Stephen Fry and Steven Pinker are two of the people I admire the most, for their erudition, extreme levels and variety of learning, and willingness to discuss their ideas. Having them both on stage at the same time, one interviewing the other (on the subject of Pinker’s last book, Enlightenment Now), is almost too much, but here they are:
(I did, for some reason, receive an invitation to this event, and would have gone there despite timing and expense if at all possible, but it was oversubscribed before I could clink the link. So thank whomever for Youtube, I say. It can be used to spread enlightenment, too.)
Never thought I would want a sports car, but I would plunk down the money (if I had it) for this one:
(Incidentally, I am teaching the Tesla case for an EMBA class today. This gives them something to think about…
Hans Rosling died from cancer this morning.
Not much to say, really. Or, maybe, so much to say. I met him in Oslo once, I had seen his video and suggested him for the annual “big” conference for movers and shakers in Oslo. He came and wowed everyone. Simple as that.
Here is another one (this one in Swedish) where he just shuts down a rather snooty and ill prepared newsshow host by saying, essentially, “this is not a matter of opinion, this is a matter of statistics and facts. I am right and you are wrong.”
What a man.
This video by Neil Halloran shows how many people died in the second world war, and what has happened in the world since (in terms of war deaths.) It really makes an impression, and is well worth the 18 minutes.
The Fallen of World War II from Neil Halloran on Vimeo.
70 million people died during WWII, more or less (since the numbers, particularly on the Eastern front, are in dispute.) The video shows that most losses were suffered by the Soviet Union (the way the column grows and grows is heartbreaking, you just want it to stop) and China, that Poland had the most dead as a percentage of the population, that some individual incidents – massacres, battles, bombings – made for a surprisingly large portion of the dead. Stalingrad alone had more deaths than all wars since WWII combined.
The video has roughly the same message as Steven Pinker: That violence and war is on a downward trend, and that this is to be understood and appreciated. And, given these statistics, that giving the Nobel Peace Prize to the EU in 2012 perhaps wasn’t such a bad idea after all.
It’s been a secret for quite a while, but now I can share it: Jenny, our youngest daughter, lymph cancer survivor, has been to London to record a dance video with “Aktiv against cancer”. Here is the resulting video:
And here is a longer video with a bit of background and interviews with some of the participants, including Jenny:
Jenny has been a dancer all her life, and getting back to dancing through this video and the dancing classes she takes at her high school has been very important to her – a source of inspiration, as I think is evident.
This says it all:
Source: XKCD via Boingboing.
These two robots, developed by Boston Dynamics, are Youtooobing:
I can imagine this one (called the Sand Flea) being used by the military and police for sending in cameras and other spy equipment in an urban landscape. The Big Dog (below) is something I really could use when I am gardening – a container on its back, and a voice interface so I could tell it to go empty itself in the compost bin when it is full of garden refuse.