Archive for the ‘life tv’ Category

Exquisite? ‘Wake Up, Freak Out, Then Get a Grip’

Thursday, October 2, 2008

I watched this thanks to Ray Ison, and was mightily impressed with the quality of the animation and the sound effects.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

I found myself wanting more!  I’d love to see the team that created this apply their talents to lots more stuff.  It strikes me this medium can work incredibly well as a storytelling and educational vehicle. Very nice song at the end.

Now for my critique.  On the whole, the narrative was cogent, but the intense relaying of scientific information seemed to cater more for a science-literate audience.  I felt the scripting and narration left quite a lot to be desired.  The narrator skipped quickly between concepts, leaving non-scientists like myself befuddled and breathless, and needing to rewind the animation to work out what was being discussed and to catch up.  It seriously denigrated my experience of what could be a stunning project.  I dearly wanted a simpler script and much, much clearer transitions between each science-spiel segment.  And less jargon. (Interestingly, the animation’s creator conceived the animation as an old-fashioned piece of unilateral communication.)

I’m curious what you think and how you feel about it.  Comments and insights welcome.


Obama has picked his running mate – and it’s not Clinton

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

… but it is a woman – an eighty-two year old woman.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

The great birthing – the significance of the US presidential election

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Like me, you may have become fascinated – obsessed, even – with the presidential election in the United States.

Some might think that the levels of money being raised are obscene. To that perspective, I’d counter that people’s participation rather than corrupt secret deals is the cause. Others may think that no politician can be honourable. To this perspective, I’d counter that we’re all human but that some are better than others.

I believe this election is the most important the world will know for a very long time. The stakes are the highest they have been.

Can the growing sectarian conflict in the world, that’s embroiled with American foreign policy, be reversed? Can the rhetoric of intolerance, and the belief that might is right, be overcome? Can the political will be generated to address global warming, and other seemingly intractable issues like the rising food prices globally? America can shine a light and do something positive to address each of these questions.

In sum, this election may be the last time that any one nation state has the chance to prevent the erosion of human civilisation as we know it. It’s about sustainability in its deepest sense.

Now I don’t believe any one individual alone can solve these issues. However, the president of the United States, as of 2008, sure sets the tone and leads by example in how to go about addressing them.

If it’s about anything in particular, I’d suggest the election is about the ability to manage amidst complexity.

McCain, unfortunately for him and the Republican Party, has the wrong policies. Clinton has the wrong decision-making approach.

To my mind, the tortuous Democratic nomination campaign reflects the labour pains of a new kind of politics, one that Senator Barack Obama seems the better able to appreciate. Obama has, broadly speaking, both the right policies and the right decision-making approach. (For those who missed it the first time, read Andrew Sullivan’s article, The New Face of America, published in the Times.) That is, of course, from my point of view, but I believe he gives people confidence that he is able to handle, grapple with, and forge pathways through complexity.

Like many others of his supporters, I was disappointed that Clinton won the Pensylvania primary, but I wasn’t surprised. Not only was it predicted and she heavily favoured. If you think about it, anything big that tries to be born has long and drawn-out labour pains.

An important part of the new politics is the grass-roots organising going on, facilitated by the internet. The fundraising has been staggering. The ability to reflect and share ideas and perspectives on the campaign, online, is also formidable. Candidate’s supporters in a very real sense are guiding where the campaign goes. The feedback from a candidate’s speech to a supporter’s online donation can be immediate.

Innovatively, an American NGO,, which has endorsed Obama, is currently hosting an online competition for the best ‘Obama in 30 Seconds‘ advert. I’ve watched a few now, engrossed in how keen people have been to express themselves in aid of a political campaign.

Something I have found heartening has been how people have been effected when they have met Obama in person, heard him speak at rallies, and have had a chance to size him up; like here.

Here are four of my overall favourites

And my vote would be for ‘My Name Is Barack Obama – Afraid’

Influencing the conversation: Gore’s self-funded ad blitz

Monday, March 31, 2008

Superb interview, which prompted a personal reflection on his failed 2000 presidential campaign, despite his attempt (‘words fail to describe’ etc.) to evade the question – i.e. ‘shattering’.

Vodpod videos no longer available.From CBS News.

Note Gore’s message – ‘Yes We Can’ mitigate the devastating effects of man-made global warming (which sounds good as far as an Obama endorsement is concerned).

[One of the things I find interesting about his approach is his casting of the issue as a moral-cum-spiritual problem, one that concerns basic survival –

“We all share the exact same interest in doing the right thing on this. Who are we as human beings? Are we destined to destroy this place that we call home, planet earth? I can’t believe that that’s our destiny. It is not our destiny. But we have to awaken to the moral duty that we have to do the right thing and get out of this silly political game-playing about it. This is about survival,” he said.

I had thought basic survival comes first on the (Maslow) hierarchy of needs – with spiritual/moral needs coming later, once basic survival needs have been satisfied. (I kind of like Max Neef’s take on this; see the Maslow wikipedia link above. Maslow could have been projecting a whole lot of cultural junk, about the developmental stages of evolution towards ‘civilisation’, into his hierarchy – but that’s a whole other discussion.) Maybe Gore’s understanding of the relationship between survival and morality reflects a difference between British and American culture. I don’t know. To my mind, matters of survival don’t necessitate lofty arguments about morality but rather the finding of food, water, air, shelter and warmth. And probably laughter too. Anyway…]

Perhaps unsurprisingly many are envisaging Gore as a possible bridge between the Democratic party and the White House. What did I say? I still maintain, though, that Obama should be at the top of the ticket.

Some intervention into the presidential campaign his ad campaign could be.

The Stuff System

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Introduction –

Extraction –

Production –

Distribution –

Consumption –

Disposal –

Another way –

Superb production. Congratulations to Free Range Studios.

Making the connection: emotions, voting and leadership

Thursday, February 28, 2008

This is interesting –

I suspect that the answer to the question –

What is it the Independent male voters are reacting to when they register ‘disagreement’ with Clinton?

– are the emotions she expresses, namely, frustration and complaint.

I suspect that these qualities are not ones a sizeable proportion of citizens would want in their leader. Rather, they would probably prefer a ‘can-do’ attitude and the implicit assurance that difficult situations, no matter how grizzly or seemingly unfair, can at the very least be addressed and possibly improved.

Then again, of course, they might relate to the sense of injustice and see in the other a mirror of their own complaining behaviour…

Worth voting for, just for the music

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Begs the question, what outpouring of poetry, art, film, theatre, literature, philosophy and scientific endeavour would emerge should the big O go on to win the general election? This music video might just herald a new renaissance celebrating the human spirit and soul. God bless America.

Sowing the seeds of sexual liberalism

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

It’s amazing how this got past the censors, back in 1970s Britain. As far as I know, it did, without causing a stir. Anyway. Here’s a video of a children’s programme that I may well have watched when I was growing up in London, and I have no idea what effect it had on me. I’m now learning to play the mandolin?

As Paulo at Undercurrents Video remarked, ‘you couldn’t make this up’.

The genius of America

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Reading that people have been queuing up in New Hampshire just to catch a glimpse of the Obama phenomenon, and coming away saying ‘there’s the next president of the United States’ (see the Washington Post here); and reading of a university graduate who has been tracking Obama since he gave a speech to the Democratic Convention in 2004 – I tracked down the 2004 speech.

Watching it now, it’s easy to imagine that, if Obama had been on the campaign trail for Kerry, instead of Kerry, there would have been no contest against Bush back then.

I pity Obama’s rivals on both sides of the political fence. Give up now I say. They’re in for a pounding… if, that is, the money and all the attack ads that will get increasingly aired over the coming weeks and months don’t choke the populus to death on the US political system’s own, contorted sickness.

I can’t see Hilary Clinton being able to have this effect. I got the sense the crowd didn’t quite know what had hit them.

Obama’s a fabulous communicator, and good storyteller, as all the best politicians and activists and those who’ve achieved change have been. He’ll need to clarify his hand gesturing a bit, but basically, he’s taking America and hopefully the world in a whole new direction.

For those interested in the art, craft and science of communication, I’d say his performance lays the predominant communication model of information transfer (see my theoretical thoughts on communication here) to rest. And for further proof as to why this model doesn’t work, watch this tongue-in-cheek video by the Washington Post on the effect, on people’s enthusiasm, of the information-transfer model employed by Hilary Clinton in her flagging New Hampshire campaign. Too bad.


Here’s how Newsweek summed up Obama, looking at the pros and cons of both Republican and Democratic Candidates –

Bottom Line
A roll of the dice, but the only one with a decent chance for a landslide.