Open Thread (a test)

On gnxp Razib Khan posts regular ‘Open Threads’ where people can share links, talk about stuff they’ve read or thought about, etc. I have been thinking about introducing similar posts here for a while, and I’ve now decided to give it a go. If it turns out the readership isn’t willing to ‘give anything back’ and ‘participate’, I’ll not make this a regular feature – consider this post a test-case.

Here are my contributions to the discussion:

I’ll quote a friend: “His speaking is horrible. […] He sounds like a drunk homeless guy who likes howling speeches in the middle of the night and disturbing everyone who wants to sleep. […] If I didn’t know he was Winston Churchill I would have stopped the video after 5 seconds.”

Here are a few other important speeches from this period:

(This one made me laugh out loud after 15 seconds. He sounds like Daffy Duck. But if you can look past this, it’s an important speech.)

The word is yours…


October 15, 2013 - Posted by | blogging, History


  1. You have just motivated me to save all the link-sharing for each Open Thread round, rather than sharing links via other means 😀

    Comment by Miao | October 15, 2013 | Reply

    • Unintended consequences! 🙂

      Oh well, I guess I can’t really be against a move like that given that it’ll probably add value to the blog.

      Comment by US | October 15, 2013 | Reply

  2. Do you (or anyone else reading this) use any other webbased learning similar to I’m always looking for new ones to try (examples: memrise, duolingo, typeracer, khanAcademy, codecademy, codingbat).

    Comment by Stefan | October 15, 2013 | Reply

    • I use and sometimes I still watch Khan Academy stuff (though less than before as they’ve moved the Khan Academy medicine updates off-site, so to speak), but that’s it for now. Most of my learning these days is from textbooks and the occasional lecture – I don’t dabble much in other forms of learning at this point.

      You don’t mention Coursera in your list – are you familiar with that resource? I don’t know how well it fits with the others, but I figured I should mention it. (Incidentally I’m sure Miao knows more about that kind of resources than I do…)

      Comment by US | October 15, 2013 | Reply

    • I use the free lectures that Stanford (and a whole lot of other top-tier schools) have on Youtube. I just finished watching a Leonard Susskind’s series on quantum mechanics – you are talking about a full course by the guy who handed Stephen Hawking his @$$ on a platter on black holes! For Stanford’s channel – clickie-click. For others, like MIT, use the search 🙂

      Comment by Plamus | October 23, 2013 | Reply

      • “For others, like MIT, use the search”

        (…or one might use the links I provide on my blogroll; the Stanford-, MIT-, and Gresham College youtube channels e.g. are all out there to the right if you look carefully…)

        On another and more general note, it’s very nice to see multiple people participating in this thread. I’ll probably make these threads a regular feature of the blog.

        Comment by US | October 23, 2013

      • (On a related note, I actually have plenty of math to avoid these days as it is, so I’m probably not going to start watching lectures on quantum mechanics or similar stuff anytime soon. But I’m not the only one reading these comments, so just keep the links coming.)

        Comment by US | October 23, 2013

  3. Coursera and Udacity is a level above what I’m looking for, which is sites that combine learning and games in a way that almost feels like taking a break. But thanks for the tip on earlier. FreeRice is another example ( ).

    Comment by Stefan | October 15, 2013 | Reply

    • Thanks for that link, it looks neat.

      I forgot to mention this in the main post, but if new or semi-new readers are reading along here I should point out that a post like this is of course an excellent opportunity to ‘introduce yourself’ as well. I like to know a little about who’s reading along.

      Comment by US | October 16, 2013 | Reply

  4. The best way to encourage more Open Threads in future is probably to participate in the current one, so here is a link that might interest you as well as other people reading your blog: Open Stax College is founded to provide peer-reviewed (!) and free-of-charge introductory textbooks for college students, in order to counter commercialised textbook publishers’ attempts to take advantage of students by charging exorbitant prices for textbooks (which might be of a low level of quality that does not warrant the amount you have to pay). I have downloaded the ‘College Physics’ textbook and I am so far satisfied with the contents, even though I am nowhere close to being done with the book as of now.

    Comment by Miao | October 17, 2013 | Reply

    • “peer-reviewed (!) and free-of-charge introductory textbooks for college students” – this is awesome!

      Thanks for that link, I’ll definitely have a look. (I do hope they’ll ‘expand their operations’ at some point and go past purely introductory textbooks, but this is a great start).

      Comment by US | October 17, 2013 | Reply

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