Have you ever seen a TED Talk? It is a video series with over 3100 entertaining end educational talks by the top people in their respective professions. Every imaginable topic from science, history, the arts and humanities is covered. Do you want to learn about the day to day life of the Cossacks? How about the promises and dangers of Artificial Reality? Maybe the most detailed map of the Cosmos made so far? Teaching religion in schools? Or letting go of God? If there is a subject, TED Talks probably has an articulate discourse on it.

Adam Savage is an incredible person


The Beyond Ghibli Youtube channel has so much going for it! Joe O’Connell’s voice is just perfect. The style is reverential, something you’d expect describing the toils of Michelangelo in the Sistine Chapel.. The style is intellectual but somehow he hits all the right emotional notes as well. Sometimes I can understand his words but feeling how it applies to the video in question’s meaning goes beyond me.

In short, he’s an art critic who loves the art and is trying to communicate his love with etherial language. Or maybe he is just showing off. Either way I find his videos almost pornographic in how he verbally caresses the subject matter.


 

I’m also a big history buff, particularly military history.  People imagine that warfighting is all about grand tactics and strategy and logistics. Well, it is but not always. War is also about misinformation, confusion, and ignorance and how you handle it. The term of art for this is “the fog of war”.

Well done military history videos rock my world!

The US fought Japan across the Pacific. Initially Japan had the upper hand. That changed with the Battle of the Coral Sea. The attempted invasion of Australia was turned back. Even though the US suffered more ships lost, the Japanese retreated and we won. We never lost a major engagement after this. This video shows how judgment calls, forced by the fog of war, are often more important than everything else combined.

Montemayor has only 5 videos on his Youtube channel but I love his simple, fact based exposition.


 

Wendover Productions has a good series of informative videos on a wide variety of topics. It is a good place to go for a neutral overview of a contemporary subject. There aren’t many entities out there simply interested in getting facts out in an unemotional manner. Take this video about an Ebola outbreak in West Africa. No hysterics, no positions being defended or advanced. Just the facts, ma’am.


 

Scott Manly has a series of science videos that I really enjoy. Some may be too deep for the lay viewer. I must admit I had to pause this a couple times and rewind it a couple more to visualize what he was talking about. He is another producer who states the facts behind the perception without getting emotionally involved or advocating for a side. This one talks about the science behind the Chernobyl disaster.

Hint: Don’t test the safety systems on an operating reactor. If they fail, you are screwed.


I don’t watch a lot of television these days. Elementary and Izombie are done and both of them were losing me in the last couple seasons. Father Brown is nothing but reruns of reruns. (To tell the truth, I thought the ladies in those shows, Watson, Liv and Bunty, were delicious.) American Gods hasn’t restarted yet.

Fear the Walking Dead has caught my attention. Killing off most of the original cast was a good move. The show was boring and I didn’t feel for the characters much. Bringing over Morgan from Walking Dead and adding in Cowboy John and the other new characters was a good move for this show.

OTOH, Walking Dead with the Whisperers as the new baddie just is not grabbing me. Carol and Daryl and Ezekiel aren’t enough to carry the show all alone. After beating down the Saviors I thought they needed some time to regroup on the show, not just fast forward to the next conflict. Peace is important and so many old timers are dead or have otherwise been written out, we need time to become invested in all the newcomers.


 

Oleg Gordievsky, the only high level spy to have ever escaped the USSR and widely credited with preventing a nuclear WWIII.

I did happen to catch 3 old episodes of an old show on AHC, Spies: Declassified. They did a good job of telling the story of 3 Soviet agents who became dissatisfied with how Communism was playing out in the USSR. The best of the 3 was the story of Oleg Gordievsky.

He approached the west after the violent Soviet crackdown on Czechoslovakia in 1968. MI6 tried to get him to defect but instead he offered to play the role of a double in the top ranks of the KGB. He was one of the very few agents in the old USSR who managed a vaguely happy ending.

I would like to have seen more episodes. One that would fit perfectly would be the story of Oleg Penkovsky.

Of course the Soviets had more than their share of moles and double agents in the west. A few of those stories would be good too. They only did 3 episodes and then stopped. Very sad.


Check out some of these resources if they interest you. If they entertain you half as much as they do me, You’ll be a happy camper.