In this series, Mr. Burke explores the evolution of Western scientific thought starting from the fall of Rome.
His thesis is that throughout our history there have been dramatic moments where certain special discoveries have been made, and that with these discoveries our view of the entire universe changed.
In effect, the universe (or our view of it) is in a constant state of flux and at critical moments, is being re-invented (or recreated) while the previous version is abandoned forever. In a sense, the universe *is* at any moment *what we say it is*, with the constant threat of being destroyed, replaced by some other version *that we decide on*, later on.
What we take as "reality" therefore, is merely a construction of the human mind, and at best temporary; waiting to be replaced upon the next great discovery... on the next "day the universe changed".
In this series, Mr. Burke continues his investigations into the strange, and surprising ways, that ideas and inventions are interconnected (usually with a lot more serendipity than intent!) and how these discoveries often led to important changes our modern-day world. The format has changed to 25 minute episodes with each episode less focused and much more free-form. Mr. Burke may take a particular historical figure and then expand on a vast array of subsequent, and important discoveries and inventions directly, or indirectly resulting from there, or he may take several origins and see how they ultimately come together resulting in some unexpected consequence (as in Connections 1).
Here Mr. Burke approaches the "Connections" concept in a completely different way from the last two series. In Connections³ we are following a sort of "connections path" with each new episode beginning where the last one left off.
In a sense this new series reads like a book (with various twists and turns and lots of surprises of course!), broken up into "chapters" (episodes), each one picking up where the last one left off.
In this show Mr. Burke uses a hotel as an analogy for the human brain. In this way he discusses the breakdown of the brain into it's basic components and their various functions. Examples include input-signal processing, higher and lower brain functions, energy supply, feedback mechanisms, and of course the possibility of one or more of these systems to fail.
In this show Mr. Burke explains how neural receptor sites work and how they interact with special chemicals called neurotransmitters. At one point he speaks with Dr. Eugene Roberts, the man that first identified GABA (Gamma-aminobutyric Acid) as *the* major inhibitory neurotransmitter. He then goes on to discusses the relationship between GABA and other neurotransmitters (such as dopamine).
Included in the show is an interview with a man suffering from Parkinson's disease. As well, some other nervous-system disorders are examined (including epilepsy and schizophrenia) and questions raised about how these diseases may be related to lack, or excesses of specific neurotransmitters and/or their receptors.
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Program Description: ================= In typical "Connections" style, Mr. Burke takes a look at a possible future world where mankind has taken appropriate steps to forestall the onset of global warming, thought to be the result of an excess of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere. Burke takes a look at similar global temperature changes that had occurred in the past of which there are two kinds.
One kind of global climate change happens in regular cycles having to do with alterations in the earth's orbital and also it's tilt with respect to the sun (the so-called major / minor ice-ages).
The other class of changes happen through disruptions in the earth's temperature regulatory system. One part of this system you could call the "oceanic circulatory system" which is a massive cyclical river-flow deep within the oceans that distributes equatorial heat to the polar areas. Disruption of this cycle (which is driven by sea salt) could cause dramatic effects on the earth's climate as a whole, and very quickly (less than a century). There is strong evidence that this type of event has occurred in the past.
Burke examines periods in human history and development when these events occurred. Namely how they effected the entire human race, or individual societies, either by fracturing them, demolishing empires, and even wiping out entire peoples.
Were global climate change anthropogenic, then it would seem that the trend could be forestalled, prevented, or even reversed. This is what supposedly happened before the year 2050 and Mr. Burke inserts the "present time" (≈1992) simply as another footnote in this "history lesson".
Take a tour of the Apollo Space Program with our good old friend "Uncle J.B." who happened to be the BBC's news correspondent for the Apollo 11 Moon shot and other missions.
During this fascinating series of clips you will see Mr. Burke do such amazing things as
• Perform an actual striptease act! • Loudly, proudly and merrily sing a song while taking a shower! • Engage in strenuous WEIGHT(cough..less) TRAINING! • Zoom down a 200ft waterless slide! • Solve Dirac's Equation for the electron states of a hydrogen atom! • Present an important report about sandwich eating!
All of the above and much MUCH more! Click now! Yes, right on the nose of that guy in the space helmet. Can you guess who it might be?
That's right, it's James Burke in disguise!
--------- Rated PG13 --------
Note to uhh "big kids": These clips should not only appeal to your kids, but also to the kid in you!
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