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Distant Voices
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Distant Voices
Part of the Series: Connections

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10 videos in this collection

The Trigger Effect
To kick off this fascinating educational series, James Burke details the world's dependence on networks through a narritivization of the power blackout of 1965 in New York City. Then, from…
Death in the Morning
This episode begins by examining the standardization of precious metal in the ancient world. From here, Burke traces the many connections between Ptolemy's Star Tables and the magnetic compass, and…
Distant Voices
Burke introduces the idea that telecommunications came to be thanks to the stirrups Normans used in warfare, which lead to further developments in warfare, and ultimately, innovations in communications.
Faith in Numbers
Here, Burke offers an examination of the cultural innovations produced between the middle ages and the Renaissance, paying particular attention to how commercialism, climate change, and the Black Death influenced…
The Wheel of Fortune
Beginning with the Astrological knowlege of the ancient Greeks, this episode traces the development of alarm clocks, paying particular attention to the clock mainspring that gave rise to pendulum clocks,…
Thunder in the Skies
This episode asserts that the Little Ice Age eventually led to the development of the modern chimney--as well as knitting, buttons, wainscotting, wall tapestries, wall plastering, glass windows, and the…
The Long Chain
Burke traces the invention of the fluyt freighter in Holland in the 16th Century, which - via the development of tar designed for ship hulls - eventually leads to the…
Eat Drink and Be Merry
This episode begins with plastic and plastic credit cards and traces backwards to the dukes of Burgundy, the first to develop and utilize the concept of credit. One of the…
Burke explains how the invention of the movie projector led to improvements in castle fortifications caused by the invention and use of the canon. He connects the invention of the…
Yesterday, Tomorrow and You
In the final episode of this series, Burke recaps the theme that change causes more change. Burke ties together the modern inventions in which previous episodes had culminated: telecommunications, the…