Thursday, July 30, 2009

Interfaith and Compassion - Karen Armstrong on UChannel

UChannel podcast reproduced a lecture by Karen Armstrong, that originated from the RSA, Why Interfaith? There is whole lot one can learn from, an be inspired by Armstrong's talk. I'll try to pick a few points.

What bothers me daily in institutionalized religious traditions as they come to me, is that they are so vindictively exclusivist. In Armstrong's discovery of religions, they are not exclusive by their nature. The traditions, obviously and inevitably have been co opted by dignitaries with a political agenda. They have squandered the spiritual for the numbing rituals and dogmas. But that is not what religions were made for and not what they support people for. Karen says it better than I do.

Interfaith is a concept of dialog among the religions and in this and in her studies, Karen Armstrong claims to have found a central rule that is shared by all, the good old Golden Rule - not to do unto others what you do want them to do unto you. Or in a positive notion, the value of compassion. She pleads for individuals and communities of all walks of life to tap into this value of compassion and thus reach out to each other. This would create a channel for rapprochement and some chance of beginning to resolve the disrupted relations, to counter fundamentalism and create a collective platform for addressing global issues of peace and the fatal threats to our environment. She plans on having a worldwide action by the end of 2009, where across religions people and communities will sign a Charter For Compassion.

More Karen Armstrong:
Speaking of Faith and TED.

More UChannel Podcast:
Talent is overrated,
Ronald Reagan, a rebel,
Disasters and Peace,
Enclosing the commons of the mind,
Middle East challenges.

Thanks for all the fish - Rear Vision

The program Rear Vision of Australia's ABC is a very good history of current events program. It digs into the necessary background information you need to have in order to get a proper historic grip on what goes on in the news.

One of its recent issues addresses a specific problem with the oceans: fish depletion. There is more with the pollution that, according to what I have heard on other podcasts (for example on an LSE Event about the Costs of Climate Change), with climate change make that the ocean are almost beyond salvation. With this in mind the history of fish depletion leaves you bereft of hope. Rear vision doesn't touch upon pollution and the greater climate problems at all; it just maps the way humans have devastated the fish population by over-fishing.

It is not just technology and increased demand that goes to explain this. Rear vision shows also how the developments of industrialization and capital investment created an industry that was impossible to get a grip on. The fact the oceans are vast and nobody's direct property or responsibility, only added to the matter. And this means that when by the 1960's the first signals of depletion became clear and attempts were made by policymakers to counter-act, their efforts were largely ineffective. It is just one more story that shows we have to radically change our perception of our environment and our responsibility for it.

More Rear Vision:
Follow up on Iran and Versailles,
Versailles 1919,
Iran 1953,

Wanhoff's Wonderful World of Wissenschaft

A charming and excellent science news podcast in German is Wanhoffs Wunderbare Welt der Wissenschaft (feed). Host Thomas Wanhoff is a German who lives in Vietnam and manages to stay updated on the latest science and technology developments and produce a weekly podcast on the subjects he chooses.

Wanhofs episodes have an ideal length for monologue podcasts (up to 20 minutes). He covers three or four subjects which he explains in a clear and concise manner. There are music and sounds inserted in a modest and befitting manner; mostly it is just the intro.

His treatment is goes beyond delivering the subjects as news items. When relevant he will relate to the subject. This will consist of his own thoughts, or something about how he found out about the subject and acquired updates. When necessary, he will also follow up and reply to questions. Wanhoff can be followed also on Facebook and Twitter. All of this together makes for a real community feel to the podcast.

More German science podcasts:
Ersatz TV (science vodcast),
Fraunhofer podcast (applied science),
Der Sonntagssoziologe (sociology),
Skythenpodcast (history)
Geschichtspodcast (history).

Ersatz TV from the Underground

The latest from Ersatz TV. Every two weeks a great new video.

More Ersatz TV:
The way of the plants,
The experts love Ersatz TV,
Deja-vu on Ersatz-TV,
The science of Ersatz TV,
Erzatz TV - German Vodcast.