Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Selected listening for 9 February 2011

Simon Critchley discusses faith
In this episode, Simon Critchley considers whether religious faith can serve as a model for faith in ethical principles.
(review, feed)

The Christian Humanist Podcast
Town and Country
David Grubbs moderates a conversation with Michial Farmer and Nathan Gilmour about the ways that people in different places and moments have distinguished between rural and urban life. The strange relationship between city and countryside has always involved both idealization and demonization, and those dynamics make for some fascinating developments as imperial cities give way to the City of God and eventually become suburbs. Among the texts and authors we discuss are Gilgamesh, Genesis, the Gospels, City of God, the Canterbury Tales, Paradise Lost, Huckleberry Finn, The Great Gatsby, The Return of the King, and Rabbit, Run.
(review, feed)

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Mormon Stories - Mr. Deity

The podcast Mormon Stories got me in a pincer movement. A regular reader of the blog (who is a member of the LDS Church) recommended the podcast to me and at the same time I found Brian Dalton's podcast (see my Mr Deity review) who is a former Mormon - a Formon as he calls it. And there I saw that he, Brian Dalton / Mr. Deity was interviewed at Mormon Stories. (feed)

While Mormon Stories is a podcast for and about LDS Church members, it does not shy away from tackling the subject of members leaving that faith. This is how they come to interview Dalton and they give him more than the full stage. Aside the lengthy interview, he also gets to act out his Mr Deity figure, which takes a humorous jab at faith in God in general, but apparently at points at the Mormon faith in particular. I know too little about LDS to be able to identify that.

Dalton has become an atheist and in the interview you get a pretty full picture of how he moved from LDS to his current stance. He describes his developments as well as his convictions and comes out as a balanced secular with whom I can agree on many points of view and without grudges or vile jabs at any faith, not even the Mormons. It makes for a very interesting interview, even if you are no fan of Mr Deity or LDS.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Selected listening for 7 February 2011

The History of Rome
The Best Defense is a Good Defense
Over the course of his reign Diocletian instituted a number of reforms to the military structure that helped transform the legions into a new kind of army.
(review, feed)

Mahabharata Podcast
Savitri and Rama
Episode 43 - Despite the offensive raid on their camp by Jayadratha, old Markandeya is still hanging out with the Pandavas. Yuddistira, feeling sorry for himself and for Draupadi, goes to him for consolation. Markandeya replies with the entire story of the Ramayana.
(review, feed)

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Selected listening for 6 February 2011

Forgotten Classics
Genesis, chapters 16-17
In which Sarai gets pushy and regrets it, Abram is renamed,
and God makes Abram an offer he can't believe with a painful sign required.
(review, feed)

Life After Trauma
We marvel at how human beings can keep going under the most staggering load. For those who have known unimaginable loss, words of consolation and words of wisdom start to ring a little hollow. A feature interview with CBC producer David Gutnick who brings us stories from survivors of the Haitian earthquake, and Sister Lorraine Malo, a nun with the Sisters of St. Joseph of Toronto. Also a personal essay from Lynn Keane who lost her Daniel son to depression and suicide.
(review, feed)

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Selected listening for 5 February 2011

New Books In History
Joyce Appleby, “The Relentless Revolution: A History of Capitalism”
Today everybody wants to be a capitalist, even Chinese communists. It would be easy to think, then, that capitalism is “natural,” that there is a little profit-seeker in each one of us just waiting to pop out. There is some truth to this notion: humans are the most cooperative species on earth, and one of the most common ways we cooperate is through trade. Some form of “you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours” lies at the heart of almost every human relationship. We are built for reciprocation, and we do it remarkably well. But, as Joyce Appleby shows in her provocative, readable, and thoroughly entertaining The Relentless Revolution: A History of Capitalism (Norton, 2010), the natural impulse for reciprocal back-scratching did not capitalism make. A set of very unusual historical forces did.
(review, feed)

Big Ideas
Derek Walcott on his life and work
English professor, Christian Campbell, interviews Caribbean poet and playwright, Derek Walcott, winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1992. Walcott discusses issues of identity, culture, and language in this illuminating conversation.
(review, feed)

Social Innovation Conversations
Bill Gates - Education for the Real World
How do we get the brightest minds to become interested in social enterprise and philanthropy in order to solve the world's most intractable problems? In this audio lecture, sponsored by the Stanford Center for Social Innovation, Bill Gates, co-chair of his now famous foundation, calls on Stanford students to become part of the solution. He talks about his own path, pressing social challenges, and opportunities for addressing them.
(review, feed)

Mr. Deity

Mr. Deity is a video podcast by Brian Dalton in which he plays God as an underachieving character in a sitcom. With his assistant Larry, his son Jesse (Jesus) and the on and off ex-gf Lucy (Lucifer) he barely manages to cope with life as the managing director of the the universe. (feed)

Dalton describes himself as a Formone (a former Mormone) and comes from the angle of the atheist, but even if Mr. Deity is intended to show the absurdities of main stream belief systems in a comical way, the podcast actually manages to rise above that and be a playful prank on the common tenets of Christianity. I can picture a pastor actually use the short issues (3-8 minute video sketches) as a light entry into a serious sermon.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Selected listening for 4 February 2011

Irish History Podcast
The Pursuit of Power (pt. 1) The Decline of the O’Neills (919-944 CE)
Episode 6 is the start of a fascinating story, full of twists and turns. Over the next three shows we will see the O Neill kingdom who have dominated the first five shows see their power challenged by the Dal Cais (the family of Brian Boru). This will see many challengers rise and fall as these two families battle it out for supremacy in medieval Ireland.
(review, feed)

The State We're In
Neighbourhood watch
In Cairo, Juarez and Poland: people who have had enough will do whatever it takes to change things for the better, even if it means risking their lives.
(review, feed)

Radio Open Source
India-Pakistan: Vazira Zamindar on the raw wound of Partition
Vazira Zamindar is filling in a critical back story of fury and fear in our world, The Long Partition of India and Pakistan in 1947 and after. It was one of the great post-colonial wounds, and it keeps on wounding, visibly and invisibly. Partition has been the root of endless public miseries: ethnic cleansing, chronic warfare, constructed “national” and religious hatreds. It’s also, as Professor Zamindar testifies for herself, “a wound within.” It’s the mother of many millions of individual identity crises that seem never to go away.
(review, feed)

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Selected listening for 3 February 2011

KQED's Forum
Jewish Secular Culture
In his new book "Not in the Heavens," author David Biale chronicles the development of Jewish secular culture which, he claims, began with the Bible and continues to this day. Biale joins to discuss his exploration of the roots of modern Jewish secularism within the religious tradition it rejects, and what the role of Jewish secularism is today.
(review, feed)

Fresh Air
Hezbollah, Israel And Egypt: What Happens Next?
Story: Journalist Thanassis Cambanis puts what has been going on in Egypt in a historical context — and explains what the popularity of other political parties, like Hezbollah, could mean for relations with Israel and the United States.
(review, feed)

Stuff You Missed in History Class
The Last Emperor of Ethiopia
Haile Selassie wasn't just the last emperor of Ethiopia -- he is also hailed as a messiah. In this episode, Deblina and Sarah explore the astonishing life of Haile Selassie. Tune in to learn more.
(review, feed)

Revolution in Iran
During the first week of February in 1979, an Islamic revolution began to unfold in Iran. Mohsen Sazegara was close to the heart of events.
(review, feed)

Chris Hedges - Big Ideas

I am currently listening to many issues of Big Ideas and I think I will make a combined review later this week, but here I'd like to shortly separate out a lecture by Chris Hedges on his book The Death of the Liberal Class. (feed) On the same book he was interviewed by Christopher Lydon at Radio Open Source which I reviewed as well.

Hedges is extremely critical of western and especially American society and in addition to that extremely pessimistic. After you have listened to him, you really feel that fascism is going to take over really soon. At the Big Ideas lecture you get some insight as to where his dedication and inspiration comes from. This is not only left leaning politics, which has become clear in other shows just as well, nor his experiences in the wars in Yugoslavia, although none of these should be underestimated as influence.

I was surprised to learn of his Christian angle, which is just as unconventional as it is conventional. Pay attention where he says: I didn't study so many years on the seminary, only to find... In addition to his left politics it is also his religion that has imbued him with high social standards and which make him angry, sad and deeply disappointed to find that in modern society these values are mindlessly and systematically trodden. That makes you understand why he is so bleak.

More Big Ideas:
Needham about China,
The Reluctant Fundamentalist,
Ayaan Hirsi Ali and the quest against Islam,
Jewish Humor,
JRR Tolkien versus CS Lewis.

More Chris Hedges:
On Open Source,
On Media Matters.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Selected listening for 2 February 2011

Kol Hadash
Politics In America
Rabbi Chalom discusses the political climate in America and analyzes the most recent election results.
(review, feed)

Europe from its Origins
Episode 3 AD 500-650
[This is an extended and enhanced version of the episode first published in March 2009]
The Roman Empire continued through the 400s and 500s - at Constantinople.
A sub-Roman order settled on the West, presided over by Theodoricus in Italy, with Goths forming the ruling élite in Spain and Franks that of Gaul. A new Roman emperor, Justinian, launched a great war to reunite the West to Constantinople, which largely succeeded.
But the Black Death and the struggle with the great power of Parthia in the east undermined the Roman state’s hold on Italy, where its allies the Lombards descended and took half of the peninsula. The Goths in Spain and the Franks in Gaul took over Roman territories and underwent a process of political consolidation, forming the kernel of a future European political paradigm that differed from the Roman one.
In 613 the Sassanids launched a massive invasion of the Roman Empire, taking Syria and Egypt. A Great War ensued, in which the Roman Emperor Heraclius was ultimately triumphant.
But both the civilized great powers, Roman and Persian, had exhausted one another. To their south in the deserts of Arabia, their Nemesis was stirring - Islam.
(review, feed)

Radio Open Source
Shiva Balaghi: Egypt in the Spotlight; the US on the Spot
Shiva Balaghi is relaying cellphone news from her friends in Tahrir Square in Cairo. Between calls, so to speak, she is weighing the warnings, heard in Israel and the States, that it could be Iran all over again, Egypt on a road to mullocracy. It’s the sort of suspicion, she’s saying, that could create the scenario that it fears the most. An Iranian-American, born in Nashville, grown up in Tehran, Shiva Balaghi trained as a Middle East historian at the University of Michigan. She’s now a post-doc fellow at Brown, and was one of several stars at the Egypt teach-in on the Brown campus last night.
(review, feed)

Religions of the Ancient Mediterranean
Jesus as Prophet
Here I discuss first-century Judean concepts of the prophet and place Jesus within the context of other contemporary figures who were viewed as prophets. This is part of series 5 (The Historical Jesus in Context) of the Religions of the Ancient Mediterranean podcast.
(review, feed)

The 1953 North Sea Flood - Witness

I assume that outside the Netherlands and possibly the UK, the 1953 North Sea Flood is hardly known. The BBC Program Witness had an issue about this flood on 31 January, the 57th anniversary of this natural disaster. (feed)

A combination of spring tide and a severe storm swept the seas to a level that was too much for the coastal defenses in England, Belgium, France, Denmark and most notably in the Netherlands. As the waves got past them and swept over the lands in the dark winter night. Many homes and farmlands were destroyed and numerous cattle as well as around 2400 people died, over 1800 of them in The Netherlands. In Witness one hears a Dutch survivor of the flood retell her experiences fleeing from the tides and spending over 24 hours on a rooftop awaiting rescue and many consecutive months until repatriation to their patch of land.

More Witness:
Raking up Roswell,
Silent Spring,
Oslo Accords,
Witness BBC.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Selected listening for 1 February 2011

Wise Counsel
Raun Kaufman on Autism and Son-Rise
Former CEO of the Autism Treatment Center of America Raun Kaufman was the first recipient of the Son-Rise program, developed by his parents in response to his childhood diagnosis of severe autism. Though his diagnosis was presented by doctors as incurable, the Kaufmans, who had recently engaged with the 1970s human potential movement, remained hopeful with the understanding that if they decided the situation was hopeless, it would become so. They engaged intensively with their son, joining in and participating with his autistic repetative behaviors (against medical advice), seeking to create rapport. As Mr. Kaufman began attending to and engaging with his parents, they then used that hook to challenge him and teach necessary interpersonal and communication skills. Today the son-rise program offers an alternative to the dominant applied behavior analysis model which seeks to treat autism by first addressing the autistic child's difficulty forming relationships rather than their odd behaviors. The Center offers intensive parent training in the son-rise intervention model (as parents - not professionals - deliver this care) from their Massachusetts campus. Having been developed by non-scientists outside the university, the efficacy of the son-rise program has not been established with clinical trials. However, Mr. Kaufman suggests that recently resarch has been occuring which will shortly be published.
(review, feed)

London School of Economics: Public lectures and events
Phase Three of the Global Crisis
As countries adopt competitive exit strategies from the global crisis Paul Mason surveys the political economy of a flat recovery. He argues that mainstream economics have still refused to draw the lessons of asset price bubbles and situates the divergent recovery, east and west, within a long-wave explanation of the crisis. Paul Mason is the award-winning economics editor of BBC Newsnight, covering an agenda he describes as 'profit, people and planet' and author of the Idle Scrawl blog , which was shortlisted for the Orwell Prize 2009. His first book, Live Working or Die Fighting: How the Working Class Went Global, was longlisted for the Guardian First Book Award. This event marks the publication of his latest book Meltdown: The End of the Age of Greed.
(review, feed)

Entitled Opinions
Héctor Hoyos on Roberto Bolaño
Héctor Hoyos holds a Ph.D. and an M.A. from Cornell University. He was born in Bogotá, where he studied philosophy and literature at the Universidad de los Andes. He is preparing two book-manuscripts, entitled Beyond Bolaño: The Global Latin American Novel and El deber de la travesura: César Aira y la crítica cultural. His interests include visual culture and critical theory, as well as comparative and philosophical approaches to literature. Professor Hoyos has published scholarly articles on García Márquez, Roberto Bolaño, urban fiction, and the late thought of Ludwig Wittgenstein.
(review, feed)

KQED's Forum
Protests in Egypt
We get the latest on the protests in Egypt against President Hosni Mubarak, who has been in power for nearly three decades. We'll also check in with members of the local Egyptian community to get their reactions to recent developments.
(review, feed)

Subscribe to iTunesU feeds as a podcast

Here is a hot tip for approaching iTunesU feeds in iTunes. Aside from the fact that iTunesU feeds, by all technical standards I can think of, are really podcasts and therefore that is where I'd rather have them grouped, this mode of operating also gives a solution to the problem of not being able to remove iTunesU files from iPod.

In short, my advice is to subscribe to iTunesU feeds as podcasts. In other words, take the url to the feed and subscribe to it as a podcast and NOT by simply choosing 'subscribe' when in iTunesU. The files will show up in your podcast list and not under the iTunesU category. In addition, as you copy them to your iPod, the files will be considered podcast files and as a consequence can be deleted whenever you wish (which is not so easy for iTunesU files, in case you have a 4th generation iPod or older).

If you know the URL to the iTunesU feed, choose in the iTunes Menu Advanced | Subscribe to podcast... and then paste the URL into the text field, followed by OK. That is all.

If you do not know the iTunesU feed URL, you can figure it out by temporarily subscribing through iTunesU. Interrupt the download and go to the course in your iTunesU collection. Right-click the course and choose Copy iTunesU URL. This will copy the URL to your clipboard so that you can delete the iTunesU course and continue to the iTunes Menu Advanced | Subscribe to podcast... and then paste into the text field, followed by OK.