Saturday, April 30, 2011

Listening ideas for 30 April 2011

New Books In History
David Shneer, "Through Soviet Jewish Eyes: Photography, War, and the Holocaust"
We should be skeptical of what is sometimes called “Jew counting” and all it implies. Yet it cannot be denied that Jews played a pivotal and (dare we say) disproportionate role in moving the West from a pre-modern to a modern condition.
(review, feed)

Philosopher's Zone
Hume on cause, effect and doubt
The sun rose today and it has risen on every morning that we know about. But is that a reason for thinking that it will rise tomorrow? Hume thought not and today we examine the reasons for his scepticism.
(review, feed)

Radio Open Source
Maya Jasanoff on this Empire we Inherited
Maya Jasanoff is letting me lay down my how-did-we-become-an-empire obsessions before a rising star among imperial historians. She teaches the Harvard course on the British Empire. William Dalrymple calls her "a bit of a genius" for her big new book Liberty's Exiles — representative tales of the 60,000 English loyalists who fled the independent United States after 1783 and remade Britain’s fortunes around the world in a century-plus of glory. My questions are: how did we Americans — with anti-imperialism in our revolutionary roots, in our sentimental DNA — let ourselves in for the burdens and sorrows of empire, the corruption and disrepute of empire? And what should we suppose is our chance of escaping the fate of empires?
(review, feed)

Wise Counsel
Ellen Walker, Ph.D. on Childfree Living
Psychologist Ellen Walker, Ph.D. is the author of the book, Complete Without Kids: An Insiders Guide to Childfree Living by Choice or by Chance, written in reaction to her own decision to forgo having children and consequent awareness of many people who have made the same choice. Social pressure to have children cause this choice to be stigmatized unfairly. In response, she uses the term childfree rather than childless to emphasize that the choice to not have children can be a deliberate decision and not an absence. Childfree adults can be organized into three categories depending on their motivation to become childfree: deliberate choice, happenstance (where the person might have been happy to go either way) and circumstance (where the option to have children was blocked). Though there are many advantages to not having children (including the opportunity emphasize career and interests, to put more energy into maintaining marital happiness, and to save and spend money for/on ones self), there are also challenges, including a widespread perception that other people view childfree adults as selfish and concerns about retirement planning and legacy. Childfree orientated adults can have difficulties when in relationships with partners who have children due to competing expectation around who is the center of the parent partners attention.
(review, feed)

The Economist
America's jobless men
It is harder than ever for American men to find employment. The recession did not help, but the problem may be structural
(review, feed)

Podcast reports until April 2011

Over the past weeks, a lot of people have contacted me with podcast reports - here is the lot of them:


Spiegelman has left a new comment on your post "Report a Podcast":

I've been doing a podcast for about 6 months about cult movies. Either I'll get comedians to come on the show to review and make fun of a movie or I'll have an interview with someone who's been in or made a cult hit. Often both in one episode. THe show is fun and fast moving.

We also have some comedy bits.

Past guests have included, actors from Uwe Boll's films, from "Pluto Nash," "Troll 2" and "Dirty Love" among others.

Comedians have included, Todd Levin (Conan), Adam Felber (npr), Al Madrigal, Steve Agee and Chris Spencer.

check it out on itunes or (feed)


Emma has left a new comment on your post "Psychology, Political science and Sociology podcas...":

Hi again!

You might also like some programs from Radio National (Australia).

'All in the mind' is an excellent, weekly podcast focussing on science and psychology. (feed)

'The Spirit of Things' is an hour-long weekly podcast focussing on religion and spirituality. (feed)

'Late Night Live' with Philip Adams is a wonderful interview program with an emphasis on current affairs, politics and history. Philip Adams is a national treasure - and such a gifted interviewer. (full feed) (feed with the items separated)

Hope these suggestions are of interest :)



Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Report a Podcast":

Is a podcast with soundexperiences.

Veel luisterplezier!



תומר נויהאוזר has left a new comment on your post "Report a Podcast":


Here is a nice new Podcast. its about all this little things in life, all the weird, useless things we hear but forget, the things that makes life a whole lot better.

פרורי מידע (feed)

and yes..its only in Hebrew at the moment


Hi Anne,

An iTunes “new and noteworthy”, The Myoclonic Jerk Podcast is an eclectic mix of philosophy and comedy. Each episode tackles a different subject using monologue, interviews, comedy, stories, music and more.

The Myoclonic Jerk (feed)

Hope you enjoy it. I'm a secular Jew too, so we might just be on the same wavelength.

Daniel Kaufman


Owen has left a new comment on your post "David Christian: Big History - TED":

A great TED Talk. If I had to choose only 1 podcast to subscribe to I think it would be TED. The Sir Ken Robinson talk on education is one of my favourite and most memorable.

Have you heard of the DO lectures (feed)? Bit like TED but on a smaller scale.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Listening ideas for 29 April 2011

On Being
Children of Both Identities
Mohammad Darawshe is Arab with an Israeli passport -- a Muslim Palestinian citizen of the Jewish state. Like 20 percent of Israel's population, he is, as he puts it, a child of both identities. He brings an unexpected way of seeing inside the Middle Eastern present and future.
(review, feed)

The Food Crisis, Market Failures, and World 3.0
Pankaj Ghemawat, IESE Business School professor and author of "World 3.0: Global Prosperity and How to Achieve It."
(review, feed)

Hebrew Podcasts
Hershele is an iconic figure of Jewish humor. In our dialog today, Ilana asks Eli to write a summary of a business meeting. It's late and Eli is reluctant because he thinks that it's a waste of time to summarize what was said when everyone attended the meeting. Ilana tells him the story of Hershele and hopes that he'll understand the moral of the story.
(review, feed)

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Listening ideas for 28 April 2011

Africa Past & Present
Zulu Intellectual History
Hlonipha Mokoena (Anthropology, Columbia U.) on her new book: Magema Fuze: The Making of a Kholwa Intellectual (2011). Explains the rise of a black intelligentsia in 19th- and early 20th-century South Africa through the remarkable life of Fuze, the first Zulu-speaker to publish a book in the language: Abantu Abamnyama Lapa Bavela Ngakona / The Black People and Whence They Came.
(review, feed)

Thinking Allowed
Craft & Community and Hunting
Does making things really make us happy? How does craft contribute to bringing people together? David Gauntlett and Richard Sennett join Laurie to discuss
(review, feed)

In Our Time
Cogito Ergo Sum
Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss one of the most famous statements in philosophy: "Cogito ergo sum" or "I think therefore I am". With Susan James, John Cottingham and Stephen Mulhall.
(review, feed)

Stone Pages Archaeo News
Archaeo News Podcast 190
In collaboration with British Archaeological Jobs Resource. With a.o. 'Gay caveman' is not gay and is not a caveman
(review, feed)

Mahabharata Podcast
Cutting the Muster
Episode 55 - As if intending to seal his fate, Duryodhana warms up the Pandavas by sending over an odious gambler Uluka as a messenger to goad them into fighting. Then Bhisma kindly gives us an inventory of the fighters who will take place in the coming battle.
(review, feed)

Center for Near Eastern Studies
Humanitarian Action in the Middle East and North Africa Under Scrutiny: Criminalizing Humanitarian Engagement
A lecture by Naz Modirzadeh, Harvard University
(review, feed)

The Economist
Threats to the Syrian regime
David Lesch, a professor of Middle East history, offers a deeper look at Syria's president as the country teeters on revolution
(review, feed)

Het Marathoninterview
Job Cohen, politicus
Voordat hij als politicus actief werd had Cohen al een staat van dienst die een Marathoninterview rechtvaardigde. Aan de vooravond van zijn burgemeesterschap van Amsterdam nodigde A.J. Heerma van Voss daarom Job Cohen uit voor een goed langdurig gesprek op 29 december 2000.
(review, feed)

Ian Morris at SALT Seminars (The Long Now)

We have encountered Ian Morris before on this blog when I reviewed his appearance on Radio Open Source. Also his lecture at SALT Seminars (aka The Long Now Podcast) comes forth from his book Why the West Rules for Now.You will get the same point again, how geography shapes history in general and how in particular the West profited from the circumstance it was closer to the Americas than China. Morris is a great speaker, so even if you are not immediately drawn to this subject, you are bound to enjoy this audio (feed). You can also see the lecture in video, which comes at a premium, but in my opinion not much is gained by the visuals.

What you can learn from this lecture by Ian Morris is not just how the West pulled ahead of the rest of the world and what the set of circumstances were to trigger this and how this in his opinion worked. His view is a general theory of history and therefore the approach, with such a prominent role of geography, can explain much more than just the rise (and impending fall) of the west. For example, as you can learn from the Q&A session at the end, it also explains how the peoples of the steppe rose to become dominant and what next development neutralized their relative advantage.

Mind, this theory is not just about geography. People's scientific, technological and cultural achievements are also crucial, yet Morris claims that every human advance is rapidly copied all over the world, neutralizing the social advantages and setting the balance back to a geographically determined stacking of the cards. However, the new technologies do cause certain geographic criteria to become more or alternatively less important. As to the main point, not until ocean travel becomes technically available, the distance to the Americas is not a relevant factor to set the west apart from the east.

More SALT (Long Now):
Quick podcast reviews,
Disappearing cultures - Wade Davis,
Ran Levi about The Long Now,
The Long Now Podcast.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Listening ideas for 27 April 2011

Binge Thinking History
The Putney Debates
The 1647 Putney Debates saw the development of many of the key democratic ideas we take for granted today. As Thomas Raisborough put it. The poorest he that is in England has a life to live, as the greatest he: and therefore truly, Sir, I think it is clear, that every man that has a life to live under a government ought first by his own consent to put himself under that government; and I do think that the poorest man in England is not bound in a strict sense to the government that he has not had a voice to put himself under All of this was of course against the backdrop of the English Civil War which in many ways makes if even more remarkable.
(review, feed)

Rear Vision
Somali pirates
Piracy has always existed but through most of the 20th century it posed no real threat to maritime trade. That all changed with the growth of piracy off the coast of Somalia.
(review, feed)

Mahabharata Podcast
The March on Kurukshetra
Episode 54 - Krishna returns from his mission to Hastinpur with war on his mind. Yuddistira, having spent the last 12-14 years undergoing massive hardship to prevent this war, is reluctant to accept this truth. He begs for more information, trying to find any way out of this situation. So Krishna obliges by giving us the details of a few more speeches made in the Kuru court, but none of it helps. War is truly inevitable.
(review, feed)

Philosophy Bites
Paul Russell on David Hume's Treatise
The standard reading of David Hume's Treatise is that it reveals him as a sceptic and also as an advocate of a science of man. These two aspects seem to be in tension. The sceptical Hume seems opposed to the more positive contribution he makes about human nature. In this episode of the Philosophy Bites podcast Paul Russell suggests a way of solving this riddle. Philosophy Bites is made in association with the Institute of Philosophy.
(review, feed)

UC Press Podcast
Changing Planet, Changing Health- UC Press Podcast
Chris Gondek talks with Paul R. Epstein and Dan Ferber about the public health issues around climate change.
(review, feed)

Oxford Biographies
George Orwell, political writer and essayist
English author and journalist. His work is marked by keen intelligence and wit, a profound awareness of social injustice, an intense, revolutionary opposition to totalitarianism, a passion for clarity in language and a belief in democratic socialism.
(review, feed)

More Gandhi - Lelyveld at KQED

Mohandas Gandhi's biography by Joseph Lelyveld Great Soul: Mahatma Gandhi and His Struggle with India has stirred much controversy. Lelyveld has appeared on many podcasts before to discuss and often defend his book. I reviewed some of those here at Joseph Lelyveld about Mahatma Gandhi and saw that this post drew in many, many readers.

Some of this controversy was unexpected to Lelyveld and he keeps on saying that the descriptions of Gandhi that are ascribed to the book are in fact not there. Much of these accusations, he claims, come from people who have not read the book. Notably in India, where the book has even faced banning, it has not even been published yet. Much can be learned from the podcasts. Among them an appearance at KQED's forum (feed), which appeared after I wrote the previous review.

Not only is Lelyveld a great speaker. As usual, Michael Krasny is a great interviewer.

More KQED's Forum:
Our Haggadah - Cokie and Steve Roberts,
All things shining,
The Iranian Elections,
Irvin Yalom,
Susan Jacoby.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Albert Camus - The Partially Examined Life

The best ideas for new podcasts to try, usually come from readers of the blog (keep them coming!) and so it went this time as well: a reader recommended I tried the philosophy podcast The Partially Examined Life. This podcast has very long (up to two hours) episodes in which a panel of philosophy students discuss an important philosopher or work of philosophy. They try to abide by two important rules that should make the podcast accessible for you and me: not to assume the listener has any prior knowledge or understanding of the matter; no name-dropping. (feed)

With already 36 episodes in the feed, there is a huge amount of content to choose from and by now I have listened to about three full issues, but I decided to kick off with me early life favorite: Albert Camus. The panel discussed the essay bundle that is usually known as The Myth of Sisyphus or as An Absurd Reasoning in which Camus explains his ideas about life being absurd and giving his reasoning against suicide. This was especially interesting to me, as I was never able to read this work until the end and not for lack of trying. Camus' novels have always been extremely accessible to me, but his essays, also other than The Myth of Sisyphus have not.

The guys on the podcast confirm my difficulty with the text - also they dread the way Camus drags on without getting to the point. The podcast allowed me to get more of a grip on how he did get to the point. The point being: Life is absurd, do not accept it, but do not commit suicide, because that is letting absurdity get the better of you. It shows his logical steps, it shows the philosophers he was influenced by and eventually also where his weak points lie. You have to bare the length of the podcast and the lack of structure in the discussion, but still this is a great entry into philosophy.

More Albert Camus:
Entitled Opinions,
In Our Time.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Samuel Beckett - Entitled Opinions

Entitled Opinions, Robert Harrison's weekly radio show at Stanford is a long standing, much revered, intellectual podcast which has seen long caesuras in the past. It is expected to have one of several months in the coming time as well. So, podcast listeners, be aware - many of you have let me know in the past they had thought the show was canceled. It was not and is not planned to be either. Harrison will be on a sabbatical and the show is planning to continue as soon as he is back. (feed)

As a parting gift, Harrison delivered a monologue about Samuel Beckett which I want to especially recommend to you. Harrison analyzes Beckett's work and philosophy and picks sections from Molloy and Malone Dies as illustrations - which he reads out most admirably.

Beckett is no great optimist about life and human nature. Harrison sees in this a kind of prophetic view that he ascribes to the poetic capacity of modern life and modern man. Again no pretty vista, but a very compelling listen.

More Samuel Beckett:
Waiting for Godot.

More Entitled Opinions:
Moby Dick,
Two issues of Entitled Opinions,
Pink Floyd,
Alexander the Great.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Stranger than fiction

Since I am a persistent follower of the feeds from Forgotten Classics and SFF audio, I was also familiar with the new podcast A Good Story Is Hard To Find made by Julie Davies (Forgotten Classics) and Scott Danielson (SFF). The two come together as believing Catholics and discuss their favorite books and movies and express what they find in these stories that strikes them as Christian content or a Christian message. (feed)

So far, the titles they chose to discuss were not ones I had any affinity with, but recently they took up the movie Stranger Than Fiction and that made me game. This movie has the supra-realistic tale of a man named Harold who finds out he is in a novel and seeks the help of a literature professor (a great performance by Dustin Hoffman). He thinks the author of the novel intends for him to die and he wants to do something about it. In the end Harold meets the author and when she (a role by Emma Thompson) finds out her character is a real person, she finds her intention to kill him off in the story further complicated - aside from her writer's block.

It was great fun to have the film discussed and learn more of the details. It sure makes me want to see the movie again. I am not sure I will agree with Scott and Julie's take on the story. I can understand how they can see Christ when they meet a person sacrificing his life in a story, but that could be a stretch. When they discuss the peculiar role of Harold's watch and claim to see 'how God works in ones life' I do not even know what they mean. Is it that God is in the details? Or that God's Master Plan is carried out by seemingly trivial circumstances? That is when I find their perspective being forced upon the story and upon an otherwise very captivating and entertaining discussion.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Listening ideas for 23 April 2011

Philosophy Bites
Pascal Bruckner on the Pursuit of Happiness
Is the attempt to find happiness self-defeating? Have people always been so obsessed with the pursuit of happiness? Pascal Bruckner dis cusses these questions with Nigel Warburton in this episode of the Philosophy Bites podcast. Philosophy Bites is made in association with the Institute of Philosophy.
(review, feed)

New Books in Public Policy
Stewart A. Baker, “Skating on Stilts: Why We Aren’t Stopping Tomorrow’s Terrorism”
How do government officials decide key homeland security questions? How do those decisions affect our day to day lives? In Skating on Stilts: Why We Aren’t Stopping Tomorrow’s Terrorism (Hoover Institution, 2010), Stewart Baker, a former senior official from the Department of Homeland Security, takes us behind the scenes of government homeland security decision making. Baker, who was the DHS’s first Assistant Secretary for Policy, examines some of the key security threats the US faces, and some of our greatest challenges in meeting them. While Baker has a healthy respect for the abilities of outside forces would do us harm, he also recognizes that some of our greatest challenges to providing security come from our allies, and from ourselves. In addition, while many people tune out when they hear acronyms like CFIUS of VWP, Baker shows what those acronyms mean, and their implications for our safety and security. Read all about it, and more, in Baker’s informative new book.
(review, feed)

Rebecca Goldstein - Thoughtcast

Jenny Attiyeh does in podcast what I believe podcast is fitted for most well: interviews and she does it very professionally on her podcast Thoughtcast, which, if I understand it correctly, is also being broadcast on a variety of radio stations in America. Attiyeh interviews authors from various backgrounds and speak with them about their work, their theories and thoughts and about their life. (feed)

Some of her work has recently been republished on New Books in History (feed), but for this review I got my inspiration from an interview that I picked from the long standing feed of Thoughtcast, with Rebecca Goldstein which was published in January 2010.

They speak around Goldstein's last novel 36 Arguments for the Existence of God: a work of fiction in which she describes the life of Azariyah a young brilliant man who is born into a community of orthodox Jews. Azariyah loses his faith in God and therefore, personally cannot stay within the community, however, he feels responsible as the rabbi and the leader of the second generation of Holocaust survivors. Admitting to his personal philosophy and thus abandoning the community, he feels, will kill it and so he stays, concealing his true insights.

As Attiyeh suggests and Goldstein acknowledges, this tragic set up has strong resemblance in Goldstein biography. She was born into a orthodox family, found out she had no faith, but broke away only after her parents had died out of s sense of responsibility. And now, she sees herself as an atheist, but one, as she points out right away with great respect and love for the religious. Further down the interview, I sense this reverence goes even further. She actually places herself below them. She feels, like Azariyah, that as an atheist, she is not proceeding with Jewishness down the generations. She still feels connected and identifies, but expresses a pessimism about her own capacity to pass this cultural identity on to her children - as opposed to those who still believe. For the record, I disagree, as Jewishness is a cultural identity, it can also be passed on by those who do not have the faith, I think, but the paradox is well taken.

Friday, April 22, 2011

What a cleaning day can bring

Today we were cleaning the house all day (as if cleaning it before Passover was not enough) and I put in several hours of consecutive podcast listening which gave a lot of interesting material to write about, when I finish the to-do list I gave you a couple of days ago.

Apart from a review of one of the SALT seminars which featured Ian Morris, I will certainly review some of the stuff I heard today:

Partially Examinied Life about Kierkegaard

Kol Hadash, a second lecture on the Synagogue

Mahabharata Podcast, the temptation of Karna (with some unexpected takes on Dharma)

Partially Examinied Life about Montaigne

The introductory lectures to three new lecture series on Yale:
Epidemics in western society since 1600
Early Modern England
Moral foundation of politics

In Our Time: The Pelagian Controversy

Myoclonic Jerk: Episode about _why_ does Dan Kaufman play World of Witchcraft

The two episodes of a new Hebrew podcast פרורי מידע

The house is very clean now....

Listening ideas for 22 April 2011

New Books In History
Michael A. Reynolds, “Shattering Empires: The Clash and Collapse of the Ottoman and Russian Empires, 1908-1918″
Prior to the nineteenth century, people generally did not live in a world of nations. They lived in a world of empires. Now in hindsight, we say that these empires were “multinational,” that is, they were made up of nations. But the elites who ran the empires didn’t think so. They saw them as made up of territories where the sovereign’s writ ran, not “nations” that the sovereign ruled (though there was some of that as well).
(review, feed)

A Short History of Japan
A look at the history of tsunami and Japan
(review, feed)

Shrink Rap Radio
A Door into The Unconscious with Jerry Trumbule
Jerry Tumbule, M.S, ABD and I have yet another one of our wide ranging conversations, picking up the thread that we left off on SRR # 259. In the beginning of our conversation I mention three very inspiring documentaries. The three films are: “I Am,” “Happy, The Movie,” and “Genghis Blues.” And Genghis Blues is [...]
(review, feed)

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Listening ideas for 21 April 2011

In Our Time
The Pelagian Controversy
Melvyn Bragg discusses The Pelagian Controversy. With Caroline Humfress, Martin Palmer and John Milbank.
(review, feed)

Center for Near Eastern Studies
Violence's Law
A lecture with George Bisharat, UC Hastings College of the Law
(review, feed)

Adam Chalom at Georgetown University

What is Secular Judaism is a difficult enough question, but what to think of secular Jews having a community and a rabbi of their own? That seems a bit of an oxymoron. I am much fascinated by the congregation of that sort in Chicago and their rabbi Adam Chalom, who can be heard on the podcast Kol Hadash - new voice (feed).

On 11 April Kol Hadash published a guest lecture Adam Chalom held at Georgetown University in which he explains better than ever what is Secular Jewish congregation he is leading. One of the strongest elements is this: these people identify with Jewish Culture, feel attached to it and feel the need to congregate even if they do not believe in God and do not keep kosher and Sabbath and all the other Mitzvot. Chalom works out the philosophy and describes how it works in practice.

Of course this triggers a lot of questions and a good half hour of the recording is spent on Chalom answering questions from the audience. For example the question: how does Chalom's Humanist Judaism define who is a Jew and who is not? And how does it offer entry to the club. Do they do conversions and if so how? His answers seem rather pragmatic: the person who identifies with Jews and Jewish culture, for him, is a Jew. And one who wants to enter... well, let him have it. Should you want some kind of ritual, or formal acceptance - it can be arranged.

More Kol Hadash:
The Synagogue,
Rabbi Adam Chalom - Kol Hadash Podcast

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Listening ideas for 20 April 2011

Gandhi's Salt March protest in India
How Gandhi's Salt March against British rule in India showed the power of peaceful protest.
(review, feed)

KQED's Forum
Francis Fukuyama: The Origins of Political Order
After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1989, political theorist Francis Fukuyama predicted the "End of History" in his seminal essay. In his latest book, "The Origins of Political Order," he tracks the development of political institutions since pre-modern times. He joins us in the studio to discuss this new book.
(review, feed)

UCLA History 182G - History of Secular Judaism

A very interesting course has begun running at UCLA: History 182G - Secular Jewish Culture (feed). David Myers teaches a relatively small group of students, so it sounds, the history of Jewish people looking for their secular versions of Judaism. The fact that this is a small group, warrants a lot of interaction with the audience, which on the one hand makes it extra fascinating. On the other hand, for the passive podcast listener, breaks up the structure of the lecture frequently especially when you cannot hear the questions and remarks by the students.

I was expecting that this history of Secular Judaism would start with Spinoza, but Myers takes us much much further back in history and tries to point at much earlier versions of Judaism that were not exactly according the main stream religious precepts. Take for example how the Greek culture in a way threatened Jewish culture. We know in the story of Hanuka how the Jews fended this off, but upon closer inspection we still discern the influence. With a figure like the philosopher Philo who comes from the Jewish community on Alexandria the Hellenistic influence is let in.

The next figure to come up in Myers's course is Maimonides. Like Philo, he let's in the Greek culture - which comes to him through Arabic and just like Philo he gives a genuine Jewish twist to it. And so, even if Maimonides is a great figure in mean stream Judaism when it is about his commentaries to the Halakhah, his philosophy is deemed less so and serves for Myers as example of secular Jewish Culture. And we haven't reached Spinoza yet at all.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Listening ideas for 19 April 2011

Mahabharata Podcast
The Temptation of Karna
Episode 53 - This episode is devoted to the classic scene of the Mahabharata in which Krishna reveals to Karna his true descent. He never was the Son of a Suta, which everyone called him with scorn. No, he was in fact the eldest of the Pandavas-- the original Partha. Now that the truth was out, all Karna needed to do was embrace his Dharma, join his brothers, and assume the title of King of India.
(review, feed)

Some Books Considered
Program 121
Sherry Turkle is a professor of Social Sciences and Technology at MIT and a clinical psychologist. For 15 years she has followed how families use technology and the ways in which we interact with technology. Dr. Turkle talks about how technology has redrawn the boundaries between intimacy and solitude. She advises us to put down our smart phones and devote some time to one-on-one face-to-face interaction. She also discusses the dangers of “sociable robotics.” Robots are being developed to provide elder care and child care. She says it is an inappropriate use of technology to have a robot that professes to “care” for you and serves as a confidante because a robot is not a living creature.
(review, feed)

Inspired Minds
Zubin Mehta - Conductor
This month one of the world's great conductors, Zubin Mehta, celebrates his 75th birthday. A native of India, he has conducted many of the world's great orchestras and since his debut as an opera conductor, has conducted at the Met, the Vienna State Opera, Covent Garden and La Scala. Since 1977 he has been music director of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra.
(review, feed)

Making Love in the Kitchen
Life Transformation with Philip McCluskey
Guest: Philip McCluskey, of Loving Raw, lost 250 lbs on a raw food diet! 250lbs!!! That's like two of me! He did all on his own, by reading about it, trying it, and of course, now living it! He may not be all raw but he is all dedicated to eating whole and healthy, while maintaining balance and best bit is- he travels around the world motivating other people to take ownership over their health and see it through to the bright side. Wowzers, did I love talking to this man!
(review, feed)

Omega Tau
The Cassini Mission to Saturn
This episode is about the Cassini Mission to Saturn. We talk with Nora Kelly Alonge, a Project Science System Engineer and Science Planning Engineer at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory. In the episode we cover the Cassini spacecraft’s structure and sensors (and its lander, Huygens), some of the relevant science, as well as the challenge of coordinating science and engineering requirements on the mission.
(review, feed)

Waco siege
In 1993, around 80 members of a Christian cult died when a fire broke out at the end of a siege in Waco, Texas. Sam Henry lost his entire family in the blaze.
(review, feed)

Munger on Microfinance, Savings, and Poverty
Mike Munger of Duke University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about microfinance. Munger argues that cultural forces make it difficult for some families to save, and the main value of microfinance is to allow a higher level of savings. Families are willing to save via microfinance even though returns can be negative. Munger argues that this counterintuitive result is possible when other means of savings are unavailable. Munger also discusses microfinance that is used for entrepreneurship and the potential role for microfinance in development.
(review, feed)

The Tolkien Professor
The Gift of Annwn, by Scott Holbrook-Foust
An essay exploring the representation of the Celtic Otherworld in Arthurian Literature, with a particular focus on Morgan Le Fay in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.
(review, feed)

Monday, April 18, 2011

Listening ideas for 18 April 2011

The History of Rome
And Then There Were Two
In 313 AD, Maximinus Daia and Licinus fought for control of the Eastern Roman Empire.
(review, feed)

Bay of Pigs invasion
It is 50 years since a band of Cuban exiles attempted to overthrow Fidel Castro with the help of the US government. It was called the Bay of Pigs invasion.
(review, feed)

The China History Podcast
The Qing Dynasty Part 5
We're almost at the end of our Imperial China History Overview. In this segment of the China History Podcast we look at the continued misfortunes in China during the Xianfeng era, as the country is torn apart by the Taiping and Nian rebellions and revolts in the west. The western powers, following the 2nd Opium War, force yet another unequal treaty on the shellshocked Qing government. In these trying times emerge three great China military heroes Zeng Guofan, Li Hongzhang and Zuo Zongtang. The Qing at last face the choice of modernize or lose the mandate of heaven forever. But with the Empress Dowager Cixi preparing to seize power, things are going to be dicey for this last dynasty of imperial China.
(review, feed)

SFF audio
The SFFaudio Podcast #104
Scott, Jesse, and Gregg Margarite talk about two Robert Sheckley short stories, Untouched By Human Hands (aka One Man’s Poison) and Seventh Victim.
(review, feed)

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Listening ideas for 17 April 2011

Kol Hadash Humanistic Congregation Podcasts
The Future of the Synagogue
Rabbi Chalom explores in further detail the institution of the synagogue by looking towards the future and theorizing the role it will play in modern Jewish life.
(review, feed)

What the Buddha Taught
Dharma teaching by Gil Fronsdal
(review, feed)

Coming up: Passover Week on Anne is a Man


This week we have Passover break, which keeps us busy with organizing a Seder, activities with the children, a desert trip, and also, my birthday. All of this means I am going to be on-line very infrequently and probably not going to be able to give you my every day listening ideas. I have, however, a number of podcast reviews lined up, so here is a list of what you can expect in the coming days:

A new course at UCLA formally called History 182G, about the history of secular Judaism. (feed) In case you think such a course might start with Spinoza, at the earliest, you are wrong. It goes way back to the beginning and had me hooked when discussing Hellenism and its effect on Jews and a figure such as Philo of Alexandria.

While on the subject of Secular Judaism, I am going to recommend, once more, Rabbi Adam Chalom, the Secular, Humanist Rabbi. This time on a great guest lecture at Georgetown University. Kol Hadash (feed)

A couple of guest postings in my favorite podcast New Books in History, put me on the trail of another podcast: Thoughtcast on which Jenny Attiyeh interviews authors (feed). One particular issue, almost a year old, is a very interesting interview with Rebecca Goldstein - with very interesting thoughts on Atheism and religious roots in general, Jewish roots in particular.

And now for something different. Julie and Scott, two Catholics let their Catholic perspective shine on the movie (that I loved) Stranger than fiction, on their podcast A good story is hard to find (feed)

Robbert Harrison, Entitled Opinions will be off on a long sabbatical, but left us with this season's ultimate show giving a wonderful monologue about Samuel Beckett. (feed)

Many readers have picked up on my combined review of a number of podcast appearances by Joseph Lelyveld on his latest book about Gandhi and I want to point to yet another of those interviews, a very good one on KQED's Forum (feed)

Last but not least, one of the readers of the blog pointed me to a philosophy podcast that I am enjoying a lot: The Partially Examined Life (feed) My first review will be about their show in which they discussed my beloved author Albert Camus.

So this is going to give you at least something near the one post a day frequency and if I get the chance, I will throw listening ideas in as well.

חג שמח


Saturday, April 16, 2011

Listening ideas for 16 April 2011

NB: this is the 2000th post on the blog.

Check out this News Flash on the Do It Yourself Scholar (a blog you all should follow):
10 New Courses on Yale
Tip for iPod users: subscribe to these iTunesU feeds as podcasts.

SALT - Seminars About Long Term Thinking
Ian Morris
Ian Morris is an archaelogist and professor of classics and history at Stanford. His splendid book is Why the West Rules -- For Now: The Patterns of History, and What They Reveal About the Future.
(review, feed)
See also: Geography shifting big history

The Economist
New crackdowns in China
The Chinese authorities are exhibiting a new brazenness toward dissidents. Harassment abounds, and some are disappearing
(review, feed)

Climate Change
One of this century's great challenges will be mitigating the effects of our steadily warming planet. In today's episode we explore the consequences of our changing climate.
(review, feed)

New Books in Public Policy
William Bennett and Seth Leibsohn, “The Fight of Our Lives: Choosing to Win the War Against Radical Islam”
Where do we stand on the War on Terror? Is it still going on, and if so, are we winning or losing it? In William Bennett and Seth Leibsohn’s The Fight of Our Lives: Knowing the Enemy, Speaking the Truth, and Choosing to Win the War Against Radical Islam (Thomas Nelson, 2011), the authors look at the current state of the War on Terror, how it is going, and why it remains important.
(review, feed)

TED Talks
Transplant cells, not organs - Susan Lim
Pioneering surgeon Susan Lim performed the first liver transplant in Asia. But a moral concern with transplants (where do donor livers come from ...) led her to look further, and to ask: Could we be transplanting cells, not whole organs? At the INK Conference, she talks through her new research, discovering healing cells in some surprising places.
(review, feed)

Friday, April 15, 2011

Listening ideas for 15 April 2011

The Hama massacre
In 1982 an uprising against the Assad regime in Syria was met by a violent response. Two men who lived in the northern city of Hama as children recall what happened.
(review, feed)

The New York Review of Books Podcast
Andrew Delbanco on Mark Twain
Andrew Delbanco talks with Andrew Martin about the first volume of Mark Twain’s unabridged Autobiography and the distinctive joys and challenges of reading Twain in the twenty-first century.
(review, feed)

Radio Open Source
Pakistan’s Perpetual Identity Crisis
Pratap Bhanu Mehta, a political theorist and intellectual historian based in New Delhi, is leading us through another reflection on the 1947 partition of India and Pakistan.
(review, feed)

Office Hours
Richard Lachmann on American Decline
This week we talk with Richard Lachmann, author of the article, The Roots of American Decline in the Winter 2011 issue of Contexts. Lachmann addresses common misunderstandings we Americans tend to have about our government’s spending, particularly military spending, and the current “fiscal crisis”. Lachmann compares the decline of American dominance with past empires and offers some lessons about what we might do to have a graceful decline as opposed to a painful, violent one.
(review, feed)

On Being aka Speaking of Faith
Exodus, Cargo of Hidden Stories
The biblical Exodus story is no simple story of heroes and villains; it's a complex picture of the possibilities and ironies of human passion and human freedom. Avivah Zornberg, author of "The Particulars of Rapture: Reflections on Exodus," brings the text to life through the ancient Jewish art of Midrash. If you're not familiar with Exodus, you're in for a deeply sensual experience; and, even if you're well-versed in the text, you just might be surprised.
(review, feed)

Veertien Achttien
Vladimir Lenin en de donderpreek vanaf de pantserwagen
Gestoken in een nieuw burgermanspak reist Vladimir Lenin per trein de revolutie tegemoet, uitgezwaaid door de Duitsers. Hij gaat zijn bolsjewieken in Petrograd eerst maar eens de les lezen.
(review, feed)

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Listening ideas for 14 April 2011

KQED's Forum
Joseph Lelyveld on Gandhi
Joseph Lelyveld's new biography of Mahatma Gandhi, "Great Soul," has sparked controversy from India to California. For some, it has raised questions about Gandhi's sexual orientation. The Pulitzer Prize-winning author and former New York Times executive editor joins Michael Krasny to discuss his book, and the debate that swirls around it.
(review, feed)
For more podcast issues on this subject see Joseph Lelyveld about Gandhi on Anne is a Man

In Our Time
The Neutrino
Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the neutrino, the so-called 'ghost particle'. With Frank Close, Susan Cartwright and David Wark.
(review, feed)

Documentary on One
Hidden Heroes of the Belfast Blitz
70 yrs ago, on Apr 15th 1941, Germany rained down bombs on Belfast - part of their WW2 offensive on Britain. The hidden story of that night is how the Republic of Ireland put its neutrality at risk by sending its firemen to help their northern brethern.
(review, feed)

Leonard Lopate Show
The Eichmann Trial
Deborah Lipstadt, Dorot Professor of Modern Jewish History and Holocaust Studies at Emory University, talks about the capture of SS Lieutenant Colonel Adolf Eichmann by Israeli agents in Argentina in May of 1960, and how his subsequent trial in Jerusalem by an Israeli court electrified the world and sparked a public debate on where, how, and by whom Nazi war criminals should be brought to justice. The Eichmann Trial gives an overview of the trial and analyzes the dramatic effect that the survivors’ courtroom testimony had on the world.
(review, feed)

Fresh Air
Tina Fey Reveals All (And Then Some) In 'Bossypants'
Story: Tina Fey's new memoir Bossypants contains her thoughts on juggling motherhood, acting, writing and executive producing 30 Rock. Fey joins Fresh Air's Terry Gross for a wide-ranging conversation about her years in comedy, her childhood and her 2008 portrayal of Sarah Palin on Saturday Night Live.
(review, feed)

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Listening ideas for 13 April 2011

Forgotten Classics
Genesis, chapter 24
In which Abraham's servant goes a courting ... for Isaac.
(review, feed)

Rear Vision
A history of insurance: from fire of London to revolution by motorcar
Already this year, Australian insurers have paid out over three and a half billion dollars in claims, covering the five 'big events' that swept away houses, cars, and a sense of certainty for so many people. In the process, the question of how insurance should be worded, what it means when people aren't insured, and whether and how states, regions and governments should be covered, were all being debated. Because insurance is a financial and social institution that has changed enormously over the past few centuries. Today's program traces some of those changes, from the Fire of London through to the impact of the 'mutuals' and the question of whether and how much insurance should be compulsory or national.
(review, feed)

Mahabharata Podcast
Krishna reveals Himself
Episode 52 - The peace talks break down completely. It starts well, when no one can come up with a rebuttal to Krishna's speech. Narada and Kanva tell a couple of parables to help with the decision making, but Duryodhana was not interested. It seems he believed that the terms of the Dice Game were that the Pandavas were to go to the forest forever, not just 13 years. Maybe it's true? What if the Pandavas had indeed be banished for life, but they decided to change the rules when Krishna & Drupad offered to help them overthrow their cousins? How would we know, since we only get the version of the story as told by the survivors of this war!?!
(review, feed)

Leonard Lopate Show
Simon Schama
Historian and social commentator Simon Schama discusses writing about a diverse range of subjects: from food and family to Winston Churchill, from Martin Scorsese to Rembrandt, from his travels in Brazil and Amsterdam to New Orleans. His collection Scribble, Scribble: Writing on Politics, Ice Cream, Churchill, and My Mother shows him to be a keen observer with a critical eye.
(review, feed)

The Economist
Nigeria's elections
As Nigeria goes to the polls, Elizabeth Donnelly of Chatham House reflects on the prospect of fairer elections
(review, feed)

The Innocent - New Books in Law

It rarely makes head-lines, but when it does, the news is great and shocking: in the criminal justice system, occasionally, the innocent get convicted. Brandon Garrett wrote a book about the phenomenon: “Convicting the Innocent: Where Criminal Prosecutions Go Wrong” (Harvard UP, 2011) He studied 250 US cases where the convicted was re-trialled because evidence had come up that they were innocent. Jim von der Heydt interviewed Garrett on the new podcast from the New Books Network New Books in Law (feed).

In many ways Garrett's research field is just the tip of the iceberg. Many innocent just finish their punishment and are never exempted. But with the aforementioned case-load at hand, Garrett set off to seek an answer to the gnawing question whether the legal system including its officials contain systemic traits that help convicting suspects that are actually innocent. Listen to the interview to find more out about legal constraints to repair the mistakes, the role of legal representation in these cases and obviously, the newly developed technologies for DNA evidence.

It seems to me, however, that one aspect is getting too little attention: a very large portion of convictions (maybe up to 90%) are based on the accused confessing to the crime and this suggests something that has been haunting the legal system forever and will continue to do so, also with DNA evidence: suspects tend to confess. The psychology of both the suspect and the interrogator are pulling towards confession and consequently there is a systemic tendency towards producing confessions, even false confessions. Legal psychologists have been describing this for a long time, including the interrogation techniques that can even instill false memories into the suspects. If you understand Dutch, you can hear this explained in the closing 15 minutes of an interview with the world famous expert Professor W.A. Wagenaar.

Simek ‘s Nachts - W.A. Wagenaar on Huffduffer

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Listening ideas for 12 April 2011

Kol Hadash
Rabbi Chalom at Georgetown University
On March 31, 2011, Rabbi Chalom visited Georgetown University and answered "What is Secular Humanistic Judaism". We hope you enjoy this bonus edition of the Kol Hadash podcast.
(review, feed)

Leonard Lopate Show
Sidney Lumet, Dead at 86
Sidney Lumet once wrote, “While the goal of all movies is to entertain, the kind of film in which I believe goes one step further. It compels the spectator to examine one facet or another of his own conscience. It stimulates thought and sets the mental juices flowing.” This is something the filmmaker did from his very first movie, “12 Angry Men” in 1957, through “Serpico,” and “Dog Day Afternoon” to “The Verdict.” Sidney Lumet died at the age of 86 from lymphoma. You can hear his last interview with Leonard from 2007 when he was joined by Philip Seymour Hoffman and Ethan Hawke for “Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead.”
(review, feed)

Social Innovation Conversations
Aaron Hurst - Promoting Philanthropy Through Collaboration
Taproot is a nonprofit that makes business talent available to organizations working to improve society. In this audio interview with host Ashkon Jafari, founder Aaron Hurst discusses how Taproot started, what impact the organization has had, and the challenges it has faced. He also shares how the enterprise evaluates nonprofits applying for grants.
(review, feed)

The Tolkien Professor
WC Faerie Course, Session 13
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Part 2, in which we look carefully at our protagonist and his values.
(review, feed)

Yuri Gagarin
It is 50 years since Yuri Gagarin became the first man in space. It was a triumph for the Soviet space programme.
(review, feed)

David Christian: Big History - TED

David Christian narrates at TED Talks a complete history of the universe, from the Big Bang to the Internet, in 18 minutes. This is "Big History": an enlightening, wide-angle look at complexity, life and humanity, set against our slim share of the cosmic timeline. (feed)

More TED:
Naomi Klein: Addicted to risk,
Rise of women, fall of men - inequality again,
Rory Sutherland,
Dimitar Sasselov,
Sir Ken Robinson.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Listening ideas for 11 April 2011

The History of Rome
The Milvian Bridge
On October 28, 312 AD Constantine and Maxentius fought a battle at Rome's doorstep for control of the Western Empire.
(review, feed)

The Tolkien Professor
WC Faerie Course, Session 12
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Part 1, in which we discuss happy endings and relatively jolly green giants.
(review, feed)

Mighty Movie Podcast
Cinefantastique Spotlight: SOURCE CODE
Those Who Fail to Stop an Exploding Train are Doomed to Blow Up Again: Jake Gyllenhaal is a reluctant time-traveller in SOURCE CODE. Marty McFly only had to be sure his mom ‘n’ dad fell in love. Colter Stevens (Jake Gyllenhaal) has to keep a bomb from killing a trainful of Chicago commuters, identify the bomber, foil his plan for detonating a dirty bomb in the heart of the city, connect with a pretty passenger (Michelle Monaghan), and do it all within the same eight minutes that a secret military time travel program called SOURCE CODE permits him. In his sophomore effort, director Duncan Jones explores the same theme of a man alone and at the mercy of shadowy machinations that was explored in his rightly-praised debut effort, MOON. Has the director expanded his palette, or is SOURCE CODE just an action film with a lot of flatscreens and flashing lights in the background? Come join Steve Biodrowski, Lawrence French, and Dan Persons as they discuss the outcome.
(review, feed)

Beyond the Book
Arab Spring Update
As popular uprisings have spread across the Middle East and North Africa, media pundits have credited Twitter and Facebook. But one Egyptian-born journalist based in New York says the acclaim for social media is misplaced, even though she admits to a Twitter addiction herself.“It was a revolution of courage, rather than a revolution of Twitter or Facebook,” says Mona Eltahawy. “Social media connected real-life activists with online activists, and with ordinary Egyptians whose only exposure to politics came through Facebook and through tweets that they read. And through that connection, [Twitter] brought people out on the ground. But it was a tool. It was a weapon.”
(review, feed)