part of the lecture, Glaeser explains why cities emerged and continued to exist over the long time of human history, despite a number of serious disadvantages for people to live in a city: it is crammed, expensive and usually not safe and not healthy. The forces that keep them in, explained by the Harvard economics professor, are proximity and numbers. Or in other words, the city itself.

With many people near, there is more productivity, more innovation. It attracts both the wealthy and the poor. Cities make for a powerful economic potion, however, with the modern technology, distance to the outlying territories are becoming less and less important. Proximity and numbers are one in the cyber-age, yet Glaeser observes in his studies, cities are still the centers of economic advancement. In addition to explaining this, he draws conclusions for city governments as to what are the right policies to stay ahead.

That last part of the lecture was less to my interest, but the analysis of the economic strengths and weaknesses of cities and the adaptation to the history of cities was very interesting and refreshing.

More UChannel:
Gaza (Tony Blair),
Whither the Middle East,
Kafka comes to America,
Lord Lawson and the alarmists,
Terror and Consent>.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Saturday, January 10, 2009

New Deal and War Economy - EconTalk podcast review

It is EconTalk's host Russ Roberts's opinion that Roosevelt's New Deal did not repair the economic dire straits the US were in during the 1930's. In fact, he believes this policy only worsened the situation. Although he is the interviewer in the podcast episodes, his views get coverage as well. And this also happened in one of the last issue when he spoke with Robert Higgs about The Great Depression.

Higgs did extensive data research into the economic development in the US during the 1930's and 1940's. His work refutes the commonly held idea that by the beginning of the war, the depression was over and the War Economy itself meant a great boost to American economy and that in fact, as off 1940, it was up and up, thanks to war.

Higgs tries to show how the figures are skewed and how in practice the economy was still recovering and still not back anywhere near the level of 1929. Furthermore, the war meant no boost, it meant an additional burden and life went into yet another economic downturn, with shortages of all sorts. Higgs and Roberts agree to the point that even World War II in the US shows that war is only costly and never good for economy. And Roberts pushes again his view: The New Deal wasn't helping either.

More EconTalk:
The Depression,
Wildlife, Property and Poverty.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Friday, January 9, 2009

Gaza - podcasts on diplomacy and war

With the war raging on in Gaza (or Aza, as we say), you can pick up on the continuous stream of podcasts shedding their light on the problems in the Middle-East. Some specifically about the Israeli-Palestinian stalemate, some more broader, but ultimately addressing this conflict as one of the most central destabilizing factors for the region and eventually the whole world.

The Council on Foreign Relations had a conversation with Tony Blair which was recently published in the UChannel Podcast (The Tony Blair talk on CFR video) Blair lays out the design for a diplomatic process that should improve the situation, which heavily leans on supporting true nation building for the Palestinians and on solving the paralyzing problem, which was also noted by Dennis Ross on UChannel (Anne is a Man's review). Ross called it the mutual disbelief. And though his and Blair's presentations are optimistic in the sense that they see possibilities for policy and diplomacy to solve the issues, taking away the disbelief proves to be crucial. As long as there is disbelief, that is a mutual conviction on the part of both the Palestinian as well as on the part of the Israeli populace that the other side is fundamentally not interested in any kind of arrangement, none of the proposed policies and diplomatic efforts have serious chance for success.

A short and instructive podcast from The Economist, analyzes the current situation and painfully shows how the leadership is failed to such an extent that none of the true players in the field have any weight left (bad news for the conception problem noted before). Two players are the Israeli and the Palestinian leadership, which both are paralyzed by internal power struggles and lack the clout, determination and legitimacy to push forward. Then there is the US that has been the only external power that has been influential enough to really make a difference, yet, the Bush administration has neglected the issue for 8 years and has by now lost also its power and legitimacy to act. Three lame ducks as speaker Yossi Mekelberg characterizes them.

More UChannel:
Kafka comes to America,
Lord Lawson and the alarmists,
Terror and Consent,
Nudge: improving decisions and behavior,
Hot, Flat and Crowded.

More from the Economist:
We want Obama,
Getting comfortable with Obama,
Democracy in America - podcast review,
Issues of Race,
The primary system.

More Israel:
Whither the Middle East,
Desiring Walls,
Gabriela Shalev,
UCLA Israel Studies,
The Arab-Israeli conflict.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Culture, Art and Technology - UCSD podcast review

One of the most exciting lecture series has kicked off: UCSD's CAT 2, Culture, Art and Technology. Last year, I was alerted to this course by DIY Scholar, but once I subscribed, the course had nearly finished. Before I knew it, UCSD took it off line and I had only a few unrelated lectures to go on. It goes to show how important it is, when you decide to try a course on UCSD, to download all lectures as soon as possible and store them for later use.

The feed delivers at this point two files, lecture 1 and lecture 2. Lecture 1 is empty and lecture 2 is actually the first encounter. Professor Tal Golan, who delivers the course, uses this lecture, as do so many other instructors, to introduce the assistants and go over a range of household issues relevant only to the students in the room. By Lecture 3 it will become much more exciting.

It is worthwhile to endure the largely superfluous content of this lecture, nevertheless, because Golan gives a few teasers to warm you up. He does not however define the course as such. It is probably not so easy to define. To call it a history of thought, or a dialectic of knowledge and culture, or the parallel of knowledge construction and social construction, makes it sound fancy, but have a certain level of abstraction that it also either covers too little or too much. Golan avoids such terminology and throws a couple of examples to challenge and entice the audience. How could Aristotle be influential for 2500 years, when science and thought has always reinvented itself (and most thinkers? Why was the switch to a heliocentric picture of the universe so important? By all means this is going to be a thrilling, if challenging, ride of wonder, of a whole different way of looking at the construction of culture.

About the previous course:
The dialectic of knowledge and culture.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Classical eras in MMW 2 - UCSD history podcast

Enjoying the history lectures of the University of California in San Diego (UCSD) has a certain immediacy to it. In an unaltered way one gets the lectures; they are recorded automatically and put on-line without any further editing. And by the end of the quarter, the lectures are taken off line again. So, you have to be there, as it were. Deep down, you don't because you can set your podcatcher to store any content that comes out and you may even do some editing yourself (I know of nobody who does it, although cutting away the silences, would improve the files greatly at little investment of time). Even if the podcast when it fades, loses its title in iTunes, your content is still there, to be enjoyed when and where you want - as is the strength of podcast.

And there is something to be enjoyed. This quarter the second part of world history, MMW 2, the Making of the Modern World over the time of around 2000 BC to 100 AD is being taught by Charles Chamberlain. He makes a point of it to argue in favor of using the abbreviations BC and AD, by the way - if it matters all that much. I loved Chamberlain in MMW 3, last year and he is off to a good start already. Though you can choose to skip the first lecture, it is mainly administrative. (MMW 2 - The Great Classical Traditions)

Aside from the superfluous content for podcast listeners, Chamberlain spends some words of explaining his perspective and terminology and I liked being filled out on that point. The MMW-series is different from other podcast series in that it takes western and non-western history together for each era that is being covered. The result is a refreshing and much wider take on history. What has so far struck me is that in spite of separation, so much added insight is had by seeing the parallels. This time we are in for exactly that kind of a treat again as Chamberlain argues that all major (at least three) world cultural traditions had their classical stage during the MMW 2 stretch of time. So we will be seeing the coming of age of them all. I am loving it already.

More MMW:
MMW 4 (Herbst),
MMW 6,
MMW 3 (Herbst),
MMW 3 (Chamberlain).

AddThis Social Bookmark Button