Thursday, March 20, 2014

Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey


Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey explores how we discovered the laws of nature and found our coordinates in space and time. It will bring to life never-before-told stories of the heroic quest for knowledge and transport viewers to new worlds and across the universe for a vision of the cosmos on the grandest scale.

Episode 1 "Standing Up in the Milky Way"
Episode 2 "the Things That Molecules Do"
Episode 3 "When Knowledge Conquered Fear"
Episode 4 "A Sky Full of Ghosts"
Episode 5 "Hiding in the Light"
Episode 6 "Deeper, Deeper, Deeper Still"
Episode 7 "The Clean Room"
Episode 8 "Sisters of the Sun"
Episode 9 "The Electric Boy"
Episode 10 "The Lost Worlds of Planet Earth"
Episode 11 "The Immortals"
Episode 12 "The World Set Free"
Episode 13 "Unafraid of the Dark"


Cosmos: A Personal Voyage is a thirteen-part television series by Sagan also as presenter. The series was first broadcast by the Public Broadcasting Service in 1980, and was the most widely watched series in the history of American public television until The Civil War (1990).

Carl Sagan's Cosmos: Evolution



Carl Sagan 1934 - 1996

Saturday, March 08, 2014

Frontline: Generation Like



Generation Like
PBS Frontline
February 18, 2014

Even if we don’t realize it, most of us make decisions about social media every day. In the lead-up to “Generation Like,” FRONTLINE asked you to share how you use social and how it’s affecting your lives.

Frontline: Secrets of the Vatican



Secret's of the Vatican
PBS Frontline
February 25, 2014

Secrets of the Vatican reveals the culture of a Vatican few outsiders have seen, plagued by corruption, cover-ups and ruthless power struggles.

Using undercover footage and interviews with Vatican insiders, as well as abuse victims, whistleblowers, and journalists, Secrets of the Vatican also shows the deep sexual hypocrisy within the Catholic Church and the long legacy of clergy sexual abuse of children.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Shirakawa-go - Gifu, Prefecture Japan


The Historic Villages of Shirakawa-gō and Gokayama are one of Japan's UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The site is located in the Shirakawa river valley stretching across the border of Gifu and Toyama Prefectures in central Japan.

These villages are well known for their houses constructed in the architectural style known as gasshō-zukuri (合掌造り). The Gasshō-zukuri, "prayer-hands construction" style is characterized by a thatched and steeply slanting roof resembling two hands joined in prayer. The design is exceptionally strong and, in combination with the unique properties of the thatching, allow the houses to withstand and shed the weight of the region's heavy snowfalls in winter.

Minka (民家 "house of the people") are houses constructed in any one of several traditional Japanese building styles,  were the dwellings of farmers, artisans, and merchants. Minka are characterized by their basic structure, their roof structure and their roof shape. Minka developed through history with distinctive styles emerging in the Edo period.

Gasshō style roof binding
The houses are large, with three to four stories encompassed between the low eaves, and historically intended to house large extended families and a highly efficient space for a variety of industries. The densely forested mountains of the region still occupy 96% of all land in the area, and prior to the introduction of heavy earth-moving machinery, the narrow bands of flat lands running the length of the river valley limited the area available for agriculture and homestead development. The upper stories of the gasshō houses were usually set aside for silk farming, while the areas below the ground floor were often used for the production of gunpowder.

Pullys used to bind the roof
The primary purpose of shaping minka roofs in this manner was to accommodate the extensive precipitation experienced in many parts of Japan. A steeply peaked roof allows rain and snow to fall straight off it, preventing water from getting through the roof into the home, and to a lesser extent preventing the thatch itself from getting too wet and beginning to rot.


An Ocha-ya (geisha tea house) on the Shirakawa river in the Gion district of Kyoto.
The Shirakawa River is a river flowing into Kyoto prefecture of Japan and a tributary of the Kamo River. Its name means "white river" in Japanese, due to the fine-grained white sand that it carries from the hills east of Kyoto.

Directly before entering the Kamo River, it passes through the geisha district of Gion, where many traditional establishments, such as ocha-ya (geisha tea houses) and restaurants, line the river.



Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Frontline: Secret State of North Korea




Just two years on the job and armed with nuclear weapons, North Korea’s Kim Jong-un is the world’s youngest dictator, ruling one of the world’s most isolated countries with an iron fist.

Like his father and grandfather, he is trying to maintain tight control over what the world sees of North Korea—and what North Koreans see of the world. But as FRONTLINE reveals in Secret State of North Korea, cracks are starting to appear in the regime’s information barrier, and it’s becoming more porous.

Not only are North Koreans illegally smuggling information from inside North Korea out, a growing cohort of defectors are risking their lives to get information about the outside world in.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Neil Gaiman - Overture


Overture by Neil Gaiman

Recurring Dream: Morpheus Returns In Gaiman's 'Sandman' Prequel
NPR, Interview: Neil Gaiman, Author
October 31, 2013

Neil Gaiman’s Newest ‘Overture’
November 25, 2013

Norman Mailer called it “a comic strip for intellectuals.” Best-selling author Neil Gaiman joins us with his dark, new series on the origins of “The Sandman.”

Friday, December 06, 2013

Frontline: The Long Walk of Nelson Mandela



As Nelson Mandela prepared to step down as president of South Africa, FRONTLINE presented a deeply personal biography of one of the great figures of the 20th century.

"The Long Walk of Nelson Mandela" tells the story of the man behind the myth, probing Mandela's character, leadership and life's method through intimate recollections with friends, political allies, adversaries, and his fellow prisoners and jailers on Robben Island where Mandela spent 18 of his 27 prison years.


Nelson Mandela 
1918-2013

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

This American Life 512: House Rules



This American Life 512: House Rules
November 22, 2013

"Where you live is important. It can dictate quality of schools and hospitals, as well as things like cancer rates, unemployment, or whether the city repairs roads in your neighborhood. On this week's show, stories about destiny by address."

Boston by Ethnicity
Act One:

"Reporter Nancy Updike talks to a group of New York City residents about their frustrating attempts to rent an apartment. With hidden microphones, we hear landlords and supers tell the apartment hunters that there's nothing available. But that's not necessarily true. Forty-five years after the passage of the Fair Housing Act in 1968, ProPublica reporter Nikole Hannah-Jonestalks to Nancy about the history of racial housing discrimination in the United States and what has been done — and hasn't been done — to rectify it. (31 minutes)"

Act Two:

"Once the Fair Housing Act became law in 1968, there was some question about how to implement it and enforce it. George Romney, the former Republican Governor of Michigan and newly-appointed Secretary of HUD, was a true believer in the need to make the Fair Housing Law a powerful one — a robust attempt to change the course of the nation's racial segregation. Only problem was: President Richard Nixon didn't necessarily see it that way. With Nikole Hannah-Jones, Nancy Updike continues the story. (16 minutes)"


Sunday, November 03, 2013

American Masters - Jimi Hendrix: Jimi Hendrix: Hear My Train A Comin'


Jimi Hendrix: Hear My Train A Comin'
Premieres Tuesday, November 5, PBS

Hear My Train A Comin’ unveils previously unseen performance footage and home movies taken by Hendrix and drummer Mitch Mitchell while sourcing an extensive archive of photographs, drawings, family letters and more to provide new insight into the musician’s personality and genius.





Tokyo Metropolitan Library


The Metropolitan Central Library is located in the Minami-Azabu section of Minato. The library was founded in 1973 at the current location of the central branch. 


The library is free and open to the public, although not all collections are available to all people at all times. The library also has arrangements with over 300 smaller local public libraries allowing interlibrary lending privileges. Although not as deep as the collection of the National Diet Library, The Tokyo Metropolitan Library houses a large collection of books, periodicals, and audio-visual materials.


The Central Branch holds 240,000 volumes, including a large collection of rare materials, showcasing over 40,000 documents pertaining to the history of Tokyo (Edo), some of which date back over 400 years. Books are divided by subject - Reference, Social Science, Humanities, Natural Science. Of note is the opening of a "regional history research center".


The Hibiya Branch holds 130,000 volumes, including 4,000 foreign volumes. It also maintains holdings of over 1,000 different magazine periodicals and nearly 200 different newspapers.



Central Branch: 5-7-13 Minami-Azabu Minato, 106-8575. It is located in the Arisugawa-no-miya Memorial Park. Accessible by foot from Hiroo Station on the Subway Hibiya Line, Azabu-Juban Station on the Subway Namboku Line, and the Azabu-Juban Station on the Toei Subway Oedo Line.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The African Americans - Many Rivers to Cross


In the new six-part series The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross, Henry Louis Gates, Jr. recounts the full trajectory of African-American history airing six consecutive Tuesdays October 22, 2013 through November 26, 2013.

Written and presented by Professor Gates, the six-hour series explores the evolution of the African-American people, as well as the multiplicity of cultural institutions, political strategies, and religious and social perspectives they developed — forging their own history, culture and society against unimaginable odds. Commencing with the origins of slavery in Africa, the series moves through five centuries of remarkable historic events right up to the present - when America is led by a black president, yet remains a nation deeply divided by race.







Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Afropop Worldwide: Jamaica In New York: The History of Reggae and Dancehall in the Big Apple


Jamaica In New York: The History of Reggae and Dancehall in the Big Apple
Afropop.org
September 26, 2013

New York City has long had a thriving and populous Jamaican community from Crown Heights, Brooklyn to the south Bronx. And as long as Jamaicans have come to the Big Apple they’ve brought their culture and music along with them. In this musical exposé Afropop producer Saxon Baird susses out the often overlooked NYC Jamaican music scene with interviews from some of its biggest players from Bullwackies in the Bronx to Brooklyn-based dancehall artists like Screechy Dan.




PBS - Superheroes: A Never-Ending Battle


SUPERHEROES: A NEVER-ENDING BATTLE is the first documentary to examine the dawn of the comic book genre and its powerful legacy, as well as the evolution of the characters who leapt from the pages over the last 75 years and their ongoing worldwide cultural impact.

3-hour documentary film, Premiers Tuesday October 15, 2013 on PBS.

Sunday, October 06, 2013

Soryu Grape Farm and Winery - Yamashi Prefrecture Japan


Soryu Winery is located in Koshu City, Katsunuma town in Yamanashi Prefecture. It was founded by the families of Masanari Takano and Ryuken Tsuchiya, who traveled to France to learn the proper French winemaking techniques and then pioneered winemaking in Japan. Soryu is one of Katsunuma’s most historic wineries, with annual production equivalent to 1.2 million bottles.


The name of the winery "Soryu Budoshu" originated from "Soryu" which is the God to protect the Eastern Gods protecting East/West/South/North from the ancient Chinese lore and is also the God that brings luck. The winery has been making great wines since 1899 in Katsunuma which has a great climate for growing the best grapes for Japanese wine.


Michael Pollan - Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation


In Cooked, Michael Pollan explores the previously uncharted territory of his own kitchen. Here, he discovers the enduring power of the four classical elements—fire, water, air, and earth— to transform the stuff of nature into delicious things to eat and drink.

Fire, Water, Air, Earth: Michael Pollan Gets Elemental In 'Cooked'
April 21, 2013
NPR Weekend Edition Sunday



NOVA - Earth from Space


NOVA "Earth From Space" is a groundbreaking two-hour special that reveals a spectacular new space-based vision of our planet. NOVA takes data from earth-observing satellites and transforms it into dazzling visual sequences, each one exposing the intricate and surprising web of forces that sustains life on earth. Viewers witness how dust blown from the Sahara fertilizes the Amazon; how a vast submarine "waterfall" off Antarctica helps drive ocean currents around the world; and how the Sun's heating up of the southern Atlantic gives birth to a colossally powerful hurricane. From the microscopic world of water molecules vaporizing over the ocean to the magnetic field that is bigger than Earth itself, the show reveals the astonishing beauty and complexity of our dynamic planet.

Saturday, October 05, 2013

Robert Reich - Inequality for All


http://inequalityforall.com/

INEQUALITY FOR ALL examines the crisis of widening income inequality in the US through the eyes and the influential work of Robert Reich

In this timely and entertaining documentary, noted economic policy expert Robert Reich takes on the enormous question of what has been happening to our economy. He distills the story through the lens of widening income inequality -- currently at historic highs -- and and explores what effects this increasing gap has not only on our economy but our democracy itself.

In the wake of the financial crisis and the recent rise of the Occupy movement, the issue of income inequality has gained unprecedented public awareness. Over the last thirty years, the U.S. economy itself doubled. But, these gains went to a very few: the top 1% of earners now take in more than 20% of all income -- three times what they did in 1970. Distortions are even more extreme at the very top. The 400 richest Americans now own more wealth than the bottom 150 million combined. While this level of inequality poses a serious risk to all Americans, regardless of income level, much of the rhetoric on this subject has been fueled by anger and resentment from a frustrated middle class who feel their birthright – the American Dream – has been taken away from them.

Official Trailer - Youtube

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Frontline - Egypt in Crisis




Less than three years after the popular uprising that led to President Hosni Mubarak’s ouster, and just one year after Egypt’s first free and fair elections, the democratically elected government has been overthrown and the Egyptian military is running the state.

And the Muslim Brotherhood—the secretive, long-outlawed Islamist group that came out of the shadows to win the presidency in June 2012—is once again being driven underground, its members killed and arrested in an army-led campaign to wipe it off the map.

Were the Brothers ever really in charge? Or was the Egyptian “deep state”—embedded remnants of Mubarak’s police force, Supreme Court and, most of all, military—in control all along?

In Egypt in Crisis, FRONTLINE goes inside the Egyptian revolution, tracing how what began as a youth movement to topple a dictator evolved into an opportunity for the Muslim Brotherhood to seemingly find the political foothold it had sought for decades—and then why it all fell apart. “This FRONTLINE documentary takes you deep inside these turbulent ups and downs.”

Sunday, September 01, 2013

Yūrei-Yōkai-ga Complete Works, Sogo Museum of Art Yokohama


SOGO MUSEUM OF ART exhibition if about 160 works et specter ghost images of ukiyo-e, such as ghost picture scroll.

Yūrei

Yūrei (幽霊) are figures in Japanese folklore, analogous to Western legends of ghosts. The name consists of two kanji, 幽 (yū), meaning “faint” or “dim” and 霊 (rei), meaning “soul” or “spirit.” Alternative names include 亡霊 (Bōrei) meaning ruined or departed spirit, 死霊 (Shiryō) meaning dead spirit, or the more encompassing 妖怪 (Yōkai) or お化け (Obake).

Yōkai

Yōkai (妖怪, ghost, phantom, strange apparition) are a class of supernatural monsters in Japanese folklore. The word yōkai is made up of the kanji for “mysterious” and “weird”.[citation needed] Yōkai range eclectically from the malevolent to the mischievous, or occasionally bring good fortune to those who encounter them. Often they possess animal features (such as the Kappa, which is similar to a turtle, or the Tengu which has wings), other times they can appear mostly human, some look like inanimate objects and others have no discernible shape.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Angkor Wat, Cambodia


Stretching over some 400 square kilometres, including forested area, Angkor Archaeological Park contains the magnificent remains of several capitals of the Khmer Empire of the 9th to the 15th centuries, including the largest pre-industrial city in the world. The most famous are the Temple of Angkor Wat and, at Angkor Thom, the Bayon Temple with its countless sculptural decorations.


Angkor Archaeological Park was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1992. At the same time, it was also placed on the List of World Heritage in Danger due to looting, a declining water table, and unsustainable tourism. UNESCO has now set up a wide-ranging program to safeguard this symbolic site and its surroundings.


Angkor itself has no accommodations and few facilities; the nearby town of Siem Reap, just 6 km. south, is the tourist hub for the area.

The temples of Angkor are highly symbolic structures. The foremost Hindu concept is the temple-mountain, where the temple is built as a representation of the mythical Mount Meru: this is why so many temples, including Angkor Wat itself, are surrounded by moats, built in a mountain-like pyramidal shape and topped by precisely five towers, representing the five peaks of Mount Meru. The linga (phallus), representing the god Shiva, was also critical and while the lingas themselves have largely gone, linga stands (carved, table-like blocks of stone) can be found in many if not most rooms in the temples. There was also a political element to it all: most kings wanted to build their own state temples to symbolize their kingdom and their rule.


While early Angkor temples were built as Hindu temples, Jayavarman VII converted to Mahayana Buddhism c. 1200 and embarked on a prodigious building spree, building the new capital city of Angkor Thom including Bayon, Ta Prohm, Preah Khan and many more as Buddhist structures. However, his successor Jayavarman VIII returned to Hinduism and embarked on an equally massive spree of destruction, systematically defacing Buddhist images and even crudely altering some to be Hindu again. Hinduism eventually lost out to Buddhism again, but the (few) Buddha images in the temples today are later Theraveda additions.


One element that continues to mystify archaeologists is the baray, or water reservoir, built in a grand scale around Angkor: for example, the West Baray is a mind-boggling 8 km by 2.3 km in size. While it has long been assumed that they were used for irrigation, some historians argue that their primary function was political or religious. Not a single outlet has been found, either by eye or by NASA imaging. The moat around Angkor and the West Baray still contains water, but the rest have dried up.


Ankor Wat Located six kilometre north of Siem Reap, Angkor Wat is one of the largest of Khmer monuments. Built around the first half of 12th century by King Suryavarman II, the temple's balance, composition and beauty make it one of the finest monuments in the world.

Though 'Wat' is the Khmer (Cambodian) word for temple, the westward orientation of the structure is atypical of temples. Scholars believe that the architecture and sculptures are that of a temple where Lord Vishnu was worshipped but it was also built as a mausoleum for the king after his death.


Angkor Tom

Built in the latter part of the 12th century by King Jayavarman VII, Bayon is one of the most widely recognised temples in Siem Reap because of the giant stone faces that adorn the towers of Bayon. There are 54 towers of four faces each, totaling 216 faces. There is still a debate as to who is being depicted in the faces. It could be Avalokiteshvara, Mahayana Buddhism's compassionate Bodhisattva, or perhaps a combination of King Jayavarman VII and Buddha.


Ta Prohm Built during the time of king Jayavarman VII and is best known as the temple where trees have been left intertwined with the stonework, much as it was uncovered from the jungle. It might be considered in a state of disrepair but there is a strange beauty in the marvelous strangler fig trees which provide a stunning display of the embrace between nature and the human handiwork. 

This is one of the most popular temples after Angkor Wat and the Bayon because of the beautiful combinations of wood and stone. Black and white film photographers especially love this site because of this and most of the stunning postcard shots of Angkor's trees come from here; pop culture fans, on the other hand, may recognise a few scenes from Angelina Jolie's Tomb Raider. 

While the temple is very popular, most visitors follow a central route and the sides of the complex can be surprisingly quiet. Note that large sections of the temple are unstable rubble and have been cordoned off, as they are in real danger of collapse. As of 2010, authorities have started to restore Ta Prohm. All the plants and shrubs have been cleared from the site and some of trees are also getting removed. A crane has been erected and a large amount of building work is underway to rebuild the temple, much of it seemingly from scratch. Wooden walkways now block some of the previously famous postcard photos. People that want to take a pretty picture of a building overgrown by a huge tree without the crowds, walkways, cranes etc. might want to check out the gatehouse in the back of the Ta Som complex instead.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Eric Holder FULL NAACP Speech. We Must Stand Our Ground. 7/16/2013


Attorney General Eric Holder took aim Tuesday at "Stand Your Ground"-style laws — such as the one that figured into the George Zimmerman case — saying they may encourage violence and "undermine public safety."

"It's time to question laws that senselessly expand the concept of self-defense and sow dangerous conflict in our neighborhoods," Holder said in a speech to the NAACP in which he again called the death of Trayvon Martin “unnecessary.”

"These laws try to fix something that was never broken,” he said.