Saturday, October 25, 2014

TED Radio Hour - How It All Began

NPR - TED Radio Hour

How It All Began
October 24, 2014

In this hour, TED speakers explore our origins as a species - who we are, where we come from, where we're headed - and how we're connected to everything that came before us.

Are All Human Beings Related?

Geneticist Spencer Wells describes how he uses DNA samples to trace our individual origins going back 2,000 generations

What Are The Origins Of The Universe?

David Christian explains the history of the universe from the big bang, and how humans occupy little more than a millisecond on that cosmic timeline.

Why Do We Continue To Care About Dinosaurs?

Paleontologist Jack Horner explains what dinosaurs tell us about our own origins and what we can learn by attempting to revive a piece of the past.

Where Did Human Beings Originate?

Louise Leakey describes her family's long search for early human remains in Africa, and how unlocking that mystery is the key to understanding our past and our future.

Why Did Humans Migrate Out Of Africa?

Geneticist Spencer Wells tells the story of early humans, and our eventual migration from Africa.

Are We Evolving Into A Different Species?

Juan Enriquez argues that human evolution is far from over - Homo sapiens are becoming a new species right before our eyes.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

WGBH - Blue Hill Avenue: If A Street Could Speak

Blue Hill Avenue: If A Street Could Speak
Oct. 28, 2010

Audio on

Part One: Blue Hill Avenue, In Truth And Memory
Part Two: Crime -- And Solutions -- On Blue Hill Avenue
Part Three: On Blue Hill Avenue, Community Abounds
Part Four: Blue Hill Avenue Looks Forward

In Detroit there’s 8 mile Road, in Los Angeles there’s Crenshaw, and then there’s Miami Avenue in Miami.  These are considered roads that both divide and connect disparate communities. Some avenues are equated with hard luck, others are known for commerce.

In Boston, there’s Blue Hill Avenue. Many residents who live on and near it argue that the corridor—which runs from Roxbury to Mattapan and through Milton—is unfairly tainted with a reputation for crime. They point to a thriving commercial sector and new projects on the way as evidence of the community’s revitalization.

Sunday, October 05, 2014

National Geographic video: Rise of the Black Pharaohs

PBS: National Geographic, Rise of the Black Pharaohs
Premiered October 1, 2014

"About the Program

The Egypt of the Great Pyramids, the Sphinx, and the Valley of the Kings was an empire of indomitable might. Then, around 800 BC, the impossible happened. Kush, a subject kingdom from the south, rose up and conquered Egypt, enthroned its own Pharaohs, and ruled for nearly 100 years.

These were the mysterious Black Pharaohs of what is today Sudan—the Nubian kings—whose reign has become legendary among Africans and written off as heresy by early archaeologists who refused to believe that dark skinned Africans could have risen so high.

But now, in the heart of Sudan, exciting new archaeological finds are revealing the truth about the great Kush dynasty. A sacred mountain holds the key to the Kush kings’ spiritual claim on the Egyptian throne; stunning statues are providing details about the true color of their skin and their long and prosperous reign; and a long-hidden tomb complex is shedding light on the trappings of their royalty and the extent of their empire."

Friday, September 26, 2014

Ken Burns - THE ROOSEVELTS: An Intimate History

THE ROOSEVELTS: AN INTIMATE HISTORY chronicles the lives of Theodore, Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, three members of the most prominent and influential family in American politics. It is the first time in a major documentary television series that their individual stories have been interwoven into a single narrative  This seven-part, fourteen hour film follows the Roosevelts for more than a century, from Theodore’s birth in 1858 to Eleanor’s death in 1962.

Aired the week of September 14, 2014

Episode 1: Get Action (1858-1901)
Episode 2: In the Arena (1901-1910)
Episode 3: The Fire of Life (1910-1919)
Episode 4: The Storm (1920-1933)
Episode 5: The Rising Road (1933-1939)
Episode 6: The Common Cause (1939-1944)
Episode 7: A Strong and Active Faith (1944-1962)

Mount Rushmore National Memorial
South Dakota
(Teddy Roosevelt the third sculpted face)

Crucible of Empire: The Spanish-American War 1999 Film

PBS: Crucible of Empire: The Spanish-American War, 1999 Film
(Entire 2-hour film on Youtube below)

One hundred years ago, United States celebrated victory in the Spanish-American War. Popular songs and headlines popularized Commodore Dewey's victories at sea and Theodore Roosevelt's ride up Kettle Hill. Although the Spanish-American War sparked unprecedented levels of patriotism and confidence, the defeat of the Spanish also raised new questions about the nation's role as a world power.

Monday, June 02, 2014

Edo-Tokyo Open Air Architectural Museum (Tatemonoen)

The Edo-Tokyo Open Air Architectural Museum Koganei Park, Tokyo, Japan, is a museum of historic Japanese buildings. The park includes many buildings from ordinary middle class Japanese to the homes of wealthy powerful families which are all open for personal viewing.

The museum enables visitors to enter and explore a wide variety of buildings of different styles, periods, and purposes, from upper-class homes to pre-war shops, public baths (sentō), and Western-style buildings of the Meiji period, which would normally be inaccessible to tourists or other casual visitors, or no longer found in Tokyo.

Ghibli Studio animator Hayao Miyazaki used buildings at the site as inspiration for his film Spirited Away which won Best Animated Feature Film at the 75th Academy Awards in 2002. A photo Miyazaki is next to the trolly car within the entrance of the museum.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Frontline: United States of Secrets

Frontline: United States of Secrets
Two-part series airing May 13 & 20, 2014

Press Release
“United States of Secrets”: How the Government Came to Spy on Millions of Americans"
April 24, 2014, 2:20 pm ET

In “United States of Secrets,” a two-part series airing May 13 & 20, FRONTLINE reveals the dramatic inside story of how the U.S. government came to monitor and collect the communications of millions of people around the world—and the lengths they went to trying to hide the massive surveillance program from the public."

When NSA contractor Edward Snowden downloaded tens of thousands of top-secret documents from a highly secure government network, it led to the largest leak of classified information in history — and sparked a fierce debate over privacy, technology and democracy in the post-9/11 world.

Now, in United States of Secrets, FRONTLINE goes behind the headlines to reveal the dramatic inside story of how the U.S. government came to monitor and collect the communications of millions of people around the world—including ordinary Americans—and the lengths they went to trying to hide the massive surveillance program from the public.

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.

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 

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
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
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