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19 January 2008

Terry Jones' Medieval Lives

Persepolis Recreated: A Documentary



Update: Here's another one on Persepolis --


Charlie Rose: An hour with Martin Scorsese

Darwin Day: February 12th

From the site:

The dual mission of Darwin Day Celebration is to promote public education about science and in addition to encourage the celebration of Science and Humanity throughout the global community including the general public, private and public institutions, science professionals, science educators at all levels, libraries, museums, the print and electronic media, and science enthusiasts everywhere. Science is our most reliable knowledge system. It has been, and continues to be, acquired solely through the application of human curiosity and ingenuity and, most importantly, it has provided enormous benefit to the health, prosperity and intellectual satisfaction for our human existence. These are worthy achievements for all people to celebrate!

To accomplish this mission Darwin Day Celebration will maintain an attractive website that provides potential participants with extensive educational material, together with examples and appropriate suggestions, on ways to develop meaningful celebrations. All participants are invited and encouraged to register their events on this website by going here in order to both advertise their celebrations and to develop a sense of common purpose among all participants.

To support this mission, Darwin Day Celebration will maintain an ongoing, continually expanding, international outreach effort, using all means at our disposal such as, lists of names and email addresses in the categories named above, in order to encourage participation. Press releases, email announcements and even snail mail invitations will be employed to promote this worthy cause. The countdown to 2009 -- Darwin’s 200th birthday, is underway. We hope you will join this effort and experience the satisfaction of participating with others to establish a positive celebration that reaches out to our entire Global Community! We believe it’s an idea whose time has come!!!

Charlie Rose: A discussion about the legacy of Sigmund Freud



And another discussion -- scroll over to around 28 minutes:

Science and Origins of Western Cosmopolitanism, Margaret Jacob

Another fine historian of science (I had a class with her at Penn back in the day) who really has very important points to make about science and modernity.

Again, unembeddable: click the title.

The Origins of Norms: The Place of Value in a World of Nature, Lorraine Daston

Leading historian of science with many interesting things to say...

Unembeddable; click on the title to go to the GooTube page...

George Galloway vs. David Frum

Wexler, D-FL, Calls for Impeachment of Cheney

18 January 2008

Blood of the Vikings, BBC Documentary

Arabic-Islamic Science and the Making of the European Renaissance, George Saliba



George Saliba is a Professor of Arabic and Islamic Science at Colombia University. More here, and a written version of his research (not a transcript) here.

Gore Vidal on Recent Henry Rollins, Laying it Down...

16 January 2008

Breaking the Sound Barrier: Democracy Now! Re-Hosts NBC Las Vegas Debate to Include Kucinich After NBC Wins Appeal to Exclude Him

Oh, yes, that wondeful free system we have. Amy Goodman doing her best to get Kucinich into the debates.

Disgusting what NBC and the appellate judge did, whether you're for Kucinich or not. Clearly undemocratic.

14 January 2008

Paradise Found: A Documentary on Islamic Architecture



11 more minutes here on Islamic architectural sites:

NBC Blocks Kucinich From Debate

What the fuck is wrong with the Democratic Party, and with the media? A mostly rhetorical question, but this is really obscene and blatant.

More here, from the Kucinich campaign, including his reasons for asking for a recount in NH and ways to help with both issues: NBC/debates and the NH vote count.

Woah: I just google-news-ed this, and Kucinich sued, and the judge has ordered NBC to include Kucinich in the debate. But NBC is appealing. Holy moly. Here's the latest.

The Second Law and Cosmology, Max Tegmark

From MITWorld, a great site. Here's the blurb:

In spite of its old age, the Second Law of Thermodynamics “is alive and kicking,” says
Max Tegmark
, stimulating research on “really, really big puzzles.” In Tegmark’s case, “big” encompasses the cosmos, and investigating the entropy of the universe offers one path into understanding “how we started out.”

Tegmark frames his talk with paradoxical questions: Why is entropy so low, and why is entropy so high? The first question is “crucial to understanding the arrow of time,” and involves the microscopic definition of entropy. 13.7 billion years after the Big Bang, entropy in the observable universe is in “the ballpark of 1089 bits -- crudely speaking, a google.” This is much lower than the theoretical limit to how much entropy our cosmos could contain. Also, Tegmark wonders, why has our solar system ended up so far from thermal equilibrium, since when the universe was younger, the temperature was almost the same everywhere?

It turns out that in cosmology, unlike classical physics, atoms start out at uniform density and end up, abetted by gravity, “clumpy,” with gas getting denser and forming stars. Tegmark shows a supercomputer simulation of this process, which depicts the evolution of a universe with galaxies and solar systems like our own. Different temperatures in the universe aren’t due to magic, he says, just Einstein’s theory of gravity and basic gas physics.

But, Tegmark ponders, why was the universe uniform in the beginning? One “crazy sounding answer” involves inflation. A tiny region of space much smaller than an atom, which is very uniform and very dense, begins to expand exponentially, until it makes up all space in our known universe. It gets weirder. Tegmark invokes inflation to explain not only the low entropy of the cosmos, but its high entropy as well. That same 1089 bits can also be viewed as “such a big number that it suggests…that we’re in some kind of multiverse, or some much larger reality than what we can observe.” The initial conditions that make up these 10 to the 89th bits “just tell us where in space we live, our address in space.” We should call the Big Bang “not the beginning but the end of inflation in this part of space. … If we zoom out in the universe, we should expect to see much more entropy.” If you don’t get this intuitively, that’s OK, Tegmark reassures us, but “if we categorically reject ideas in science just because they feel crazy, we will probably reject whatever the correct theory is, too.”