1. “The Voice” is a new music reality show that is actually really good. First episode is on Hulu at the moment. Very few untalented contestants for once, and it’s based on the quality of singing, not their look.
2. The documentary “Blind Spot” (Netflix streaming) is interesting. It’s about our dependence on petroleum, and how some think it is going to come crashing down.
It has a little bit of an alarmist stance at the end, but almost every person interviewed and in the film is a PhD, so at least they are book-smart. The first hour is all well done, fact and history based information.
I remember taking an astronomy course at University of Oregon taught by a professor Bothun. He was this brilliant guy who worked on the Hubble telescope project for NASA. He was super eccentric – his hair would stick up straight at all angles, like he hadn’t slept for a week. He was like 50, and wore t-shirts with goofy cartoon characters on them, or a really bad pun, or some joke only physicists would get.
Bothun let slip once that his colleagues and he decided that in about 50-100 years we’d run out of fossil fuels, and it would be bad.
I thought of Bothun while watching this documentary, and since it was late at night and I was sleepy, I started thinking all philosophically. Some things that really got to me in the documentary:
– Petroleum is in everything. Like, everything. Computers, your desk, your car, any rubber and plastics. Pick a thing in your field of view, and it was either made from, or delivered by, something that requires petroleum.
– The average item of food we eat travels 1,500 miles.
– 33 of the top 48 oil producing companies have peaked. Demand for petroleum is still going up.
– In the 5,000 years of recorded history the “oil age” will only be a blip in the history of man. 300 years where oil changed the world. That’s it.
– Look at a chart of human population on earth from 1 AD to 2000 AD (today-ish). The curve is very gentle to start – from 1 to about 1850 it only gets up to 1 billion. From 1850 to 2000 it shoots up to 6 billion. What happened in 1850? The industrial revolution. Oil!
It’s an interesting documentary, might be worth a watch. Going to do a list of my favorite documentaries in a bit, since there are so many good ones on Netflix streaming alone.
Found Bothun’s page at UO!
Look at that goofy guy! His email is “firstname.lastname@example.org” lol.
I remember once he told a joke about the physics material in an offhand manner while looking down at his podium in front of the 100 person class. It was funny, so the entire place laughed. He looked up like he was surprised we were even there. =)
Just looked at his Cirriculum Vitae. He’s done almost 200 peer reviewed papers. He taught at CalTech and the Hardvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. Over $3 million in grant money from NASA and the National Science Foundation. Definitely as brilliant and I figured back then.