Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Best of the Do It Yourself Scholar

Explore the best in free web learning...indeed!

It's been a while since I visited Dara's excellent blog.  She has expanded her recommendations, lists many more courses, and rates some programs.  Some of the links guide the DIY learners to sources of information on current topics such as the rise of self determination in the Arab world.  Dara has also added a variety of posts on the how to of DIY learning.  This nifty resource is just getting better and better.  Check it out.

Demand Change Project 2011

Demand Change is a 2-day International Anti-Human Trafficking Event in St. Paul, MN, being held May 13-14, 2011.

Brought to the Twin Cities by Breaking Free and MATTOO - Men Against The Trafficking Of Others.

Based in St. Paul, MN, Breaking Free provides housing, advocacy, education and hope to sex-trafficked/prostituted women and girls.

MATTOO exists to educate and involve men, raise international public awareness, and employ the power of innovative business to advance sustainable and transformational human trafficking policy and cultural changes.

The solution is simple: With no buyer, there is no seller, and with no seller, there is no victim.

Leaves of Grass

Sorry, mostly not the Walt Whitman variety...

What do you get when you combine Edward Norton playing twin brothers, one a world renowned classics professor, the other a rather sophisticated cultivator of cannabis?  Before you answer, there's also Susan Sarandon as their mom and former stoner who has cloistered herself in a retirement home; Richard Dreyfus as a Jewish mobster in Tulsa, Oklahoma; Keri Russell as a poet and award winning catfish noodler; and character actor Josh Pais (you'll recognize him when you see him) as a displaced Manhattan orthodontist.  Starring, written, and directed by Tim Blake Nelson (who is perhaps most memorable for his role in Brother Where Art Thou?) Leaves of Grass has a few too many sudden and shockingly realistic homicides to be a true comedy.  Still, there are many clever riffs on the myriad challenges in the life of a professional academic, the ethical conflict between pot growing purists and those trading in home-cooked pharmaceuticals, the number of synagogues in Tulsa, an infatuated student who expresses her unwanted affections in Latin, and the differences between Nazi and Hindu swastikas.  Quirky, weird, hilarious in spots, shocking in others, a stretch for several of its actors, and showing real affection towards its characters, I was pleasantly surprised by Leaves of Grass.