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July 11, 2014

What is Global Warming? Talks on Audio & Video

Climate change is now a burning issue as we enter the first decades of the 21st century. With this list of free audio and video resources, LearnOutLoud.com asks "What is Global Warming?" In this selection of lectures and recorded discussions, various pundits explore the worldwide problem of climate change from a scientific and political perspective, and offer solutions for how we might avert global catastrophe. Topics include a history of global warming, how we can decrease our dependence on oil and fossil fuels, and Al Gore's 15 ways we can avert a climate crisis. Learn more about how scientists and politicians are working to save the earth by clicking any of the links here:

1. Global Warming

The University of Chicago presents a full course on the history, science, and possible future development of Earth's climate provided in a series of 23 video lectures taught by Professor David Archer. The first half of the course covers the basic physics, such as how the climate of the earth is determined by the energy of the sun, and what role green house gas emissions play. The second half talks how carbon helped form life, why the sun has provided such a stable global temperature, and other delicate details that make the planet hospitable for life. By the end of the quarter, Archer will talk about the toll human activity has had on the eco-system and what we can do to avoid future problems. The entire course offers a top to bottom education on the latest science behind global warming.

2. American Denial of Global Warming

In this streaming talk provided by UCTV, science historian Naomi Oreskes shows how mainstream views on global climate change developed and became more politicized throughout the 20th century. Oreskes begins by tracing how the earliest green house gas studies were conducted in the 1930s, and how by the 1960s, many leading voices in the scientific community on both sides of the political spectrum were making dire predictions about future climate change. Citing that many Americans still believe there is a controversy within scientific circles over the reality of global warming, she argues that this confusion is partly due to a concerted effort made by a few politically-driven organizations to muddy the issue. What would drive these groups to argue against an issue that could have such dire consequences for humanity? Oreskes has some interesting answers.

3. Global Warming in Earth's History

This is the first lecture from the Modern Scholar course Global Warming, Global Threat taught by Professor Michael B. McElroy. In this lecture professor Michael B. McElroy introduces the worldwide experiment we have embarked on through the increase in global temperature. He covers some of the basics of global warming such as the greenhouse effect, the gases that contribute to global warming, and what creates the climate on Earth. He then puts humanity and global warming in the context of Earth's entire history going back 4.5 billion years ago. He uses a calendar year as a reference for Earth's history and places global warming at the last few seconds before midnight on December 31st. It's an excellent introductory lecture for placing global warming in global history.

4. Field Notes from a Catastrophe

The hard facts of our changing climate are detailed in this sobering digital download lecture presented by WGBH. Here Journalist Elizabeth Kolbert and author of Field Notes from a Catastrophe explains how scientists first identified the possibility of climate shift over 100 years ago and then she traces scientific research up the present day, concluding with an undeniable portrait of what Earth will look like in the coming decades. What was once the realm of speculation is now an imminent threat, as scientists announce record temperatures every year; here you will find out what's happening and what can be done for future generations. This lecture is available on streaming video through YouTube.

5. Al Gore: 15 Ways to Avert a Climate Crisis

Al Gore lays out 15 ways to avert climate crisis through our personal and professional lives. He plays a brief slide show and provides examples of many of the ways that these steps are being used in action. Speaking to a business audience at the TED conference he also points out important steps that businesses can take to influence climate change. This talk is available on streaming video and MP3 download from the TED.com website.

6. Winning the Oil Endgame

Author Amory Lovins lays out his plan to help America kick the oil habit in this instructive lecture released by MIT World. In a matter of fact style that drives home the point that change is obviously upon us, Lovins shows how cars, planes and other vehicles can be made to run without fossil fuel after a one-time investment from the major U.S. manufacturers. He then shows how a firmer commitment made by business men and politicians would lead to not only greater financial returns and more efficient vehicles, but a cleaner, brighter future. Check out this free lecture on streaming audio & video from MIT World.

 

July 11, 2014

Art Appreciation Videos

Hoping to enrich your knowledge of art history, but unsure of where to start? With this selection of free videos, podcasts, and audiobooks, LearnOutLoud.com has collected a great primer designed to boost your art appreciation on all levels. Here you will be introduced to the finest painters and sculptors, and will get guided tours of the world's great architectural achievements. From Roman architecture, to Renaissance painting, to 20th century avant-garde developments and everything in between, these resources bundle together the most important eras, movements, and aesthetic trends in one place. Learn more by clicking any of the links below!

1. Art History Time Line

Take a journey through the History of Art with this free video course from the Otis College of Art and Design. This course comes with great visual accompaniments of the works of art being discussed. In this free 2 hour, 27 episode video series called "Art History Time Line". Professor Jeanne Willette takes you from the cave paintings to Romanticism in this video course. Each episode lasts about 5 minutes and covers a specific period in Art History. Learn about famous periods such as the Renaissance, the Baroque, Neo-Classicism, and Romanticism.

2. Modern Art History

You can watch 13 lectures from the Modern Art History course which is being offered through YouTube from the Otis College of Art and Design. In these lectures Dr. Parme Giuntini, Director of Art History at Otis College of Art and Design, covers many schools of modern art including Realism, Impressionism, Post-Impressionism, Art Nouveau, and more. She also provides the political and social context which these art movements arose from. Enjoy this free, 5-hour introduction to Modern Art from the Otis College of Art and Design.

3. Smarthistory: Art History at Khan Academy

With the Smarthistory series of YouTube videos, the Khan Academy presents over 500 brief art history lessons on a variety of subjects. Two unscripted art historians, Dr. Steven Zucker & Dr. Beth Harris, guide you enthusiastically through subjects that include the ancient architecture of the Greeks, paintings by van Dyck, Vermeer, and Bruegel, and modern works, such as Maya Lin's Vietnam Memorial. In addition to getting a valuable art lesson, the speakers also bundle their commentary within a historical context that gives the viewer a well-rounded understanding of a given piece.

4. Roman Architecture

Get an introduction to Roman Architecture with this free course available on audio & video from Yale University. Professor Diana E.E. Kleiner takes you on a historic journey through Rome, Pompeii, and other sites in Italy, along with notable structures throughout the Roman Empire. She covers a wide variety of Roman buildings illustrated with over 1,500 images. Although the slide presentation isn't ideal (she points them out projected on a wall), it is still recommended you watch this architecture course on video.

5. Art History Podcast

LearnOutLoud.com's Art History Podcast highlights over 20 of the greatest works of Western painting. From "The Birth of Venus" painted by Sandro Botticelli in 1486 to "The Gleaners" painted by Jean-Francois Millet in 1857, you'll learn about great paintings with selections from many art criticism books throughout history. Podcasts are enhanced with the image included along with high quality PDFs of the image on the podcast feed. Learn about the best painting from the masters like Leonardo da Vinci's "Mona Lisa", Michelangelo "The Last Judgment", and Rembrandt's "The Night Watch". Enjoy this free podcast from LearnOutLoud.com. We've also posted our YouTube playlist of these podcasts to the page.

6. Art History in Just a Minute Video Podcast

This entertaining video podcast covers one famous work of art in detail for each podcast. Currently host Christopher Witcombe has analyzed Leonardo DaVinci's Mona Lisa and The Last Supper. The videos are well produced and they provide some fun facts about the paintings you may not have heard before. Hopefully there will be more to come from this art history video podcast.

7. Art History Survey

Dr. Vida Hull's "Art History Survey" course covers the history of painting, architecture, & sculpture from the Renaissance all the way up to the 20th century. This 36-hour course is neatly divided into lectures that focus on specific artistic periods such as the Italian Renaissance, Dutch Baroque, Impressionism, and so much more. Dr. Hull also focuses certain lectures on individual artists from Leonardo da Vinci to Rembrandt, and many more giants of Western art history. The lectures are recorded specifically for video with clear slide show presentations that present the works of art in detail. Dr. Vida Hull presents the material with passion and clarity and it sounds like the best free introductory art history course out there!

Here are four other art history courses being offered by Dr. Vida Hull:

Italian Renaissance

Medieval Art

Northern Renaissance Art

Women Artists

 

July 1, 2014

7 Free Great Works of Modernist Literature on Audio Book

At the turn of the 20th century, many writers and poets grappled with the rapid changes that were occurring as the world marched steadily towards modernity. To give you a proper introduction to the modern era as it came to be called, we've collected a list of 7 free great works of modernist literature on audio book. Here you will find classic novels from the period, such as Thomas Mann's mournful Death in Venice, Joseph Conrad's primal exploration Heart of Darkness. You'll also find work from writers that began to experiment with the literary form itself, such as Kafka's absurdist Metamorphosis and T.S. Eliot's groundbreaking long-form poem The Waste Land. Get started on this fertile literary moment by clicking any of the links below:

1. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

A gentleman over at LibriVox has narrated James Joyce's first novel A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. This classic tale of Stephen Dedalus follows the young man during his formative years as he breaks away from the Irish Catholic conventions of his past to become an artist who will "encounter for the millionth time the reality of experience and forge in the smithy of my soul the uncreated conscience of my race." The narrator is Peter Bobbe and it sounds like he's done a fine job with a high quality recording. Download this unabridged audio book on MP3 from LibriVox.

2. Metamorphosis

Franz Kafka's novella is a bonafide 20th century classic about a traveling salesman that wakes up one morning to find his body has been transformed into that of a giant dung beatle. This highly symbolic tale about the plight of the modern working man, human alienation, and the eternal need to fit in has gone on to be Kafka's signature work. The audio version is brought to you through Thought Audio, and is narrated in a crisp performance by Michael Scott. If you've ever been interested in Kafka or have heard of the story's premise but never checked it out, now is the time. This book really is as good as everyone says!

3. A Room with a View

E.M. Forster's A Room with a View tells the story of two young lovers torn apart by extreme social divisions in early 20th century Europe. Lucy Honeychurch and George Emerson meet during a vacation in Italy and after a series of brief encounters, an unstated love affair develops that runs counter to the wishes of Lucy's society and family. Forster's characterization of Lucy offers an early, proto-feminist portrait of a newly self-empowered generation beginning to flourish in Europe in the years leading up to World War I. Her passionate time with George in Italy is contrasted with the hard restrictions imposed on her in her native England, offering a telling portrait of the era, its young people, and their dreams of greater freedom.

4. Death in Venice

Listen to German author Thomas Mann's classic 1912 novella Death in Venice. In this story, Mann introduces us to Gustav Achenbach, a well respected man of letters, whose strict dedication to his craft has led him to the kind of solitary loneliness reserved for great thinkers. After deciding to take a vacation in order to reduce his stress, he finds his way to Venice and makes a discovery there that awakens a passion within himself that he'd suppressed his entire life. This novella was translated from the German 1912 edition by Martin C. Doeg and we sincerely thank him for his permission to record it as an audio book. It is well narrated by Tom Laskey. Note: The free version is a video we have posted to YouTube on this page. To download it you'll need to purchase it.

5. Sons and Lovers

D.H. Lawrence's early masterpiece Sons and Lovers examines the complex relationship between a mother and her two sons as they come of age in a small mining town. After marrying a man of lower class, the mother Gertrude inherits a life she comes to feel is beneath her and transfers the passion she once had for her husband Walter over to her two sons, first William, and later Paul. As the sons grow and develop their own lives apart from Gertrude, their worlds begin to fall apart, and the younger Paul must decide if he will give his heart to a new lover, or stay loyal to a mother that craves his total attention. Librivox records Lawrence's classic modern novel with appropriate passion, giving this potent story of one family's disintegration the energy it deserves.

6. Heart of Darkness Audiobook Podcast

Joseph Conrad's classic novella Heart of Darkness has recently been made available for free on audio download. LoudLit.org and LiteralSystems have produced this professional sounding audio book that is narrated by Tom Franks. Listen to the highly symbolic tale of Marlow's journey down the Congo River. This unabridged audio book is available on MP3 Download from and can also be subscribed to as a podcast.

7. The Wasteland

T.S. Eliot's The Wasteland may be the most important modern poem ever written, and marks a turning point in 20th century literature. Drawing from a dizzying array of literary references that allude to passages from the western canon, Buddhist thought, and Hindu scripture, this 434 line poem utilizes these historical texts to make comment on contemporary British society. Mundane details are crossed with ancient Sanskrit in a deliberately disjointed structural scheme that loosely follows Holy Grail folklore, particularly the story of the Fisher King. Eliot's overriding themes explore the pervasive degeneration that has seeped into the culture of his era, depriving the modern mind of access to true meaning. Librivox offers a fine reading of the text, but we recommend bringing along a reference key to keep up with all of the literary allusions!

 

July 1, 2014

5 Free Classic French Novels on Audio Book

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The literature of France has had a huge influence on the course of Western Europe's history. Here LearnOutLoud.com has collected 5 free classic french novels in audio book format to get you better acquainted. In this selection you'll find the essential texts, including Victor Hugo's stirring french revolutionary classic Les Miserables, Alexandre Dumas' revenge-driven Count of Monte Cristo, and much more. Some of the French authors included such as Voltaire, Balzac, and Flaubert were able to evoke France's romantic culture while at the same time addressing the tumultuous political and social issues that ran rampant during the country's modern history. Click below to get started:

1. Madame Bovary

Listen to this classic French novel about Emma Bovary who tries desperately to escape her provincial life in 19th century France. After her marriage to a French doctor, Emma finds him dull and through adulterous affairs she escapes the boredom of their marriage. She also buys luxuries outside of her means, but as her debts began to mount up she has to face reality. This novel is narrated by a troop of volunteers over at LibriVox.org and is available on MP3 download. The translation is by Eleanor Marx.

2. Les Miserables, Volume 1
Les Miserables, Volume 2
Les Miserables, Volume 3
Les Miserables, Volume 4
Les Miserables, Volume 5

Download and listen to Librivox's 5-volume, 50-hour unabridged recording of Victor Hugo's epic historical novel Les Miserables. In the 1980s the novel was adapted into a hugely successful musical which ran for 6,680 performances from 1987 to 2003. And now that musical has been adapted into the 2012 film Les Miserables which is now in theaters across the USA! Get back to the source material with Victor Hugo's story of ex-convict Jean Valjean and dozens of other characters in nineteenth century France. This entire audio book is available to download on Librivox.org.

3. The Count of Monte Cristo

Alexandre Dumas' swashbuckling novel The Count of Monte Cristo is the perennially popular tale of one man's determined quest for justice after he is wrongfully imprisoned for many years. This character's dramatic fall and patient rise to new power examines the personal costs of taking revenge, not only for the person who was wronged, but for the people caught in his righteous wake. Now considered on equal footing with Dumas' other classic novel, The Three Musketeers, Monte Cristo offers all of the adventure and romance of a blockbuster movie bundled with a recurrent, bittersweet note examining what we lose when an obsession comes to define our every waking moment. With the Librivox recording, Dumas' fast-paced narrative is given a clean, well-performed reading that gives this exciting story a proper telling.

4. Father Goriot

Balzac's Father Goriot is the author and playwright's most popular novel, a study of three individuals as they try to try to climb a shifting social latter during a period in French history where social structures were constricting and poverty often led to desperation. Balzac focuses his narrative on a boarding house in Paris, where the old man Goriot, a criminal in hiding, and an impressionable law student all find themselves living and sometimes struggling together towards a better life in the city. As they interface with each other, their families and fortunes intertwine with fatal results. Written in a realistic style that was cutting edge for its time, Balzac's pessimistic exploration of city life and the compromises we make in order to gain upward mobility offers a timeless critique that still rings true to modern readers. James E. Carson narrates this recording and gives proper attention to the characters and world that make the book so memorable.

5. Candide

Listen to this French satire written by the Enlightenment philosopher Voltaire and published in 1759. In this short work with a running time of only 4 hours, Voltaire delivers a relentless, brutal assault on government, society, religion, education, and, above all, optimism. The novel follows the character of Candide after he is indoctrinated with optimism by his mentor, Pangloss, who teaches his pupils that they live in the "best of all possible worlds". Candide then goes out into the world is lead through a slow, painful disillusionment as he witnesses and experiences great hardships. Download this classic French novel narrated by Ted Delorme at Librivox.

 

July 1, 2014

6 Free Classic Russian Novels on Audio Book

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Listen to 6 free classic novels on audio from Russia's 19th century Golden Age. Selected here are key titles from the greatest Russian novelists, including such titans as Leo Tolstoy, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Ivan Turgenev, and Nikolai Gogol. Russian literature from this period is known for its dramatic sweep, compelling characters, philosophical depth, and spiritual curiosity. If you've ever wanted to tackle Anna Karenina or Crime and Punishment, the audio book versions in this collection will get you started. Click any of the links below to start exploring Russia's literary gems:

1. The Brothers Karamazov

Download Fyodor Dostoyevsky's final novel The Brothers Karamazov, which he published in 1880. Follow the story of Fyodor Pavlovich Karamazov and his three sons Dmitri, Ivan, and Alexei as their stories involve ethical debates of God, free will, and morality. Listen to this unabridged 38-hour audio book that is translated by Constance Garnett and read by numerous volunteers at Librivox.org.

Also while you're listening, you may also want to download and listen to the course "Existentialism in Literature and Film" by Professor Hubert L. Dreyfus at UC Berkeley which covers Dostoyevsky's The Brothers Karamazov in depth.

Existentialism in Literature and Film

2. Anna Karenina

If you're not ready to dive into the 1000+ page (60+ hours on audio) book War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy, then Tolstoy's Anna Karenina might be a better place to start. Maryann Spiegel at Librivox has just completed narrating this free unabridged, 36-hour version of the work which is translated by Nathan Haskell Dole. Listen to the tragic tale of married aristocrat Anna Karenina and her affair with the wealthy Count Vronsky. If William Faulkner called it "the best novel ever written" and Fyodor Dostoevsky said it was "flawless as a work of art", then you know it must be pretty good. Download this free audio book from Librivox.org on MP3 or bookmarkable M4B (a lot of Librivox's catalog is actually now available on M4B).

3. Crime and Punishment

This free audio book comes from Lit2Go, which is the University of South Florida's massive collection of free audio literature on MP3 download. They are all narrated by quality voice actors it seems and we've added a lot of their audio books to LearnOutLoud.com. Crime and Punishment by the great Russian author Fyodor Dostoyevsky is the second of his full-length novels. It tells the story of Rodion Romanovich Raskolnikov who is emotionally, physically, and financially stressed, but believes that he is an extraordinary man that does not have to follow the moral codes of ordinary people. Find out what this drives Raskolnikov to do in this classic Russian novel. It is translated by Constance Garnett and is available on MP3 audio download from Lit2Go!

4. Fathers and Sons

Download one of the greatest Russian novels of all time: Fathers and Sons by Ivan Turgenev. The 1862 novel portrays the clash of two generations of Russians, as the youthful Arkady returns to his father Nikolai's estate after graduating from the University of Petersburg, and Arkady brings along his nihilist friend Bazarov. From there the story follows Arkady and Bazarov as their nihilism eventually falls apart in the face of human emotions. This unabridged novel is available for free on MP3 audio download from Librivox.org.

5. Dead Souls

One of the high watermarks of 19th century Russian literature, Nikolai Gogol's Dead Souls is the author's lacerating critique of the flaws he saw running rampant in his society. The book follows the protagonist Chichikov as he journeys through the countryside purchasing "Dead Souls", or deceased serfs owned on paper by the various landowners he encounters. Thinking this shifty goal of acquiring quick "wealth" will work splendidly, he soon encounters a few snags due to the greed, suspicion, and distrust of their former owners. After initial success, he returns home only to find himself buried in rumors that his new-found wealth is based on false, or deceased "property", leading to a rumor-fueled disaster that sheds light on a long, shady past. What's obvious is Chichikov himself is the truest dead soul depicted, and that the culture surrounding him is in a similar state of decay. Librivox's recording offers a great rendition of this Russian masterpiece, bringing Gogol's characters and world to new life.

6. Notes from the Underground

Before Dostoevsky wrote his classic novels The Brothers Karamazov and Crime and Punishment, he published this short novel which follows the thoughts and memories of the Underground Man in St. Petersburg, Russia. Through the novel Dostoevsky lays out the philosophy of the Underground Man and the themes in his ideas have established the book as one of the world's first existentialist novels.