Science/tech/university podcasts

EDX -Founded by Harvard University and MIT in 2012, edX is an online learning destination and MOOC provider, offering high-quality courses from the world’s best universities and institutions to learners everywhere.

University of Bath in the UK has this Podcasts of Public Lecture Series.


Nature has its podcast archive.

Stanford on iTunes – Faculty lectures, interviews, music and sports.

University of Washington’s Cryptography Course

CSE P 590TU – Practical Aspects of Modern Cryptography – Plus related lecture slides and video archives.

Computer Science video lectures

University of Washington:
Programming Languages + Course website
Applications of Artificial Intelligence + Course website
Computer Architecture + Course website

ArsDigita University (curriculum):
Web Applications
Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs
Object Oriented Program Design
Theory of Computation
Artificial Intelligence


 Scientific American

Scientific American (podcasts) from a popular science magazine,

the oldest continuously published magazine in the U.S., […] bringing its readers unique insights about developments in science and technology for more than 150 years.

source: sciam

more University podcasts

MIT OpenCourseWare

Princeton University: WebMedia – Lectures

Tufts OpenCourseWare

Rice University: Live Webcasts & Archives

University of British Columbia Podcasts

University of Warwick podcasts

Utah State University OpenCourseWare


Openculture Master List of 1150 Free Courses

1150 free online courses from the world’s leading universities — Stanford, Yale, MIT, Harvard, Berkeley, Oxford and more. Over 30,000 hours of free audio and video.

Findlectures: faceted index to thousands of hours of free online lectures

A curated database of free lectures, over 20,000 hours of audio,

[Edited from Photomedia Forum post by T.Neugebauer from 2006-2016 ]

Gaia theory – Earth as a living system

Gaia theory, named after the Greek Earth goddess, is a combination of hypothesis about the planet as a self-regulating living system. James Lovelock is credited with the publication of the first modern scientific article on the Gaia hypothesis in the New Scientist, he also recently published an article in The Independent where he speaks of his latest book The Revenge of Gaiaand warns of the danger of global warming. The philosophical predecessors to Gaia theory include Lewis ThomasTeilhard de ChardinBuckminster Fuller. The most common criticism of Gaia theory is the charge that it is teleological.

Although Gaia theories may seem controversial, the study of the inter-relationships between various life forms and their environment (ecology), homeostasis, and emergent properties are established and accepted.

The attempt to grasp the inter-relationships that exist among all of the components of the biosphere, oceans, geosphere and the atmosphere as an Earth ecosystem is a challenge for the human mind, but the need for scientific hypotheses is evident in an age when we attempt to take responsibility for our effect on the planet.

[Photomedia Forum post by T.Neugebauer from Mar 30, 2006 ]

von Bartalanffy and biological systems

Ludwig von Bartalanffy ponders on the difficulties in trying to apply the 2nd law of thermodynamics to living biological systems. This law implies that entropy increases over time in physical systems.

Biological systems, however, are recognized as maintaining a continual state of flux. Never stationary or fixed in chemical or thermodynamic equilibrium, its components are constantly altered by metabolic events.

A system compensates for its deterioration by importing and processing energy. It attains dynamic equilibrium– between its own improbable state and the surrounding environment (Bertalanffy, 1968b, pp. 46-48; General Systems Theory. New York: George Braziler, 1968.)

[Photomedia Forum post by T.Neugebauer from Jun 20, 2006  ]

Allen Brain Atlas

Paul Allen, the co-founder of Microsoft, funded the development of the Allen Brain Atlas, which lets you navigate visual and genetic information about the brain

The Allen Brain Atlas is a web-based application that is designed to aid the expansion of brain science. Designed and developed in collaboration with an acclaimed group of scientists, the ABA enables users to access an extensive database of ISH images, ABA reference atlas, and gene expression masks. Future releases will allow users to search by gene expression pattern or level, and will contain an expanded gene data set.

source: Allen Brain Atlas, links added.

see also: NCBIWikipedia – Spatiotemporal gene expression

[Photomedia Forum post by T.Neugebauer from Jun 16, 2006   ]

Science on television

Closer To Truth (PBS) is a television series that deals with “the fundamental questions of our times explored by creative and thoughtful scientists, scholars and artists.” The video archive contains past debates with scientists on everything from parapsychology, ESP, creativity, consciousness, music and art, etc…

[Photomedia Forum post by T.Neugebauer from Mar 20, 2006   ]

Access 2006 Conference in Ottawa

I recently participated in the Access 2006 Conference in Ottawa

Common touchstones at the conference include:* customized web applications and search interfaces
* open source software
* national and provincial consortiae initiatives
* information policy
* digital media
* library catalogue innovations
* end user searching behaviours
* metadata

source: what is Access?

Some notes from the CARL Preconference on Institutional Repositories

Benefits of institutional repositories include: impact, visibility, and reputation.

CARL Harvester, CARLCore is unqualified Dublin Core.
OAI-PMH metadata protocol = Deposit -> metadata generation -> aggregations -> end user
URIOpenURL vs. DOICrossref (proprietary)
International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) – search for institutional repositories

University of Toronto:
University of Toronto’s Knowledge Media Design Institute – virtual institute
Project Open Source | Open Access (

Open Access Examples:
Public Knowledge Project
Data Liberation Initiative

An online portal to full text anthropological resources, AnthroSource offers AAA members access to 40,661 articles in AAA journals, newsletters, bulletins, and monographs; a linked, searchable database containing past, present, and future AAA periodicals; centralized access to a wealth of other key anthropological resources, including text, sound, and video; and interactive services to foster communities of interest and practice throughout the discipline.


Bioline International – a not-for-profit electronic publishing service committed to providing open access to quality research journals published in developing countries
Journal of Medical Internet Research
National e-Science Centre (UK)

Examples from Europe:
University of Glasgow ePrints Service
Queensland University of Technology
CERN Document Server

Institutional Repository Software:
Fedora – Fez (web interface to Fedora) and other tools

notes from Access 2006

Canada and Ontario:
Canadian Initiative on Digital Libraries
Ontario Scholars Portal

Library Enterprise System vs. ILS
– refinement and knowledge discovery
Canadian Research Knowledge Network (CRKN)

Increase in cost, paying for publishing and access > Biomed Central

>PrestoSpace – AV Materials
>Building resources for Integrated Cultural Knowledge Services (BRICKS)
>TEL (European Library)

Lucene – indexing search engine, archives, multiple metadata (EAD, DC, Fulltext), good at merging indexes. Solr – open source search server based on Lucene. Example: National Adult Literacy Database.

Endeca – NCSU catalog (Endeca for faceted browse, relevance ranking).

Search comforts: spell (did you mean?), stemming, sort options
Search + browse: layered facets, filter across multiple dimensions, facet deselection, relevance, speed, locally managed, persistent parameters

Cocoon – XML publishing framework
Ruby on Rails – agile web development
LizardTech – for MrSID and JPEG 2000 images

Collex –

a set of tools designed to aid students and scholars working in networked archives and federated repositories of humanities materials: a sophisticated COLLections and EXhibits mechanism for the semantic web


University of Victoria -> backup catalog using PHP – Yaz

a tiny HTTP API for the few basic operations necessary to copy discrete, identified content from any kind of web application


XML Databases – alternative: SQL + Lucene

XML Catalogues / Library 2.0 – “an architecture of participation”
>eXtensible Catalog (XC) – an open-source online system that will unify access to traditional and digital library resources
>TalisKeystoneresourcestalk.talis.comdirectory.talis.comdevelopment networkProject Cenote
>Library Thing (beta)
>Library 2.0 Wiki

>LibX Firefox

Web services
xISBN service
Amazon APIAmazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) – Limited Beta
Google API

> Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) – more enduring and flexible, reusable (sustainable?)
– BPEL (OASIS standard) for expression of complex processes. Active BPEL (Open Source), Active BPEL Designer (visual designer).
– services invoked with SOAP
– orchestration exposed with WSDL

> UK -> Structured Vocabularies for IR (thesauri, ontologies, etc.) > British Standard – BS8723
Controlled Vocabularies: LCSH, Rameau (Fr), SWD (de)
e-Framework for Education and Research – an initiative by the UK’s Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) and Australia’s Department of Education, Science and Training (DEST)
Digital Library Federation – DLF Service Framework for Digital Libraries
NISO MetaSearch Initiative
NISO RP-2006 – Best Practices for Designing Web Services in the Library Context (PDF)
SOA in higher education
DELOS – Network of Excellence on Digital Libraries

Discussion lists:

>Bibliothek Hamburg

Book reference:
Putting Content Online: a practical guide for libraries” by Mark Jordan

[Photomedia Forum post by T.Neugebauer from Oct 18, 2006]

Nondeterministic Turing Machines

In theoretical computer science, there is a theorem which states that all nondeterministic Turing machines (NTM) have an equivalent deterministic Turing machine (DTM). NTMs differ from DTMs in that the former allow for the possibility of more than one next state from a given configuration.

If there is more than one next move, we do not specify which next move the machine makes, only that it chooses one such move.

source: Computability and Complexity Theory, Steven Homer & Alan Selman, p.31

The proof for the theorem that NTMs have equivalent DTMs is through construction: the DTM builds NTM’s computation tree and then performs a breadth-first search on this tree. I was never convinced by this proof. If you take time into consideration, and the fact that NTM’s computation tree approaches infinity in size due to the size of the option set from which it ‘chooses’ at each step, you get a search that takes the DTM forever (or almost forever) to complete (which, to borrow Douglas Bridges’ expression, “does not extend to an assurance that you will find the desired term before the end of the universe”). I remain unconvinced that NTMs are equivalent to DTMs.

[Photomedia Forum post by T.Neugebauer from Jun 20, 2006]

Montreal International Jazz Festival 2006

The Montreal International Jazz Festival 2006, wraps up this Sunday, July 9th with a free performance by Goran Bregovic and his Wedding and Funeral Band.

I also went to the jazz festival on thursday to take a few photographs and listen to some wonderful music outdoors…

Sekouba Bambino from Guinea, a former member of Bembeya Jazz and Africando. The festival’s web site calls his voice reminiscient of Kouyaté Sory Kandia.

Seckou Keita Quartet

Goran Bregović

First North American tour, Goran Bregović and the wedding and funeral band put on an amazing concert for the closing of the festival

Next performance is tomorrow (July 10th), playing as part of the City of Chicago’s Music without Borders series.

Speaking of Bregović, Bijelo dugme has a song composed by Duško Trifunović, the lyrics are

ima neka tajna veza
za sve ljude zakon krut
njome covjek sebe veze
kada bira sebi put
sidro koje ladju cuva
da ne bude buri plijen
tone skupa sa tom ladjom
jer je ono dio nje
ima neka tajna veza
tajna veza za sve nas
ima neka tajna veza
tajna veza za sve nas

I would like to know the translation of this song… and a friend sent me one (thank you!) …

There is a secret connection
For all people law is harsh
People are bound with this connection
When they choose their way
Anchor which keeps the boat
Not to be the prey
Sinking together with this boat
Because they are connected together
There is a secret connection
Secret connection for all of us

[Edited from Photomedia Forum post by T.Neugebauer from July, 2006  ]

Secret Life of Plants

When I was introduced to the The Secret Life of Plants (1974) by Peter Tompkins & Christopher Bird a few years ago now, I read it if only because I happen to own a copy of the Stevie Wonder’s Journey Through the Secret Life of Plants (1979) on vinyl and I wanted to understand the relationship between these. It turns out that the liner notes of the Stevie Wonder album acknowledge that

The Secret Life of Plants is an Infinite Enterprises Film. Produced by Michael Braun. From the book “The Secret Life of Plants” by Peter Tomkins and Christopher Bird

The sense of synchronicity of having picked up, quite randomly, the Stevie Wonder album many years ago, and now having a friend show me this book was enough of a motivation to read on. I have not seen the film yet, and I echo the only user comment on that IMDB page: “Does anyone know how I can borrow or rent a copy?”

I received a press release yesterday from the non-profit public art group in New York, Creative Time about their Strange Powers exhibitions. Specifically what caught my attention was this ESP Plant Workshop by the Center for Tactical Magic, advertised as a free event Thu/Fri 4-7pm, Sat/Sun noon-7pm on 64 East 4th Street. The research into the idea of communication between plants and people is described in detail in Tompkins and Bird’s book. Yes, this type of research was carried out by many scientists and engineers not so long ago.

“Everybody believes that art can be a spiritual vehicle” says Laura Hoptman, of the exhibition’s two curators

from the press coverage section, Creative Time’s newest art spectacle takes a journey into the paranormal by Barbara Pollack, Time Out New York

The Secret Life of Plants describes the work of many scientists and engineers that seemed to believe science also to be a spiritual vehicle.

[Photomedia Forum post by T.Neugebauer from Aug 26, 2006  ]

Kandinsky’s synaesthesia

Kandinsky (1866-1944) used painting to explore his synaesthesia, in his case, the ability to both see and hear colour.


Hearing tones and chords as he painted, Kandinsky theorized that, for examples, yellow is the color of middle-C on a piano, a brassy trumpet blast; black is the color of closure and the ends of things; and that combinations and associations of colors produce vibrational frequencies akin to chords played on a piano. Kandinsky also developed an intricate theory of geometric figures and their relationships, claiming, for example, that the circle is the most peaceful shape and represents the human soul.

source: Wikipedia – Kandinsky


Kandinsky abandoned a potential career in teaching law and economics to enrol in art school and devote his life to painting and art. Kandinsky’s inspiration for his theories on the Spiritual in Art include theosophy; he considered the artist to create out of an internal necessity to communicate and the artist’s original impulse to be evoked in the viewer by means of the artwork. Kandinsky was inspired and corresponded with the composer Arnold Schoenberg. He also taught basic design at the Bauhaus school.


The name Der Blaue Reiter derived from Marc’s enthusiasm for horses, and from Kandinsky’s love of the colour blue. For Kandinsky, blue is the colour of spirituality—the darker the blue, the more it awakens human desire for the eternal (see his 1911 book On the Spiritual in Art). Kandinsky had also titled a painting Der Blaue Reiter (see illustration) in 1903.

source: Wikipedia – Der Blaue Reiter


[Photomedia Forum post by T.Neugebauer from  Aug 07, 2006   ]