The leader of the Catholic Church, Pope Benedict XVI, recently announced his resignation from the papacy. The news spread quickly. This historical event was reported by the internet, twitter, blogs, TV, radio, etc. Mass media has changed greatly since the last pontiff, Pope Gregory XII, resigned in 1451. Read this fascinating article from The Atlantic to find out how news of the papal resignation spread during the Middle Ages.
Also, the MVCC library has numerous books about the papacy.
Additionally, I wanted to post this interview and film trailer. This is a discussion with director, Dror Moreh, who recently was nominated for an Oscar for his documentary The Gatekeepers. In this documentary, Moreh interviewed former leaders of the Israeli Security Agency, the Shin Bet. This is a fascinating discussion involving views on violence and politics.
The Oscar Documentaries, Part 4: ‘The Gatekeepers’
Summary: “The Gatekeepers” is a film that consists mostly of interviews with six men, but they happen to be six former heads of Shin Bet, the Israeli security agency. These are men who have been largely or completely unknown to the public, running an organization that since the 1967 war has been deeply involved in counter-terrorism and intelligence gathering in the West Bank and Gaza. The film is nominated for an Academy Award for best documentary.
In the past, I have posted about violence and video games on this blog (see The Science of Video Games: Violence, Benefits, and Stories). This is a topic that is regularly researched by students, many of whom play violent video games. I wanted to post the video below from the News Hour, which hits key issues in the debate in relation to the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary this past December.
I had to share this video partly because it starts with a funny rap video about the Higgs Boson and partly because this discussion is excellent. I mean, how can we resist a rap video about particle physics? Clearly, this video will not win any awards, but the content is very important. Our understanding of our world has been greatly changed with the discovery of this particle.
Critical Mass: How the Higgs Boson Discovery Swept the World (Published on Feb 14, 2013)
Discovery: Last summer, scientists at the Large Hadron Collider in Geneva, Switzerland, announced the discovery of a new particle that could explain why elementary particles have mass. On February 7, 2013, a panel of experts from the University of Chicago, Argonne National Laboratory, and Fermilab discussed why this discovery marks the beginning of a new era in particle physics research.
This week a meteor hit the earth in Russia and an asteroid came within 17,000 miles of earth. Here is a video with physicist Neil deGrasse Tyson about these events and about the fact that there are no series efforts being funded to deflect these kind of cosmic threats.
Additionally, I thought it appropriate to post this 60 Minutes piece about the making of the new “Lincoln” film by Steven Spielberg.
60 Minutes: Bringing “Lincoln” to life (February 10, 2013)
Description: The team behind the 12-time Oscar-nominated film “Lincoln” talks about how they brought the president and his world to life. Lesley Stahl reports.
The PBS series American Experience explores topics that are vital to life today. It is a mix of history, story telling, and journalism. This is a great series that covers many topics which students and faculty will find relivant to our curriculum. Last night, I watched this piece about Silicon Valley.
American Experience: Silicon Valley
Description: In 1957, decades before Steve Jobs dreamed up Apple or Mark Zuckerberg created Facebook, a group of eight brilliant young men defected from the Shockley Semiconductor Company in order to start their own transistor business. Their leader was 29-year-old Robert Noyce, a physicist with a brilliant mind and the affability of a born salesman who would co-invent the microchip — an essential component of nearly all modern electronics today, including computers, motor vehicles, cell phones and household appliances.
The English poet, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, paints an ironic image of the world’s water shortage: “Water, water every where,/Nor any drop to drink.” (121-122).
Investors are always looking for the next big thing to make them rich. Fresh water has become the new gold, oil, etc. Here are a number of sites to check out. Find out about a precious commodity we all take for granted.
In January, we posted a video by poet Richard Blanco following the announcement that he would be the poet for Barack Obama’s 2nd Inauguration. I came across this video of Blanco reading his poem, “One Day,” which he wrote for the inauguration. If you want to read the full text of the poem visit, One Today: Full Text and video
There are many myths floating around that the flu vaccine is not really necessary, but these myths are just not true. The flu can be very serious especially for children and older adults. Here’s a short video from Johns Hopkins School of Public Health talking about some of the myths.