Archive for the ‘Remarkable People’ Category

Classical Music And Patricia Kopatchinskaja

Monday, April 7th, 2014

I recently saw a 25-minutes documentary featuring Patricia Kopatchinskaja about the life of a violist. It suffices to say that her passionate way of perceiving music and her connection to it got to me.

Stephen Fry On Language

Sunday, September 15th, 2013

Language is a tool and language is art. Language is the way we communicate, understand, influence, collaborate. Language is one level more concrete than thought, and one step in front or behind emotion. The point I’m trying to make is that language is a beautiful, dynamic entity that shifts through time and through the mind of the people that use it. Why do I bring this up now? Well, let’s just say that I’ve been inspired by the ultimate man-of-words, Stephen Fry:

My Favorite (Comedy) Actor

Sunday, May 26th, 2013

I enjoy comedies. And who doesn’t? Wait, scratch that… I know many people who don’t voluntarily go to see comedy movies or comedy plays in the theater. But for me, life is not worth much without a smile or a heartfelt laugh. See? 🙂 And while like any entertainment media that can spread laughter with good taste and some wit, I recently realised that I might have a favorite comedy actor: Bill Murray. Sure, I have many other actors I like, but most of Bill Murray’s roles and the way he plays them have a mix of fun, knowledge, social charm, loneliness and human desperation that make him simply outstanding compared to all others. And yes, he has played many more serious roles, but somehow all these traits and his abilities to act them out managed to shine through and make him a believable character in any setting or story. Eh, maybe it’s just me…

In case you don’t know so much about the great Bill Murray, check out the following clips:

“I’m a nut, but not just a nut.” – Bill Murray

Everything Is An Adventure, Especially Learning

Sunday, May 26th, 2013

I strongly believe that science is one of the powerful generators that keep our societies running in these last, technology-influenced centuries. However, so many it is unclear why science is important and why it should be funded and sustained? But it seems that the core question focuses on what science is and how it can be defined? I guess Carl Sagan states in the clearest way possible: “We live in a society absolutely dependent on science and technology and yet have cleverly arranged things so that almost no one understands science and technology. That’s a clear prescription for disaster.”

The following clips include talks and discussions from some of the world’s greatest scientists, who have—among others—made it their mission to spread science literacy and to highlight why and how scientific progress can make a change and improve our lives.

For this first set of talks, I think the words from the video description capture the essence of the event best: “The Origins Project at ASU presents the final night in the Origins Stories weekend, focusing on the science of storytelling and the storytelling of science. The Storytelling of Science features a panel of esteemed scientists, public intellectuals, and award-winning writers including well-known science educator Bill Nye, astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins, theoretical physicist Brian Greene, Science Friday’s Ira Flatow, popular science fiction writer Neal Stephenson, executive director of the World Science Festival Tracy Day, and Origins Project director Lawrence Krauss as they discuss the stories behind cutting edge science from the origin of the universe to a discussion of exciting technologies that will change our future. They demonstrate how to convey the excitement of science and the importance helping promote a public understanding of science.”

There are quite a few take-home messages in the previous videos, be it about space, physics, life, diversity or simply science. But I guess there were more or less two main ideas that got stuck in my mind. The first one—which I knew before, but which seems to require constant reminders in order to allow it to sink in properly—is that science is not about certainties, but rather about curiosity. Or, as Carl Sagan said it, science is “a way of thinking much more than it is a body of knowledge”. And secondly, one should not jump to discarding any scientific discovery, be it fully theoretical or somehow supported by practical experiments. You can never know how a finding will later create a “gravitational field” around it and capture some other scientist’s idea in its spell, thus deterring the new idea from its initial course into something useful that no one could have predicted.

But let us not stop here. The following couple of clips feature Dr. Tyson at his best, either highlighting the process of scientific discovery, or arguing for the support of (all) sciences that would affect our society, productivity and lives in multiple positive way:

Here’s the clip mentioned in the previous video, clip that includes Neil deGrasse Tysons words about what he considers the most astonishing fact in the universe:

Alexandrina Hristov Live

Friday, May 24th, 2013

She’s one of my favorite voices from Romania (even though she’s from Moldova and only lives in Bucharest). The following clips include besides her most famous songs, some new ones from the upcoming album as well as a glimpse at the person behind the music and the paintings (yes, she’s also an amazing painter).

Formula 1 – Becoming A Legend

Monday, May 13th, 2013

One of the most famous seasons in Formula 1, and at the same time one of the widely remembered battles for the championship title. I’m talking of course about the eventful season of 1976, during which Niki Lauda and James Hunt were fighting for points in their race to becoming F1 champions.

So why am I bringing this up now? Well, there’s a brand new movie coming out this year, with great actors and top-noch directing, covering exactly this duel of Niki and James. Here’s a sneak preview and some peeks behind the curtains:

I’m really excited about this movie as it seems to have the potential of delivering a great story with a reasonable amount of historic accuracy, and all this along the lines of passion, character, speed and racing.

In the mean time, in case you don’t have the background information about the Formula 1 season of 1976, take a look at the following documentary:

As a small bonus, this clip includes information about the F1 cars of the 80s, which were in many ways still relatively similar to the ones in the 70s. And the reportage features both Niki and James:

Finally, in case you would like to find out more about James Hunt and his life, check out these clips. Keep in mind, I will post another article sometime in the future focusing only on the life and career of Niki Lauda.

Driving A Formula 1 Car

Sunday, May 5th, 2013

Found this clip a couple of days ago about how an F1 car needs to be driven:

I must admit, it didn’t take me long to jump to the videos of Senna “driving” his car through the streets of Monaco. I’m saying “driving” because what he did was more like beaming himself around the curves. Amazing!

If we’re talking about Ayrton Senna, I should probably also include one of the most compressed and passionate presentations of his character and skills:

Look at this unbelievably cool footage of Senna’s feet movement while driving:

And I don’t think he was even focusing this time…

A Highly Controversial Topic

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013

I simply need to mention the name of Christopher Hitchens, and people immediately know what topic I’m referring to. It is, of course, the topic of religion, its power and its influence. But most importantly, the following controversial discussions highlight the eternal search for the self in terms of how we define our lives and the world that surrounds us.

[Christopher Hitchens and Stephen Fry – Blasphemy – 2006]

[Christopher Hitchens – Divine Impulses – 2010]

The following clips are aimed a bit more at discussions related to various specific religions.

[Christopher Hitchens and Stephen Fry – Intelligence Squared Debate – 2009]

[Christopher Hitchens and Tony Blair – God Debate]

[Christopher Hitchens and Rabbi David Wolpe – The Great God Debate]

[Christopher Hitchens and Tariq Ramadan Debate – Is Islam a Religion of Peace? – 2010]

I initially didn’t plan to include this video because it is not so much focused on the topic of religion as it is on the various cruel governments from around the world. However, the content and the emotion behind Christopher’s words convinced me that this needs to be in this post:

This clip that I’ve found recently online shows friends of Christopher Hitchens expressing their admiration for his life and work. Considering the names that appear in this list of friends, this is a must-watch:

[Stephen Fry & friends on the life, loves and hates of Christopher Hitchens – IQ2 talks]

The Last Live Performance Of Freddie Mercury

Monday, March 25th, 2013

[Freddie Mercury & Montserrat Caballe – Barcelona]

[Freddie Mercury & Montserrat Caballe – How Can I Go On]

[Freddie Mercury & Montserrat Caballe – The Golden Boy]

The Life And Works Of Antonio Gaudi

Thursday, March 7th, 2013

I must admit, when I visit places that I already know details about and that are very famous, I’m usually quite difficult to impress. I’m not sure why. Maybe knowing the sights you’re going to see through the pictures, videos and Google Earth views takes away part of the excitement of discovery for me. However, this was totally not the case during my recent visit to Barcelona and some of its impressive sights. And when I say sights, I’m referring primarily to the works of Antonio Gaudi.

Certainly, the works of Gaudi are not the only elements that make Barcelone a lovely city. However, I must say that I instantly well in love with all that Gaudi ever designed once I entered the Sagrada Familia. So, here is a little background information about Gaudi, his works and Barcelona:

As you might know, the Sagrada Familia is not yet finished. The construction has lasted over 100 years since it started, but an end is now in sight:

I also felt that Casa Milá was particularly impressive, through its shapes, its 1900s atmosphere and its position in the city.

What do you think about this design inspired by nature and mathematics?

I thought I would add to this post a couple of clips with the sights that are worth seeing in Barcelona.

[this one is in German]