A conversation with Kingston students today reminded me of the slide presentation style of Lawrence Lessig. His fast paced sometimes provoking or unexpected slides always make me focus and engage with his talks more than those of others.

Tangentially, this talk also reminds me that we’re just days away from the 28 January 2017 deadline of the repeal of Section 52 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act (1998). Less a law that chokes creativity but one that does stifle the previously legal and widely enjoyed consumption of it.

Be quick now, last orders at swiveluk.com :(

Another delightful animation from Jim Le Fevre. Such a lovely style and technique. Judging by the video description, he didn’t have much to work with and the clients weren’t even very engaged or forthcoming. To make something so beautiful in those conditions is extra impressive. Hat’s off again for his ingenuity.

I love when people innovate within areas that you thought were exhausted and beyond any further innovation. BMX for me is one such case, where every year, young riders are pushing the limits of what I thought was possible, but here UK (and not so young!) rider Sebastian Keep goes somewhere I would never have even imagined. Skip to 3min if you don’t want to watch the whole thing. I’ve watched it at least 10 times and still I can’t believe it’s real.

A nice tidbit from part 5 of the Planet Money series on oil. They mention that Jay Leno owns a Baker Electric car from 1909. I couldn’t resist a peek at what it looked like and wow is it more advanced than I imagined. Check out the video and imagine how different things would have been if industry had spent the last 100 years on battery cars rather than perfecting the issues with petrol. 

I’m still digging through this epic WBW post but had to share this video that’s linked from the part about ‘how (and Why) SpaceX Will Colonize Mars’. From the video caption:

Learn what would happen if an asteroid hit the Earth with this detailed “Large Asteroid Impact Simulation”. An asteroid with a diameter of 500 km. Destination: The Pacific Ocean. The impact peels the 10 km crust off the surface. The shockwave travels at hypersonic speeds. Debris is blasted across into low Earth orbit, and returns to destroy the surface of the Earth. The firestorm encircles the Earth, vaporizing all life in its way. Within one day, the surface of the Earth is uninhabitable. The evidence shows that this has happened at least six times in Earth’s history.

That last bit, about previous events like this is something I didn’t know. From the WBW post I’ve learned there have actually been 5 mass extension events in the Earth’s past. The Dinosaurs were just the last. And we’re sort of coming due for the next. The idea goes then, that we’d better try and back up humanity on another planet and be ready for the asteroid (hard drive) to crash.

I’m really getting into my YouTube subscriptions and the occasionally decent recommendations it’s generating from my viewing behaviour. It doesn’t take much to ruin that algorithm though, just a peek at some silly video on a website or a curious click of the wrong thumbnail can infiltrate rubbish for days, but last night this classic from John Oliver popped up.

It brilliantly lampoons the apparent one in four Americans that are solidly skeptical about climate change, by appropriately focusing on the fact that it’s no longer a matter of opinion. Like asking which number is bigger, 5 or 15. Or questioning ‘do owls exist?’ Or ‘are there hats?’

The clear crux of the spot becomes a focus on the result of a survey of over one thousand scientific papers which concluded that “97.1% endorsed the consensus position that humans are causing global warming.”. That’s just 2.9% that say it is not, which is basically as close as you can get a grown up consensus. But, the TV coverage of the matter always pits one expert on either side of the argument, suggesting the matter is a 50/50 issue. Which it’s not. See above.

Oliver takes this to an almost Randall Munroe level of illustration by having 97 experts for the facts, and 3 against, on stage. Look at that number of people that represents the huge number of scientists from across the globe, with extensive educational and research achievements, from a variety of backgrounds. Then look at the power that the three people seem to have over the masses. How is this still happening?! How can this be helped?