Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Connections: The Trigger Effect

I don't think it's possible to over-estimate the importance of James Burke's televisions series - Connections and The Day the Universe Change - on my intellectual development. His approach to the development of technology has the one-thing-leads-to-another approach of anthropologist Marvin Harris in his books on anthropology. And the focus on the ways that technology shapes human culture.

The entire Connections series is now available free online. The video embed above is the first of the series (in five video segments) and it's fascinating to watch all these years after the first time I saw it in the early 1980s. I could watch this kind of thing for hours on end - it's mental catnip.

An interesting note about this episode is that the opening segment is James Burke walking outside and inside of the World Trade Center. At 0:41 we can see The Sphere, a sculpture that was beat up during the collapse of the WTC. It is now on display in Battery Park- I didn't realize it until I took a walk one day during lunch hour when I was working near Wall Street this summer, and happened on it in the Park: