"Tivo-ifies the web" Paul Kedrosky

Butterfly maker, Wheeler – broken – John Wheeler and Edward Lorentz died this week.

John Wheeler was a collaborator of Einstein who brought General Relativity out of ‘relative’ obscurity, and searched for a unified field theory. He dies in the same year that a major experimental milestone this search, the Large Hadron Collider, is switched on. There is a long interview of Wheeler preserved for prosperity on the fabulous People’s Archive. In this segment, after the link, he talks about coining the term ‘Black Hole’.

Edward Lorentz was the father of Chaos Theory, the person who discovered, the ‘Butterfly Effect’, hugely complex and unpredictable behaviors that appeared when the results of very simple ‘toy’ mathematical models of weather patterns were fed back into themselves. I can’t find a single video of Lorentz, unfortunately.

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42 Hour Film of Buckminster Fuller

This has to be the most extreme example of what Smashing Telly set out to promote, the antithesis of ‘moronic 30 second dog on skateboard’ clips, this is 42 hours of gloriously intelligent video.

With people not much older than Fuller, like George Orwell, having not a single audio or video recording of themselves in existence, Buckminster Fuller fans can consider themselves lucky that such a film legacy exists.

In 1975 Buckminster Fuller recorded these sessions entitled ‘Everything I know’, in Philadelphia. This is the first film in the series, the entire set is available at the Wiki below.

1 hr 19 min 59 sec


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Drum Improvisations – Baby Dodds

Self indulgence week closes with a drum roll. This excellent solo from Baby Dodds in 1946.

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C.S. Lewis Lectures on the Novels of Charles Williams

Lewis is on the right. He pronounces almost every vowel as a diphthong, something that is heard only among very old English aristocrats, these days.

I’m sure Lewis would be turning in his grave if he knew that he was a hero of the contemporary Christian right.

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Silent Film of Nietzsche accompanied by unnecessary music and moustache.


Nietsche is dead, God is not. Sadly.

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T.S. Eliot reads The Waste Land.

On the one hand I hesitate to post The Waste Land since it is clearly self indulgent nonsense. However:

1. This is/was self indulgence week.

2. It’s really good self indulgent nonsense.

3. Eliot himself inoculated the poem by saying it was nonsense.

I do feel uncomfortable with the bits that sound pretty anti-semitic to me. Perhaps someone could elucidate?

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Einstein, Dirac, Godel, Erdos, Weyl in Princeton

A home movie from 1947. What a place Princeton was, after the war.

@ 33 seconds: Einstein

1:06 Godel on left

1:25 Selberg at the right, his wife Heddy in the middle

1:41 Paul Erdos (left) and Hermann Weyl (right)

3:01 Paul Dirac at right, and his student Harish-Chandra at left

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Mark Twain at Stormfield, 1909 (Edison film)

Mark Twain in his signature “Don’t Give a Damn” white suit. The first true American.

(Self indulgence week runs over a couple of days, since I didn’t manage to put up the remaining clips in time, on account of having to rebuilt the site after it was hacked. I have now intstalled 3 miles of razor wire, machine gun posts and watch towers).

Mark Twain at Stormfield, 1909 (Edison film)

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Nikolaus Pevsner – Reith Radio Lecture

“A bicycle shed is a building; Lincoln Cathedral is a piece of architecture”. So said Pevsner, who fled Nazi Germany to the UK and is responsible for one of its greatest architectural edifices. Something that is neither a bicycle shed or a cathedral, but an inimitable 32 volume foundation to the definitive history of the “Buildings of England”.

Today’s piece of self indulgence is poached from my all time favorite Youtube user, “Meades Shrine”.


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Le Corbusier Interview

Self indulgence week continues, with an interview with Le Corbusier when he was in his 70s, speaking in English. If Robert Moses was the Stalin of architecture, then Le Corbusier was its Marx: a genius who shouldn’t be imitated.

The amazing thing about Le Corbusier is that despite the fact that almost everything he built was a masterpiece, it is a very good thing that most of what he designed did not get built. Otherwise we would have gotten what the English satirical magazine, Private Eye, called the “Cite Lunatique de Ciel”.

Actually – I’m not finished on the subject of Corbusier. What is it about architects that they rebel in such overtly repressed ways, wearing a conventional suit but a flamboyant bow tie, and always having funny glasses? Did “Corbu” start this messed up behavior and was it anything to do with being Swiss? In this interview, he seems utterly devoid of what is referred to as a sense of humor.

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