Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Heads-up for 24 November 2010

The China History Podcast
The Southern & Northern Kingdoms
The Southern and Northern Kingdoms were a collection of dynasties that lasted 170 years and preceded the time of unification under the Sui Dynasty. North of the Yangzi River you had the Northern Wei, the Northern Qi and the Northern Zhou. South of the great river reigned the Liu Song, Southern Qi, the Liang and finally the Chen. Although there was disunity in China and plenty of warring going on to make things miserable for most, it was still a very critical and formative time in China with mass migrations of Han Chinese from the north to the south. It was also a time when Buddhism triumphed in China.
(review, feed)

TED Talks
Jason Fried: Why work doesn't happen at work
Jason Fried has a radical theory of working: that the office isn't a good place to do it. At TEDxMidwest, he lays out the main problems (call them the M&Ms) and offers three suggestions to make work work.
(review, feed)

This I accomplish - New Books in History (NBIH)

I tend to recommend all issues of the excellent podcast New Books In History with the caveat that you obviously must select the subjects that appeal to you. For myself I thought I might skip for example the latest interview which was with Kyra Hicks who has written a biography of a quilter. I thought: "Quilts... hm ... no, not for me." Yet, I could not stop listening to the interview. (feed)

The excitement eventually even is with the craft of quilting, which was originally putting me off, but what initially kept me glued to the podcast was the careful way the host, Marshal Poe, built up the interview. He revealed that Hicks made some exciting discovery during her research, but directed his questioning according to a build-up towards the climax.

And this makes you listen and guess what it is going to be and really get into the person about whom the biography is. Harriet Powers, a former slave, whose quilt she made by the end of the nineteenth century can be seen in the Smithsonian Museum. Hicks took on this interesting character and with determination added to what little was known about her. Mrs. Powers comes to life, quilting comes to life and of course, eventually she makes her amazing discovery.

It goes to show that New Books In History is good to listen to even if you feel no direct connection with the subject.

More NBIH:
Not your idea of World War II,
When Akkadian was Lingua Franca,
The 1910 Paris flood,
Stasi agents and informants,
War in Human Civilization.