Monday, February 19, 2007

What's it all about?

Great Video #1

UK Astronomer Royal Sir Martin Rees speaks first as an astronomer, and then as "a concerned member of the human race." With stunning imagery and simulations, he places the earth in its cosmic context, shedding light on the birth, and (ongoing) evolution of the universe. "In the grand scheme of all time," Rees says, "The 21st century would be a quarter second in June." Still it's a pivotal moment: The first time in history when humans can materially change ourselves and our planet. So the real challenge for 21st century scientists is to provide the moral compass needed to harnass our discoveries safely and effectively. Sir Martin Rees is an astrophysisict, and Master of Trinity College at Cambridge. He's author, most recently, of Our Final Century. (Recorded July 2005 in Oxford, UK. Duration: 18:10)

Great Video #2

Author Robert Wright argues that history has an arrow: That humans have continued to evolve -- if not biologically, than culturally and technologically -- toward greater complexity and intelligence. He also explains the concept behind his book, "Nonzero": That life is a nonzero sum game, where there can be more than one winner, and that civilization evolved thanks to such endeavors, which reward cooperation, rather than competition. His guarded optimism is tinged with a deep worry over the growing prevalence of grass-roots hatred. His hope: that the intelligent pursuit of self-interest will actually be the world's salvation. Robert Wright is author of The Moral Animal and NonZero. He also hosts an excellent interview series called (Recorded February 2006 in Monterey, CA. Duration: 19:54)

Great Video #3

Photographer Phil Borges displays his stunning portraits, documenting the world's disappearing cultures, from persecuted monks in Tibet to embattled tribes in the Ecuadorian Amazon. He also shares inspiring results from his digital-storytelling workshops, which give indigenous teenagers tools for cultural preservation and self-expression. A former dentist, Phil Borges rediscovered his passion for photography, and spent the last 25 years documenting indigenous cultures around the world. His work collected in several books, including Tibetan Portrait and Enduring Spirit. In 2001, he founded Bridges to Understanding, an organization that works with teenagers worldwide, promoting cultural preservation and exchange through digital storytelling. (Recorded February 2006 in Monterey, CA. Duration: 19:19)


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