Posts tagged ‘google video’

Totally into Pokémon!

If you don’t get the reference in the title, go read XKCD for a while. Over Thanksgiving weekend, I finally got around to finishing the switch from Gentoo to Xubuntu (which is really just Ubuntu with XFCE on it). Yes, I realize I’ve been meaning to do this for months, but I’m lazy. A preliminary review of (X)Ubuntu →

Like tech talks, but without the tech

Google has several series of talks that are always going on. I think of them all as tech talks because that was the series I was first introduced to. However, they’re apparently quite separate. Google periodically has authors come in to give talks about their books, and these are called the Authors@Google series. I’ve gotten to see Scott Ritter (former UN weapons inspector in Iraq) speak live, and I’ve gotten live video feeds of news reporter Tom Brokaw, Steve Wozniak (cofounder of Apple Computers), Ken Jennings (the Jeopardy dude), and Dr. Joseph Stiglitz (Nobel prizewinning economist) speaking. It turns out many of these are on Google Video as well! Some of the ones that have caught my interest (but I haven’t watched them yet): graphic novelist Neil Gaiman, Dr. James Watson (co-discoverer of DNA), and Dr. Jane Goodall (the chimpanzee lady).

TED – the conference on Technology, Entertainment, and Design

I’ve just found out about an incredible conference called TED, which apparently puts lots of its talks on Google Video (and they’re surprisingly concise—about 20 minutes each). It seems to be just a collection of brilliant people with ideas that can change the world, talking about their stuff. and whether or not I agree with their premise, I find the talks fascinating. Here are a few of them:

  • Hans Rosling shows a way to represent data collected from different countries to see how the world changes
  • Richard Baraniuk discusses ways to make education cheaper and available to more people (assuming they are literate and have internet access, so there’s a bit of a barrier at the beginning)
  • Jeff Han shows off an incredible touch-screen interface
  • Aubrey de Grey, creator of the Methuselah Mouse Prize, gives his thoughts on how to greatly extend life expectancy (a bit Kurzweilian, but interesting nonetheless).
  • Richard Dawkins, author of The Selfish Gene and evangelical atheist, discusses how we view the world and how this would change if we had different senses or were a different size.

It seems like going to TED would be a really neat experience, except that admission is $4400. I’ll have to settle for the videos, I suppose.

Potpourri (and remember to vote!)

There is a fantastic tech talk about how to teach computer science to kids. Too often, they see the name and think it’s about programming, and are consequently turned off to the subject. This kiwi teaches CS without using a computer, but has all sorts of fun, hands-on activities for kids to do as they learn about sorting and compression algorithms, error-correcting codes, DFAs, and other parts of CS. If you ever need to inspire kids, this video is definitely worth a watch!

Speaking of videos to watch, check out this Dove commercial. I’ve gotta give them props for that.

On a newsier topic, Bush has begun to admit that the war in Iraq is going poorly and is starting to accept the parallels between this war and Vietnam. Might this be the beginning of someone in the Republican party taking a look at reality and then accepting responsibility for what they’ve screwed up? Not likely, but a man can dream, can’t he?

By the way, please, please register to vote (and then actually vote) in the elections on November 7. In California, you need to register (which can be done at your local DMV) by October 23 (this coming Monday). As John Stewart once quipped, “this country is run by extremists because moderates have shit to do.” However, voting doesn’t take up much of your time, and can help shape which direction the country will go, even if it’s still being run by extremists. No matter which parties/candidates you support, please vote. and please take 10 minutes and read up on the parties/candidates you plan to vote for, and make sure that they really do represent your interests; too often people are elected by an ignorant population that doesn’t realize what it’s doing. You want to vote for the communist party? That’s fine, so long as you know what they stand for and agree with it. You wanna vote for someone because the politicians tell you to? that’s not so good.

So learn about your favourite party, and then vote for them!

Another Tech Talk

Google Video also has a Tech Talk on it about the history of copyright law, which was fascinating. He isn’t great about handling the questions at the end, but the talk itself is pretty good.

A summary of the talk →

Google periodically has visitors who come in and give talks on various subjects (a lot like the Nelson Series, but without a yearly theme, though most of them are CS-ey in some way). I have just found out that many of these are subsequently posted to Google Video so other people can see them, too. They’re pretty great, if ever you have a yen for intellectual discourse.

In particular, I’m quite impressed with Chris Spurgeon’s talk about great achievements in map-making and navigation.

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Fun on Google Video

I’ve never really thought impressions were that funny, but Frank Caliendo (as seen in this movie) is absolutely fantastic.

Also, remember the Portal trailer I posted recently? I’ve now played its precursor, Narbacular Drop. It’s the same game idea, but with crappier graphics and a slightly buggy engine. You can even create your own levels! There are some people out there who have made incredibly complex levels, which are pretty cool.