The summer reading list is a time-honored tradition. For the podcast era, why not a summer listening list? The much more recent blogospheric tradition of copycat listmaking -- e.g., post an item about five books you like, or ten favorite OS X applications -- provides the model. So here, in no special order, are five podcasts that have entertained and informed me. I'll tag this item summerlistening in hopes that when next I visit del.icio.us/tag/summerlistening and technorati.com/tag/summerlistening those buckets won't be empty.
1. John Willinsky re-imagines education
Edublogger Brian Lamb pointed me to John Willinsky's talk at the UBC Okanagan's 2nd Annual Learning Conference. Willinsky's thesis is that widespread access to existing knowledge, coupled with widespread ability to publish new knowledge, can (and should) radically transform education. Along the way you'll be treated to an erudite history of academic publishing, delivered as standup comedy.
2. Brian Schweitzer on ending the oil addiction
Chad Wandler at Split Rock Communications pointed me to this talk from the 2006 Sustainable Energy Forum, which also includes excellent talks by Bill McKibben, Lester Brown, Joe Tainter, and others. Schweitzer is a former soil scientist who, as the hugely popular governor of Montana, is walking the talk on alternative fuels. I'd never heard of the guy before listening to this talk. Now I want him as the next US president.
3. Janine Benyus on biomimicry
From PopTech 2004, by way of ITConversations, comes this fascinating talk on how we can learn from all the design work that nature has done. Here's the ITConversations blurb:
She names an emerging science that seeks sustainable solutions by mimicking nature's designs and processes (e.g., solar cells that mimic leaves, agriculture that looks like a prairie, business that runs like a redwood forest).
4. Jed Emerson on blended value
Recently several folks have asked me what I think about Bill Gates turn to philanthropy. I've responded with pointers to this talk on why, and how, the getting phase and giving phase might be integrated. It's from the 2005 Net Impact conference, by way of ITConversations.
5. Yochai Benkler on the wealth of networks
Woven through two of my own recent interviews -- with Andy Singleton and with Nathan McFarland and Benjamin Hill -- are references to Yochai Benkler's Wealth of Networks. This podcast of a recent talk by Benkler, by way of Joseph Hall and Judd Antin, is a great introduction to the economics of social computing and commons-based peer production.
Update: Contributions to del.icio.us/tag/summerlistening have included pointers to various collections that I hadn't known about, including the TED series, the PARC Forum, and BayCHI (Bay Area Special Interest Group for Human-Computer Interaction). Separately, by way of radar.oreilly.com, I found out about the LongNow seminars. Here's a tip: although none of these are podcatcher-friendly, you can easily synthesize RSS feeds for them that will work in iTunes or another podcatcher. Webjay affords one way to do that. Here's a quick screencast demo that shows how to turn a page containing MP3 links -- in this case, the BloggerCon page -- into an RSS feed with enclosures:
Former URL: http://weblog.infoworld.com/udell/2006/06/27.html#a1477