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5 Fascinating Moments From The 2015 Curiosity Retreat

  1. David McCullough’s inspiring story of discovery, curiosity, genius, and sense of purpose. The master historian told the story of Orville and Wilbur Wright. But this was more than a timeline of the brothers’ great invention and the birth of aviation. We all covered that back in history class. This was the story of personal drive, commitment, family and an intellectual curiosity that never relented. And when the incomparable David McCullough told the story, it became about more than the Wright Brothers. It was an inspiring message of innovation, teamwork, and personal character that we can all strive for in every aspect of our lives.
  1. Dr. Brian Greene, illuminating what we know and still don’t know about the nature of our own reality. Particles, waves, probability – these are the core elements of quantum mechanics, as explained to us by the renown physicist. Dr. Greene’s animations allowed us all to understand the complex theories as a physicist would. We visualized how these important waves of probability would combine, or coalesce, and how the particles that make up our universe act like these waves. But how do we go from the spread out waves of probability to the definite reality of our experience? That is the puzzle, he says, and in his own words, the mystery is exciting, frightening, thrilling. But Dr. Greene is working on solving it.
  1. A grammar lesson, of sorts, from political theorist Dr. Danielle Allen. In particular, the misplacement of a very important period. You know the beginning of the second sentence from the Declaration of Independence: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” There is it is, our guarantee of these profoundly American rights and ideals. But Dr. Allen argued the sentence doesn’t end there. A misplaced period in the very first ever printing of the document led to a significant misinterpretation. Dr. Allen theorized that our nation’s founders put equal importance on our individual rights as well as our responsibility to create good government that ensures the rights of everyone. The document is 1,337 words, and Dr. Allen challenged us to read every one of them. Our summer reading assignment from the Harvard Professor.
  1. Rick Smolan, boggling our minds with facts such as these: More pictures have been taken in the last 2 months than since the dawn of photography. And our 15th century ancestors experienced the same amount of information in their entire lifetimes as we do now in one single day. The revolution of big data is here. Smolan, a journalist and photographer, focused his lens on the technologies that impact our daily lives, and their impact on our privacy, and our future — from marketing strategies to lure shoppers into big box stores to crisis response in disaster zones. Smolan described the explosion of data as helping our planet grow a nervous system with each of us evolving into human sensors. For better or worse is yet to be decided.
  1. Dr. Art Benjamin, the amazing Mathemagician, calculating the square of 97,437. In his head. Without a calculator. You try it. Enough said!

Our 2015 Curiosity Retreat guests also heard deep dives from several other Luminaries on topics such as The Creative Brain, Conscious Capitalism, and The Wonders of Our Oceans. All of our 2015 Curiosity Retreat lectures are available now on CuriosityStream. What will you find fascinating?

Vanessa Gillon

Coordinating Producer, CuriosityStream


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The Wide World of SVOD

Twelve months ago, I didn’t even know what SVOD meant.  My focus as a programmer at three television networks was to find co-productions and commissions that appealed to the broadest audiences. Here at CuriosityStream, I’m learning that it is possible to “program” for viewers of diverse and very specific interests.  I put “program” in parenthesis because I think TV and SVOD are vastly different. CuriosityStream can offer a deep dive, and more importantly, provide an experience similar to the serendipitous nature of surfing the Web… something missing in linear TV.

For instance, on June 5th and 6th, we will stream the DARPA Robotics Challenge live. 25 teams from around the world will be running robots through their paces of standard disaster conditions — cutting holes through walls, flinging away debris, opening doors and shutting off valves. Just like the best television coverage of any live event, we’ll have multiple feeds of the competition and exclusive behind-the-scenes footage. But for the curious mind, we’ll have so much more. Just a click away, you’ll find original profiles of some of the coolest robots these teams have built. And there’s a comprehensive series about robots in development in Europe. Want to learn more about the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant disaster that instigated the DARPA Challenge? Check out a 15-minute video of the wave of destruction along the Japanese coast after the tsunami that caused the meltdown. It is all available here.

By the way, you probably know that SVOD means subscription video on demand.  To me, it’s come to mean that you can binge on quality factual programming, and discover new and surprising connections along the way, on your own time, whenever and wherever you like.

Steve Burns
EVP, Content Production and Acquisition

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