Sunday, September 28, 2014

How we got to NOW (video)

CC Liu, Amber Larson, Wisdom Quarterly;Weekend Edition Sunday
Droney and the Man on "This Modern World" (Tom Tomorrow/
(PBS) Discover the extraordinary in the ordinary. How Zen. Join author Steven Johnson for a 6-part series that explores the power and legacy of great ideas. Hear the stories behind the remarkable ideas that made this modern world possible, the heroic unsung who brought them about, and the unexpected and bizarre consequences each triggered.

Celebrating the History and Power of Great Ideas: Six-Part Series to Premiere in Fall 2014 on PBS
How We Got to Now (Steven Johnson)
LOS ANGELES, California - PBS announced the premiere of HOW WE GOT TO NOW with Steven Johnson in fall 2014. 

The six-part series, to be produced for PBS by Nutopia and hosted by the popular American science author and media theorist, explores the power and the legacy of great ideas. 

Topics explored in the series include why and how ideas happen and their sometimes unintended results, including:
  • how Gutenberg and the printing press led to reading on a wider scale in Europe and the realization that many Europeans are farsighted and suddenly in need of spectacles, which opened the way for lots of experts glass works, which gives rise to developments in biology and astronomy due to microscopes, telescopes, cameras lenses, great mirrors and self-reflection,
  • how Lee Deforest invented the radio broadcasting to broadcast music, but not the classical music he loved and instead the jazz he hated,
  • how someone invented the phonograph, but his patent failed to include a feature to "play" what it could successfully record (enter Edison to hog up all the credit),
  • how the search for clean water opened the way to invention of the iPhone,
  • how the nagging problem of overheating in a New York printing business led to the invention of air conditioning, which inspired mass migration and a political transformation.
TV show host Steven Johnson (PBS)
Johnson explains the answers to the questions he poses in each episode.

For example, “How do we make something cold?” or “How do we create light?” And how have they driven other discoveries through the web of ideas and innovations -- the unintended consequences -- that made each finding possible? Were some foreseeable?

Drone Warfare (amazon)
Tracking each pursuit through history both ancient and contemporary, Johnson unlocks tales of unsung heroes and radical revolutions that changed the world and the way we live in it.
“PBS’s science programs explore the big, intriguing questions,” said Beth Hoppe, Chief Programming Executive and General Manager of General Audience Programming for PBS. “With the innovative new series HOW WE GOT TO NOW, we’re exploring humankind’s insatiable desire to find answers, invent solutions and make the world a better place.” More
NPR: Glass to Artificial Light: Innovations that Got Us to "Now"
NPR's Linda Wertheimer speaks to Stephen Johnson about his new book and TV series, How We Got to Now. He looks at six innovations that he thinks shaped the modern world.
Droney and the children on "This Modern World" (Tom Tomorrow/

WE SAY NO - Drone Warfare: Killing by Remote Control (

A Parrot Bebop drone flies during a demonstration in May in San Francisco.
I'm not just a spy stealing your privacy, I make better Hollywood cinematography, keeping an eye on poachers, polluters, border crossers, protesters, and kill lots of soldiers. You'll love me. Anyway, you can't stop me! I've got my eye on you.
Droney on "This Modern World" (Tom Tomorrow/

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