Zeitgeist: Addendum (2008) – documentary

Since I posted Zeitgeist, the Movie here and admitted I kinda liked it, I feel obligated to include the sequel. Zeitgeist: Addendum was released (also free of charge to all) in 2008, and this one, too, got the Best Feature Activist Spirit Award.

But I would rather disagree. In the first part of the movie, the process of money creation is described in detail. The second part is basically a long interview with John Perkins who wrote Confessions of an Economic Hit Man – a wildly controversial and criticized book. And it goes downhill from there. Then The Venus Project is described, as a possible solution to all humanity’s troubles.

The Venus Project is basically a utopia, a society where all energy problems are solved with geothermal energy, there’s no money since energy is abundant. They call it “resource based society”. I fail to see how it’s different from communist utopia, with no money or markets/buying/selling so avidly described by some Soviet science fiction writers. Supposedly, if it wasn’t for corrupt oil companies, financiers and politicians, we all could live in such heaven, since we already have the technology to build it.

I got interested in this Venus Project. I surfed their website in search of answers. How are they going to distribute resources however big they are? What about geothermal power disadvantages? Its net energy? They claim there’ll be no crime – what about latest findings of cognitive science on the nature of violence? Well, as I suspected: nothing. The whole website looks like a pretty glossy paper advertisement brochure. Looks like a fine futurology/design experiment, nothing serious. How can you put it in a documentary? And talk about it as a “solution”?

I’ve always been wary of conspirologists, and the more I live the “warier” I become. Here’s the video:

Welcome to Your Brain: Why You Lose Your Car Keys but Never Forget How to Drive and Other Puzzles of Everyday Life (2008) – book

welcome

I’ve just finished reading this book, and would like to recommend it to anyone. This is a very fun and easy reading on everyday’s brain puzzles. Common myths and unknown truths, brain’s birth and development, emotions and rationality – the book if full of surprises and useful tips. Not very detailed in its scientific explanations, “Welcome to Your Brain” feels more like a manual going only through the very general principles that will help you use your own brain right. 

Top 6 myths about the brain (from Welcome to Your Brain Blog):

  1. You only use 10 percent of your brain
  2. Playing classical music to an infant can make the child smarter
  3. Drinking alcoholic beverages kills brain cells
  4. Games like Sudoku and Brain Age keep your brain young
  5. In a noisy place, you can hear better on your cell phone by covering your other ear
  6. Vaccines cause autism

The authors, Sam Wang and Sandra Aamodt gave a talk about the book at Google, and this is actually how I found out about it. If you like the talk, you’ll most definitely like the book:

The book mentions some experiments that show how limited our scope of attention is. Here’s an example from YouTube:

MC Hawking on Entropy

mchawking1hawking

Wow, this is just hilarious. MC Hawking does gangster rap parodies on Stephen Hawking. And yes – his lyrics is also synthesized! 🙂 Here’s his take on entropy:

Some of the best lyrics quotes from Wikipedia:

“I explode like a bomb. No one is spared. / My power is my mass times the speed of light squared.” — from “E=MC Hawking”
“In the beginning there was nothing, not even time / No planets, no stars, no hip-hop, no rhyme. / But then there was a bang like the sound of my gat; / The universe began and the shit was phat.” — from “The Big Bizang”
“You ever drop an egg, and on the floor you see it break? / You go and get a mop so you can clean up your mistake. / But did you ever stop to ponder why we know it’s true? / If you drop a broken egg you will not get an egg that’s new?” — from “Entropy”
“I’ll stuff you in the box like Schrödinger’s cat / You’ll be dead and alive until such a time as that / I check and make the wave function collapse /And if you ain’t dead I’ll cap your ass…” – from “Rock Out With Your Hawk Out”

Here’s a comics video which, according to the YouTube comment, is the official video for the song “What We Need More Of Is Science”:

BTW, you can buy MC Hawking’s greatest hits CD on Amazon.

TED: Will videogames become better than life? by David Perry

Videogame designer David Perry talks about the future of video games, and shows a super-cool video mix of how computer graphics has been evolving over the last decade. Since I quit playing videogames long time ago, I found the early stages shown in this mix much more emotionally stimulating. 🙂

 

Original video on TED.com (might be better quality).

Maxed Out (2006) – documentary

Maxed Out: Hard Times, Easy Credit and the Era of Predatory Lenders is an independent documentary film by James Scurlock that chronicles abusive practices in the credit card industry. The film got the Special Jury Prize award at the South by Southwest Film Festival. This film isn’t available online, but I would highly recommend renting a DVD. For those who have Netflix subscription, it is currently available for instant play free of charge. It’s not really about the current economic crisis, or the credit crunch, or the national debt. It’s more about such facts as that most of the profit for credit card companies comes in form of fees and interest from those who pay late, or even eventually can’t pay at all.

The following video is James Scurlock giving a talk at Google about his movie. That took place on April 23, 2007.

TED: How a ragtag band created Wikipedia by Jimmy Wales

Jimmy Wales, who at least co-founded Wikipedia, talks on its origins, history and organization. Wikipedia is probably the most successful collaborative project to date, the largest general reference resource on the net, counting over 2.5 million articles, and #8 popular website in the world reaching almost 10% of Internet users daily. And most amazingly, it costs very little to run – the whole Wikimedia Foundation took just $3.5m to run in 2007/2008. It’s one of those landscape-changing projects that excite me so much. What will the future bring next?

Original video on TED.com (might be better quality).

freedomOf5peech counts Kent Hovind lies

freedomOf5Speech, another YouTube activist whose channel I highly recommend, decided to count Kent Hovind‘s lies. Here’s from the video description:

I watched 30 minutes of Kent Hovind, and found 82 lies or false statements.

Many videos debunking Kent Hovind exist on YouTube. I felt that it’s pointless to make YET ANOTHER commentary video with details about Kent’s lies… it’s been done, and if you still believe Kent’s bullshit, search YouTube and you’ll have hours and hours of debunking to watch.

Instead, I wanted to make a quick video (without commentary) that moves quickly, and shows just how often Kent lies… and it’s fucking hilarious!!! I hope you laugh as much as I did making it!

Yes, he repeats his lies, and I counted them. Yes, some of the lies are not obvious, but they are lies, and if you have a question about a specific lie just ask and I’ll answer it for you. Some of the lies are just humor, but technically still lies (like when he claims his Creation Museum is the best place on earth).

Very funny. 🙂 And disturbing. 😐

But wait, there’s more! This little contest got a very recent development, as VenomFangXD (not to be confused with VenomFangX!) posted a reply video on November 8th counting 102 lies in under 42 minutes. I like this one even better, though they’re both funny: