April 3, 2011
My favourite online videos
Internet is famous is for those videos of skateboarding cats. Fortunately you can find some really interesting videos. This week Ted had this video from the Swedish economist Hans Rosling extolling the virtues of the washing machine. If you go to the RSA Animate site, you will also find some excellent stuff. I also try to include links in my blog. Here are a few of my favourites from the last three years:
Fear the Boom and Bust. This is a rap video created by Russ Roberts and John Papola which compares the Keynesian and Austrian approaches to business cycles. It sounds dry but you can actually learn a lot.
The Rational Optimist. Everybody is working for everybody else. Matt Ridley gives his positive take on human progress.
Killer Chic: Hollywood’s Sick Love Affair With Che Guevara. Reason.com had short video about Hollywood’s romanticisation of Guevara.
How I built a toaster — from scratch. The TED website features this talk given by Thomas Thwaites, a designer who is trying to build a toaster from scratch. This may seem simple but it is an incredibly complex operation involving mining the raw
We are the web. A video about emergent order and the web.
Mob (a near-future science fiction story) by Tom Scott. Vimeo has this video about a high tech dystopia.
Disastrous Economic Fallacies – Terror as Stimulus? Tom Palmer, attacks the broken window fallacy. The parable of the broken window was created by Frédéric Bastiat in his 1850 essay Ce qu’on voit et ce qu’on ne voit pas (That Which Is Seen and That Which Is Unseen) to show the hidden costs associated with destroying property of others. Thus some economists argue that destruction can be good for boosting the economy.
March 12, 2011
I have just discovered this blog by chance, but it looks really interesting. The Paleofuture blog, which was started by Matt Novak in January of 2007, is about the future as envisioned from the past. The material – newspaper articles, photos, videos etc. – provides a fascinating insight into we have perceived the future. You can browse all this material by the decade in which it was published. If, like me, you are into retro-futurism, this websites looks like an absolute gem.
February 6, 2011
While researching this week’s blog I came across this blog Dollars and Sex. It is written by Marina Adshade an economics professor at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. She actually teaches a course called Economics of Sex and Love which looks at dating and marriage, promiscuity, infidelity, risky sexual behavior, the relation between sex and happiness, and markets for sex such as prostitution, pornography, and lap dancing. The blog covers similar material. As it says on the homepage of her blog: Economic theory suggests that sex makes people happy. Marina finds that economics plus sex is also very satisfying. May this blog be as good for you as it is for her.
May 8, 2010
I am really into sceptical websites and while researching this article I discovered this website, Point of Inquiry, which is run for the Center for Inquiry. They have three areas of investigation: pseudoscience and the paranormal, alternative medicine and religion, humanism, and secularism. The programmes feature thought-provoking interviews and commentary. Here is the link:
February 28, 2010
While researching my piece on self-help a couple of weeks ago I came across this excellent sceptical website, The Skeptics Guide to the Universe. They do a weekly podcast about sceptical issues. They look at paranormal, fringe science, and controversial claims from a scientific point of view. I particularly enjoy their archive, which has more than 240 past podcasts. They have interviews with leading Sceptics such as:
James Randi. He has a prize of one million dollars for anyone who can demonstrate a paranormal effect under proper scientific controls; nobody has claimed the prize yet.
Paranormal investigator Joe Nickell. He has investigated such phenomena as the Turin Shroud.
Michael Shermer. He is one of my favourite sceptical authors.
I hope you enjoy it.
November 29, 2009
SparkNotes is a website where you can find study guides for literature, poetry, history, film and philosophy. It is a free website funded by advertising. But if you want you can buy the material in PDF as an e-book or in print format. There are hundreds of books available.
In the literature guide you can click on the following headings:
Analysis of Major Characters
Themes, Motifs & Symbols
Summary & Analysis
Etymology & Extracts
Important Quotations Explained
Study Questions & Essay Topics
Suggestions for Further Reading
The site has attracted some controversy with teachers accusing it of being a tool for cheats. Apparently students will use it instead of reading the actual book. I can’t believe it! It can even be used to cheat during tests using mobile phones with Internet access. I can still remember a friend of mine getting an A for an essay about Oliver Twist based on the Lionel Bart musical.
November 9, 2009
The Daily Beast is a reporting and opinion website published by Tina Brown, former editor of Vanity Fair and The New Yorker, whose name comes from the fictional newspaper in Evelyn Waugh’s novel Scoop. It has a wide range of articles and has three million unique visitors per month. Here is a sample of this week’s pieces:
Can Teen Killers Be Rehabilitated?
Tour America’s Most Mysterious Communities for Just $69.95.
British Bad Girl Tracey Emin’s Naughty New Work
October 25, 2009
This is more of an update really. I have already featured Open Yale and they have recently added ten new courses, recorded during the 2008-2009 academic year:
Dante in Translation with Professor Giuseppe Mazzotta
European Civilization, 1648-1945 with Professor John Merriman
Freshman Organic Chemistry with Professor J. Michael McBride
Global Problems of Population Growth with Professor Robert Wyman
Introduction to New Testament History and Literature with Professor Dale B. Martin
Introduction to Theory of Literature with Professor Paul H. Fry
Listening to Music with Professor Craig Wright
Principles of Evolution, Ecology and Behavior with Professor Stephen C. Stearns
The Psychology, Biology and Politics of Food with Professor Kelly D. Brownell
Roman Architecture with Professor Diana E. E. Kleiner
Here is the link:
June 14, 2009
The Personality Test Center is a website where you can find tests based on five factor model of personality. They have a very exhaustive test and there are also some fun ones. I haven`t had time to do it yet but I hope to find time in the next few weeks. Here is the link: http://www.personalitytest.net/ipip/ipipneo120.htm
May 17, 2009
The Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA) is a British multi-disciplinary institution, based in London, whose notable members have included Benjamin Franklin, Karl Marx, Adam Smith, William Hogarth, Charles Dickens and Guglielmo Marconi. For brevity it is known as the Royal Society of Arts. The Society runs a public lecture programme which seeks to introduce new and challenging thinking. These lectures are made freely available as podcasts on its website. Recent lecturers include Al Gore, Joseph Stiglitz, Francis Fukuyama, Amartya Sen, Daniel Dennett, Anthony Grayling, Alain de Botton and Peter Singer. Here is a link to the RSA’s lecture podcasts.