Bush’s War

feh_bor_rou_sha.jpgPBS FRONTLINE has their new special available for viewing online in its entirety:

Veteran FRONTLINE producer Michael Kirk draws on one of the richest archives in broadcast journalism — more than 40 FRONTLINE reports on Iraq and the war on terror. Combined with fresh reporting and new interviews, Bush’s War will be the definitive documentary analysis of one of the most challenging periods in the nation’s history.

“Parts of this history have been told before,” Kirk says. “But no one has laid out the entire narrative to reveal in one epic story the scope and detail of how this war began and how it has been fought, both on the ground and deep inside the government.”

Frontline is pretty much the last bastion of serious news documentaries in America, so it’s probably worth a look.

The Great Tantra Challenge

I’d really like to watch this:

 On 3 March 2008, in a popular TV show, Sanal Edamaruku, the president of Rationalist International, challenged India’s most “powerful” tantrik black magician to demonstrate his powers on him. That was the beginning of an unprecedented experiment. After all his chanting of mantra magic words and ceremonies of tantra failed, the tantrik decided to kill Sanal Edamaruku with the “ultimate destruction ceremony” on live TV. Sanal Edamaruku agreed and sat in the altar of the black magic ritual. India TV observed skyrocketing viewership rates.Everything started, when Uma Bharati former chief minister of the state of Madhya Pradesh accused her political opponents in a public statement of using tantrik powers to inflict damage upon her. In fact, within a few days, the unlucky lady had lost her favorite uncle, hit the door of her car against her head and found her legs covered with wounds and blisters.

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India TV, one of India’s major Hindi channels with national outreach, invited Sanal Edamaruku for a discussion on “Tantrik power versus Science”. Pandit Surinder Sharma, who claims to be the tantrik of top politicians and is well known from his TV shows, represented the other side. During the discussion, the tantrik showed a small human shape of wheat flour dough, laid a thread around it like a noose and tightened it. He claimed that he was able to kill any person he wanted within three minutes by using black magic. Sanal challenged him to try and kill him.

Looks hilarious!

Control Netflix (and other things) with your remote

I watch a lot of downloaded and streaming content. Often I copy files to the PS3 in the living room, and playback control is no problem. But if I’m watching on my computer, if I want to pause or rewind, it means I have to physically get up and go to the computer to do so. No more! I’m setting this up today:

You can control Netflix Watch Now playback with your remote. All you need is a remote control, a infrared receiver like the USBUIRT and a program like girder. I’ll show you how I’m doing this and share with you my girder gml file which you can download as well.

African American Lives 2

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I just watched part of this PBS program, and it’s fascinating. A description from the website:

journeys deep into ancestry of an all-new group of remarkable individuals, offering an in-depth look at the African-American experience and race relations throughout U.S. history. Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. returns as series host, guiding genealogical investigations down through the 20th century, Reconstruction, slavery and early U.S. history, and presenting cutting-edge genetic analysis that locates participants’ ancestors in Africa, Europe and America. Joining Professor Gates in the new broadcast are poet Maya Angelou, author Bliss Broyard, actor Don Cheadle, actor Morgan Freeman, theologian Peter Gomes, publisher Linda Johnson Rice, athlete Jackie Joyner-Kersee, radio personality Tom Joyner, comedian Chris Rock, music legend Tina Turner, and college administrator Kathleen Henderson, who was selected from more than 2,000 applicants to have her family history researched and DNA tested alongside the series’ well-known guests.

Check out the site, there are a lot of really interesting videos and stories. Try to imagine what it would be like if you were part of an entire race of people who know almost nothing about their ancestors.

Adam Curtis Documentaries

Tony has really outdone himself by posting a series of excellent BBC documentaries that will keep me busy for a good while. Tony astutely posits:

Adam Curtis’ interpretation of current events viewed through a historical and political lens is a tour de force in explaining the absurdity and cognitive dissonance of our current reality.