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May 27, 2005

Freakonomics

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It's fitting that the first blurb over on Audible.com for Freakonomics was by no less than Malcolm Gladwell, author of The Tipping Point and Blink. Like those two titles, Freakonomics is an interesting journey through some amazing stories and statistics. It doesn't get into the meat of the issues and while Levitt and Dubner seem to aspire to not much more than impressing us with some cool, real world applications of economics, the result is nonetheless engaging and highly listenable.

If you're the type of person with a strong logical inclination, you'll almost certainly fall in love with this book. The reasons why realtors almost always sell their own homes for more and why drug dealers often live with their parents are startling and not soon to be forgotten. Freakonomics will definitely change the way you look at the world. Even though the book lacks a cohesive theme and is a bit self-indulgent at times (Levitt is smart, we get it!) you'll still find yourself challenged and enlightened by what Levitt and Dubner have to offer.

To find out more about Freakonomics, click here.

 

May 24, 2005

Podcasting and the New Radio

We've been sort of bashing radio a little too much without giving a good alternative. Well now we can give you one. Take a look out our very own podcast page. Here you will find out what we've been doing in the world of podcasting and will be provided with links to listen to it all. These always fun to make and the results are getting better and better with each 'cast. We are always looking for comments on our podcasts and welcome your thoughts. Also, if you like our podcast, we suggest voting for it over on podcast alley. Have a good one!

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May 19, 2005

The Technology Fuels the Service

Read this short story about what's happening at the Algonquin in New York and consider this: has there ever been a hotel in the history of ever that offered walkmen or a cd boombox in a similar manner? The Ipod's information dispersal capabilities are becoming more apparent every day. So much so that the device's popularity is actually INFORMING the way several industries are engineering new business models. I never would have thought about listening to audio books at a hotel, but the chance to try out an ipod and listen to books while I'm on vacation is a great idea. THe only problem is that ipods will get so affordable as the market gets flooded that the freshness seal on a service like this is limited. Then again, when EVERYONE has an ipod, I envision kiosks all over the place where you can jack yourself in and download information on almost every business or service imaginable.

Think about it, not only will you be able to hook up your ipod into the Algonquin terminal and hear a bunch of history on the place, you'll also be able to go to a museum, mall, park or whatever, download information and use it for whatever purpose you need. Libraries may even be replaced by a huge room of terminals with which people can download their books (or ebooks if you still like reading) directly, and for free. You'll go to an airport and get automatic downloads of any weather or flight updates you need (which is more convenient then nervously checking a screen every few minutes). We're living the Will Gibson future more and more every minute of every day. Information will be so available and so portable that the sense of empowerment will be insane!

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May 19, 2005

A Fresh View of the Catholic Church has Emerged

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I wanted to make mention of a podcaster that I recently got the chance to finally hear. As we all now, the new Star Wars movie is obliterating the minds of every male born between 1965 and 1981 (my guesstimate of the "star wars generation"). I was listening to the Daily Source Code today and there was a blurb for a one Roderick Vonhögen, catholic priest and collossal Star Wars fan. I remember Roderick the most from his old website The Virtual Edition which tried to create Episode One wholly from spoiler information leaked on to the net. It was a fun site back in 98 and its good to see how this guy's use of the internet has morphed. Now he's a full blown priest and an accessible entry point into the world of catholicism. I've listened to a few podcasts and this guy's attitude and enjoyment of what he talks about, whether it be Episode III or Benedict XVI, is what I like the most about him. Seriously, the Vatican could use this guy for their PR Machine, he'll turn all the bad press they've been getting around in no time. He may repeat himself alot during his podcasts, he may even be annoying to some listeners, but I truly think he is probably the first real podcast celebrity besides Adam Curry. He's been so popular that the vatican radio is now doing a podcast thanks to his efforts and you can probably expect more innovations to from this young priest. Give him a listen, it would take a real cynic to not acknowledge that this guy has a ton of heart.

 

May 17, 2005

The Idea is Catching On

Looks as though Audible is figuring out what a learning resource spoken word audio can be. I just read this article on the deal they've recently struck Pearson Higher Education. The idea is that audible will be releasing audio versions of their college text book curriculum. This is only the beginning of something that is going to explode on the internet, mark my words.

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May 17, 2005

Focus on Zen

We'll be recording a podcast on audio religion soon, and I've been focusing on Zen Buddhism for this endevour. With that in mind, I've created an author page for Thich Nhat Hanh. Hanh came to world renown in the Vietnam-era when Martin Luther King nominated the quiet monk for the Nobel Prize. Since then, Hanh has been traveling the world and writting TONS of books on Mindfulness, Peace, and Zen in general. If you want to start anywhere with zen, this is the guy to look at first. Personally I've put down some of his books as must reads for the future. Enjoy the page!

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May 17, 2005

The End is Only Just Begun

There has been an interesting discussion going on about the state of radio over at Slashdot. I've said it before and I'll say it again, radio will continue its decline due to its lack of diverse programming. Sometimes I forget to bring my mp3 player in the car and am forced to listen to the radio for a few nanoseconds. There's absolutely nothing on. NOTHING. It's the same music with what amounts to same DJ shouting the same boring soon-to-be-dated slang. I want information, I want a variety of music, I want new voices, unfiltered thoughts, etc, etc, etc. Modern radio simply isn't giving me what I need and so I will continue to get what I seek elsewhere. Hang the DJ, indeed.

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May 17, 2005

D.T. Suzuki and the Art of Zen

I've been very focused on Zen Buddhism this weekend. My tireless efforts have produced two quality entries to the growing list of LearnOutLoud.com awesomeness. The first page I want to mention is the new author entry for D.T. Suzuki. He's one of the biggest popularizers of Buddhism in the west. Did your brother come back from college one time and drop words like Koan or Satori without explanation? He probably skimmed one of Suzuki's introductory books and is trying to make you feel inferior. Don't worry, we can help you bone up. Then again, it isn't really Zen to learn something for the sole purpose of retaliating a slight to your ego. Food for thought.

Anyway, this entry ties in with the Zen Buddhism topic page I made yesterday as well. If you are wondering what Zen is about or already have read about it and still don't know what the heck is going on, here's my stab at it. I'm not saying it's perfect, but I don't know how easy it is to really write about zen anyway. It isn't a religion that fits easy description. Nevertheless I will admit I'm personally intrigued and will be adding some of the audio books I found to my must-listen list.

Discuss this post in the LOL Forums!

 

May 11, 2005

New Topics at LOL

Are you in the position to start looking for a new house? Do you want to start renting out apartments? Well, I can't even begin to fathom such decisions personally, but if you are finding yourself financially flush, you might want to think about investing in something worthwhile. Real Estate seems to be a real safe bet these days and we here at LOL HQ decided to give everyone the leg up with our Real Estate Topic Page. The Topic Pages are sort of like articles designed as a guide to whats available on audio for a given topic of general interest. We're starting to think up new topics to write about for your listening pleasure and we're open to requests. Do you have a hobby or topic that you want to know more about on audio or video? Let us do the research man. We're happy to help and besides, we learn a ton when we make them. So yeah, tell us what you think of these topic pages. There's only two so far but we're going to be bringing in alot more this month. You'll like what we've got cooking here, believe me.

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May 9, 2005

The Far East gets that much Closer

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There have been a few new author pages put up for you to see. These two guys are somewhat related in that they are two westerners that became infatuated with eastern religion. The first author page I'll point you to is the one for Ram Dass. While once a big advocator of that whole turn on, tune in, drop out thing that happened in the 60's, Dass soon tired of blowing his consciousness with psychadelics and replaced it with the more healthy psych-bombs offered by Hinduism. I won't go any futher from that except to say he seems very centered.

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Next up we have a page for someone that has one of the coolest voices ever: Alan Watts. Watts was sort of a religious jack of all trades. He was a minister at one point, and basically became a genius in the field of comparative religion. His focus was on Buddhism, but if you go through his titles you'll notice he tackles almost every major belief system at some point in his career and considers each one carefully. I have to admit to liking this guy; he's a rock star academic if there ever was one.

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