Streaming or Screaming?

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The pandemic not only sent us all home, it threw us onto our screens. Here we dutifully started watching videos – not just by streaming movies and TV series, but by watching vastly more videos than we ever did before. Now that we can be outside on weekends, this likely won’t change. We’ll just watch it all on our phones as we scuba-dive and waterski while checking our social media feeds.

Here then is my nod to reality. Every item in today’s blog post clicks to a video so you can spend hours watching what you used to spend minutes – reading.

1. See a satellite tonight. Of all the “see-this-amazing-thing” sites, this one is endlessly diverting because it’s so fun, easy – and accurate. Last night,  the International Space Station winged over the bay, followed two hours later by a flock of Elon Musk’s Starlink satellites. Get ready to stretch your neck.

2. Dogs as waaaaay-first responders. If dogs can detect drugs, they can detect disease. I wrote last month about dogs spotting COVID even before COVID tests could in Finland. Now, more evidence that dogs can detect COVID faster and better than us and all our technology.

3. “Seeking help is a sign of strength.” Prince Harry is going where no prince has gone before: talking about his drinking and drug use and opening up on the virtues of therapy. Whatever we think of him and his family, this can only help drag our skeletons into the light of day.

Also, the idea of languishing (“the neglected middle child of mental health”) has taken hold during COVID as a diagnosis for the torpor many of us are feeling. But now that vaccines are opening us all up, the flipside of languishing is “flourishing”. See here on how to get there.

4. Great actors on dire crimes. The billionaire Sackler family is blamed for starting much of America’s opioid crisis via the aggressive marketing campaigns of their company, Purdue Pharma.

The Sacklers don’t like getting sued and hate even more to have to testify in open court. Which they were forced to a few years back. But no one really noticed the arrogance of their answers, until John Oliver asked friends like Bryan Cranston and Michael Keaton to act out Richard Sackler’s testimony. Murderous.

5. Collecting is about the hunt. If you like bookstores and love New York bookstores, and lust after New York rare book stores, this documentary is for you. It’s streaming for free on CBC GEM.

6. The shadow knows. Want to learn where that random photo was taken? Bellingcat, the open-source intelligence agency “for the people” can show you how. This one-hour tutorial on how to locate corrupt Venezuelan officials in Europe, speaks to just how public our lives are, no matter how hard we hide behind anonymous backgrounds.

And speaking of using shadows, watch how shadowologist Vincent Bal turns a coffee cup into an easel of possibilities.

7. Less shaking. More control. Actually, it’s miraculous how technology is reducing the tremors from Parkinsons, and helping quadriplegics ‘write.

8. Who’s keeping you from videoing the police? The police. Without a bystander video, Derek Chauvin would likely not have been found guilty of murdering George Floyd. Remember, the Minneapolis police first described his death as a “medical incident” during police interaction. But no surprise, even though police now wear body cameras, they aren’t making that public accountability easy. Here’s how they’re using everything from physical intimidation to social media manipulation.

9. Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow. Ian McKellen leads a master class in ‘acting Shakespeare’. He believes the actor is both the character and the playwright at the same time. How can that happen? See here.

10. Real meals are so passé. Imagine you’re seated at your favourite restaurant. You look down at your plate, and a little man in a chef’s hat emerges from the tablecloth and starts talking to you. He then lights your plate, cooking your dish on it.

It’s all part of “visual mapping” which Panasonic developed to enhance the eating and other experiences. Not just on the walls of buildings and coliseums, but onto your dessert plate. One French restaurant has even created Le Petit Chef.

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