New Films on Demand titles – August 2012

Films on Demand, a streaming video platform used by Media Services, recently added 225 new titles to its collection, including a large number of TED Talks. Since it would be silly to list every single one, here’s a few highlights from their most recent batch…

Humanities & Social Sciences Collection

In Search of Genghis Khan (1993, 54 min.)
This program looks at the legend and the traces of Genghis Khan as well as the people and culture of his descendants, whose lives are barely changed since the Mongol horde burst out of Central Asia in the 13th century to ride as far as the gates of Vienna and permanently change the face of most of Asia and Europe.

Electronics: Polaroid’s Passport Photo Business in a Box (2002, 15 min.)
The task: design and build an all-in-one camera with an integrated printer that produces instant digital pictures. This program follows a team of industrial and electronics designers at Polaroid’s U.K. headquarters as they take on this challenge. The whole process unfolds neatly as the idea jumps from paper to 3-D model to computer-assisted design program to prototype. Eventually, the designers debug the prototype and a professional photographer puts the production model through its paces.

Proud Towers (1986, 58 min.)
There was a time when the skyline was dominated by the church spire; in the 20th century, the skyscraper—a cathedral of commerce—has been the city’s signature. Its forerunner was the commercial loft building, often an ersatz palazzo made of iron cast to look like stone; Louis Sullivan changed the horizontal focus by adding height.

TEDTalks: Jonathan Zittrain—The Web as Random Acts of Kindness (2009, 20 min.)
Feeling like the world is becoming less friendly? Social theorist and Internet law expert Jonathan Zittrain begs to differ. The Internet, he suggests, is made up of millions of acts of kindness, curiosity, and trust. In this TEDTalk the Harvard law professor elaborates on three examples of cyber-trust: the Internet itself, founded by three high school friends on the principle of cooperative networking; Wikipedia; and services such as the Craigslist rideshare board and CouchSurfing that allow people to share travel or living quarters with total strangers.

Great Speeches, Volume 19: John McCain, Barack Obama, Margaret Thatcher, Robert Byrd, Carol Moseley, and Lyndon B. Johnson (2005, 112 min.)
This volume features six vital speeches: John McCain’s USC commencement address; Barack Obama’s 2004 DNC keynote address; Margaret Thatcher’s eulogy for Ronald Reagan; Robert Byrd’s “On the Brink of War” speech; Carol Moseley Braun’s health care address; and Lyndon B. Johnson’s “I Will Not Run” speech.

Dickens: A Tale of Two Cities (1958, 117 min.)
The mood, the conflicts of character, and the contrasting sites of Paris and London are movingly realized in this screen presentation of the widely-read story. Dirk Bogarde, Dorothy Tutin, and Donald Pleasence star.

How the States Got Their Shapes (2010. 90 min.)
Is it just a fluke of history that Illinois, not Wisconsin, contains the city of Chicago? Whatever happened to the state of Jefferson? And why is Texas too big to mess with? This program uncovers the political, cultural, and geographical forces that shaped the map of the United States. From the original thirteen colonies to the jigsaw puzzle of today’s 50 states… from the nooks and crannies of the east to the rigid boxes of the west… from the Atlantic to the Pacific, viewers learn how America was carved out of the landscape and how the forces that sculpted our country still influence it today.

Business & Economics Collection

Forging the Future: China’s Industrial Heritage (2000, 58 min.)
China’s first industrial revolution occurred more than two millennia before Europe’s. Today, there is a new wave of industrialization in China as the awakened dragon prepares to test its wings. This program draws on historical evidence and expert commentary to vividly illustrate China’s early mastery of crucial industrial processes and to explain how they contributed to the wealth and progress of Chinese civilization. Pivotal events that hampered China’s advancement in recent centuries and the country’s move to regain its momentum as a world-class producer and an Information Age innovator are also examined.

TEDTalks: John Gerzema—The Post-crisis Consumer (2009, 17 min.)
John Gerzema believes there’s an upside to the 2008 financial crisis: more ethical business practices, an eco-friendly interest in durable instead of disposable goods, and a rise in what he calls “cooperative consumerism.” In this TEDTalk, the Young & Rubicam marketing whiz gives fascinating examples of these cultural shifts and shows how businesses are evolving to connect with the trend toward more thoughtful spending. Gerzema is co-author of The Brand Bubble, a book that advocates change as the best strategy for brand management in the post-meltdown market.

Science & Mathematics Collection

How to Build… A Super Car (2011, 60 min.)
What does it take to build a vehicle that wins the Grand Prix? Can Formula One technology, which allows cars to hit 160 kph in under four seconds and reach speeds as high as 350 kph, be applied to everyday automobiles? This program goes behind the scenes at one of the world’s most secretive companies, McLaren Racing Limited, which produces some of the fastest wheeled vehicles driven today. The film depicts engineering occurring on a microscopic level—a necessity when drivers experience g-forces greater than space shuttle crews did and the car’s gearbox can climb to 150 degrees Celsius. Viewers also learn how F1 expertise helped create a road car, the MP4-12C. Hand-built from carbon fiber, this $270,000 super car symbolizes automotive cutting edge—the factory designed to build it cost over $60 million alone! Produced by the Open University. Part of the series How to Build…(Series 2)

TEDTalks: Rob Hopkins—Transition to a World without Oil (2009, 17 min.)
Rob Hopkins wants to remind us that the oil our world depends on is steadily running out. In this TEDTalk, he proposes a unique solution to the problem that he calls “the Transition response,” in which we prepare ourselves for life without oil and sacrifice luxury to build systems and communities that are completely independent of fossil fuels. Resilience leader Rob Hopkins is the founder of the Transition movement, a radically hopeful and community-driven approach to creating societies independent of fossil fuel.

Health & Medicine Collection

TEDTalks: Kary Mullis—Next-Gen Cure for Killer Infections (2009, 5 min.)
Drug-resistant bacteria kills, even in top hospitals. But now tough infections like staph and anthrax may be in for a surprise. Biochemist Kary Mullis, who watched a friend die when powerful antibiotics failed, explains the mechanics of a radical new cure that shows extraordinary promise in this TEDTalk. Mullis won the Nobel Prize in chemistry for developing a way to copy a strand of DNA with a technique that jumpstarted the 1990s’ biotechnology revolution.

TEDTalks: Hans Rosling—Let My Dataset Change Your Mindset (2009, 20 min.)
In this TEDTalk, global health expert Hans Rosling employs his famous data-bubble software to debunk myths and look closer at the demographics we’ve been using to differentiate between “the western world” and “the developing world.” Presenting up-to-date information on vital global issues using the colorful visualization software he developed, Rosling helps students and heads of state alike to quickly grasp the implications of data such as family size, access to healthcare, and income distribution, and to spot trends on a regional rather political basis.

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