Sunday, January 10, 2010

James Burke's "Connections"

Previously, commenter Jonathan recommended James Burke's "Connections". I'd forgotten until now when I looked to buy it, but I had a high school science teacher who used to put on "Connections" whenever he was too hungover to lecture, and I (and my classmates) were absolutely mesmerized. Later in life, I've never been able to remember the name of that series -- so thanks Jon! "Connections" tells how inventions from thousands of years ago led to more inventions in Medieval times to inventions which led to the Industrial Revolution to the present... It's fascinating stuff.

BTW, I've noticed it's downloadable on the pirate's bay, although i'm not advocating software piracy (at least not without having installed Peer Guardian 2 first...)...


  1. Glad you found "Connections" so fascinating in high school. Shows you were awake. The scientific-driven industrial explosion IS one of the more fascinating stories in human history, after all. Glad you noticed.

    The last time I tried to buy "Connections" to demonstrate some point, they wanted about $1000 per episode on VHS tape. So congratulations on finding it at Pirate Bay.

    But if you are really interested on how the industrial state emerged in North America, you should know about Tony over at Nation Builder Books. He traffics in the books by and for the guys who did it--shipbuilding, machine tools, steam, spacecraft, etc. etc. Needless to say, the guy knows a LOT about development economics--especially in 19th-century USA. It sounds like a meeting between you two is damn near essential. You can see his stuff occasionally at Daily Kos under the handle

  2. I find it fascinating that so many people think there is anything profound in this series. It is entertaining but you can play the connections game with anything. Each episode implies that without the first step the second would not have happened, etc. etc.

    Telsa was a great scientist, I'm sure, but if he had not existed we would still have and use electricity.

  3. Hey, no one said it was profound. I actually think it is a bare minimum for understanding your world if you live in an industrialized society.

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