I’ve been tremendously lucky to have the opportunity to work with BBC Earth and Pomona Pictures over the past few months, creating a series of animated videos to explain ideas in physics, astronomy, and even a little philosophy. Here they are:
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The Sapir-Whorf hypothesis states that language affects thought — how we speak influences how we think. Or, at least, that’s one form of the hypothesis, the weak form. The strong form of Sapir-Whorf says that language determines thought, that how we speak forms a hard boundary on how and what we think. The weak form of Sapir-Whorf says that we drive an ATV across the terrain of thought; language can smooth the path in some areas and create rocks and roadblocks in others, but it doesn’t fundamentally limit where we can go. The strong form, in contrast, says we drive a steam train of thought, and language lays down the rails. There’s an intricate maze of forks and switchbacks spanning the continent, but at the end of the day we can only go where the rails will take us — we can’t lay down new track, no matter how we might try…
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I fought off an insane film crew while I was in grad school. My story is on the Story Collider podcast this week:
Global warming is real. Humans are causing it. The data are overwhelming. There is a wide scientific consensus on this. If you honestly don’t believe that this is true, then either you have been intentionally misled or you are unaware of the facts. But that’s okay — there are plenty of facts to go around, and they all point to the same conclusion: we are making the planet warmer. The fact that many politicians in this country believe that global warming is not real, or that it is real but humans are not causing it, is a sign of wildly dangerous incompetence that we can’t ignore….
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