Media Mining Digest 160 – 5 Dec 2014: Aimee Semple McPherson, Air Pollution, Astrophysics, Birth of a Nation, Bob Dylon, Broadband in Michigan, Calcium Crisis, Carotenoids, Chestnut Trees Return, Civil War Prequel, Computer Cabling, Corruption in America, Cryptowall, Cuban Internet, Deception in America, Diet Agnostics, Disaster Responses, DNA Research, Dread Pirate Roberts, Ebola Conference, Ebola Research, Empathy, Epilepsy Case, Extinction in America, Food Fads, Grave Matters, Green Chemistry, Interstellar Movie, Leishmania Parasites, Linux Comparison, Middle East Lecture, Oil in America, Oratory in America, Orson Wells, Patent History, Pneumatic Tubes, Police Problems, Reenactments, Rewilding, Robot Uses, Satire, Sexting, Shopping Trends, Speed Reading, Starbucks Concept, Startups, Sugar History, Surveillance in America, Teachers Add Value, Trilobites, Utopias, Westgate Terrorist Attack, World War One Letters

The following audio files come from a larger group of 244 for the week. Double or ctrl-click individual highlighted links, below, to get single podcasts.  A zip file of all 53 podcasts converted to 1.5x speed will download here for four months. Older groups of podcasts are discussed at the end of this episode.

Aimee Semple McPherson 27 mins – “The story of Canadian-born Aimee Semple McPherson and how she went from farm girl to invent broadcast evangelism, becoming among the most famous and glamorous women in America in the 1920s and 30s.” At the link find the title, “DocArchive: Sister Aimee,” right-click “Media files docarchive 20141125-0232a.mp3” and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

Air Pollution 27 mins – “What’s causing severe pollution haze events over Beijing?; Resilience of humans to extreme weather; Tracking the journey of a hammerhead shark; IUCN Red List turns 50; Studying cancer with naked mole rats,” At the link find the title, “SciA: Air Pollution in Beijing; Preparing for Extreme Weather…” right-click “scia_20141127-2030a.mp3” and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

Astrophysics 60 mins – “This week we’re talking about the mindbending science trying to understand the inner workings of the Universe. Astrophysicist Ethan Siegel returns to discuss the BICEP2 experiment, and its search for the fingerprints of cosmic inflation. And we’ll talk to theoretical cosmologist Roberto Trotta about his book “The Edge of the Sky: All You Need to Know about the All-There-Is,” which explains the history and concepts of cosmology using the 1,000 most common words in the English language.” At the link right-click “Listen Now” and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

Birth of a Nation 52 mins – “Six of this year’s nine nominees for Best Picture at the Oscars are films based in history. That may seem like a lot, but for the past 40 years, the majority of Best Picture winners have had an historical bent. On this episode we ask what makes history such a popular subject for American filmmakers. From the early days of film — when people thought movies would replace textbooks in the classroom — to the Cold War — when the government and Hollywood thought they could control behavior through film — the History Guys look at the impact of history on celluloid culture, and at how movies have made and remade history. They also debate the merits of current Oscar nominees (Lincoln, Zero Dark Thirty, and Django Unchained) and consider the ways those movies reflect contemporary thinking about history.” At the link right-click the down-pointing arrow at the right end of the sound bar and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

Bob Dylon 48 mins ­ “For a music giant, a cultural touchstone, Bob Dylan has long been one of the most inscrutable of artists.  Beyond his towering music, he doesn’t share.  Doesn’t open up.  We do not get close.  But Victor Maymudes did.  For forty years, from Dylan’s earliest days in Greenwich Village.  He was tour manager and a lot more.  Left the tapes that tell the inside story.  His son Jake was written them up.  He’s with us.  This hour, On Point:  Another Side of Bob Dylan.” At the link right-click “Download this story” and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

Broadband in Michigan 14 mins – “The small village of Sebewaing has become the first gigabit village in the state of Michigan. Superintendent of Sebewaing Light and Water utility Melanie McCoy joins us to discuss the project on episode 126 of the Community Broadband Bits podcast….” At the link right-click “…download this Mp3 file…” and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

Calcium Crisis 11 mins – “Acid rain has depleted calcium in lakes, leading to an overpopulation of jelly-coated organisms. The problem of acid rain is one of the few success stories we’ve had in controlling pollution, as the industrial emissions that cause it have been cut substantially. But the environmental damage and disruption caused by acid rain still echo in the wilderness. One example discovered by Professor John Smol, a biologist and Canada Research Chair in Environmental Change at Queen’s University in Kingston, and his colleagues, is what they’re calling the “jellification” of temperate lakes. Acid rain depleted the environments around these mineral-poor lakes of calcium, which is essential to lake organisms. Without calcium entering the lakes in run-off, some crustaceans at the base of the aquatic food chain, which make their exoskeletons from the mineral, are at a disadvantage, and they’re being displaced by species that have a jelly-like coating. These jelly-organisms are inedible to many predators, and disruptive to the lakes’ ecological balance.” At the link right-click “Download” and select “Save Link As from the pop-up menu.

Carotenoids 28 mins – “Chris Cazzonelli talks about carotenoids:… Carotenoids for example are colourful pigments found in plants that are essential for human health. In plants, carotenoids are required for photosynthesis, photoprotection and the production of signaling molecules (e.g. hormones and volatiles) that promote chloroplast to nucleus communication, shoot branching, root-mycorrhizal symbiosis, parasitic weed germination and abiotic stress resistance (Cazzonelli and Pogson, Trends in Plant Science 2010; 15: 266-274).” The Chris segment starts at the 10 minute mark and continues to the end. If the reference to an extended interview does not work, use this link. At the link right-click “Download” and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

Chestnut Trees Return 10 mins – “A century ago, the American Chestnut was a tremendously important species in the forests of Eastern North America, representing more than a quarter of forest trees in a swath from Georgia to Ontario. But a fungus introduced on imported Asian chestnut trees turned out to be catastrophic for the American Chestnut, and killed billions of trees, essentially wiping out the species by the 1950’s. Breeding a blight-resistant tree has proved laborious and difficult, so now a team led by Dr. William Powell, a professor at the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse, New York, has developed a genetically modified American Chestnut that uses a gene from wheat to resist the fungus. They are currently going through the regulatory approval process, but believe this could be the first attempt to use a GM organism in an environmental restoration project.” At the link right-click “Download” and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

Civil War Prequel 53 mins – “…The episode explores the concept of “union” and its power in the northern psyche, and the equally strong pull of “home” for the white southerner; how slavery factored in to each man’s decision to fight, most compellingly, for those former slaves recruited into the Union Army after the Emancipation Proclamation; and it looks to the women who soldiers often saw themselves fighting for, but who were left to fend for themselves as the war unleashed other terrors off the battlefield.” At the link right-click the down-pointing arrow at the right end of the sound bar and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

Computer Cabling 67 mins – Chris Jones, owner of a computer company in Middle Tennessee, Computer and Communications Innovations, began his career nearly 33 years ago as a systems installer for a cable television company. Here he discusses the finer points of cable installation which are frequently overlooked and the source of code violations. At the link right click “Download MP3” and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

Corruption in America 52 mins – “It’s a worry as old as the Republic: Do politicians look out for the public good, or their own private interests? But what exactly Americans consider the corruption of public office has changed over time. This week, BackStory shines a light on fears of corruption in America–from back room deals in Congress, to paying bureaucrats on commission, to the taint of corporate money in modern politics.”

Cryptowall 33 mins – “Fighting and preventing Cryptowall 2.0 and other ransomeware.” Mention is made of shadow copying, a standard feature in most Windows products that should be checked to make sure it is turned on. Links at the site include several free protection programs. At the link right-click “Download” and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

Cuban Internet 50 mins – “British journalist Nick Baker and Anglo-Cuban journalist Arnaldo Hernandez Diaz discover a vivid snapshot of Cuba including topics around the internet and online communication, LGBT issues and a surprising medical story.” At the link find the title, “DocArchive: Human Cubans,” right-click “Media files docarchive 20141123-2005a.mp3” and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

Deception in America 54 mins – “In America, you can be anything you want to be. Or anyone. Literally. So on this April Fools edition of BackStory, we dig into the long story of confidence men and counterfeiters. We discover a time when fake money jump-started the economy, and take a look at the long, strange history of “the truth compelling machine.” And, oh yeah… we try to sell the Brooklyn Bridge.” At the link right-click the down-pointing arrow at the right end of the sound bar and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

Diet Agnostics 75 mins – “On today’s show: Healthy low-carb diets: fact or fiction? What is the Paleo-Vegan diet? Can supplements assist with memory improvement and Alzheimer’s prevention? Why are the Maasai being handed an eviction slip? We also talk a bit about the late physicist Richard Feynman. In the Moment of Paleo segment, does nudging the world in a better direction matter? And After the Bell, we close with a TED talk about the psychology of positive thinking.” (Reference is made to the Australian show, Catalyst.) At the link right-click “Download MP3 audio” and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

Disaster Responses 52 mins – “In this week’s episode, the Guys explore “historic” weather in historic time: everything from the year without a summer (1816), to experiments with rainmaking in the later 19th Century, to extreme weather as entertainment in the 20th – courtesy of Coney Island sideshows. And they look to the major questions raised by major weather events: what kinds of disaster responses have been useful and which ones have been, well, disastrous? And how much is any “natural disaster” entirely down to nature?” At the link right-click the down-pointing arrow at the right end of the sound bar and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

DNA Research 55 mins – “On the show this week we talk to journalist and science writer Christine Kenneally about her latest book, The Invisible History of the Human Race: How DNA and History Shape Our Identities and Our Futures.” At the link click “Download” and select “OK” from the pop-up menu to ”Save File.”

Dread Pirate Roberts 20 mins – “Today on the show, the story of the Dread Pirate Roberts of the internet age. A man who dreamed of setting up a utopian marketplace, a place where you could buy and sell almost anything in secret. The pirate created a market with no contracts, no regulations, and really no government interference. The Dread Pirate believed in total economic freedom, but in order to make his market work, he had to do some very bad things.” At the link right-click “Download” and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

Ebola Conference 91 mins – “The current Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa has sickened over 14,000 people and has killed over 5,100. Health workers from around the world are attempting to halt this deadly disease. On November 19th, the American Society for Microbiology featured two of these health workers, Dr. Joseph Fair and Dr. Michael Callahan, who have extensive experience with the virus, including direct field work during the current outbreak. In this presentation they discuss the virus, the response, and potential solutions.” At the link right-click “MP3 Audio Only” and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

Ebola Research 29 mins -”Keith is on location at the Galveston National Laboratory, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston TX.  He talks with Thomas Geisbert, an infectious disease researcher at the GNL, who was the co-discoverer of the Reston strain of Ebola, made famous in the bestselling book “The Hot Zone” by Richard Preston. Geisbert talks about this first encounter with Ebola, and how the GNL is working to develop vaccines and treatments for this devastating disease. Geisbert also describes why the virus is so difficult to contract, and why the virus must be stopped at its source – Africa.” At the link right-click the play button beside “Listen” and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

Empathy 52 mins – “The philosopher Roman Krznaric has spent years thinking about empathy, and he suggests you forget the idea that it’s some fluffy, feel-good concept. Krznaric argues that empathy is radical and dangerous, because it offers the possibility of real change. He also says it’s not a concept to reserve for the down and out. To really address the world’s empathy deficit, we must equally apply it to our neighbors and to people in power. Wednesday, we’ll talk about our capacity for empathy and why it matters. Roman Krznaric is a founding faculty member of the School of Life in London. His new book is called Empathy: Why It Matters, and How to Get It.” At the link right-click the play button beside ”Listen” and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

Epilepsy Case  54 mins – “In continuing with Epilepsy Awareness as the topic for November, Joyce welcomes The Honorable Tony Coelho, author of the Americans with Disabilities Act and former congressman from California to the show. Mr. Coelho will discuss his journey living with epilepsy, and the progress that has been made nationally to end the stigma.” At the link right-click “Download mp3” and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

Extinction in America 55 mins – “Some 20,000 species across the globe are at high risk of extinction, experts say – many here in the United States – and some of our natural fauna have already disappeared. So in this Earth Day episode, the American History Guys explore how Americans have grappled with the idea of extinction over time, and what the loss of native species has meant for our ecosystems and everyday lives. When did we first realize that species could go extinct? To what extent did earlier extinctions shape the emergence of today’s environmentalism? And how have ideas about biological extinction factored into American thinking about human cultures? These are just some of the questions the American History Guys and their guests explore in this episode, with stories on our obsession with dinosaurs, the bird that helped birth the conservation movement, the unlikely fish that galvanized a new generation of environmental activists, and much more.” At the link right-click the down-pointing arrow at the right end of the sound bar and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

Food Fads 58 mins – “Until recently, the link between a high fat diet and heart disease was one of the touchstones of modern medicine. But new research has thrown that connection into question, just as numerous studies over the years have brought new advice about health and diet to the fore. So in this episode, the Guys take the long view on nutritional advice and explore some of the more surprising ways that past generations have defined “health food.’” At the link right-click the down-pointing arrow at the right end of the sound bar and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

Grave Matters 52 mins – “On Memorial Day, we pay public tribute to those who lost their lives fighting for our country. But how do we live with the memory of the dead the rest of the year? In this special Memorial Day episode, the Guys and their guests explore Americans’ changing attitudes about death: historian Drew Gilpin Faust talks about how the Civil War altered the American way of dying; writer Kate Sweeney explores the 20th Century shift toward private, restrained mourning; and our own Ed Ayers tours Richmond’s Hollywood Cemetery — and discovers his own gravesite.” At the link right-click the down-pointing arrow at the right end of the sound bar and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

Green Chemistry 25 mins – “ There’s a lot of attention right now on creating environmentally friendly technology, non-toxic and sustainable manufacturing, but as Dr. John Warner explains it, it all has to start with the chemistry. John Warner is a chemist, professor and co-founder of the Warner-Babcock Institute for Green Chemistry. He speaks profoundly about learning methods from nature to create safer, more resilient and more elegant chemistry.  John was also the recipient of this year’s Perkin Medal, one of the highest honors in the field of chemistry.” (Starts about the four minute mark.) At the link right-click “Download” and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

Interstellar Movie 23 mins – “To prepare for this episode, we had to do a little homework: see the movie Interstellar. As we were walking out of the theater, we knew we had to invite Kip Thorne back to the show.  As Feynman Professor of Theoretical Physics, Emeritus, at the California Institute of Technology, Kip Thorne is the scientific advisor and executive producer of Interstellar.  Listen to the show as Kip joins us to discuss Interstellar, the science in the movie, and how it might inspire us to dream about our future.” At the link find and right-click “Download” (the mp3…) and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

Leishmania Parasites 91 mins – “Hosts Vincent Racaniello and Dickson Despommier discuss the spread of P. knowlesi in Malaysia, and how Leishmania parasites protect the sandfly gut from bacterial infection.” Both parts concern changing disease patterns, the first with malaria and the second with Leishmania. At the link right-click “TWIP #79” beside “Download” and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

Linux Comparison 102 mins – “Nov 22: #262 – Computer America #79: Larry’s second last appearance as the regular Linux correspondent on Computer America. Topic: The computer operating system doesn’t matter anymore… so you should use Linux! Call me ‘cheap’ or just ‘frugal’ but I don’t like spending money without a good reason. As long as you have an Internet connection and a browser, why do you need a specific computer? You don’t need an expensive computer. Even a modest one with a good Internet connection can run cloud applications quickly — because most, if not all, of the processing takes place on the Internet.” At the link right-click “Download” and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

Middle East Lecture 54 mins – “Director, author, actress and journalist Nelofer Pazira peels back the layers of the western media’s simplified black-and-white coverage of the Middle East in the 2014 Dalton Camp Lecture in Journalism.” At the link find the title, “Recognizing Grey,” right-click “Download Recognizing Grey” and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

Oil in America 54 mins – “…At the beginning of the 20th century, oil was hardly on America’s energy map. Coal was king, supplying as much as 90% of the nation’s energy needs. And the second most used energy source? Wood. But in just a few short decades Americans would come to depend on oil to heat their homes, get to work, power their military, and supply the plastics for their appliances. By the dawn of the 21st century, President George W. Bush would declare America “addicted” to the substance. So in this episode, the guys and their guests look to the roots of that addiction, and explore how oil has shaped the American lifestyle and economy over time.” At the link right-click the down-pointing arrow at the right end of the sound bar and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

Oratory in America 52 mins – “November 19th, 2013 marks the 150th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. It’s one of the most iconic speeches in American history, but in 1863, it got decidedly mixed reviews – one newspaper even called it “silly, flat and dishwatery.” So how did it become one of the most famous speeches in the United States? This episode of BackStory explores the evolution of an icon, and asks, more generally, what kinds of speeches – and speakers – endure in American history. From the fiery sermons of traveling preachers in the 18th century to the teleprompted prime-time addresses of presidents today, we’ll look at how audiences’ expectations of orators have shifted, and ask why some speeches loom so much larger — or smaller — in our memory than they did in their own times.” At the link right-click the down-pointing arrow at the right end of the sound bar and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

Orson Wells 50 mins – “Director Orson Welles was asked to write his life story in his later years. He declined but was convinced by his friend Henry Jaglom to discuss his life over a weekly lunch at their favourite Hollywood restaurant, Ma Maison. The hundreds of tapes, recorded from 1983 to 1985, reveal extraordinary, frank, conversations between Welles and the independent director Jaglom.” At the link find the title, “DocArchive: The Lost Tapes of Orson Welles,” right-click “Media files docarchive 20141130-2005a.mp3” and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

Patent History 52 mins – “Can genes be patented? Are downloaders inhibiting musical creativity – or enhancing it? Questions about “intellectual property” are everywhere today – but what exactly is intellectual property? And what are these kinds of rights supposed to achieve? In this episode of BackStory, the American History Guys look to the past for answers. Where the Constitution gave Congress the power “To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts” through a patent and copyright system, the Guys uncover how industrial piracy actually propelled the economy of the early Republic – and with the Government’s stamp of approval! We hear how an author’s copyright used to extend little further than the letters on the page, and why it has come to embrace so much more. And as the Supreme Court gets ready to rule on gene patents, the Guys get perspective from the first scientist to patent a living organism.” At the link right-click the down-pointing arrow at the right end of the sound bar and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

Pneumatic Tubes 17 mins – “In the world before telephone, radio, and email, the tasks of transmitting information and moving material objects were essentially the same challenge. The way you sent someone a message was pretty much the same process as sending someone a package—you had to send a piece of physical media through the post, or on a ship. It was really the telegraph that divided telling someone something from far away and  giving someone something from far away. But every day people didn’t speak morse code (or have telegraph equipment). The message had to be deciphered, written on a slip of paper, and then that was delivered to the recipient. For many cities, the pneumatic tube was essential in getting these slips of paper to the intended recipient quickly. It’s no surprise that electronic communication eventually killed most of the need for pneumatic tubes. But you may not know that it was the telegraph itself that also put pneumatic tubes into widespread use.” At the link right-click “Download” and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

Police Problems 60 mins – “Ira talks to reporters John Diedrich and Raquel Rutlidge, from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. They got a call from a landlord who said agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives had trashed his place. (9 minutes)… After John and Raquel published their story, the U.S. Congress got involved. And they found some very surprising things happening in other parts of the country. (10 minutes)…If you haven’t spent much time in the southwest, you may not know about this, but there are these border patrol checkpoints that are just in the middle of interstate highways and other roads… not at the border. They’re as far as a hundred miles away. Reporter Debbie Nathan used to go through these checkpoints regularly when she lived in El Paso in the ’80s and ’90s. But not long ago, she discovered something that made her see the checkpoints in a whole new way. (25 minutes)….” At the link right-click a download option may not exist or cost $.99; however, a copy is included in the blog archive.

Reenactments 52 mins – “Americans have a fascination with their past – not just discussing it, but actually reliving it. And we’re not just talking about the Civil War. Every weekend, there are people in various parts of the country putting on the clothes of old time baseball players, enslaved people — even KKK members. And so on this episode, we’re asking what drives Americans to the scripts of the past. Is it purely educational? Or is there something deeper, more personal, at stake? What events do we reenact and why? Are there some chapters of American history that are still off-limits for this sort of treatment?” At the link right-click the down-pointing arrow at the right end of the sound bar and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

Rewilding 54 mins – “After centuries of negative human impact on our landscapes, some people are calling for rewilding: allowing landscapes to revert back to a natural state. Anik See takes a look at rewilding efforts in Canada and in the Netherlands.” At the link find the title, “Rewilding,” right-click “Download Rewilding” and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

Robot Uses 47 mins – “Human imagination got so far out front, so fast, on robots that robot reality has been vaguely disappointing for a long time.  Isaac Asimov and “WALL-E” and the Terminator put our real robots to shame.  They still do.  But things are changing.  Sensors and chips and AI and mechanics and “the cloud” are coming together to push robot dreams and reality into new terrain.  There is need – we have aging societies that could use the help.  There is risk – talk of jobs lost to robots and “killer robots.”  And there is reality – they’re moving in.  This hour On Point:  the rise of the robots.” At the link right-click “Download this story” and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

Satire 19 mins – “Satirical commentary on public events is nothing new, but now may be a greater force in shaping modern discourse. On this episode, Sophia McClennen discussed how satire is saving the nation.” At the link right-click “Listen to episode” and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

Sexting 52 mins – “Tuesday, our guest is the journalist Hanna Rosin. Her latest article for The Atlantic asks what we should be doing about teens and sexting. Now before you cry, “Not my kid!” consider this: surveys show nearly a third of older teens have sent provocative selfies. Rosin says most often the pictures land where they’re intended, but the consequences when they don’t can be devastating. We’ll discuss the legal and social fallout of sexting and what the trend tells us about our kids. Read Hanna Rosin’s Why Kids Sext in the November issue of The Atlantic.” At the link right-click the play button beside ”Listen” and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

Shopping Trends 18 mins – “’Tis the season – for elbowing your way through crowded lines at malls to get the best deals…and the best presents. As the holiday shopping frenzy begins, brick-and-mortar retailers are rolling out new tools to engage increasingly finicky customers – from personal shopper apps to Macy’s location-based, digital coupons. But that may not be enough in the long term to keep pleasing consumers. “Retail will see more change in the next five to 10 years than perhaps we’ve seen in the last 50 or 100 years,” says Courtney Reagan, CNBC’s retail reporter.” At the link right-click “Download” and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

Speed Reading 51 mins – “Jonathan Levi – Here on Smart People Podcast we get the opportunity to talk with a lot of amazing authors. Doing this on a consistent basis has turned us into what you might call “book worms”. However, with only so many hours in the day, there are still thousands of books that we’ll probably never have the time to read. If only there were an easier way? What if you could increase your reading speed by five, ten or twenty times and also increase your retention? …Well thanks to one of our top fans (thanks Charlie!) we were introduced to this weeks guest, Jonathan Levi. Jonathan is an entrepreneur, and an expert in speed reading and advanced memorization. His online course is ranked as one of the top selling of all time on Udemy and has been personally recommended by the CEO. Join us this week as we learn how to speed read, remember more, and be a Super Learner. To receive 90% off of Jonathan’s SuperLearner course, go to or go to Udemy and use the coupon code smart-people.” At the link right-click “Download” and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

Starbucks Concept 14 mins – “These days, the green-and-white Starbucks logo is about as ubiquitous as stop signs. With more than 21,000 stores in over 65 countries, it’s a good bet that there’s a Starbucks within a block of wherever you’re reading this. But it wasn’t always thus. Back in the early 1980s, the current CEO of Starbucks, Howard Schultz, was a salesman at a Swedish housewares company, when he noticed that one little shop in Seattle was buying a whole lot of coffee filters. “He’s a very good listener, and has very good antennae, both at the micro level and the macro level,” says Nancy Koehn, a Harvard Business School historian and author. Schultz followed his antennae, and left his job to work for the little upstart company. Starbucks’ founders then sent him on what would turn out to be a life-changing buying trip to Italy, where he got an idea that would transform the American coffee scene….” At the link right-click “Download” and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

Startups 53 mins – “Entrepreneur and venture capitalist Ben Horowitz shares which entrepreneurial skills truly matter, and why learning to manage well may be the most critical skill of all. Horowitz, a founding partner of Andreessen Horowitz, discusses the value of learning inside a large company, some of the exciting technology frontiers ahead, and the purpose and philosophy of his firm, in conversation with Stanford Engineering Professor Tom Byers.” At the link and “Podcast” right-click “Download MP3” and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

Sugar History 52mins – “Valentine’s Day is around the corner, and that means candy, chocolate, cakes – all the sweet stuff for your sweetheart! It’s just one of the ways sugar has seeped into our personal lives, but it hasn’t stopped there. From the triangle trade to the rise of high-fructose corn syrup, sweetness in America has been a political question too. So why has sugar been so intimately linked to power over the centuries? And how has our national sweet tooth shaped our political and economic priorities? This episode of BackStory finds out, exploring how sugar has shaped, if rarely sweetened, American history. “ At the link right-click the down-pointing arrow at the right end of the sound bar and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

Surveillance in America 53 mins – “Last month, Americans learned that the NSA has been collecting data on millions of American’s phone calls, and tapping into data gathered by tech companies like Google and Yahoo. The revelations set off another round of debate over the scope of personal privacy in a democratic republic like ours, and the means by which the government “keeps tabs” on citizens. So in this episode, the Guys explore the changing ways we’ve collected information on each other – and when it crosses from something necessary into something invasive. From early attempts to determine people’s credit rating to the accumulation of data about Americans’ “racial purity,” the History Guys and their guests look at how, and why, Americans have kept tabs on each other, and consider how earlier generations have balanced the need-to-know with expectations of privacy.” At the link right-click the down-pointing arrow at the right end of the sound bar and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

Teachers Add Value 28 mins – “We’ve all heard the depressing numbers: when compared to kids from other rich countries, U.S. students aren’t doing very well, especially in math, even though we spend more money per student than most other countries. So is the problem here as simple as adding two plus two? Is the problem here that our students aren’t getting very bright simply because … our teachers aren’t very bright? “ At the link find the title, “Is America’s Education Problem Really Just a Teacher Problem?“ right-click “Play Now” and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

Trilobites 4 mins – “…Trilobites Trilobites were ancient arthropods. They appeared in the Cambrian era, 540-million years ago. The nearest thing to a trilobite today is the horseshoe crab with a very similar exoskeleton. Trilobites lasted over 300-million years and finally died out not long before dinosaurs arose. Dinosaurs then lived another 160-million years. (By the way, the hardy cockroach, still with us today, once coexisted with trilobites.)….” At the link right-click “Click here for audio…” and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

Utopias 52 mins – “The New Year is here and many of us have resolved to make this one better than the last. But throughout our history, some Americans have set their sights a bit higher: building transformational communities from the ground up. In this episode, we explore their efforts: from a transcendental, vegan commune in the 1840s to a Gilded Age factory town dubbed “The Most Perfect Town In The World.”  Throughout, Ed, Brian, and Peter explore the utopian yearnings in the American past, and the ways they still resonate today. What allows some utopian communities to endure for decades, while others collapse within months? How have mainstream Americans viewed their utopian-minded brethren? And is America itself a utopian project?” At the link right-click the down-pointing arrow at the right end of the sound bar and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

Westgate Terrorist Attack 37 mins – “In the wake of public tragedy there is a space between the official narrative and the stories of the people who experienced it. Today, we crawl inside that space and question the role of journalists in helping us move on from a traumatic event. NPR’s East Africa correspondent Gregory Warner takes us back to the 2013 terrorist attacks on the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya. Warner reported on the attack as it happened, listening to eyewitness accounts, sorting out the facts, establishing the truth. But he’s been been wrestling with it ever since as his friends and neighbors try not only to put their lives back together, but also try to piece together what really happened that day.” At the link right-click “Download” and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

World War One Letters 54 mins – “Soldiers from Perth County in Southern Ontario went to the First World War and sent letters home to their loved ones, writing about their daily experiences: what they were seeing and doing, as well as their fears of dying.” At the link find the title, “Letters from the Front,” right-click “Download Letters from the Front” and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.




An alphabetic encyclopedia of 4700 of these hyperlinked descriptions is here and updated quarterly. A file of the podcasts is here , updated weekly, and can be downloaded as a 21+ GB zipped file, or individually. A separate folder of C-Span, Diane Rehm, et. al. files that aren’t available at their sites is here, too, and can also be downloaded as a zip file or individually. Over 210 feeds used to prepare this blog are harvested with Feedreader3 and Juice. The feeds are available in this opml file which Feedreader and Juice can import. A list of the feeds is hereFree Commander is used to compare old with new downloads and remove duplicates. MP3 Speed Changer is used on batches of new files to boost playback speed 150%. A speed listening background article is here.  Please comment on any problems with the links and downloads.


About virginiajim

Retired knowledge nut.
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