Thursday, April 30, 2009

New podcasts in April 2009 - Anne is a Man

This month I reviewed eleven podcasts for the first time. There were eight in English and three in Dutch. As usual, most of them are in one way or the other a history podcast.

Sparkletack (review, site, feed)
Richard Miller tells the history of San Francisco.

Gilder Lehrmann history podcast (review, site, feed)
Podcast that are recordings of guest lectures at the Gilder Lehrmann Institute of American History.

It was 20 years ago today (review, site, feed)
Jamie Lawson takes us back 20 years and gives her personal view on history back then.

HUM 4104 (Virginia Tech) (review, site, feed)
Professor Matthew Gabriele's podcast that accompanies a lecture series about Medieval Heroes. The podcast gives very brief guidance to the texts about the heroes.

US History since 1877 (Temple College) (review, site, feed)
Gretchen Reilly's straightforward monologue podcast about American History from 1877 until today

Medieval & Renaissance Studies Events (Fall 2008) (Virginia Tech) (review, site, feed)
Virginia Tech's lecture series about the Crusades. As far as I can see only one of the lectures is available on podcast.

History 1c (UCLA) (review, site, feed)
Very valuable modern western history lecture series on podcast. Professor Lynn Hunt from UCLA makes up for the lack of History 5 from Berkeley this semester.

Lyrics Undercover (review, site, feed)
Brian Ibbott initiates us into the world behind your favorite pop songs. The meaning of the lyrics, the origin of the music and the intentions of the artists.

Voor 1 nacht (KRO) (review, site, feed)
Nightly interview program on KRO radio released as podcast. One hour interviews with interesting people. (Dutch)

Flavius (Joodse Omroep) (review, site, feed)
Radio program by the makers of OVT about Jewish culture and history in the Netherlands. (Dutch)

Simek 's Nachts (Elsevier) (review, site, feed)
The return of the lost treasure. After having been removed from radio, Simek 's Nachts exclusively returned as podcast. (Dutch)

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I love to get new podcast recommendations. You can let me know your preferences 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
The Podcast Parlor.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The stumble peak

About a week ago I had a sudden rise in visitors on my blog. This phenomenon lasted for a couple of hours. Even if it went away, some of its effects are still felt and this gives those readers who want to actively support the blog (or any other site they love, for that matter) a good idea what they can do.

The spike was caused by StumbleUpon. Someone noted two of my pages on StumbleUpon and right after that, the hours of traffic came streaming in. As a matter of fact I still have some referrals from StumbleUpon daily. In addition, a sharp rise in RSS subscriptions came about.

And so, what you can do, for my blog and any other site you like, is note its pages at StumbleUpon. For this purpose, you must create an account over there and it is also advised to install the toolbar. From there on, you can give a thumbs up, on any page you visit. If you like, you can also add a review. From that moment on, the page is pushed to the StumbleUpon community.

As you amass your preferences, StumbleUpon will also help you find more pages that you like. You can click 'stumble' and you will be led to a page another stumbler noted and that you might like as well. It enhances your own browsing and it directs traffic to the sites you appreciate, which is great for those content makers like myself, who always hope to get a wider audience.

So, to everybody who 'stumbles' my blog - thanks a lot!


Tuesday, April 28, 2009

American Independence - קטעים בהיסטוריה

In honor of the Israeli Independence Day, I will review קטעים בהיסטוריה an Israeli history podcast, which came back after a long hiatus. Host Yuval Malchi came out with a double edition about the American war of independence. I am still hoping for an Israeli history podcast that will delve into Israeli, Zionist or Jewish history, but apparently, Yuval's major field of knowledge and interest must be US History, if one looks at the subjects he chooses for his podcast series.

In respect to the previous editions, Yuval has improved on the audio quality and the way he condensed the story. He very effectively tells the full history of the American Independence, making use of audio effects to the right extent. I was very pleased to get two hours of history about this subject, for I knew not much in advance. I had considered a number of American podcasts, but they were more extensive and Yuval's depth was more fit to what I needed.

An additional strong point is that the podcast is in Hebrew. Even though this narrows the audience down considerably, but the Hebrew podcasting landscape is rather undeveloped and Yuval's work stands out as one of the very few history podcasts and the very best among those. Besides, I never can resist an Israeli touch in storytelling.

More קטעים בהיסטוריה (Pieces of History):
Lewis and Clark.

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Arnon Grunberg - Voor 1 Nacht podcast

Van lezer Erno Mijland kreeg ik opnieuw een podcast-tip. Deze keer raadde hij me aan om te luisteren naar KRO's voor 1 nacht (feed). Marc Stakenburg interviewt uiteenlopende gasten op een tijdstip dat de radio wel een uur voor een vraagesprek kan inruimen: na twaalven.

Erno stelde het al voorop: niet elke uitzending is even sterk en dat ondervond ik ook. Stakenburg wil nog wel eens wat al te oppervlakkig blijven en er is dan een buitengewone gast nodig om iets bijzonders te creeren. Die gast had hij op 16 Februari in Arnon Grunberg. Wat uiteraard bijdraagt is het feit dat ik Grunberg erg bewonder, maar ik had hem ook al eens op televisie gezien en daar leek het nergens op. Bij Stakenburg is hij echter ontspannen en openhartig waardoor we een goed doorzicht op sommige aspecten van zijn persoon krijgen.

Wat mij echter oon interesseerde en daar kwam de uitzending niet aan toe, is Grunbergs joodse identiteit en wortels. Nu ja, je kan niet alles hebben en in elk geval is alles wat wel aan de orde komt zeer de moeite waard met name Grunbergs recente werk, waarvoor hij in Afghanistan, Peru, Beieren en Irak heeft verbleven.

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Monday, April 27, 2009

Lyrics Undercover podcast review

Thanks to Julie Davis of Forgotten Classics, who - by the way - continues to rock with Uncle Tom's Cabin, I tried a new podcast Lyrics Undercover. Have you ever wondered what is the story behind famous pop songs? Here is the place to go. (feed)

The Denver Post and Brian Ibbott make this podcast possible and I quickly had myself informed about a number of my favorites. The who's who in Lou Reed's Walk on the wild side makes you feel you get a seedy version of Hollywood history. Kate Bush's Cloudbusting features the, for me unexpected, figure of Wilhelm Reich. Steely Dan's Kid Charlemagne's identity is finally uncovered and also the meaning of the line 'Is there gas in the car?'

What more did I pick up? The various meanings of Solsbury Hill by Peter Gabriel and the clear, yet slightly disturbing Don't stand so close to me by The Police and the underrated Bangles with their Walk Like an Egyptian. That has my musical past set straight. How about yours. Lyrics Undercover seems to supply to everyone and if one show per month is not enough for you, dig up the archives (iTunes passes the first forty by) or subscribe to the Lyrics Undercover premium podcast, that delivers four times a month.

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Kees van Kooten - Simek 's Nachts (Elsevier)

Wat is er moeilijker dan politici interviewen? Komieken interviewen. Heel erg vaak breekt de komiek niet uit zijn komische image en blijft hangen in het typetje waarmee hij success heeft. De enige uitzondering die ik me kan herinneren was een interview dat Max Pam eind jaren 80 met Urbain Servanx (Urbanus) had. Freek de Jonge viel me vrijwel altijd tegen en het ergst zijn Kees van Kooten en Wim de Bie.

Daarom alleen al begon ik aan de laatste podcast van Martin Simek bij Elsevier met mateloze reserve. Een gesprek met Van Kooten, kan dat goed gaan? Wordt dat een gesprek met Kees of met Koot, de Vieze Man of Cor van der Laak en wel hierom? Maar met zoveel reserves viel het reuze mee.

Koot en de Vieze Man braken wel af en toe door en er is een zekere ongenaakbaarheid in Van Kooten waar ook Martin Simek niet doorheen kwam. Maar buiten dat, konden we toch genieten van een oudere man op zijn lauweren die nog gretig leeft, maar vrij is van de turbulentie van voorheen. Het mooiste vond ik wel de beschrijving hoe Kees Wim ontdekte op de middelbare school. Hij ontdekte hem niet alleen als een verwante geest, maar als een performer in een enkele ontmoeting. Dat moet je horen. En de beste grap, komt van Simek zelf, aan het eind, met dank aan Barbara van Kooten. Luister dus.

Meer Simek:
Connie Palmen (Elsevier),
Dhyan Sutorius (RVU),
Louis Tas (RVU),
Piet Hein Eek (RVU),
Ernst van de Wetering (RVU).

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Sunday, April 26, 2009

Rumi - Speaking Of Faith

In 2007, Krista Tippett made one of the best issues of her program Speaking of Faith. It was the award winning conversation with Fatemeh Keshavarz about Rumi. To our delight, this wonderful program was rebroadcast and republished in the feed. Here is the review I wrote then:

"The Ecstatic Faith of Rumi", is the title of the last issue of Speaking of Faith. Subject is the 13th-century mystic and poet Rumi of whom I had never heard, but who appears to be popular, not only among Muslims, but in recent years also in the West. Krista Tippett speaks about Rumi with Fatemeh Keshavarz professor of Persian and comparative literature at the Washington University.

Professor Keshavarz displays an enchanted affection for Rumi, quoting him and referring to him with loving reverence. What leaps out to the unexpecting listener is a type of both mystic and worldly Islam, which is artful, playful, philosophical and mystical at the same moment. Rumi's lines dance like the whirling dervishes, whose performance he is claimed to have invented as well.

Fatemeh Keshavarz: "I think the energy can't go in all directions completely in control and you have to choose because you have one life. You have to spend it wisely. So absolutely, he would say choose, be selective, recognize your own value. At another point he says, 'You are an astrolabe to God, you know, don't use yourself for things that are not worthwhile.'

But I want to linger a little bit on that idea of being scattered because that's a key concept in Sufi thought. And actually it's something that the Buddhists also talk about a lot. And that is our mind just jumps from one thing to the other and, you know, the Sufis call it the onrush of ideas into our minds. And in some ways, if we allow it, it takes us over, you know. You know, what am I going to do about that credit card? You know, how am I going to--what do I do about this student paper, you know, whatever else is that you're concerned with, my family, my kids, my future. So it all invades your life and so in a way you're pulled in all directions. You're scattered. So one of the purposes of his poetry and one of the concepts the Sufis talk about is to collect that scatteredness."

More Speaking of Faith:
The story and God,
The Buddha in the world,
Listening Generously - Rachel Remen, (recommended)
The Sunni-Shia Divide and the future of Islam.

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Saturday, April 25, 2009

Industrialization and Italian unification - History 1c

Professor Lynn Hunt's History 1c at UCLA, is the great current modern history course on podcast. It replaces in many ways, and greatly so, the sorely missing History 5 from Berkeley. In the latest lectures, we have found some excellent comparison with the previous Berkeley experiences. For those who feel like it, it pays to do them all.

I have already noted in the past how the crucial transition to modern society that is usually labeled as the Industrial Revolution is given a good and refreshing attention in History 5. There, the Professor Anderson course had some different nuances in comparison with the Professor Hesse course. Now with Professor Hunt, we get a third angle on the history. Enrichment to what we have learned and all the more grip on the subject.

The ensuing tale has mostly been about Romanticism and German unification. Hunt throws in also Realism and the Italian unification. I was especially happy with the latter, as I knew very little about it and felt it missing in all of the Berkeley courses I have followed. In short, Professor Hunt's course is excellent, a warm recommendation for both the regularly interested as the tough die-hards.

More History 1c:
History since 1715.

Industrialization in History 5:

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Friday, April 24, 2009

Sartre's existentialism - Entitled Opinions

A good podcast that I should have written about much more is Entitled Opinions. (feed) Italian literature professor Robert Harrison at Stanford spares no subject, nor opinion. With guests of a wide variety he discusses literature, culture, politics and philosophy.

In the latest issue he takes on the existentialism of Sartre. True to the nature of the show, he comes in with a long monologue in which he scorns modern society for its flaws and declares it needs a good dose of existentialism. A good moment to kick off with guest Lanier Anderson about Sartre.

It is a good idea to come prepared. There are several more podcasts about Sartre and more broadly about existentialism (see below), because Harrison and Anderson do not take too much time for explaining and come straight to the heart of the matter. On a common sense level, what Sartre teaches and to which Anderson and Harrison agree, is that man is fundamentally free, doomed to be free. And therefore, whatever happens to him, he cannot ascribe to circumstance, fate or historic coercion, man has abided by the train of events. Death could ultimately have been chosen, had he not want to comply. Thus, all that we are and all that happens to us, we have chosen. It seems exaggerated, for not all choices are of similar consequence, but certainly there is validity and value to the insight that we are never truly forced. And that is the strength of this podcast: a radical call for self responsibility.

More Entitled Opinions:
Five Free Favorites of Jesse Willis.

More Sartre:
Philosophy Bites.

More Existentialism:
Hubert Dreyfus.

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Thursday, April 23, 2009

Hellenism - FITJ podcast review

The podcast series From Israelite to Jew by Michael Satlow, has reached a very interesting stage. Satlow has finished the Persian era in the history of the Jews and has begun talking about the Greek era. Whereas, from what we can know, under the Persians, the Jews kept developing their own culture, religion and cultural definitions. Even if they took over the lingua franca of the day, Aramaic, they seem rather independent. In Greek times, however, the ruling language, culture and institutions come to heavily influence Judaism.

Hellenism, it is called and as we find out by the end of the podcast, the Jews were possibly more aware of this complex whole of Greek culture. It was a Jew who invented the term Hellenism, as to oppose it to Judaism, but before embarking on how the Jews struggled with Hellenism, this podcast shows how the Greek culture invaded the Jewish one and became just as formative as the age-old traditions.

One of the greatest and obvious products is the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Tanakh. But Satlow shows many more signs and examples of sheer Greekness in the heart of Judaism. This is a most informative, deep and engaging podcast that I enjoy very much. I cannot wait until the next installment.

More FITJ:
Jews of the Persian Empire,
The fox and the hedgehog,
Looking for a Persian History podcast.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Dan Carlin about the East Front

Dan Carlin's Hardcore History is back with the first part of a series about the horrors of the East Front in World War II. Enough drama for this podcast that specializes in the narrative side of history to get a good bite from.

The drama contains two evil leaders, Hitler and Stalin, millions of soldiers dragged into the war, soldiers that are perpetrators and victims at the same time. If they are not the good guys, then at least they are the sad guys. And in this tale of the bad and the sad, there is this literary figure of the warning, the historic example of Napoleon's debacle in 1812. An example that is to be avoided and nevertheless comes true.

Carlin thrives on these dramas for his impressionistic tales, but it can be argued he goes over the top here and there. When the facts are grim and sad in themselves, too much emphasis turns the drama into melodrama and I feel he walks a thin line here. So, whether you will appreciate this version of the largest land battles of WW2, is probably a matter of taste. By all means, for those who were not sufficiently informed about the huge Soviet contribution to Hitler's defeat, it is a must listen.

More Hardcore History:
Gwynne Dyer Interview,
Interview with Victor Davis Hanson,
Punic Nightmares III,
Punic Nightmares II.

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Connie Palmen bij Simek 's Nachts (Elsevier)

Ik had er een hard hoofd in, maar Simek is terug. Waar ik me weer niet over verbaas, is dat hij nu uitsluitend podcast en internet-stream is. Bij Elsevier heeft hij een thuis gevonden en de eerste uitzending is meteen raak. Simek is weer fris en scherp en gemotiveerd. (feed)

Gast Connie Palmen laat op zeker moment vallen dat ze weliswaar niet graag spreekt en al benoemd is dat interviews haar vermoeien, maar aan de nieuwe Simek 's Nachts werkt ze mee om het programma te redden. De vriendendienst wordt niet plichtmatig opgevoerd en het is ook geen nummertje gemakkelijk scoren voor Martin Simek. Het is een echt gesprek en het is een goed gesprek. We leren Palmen goed kennen en er zijn een paar prikkelende gedachtes over dood, over conventies en over verhalen. De verhalen die we verzinnen om het onbegrijpelijke te vangen.

Simek krijgt voor elkaar waar in het VPRO Marathon Interview drie uur voor nodig was. Al vullen de interviews elkaar goed aan. Simek met de gevoelsmatige en persoonlijke inhoud en meer cerebraal en filosofisch het gesprek met Wim Brands op de VPRO.

Ten slotte blijkt ook dat Simek 's Nachts als podcast bij Elsevier een kort leven beschoren zal zijn als er niet snel een sponsor wordt gevonden en liefst ook een radio-zender. Laten we hopen dat dat goed komt, want Simek heeft weer meer pit en levert de betere Nederlandse podcast op.

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

Meer Marathon Interview:
Karel van het Reve,
Jan Montyn,
Arthur Japin, Johannes van Dam,
Mr. G.B.J. Hiltermann
en: Connie Palmen.

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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Who will write our history?

Because today in Israel it is the holocaust remembrance day, I will re-post a relevant review of an excellent podcast:

The recently discovered podcast New Books in History (NBIH) is putting out new issues weekly. In the mean while I am trying to catch up with the backlog and as a consequence, I have still to cover all of its work. And I want to, as this is an outstanding new podcast on my horizon.

One of those podcasts from the backlog had host Marshall Poe interview the historian Samuel Kassow. Kassow wrote a book titled: Who will write our history. It puts a finger on a very ironic, almost too sad to contemplate point that the historiography of the holocaust is mostly based upon the sources provided by the perpetrators. The Germans kept good records and the Jews that were whisked away in the shoah hardly had the time to sit down and write their history.

Kassow wrote his book about an exception to this rule. Emanuel Ringelblum was a historian of the Warsaw Ghetto who set up a team of contemporary historians and they all made efforts to chronicle their fate as long as they could. Only when this became impossible, Ringelblum hid their archives and they were sent off to the destruction camps. Part of the archives have been discovered and Kassow's book is based upon this.

Marshall Poe's interview with Kassow spends a lot of time on setting the stage in order to have the clear frame of reference in which Ringelblum and his crew worked. Apart from being a fascinating interiew, this is also a great incentive to read the book.

More NBIH:
Sentiments in International Relations,
Ronald Reagan,
Evolution, genetics and history,
Kees Boterbloem about Jan Struys.

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Hoor Geschiedenis op iTunes (hersteld)

Voor het weekend meldde ik dat Hoor! Geschiedenis van Feico Houweling op iTunes niet meer aangeleverd werd. Dit probleem is inmiddels verholpen. Alle aflevering zijn weer beschikbaar. Nu kan ik er vijf achter elkaar afluisteren.

Meer Hoor! Geschiedenis:
Plakkaat van Verlating,
Willem van Oranje als Bijbelfiguur,
Dagelijks genoegen: hoor! geschiedenis,
Hoor! Geschiedenis - historische podcast recensie.

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Monday, April 20, 2009

Disasters and Peace - UChannel Podcast

Some time ago, someone said to me: "The only thing that will give a good turn to the Arab-Israeli conflict will be a great natural disaster. It will show how the Israelis and Palestinians are in the same boat, it will force them to cooperate and this in turn will produce a basis of mutual trust and respect." I was surprised by this idea and at the same time not completely convinced. Besides why must we wait for disaster to strik?

Can disasters have such an unexpected good side-effect? On UChannel Podcast was a lecture by Michael Renner given at NYU Wagner that addressed exactly this phenomenon. Renner uses the 2004 Tsunami as the example disaster and looks at Aceh and at Sri Lanka to see the peace effects. The result is mixed. Somehow on Aceh, peace could be given a new impulse and this development looks sustainable. On Sri Lanka however, although also here the impulse was put in place, the peace process got stuck for lack of political commitment.

If political commitment is a prerequisite for the success, not only is a peace turn out of a disaster no easy result, neither is it one that can be achieved with the right amount of grass roots or external effort. The Sri Lanka case shows how the ruling elite somehow holds a power of veto. It is conceivable that also in the Middle East there are enough political streams that are so profoundly not interesting in peace that a disaster may not change this at all. And then they can sabotage whatever peace developments spring up.

More UChannel Podcast:
Enclosing the commons of the mind,
Middle East challenges,
Good climate for everyone (global warming),
Robots and War,
Sudan and the fallacy of nationhood.

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Sunday, April 19, 2009

Karel van het Reve - Marathon Interview 1986

Op de een of andere manier was het interview dat Martin van Amerongen had met Karel van het Reve zoekgeraakt in de archieven van de VPRO. Terwijl de overige marathoninterviews uit 1986 reeds lang in de podcast feed en on-line verkrijgbaar waren, was dit interview uitgesloten. Dat is inmiddels hersteld en ik heb met genoegen de volle vijf uur afgeluisterd.

Zowel Van het Reve als Van Amerongen spreken in prachtige volzinnen. Op voorhand is het al een feest van welbespraakt intellect. Nadat God is afgedaan als een soort Idi Amin en Freud als de kwakzalver van Wenen is het tijd voor Van Het Reve's politieke kleur. Hij stemt nog wel PvdA, maar begint naar de VVD te leunen en dit is het signaal voor Van Amerongen om bij elke gelegenheid die zich verder voordoet aan de VVD te refereren als 'jouw partij'. Van het Reve laat zich er niet door uit de tent lokken, waardoor het van villain tot flauw en kinderachtig wordt. In plaats daarvan had ik graag uitgebreider te horen gekregen hoe Karel van communist tot liberaal is geworden.

Waar Van Amerongen de zwakke schakel is, met weinig doorgravende vragen, geen kennelijk plan waarover hij Van het Reve tot verrassende of openhartige uitspraken wil lokken en af en toe wat ongearticuleerd gemompel, is Van het Reve de ster. Is alleen de topkunst echte kunst? Nee hoor. Een slecht mens is ook een mens en dus is een slechte kunstenaar ook een kunstenaar. Ik vind Rembrandt beter dan Poortvliet, maar daarom kan Poortvliet nog wel een kunstenaar zijn. Bovendien, als iemand een Poortvliet aan de muur heeft hangen, weet je zeker dat hij daar van houdt. Met een Rembrandt aan de muur kan het ook zo zijn omdat men denkt dat dat goed staat.

Uit andere bronnen komt Van het Reve naar voren als een man die zich nogal eens verschuilt achter valse bescheidenheid. Alsof hij niets gelezen heeft en nergens verstand van heeft. Dat is in dit interview niet anders. Van Amerongen benoemt dat een paar keer, maar pusht Van het Reve nauwelijks, terwijl dat best gekund had. Van Amerongen zelf verschuilt zich ook, met een toon die ik wat badinerend en ijdel vond. Het was een goede podcast, maar het had een betere interviewer verdiend.

Meer Marathon Interviews:
Jan Montyn,
Arthur Japin, Johannes van Dam,
Mr. G.B.J. Hiltermann,
James Kennedy,
Dick Berlijn.

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Saturday, April 18, 2009

Brave New World - In Our Time podcast

Thanks to BBC's In Our Time I could learn a bit about that book that everybody else has read and refers to: Aldous Huxley's Brave New World. It is interesting to read in host Melvyn Bragg's newsletter, that although he has read the book, he needed the program also to be informed (again) about it.

"[...] if challenged, I would have nodded and said yes, I know that book. Well, I know the author’s name. I also knew that it involved a state a few hundred years after the death of Henry Ford. I remembered the alphas, betas, gamma, deltas and epsilons. I could call up the incubators and words like ‘feelies’ and ‘soma’ would drift around somewhere. But when taxed [...] to get a grip on it for In Our Time, I discovered how little you retain, even in areas where you have been programmed (now that would have fitted in with Brave New World) to remember."

I hope you have all downloaded the podcast, otherwise you will have to go and listen to the on-line stream, as this issue of In Our Time was broadcast more than a week ago. Last week's isseu was about Suffragism and I still have to listen. If I come round reviewing it, it will by then be no longer available. So the recommendation is as always: download In Our Time as soon as possible.

More In Our Time:
Rafael's School of Athens and the depiction of Plato and Aristotle,
The Boxer Rebellion,
The library of Alexandria,
The Waste Land by T.S. Eliot,
The destruction of Carthage.

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Friday, April 17, 2009

Hoor Geschiedenis op iTunes

De podcast Hoor! Geschiedenis, van Feico Houweling, is sinds enkele dagen uit de lucht. Er zou elke werkdag een nieuwe episode moeten zijn, maar sinds 13 april, aflevering 141 over de Dordtse Synode, is het stil.

Dit ligt niet aan Feico Houweling, maar aan iTunes. De hele feed is leegeraakt op iTunes en dit is een storing die nog wel enige tijd kan aanhouden. Via elke andere feedreader en via de website is Hoor! Geschiedenis normaal verder te volgen.

Meer Hoor! Geschiedenis:
Plakkaat van Verlating,
Willem van Oranje als Bijbelfiguur,
Dagelijks genoegen: hoor! geschiedenis,
Hoor! Geschiedenis - historische podcast recensie.

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Thursday, April 16, 2009

Coffee - Rear Vision

ABC's Rear Vision delved into the history of coffee in one of the last podcasts (18 March).

In the early globalizing world the Dutch planted coffee in their green houses first and on Java afterwards. Other colonialists took coffee to Brazil. The drinking habits of ordinary people shifted from alcoholic beverages, to the caffeinated ones. (Apart from coffee, also tea). The place to drink coffee became the coffee house, which was also the spot to read newspapers and discuss politics.

It is supposed on the program, coffee thus caused the major revolutions that make up the modern world. The misty effect of alcohol made place for the vigors of caffeine, causing enlightenment, increased productivity and industrial revolution. The heated discussions on the coffee houses made for the American and French revolutions. Today, modern economy couldn't function without the speedy kick of coffee, tea and caffeinated energy drinks. Nice thought and it demands the entailing question: what is the next drug? And the next turn of history that it will cause?

More Rear Vision:

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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Two methods to support your favorite blog

At the end of last month I asked you all to click campaign if you liked the blog and wanted to tell me you do. I registered 39 people from all over the world who did so. Supposing Statcounter registers most, but not all clicks and some people may have clicked the post link when they actually intended to show support, I feel there are at least 40 readers that want to actively support the blog.

So, please continue and here is the next campaign. The second method to show you appreciation: leave a comment. This is very easy and can be done anonymously. Click on the comments link below (see the line 'Posted by The Man called Anne at 12:00 0 comments' and click 'comments'). This should fire up a new window (watch pop-up blockers!) in which you can write anything you like under any name you like. If you do not know what to write just type "Please continue" and we'll know you support us.

Of course you will all be able to see over time how many comments piled up, but by the end of the month I will report back to you and hand you a third method to support the blog.

Can't wait until then? Here are some ideas ahead: send a link to the blog to a friend, mark the blog on your bookmarking site, point to it from your own site, take an RSS subscription (What is RSS? - Help on getting subscription), connect with Anne is a Man on Facebook, Twitter and The Podcast Parlor. Or anything else you can think of.

Thank you all. I am happy and grateful with every sign of life.


Anne is a Man's stable following

I have been reporting every quarter about the growth of Anne is a Man's readership. Last January, I was still hoping I could show more growth, but already then I saw a trend that continued in the past three months: the readership has stabilized. I have around 200 readers hitting the blog every day. That is not bad, but we need more. The kind of material I am offering should interest way more people than actually succeed in finding it. This is why I have started campaigning, trying to get you, the readers, involved in spreading the word. More about this later. (statistics by Statcounter)

Even though the attention for the blog seems stable, there may be an indicator that actually we have more readers than we did before. Many people take an RSS subscription and then read the blog from their feedreader. This readership is not counted as visitors on the site, but they do read. And their number has been continuing to grow ever since we stabilized from around 50 to over 120.

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

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Anne is a Man podcast reviews in the coming days

I will be on a short vacation with my wife and kids and I do not expect to be around to write podcast reviews as regularly as you are used. So, as a teaser, here are a couple of my reviewing plans for the coming days, without knowing exactly when they will eventually appear.

-BBC's In Our Time about Aldous Huxley's Brave New World will be in the feed for two more days. It is warmly recommended, also for those (like me) who have not read the book. By the time the review will come around, the podcast will be gone. So download now, read about it later.

-VPRO's Marathon Interview has an extensive archive in which, apparently, the best material can nearly go missing. The 1986 series have been released to podcast already a long time ago. Except for Martin van Amerongen's talk with Karel van het Reve which was discovered only now. Five hours of intellectual challenge with alrady in the first hour 'that Idi Amin' (God) and the 'Charlatan from Vienna' (Freud).

-ABC's Rear Vision had a charming and informative item about the history of coffee and coffee's impact on history.

-UChannel Podcast spoke about disasters and the unexpected effect on peacemaking processes. This is applied to Sri Lanka and Aceh, but Israel and Palestine are on my mind as usual.

- After a hiatus of six months, the Hebrew Podacast קטעים בהיסטוריה (pieces of history) is back with a double feature about the American War of Independence.

Furthermore, I will report about the readership of the blog (which I try to do every quarter) and report the results of the Anne is a Man campaign. There will be a new campaign in which the blog's readers can participate to stimulate Anne is a Man. Standby.

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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 Anne is a Man at: Anne Frid de Vries (in one word) AT yahoo DOT co DOT uk

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The Podcast Parlor.

Electric Cars - My former boss at TED

To have feasible electric cars would do a whole lot of good. In several posts about issues of Global Warming on this blog it has been pointed out how important it is to minimize the CO2 output, but even those that are skeptic about Global Warming or about our impact on global warming, agree that the measure to which we become oil-independent, we improve the world politically and socially. Why all this is, has been said before. Let us look at the question how to achieve it. Specifically, how we can turn an entire country to electric cars.

In this TED Talk, Shai Agassi explains the workings of his company that aims to bring electric cars to the world, starting with Israel and also Denmark, Australia and California. He explains the approach to the technical issues of making an electric car economically attractive and to the political issue of adapting the infrastructure and of course to the companies and countries that have decided to team up with him.

Before I let you watch the video I have to tell that Shai Agassi is my former boss. Not only at SAP, but also at TopTier, the Israeli company that was bought by SAP and from which Agassi was CEO and he moved on to the executive board of SAP until he quit and took up the electric car project Better Place. I have come to know Agassi as a very charismatic motivational speaker. It was invigorating to work for him and I am very pleased he moved his formidable powers to a laudable goal such as oil-independence for Israel and the world.

More TED:
Elizabeth Gilbert,
Bill Gates,
Stephen Petranek,
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi,
Philip Zimbardo.

About Global Warming:
Climate engineering,
Lord Lawson and the Alarmists,
Hot, Flat and Crowded,
Waste Management,
The Stern Review.

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Podcast Flavius bij de joodse omroep

De makers van OVT hebben zich voor de Joodse Omroep gezet aan een radioprogramma dat de naam Flavius heeft meegekregen. Het programma is ook als podcast beschikbaar (feed). Er zijn reeds zeven uitzendingen uitgebracht. Ik ben met luisteren begonnen bij de eerste aflevering.

Flavius is een licht, historisch programma dat (althans de eerste uitzending) in alles vergelijkbaar is met OVT (presentatie Jos Palm en Matthijs Deen, gast Fik Meijer), maar zo mogelijk nog lichter is dan dat. Ik heb wel eens kritiek gehoord op OVT dat het teveel geklets werd en dat gaat voor deze aflevering van Flavius zeker op waar het over de gemberbolus ging, maar voor de liefhebbers van het lichte genre is er toch ook veel te genieten.

Natuurlijk moest er een uitleg over Josephus Flavius bij. Fik Meijer heeft de Joodse historicus die namens de Romeinen over de onderdrukking van Judea schreef, vertaald. Hij legt uit waarom Flavius eigenlijk in Joodse ogen een verrader is. Niettemin was hij een uniek geschiedschrijver en daarom werd zijn naam aan het joodse historische programma verbonden. Ik kan me niet voorstellen dat iedereen hier even gelukkig mee is.

Het beste onderdeel vond ik wel het gesprek over Jozef Israel de Haan. Een fascinerende, veelzijdige figuur die in al zijn veelzijdigheid de revue passeert. Er had wat tijd van de bolus af gemogen zodat we De Haan wat beter hadden kunnen leren kennen.

Hoe dan ook. Ik ben nog niet klaar met Flavius. Ik ga zeker nog meer afleveringen beluisteren en wellicht volgen er dan ook nog meer recensies.

Meer OVT:
Mata Hari,
Giordano Bruno,
Maria Stuart,
Jeanne d'Arc.

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Monday, April 13, 2009

Two communities in one region - Open Source on Israel and Palestine

I do not usually find podcasts about the Zionist-Arab conflict that take on an approach that goes a little beyond the diplomacy and evaluation of geopolitics between governments, international pressure and the dynamics of international policy. Open Source with Christopher Lydon did just that by talking with Henry Siegman and Meron Benvenisti.

The issue this time is not only how peace can be approached, but rather also what ultimate form should a peace solution get. Siegman, who gets the most air time, believes in the two-state solution and sees a fundamental role for Obama to pressure this goal out of the Middle-East cooker. Siegman emphasizes how important it will be that the Palestine state should be formed properly and not be a still-born with three separated parts. Again the new US administration must take a lead into wriggling this result out of the balking contestants.

Then there is little time left for a few remarks by Meron Benvenisti who actually does not support a two-state solution and thus is basically the most interesting guest. He argues there is a regional continuity between the Jordan and the sea and that the Arabs and the Jews must live in one country. It is not hard to see this urgency, but how does Benvenisti think this can be achieved? We'd need much more time on the podcast for that.

More Open Source:
We want Obama,
The end of Hegemony,
Go for a walk with Open Source.

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Sunday, April 12, 2009

The Public Domain: enclosing the commons of the mind

University Channel Podcast republished an RSA lecture with Professor James Boyle about Intellectual Property that I reviewed last month and which I think is extremely worthwhile. For those who haven't heard it yet, this lecture is warmly recommended and here is my review again:

Here is one of the most interesting and exciting lectures I have heard in the past months. Speaker James Boyle, who spoke on the same subject on Thinking Allowed earlier this month, made an impressive argument for radically relaxing our concepts and rules about intellectual property, for the benefit of science, culture and economy.

Boyle spoke at the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (podcast: RSA Current Events), after his book The Public Domain. He argues that the current rules for intellectual property, that, in the process of international harmonization, are getting more and more rigid are actually harming cultural, scientific and economic life. The rules are shutting too much valuable material out from the common use and thus harms the common interest.

The paradoxical thing is that with the emergence of the internet we are in fact experiencing the wonderful, counterintuitive blessings of openness and common use in open-source software, bottom-up knowledge (wikipedia) and speedy disclosure of information (a.o. with Google), while at the same time raising the thresholds of intellectual property. The internet that originally was set-up to serve science actually stumbles over IP rights and finds scientific material barred, leaving the common use with none, dated or second rate material. Boyle pleads to adapt the open character of the internet to much more material today in order to fully enjoy the wealth of intellectual sources that exist.

More RSA:
Israel and Palestine,
Terror and Martyrdom,

More Thinking Allowed:
The weekly social science stop,
Substance and Sociology,
Hole in the Wall,
Moral relativism,
Male Immaturity.

More UChannel Podcast:
Middle East challenges,
Good climate for everyone (global warming),
Robots and War,
Sudan and the fallacy of nationhood,
Against intervention.

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Saturday, April 11, 2009

History since 1715 - UCLA lecture series

The University of California Los Angeles is like San Diego and Berkeley one of those few institutions that bring lectures as podcast each semester and allows us to download independent of iTunes. The UCLA courses come in a large variety of disciplines and many of them are also available on video.

The course I have started, and which has gone off with a good start, is History 1C - Western Civilization 1715-present (feed). As usual, the first lecture is full of administrative stuff that needs to be taken care off before the course can begin, but in stead of skipping this lecture (which is usually a food idea) I'd recommend to stick with it and get some thoughts about the use of words like West, Civilization and Modern.

I always knew you cannot call anything history without it being a history among many other valid ways of narration. Pinpointing any history as being about the West, about a Civilization and about Modern Times, necessarily also carries some political and historic implications, but I hadn't had it specified until now. It turns out that talking of the West, is something that in the US has not been done until WW1. In Europe, lecturer Lynn Hunt claims, this word is not used at all, although I feel this may change very rapidly now. At least in Israel we clearly think as The West being a cultural conglomerate of North-America and Europe which is to be differentiated from the East and the Islam world, although boundaries are not so clear (where does Japan go?). Calling it civilization and modern, demotes elsewhere and since when to a lesser position.

Despite nasty audio trouble, I stuck around for the second and third lecture, where the beginning of the era is tackled from the perspective of how ideas can affect history. We get the Enlightenment and th French Revolution to show this. I hope the audio will improve soon and then this is just the perfect course.

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Sentiments in international relations - NBIH podcast review

New Books in History (NBIH) keeps me excited. Now I have listened to an interview with Robert Hendershot about his latest book Family Spats: Perception, Illusion and Sentimentality in the Anglo-American Special Relationship. Hendershot, in short, concludes that on a sentimental level the US and the UK feel connected and that this keeps the political relationship close, much rather than interests and concurrence in international policy.

Listening to the interview is simply fun. Marshall Poe is a very inspiring interviewer. He is genuinely excited about the book. He has insights in the subject, but makes sure that it is Hendershot who is talking. And talking he does. In a smooth and natural fashion we get from his background to the making of this book. It turns out he already had the feeling that the close relationship of the US with the Brits was more one of a cultural, perceived than of a political, established kind, but the point is: how do you prove such.

The US and the UK have had, at times, bad relationship from a political standpoint. Like for example in 1956 during the Suez Crisis. So how can you show that even then, the two countries feel connected and the storm will pass quickly? It just so happens that because of the Cold War the US government invested in research compiling statistical data about the people's perception of other nations, inside and outside the US. Hendershot had access to these archives and could stave his ideas with hard data.

More NBIH:
Samuel Kassow and the Warsaw Ghetto history,
Ronald Reagan,
Evolution, genetics and history,
Kees Boterbloem about Jan Struys.

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