(Annotated Fragments) A Personal Guide to Extended Listening

(Danny from 2016: This was written on Christmas Day, 2010, evidently.  I never wound up finishing this post, and I’ll probably return to the material in the future – listening remains an awfully gratifying part of most of my days, and if anything, I’ve become more fastidious in my collecting and listening to British radio comedy, since I no longer have access to the filesharing resources that made indiscriminate consumption so inviting when I penned this.)

I am warm in my North York room, gradually digesting Christmas brunch, listening to Justin Bianco’s Blackbird, and watching my juicy Montblanc White Forest ink dry on the page.  My feet are resting in anticipation of my seven-hour Indigo shift tomorrow.  I am at peace.  I hope you are, too.

I met Lisa Bullock, a longtime friend of Geoff and Tab’s last weekend at their Christmas party and discovered I wasn’t alone in my obsessive interest in British alternative comedians: it was exhilarating to bounce obscure names and shticks back and forth with instant recognition and appreciation in front of our bewildered friends, like randomly meeting another Nipissing University graduate while wandering through an isolated rural village in Devonshire.  Though both of us love the same players, however, we discovered that we approached the scene through different media – Lisa is an impressive British TV aficionado while I’ve built my acquaintance almost exclusively with radio programs.  When I was (predictably) effusive in my desire to share my library, Lisa expressed concern that she didn’t know how to listen to radio.  This has come up often enough by now that I don’t take spoken-word audio consumption for granted anymore, and because it’s been a big part of my life for the last decade or so, I thought I’d take a shot at providing a tutorial.

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Elementary Education

As I’m now on the other side of my final paper for Recurring Issues in Higher Education, I’m hoping to get back into a regular posting schedule. My goal is one substantial post per week, starting now with one of the culprits for my slow scholastic progress: the eminently dilatory Periodic Table of Videos. Leave now if you’ve work to do and poor impulse control.

Chemistry was my weakest science in high school, and after grade eleven I really only bothered with it when I had to slog through the rudimentary organic chemistry unit in OAC Biology. I was reacquainted with it much more gently and palatably during Astronomy in First Year when we studied fusion in stellar cores and supernovae, and I think I took to it more readily then because the reactions seemed simpler (at least, the expectations were lower—this was Astronomy for Arts Students, alas) and more exciting, and we really just had to collect the lore of the knowledge, with no pesky calculations. Moles die in outer-space, obviously.

I haven’t really had occasion to think deeply about chemistry since then, so when Geoff dumped the Period Table of Videos on me, my resistance to dilettantism here was at low ebb. The project is an on-going production of videos, produced by a team from the University of Nottingham chemistry faculty, with discussion of each element in turn. As an Open Educational Resource, these are pretty Web 1.0 (with ultimate production being in the hands of the provider institution), but updated videos frequently have the team referring to comments and emailed suggestions, so there’s definitely some give and take.

Here are some reasons why 118 shortish videos are worth your time:

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