Kurzgesagt – In a Nutshell

Kurzgesagt - In a NutshellThe internet is incredible in every sense of that word, defined variously as “so implausible as to elicit disbelief; not credible; astonishing, extraordinary; surpassing the possibility of belief as to what is possible; unimaginable; inconceivable; too extraordinary and improbable to admit of belief; marvelous; fabulous; amazing;  awe-inspiring; profoundly affecting” etc.

But of course the internet is not literally incredible today — because it actually exists and therefore is not a matter of belief. However just a few decades ago it would have been incredible in the literal sense of the word. If someone had claimed as recently as the mid-1980s that in a few decades the average human would be carrying in his hands a device (costing a couple of hundred $$) which would be more powerful than the existing supercomputers (which cost hundreds of millions of $$), and that he would have access to a vast store of audio, video, text and graphics information, and have the ability to communicate with billions of others in an instant for practically zero (marginal) cost, that someone would have been considered slightly nutty, if not outright delusional. The revolution in computing and communications technologies have transformed the world beyond anyone’s imagination. Continue reading

Who Owns the Statue of Liberty?

I had no idea that “Who owns the Statue of Liberty” could even be a question. A bit of trivial knowledge which has absolutely no real implications for 99.9983 percent of the world’s population. But I post this video here just as a reminder that there’s lots of stuff we don’t know about, but if we did know about them, it’d make us go, “Wow! I had no idea.”

This is one of the more entertaining videos I have watched lately.

Planets and Population

The planet Mars is a very advanced planet: it’s entirely populated by robots. People haven’t set foot on Mars but that may change in the next 15 years or so.

The only extraterrestrial body that people have visited is the moon. And on their way to the moon, they got to see the entire earth. Those people are special in this sense: of the estimated 100,000,000,000 (a hundred billion) people who ever lived (around 7.5 billion of whom are alive now), only 24 people have seen the entire earth in one glance. Just ponder that thought for a moment. Only 24 out of billions and billions. Continue reading

Understanding Infertility

It’s time to start a new category: “Stuff I find interesting” on the web. Part of the reason for this is to expand the variety of topics I explore on this blog. To kick it off, here’s a podcast from WHYY on “Understanding Infertility.” The intro says:

“… Over the past century, reproductive medicine has grown rapidly as a field, from experimenting with artificial insemination to in vitro fertilization. On this episode, we look at fertility (and infertility), and what we have learned about assisting nature. … Richard Sharpe from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland explains the challenges surrounding male infertility, and why we know so little about this issue. …”

Click on the image above to listen to the podcast. Or else use the embedded player below the fold. Continue reading