James Burke, Connections and the K-Web

When I was a wee lad there was one TV programme that blew my mind, Connections

This man, James Burke [excellent fan site], came on and with humour, confidence and a lot of passion instantly engaged me as he took me through the world we currently live in explaining how the things in it (man-made I mean) have all come to be. He talked on how the world is made up of mistakes, chance and the oddest of moments and more importantly how the world is becoming both 'smaller' and 'faster' meaning it is seems to many to be more fragmented and what that means for you and I.

James Burke and a connection

The final episode of Connections is summarised as:
“Why did we do it this way?” Essential moments from the previous programs are reviewed to illustrate the common factors that make for change. Will they go on operating to affect our futures? And if so, can we recognize them? The second half looks at the extent to which we have become increasingly incapable of understanding how change occurs in our complex world and at why we are in such a predicament. Finally, there is a look ahead to the need for radical change in the availability and use of information in the future, if we are to remain in control of our destinies.
(and this before the Internet/WWW was known by more than a handful of people)

The original TV series is available to stream or download as well as a couple of follow-up programmes:
  • Connections
    Episode guide and list of 'connections' for each
  • ReConnections
    25th anniversary celebration of James Burke's ground-breaking Connections series, with an introduction of its digital incarnation, the Knowledge Web, an open source collaborative knowledge navigation. K-web.org
  • The Day the Universe Changed
    The knowledge that people in other eras possessed, and their view of the world, worked for them. Is moving from one form of knowledge to another therefore "progress"? For today's Buddhists of Nepal, their truth is as valid for them as our point of view is for us. Our truth, based on our science, will be superceded tomorrow as our scientific knowledge changes.
My brother burned a copy of the original series onto DVD and I'm happy to lend them out, just add your name to the list by sending me an email, miramar.mike@gmail.com

There's a few JB books and you can actually buy the DVDs for loads of money!?!

Oh, and expect more writings from me around JBs astounding view on the world his simple, challenging and powerful arguments around how we are all connected in a world of ever increasing change and how that is leaving a lot of us behind on islands of specialty and individualism ... and more importantly what we (You and I) can do about it.

To get you going may I suggest you check out the K-Web project which aims an crystallising a lot of the views/approaches from JB into an electronic tool for schools/colleges - the best way to learn about this is not for me to talk about it but for you to see it: James Burke's Knowledge Web


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