(Note: I've been ill a few days, hence the abortive attempt to restart my blog.)


A part of my daily routine is to listen to lectures or podcasts when I cook and walk. I'll try to make a weekly series of interesting lectures I've heard during a week.

This week, some particularly good ones:

The first one isn't a lecture, actually. It's constitutional law professor Lawrence Lessig (a fantastic lecturer in his own right, though) in conversation with the former lobbyist and convicted felon Jack Abramoff about corruption. It's a riveting conversation about the depth of the undue influence of money on Washington. Abramoff is meek, apologetic, maybe relieved to be able to speak the truth. He is also refreshingly honest about what he did, and what people like him continue to do. The really interesting thing isn't the illegal things they discuss, but rather how the really ubiquitous corruption is still completely legal.

So anyway, if you're at all interested in US politics, law (any country) or corruption, you should definitely set aside some time and watch at least the first half hour of this:


The second video is by another brilliant lecturer (whose work, like that of Larry Lessig, continues to branch out from the questions of media and technology into broader political questions. Clay Shirky has been taking his pursuit of the changes new media creates into questions of the public sphere, political coordination and free speech. Here he is giving an entertaining and dramatic (he is a former actor and theatre director) lecture on the changing landscape of free speech and how regulation of the web has started to put free speech under threat in democracies, with, paradoxically, the aid of traditional media. That, and the most stupid attempt to stop the King James Bible you've ever heard of.

Watch live streaming video from shorensteincenter at livestream.com


Since we're running through my favourite thinkers on new media (Lessig used be a copyright reform activist and founded Creative Commons), we might as well drop danah boyd in as well. She is an immensely interesting researcher into teen use of social media who has spoken to thousands of teenagers to background her observations. Here she is in a casually hectic conversation with Carr from the NY Times at the Shorenstein Center. Audio only.


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