Saturday, January 12, 2008

Connections: 101

In order to understand what our modern civilization is about, it's helpful to see how interconnected are the historical events which produce technological innovations. For that, we turn to the master, James Burke, who wrote and hosted several television series on the subject. Here, for your entertainment and enlightenment, is Episode 1 of the original Connections. (Click on the image to play — it will open in a separate window/tab)


  1. Connections was a great show, even though I'm not convinced all of the connections he made were valid as far as causation were concerned. Sometimes he had to hang on to some pretty tenuous connections to make the story.

  2. Wayne,
    Second that! Connections was always entertaining.
    Hope you can post all of the episodes sometime.
    The lack of history education among the general population is sometimes astonishing. I have an acquaintance trying to trace his identity through the DNA/haplogroup project. I am trying to give him some sense of historical perspective, but he thinks that Alexander the Great was the son of Catherine the Great. Long road to travel there.
    Perhaps we are doomed to repeat it.

  3. Svin,
    "...Alexander the Great was the son of Catherine the Great."
    Everybody knows he was her dad!

    Just finished watching episode one, (just in time to watch the Packer game) Anybody else notice that the elevator he's in is the WTC? And the airplane that's part of the NYC blackout story is Scandinavia 911?
    How's that for a connection.

  4. Third it. The TV show was fun, but when he started writing a column for Scientific American (before I dropped the magazine in disgust for it's politicization of science) and you could read and think about his connections at leisure, they were pretty flimsy.

  5. Wayne, I don't think the connections were always "If X didn't happen, Y never would have happened" so much as "Because of X, Y happened a heck of a lot sooner".

    Svin, I'm thinking an episode a week might be about right. What do you think?

  6. Connections was one of those shows that made you think, entertained and showed the importance of knowing a least a little history to understand the world around you. I remember both the series and reading the books but cannot place when the series was made right now. Go figure. When were these made?


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