Click here to access this blog in a mobile version.

31 October 2012

An intriguing mind

James Burke's Wikipedia page describes him as "a British broadcaster, science historian, author, and television producer, who is known, among other things, for his documentary television series Connections (1978), and for its more philosophically oriented companion series, The Day the Universe Changed (1985), which is about the history of science and technology. The Washington Post called him "one of the most intriguing minds in the Western world".

Open Culture today reminds us of  Burke's programs, and a YouTube channel where you can find all the videos of all the series. "If you never watched any in the first place, you can now catch up on not just the ten episodes of the original Connections, but 1994′s twice-as-long Connections2, and the final series, 1997′s Connections3. I recommend beginning at the beginning, with Connections‘ first episode, “The Trigger Effect,”"

We had already added several of the The Day the Universe Changed episodes to our Ancient History playlist. I strongly urge our Middle School to watch all the episodes of all the series (don't wait to be snowed in to get started!) For students and teachers involved in the  MYP, these videos were made to order (long before the MYP was invented.) Talk about Areas of Interaction! These videos are almost an illustrated guide to the concept!

Uploaded by  on Feb 1, 2009 Interview with James Burke on Canada AM

Listen to an audio file of James Burke in 2012, talking about Admiral Shovel and the Toilet Roll

Here is the first episode of the first series of Connections (from 1978), to whet your appetite. Students today will immediately recognize the program as "old", not by the grainy video and sound quality, but by the "up to the minute" technology shown throughout the series.

Uploaded by  on Jan 28, 2012
"The Trigger Effect" details the world's present dependence on complex technological networks through a detailed narrative of New York City and the power blackout of 1965. Agricultural technology is traced to its origins in ancient Egypt and the invention of the plow. The segment ends in Kuwait where, because of oil, society leapt from traditional patterns to advanced technology in a period of only about 30 years.