Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Heads-up for 22 September 2010

First of all, check out the blog DIY Scholar and find today's post pointing to the new lecture podcasts coming up at UCLA and UCSD. Three of these have also been reviewed by me:
MMW 4 (new feed)
East Asian Thought (new feed)
Formations of Modern Art (now with a video feed)

History 5, with Thomas Laqueur (Berkeley )
Lecture 8: English Revolutions, Dutch Revolutions and Constitutionalism
Law grounded somewhere other than in God and the person of the king; Civil liberties enshrined in law; The possibility of a strong state combined with some version of representative government; Political legacies: (1) secular contract theory (Locke and Hobbes) (2) the peoples’ place in the political nation put on the agenda with the levelers; A history of revolution is born.
(review, feed)

Rear Vision
Roma history
President Nicolas Sarkozy accuses the Romani people of 'illicit trafficking and exploitation of children for begging, prostitution or crime'. Romani camps across France have been bulldozed and Roma with Romanian or Bulgarian citizenship have been given a choice of 'voluntary repatriation' or deportation. Rear Vision looks at the history of the Romani people -- where they came from and why they remain one of the most isolated groups in Europe.
(review, feed)

Scientific American Podcast aka Science Talk
Could Time End?
Scientific American staff editor George Musser joins podcast host Steve Mirsky to discuss his article in the September issue about the possibility of time itself coming to an end.
(review, feed)

The Memory Palace - history telling

The Memory Palace is a great podcast I cannot recommend enough (feed). Nate DiMeo has an exquisite feel to take a history trivia and turn it into a story full of suspense and humane irony. He tells his stories in five to ten minutes so that it hardly takes any of your time, but these short histories are full of delight.

Just recently I enjoyed his culinary history of the lobster, how this crustacean went from poor people's meat to a career of cheap, mass produced canned food, to haute-cuisine. Another is the story of the mythical John Frum which is the name of a Messianic figure some people in the Pacific are waiting for and until his coming, bring them to most unexpected ritual.

If you have not encountered this podcast yet, sign up now and listen. But savor the experience. I think these tales need to be told far apart and not listened to in a big batched chain.

More The Memory Palace:
Another Memory Palace fantastic find,
The Death of Edgar Allan Poe,
A Great Escape,
The Memory Palace,
Ferris Wheel and other historic experiences.

The Art of Choosing with Sheena Iyengar

It has been some time since I last listened to the psychology podcast Shrink Rap Radio. This podcast in which psychologist David van Nuys interviews authors of recently published psychology books, still signifies to me one of the best produced amateur podcasts around and the only reason I stopped following it so closely is because lately I have been less interested in psychology and more in economics and politics. History has always been my top interest. (feed)

But if you want to get a fine example of what this podcast is about and what a very good interview podcast sounds like, take up Van Nuys's interview with Sheena Iyengar about her research how people make choices. I discussed this show with a couple of friends who had also listened to it and was struck that some were surprised by Iyengar's findings and quite to the contrary, the others thought it all to be common sense. So I cannot tell what you will find, but do listen and hear what freedom of choice and amount of options for choice do to choosing.

Personally, while the subject was still truly interesting, I was struck by Iyengar's personal story and here I do not want to spoil the surprises by giving it all away. But promise that this is a story of many drawbacks to overcome to achieve what she did achieve. Together with this one, Shrink Rap Radio offers a near 250 more such interviews, making it one of the longest standing and still regularly publishing podcasts around.

More Shrink Rap Radio:
Surviving in the Wilderness,
Happiness and Health,
Resurrection after Rape,
Life Changing Lessons,
Shrink Rap Radio - 200 great podcasts.