"Tivo-ifies the web" Paul Kedrosky

3rd Avenue El

A short film made in the early 1950s about the elevated rail line that traveled from the base of Manhattan, up the Bowery and 3rd Avenue, to Gun Hill Road in the Bronx.

New Yorkers, how many places do you recognize as they zoom by? What brewery was that on 3rd Avenue?

The characters are an arty type, a drunk, a little girl, a young couple, and the drama or plot, such as it is, revolves around a nickel stuck in the wooden floorboards of the train (also notice the padded seats). The main characters here are really the subway and the city.

(via The Prelinger Archives)

5 comments business, history, New York City, nostalgia, society, talks

Gunter Grass and Norman Mailer

The New York Public Library ran a particularly great selection of lectures last year. Here is the culmination: Gunter Grass followed by both Grass and Norman Mailer.

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Chris Bangle: Great Cars Are Art

BMW designer, Chris Bangle’s TED talk. I’m putting this up because of the death of Andrea Pininfarina, today.

There’s a list of some classic Pininfarina designs, through three generations of the family, on Oobject.

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John Maynard Smith – Royal Institution Discourse on “The Origin of Life”.

Here, the late, great, Maynard Smith talks about what it means to say something is living. Like many virtuosos, he makes something difficult seem simple, with utterly clear explanations – the lecture is a small masterpiece.

He considers that what some biologists (such as Stuart Kauffman) define as life i.e. self reproducing things that metabolize, does not differentiate between life and something like a flame and that we must always add heredity (of infinite possible variety) to account for what we consider to be truly alive.

This leads to life as seen from an information perspective i.e how we transmit information between generations, and he outlines 9 milestones in the evolution of life from this vantage point, from replicating molecules to electronic information communication.

2 comments science, talks

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


5 comments important dead people, science, talks

Murray Gell-Mann: Beauty and truth in physics

Murray Gell-Mann: Beauty and truth in physics

Gell-Mann is possibly the single most important human being alive. Worth a listen. I particularly like his innocent, eccentric giggling at his own jokes and his enthusiasm – the mark of someone who has never been coached in public speaking by a PR flack, because he transcends that kind of crap and appears genuine.

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Steve Jobs: Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish

Playwrights and poets currently garner more cultural prestige than innovative computer makers, but this may be partly because the present rarely has the prestige of the past even if the here and now is where great art is born. The most prestigious art form of Ancient Greece was Lyre playing, hardly a venerated activity now.

I would argue that in a hundred years people will not have heard of most of the people that cover the arts sections of the broadsheets, but that Steve Jobs will be remembered not just as an industrialist, but as a cultural innovator – an artist.

Jobs is considered sartorially elegant, yet he dresses from the waist down in high waisted, beltless, over-length, bleached jeans and sneakers – like an average suburban mall shopper. He is though of as a great speaker, but his delivery is sometimes horribly rehearsed and his voice thin and nasal. But, listen to this speech from when he had just recovered from cancer, it is a masterpiece. For me this is the thing above all others, to show people who don’t get what all the fuss is about when he speaks at a tawdry trade show, tomorrow at the Moscone Center, and people cover it like it was the sermon on the mount.


2 comments talks, technology

The Richard Dimbleby Lecture 2007 | Dr. J. Craig Venter

BBC 1 43 min 31 sec Dec 11, 2007
This year’s prestigious BBC lecture is given by the entrepreneur that puts founders of web 2.0 companies to shame – Craig Venter.


1 comment science, talks

Steven Pinker: A brief history of violence


1 comment science, society, talks

The Origin of Life

A talk by the excellent John Maynard Smith about the celebrated topic, ‘the Origins of Life’ at London’s Royal Institute, in 1995.

Running time: 59 mins

Full screen

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