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Big Think

29 Sep

I have an addiction to documentaries. A serious addiction. It all started in University. I would watch at least one a day. Most days it was two or three…maybe even five if I was feeling super ambitious. Don’t get me wrong, I did have a life. During university I worked part time at a ‘hip’ cafe in Uptown Waterloo as well as spending two hours daily in the gym (fitness freak!) plus being VP of the Dragon Boat Club and riding my horse regularly. Even with all that ‘life stuff’, somehow I would find myself staying up until 3:00 in the morning watching documentaries; fascinated by the complexity of subjects I hadn’t even considered existed!  During class time, I would sit in the lecture hall with my earbuds in, watching a documentary on quantum physics while my prof droned on about sociology theories and criminal deviance. I secretly wanted to be an astronaut landing on Mars or a palaeontologist digging up dinosaur bones in Alberta or maybe an astrologist studying galaxies far far away…

My favourite source for documentaries is: I have seen most of the docs hosted on the site. There are over 2000!

My favourite documentary topics are (in order of preference):

1. Palaeontology: Oh how I wish I was a palaeontologist! I am fascinated by prehistoric life.

2. Space/The Universe/Quantum Physics: The Final Frontier! (I’m also a HUGE Star Trek: TNG fan).

3. Sociology: Yes, I studied Soc in school but I still can’t get enough. Why do people do what they do? Why do people not do what they don’t do?

4. Nature/Animals: Heck Yeah, I’ll watch a 3 hour documentary on earth worms!…why not?

5. Crime: Deviance interests me. I’m extremely interested in the connection between deviance and psychology. Consider a sadist serial killer- Are his actions innate to his being? Or are they a product of his experiences and environment? Does he understand what is ‘right’ and ‘wrong’? Perhaps his views differ than mine. Perhaps he justifies his actions soundly. Why does society deem killing another person as wrong and deviant? People have been killing people forever. And besides, we call soldiers ‘heros’ if they annihilate our enemies. Do rules change depending on targets? I find the sociological questions that deviance imposes intriguing. (Please don’t misinterpret my pondering… murder is obviously wrong. I am simply fascinated by the construction of society and the external/internal social restraints that guide our behaviour, beliefs and desires. Do we want what we want because we want it? Or because societal values have embedded themselves inside of us during our early socialization to instill wants and needs that coincide with societal objuectives and harmony? )

Documentaries are an interesting way to learn other perspectives and to view images you would most likely not otherwise be exposed to. I think it is important to view the world from other perspectives. Travel helps us do this.

Recently, I’ve found Big Think is a knowledge forum featuring the ideas, lessons, stories and advice of leading experts from around the world. I’m a huge fan of Michio Kaku (who isn’t?!), Penn Jillette (BIG fan), Margaret Cho (hilarious!), Richard Dawkins, Bill Nye (…did you say Bill Nye!!?) and found this awesome collection of interviews with these big thinkers all in one place! OMG new obsession!

Originally I found this site through the News. ‘Bill Nye condemns Religion as Inappropriate for Children’. As both an atheist and huge Bill Nye fan I had to check it out. Here it is: .

Let me know what YOU think. I’m always interested in what others have to say.




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