Astrophysics Goes Extreme

You wouldn't necessarily guess it, but astrophysics comes with occupational risks. Trying to unravel the mysteries of the universe, some physicists journey to inhospitable parts of the world (Siberia, the Antarctic, deep mine shafts, etc.), searching for ideal conditions to perform experiments into dark energy, dark matter, and beyond. This all gets detailed by Anil Ananthaswamy, a software writer turned science writer, who recently published a new book The Edge of Physics: A Journey to Earth's Extremes to Unlock the Secrets of the Universe. The talk above was presented at the INK Conference last December. You can also watch him give a fuller 50 minute talk at Google here.

Kevin Spacey & Alec Baldwin Go to Bat for the Arts

Both Alec Baldwin and Kevin Spacey are longtime advocates for government funding of  the Arts. If you missed their testimony before the House Appropriations Subcommitee on the Interior earlier this month, you aren't alone. They were kicked off the schedule because of preparations for a congressional shutdown. These speeches were delivered not to the subcommittee but to a crowd of advocates and fans.

Both are well worth watching. Spacey, who is also the artistic director of London's Old Vic Theatre, has long been one of the most respected and articulate actors in Hollywood. (See his inspiring pep talk to a young actor on Inside the Actor's Studio here.) He packs more wisdom in these 12 and a half minutes than some performers do in a lifetime.

As for Alec Baldwin, his speech is shorter, but equally compelling. If you're in a rush, head straight to minute  4:00, which begins with this teaser: "I come from a business where we all know a great secret ..."

Sheerly Avni is a San Francisco-based arts and culture writer. Her work has appeared in Salon, LA Weekly, Mother Jones, and many other publications. You can follow her on twitter at @sheerly.

The Beatles: Live at Shea Stadium, 1965

Here's a Friday treat: The Beatles' 1965 concert at Shea Stadium. At the time, this was the biggest rock concert in history, with 12 cameras, a helicopter flyover, and 55,000 screaming fans. Best of all were the boys themselves, still giddy enough about their own fame that they were cracking up on stage.

You can find a full set list for the show, and don't miss John Lennon's terrific work on "Ticket to Ride," starting at minute 10:45. Just the day before, the band appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show for the fourth and final time, and we have the performance here in HD. Watched together, the two videos give a nice sense of how exhilarating Beatlemania must have been.

The full Beatles at Shea documentary (68 minutes) can be watched over at

Sheerly Avni is a San Francisco-based arts and culture writer. Her work has appeared in Salon, LA Weekly, Mother Jones, and many other publications. You can follow her on twitter at @sheerly

Eagles Hatch, Millions Watch

The Iowa-based Raptor Resource Project works to foster population growth among threatened bird populations throughout the midwest. They manage 23 nests, educate others in nest-site management, and -- best of all for those living far from the wilderness -- maintain several webcams at their sites. You can follow several families online, including falcons, owls and osprey.

But the most popular live stream keeps track of these bald eagles in Decorah, Iowa. While we were typing up this post, we had the stream up in another window: Along with about 90,000 other viewers, we watched one of the eagles sheltering three eaglets from a strong wind, 80 feet high in the snow-covered nest. The other was presumably out hunting. (The RRP's blog has a nice explanation of how the parents protect their young from cold and snow, both in the moment and through smart nest design.) The video above shows the 24-hour hatching of their first egg, on April 1st and April 2nd, edited down to just 10 minutes.

Sheerly Avni is a San Francisco-based arts and culture writer. Her work has appeared in Salon, LA Weekly, Mother Jones, and many other publications. You can follow her on twitter at @sheerly.

Charlie Chaplin Mini Film Festival

A few things to know about Charlie Chaplin. He starred in over 80 films, reeling off most during the silent film era. In 1914 alone, he acted in 40 films, then another 15 in 1915. By the 1920s, Chaplin had emerged as the first larger-than-life movie star, if not the most recognizable person on the planet.

The actor still holds enough cultural sway that Google gave him a special doodle for his birthday last week. And now we give you a 4-in-1 collection of Chaplin films. Created in 1938, this mini film festival, running 46 minutes, presents The Adventurer, The Cure, Easy Street and The Immigrant, all filmed in 1917. (Find an alternate version here.) Plus if you head into our collection of Free Movies Online, you will find another 10 Chaplin films, all free. Just scroll down to the Silent Film section, and you'll be on your way...

via Curiosity Counts

Diary: The Last Short Film by Tim Hetherington

Earlier today, Tim Hetherington, the photographer who produced and directed the award-winning film Restrepo, was killed in the Libyan city of Misurata. Although interested in diverse art forms, Hetherington spent more than a decade working in war zones. He was a cameraman on Liberia: An Uncivil War (2004) and The Devil Came on Horseback (2007), then directed Restrepo, a film about a platoon of soldiers in Afghanistan. It won the Grand Jury Prize at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival. And, that same year, Hetherington also shot a short film, Diary, which he summarized in this fashion:

'Diary' is a highly personal and experimental film that expresses the subjective experience of my work, and was made as an attempt to locate myself after ten years of reporting. It's a kaleidoscope of images that link our western reality to the seemingly distant worlds we see in the media."

You can watch Diary above and also visit a slideshow of Hetherington's photographic work here.

via BoingBoing

The Symmetry of Life

Last year, filmmakers Will Hoffman, Daniel Mercadante, and Julius Metoyer III produced their first conceptual video based on a RadioLab episode called “Words.” Now the trio is back, playing on ideas explored in a new RadioLab episode, Desperately Seeking Symmetry, which meditates on how "symmetry shapes our very existence--from the origins of the universe, to what we see when we look in the mirror." You can watch their latest video above, and stream below the radio episode upon which it is based. And if you're not familiar with RadioLab, a program that's changing the medium, then definitely check out this profile in The New York Times.

via BrainPickings

« Go BackMore in this category... »