Monday, December 22, 2014

Christopher Nolan - Interstellar (2014)

Interstellar is a 2014 science fiction film directed by Christopher Nolan. The film features a crew of astronauts who travel through a wormhole in search of a new home for humanity. Not just science fiction, also based on real science facts.

PRI Science Friday - Into the Wormhole: The Science of 'Interstellar'
NOV. 21, 2014

Colbert Report Finale - "We'll Meet Again", Obama does 'The Decree'

An amazing number of famous folks. A sudden where are they now; onstage all at once.

PBS - The Sixties: The Years That Shaped a Generation (2005)

PBS - The Sixties: The Years That Shaped a Generation (2005)

Get Lucky - 2014 MTV Music Awards

Get Lucky - 2014 MTV Music Awards
Daft Punk, Stevie Wonder, Nile Rogers and Pharrell: Amazing performance.

Happy - 86th Academy Awards

Because I'm happy.


25th Rock and Roll Hall of Fame - Gimme Shelter

U2, Mick Jagger, Fergie - "Gimmer Shelter" at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 25th Anniversary Shows

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Winter Solstice 2014

A natural holiday. Happy New Year.

Winter solstice is an astronomical phenomenon which marks the shortest day and the longest night of the year. Winter solstice occurs for the Northern Hemisphere in December and for the Southern Hemisphere in June.

Friday, December 12, 2014

NASA - New Horizons Mission to Pluto and Chiron

"New Horizons is a mission designed to fly by Pluto and its moon Charon and transmit images and data back to Earth. It will then continue on into the Kuiper Belt where it will fly by a one or more Kuiper Belt Objects and return further data."

New Horizons should perform a flyby of the Pluto system on 14 July 2015.

PBS - Richard Pryor Icon

PBS Richard Pryor Icon
November 23, 2014
"About the Program:
Richard Pryor: One of the greatest American comics of all time. His impact on comedy and this generation’s top comedians — who cite Richard as their biggest influence — is unrivaled. He was one of the first black men ever on television. He pioneered a new brand of humor: black man impersonating white man while making fun of himself. And he was a hit. His comedy was universal. His rise to fame was nothing short of miraculous."

Richard Pryor, A Comedy Pioneer Who Was 'Always Whittling On Dynamite'
NPR Fresh Air
December 11, 2014

via Youtube - instead of the the PBS link, firewall, international rights restricted.

Saturday, December 06, 2014

Flowers for Algernon

Flowers for Algernon is a science fiction short story and subsequent novel written by Daniel Keyes. The short story, written in 1958 and first published in the April 1959 issue of The Magazine of Fantasy; Science Fiction, won the Hugo Award for Best Short Story in 1960.

The eponymous Algernon is a laboratory mouse who has undergone surgery to increase his intelligence by artificial means. The story is told by a series of progress reports written by Charlie Gordon, the first human test subject for the surgery, and it touches upon many different ethical and moral themes such as the treatment of the mentally disabled.

I read it when I was 8 years old and now find it analogous to our life experience; attaining everything what life has to offer and losing everything at the end.

Charly - 1968 film starring Cliff Robertson, for which he won the Academy Award for Best Actor. I watched it for the first time last month. At first I thought the film looked dated, but found I loved that the film is set in the Boston, Mass of my youth. 

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

BBC - The Planets

BBC The Planets is a 7-hour miniseries produced by the BBC and A&E and released in 1999. It documents the Solar System and its nature, formation, and discovery by humans during the space age. The series of eight episodes includes a substantial amount of archival footage from both the United States and Soviet space programs. It also depicts the Solar System through computer graphics.

Links to full episodes streaming video on Dailymotion, below:

Episode 1: Different World - The first episode covers the early attempts at space travel and the development of rocket technology.

Episode 2: Terra Firma - The story of the terrestrial planets and their exploration.

Episode 3 : Giants Looking at the giant planets of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune and the journeys of Voyager 1 and Voyager 2.

Episode 4 : Moon - Detailing the moon and the race to reach it during the "Space race" years.

Episode 5 : Star - Concentrating on the Sun, the early belief in it being a god and the science behind its behavior.

Episode 6: Atmosphere - A look at the atmosphere of our planet and those in the rest of the Solar System.

Episode 7: Life - A journey into looking for life on other planets and trying to find if life elsewhere really does exist

Episode 8: Destiny - The final episode explores the future of the solar system, plus research into extrasolar planets.

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."

Thursday, September 25, 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.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

American Experience - Freedom Summer

PBS American Experience - Freedom Summer
June 24, 2014

Over 10 memorable weeks in 1964 known as Freedom Summer, more than 700 student volunteers from around the country joined organizers and local African Americans in a historic effort to shatter the foundations of white supremacy in what was one of the nation’s most viciously racist, segregated states.

Sunday, June 01, 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.

Tuesday, May 13, 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

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Rachel Maddow - 'Hubris' and 'Why we did it'

Hubris: Selling the Iraq War
Feb 16, 2013

Why We Did It: The Invasion of Iraq
Mar 6, 2014

Friday, March 07, 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.