Learning from the web: The Sagan Series

I can never stop marveling at the wonder that the great big classroom in the skies, the WWW, is. Take a bunch of computers, link them up with high speed communications link, create standards and protocols, and let people do what they feel like doing with it — then watch as magic happens. Sure a lot of serious stuff happens on the web — from commerce to scientific research — but I think that the more interesting thing is that it allows people to play. It is the world’s biggest playground.

Free people play and it is in play — not work — that humans are creative. There are cultures that forbid play and you can guess which they are because they don’t create anything. What’s worse is that people who are forbidden to play and thus create, channel their energies into destruction. The same cultures that forbid play produce the people who destroy.

The Americans create disproportionately more because their culture allows people to tinker and play. They are a nation of tinkerers. Tinkerers take stuff that exists (always the result of previous tinkerers) and create new stuff. Example: Someone has taken some of Carl Sagan’s stuff, added some new video footage from other sources, and created these wonderful videos.

Part 1 of the Sagan Series: The Frontier.

This particular series is by created by Reid Gower, who in turn credits Michael Marantz for the inspiration. Here’s one of Marantz’s video at Vimeo, The Pale Blue Dot.

EARTH: The Pale Blue Dot from Michael Marantz on Vimeo.

What I like about the videos is that they are short; most are around three minutes long. The Sagan series shares space with the Feynman series over here.

Richard Feynman is one of my all-time heroes. His worldview is pretty close to mine and therefore his words resonate with me. See him explain what the scientific method is:

That’s about it for now. Play and have fun — because the alternative is not good.