Saturday, March 2, 2013

Connections - James Burke "The Trigger Effect"

Back in 1978, James Burke created a series for television that took a slightly alternate view of history, as it progressed through the technological advances of the day. In most cases, Burke takes a technological event from medieval times and followed a progression into the present day. The principles haven't changed, but it might be even more fun, seeing what was state of the art thirty years ago and comparing it to today's state of the art, and things we take for granted.

There were ten episodes in the original series. If I can find them, I'll post them over the next nine Saturdays. As wiki states, "The series was noted for Burke's crisp and enthusiastic presentation (and dry humor), historical reenactments, and intricate working models." And it was thought provoking. I watched it again this week, and though a little dated, it still holds up well.

Each episode is about 50 minutes long. Skip a "House" or "Bones" or "Psych" rerun and spend a little time exploring how the past created our present, with what it might mean for the future. I think you'll enjoy it! Give it a shot!

11 comments:

  1. He also had a series called 'Connections' that was along the same line. He would start with the invention of the plow and end up with the space shuttle or something. I used to love watching them!

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    1. Yeah. The first series ran ten episodes and then I think he had a sequal or second season to it. As soon as I finish watching these again, I'll check out the later ones.

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    2. I just saw that this was Connections... duh. I was still groggy when I saw it the first time.

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    3. Not a problem! The follow up series has a similar name as well.

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  2. I have his "Pinball Effect" book, it's fascinating.

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    1. I've re-watched four of the original series so far. Much better than any reruns on the tube today!

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  3. This has got to be one of my all time favourite series. It's not only a fascinating look at how we got here, but it is a real eye opener--especially the opening episode.

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    1. It's surprising how well it's held up, especially since at the end of each episode, we're treated to the view of a "modern" computer, punch cards and all! I am certainly enjoying the series the second time around.

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  4. Hey Proof. I posted the series on my blog on Saturdays as well a few years ago. It's truly great viewing.

    He also did a Connections 2 and 3 which weren't bad but not as good as the original series. But his other series - The Day the Universe Changed was equal to Connections.

    The links I've posted are all here: http://www.nonsensibleshoes.com/p/learning-series.html you can use find all of Connections and TDTUC links there, and some of C3.

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    1. For sure! You can grab all the links from that page Proof. If you need help finding the others like Connections 2, let me know.

      Also, check out his ongoing knowledge web project - http://k-web.org/

      People should see this documentary series. Burke was really onto something with this approach. I'm all for multiple re-posting of the videos. It ties in really well to the idea of "standing on the shoulders of giants" and the need for understanding history and societal progress. Imagine if inventors of a new airplane decided that wings were s thing of the past and weren't necessary. Instead, they could use bricks. It just wouldn't work.

      Now apply that lesson to government...

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