Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Heads-up for 31 August 2010

TED Talks
The Happy Planet Index - Nic Marks (2010)
Statistician Nic Marks asks why we measure a nation's success by its productivity -- instead of by the happiness and well-being of its people. He introduces the Happy Planet Index, which tracks national well-being against resource use (because a happy life doesn't have to cost the earth). Which countries rank highest in the HPI? You might be surprised.
(review, feed)

Witness (BBC)
Libya Coup: In the early hours of September 1st 1969, a group of Libyan army officers took power from the ruling monarch, King Idris. Among them a young soldier called Muammar Qadhafi. Witness hears from two Libyans who lived through those heady events.
(review, feed)

New podcasts in August 2010 - Anne is a Man

Newly reviewed podcasts this month:

Ideas (CBC) (review, site, feed)
Philosophy program on Canadian radio

Reading Marx's Capital (CUNY) (review, site, feed)
David Harvey's close reading course of Das Kapital (2008 podcast).

Witness (BBC) (review, site, feed)
Nine minute issues paying attention to an occurrence in history close to this date. Combined with historic narration are the words of one or more witnesses to the event.

Hidden Heritage (review, site, feed)
Three podcasts about Irish history

Bhagavad Gita (Librivox) (review, site, feed)
A reading on an English translation from the Gita by Sir Edwin Arnold.

The State We're In (RNW) (review, site, feed)
Dutch documentary radio in English

Documentary on one (RTE) (review, site, feed)
Documentary radio from Ireland

History of Iran (Columbia) (review, site, feed)
A 2008 history course by Richard Bulliet. Iranian history from prehistory to the Safavid period (18th century).

Monday, August 30, 2010

Heads-up for 30 August 2010

Ideas (CBC)
The Morbid Age
In Britain, the time between World Wars 1 and 2 was filled with anxiety and fear. Many thinkers thought civilization was facing a terminal crisis. Historian Richard Overy chronicles those anxious years.
(review, feed)

Dan Carlin's Hardcore History
Show 35 - Death Throes of the Republic II
Disaster threatens the Republic, but the cure might be worse than the disease. "The Dan Carlin version" of this story continues with ambition-addict Marius dominating the story and Plutarch dominating the sources.
(review, feed)

Daniel Pink on Drive, Motivation, and Incentives: Daniel Pink, author of Drive, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about drive, motivation, compensation, and incentives. Pink discusses the implications of using monetary rewards as compensation in business and in education. Much of the conversation focuses on the research underlying the book, Drive, research from behavioral psychology that challenges traditional claims by economists on the power of monetary and other types of incentive. The last part of the conversation turns toward education and the role of incentives in motivating or demotivating students.
(review, feed)

Problem with iPod: remove iTunesU files

UPDATED with two more methods - see below (including the BEST method so far)
ADDITIONAL: In iTunes 11 the problem is resolved - How to delete iTunesU files from iPod
If you are using an iPod to listen to iTunesU content you must have already run into this problem. iPod does not handle iTunesU files very well. They are not handily organized and if you want to remove those files after use, you will have a very hard time doing so.

The problem started when iTunes no longer stuck iTunesU files in the podcast rubric and created an independent iTunesU folder for this category. It was forgotten to have an iTunesU folder on the iPod as well. As of that moment you would go look for your iTunesU files on the PC in the iTunesU folder and on your iPod in the Music folder. For playing this might be a bit bothersome, but not ultimately problematic, especially if you use playlist. However, for deleting files, you have to connect the iPod to the PC and use the PC interface to access the iPod. Here is the catch.

Since iPod has no iTunesU folder and iTunes on the PC does not take iTunesU files to be Music files, they simply are nowhere to be found. In case you have put the files on a playlist, they are seen there, but that is not where they sit. Or, in other words, if you delete the files from the playlist, they simply are no longer listed, but they still reside on the iPod. They take up space, but you can no longer find them. As a consequence, over time, your iPod will become clogged with redundant iTunesU files.

Until iTunes fixes this, there is no easy solution to the problem. But there are a few workarounds I have applied with success, although they all have their own drawbacks.

1. Recategorize to Music
Keep your iTunesU files on a playlist. Select them by right-click and choose 'Get Info'. This will open up a set of tabs which contain the definitions for the selected file (multi-selection is allowed). Go to the 'Options' tab and change the category from iTunesU to Music. Save the change and now the files show up in the Music folder in the PC interface. Now you can select and delete the files.

In case you have iTunesU files that are no longer on a playlist, you can use your iPod to stick them back there. Disconnect the iPod from the PC, find the files on iPod in Music and give them a long click with the wheel center. You will be offered to option to add the files to the 'On-The-Go'-list. Agree to put the files on that list and then connect to PC again. The 'On-The-Go'-list appears in the PC interface and from here you can select the files and change their category to Music.

- Some iTunesU files cannot have their category changed - they remain hidden and therefore cannot be deleted.
- iTunesU videos cannot be changed to music. They can be changed to Podcast or Video, but they still will not show up in the PC interface under these folders - they remain hidden and therefore cannot be deleted.

2. Use the file system to access iPod
In stead of addressing the iPod through iTunes, connect the iPod to the PC and browse to it through the file system. Find the removable drive that is your iPod. It sits, for example under E: and then browse through to E:\iPod_Control\Music. Note that this is a hidden folder, so you will have to set your file browsing to show hidden folders. E:\iPod_Control\Music will have a number of subfolders, each containing music files with encrypted names. The trick is to read around the encryption and identify exactly which file is which and then delete the iTunesU files you want to.

- This is difficult. You have to know what you are doing and be able to identify the files. In addition, this is a long and bothersome process.
- Your iPod will soon afterwards require a 'soft' reset as its datafile system has gone mildly corrupted. You have deleted files without the interference of iTunes and so -I guess- some of the indexes have gone wrong. Only after the reset the clogged memory will have been released. There may be some data loss though - I had to redo the synching of my iPod with regards to pictures.
Bottom-line: do not do this unless you have to, you know what you are doing and you can handle the system hick-ups that follow.

3. Hard reset
Restore your iPod to factory settings.

- Not only do you lose your iTunesU files, you lose all the others as well
- You also lose customized settings to the iPod
Bottom-line: this method is clean and effective, but it takes some work afterwards in order to shape your iPod menus and settings back to where you like them and put back all the files you want on the pod.

Do any of you know other ways to tackle this problem? Please let us know.

For me, the conclusion is clear this is a major flaw in iTunes. I have seen quite a number of complaints about this in the Apple user forums, but the developers have yet to respond. So I guess it may take some time for an iTunes update that will solve it. Until then: use iTunesU as little as possible; try to subscribe to its content as Podcast if you can. If not, carefully apply the above methods. Good luck.

I have now learned of a 4th method: synchronizing iTunesU
Here is the 5th method (the best one in my opinion): Subscribe to iTunesU feeds as Podcast

Reported podcasts Summer 2010 - Anne is a Man


I ran into your review site tonight. Very impressive and insightful reviews.

We have an ongoing sociology podcast that we would love to get your feedback sometime. We've been going for about a year and a half and have close to 50 episodes. We discuss recent research done by sociologists and social scientists more broadly and interview researchers who we think are doing interesting work. Our goal is to make sociology accessible and interesting for the broader public.

We're located in the society pages domain and the podcast is called office hours

Hi Anne,

My name is Liam O'Brien and just thought I'd touch base given your interest in all things podcast - I'm over radio documentaries in RTE - Ireland's public service broadcaster - we podcast and broadcast new radio docs every week. All our documentaries are radio stories about real life.

I'm just pointing you in our direction with a view to perhaps being featured within your blogspot?

We podcast at least twice weekly and have a huge variety available of docs available - we currently have over 450 radio documentaries for podcast/listen online and all with no charge - all our material is made available for free as we're a public service broadcaster.
All podcasts are available from our homepage http://www.rte.ie/doconone , through our itunes store or via our own dedicated iphone app (which is also free). We podcast 1 new full length doc each week (c. 38mins) and 1 new short documentary (c. 11mins) from our sister series 'The Curious Ear'. In addition, we regularly upload extra podcasts as we trawl through the best of our docs from the archives (we're going since 1987)

We've won countless national and international awards over the years (27 in the last 2 yrs alone), the biggest of which was winning the Prix Europa last year - the biggest radio documentary competition in the world. We were also awarded a Gold Medal at this year's Irish Digital Media Awards for 'Best in Podcasting'.
I know awards only really matter in the 'corporate' world and mean little to the listener/user - it's just to give you an idea of our standards etc

So, if you think you might be interested in featuring us in anyway and/or if you've some questions, please don't hesitate to ask and I'll get back to you asap. All our relevant links are included below.

All the best and thanks a million,


Liam O'Brien,
Series Producer - Documentary on One,
RTÉ Radio 1,


DysfunctionalParrot said...

I guess I'll take a stab at self promotion. In all fairness, I'm somewhat of an upstart production and not really well known...yet!

The podcast covers news,politics,religion and comes from the angle of a cynical, pragmatic Christian worldview.


I'm just looking for some honest feedback.


Hello Anne

My name is Devyn, and i would like to submit an amazing local podcast, that i love, for review.
It is a cast made of a table of "Misfits" all attending UT dallas in different degree programs.
They discuss topics from the news, to life, all the way to answering "letters," and giving advice to listeners.

Each of them have a different view on almost everything, and it helps that they all are funny.
It is a interesting, hilarious, great podcast that i think many would enjoy.


i hope you enjoy. I sure do



I'd like to point your attention towards our podcast, The Chronic Rift, a weekly podcast on news, reviews, interviews, and discussion of pop culture. The show is based on our popular New York public access show of the nineties. Our show is broken down into three types of programs, In Review, Spotlight, and Roundtable with a heavy emphasis on science fiction, fantasy, horror, and comic art. The In Review episode (once a month) features reviews and discussion of various aspects of pop culture. Our Spotlight episodes (twice a month) features interviews and special events (such as Roundtable Awards and Match Game episodes). Our Roundtable episode (once a month) takes one aspect of pop culture where we discuss it with a fan and a professional. We recently began an after show program called The Post-Mortem After Party in which our hosts and any guests continue their conversations and quite often take up new topics. You can only download these episodes (two so far) on the home page.

We are quickly approaching our 100th episode and would love to hear your thoughts on the program.

You can find the iTunes feed here - http://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-chronic-rift/id335527588

Or you can access episodes on our Mevio site - http://chronicrift.mevio.com.

You can learn more about the show by visiting our home page - http://www.chronicrift.com.

My thanks, in advance, for your time and consideration on the matter.

John S. Drew

Hi Anne!
I like very much a radio program which is also available as a podcast. It is a program called "La Venganza Será Terrible" by Argentinian Alejandro Dolina. He has normally 3 segments. The one I like tells stories about history, in a humorous tone, ranging from Voltaire to BlackBeard and what not. I think the content is amazing, someone should take the trouble to translate it. (feed)

Sergio Fogel

Hey Anne;
My name is Laura May and I'm from Craigsville in Cyberspace.

I have a very sexy, funny, dirty podcast and I would like to invite you to listen to it.

I was a featured podcaster on iTunes for a month and created a bit of a buzz there.

You can find my podcast on my website or - http://itunes.apple.com/ca/podcast/laura-may-diaries/id367263258

***Please listen to the introduction then SKIP right to episode #9-15***

Hope you'll enjoy it.
Have an Awesome Weekend!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Heads-up for 29 August 2010

Speaking of Faith
This weekend a rerun of The meaning of Intelligence: An expansive reflection on the meaning of intelligence with author and educator Mike Rose. We explore his perspective on hard subjects that drive to the heart of who we are as individuals, families, and a nation -- literacy, schooling, social class, and the deepest meaning of vocation.
(my review, feed)

Today a rerun of Fear: Mary Hynes talks to Rabbi Harold Kushner about his new book, Conquering Fear: Living Boldly in an Uncertain World, published by Knopf. Some of our CBC colleagues shared their deepest fears with us; we played them for Rabbi Kushner, who offered a little advice. Harold Kushner is Rabbi Laureate of Temple Israel in Natick, Massachusetts and has written ten books, including the best-seller When Bad Things Happen to Good People.
(my review, feed)

Stone Pages Archaeo News
Archaeo News Podcast 174
(review, feed)

New Books In History
Valerie Hébert: Hitler’s Generals on Trial: The Last War Crimes Tribunal at Nuremberg
(review, feed)

Big Ideas
A Whole New Mind by Daniel Pink: Lawyers. Accountants. Computer programmers. That’s what our parents encouraged us to become when we grew up. But Mom and Dad were wrong. The future belongs to a very different kind of person with a very different kind of mind. The era of “left brain” dominance, and the Information Age that it engendered, are giving way to a new world in which “right brain” qualities-inventiveness, empathy, meaning-predominate. That’s the argument at the center of this provocative and original book, which uses the two sides of our brains as a metaphor for understanding the contours of our times.
(review, feed)

Veertien Achttien
Julien Lahaut: Bekend is Julien Lahaut van zijn gewelddadige dood en zijn vermeende schoffering van de nieuwe koning Boudewijn die daar in het Belgische parlement aan vooraf zou zijn gegaan. Maar Lahaut maakte tijdens de Grote Oorlog ook deel uit van het ACM, een Belgische eenheid van pantserauto's die de tsaar een handje kwam helpen en de aarde zou ronden.
(review, feed)

Het Marathon Interview (VPRO)
Frits Staal: Op 11 september 1992 schoven Max Pam en Frits Staal aan voor een gesprek dat maar liefst vijf uur zou gaan duren. De hoogleraar Algemene en Vergelijkende Filosofie werd in de jaren zestig bekend met zijn artikel 'Zinvolle en zinloze filosofie' in De Gids. Daarin hecht hij weinig waarde aan (filosofische) uitspraken die niet te verifiëren zijn. Luistert u hier naar een uiterst helder gesprek tussen Max Pam en Frits Staal.
(review, feed)

Philosophy Bites
Joshua Knobe on Experimental Philosophy: Many people think that the idea of experiments in philosophy is a contradiction. Joshua Knobe disagrees. He is at the forefront of a new movement known as Experimental Philosophy. David Edmonds interviews him in this episode of the Philosophy Bites podcast.
(review, feed)

The ultimate history lecture podcast is back. Berkeley's History 5 with Thomas Laqueur. (audio feed, video feed) Review: previous post today

Berkeley History 5 by Thomas Laqueur

History podcasts are my favorite among podcasts - of all the podcasts I have reviewed they make up some 30% and of all the reviews over 45%. History lecture podcasts from great universities represent the highest quality you can get in this genre. I am very excited that the very first of those, Berkeley's History 5 is back after having been away for two years. History 5 was the podcast that opened up history podcasts for me and university lecture podcasts as well. (feed)

This semester History 5 will be taught by Professor Thomas Laqueur, who was also the professor in that old 2006 series that not only marked for me the beginning of listening to podcasts and by extension the birth of this blog, but also podcast that set the standard for history podcasts and, for me, has remained to do so. History 5 not only gives European History from 1450 to 1989, it also gives a great interpretation to it. With this course you will get the narrative and at the same time learn to analyze history. When Thomas Laqueur shows Raphael's picture The school of Athens at the first lecture, he reveals that the original is to be found at the Vatican and he asks: 'Isn't that kind of odd?' History 5 is the kind of course that teaches you the capacity for historical analysis that makes you immediately utter exactly such a question. And that is why I love History 5 and love to recommend it.

While listening you can imagine the pictures Laqueur shows, but if you do not wish to miss out on them, you can choose to subscribe to the feed with slides which technically is a video podcast. It is however no video of the lecture, it is the audio delivered while showing the slides from the lecture power point, which in my opinion is about as good as it gets. If you have never heard History 5, this is a must take. Laqueur's voice may take some getting used to. He occasionally gets stuck in his own words, but there is eventually no harm in that. And the sheer depth and quality of the lecture makes up for it completely.

Previously on History 5:
History 5 by Carla Hesse,
History 5 by Margaret Anderson,
History 5 by Thomas Laqueur.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Copper to Bronze to Iron Age - History of Iran

Today we will have two similar posts. They will both point to a podcast about ancient history and both these podcasts will teach something fascinating about ancient technologies (writing, metal working and more) even if both podcasts intend to actually talk about some other subject and bring these early technologies only up as an aside. Here is the second post.

I think I read somewhere that Professor Richard Bulliet is not just a specialist in the history of Iran. Take the early lecture of his history of Iran taught at Columbia University (iTunesU urliTunesU feed) and you will experience he is also a historian of technology. When he speaks of the early history of Iran, he extensively and very vividly delves into the early technologies.

Right to the fine technical details he explains metal technologies and their development, from copper to the varieties of bronze to iron. Next he brings the development of the wheel to life. This is not just about round, rolling things, this is about axles, about the connection between the wheel and the axle. About number of wheels, about beasts of burden, about roads and only much much later wheelbarrows. This is not just enlightening for the background of Iran's history, this is fantastic world history.

When Akkadian was Lingua Franca - NBIH

Today we will have two similar posts. They will both point to a podcast about ancient history and both these podcasts will teach something fascinating about ancient technologies (writing, metal working and more) even if both podcasts intend to actually talk about some other subject and bring these early technologies only up as an aside. Here is the first.

New Books In History had Amanda Podany on the show to talk about her book Brotherhood of Kings. This is an amazing study about the diplomatic system in the near-East in pre-Hellenic ancient times. It turns out that Mesopotamia and Egypt had full fledged diplomatic traffic that looks more like the 19th century international system than what you'd associate with the second millennium BCE. To give one amazing fact: the diplomatic language was Akkadian and the system was assuming equality between the players. Even the mighty deified pharaohs of Egypt submitted to this.

I was struck by the technology item in this conversation. Host Marshall Poe and Ms Podany discuss at length the intricacies of the cuneiform writing system and this I found truly mind-boggling. You really get a lifelike grip on how the scribes learned the art of writing. How they must have struggled with the stylos and the clay, with the texts, with the dictation and obviously with the languages and the translations. You have to hear for yourself.

More NBIH:
The 1910 Paris flood,
Stasi agents and informants,
War in Human Civilization,
Always recommended: New Books in History,
The best varied history podcast,

Friday, August 27, 2010

Watch out with the flour - Making History

Making History with Ran Levi (עושים היסטוריה! עם רן לוי) will have a live meeting on 31 August which I hope to be visiting as well. In the mean time let's discuss the latest show. (feed)

Levi delivered the history of explosives which goes from gunpowder, through dynamite, TNT to the latest stuff. Apart from the stories about the discoveries, Levi makes sure one is also amply informed about the technicalities of the stuff, of explosions and the two combined.

That combination makes for the title of the show: 'Watch out with the flour, bro!' Once you get the picture how explosives work, you understand how explosions can occur also in situation where it is not intended or even suspected. In an innocent flour factory you can have such a critical situation. Be careful and maybe we meet on the 31st.

More Making History with Ran Levi:
SciFi and realism,
The history of Anesthetics,
Social Engineering for hackers,
Ran Levi, then, now and about the Long Now,
Of nightmares and sleepwalking,

Wachtkamer van de dood - Anne-Mei The

Aan het einde van de uitzending schiet Martin Simeks gemoed vol. Het hele uur heeft hij zich goed gehouden, maar aan het eind wordt het hem teveel. Zijn gast is Anne-Mei The, cultureel antropologe, die komt vertellen over haar participerend onderzoek in verpleegtehuizen. Het gaat over de instituten, het personeel en natuurlijk de dementerende bewoners.

Ze heeft haar boek In de Wachtkamer van de Dood genoemd en dat, verklaart Simek, vindt hij wel erg cru. Maar dat is de realiteit en het is The er niet om te doen geweest om dat te beoordelen, maar eenvoudig te beschrijven. En daar gaat het dan dus over: hoe de dementen wachten op hun dood en hoe ze behandeld worden. Wat Simek zo emotioneert is hoe overgeleverd ze zijn en hoe weinig ze eigenlijk krijgen en hij realiseert zich hoe dichtbij het is, als niet voor je geliefden dan voor jezelf.

Het gesprek vond plaats in juni 2005, toen RVU's Simek 's nachts nog op het hoogtepunt was en het een van de beste Nederlandse podcasts was. De RVU feed biedt deze gouden tijden niet meer aan, maar de feeds die ik gemaakt heb nog wel. Het interview met Anne-Mei The is te vinden in de Huffduffer feed. Verder zijn er nog drie andere feeds Simek1, Simek2, Simek3. Al deze feeds zijn door mij samengesteld dankzij tips van lezers die deze oude afleveringen on-line hebben gevonden. Wie helpt ons aan meer?

Meer Simek 's Nachts:
Pieter Winsemius,
Jan Lenferink,
Sjoerd Kooistra,
Ik ben een geraffineerde vrouw - Naema Tahir,
Fabienne (dochter van Lucia de B).

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Heads-up for 26 August 2010

Hidden Heritage (National Heritage Week Podcast Series)
A Medieval Witch Burning: Petronella di Midia was burned as a witch in Kilkenny in 1324. She wasn’t even one of the main suspects. Hear how she became the one of the first people in Europe to executed for witchcraft……(this is the final episode in this series)
(review, feed)

Thinking Allowed (BBC)
Alienation: Professor Laurie Taylor talks to Sean Sayers, Donna Dickenson and Ian Fraser about Marx's Theory of Alienation.
(review, feed)

The Memory Palace
Episode 33: Lost lobsters
(review, feed)

Forgotten Classics
The Riddle of the Sands, chapter 26: In which Carruthers discovers what "seven" means.
(review, feed)

History According to Bob
Great Gaulic Revolt Background: This show is about the background to the final blow up by the Gauls to try and throw the Romans out.
(review, feed)

Classic Poetry Aloud
There be none of Beauty's daughters by Lord Byron:
THERE be none of Beauty's daughters
With a magic like thee;
And like music on the waters
Is thy sweet voice to me:
(review, feed)

Quest for meaning - LSE Podcast

Tariq Ramadan spoke at the LSE (feed) about his book, the Quest for Meaning. Although one must argue that religion has more function than just the quest for meaning, Ramadan takes on this aspect and makes a plea for pluralism and tolerance. As he describes it, we are all climbing the same mountain top, but everybody is on a different route. Or if you want to take another metaphor: we are all lost in the desert and looking for the way, but each we have found ourselves in a different spot and in different circumstances and hence we all take a different road.

His argument is against dogmatism in all cultures and his approach is that dogmatism is not exclusive to any one religion, or religions in general, but that it is a state of mind. And he wants to make us aware to stand up against the state of mind.

It is worthwhile to keep listening through the ensuing Q&A, as the questions push him much more to elaborate his points. Had I been there I had challenged him some more about relativism and the pitfall of that. Or with the other task of religion: giving community, which by nature is exclusive.

More LSE:
The plundered planet,
China and India,
The China Hegemony,
The myth of work,
Pasts and futures of Christianity.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Heads-up for 25 August 2010 - Anne is a Man

A blog to follow is Open Culture which not only points out some excellent podcasts, but also other free cultural and educational stuff. For example last month I was happy to be alerted about Tarkovsky films (all of them) that can be viewed for free on-line. And this weekend it has begun posting about places on-line where you can acquire free text-books.

Naxos Classical Music Spotlight Podcast
JoAnn Falletta and the music of Marcel Tyberg: Were it not for Dr. Enrico Mihich, the music of Marcel Tyberg would almost certainly be lost forever. Tyberg entrusted all of his scores with Mihich, just before he was deported to Auschwitz. For more than six decades, Mihich carried the scores with him, trying to find a conductor who would pay attention to them. Finally, in 2005, Dr. Mihich met with JoAnn Falletta, Music Director of the Buffalo Philharmonic. Maestra Falletta saw what so many others had failed to see – that Tyberg’s music was original, beautiful and worth performing. This podcast, with it’s interview with JoAnn Falletta, traces the history of how she and the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra came to rescue the music of Marcel Tyberg.
(review, feed)

Rear Vision
Understanding Pakistan: Pakistan was born on 15 August 1947 and when it emerged from British India, Muslims around the world rejoiced, believing they were witnessing the birth of the first democratic Muslim nation. So why has it all gone so wrong?
(review, feed)

Three new issues of Engines of our Ingenuity. (review, feed)

KMTT - The Torah Podcast
Rav Soloveitchik on Shofar - part 1: The first part of a four-part series on the mitzva of shofar, based on a lecture of Rav Y.B. Soloveitchik delivered in Boston in 1968.
(review, feed)

The Lonely Funeral

I guess this does not happen in small communities, but it does happen every so often in big cities: someone has died and no one shows up to take care of the funeral. Then it is up to the authorities to handle the affairs. The municipality of Amsterdam has some 10-20 of such cases each year. On The State We're In, a podcast by the RNW (Radio Netherlands Worldwide) (feed), there was a documentary by Michele Ernsting about a civil servant and a poet who have taken it upon themselves to do the honors for the municipality in a more special and dignified manner. (Broadcast as part of Last Respects)

I was alerted to this documentary by a podcast from the RTE (the Irish national broadcaster). RTE's Doc on One has a rubric, The Curious Ear, which brings interesting sound bytes such as The Lonely Funeral. (feed)

Ernsting speaks with the civil servant Ger Frits and the city poet Frank Starik. We learn how Frits took up elaborating the municipal funerals. Starik learned about this effort and managed to convince Frits to let him join in. Since they started the anonymous funerals by the city of Amsterdam are attended by them, accompanied by music and ritual, part of which is the reciting of a poem that was specifically written for this lonely case.

Last Respects can no longer be had in the feed of The State We're In, but it can be reached through the website. The Lonely Funeral is available there for download and so I have used Huffduffer to make this documentary a podcast. Check out this feed: Huffduffer funeral.

Reports about Lonely funerals in Amsterdam and other Dutch cities can be read on the blog Eenzame Uitvaart.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Heads-up for 24 August 2010

Occasionally I am looking for a transcript of a podcast show and especially when the show consisted of a conversation, such is not available. The interview podcast Shrink Rap Radio does frequently offer transcripts, but usually this takes some time after the issue has first come out. Recently a transcript was added for show #231 - The meditating brain with Richard Davidson.
Shrink Rap Radio transcripts are a community effort; volunteers from the audience step up and transcribe. It goes to show how a podcast can be a community as well as an audio-product.

Hidden Heritage (National Heritage Week Podcast Series)
Bog Bodies & Iron Age Human Sacrifice: Examining the Iron Age in Ireland and the mysterious Bog Bodies! The Iron Age is an era when celtic culture arrived and dominated life in Ireland. It remains one of the most mysterious and least understood periods of Irish Archeology.
(review, feed)

Omega-Tau Podcast has an issue about the Mountain Wave Project (MWP web site). This interview is in German. The podcast is part English, part German. (review, German feed, English feed, combined feed)

TED Talks
David McCandless: The beauty of data visualization David McCandless turns complex data sets (like worldwide military spending, media buzz, Facebook status updates) into beautiful, simple diagrams that tease out unseen patterns and connections. Good design, he suggests, is the best way to navigate information glut -- and it may just change the way we see the world.

Rory Sutherland - TED

Rory Sutherland: Life lessons from an ad man
Another great video on TED Talks (feed)

Thanks to Pablo Brenner and Sergio Fogel for this find.

More TED:
Dimitar Sasselov,
Sir Ken Robinson,
Photos that changed the world - Jonathan Klein,
Karen Armstrong on The Golden Rule,
Media revolution and the effect on power - Clay Shirky.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Heads-up for 23 August 2010

Baxter Wood recommended on his blog (The re-education of Baxter Wood) to follow Columbia University's history of Iran. I have immediately taken a subscription to this course on iTunes U (feed). The lecturer is Professor Richard W. Bulliet whom we have met twice before speaking about Iran on the UChannel Podcast. (Iran TodayIran in 2009) I have only just begun listening, so reviews will have to wait, but if Baxter recommends, it is worth for you all to try.

The History of Rome
106- Barbarian at the Gate: After bungling a campaign in the east, Alexander headed to the Rhine where he was assassinated by Maximinius Thrax in 235 AD.
(review, feed)

Social Innovation Conversations
Paul Pastorek and Andres Alonso - Education: Tackling the Turnaround Challenge: Can schools be turned around, and can the system change? Yes, say an experienced district and state school leader in this panel discussion during the Driving Dramatic School Improvement conference at Stanford. Navigating questions by moderator Jordan Meranus, they talk about what they are doing in Louisiana and Baltimore to radically reform schools so that more children can meet state standards and receive an excellent education.
(review, feed)

SFF Audio has an issue with Julie Davies of Forgotten Classics.

Media Matters with Bob McChesney had Nicholas Carr on the show yesterday. Nicholas Carr writes on the social, economic, and business implications of technology. He is the author of the 2008 Wall Street Journal bestseller The Big Switch: Rewiring the World, from Edison to Google, which is "widely considered to be the most influential book so far on the cloud computing movement," according the Christian Science Monitor. His earlier book, Does IT Matter?, published in 2004, "lays out the simple truths of the economics of information technology in a lucid way, with cogent examples and clear analysis," said the New York Times. His new book, The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains, was published in June 2010.

Bhagavad Gita - Librivox

Here is a short review, especially for those who are following The Mahabharata Podcast just like me (feed).

You might be tempted to try the audio reading of the Bhagavad Gita. Librivox offers a free podcast in which the English version by Sir Edwin Arnold is being read. I would love to hear of other versions of the Gita being read, or retold. This particular one is apparently more fit for reading rather than listening. The sentences are hardly intelligible and add to that the overt hardship the reader has with the exotic names and the Librivox podcast just turns into very tough listening. (feed)

More Mahabharata:
Endless cloth,
The Mahabharata Podcast.

Pieter Winsemius - Simek 's Nachts

Zowel als radioprogramma als podcast is het legendarische programma Simek 's Nachts verdwenen. Toch zijn er in cyberspace verschillende plekken waar nog oude interviews zijn terug te vinden. (Wie helpt?) Met behulp van Google en Huffduffer heb ik daar een aantal feeds van gemaakt:

Simek Feed 1 met de interviews met Daniel Lohues, Wim van Ophem, Fabienne, Jan Slagter, Rita Verdonk, Loek Kessels, Simon de Waal, Professor Wagenaar, Frans Lomans, Jeroen Willems, Marlies Dekkers, Stella Braam, Seth Gaaikema, Robbert Dijkgraaf en Elena Simons.

Simek Feed 2 met de interviews met Jan Rot, Thomas von der Dunk, Maya Lievegoed, Helmert Woudenberg (2 uur), Roos Rebergen, Christine van Broeckhoven, Arthur Japin, Dirk van de Wijngaard, Sophie van der Stap, Geert Jan Knoops, Meryem Kilic-Karaaslan, Hugo Verbrugh, Ben Mak en Raphael Creemers.

Simek Feed 3 met de interviews met Robert Kranenborg, Paul Frissen, Jos Brink, Douwe Draaisma, Mayita Sickesz, Jeroen Pauw, Anne Hermans, Hans Dorrestijn, Niko Koffeman, Renate Dorrestein, Carola van Alphen, Maurice de Hond, Jef Vermassen en Guus te Riele.

Tenslotte is er de Simek Huffduffer feed, waar ik nieuwe interviews toevoeg die ik dankzij lezers van de blog op het spoor kom. Daarin zitten interviews met Xander de Buisonjé, Ward Teunissen, Mohammed Jabri (2), Naema Tahir, Sjoerd Kooistra, Jan Lenferink en Pieter Winsemius.

Het interview met Winsemius heb ik als laatste toegevoegd. Hoewel we hem vooral kennen als voormalig politicus en minister, komt Simek met Winsemius voornamelijk over sport te spreken. Dit is niet in de laatste plaats vanwege zijn contact met en boek over Johan Cruijff.

Meer Simek 's Nachts:
Jan Lenferink,
Sjoerd Kooistra,
Ik ben een geraffineerde vrouw - Naema Tahir,
Fabienne (dochter van Lucia de B),
Mohammed Jabri.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Heads-up for 22 August 2010

Go to the blog DIY Scholar for all your academic podcast recommendations and lately for a very informative post on how to record lecture streams.

Today there is a new issue in the podcast Ancient Rome Refocused.
If you talk about the Romans you have to talk about the Greeks. This episode explores the ancient Greek play AJAX written by Sophocles. Included in this episode are interviews with Bryan Doerries, director and translator for the New York based THEATER OF WAR acting troupe. Title: "The 24th Shitkickers Were Never The Same After The Peloponnese"
(review, feed)

VPRO's Marathon Interview has reruns of the interviews with Jan Montyn and Ward Ruyslinck. (feed)

Shrink Rap Radio has come with its 244th issue: an interview with Jungian analyst James Hollis. (feed)

Australian ABC's Philosopher's Zone.
The Philosophy of Astronomy: What is the ideology that propels scientists to go to so much trouble? Think, for example, of the hazards involved in a voyage from Europe to our part of the world in the 18th century. Why would you go to all that effort just to observe the transit of Venus? For Science Week, we explore the philosophy of northern astronomy in the Southern Hemisphere with Simon Schaffer, Professor of the History of Science at the University of Cambridge.
(review, feed)

JRR Tolkien versus CS Lewis

TVO's Big Ideas recently (August 13) reran a lecture from 2004, which, with some provisos is worth mentioning. (feed)

Ralph Wood delivered a comparative talk about JRR Tolkien and CS Lewis. The lecture gives a great insight in the way both authors worked and what their creative standards were. Wood also makes an attempt into summing up their qualities and measuring their influence. By all means, both are very influential and well known especially as fantasy writers.

Does it hurt to be aware both were Christian authors? I would argue to say no, even if Lewis had a certain evangelizing streak about him. For Wood, however, the authors' faith is the whole reason he wants to lecture about them, present them as influential writers and evaluate their strengths and qualities. In my opinion it makes for a few awkward phrases in the lecture. Worse still, is that Wood makes the whole comparison take on the character of a competition in which he pits the authors against each other and make them score points creating a superfluous suspense who is going to be found to be the winner. Eventually, the lecture is good enough to compensate for these putting off traits. Anyone interested in these authors will have a lot to enjoy.

More Big Ideas:
Malcolm Gladwell,
The Age of Inequality,
Disappearing cultures,
Waiting for Godot,
Religion as culture - Camille Paglia.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

The 1910 Paris flood - NBIH

I never knew Paris had been flooded in 1910. It seems most French and even Parisians have forgotten about it, yet, as we learn from New Books in History this flood has been the last and the worst that hit the modern city of Paris and its scenario still counts as the defining flood, its high points still serve as the marker that measures against flooding have to meet.

Host Marshall Poe spoke with Jeffrey Jackson who wrote the book Paris under water about the flood of 1910. They go through the causes of the flood. As usual with floods it was caused by a combination of factors each of which come with high waters. In addition, the then new and modern sewer system added to the flood; the system actually connected all the parts of the city and allowed for the rising water to reach everywhere.

A major point of interest for Poe and Jackson was how the city and its inhabitants pulled together and dealt with the flood as a cohesive society. While this is indeed a very interesting historic and sociological point, I myself was wondering about the technicalities of flood prevention. Why are they still using the 1910 high points as a standard? Hasn't the environment entirely changed? Aren't there more floodings in modernized countries these days, because of more canals, because of climate change and such? I fear Paris may be flooded despite the 1910 markers in the 21st century.

More NBIH:
Stasi agents and informants,
War in Human Civilization,
Always recommended: New Books in History,
The best varied history podcast,
The Caucasus.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Hidden Heritage: National Heritage Week Podcast Series

Here is a new podcast series that just started and probably is not going to go on for very long since it is connected to one event: the Irish National Heritage Week. The maker of the podcast is Fin Dwyer, the same historian who brings us the Irish History Podcast. Fin apparently thought that while celebrating Irish heritage, it would be a good idea to highlight what has remained hidden, hence: Hidden Heritage: National Heritage Week Podcast Series. (feed)

Until yesterday there was only one issue still in the series, but this one issue gives a taste for more. It tells about those ships from the Spanish Armada that were caught on the coasts of Ireland and either went down there or got stranded or made a dangerous landing facing the not so friendly Irish.

The crews were already in a bad situation and as not many survived their fate in Ireland, Fin tells one story of a couple of ships that landed and how the survivors got on the one remotely sailable ship to flee the island and try to make it for Scotland. They were 1300, too many for this boat that normally could carry only 800 or so.

Listen in, to find out how the history of the Spanish Armada is part of Irish Heritage.

More Irish History:
Irish history in podcasts,
Irish history podcast.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Warburton about Hume

Philosopher and podcaster Nigel Warburton, whom we know first and foremost from the podcast Philosophy Bites (see post yesterday), has written a book Philosophy, The Classics. This book gives an entry point to philosophy by means of an introduction to a series of classical works in philosophy. From Plato's Republic to Kierkegaard's either/or.

True to his calling Warburton has made a promotional podcast for this book: Philosophy: The Classics. (feed) Among others there are two episodes about David Hume and I enjoyed those greatly. One is about the Dialogues by Hume, the other about the book Enquiry. The two podcasts have some overlap, just as Hume's works overlapped, but that will only enhance recognition and understanding.

I knew Hume and his version of Skepticism as it addressed the problem of induction - we make induction all the time, assuming that what he have seen repeatedly will also be repeated in the future. But Hume shows that there is strictly no rational reason to make such an inductive assumption. Warburton introduces to us a couple of other (related) issues Hume discusses in these works. Proof of God's existence and proof for miracles for example. Here I learned how Hume's Skepticism played a role in theological matter and how Hume was assumed to be an atheist although he may not have wanted to identify himself as such.

Philosophy, The Classics - Nigel Warburton

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

What is exploitation - Philosophy Bites

For those who are reluctant to engage in philosophy, I would still recommend to listen to Philosophy Bites. Although philosophy by its essence tends to the abstract and therefore can be so lengthy, vague, boring and seemingly pointless, the podcast does everything to stay concise, clear and to the point. In addition, by looking at the titles as they pop up in the feed one can freely pick and choose. Select the subject that you connect to and Philosophy Bites will not disappoint.

An example of such a very concrete and clear issue, in my opinion, is the recent chapter in which Nigel Warburton and David Edmonds spoke with Hillel Steiner about exploitation. Here we also see the virtue of philosophy: Steiner makes a very convincing attempt to narrow down and define exploitation in abstract terms. Such a definition then allows for easy identification of exploitation cases in spite of their differences. In addition it serves to explain why exploitation is morally wrong. And eventually it opens up for the theoretic possibilities such as a rich person being exploited.

Maybe it is because I was trained a a legal professional and taught law myself, I am charmed by such an analysis as the one offered by Steiner. I would assume this speaks to everybody as issues of morals touch us all, but even if I am wrong about that point, the point of the first paragraph remains. When you have a subject you are passionate about or have spent some time pondering about, an issue of Philosophy Bites about any relevant point will be a real treat.

More Philosophy Bites:
The genocide and the trial,
Dirty Hands,
Understanding decisions,
Nietzsche repossessed.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Witness - BBC

I have taken up listening to a daily BBC podcast: Witness (feed). Every workday it delivers a short (9 minutes) program about a historic event that occurred around the same date. The event is briefly recounted and the elaboration is done by letting a witness talk about it. Hence the title.

Almost invariably the result is very impressive. The whole atmosphere of the episode is also greatly determined by the kind of event that is told. The issue about Hiroshima as a consequence is very austere and stylized, the issue about the Battle of Britain very narrative and so on. The partition of India was deemed to large to tackle in one program and last week saw one part and this week a second is expected. Part one was very impressive - a great recommendation.

Also recommended is the issue about the Kursk disaster. Obviously, no sailors from aboard the submarine could be interviewed, as there were no survivors. However, one of the British members of the rescue mission spoke and brought home the experience of the poor men trapped in the sunken ship as he had survived a similar fate several years previously.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Michiel van Erp - Marathon Interview

Het Marathon Interview heeft in de feed eerst drie oude uitgaves die alle drie zeer de moeite waard zijn (Drion, Hiltermann en Karel van het Reve), maar heeft ook het een en ander te bieden aan recent materiaal. Zo schreef ik eergisteren over Ger van Elk en nu dan over het interview dat Lotje IJzermans op 8 juli had met Michiel van Erp. (feed)

Van Erp is een documentairemaker en hoewel ik zijn werk gemist heb, had ik al wel van een aantal van zijn films gehoord. In het eerste uur kunnen we een beetje kennis met hem maken en ruiken aan de algemene problematiek van de documentaire - vooral het punt van de manipulatie van de werkelijkheid komt herhaaldelijk naar voren en blijkt niet helemaal bevattelijk voor hem te zijn. Daarna zijn er twee documentaires die iets specifieker besproken worden en die een fascinerende inkijk in Van Erps werkwijze en denkwijze geven.

Naar aanleiding van zijn werk over de koningin komt hij met een verrassende analyse van haar persoon. De konigin als laatste persoon die nog in het sprookje van het koningsschap gelooft. Dat is echt iets om te horen (in het tweede uur), maar als je denkt dat je dan het hoogtepunt gehad hebt, komt de documentaire over mensen met angsten aan de orde en wordt het nog veel interessanter.

Meer Het Marathon Interview:
Ger van Elk,
Ileana Melita,
VPRO's Marathon Interview,
Hans Galjaard,
Bert ter Schegget.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Stasi agents and informants - NBIH

The podcast New Books in History is a great program to subscribe to by all means, but in case you are interested in content about the Cold War, the end of it and the rise and fall of the Soviet world. In this realm there is a great wealth of issues to be had. One of which came out just in this past weeks. (feed)

In this program Marshal Poe interviewed Gary Bruce about the inside story of the Stasi, the secret police of communist Germany (DDR). Did the DDR need a secret police? Poe and Bryce emphasize how paranoid the communist regimes were and how they expected traitors and saboteurs always and everywhere. Hence the extended network of agents and the even more extended network of informants. In the end I wonder how exaggerated it is the state that one half of the DDR citizens was spying on the other half.

Bruce's research as you get to know it from the interview, although it does reveal the pumped up paranoia of the soviet system, does teach rather something else. It shows how the Stasi was organized. Where did the agents come from, how were they trained and employed. And once there were agents, there was the recruiting and management of informants. Bruce's story about his research also reveals what happened to the Stasi and its files once the DDR fell apart and with it its secret police. This all went so swift, the Stasi disintegrated before it could destroy its archives. And this allows many historians such as Bruce to study the Stasi and by extension the reality of a surveillance state.

More NBIH:
War in Human Civilization,
Always recommended: New Books in History,
The best varied history podcast,
The Caucasus,
The genocide and the trial.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Ger van Elk - Marathon Interview

Het Marathon Interview van de VPRO is niet alleen op de radio te beluisteren in de zomer, ook de podcast heeft juist in de zomer nieuwe input gekregen. Naast oude interviews uit het rijke verleden, nieuwe interviews die zojuist op radio 6 te beluisteren zijn geweest. (feed)

Een van die recente interviews vond plaats op 7 Juli. Anton de Goede ging in gesprek met beeldend kunstenaar Ger van Elk. Voor het eerst begreep ik wat precies conceptuele kunst is. Ik ben voldoende snob om te proberen wat kunst heet als zodanig te begrijpen, maar kan het evenmin laten om mijn schouders op te halen bij produkten zoals die van Van Elk. Een opgewreven vloer? Een blokje hout dat wit is geverfd (weliswaar op een schip in de IJszee)? Dan krijg ook ik het gevoel dat de kunstenaar zich er met een Jantje van Leiden van af maakt en wegkomt door een handig excuus uit de duim te zuigen.

In het interview probeert Van Elk op geen enkel moment om je te overtuigen van zijn verhaal. Evenmin probeert hij te behagen. Hij spreekt gewoon, hij toont zijn manier van denken en kijken en voor je het weet ga je erin mee. Ik vond het een fascinerende reis, mee te kijken met de onconventionele blik van Van Elk, mee te denken met de visie van Van Elk en zodoende de interne logica te ontdekken. En dat is dan conceptuele beeldende kunst: het idee van de kunstenaar uitgewerkt in een visueel produkt. Vervolgens is het dan ook iets makkelijker om de omgekeerde weg te bewandelen en afgaande op het kunstvoorwerp en het idee te ontdekken.

Meer Het Marathon Interview:
Ileana Melita,
VPRO's Marathon Interview,
Hans Galjaard,
Bert ter Schegget,
Lea Dasberg.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Alan Rabinowitz at Speaking of Faith

At APM's Speaking of Faith, three weeks ago, Krista Tippett spoke with Alan Rabinowitz who is a zoologist and wildlife conservationist. The title for the program was: A Voice for the Animals. As such, you would expect a conversation about animal rights and what animals and the biosphere  mean for the world. That would be interesting in itself, but the issue to a whole other turn. (feed)

Tippett's conversation with Rabinowitz, concentrated much more on him as a person and the individual challenges he has to overcome in order to achieve what he has been achieving in life. For example, there is his stutter and although having a stutter, certainly as serious as he had it, is quite the handicap, Rabinowitz's life story shows how a challenge can turn into a quality. Having a stutter shut him out socially, but allowed him to bond with animals and develop the skills he needed for his profession. And then, his profession and his bothersome relationship with speech and the social constraints of life, allowed him his insights.

But that is not all, there is also his amazing encounter with the Asian pygmy and by the end of the show, his candid discussion of what it means to have cancer. And in the mean time, he has also touched on the meaning of having children. And so, this show goes beyond the subject of animal rights and if Rabinowitz supplies a voice for the animals, human beings are part of that palette he speaks for - the man with the stutter.

More Speaking of Faith:
Desmond Tutu,
China, secularism, religiosity,
Three issues of Speaking of Faith,
Preserving Ojibwe,
The story and God.