Sunday, February 28, 2010

New podcasts in February 2010 - Anne is a Man

Four new podcast were reviewed for the first time this month. All of them in the realm of history and three out of the four in European history. It has not only been a quiet month from my part, the readers have also not made new podcast suggestions (as opposed to last month)

Europe from its origins (review, site, feed)
A very commendable enhanced podcast and vodcast that is made by an amateur, but displays professional quality to form as well as content. Host Joe Hogarty explores Europe's roots into the Roman empire and meticulously follows them through to the Middle Ages. This podcast not only tells the tale in a very good way, it also attempts to make the argument that Europe never slid into such level of uncultured backwardness that would justify the treatment of the early Middle Ages as a Dark Age and could contribute Europe's eventual delivery from this alleged barbarian phase solely to intermediaries to the Classical world such as Byzantium and the world of Islam. Part of this argument is also a strong defense against the modern description of the Crusades as the pinnacle of cruelty and destructiveness. And in addition to all this, there is a fine supply of contemporary, if reconstructed, music.

Archaeo News (review, site, feed)
Promotional and informative podcast from a general website about archeology called The Stone Pages. The podcast digs into news items in archeology and does so in a very engaged and lively fashion.

History 151c - The Peculiar Modernity of Britain (Berkeley) (review, site, feed)
Professor James Vernon lectures about recent history of Great Britain.

MMW 5 - Revolution, Industry & Empire (UCSD) (review, site, feed)
Professor Heidi Keller-Lapp lectures about world history during the period 1750-1914. A lot of emphasis is given to the development of political thought, especially on the subject of the social contract.

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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

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Friday, February 26, 2010

Chicken in spinach

I love spinach. The preparation of my childhood years, boiled with salt and served with egg and nutmeg, was my starting point when I started cooking myself, but from there I got to know it in pastry and with meat and poultry. My favorite recipe is chicken in spinach and it took me years to perfect it. Just before I came to Israel, I nearly had it right, but then I had to start all over again as the sort of leaves that are sold here as spinach (תרד [tered]) have a slightly different taste, a different texture and a different behavior while cooking. And even though this blog is dedicated to podcast reviewing, since tonight I will be serving my developed chicken in spinach, I'll post the recipe to you.

Here is what you need (family serving):
1 kg drum sticks or chicken legs (I like to remove the skin)
5 cloves of garlic
2 tomatoes (without the skin)
2 big onions
500 gr spinach (finely cut)
3 cm fresh ginger (crushed)
25 gr butter
two table spoons olive oil
1 tea spoon turmeric
1 tea spoon garam masala
1 tea spoon ground coriander
1 tea spoon ground cardamom
1/2 tea spoon ground cloves
1/2 tea spoon cayenne pepper (reduce this if you do not like your food to be hot)
250 ml cream for cooking (10% fat)
white rice (I use basmati rice)

Put the oil and the butter on low heat. When the butter starts melting add the ginger, salt, half of the turmeric and the other dry spices. Let this simmer for five minutes - be sure not to let the spices burn, let alone scorch. If necessary, add the chicken earlier. When the spices are thoroughly mixed and start to look like a sauce, add the chicken. Go to medium heat and stir fry the chicken until it gets the color of the sauce all over. Then cover the pan and let it simmer on low heat - make sure nothing scorches. In the mean time cut the onions and the skinned tomatoes. First add the cut onions, stir fry them and as soon as the turn shiny, add the tomatoes. Keep stirring. Cut the garlic (do not crush) and add and turn heat low. Let the chicken boil in the sauce. Put on the rice with the other half of the turmeric. When the chicken is nearly well done, add the spinach. Let it all cook on medium heat until both spinach and chicken are done. Turn the heat off and add the cream.

More recipes:
Yellow soup,
Hot and Sour,
Couscous with Chicken,
Rice, minced meat and burnt eggplant,
Fish with couscous,
Chicken pesto with moong dal rice.

And for those who wish to have some podcasts in this post: While cooking, I listened to two BBC podcasts. In Our Time about Calvinism - good to find out where I come from. And this weeks issue of A History of the World in 100 Objects - about five objects of around 2500 years ago. These are the delightful podcasts of the kind the BBC offers consistently. A History of the World, by the way, has announced to on a break for 'a couple of months'.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Historical Jesus (2) - Philip Harland

Here is a quick heads up about the latest section in the podcast series Religions of the Ancient Mediterranean (feed). After I had written about its kick off last month, two new episodes have come out. These are still preliminary. Host Philip Harland takes his time in pointing out what is problematic about the few sources we have. Hopefully, by the next chapter we will get some real reconstruction done.

On a side note: there was a weird comment on the previous post accusing me (or Harland - that is not clear) of:
"Historical Jesus"?!?
Just using this contra-historical oxymoron [...] exposes your Christian-blinkered agenda--dependent upon 4th-century, gentile, Hellenist sources.
The writer then goes on to claim the true identity of Jesus (Ribi Yehoshua) who comes out as an unblemished Jew, including a link to the website of the followers of the Ribi. This gentleman obviously has more agenda than Harland and I have together, but do browse his argument.

More on Religions of the Ancient Mediterranean:
Historical Jesus (1) - Philip Harland,
New Testament, history and literature,
Da Vinci Code,
Early Christianity podcasts.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Indian Rebellion 1857 - BBC, Berkeley, UCLA

In a short a time, three podcast series have started paying attention to the revolt in India in 1857. What began with disconcerted Indian foot-soldiers in the British colonial army - hence the rebellion is also called a mutiny - extended into a broad revolt which eventually even got the Mogul Emperor involved. After the fighting and the massacres neither India nor Britain would be the same.

This week's issue of BBC's In Our Time is dedicated to the Indian Rebellion and it is good to download it by Wednesday, before the shop will close. Melvyn Bragg has his guests pay a lot of attention to the roots of the revolt, to the factuality of the alleged massacres and eventually to the change it brought about. In Berkeley's course History 151c (The Peculiar Modernity of Britain) (feed) the perspective is obviously on Britain and the 5th lecture (The triumph of liberalism 1848/1857) deals among others with the Indian Rebellion and how it turned Britain into an empire and Queen Victoria into an empress.

UCLA's course on the History of British India, has countless references to the revolt and points to it in many of the lectures over and over again as the major turning point in British rule over India. Although the revolt failed, it spawned Indian nationalism and it is the first sign that this foreign rule on the subcontinent is not going to last. (feed)

Image: Wikimedia commons

More BBC
More Berkeley

Friday, February 19, 2010

Stay tuned, I will be back

As you surely have noticed, I have not been blogging for the last week. The reason was, and is, that I am struck by a rather stubborn cold, that has me partly incapacitated. I have not been listening to new podcasts and I have not had the energy to convert what prepared posts I had to published posts. However, I am on my way out and hope to be back in form after the weekend.


Saturday, February 13, 2010

Hans Galjaard - Het Marathon Interview

Het jaar 1989 had een ruim aanbod van gedenkwaardige Marathon Interviews. Zojuist verscheen in de nieuwe feed van VPRO's Het Marathoninterview alweer vijf uur om meteen op te halen en te beluisteren: Het interview met Hans Galjaard. Toen ik het interview besprak in 2007 (uit de oude feed van de VPRO), bleek dat het gesprek aan actualiteit niet had ingeboet. Ziehier:

Het marathoninterview met Hans Galjaard wordt overschaduwd door de televisieserie van Wim Kayzer Beter dan God. Hans Galjaard werd in die serie geinterviewd en dat bracht zoveel teweeg dat er twee jaar later in het marathoninterview opnieuw voortdurend aan gerefereerd wordt. In 2005 werd er in Holland Doc over nagepraat (video-stream) en ik heb er ook even naar gekeken om na te gaan hoe actueel het oude marathon interview nog was.

Eigenlijk ten overvloede, omdat het interview hoe dan ook fascinered was. Galjaard geeft aan dat hij het als onderzoeker veel te druk heeft om zich in alle ethische aspecten van zijn werk te verdiepen. Hij spreekt ook zijn zorg uit, dat bij de ethische hetze van die in de media steeds opsteekt, als bijgevolg zal hebben, dat de onderzoeker niet meer openheid van zaken zal geven. Anno 2007 kennen we de hetze nog steeds. Anno 2007 is noodzakelijkerwijs te technolgie razendsnel voortgegaan en men zal mogen geloven wat Galjaard al in 1989 ervoer: de technoloog heeft zich met ethiek niet beziggehouden. Hoe erg zijn de ethiek en de technologie nog verder uit elkaar gedreven?

Ik zie hoe moeilijk het is om achter de stand van de techniek te komen. In podcasts kom je wel eens technologen tegen en die vertellen dan wat er mogelijk is en niet meer. Toen ik op zoek ging naar podcasts die de ethiek bespraken, kwam ik niet verder dan de zwaar aangezette Christelijke podcast Bioethical Podcast. Als dat representatief is, dan is dat precies de realiteit waar Galjaard voor vreesde. De ethici in dit beeld, zijn fundamentalistische Christenen die op voorhand hun mening al klaar hebben en dus meer aan hetze dan dialoog doen. En de techneut, kent de taal van ethiek niet. En wat is er terechtgekomen van het sociaal-wetenschappelijke onderzoek waar Galjaard om vroeg, daar kom ik niet achter.

Hoe hard de ontwikkelingen ook gegaan zijn, het gesprek lijkt na 18 jaar nog zeer relevant.

Meer Het Marathon Interview:
Bert ter Schegget,
Lea Dasberg,
Rudi Kross,
Ina Muller van Ast,
Jan Wolkers.

Friday, February 12, 2010

A recent history of Yemen - Rear Vision

Here is a quick recommendation to the podcast Rear Vision from Australia's ABC. This is a very informative program that gives historical background to current issues. It compiles the explanations and thought from two or three specialists that are interviewed for the show.

A good example that would want to recommend was the show about A history of modern Yemen. In which Dr. Elham Manea (University of Zurich) and Dr. Paul Dresch (University of Oxford) retell the volatile political history of Yemen in the last 50 years. It shows how Yemen was the stage for proxy wars, not just between the opponents of the Cold War, but also between the regional players Saudi Arabia and Egypt. This chaos latched onto a much older phenomenon in the Yemenite history: religion. The resulting narrative is meant to explain how Yemen became a place where Islamist terrorists find their refuge and education. If that explanatory goal of the story is not entirely met, you should try and find out by yourself. It sort of went past me as I became much more interested in the earlier narratives of this old, old country.

Another chapter of Rear Vision that I just heard and enjoyed, was the show about Illegal immigration into Europe. Here you will learn that illegal immigration is first and foremost an issue of policy and political definition rather then one of physical trespassing. Most immigrants arrive legally, but attain illegal status by overstaying their visa or obtain employment beyond the limitations of their visa, or are refugees that forged the reason for flight. It becomes clear Europe is the economic magnet that knows not how to deal with the millions that are attracted.

More Rear Vision:
A history of the Israeli-Arab conflict,
Fish depletion,
Follow up on Iran and Versailles.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Revolution, Industry & Empire - UCSD

Last October, I wrote a post about the modern history courses that are available from Berkeley, Yale, UCLA and UCSD. To sum them up quickly History 5 at Berkeley, European Civilization at Yale, History 1c at UCLA and then there was MMW 4 at UCSD, with the proviso that this course started earlier and went on to the beginning of modern history.

To complete the picture from UCSD, one needs to follow this semester MMW 5 (feed), which incidentally goes on until 1914, so eventually it takes MMW 6 to top it off. As usual with UCSD, one must take heed and download the course this semester as it will be taken off line immediately afterward.

The title MMW 5 got is Revolution, Industry & Empire and the time frame is 1750-1914. Obviously this means French Revolution, Industrial Revolution and Imperialism. The lecturer Professor Heidi Keller-Lapp makes sure you get a good handle on the 18th century landscape of political philosophy, especially on the three thinkers about Social Contract: Hobbes, Locke and Rousseau. Consequently, the first lectures (I have made it through to lecture 7 of the current 16 available), are exclusively about these three thinkers and there is hardly any historical narrative delivered. I have been told though that this is certain to come and in addition to the French Revolution, there will also be talk of the American Revolution and a lecture about the Haitian Revolution (which was delivered around the time the earthquake nearly wiped out this country). In short this is one lecture series to have.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Europe from its origins - A history of Europe

Here is a podcast I have recently discovered and about which I am very excited: Europe from its origins (feed). The first 10 episodes in the podcast are enhanced podcasts. These are m4a files with slides inside. When you listen to this podcast on iTunes or in iPod, you can view the slides as you go. You can also navigate between chapters within the podcast. As of episode 11, it is a vodcast (m4v format) and the visuals are much more lively than the previous slideshows. But basically, you get a sectioned monologue by presenter Joe Hogarty who takes you from the 4th to the 13th century CE and does a splendid job in showing the transition from the western half of the Roman Empire into Medieval Europe.

Although Hogarty's reading is a bit monotonous, the podcast relatively easy to follow. The sections are short and interspersed, not only by the slides, also by good and fitting musical bytes. Thus Hogarty gets us into the perspective of the inhabitants of the Roman west and how they continued their social, political, religious and military enterprise as the Roman Empire receded. (I deliberately do not write of the fall of the empire) Nevertheless, while we stay in this perspective, we are updated extensively of what happens in the Eastern half of the Empire, that is Byzantium, and also, importantly, how the Islamic forces rise and develop a powerful neighbor to the Roman east and the post-Roman west.

Apart from the narrative, Hogarty also presents discussion of the underlying themes and issues as they can be summarized and interpreted. As a consequence, he helps to fit the chronology within the conceptual framework of how Europe developed from the Roman empire and it makes for an excellent preparation to Modern History -the European Era of world history- courses such as Berkeley's History 5, Yale's European Civilization, UCSD's MMW 5 (currently running so check the feed) and UCLA's History 1c that connect the late Middle Ages, the Renaissance and the Reformation, through Englightenment, the French Revolution, Industrialization, Imperialism, Nationalism onto modernity, which in a way marks arguably the recession of Europe.

More Medieval History:
12 Byzantine Rulers,
Byzantine Empire (UCSD),
Medieval Heritage (UCSD - Chamberlain),
Medieval Heritage (UCSD - Herbst),
Norman Centuries.

More Modern History:
Industrial Revolutions,
Modern Western History in podcasts,
History 1c (UCLA),
History 5 (Berkeley).

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Nation and Culture - NBIH

As a citizen of Israel, I am always engaged in understanding the history of the state of Israel, of Zionism and of Judaism as a culture. As a consequence, when I listened to Marshall Poe's interview with Kenneth Moss at New Books in History, I heard all history of Zionism and of Judaism as a culture. However, Kenneth Moss's book is about Russia: Jewish Renaissance in the Russian Revolution.

Still, this was all about a renaissance of Jewish culture and a struggle with the question whether, if there was a Jewish nation, what made it a nation or how it could be constructed and preserved. Did it need a unified language and a geographical nation state in addition? Listen to the interview as this is one of the most exciting questions and the Jews serve as an example to a much deeper question. I can testify that in many ways, even today when there is a geographical nation state for Jews in Israel and it has a unified language (Hebrew), these questions are still not (fully) resolved.

More profoundly it makes me wonder how could ever have taken the nation state as a self-explanatory thing. The example of the Jews show how essentially it is constructed or in other terms an imaginary unity. As imaginary for Jews as it is for seemingly unproblematic nations such as France, as you can learn in the Yale courses by John Merriman European Civilization and France since 1871 - by the way.

More NBIH:
Three New Books In History,
The fourth part of the world,
How the Soviet system imploded,
Vietnam War perspectives,
1989 - Padraic Kenney.

More Merriman:
France since 1871,
History of India or Europe?,
Industrial Revolutions,
Modern Western History in podcasts.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Where is the new look going?

In order to cramp down on the overhead my non-standard blogging template entails, I want to change to a standard Blogger template and therefore, the look of this blog will change. I would love to find what you think on the potential looks.

I have set up three sample blogs. Two of them have stretching templates, which means they adapt their width to your window. One has the sidebar to the left, the other to the right. A third blog will show a fixed width; not the standard 700-800 pixels, but rather I tweaked it to around 1000.

Blog 1: Stretched with sidebar to the left

Blog 2: Stretched with sidebar to the right

Blog 3: Fixed width with sidebar to the right

Let me know your preference.

Aftermath of victory - Historyzine

Last November Historyzine told the tale of the Battle of Ramillies and a little over a week ago the next episode came out and in it host Jim Mowatt spoke of the aftermath of the battle of Ramillies. And what I have learned here is that it is one thing to win a battle, it is quite the challenge to shape such victory in true military and diplomatic advantage.

Jim Mowatt continues his tale mostly from the perspective of his main character the Duke of Marlborough and his genius, not just to win close military encounters such as the Battle of Ramillies, but also in diplomatic endeavors. Marlborough in 1706 may have brought home a great victory, but the military advantage still needed to be capitalized. The French may have been defeated, but they still held Antwerp and Ostend. While the duke let his troops engage in a rush to the sea capturing as much of the land, he also needed to ensure that the fragile alliance of English, Dutch and Austrians was maintained and the contention turned out to be the Spanish Netherlands (Belgium) - who was to inherit the rule over these realms? To appoint one to rule, may put the other off...

As usual, Jim Mowatt offers additional content such as podcast reviews and linguistic trivia. Especially good was the last subject, which delves into the expression 'wrong end of the stick'. I like the way Jim presents the various explanations available and then argue for his own preference. The only minor issue may be, for some listeners, is that the background music is a bit imposing. Personally I have no problem with it, but I have heard of criticism on this point. Maybe Jim should play the music at a slightly lesser volume.

More Historyzine:
The Battle of Ramillies,
Winter diplomacy,
The lines of Brabant,
Historyzine at its best,
The battle of Blenheim.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Stone Pages Archaeo News podcast

It showed again in my Friday post: the majority of podcasts I listen to are history podcasts. And in this respect I am an omnivore - I like to listen to all history podcasts. I have no preference for any era or type of history. The reason is as simple as why I like maps: I like to be oriented. I like to know where I am, in space and in time.

Therefore I like to also keep an eye on blogs that summarize history news such as A Blog About History. And in the realm of archeology and ancient history there are the Stone Pages. The Stone Pages have a news rubric, as a blog, but also as a podcast Archaeo News (feed) The news is read by David Connolly in a very lively fashion. There seems to be an emphasis on news from the British Isles, but that may be on account of the available sources.

Archeo News is a very nice podcast to get updates on various tidbits in archeology findings as reported in the media and collected by the Stone Pages. Other than A Blog About History, Archaeo News does a little bit more than just repeating a central paragraph in the found news time. Connolly takes the presented findings and puts them in a quick historic perspective.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Mohammed Jabri - Simek 's Nachts uit 2005

De podcasts van Simek 's Nachts zijn podfaded en mijn pogingen om op het internet de files van het programma op te sporen zijn meestal mislukt. Een van de interviews waar nog wel eens naar gevraagd wordt is het dubbel interview dat Martin Simek in 2005 met Mohammed Jabri had. Op het internet archief vond ik de oude webpagina over deze confrontatie tussen Simek en Jabri.

Een confrontatie is het vooral in het eerste uur. Jabri wordt geleidelijk het gesprek steeds negatiever over 'Nederlanders' en verklaart met een superieure air van vanzelfsprekendheid dat zijn vriendin uiteraard een Marokkaanse is. Toch gaat het hier om Marrokkanen met een Nederlands paspoort en die in Nederland geboren, dan wel opgegroeid zijn en Simek meent daarom een valse tegenstelling te bespeuren en pint Jabri vast op de kwestie om het Nederlandse te definieren en aan te geven waarin hij dan niet Nederlands is. En waarom hij beter is. Wanneer Jabri dan vervalt in onduidelijke en ontwijkende cliches, kapt Simek hem kattig af en roept uit: "Ik verveel me met jou."

Dat het dan geen handgemeen wordt, verbaasde mij niet, maar de regie had het toch te kwaad. En achteraf leek dit interview mislukt. Niettemin kwamen Jabri en Simek tot een vergelijk: om nog een uur interview te doen en de ruzie uit te praten en om duidelijkheid te scheppen. Het resultaat is een zinderend en facinerend tweeluik waarvan het meer dan jammer is dat het is weggeraakt. Op indirecte wijze zijn deze en nog een paar andere files opgedoken, van podcast lusiteraars die ze bewaard hebben en bereid zijn te delen. Er is zelfs een Huffduffer feed.

Friday, February 5, 2010

The Friday portion for Anne is a Man

Every other Friday we clean our home and that means I get some six hours of pretty uninterrupted podcast listening done. Here I will give you an idea what I listened to this morning. Most of these podcasts will soon get a more extensive review.

MMW 5 - Revolution, Industry & Empire (UCSD) - I nearly missed out on the fact that this course is brought this semester. Professor Heidi Keller-Lapp is lecturing about world history between (roughly) 1750 and 1914 (feed). The goal is to show how in this period Europe came to dominate the world. This is a lecture course that one could listen to in conjunction with History 5 from Berkeley, History 1c from UCLA and European Civilization from Yale (see my post on Courses in Modern History) and get a very complete academic picture.

In Our Time (BBC) - This week's show about Ibn Khaldun. Very interesting as usual. I admire Melvyn Bragg's facility to get the job done in 40 minutes.

Europe from its Origins - A new history podcast I recently discovered (feed). This is a series on enhanced podcasts and vodcasts about the early history of Europe. Host Joe Hogarty gives a bit of a monotonous reading, but other than that does an impressive job in making the bridge between the Romans and the Middle Ages. Today I finished the fifth lecture in which he arrived at Charles Martell. Hogarty is the first to have taught me in such a clear fashion how the Western Roman world shifted to western Europe and gradually developed into the Europe we know from more familiar history - say the Late Middle Ages and the Renaissance.

Next I listened a bit to two lectures but eventually skipped them. The third lecture of the Berkeley Series about Human Rights and the Tenth lecture in the UCSD series about the Byzantine Empire.

Then I heard the fifth lecture in History 151c The peculiar modernity of Britain (Berkeley) which is a very interesting and entertaining series with Professor James Vernon (feed). This lecture among others dealt with the Indian Revolt of 1857 which made for some fine comparative material with two series by Professor Vinay Lal at UCLA. (see also review by DIY Scholar)

And if it had to be like that, the next lecture was by Lal The History of British India (UCLA) the lecture of last Tuesday (2 February). Here Lal arrives at what promises to be the most interesting part of his series: the colonialism with knowledge. This is also the subject of his doctorate. He will show how the British colonialized also by colonializing the realm of knowledge. And in many ways one may argue that until this day the colonialzed knowledge still rules, that is, in this world in which Britain is no longer a power and the Western hegemony is receding, the Western style science is still an unchallenged authority. I am sure Lal will arrive at this point as well.

Eventually I heard a bit of France Since 1871 (Yale) in which Professor John Merriman started a lecture about the French culture of drink. But then my time was up and I will have to continue later.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Indus Seal - World History in Objects

Didn't I just ask for more podcasts on the Indus Valley Civilization? (History of India - the search goes on; towards the end of the post) Here was yet another one. In the series A History of the World in 100 Objects (BBC) in the subsection about the first cities and states (4000-2000 BCE) there was an item from the Indus Valley: Indus Seal.

Add this to the few other references we have in podcast (see below) and the information is about as scarce and far apart as the data in the Indus Valley Civ itself. Nevertheless I am immensely fascinated by the Indus Valley and it appears I am not the only one. I guess any mystery civilization is mesmerizing, whether it is probably fictional like Atlantis, or whether it disappeared and its traces were discovered only now as with the Indus Valley Civ. Besides, when you know so little, all the more your imagination can add.

And here, I find, everybody who is fascinated appears to project into IVC what occupies him most. How factual is the assumption the IVC collapsed of climate change; or is that rather projection? How factual is the assumption that IVC was very rational and egalitarian? And when we make assumptions where the IVC people went, apart from factual, this may be very political. Does India have roots in IVC? Does Hinduism? Or do the Dravidians of South-India? Eventually all these projections tend to become political.

The IVC cities appear to have been vast and sophisticated. Their system of measures quite universal and accurate. The area they covered vast and this means probably a lot is still to be found. Among others, the script is in need of deciphering. We know the script from captions and seals, which offer little to go on. And although the script has been found as far as Mesopotamia, there is no Rosetta Stone, that is, no bilingual artifact. And so we are still left to conjecture and thus to our dreams, projections and wishful thinking.

More Indus Valley Civ:
The Story of India BBC,
History of India UCLA,
Engines of our Ingenuity,
David Kalivas World History.

More A World History in 100 Objects (in short: AHOW):
First AHOW Review.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Your opinion on a new look for Anne is a Man

I keep playing with the regular templates in order to find out if they can fit for the blog. Reader Gerald left a comment and recommended taking a stretched template with a header picture. Stretch in this respect means that the width of the blog is adapted to the size of your browser window. That seems like a fine idea, especially since all commenters on the fixed width example I showed previously complained the blog got too narrow.

So take a look here and let me know what you think. And if any of you have some idea how I can make the header picture to stretch as well, that would be great.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Three issues of Speaking of Faith

APM's Speaking of Faith with Krista Tippett is a radio program and podcast that I do not listen to all the time, but I keep a close eye on whatever comes up in the feed. And then I try to to pick out issues that appeal to me most. And if I did not think to pick myself, it happens frequently that a reader of the blog alerts me to one of the SOF releases - as happened again recently.

I had already discarded the idea of listening to The Meaning of Intelligence even though the subject on intelligence and how ideas of intelligence are constructed have my interest. It seemed out of place in a show about faith, but than my reader rescued me. Of course, the construction of intelligence is about faith. We have placed faith in intelligence and a very specific kind of school-intelligence at that. Krista Tippett's guest Mike Rose tells of his research and uncovering of other kinds of intelligence and our inconsistent cultural appreciation of it. How can we be anti-intellectual and yet at the same time under-appreciate the practical skills, the handiwork and the amazing intelligence that comes with that and place our esteem and aspiration so singularly on the main stream intellectual academic intelligence? And what do we lose in the process?

Quite interesting were also two other recent issues that I listened through entirely. In Reflections of a former Islamist extremist Tippett spoke with Briton Ed Husain and how he struggled with his mixed Muslem and British identity and how this got him close to Islamism and made him recoil afterward. In Whale songs and Elephant love the guest was biologist Kate Payne who tells about the complexity of communication between large mammals and apart from reflecting this she also relates about her depression and how all of this meaningfully came together.

More Speaking of Faith:
Preserving Ojibwe,
The story and God,
Fragility and Humanity,
The Sunni-Shia divide and the future of Islam,
Wangari Maathai.

Bert ter Schegget - Het Marathon Interview

Het jaar 1989 had een ruim aanbod van gedenkwaardige Marathon Interviews. Zojuist verscheen in de nieuwe feed van VPRO's Het Marathoninterview alweer vijf uur om meteen op te halen en te beluisteren: Het interview met Bert ter Schegget. Toen het uitkwam in de oude feed, heb ik het ook al besproken:

Wat rechtvaardigt het marathoninterview als zodanig? Wat maakt het beter dat de interviewer en geinterviewde niet een half uur of een uur, maar vier, vijf uur bij elkaar zitten om met elkaar te spreken? En dat terwijl de luisteraar zonder enige verdere redactie kan meeluisteren? Er zijn er in de serie marathoninterviews van de VPRO waar de lengte mij een bezwaar lijkt. Of waar het interview eigenlijk een opeenstapeling van meerdere interviews is.

Het interview dat Hans Simonse met Bert ter Schegget had op 11 augustus 1989 is echter een voorbeeld van een natuurlijk voortgaand gesprek, waar de grote verdienste van de tijdsduur is dat het gesprek ook echt de diepte in gaat. De complexe positie van de theoloog en ethicus Ter Schegget tussen Christendom en atheisme, tussen linkse maatschappijkritiek en ook deel van de maatschappij zijn. Uiteindelijk komt er ook fikse kritiek op het liberale pluralisme, dat in 1989 misschien nog heel erg outlandish klonk, terwijl het anno 2007 veel duidelijker is wat Bert daar nu eigenlijk mee bedoeld heeft.

Daarbij gaat het over ethiek in verhouding tot technologie, over tolerantie en multiculturalisme en de afwijzing van bepaalde opvattingen (het voorbeeld Rushdie komt aan de orde). Je zou het interview wel drie keer moeten beluisteren om in de tentatieve, zoekende en intens subtiele opvattingen van Bert ter Schegget antwoorden besloten liggen die vandaag meer dan ooit actueel zijn.

Meer Het Marathon Interview:
Lea Dasberg,
Rudi Kross,
Ina Muller van Ast,
Jan Wolkers,
Henk Hofland (o.a.).

Monday, February 1, 2010

An uncertain wind of change

Normally this would be the podcast list for February 2010. 370 podcasts reviewed in a long, long list, but as of now I will stop making these monthly posts. For one, I felt the list was becoming too long and unwieldy. Another point to take into account is that some of the podcasts on the list are podfaded. And lastly, why deliver the whole list over and over again, when in time, the percentage of change in it is getting smaller and smaller.

I have been thinking about this for much more time than just recently. But what has pushed me over the line and made me decide to stop delivering this monthly post is that my blog provider, Blogspot / Blogger / Google has added new functionality: static pages. This was exactly what I had been looking for and what I have forcibly inserted into the blogs with the foreign template that has been in use for nearly two years now.

First of all this means that the podcast list will still be around for who is interested, and I will regularly update it. Second, this means I want to change templates and start using one from the official offering of Blogger, so that I will be able to adapt to new features in the future and not be rendered with an obsolete template as I am now.

So check with the podcast list and with other static pages (see the list on the left bar of the blog) that are up now, or will be soon and help me choose the new template by leaving feedback. I need the feedback as I am very unsure about which template to choose. Soon I will write about the options open. Stay tuned.