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Archive for November, 2012

Title: A Romp Through The History of Philosophy

Provider: Oxford University

Speaker: Marianne Talbot

Finally something useful for a class at my home university (2nd year now!). I’ve been searching for some time for something like this and, although there is plenty of interesting material about philosophy out there, most of it is either modern (and I needed history) or too detailed for my taste. So here it is: A Romp Through The History of Philosophy. It is exactly what the title states it to be. A long (I couldn’t find time to listen to all of it at ar once) introduction to philosophy about the history of the subject, and more importantly the patterns of thinking necessary for understanding the ‘love of knowledge’. It genuinely helped me with the lectures at my home university. I like philosophy, really I do. But apparently I was dealing with simplified versions of theories so far and wasn’t quite up to the challenge of philosophy at university level. This podcast helped me to understand the philosophical way of thinking better.
The lecture itself is great. Normally I avoid podcasts this long (an hour and a half!) but I’m glad I listened to this one. It is insightful, interesting and entertaining, which is a rare thing among university lectures. Most lecturers are all facts and no fun, but this podcast is an exception. I had fun while listening to it and my mind did not drift off to other subjects. By interacting with students Ms Talbot made this lecture marvelous. The one drawback I could find is that the answered given by students are hard to hear and sometimes I had to go on what the professor was saying to deduce what the student said.
I believe it will be helpful to any student that listens to it and interesting for everyone. So, as always go listen and tell me your thoughts. Pretty please?
by Izabela
P.S. I found this lecture through iTunes and there it was provided by the Oxford University, but the link I offer at the beginning of this post leads to the Official Website of Marianne Talbot.

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A sweet tooth, eh…?

Title: Biscuits – A Serious Business

Speaker: Simon Parkes

Provider: BBC 4

Anyone who has ever met me knows that I have a weakness when it comes to culinary exploration. Whenever I have a chance, I don’t hesitate to taste a new dish, however bizarre it may seem. I share a little silly belief that it is via food you can discover world the best. A new taste is a new experience, another discovery that describes a place or even a nation. And that’s exactly the reason why I stubbornly go through every cookbook I can find. That’s not all, though, I really go to the great lengths, trying to collect more and more knowledge simply about… food. How is it made? Where was it made? Why was it made?

These questions brought me to Food Programme, BBC podcast series. It represents everything we expect from such podcast experts as BBC – great stories, witty facts, superb rhythm, and, of course, great accent of the speakers. It also has a soundtrack that makes sure we won’t feel like we’re stuck on a boring lecture and lets us experience everything we are told about. There are 117 episodes so far and they vary in the topics – thanks to that everyone can find something they’ll enjoy. British cuisine? Sure, let’s take a look. Japanese food? No problem. You can even listen to podcasts exclusively about beer – and it is extremely interesting as well.

Today I thought that I would present you just one of them – as an appetizer. Since our old pal Ned was right once again, winter has come and made us all crave for a sugary treat – why shouldn’t we spoil ourselves from time to time, eh? I’ve chosen a theme that might be suitable for a cold, gloomy evening with a cup of tea. Please, have a biscuit or two and hear what I’ve got to share today. And trust me, you’re gonna need a treat, the podcast you’re about to listen is as scrumptious as a cookie fresh out of the oven. This is a must-listen material for anyone who has ever wondered what exactly are we devouring while chomping down on a biscuit that goes so well with our tea. What kind of biscuits are there? How did the British nation come to love them so much? Who is the leader of the biscuit production in Great Britain? Listen to find out – I was instantly enchanted. You will be too.

by Aleksandra

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Title: Hemingway, Fitzgerald and Faulkner

Speaker: Professor Wai Chee Dimock

Provider: Yale University

A little something for American majors in our Institute and for everyone who likes American literature. I admit, that I mostly read books by British authors (and Russian curiously – if you have not read “Master and Margarita” by Mikhail Bulgakov yet, go and read) but it does not stop me from being in love with Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby”. It was this novel that drew me to the podcast – I enjoyed the book, I enjoyed the movie (who doesn’t like Robert Redford), but I wanted to know more – to understand more. I guess this curiosity is one of the main reasons why I decided to study English Philology.

Hence this podcast. To be honest I did not listen to many tracks – only those that interest me – about “The Great Gatsby”, and Faulkner’s “As I Lay Dying”. Both were enjoyable and informative – I wouldn’t be recommending it otherwise. However there are certain drawbacks. The content of the lectures is brilliant but there is no performance in them – they are pure knowledge. With some podcasts you can allow your mind to drift but this is not the case. I couldn’t listen  while cooking or tidying – it was just to distracting. I had to sit down and focus. With that said there is plenty of interesting information – for example I’ve never thought about technology as being a big part of “The Great Gatsby”. In the lecture I found out, that it in fact is – an enormous part of the story. The huge advantage of this course is that you can download the materials – and as I wrote in one of my previous posts – it is sometimes difficult to follow the lecture when the professor says something like “and now please look at your handouts”. In this case this is not an issue – you have all the materials.

All in all, I did enjoy the podcast – and I did listen to the lectures about the books I’ve read. I plan to listen to other tracks, once I manage to find time to read the books. So, as always, go listen and then tell me your thoughts. I’d be especially interested if someone listened to the parts i did not – for instance about Hemingway. And… Anyone?

by Izabela

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