January 5, 2012

2011 Best Videos from FORA.tv

Sorry, but the FORA.tv video library was taken down as of August 31, 2018, so these videos are no longer available, unless you can find them on YouTube.

FORA.tv now offers over 10,000 videos from 100s of partners who offer recordings of their conferences, events, and lectures. FORA.tv just put out their top 10 videos on their site from 2011 and they picked some good ones. Their criterion for selecting the videos was as follows: “The Best of FORA.tv 2011 videos were selected using measures both objective and subjective: view counts, interactions and comments, as well as feedback from out Facebook, Twitter, and blog pages”. Here at LearnOutLoud.com we’ve checked out all of these top 10 videos and written up some reviews of them to let you know what they’re all about. Note that the #10 and the #8 videos are not free, but can be purchased on FORA.tv. Enjoy this intelligent top ten list from FORA.tv!

10. Walter Isaacson: ‘Nice’ Not an Adjective to Describe Steve Jobs

This is a short video preview of the video of biographer Walter Isaacson’s talk on Steve Jobs. For the full video you’ll need to pay $4.95. Isaacson describes why in his biography Steve Jobs he didn’t convey Jobs as a “nice” man.

9. Michael Moore: Here Comes Trouble

In this 2-hour video author & filmmaker Michael Moore speaks at the Sixth and I Historic Synagogue about the state of contemporary politics and he reads from his new memoir Here Comes Trouble: Stories from My Life. Moore voices his support for the Occupy Wall Street movement and expresses his dismay with the wealthy in America, along with President Barack Obama and the Democrats in the past three years. He tells many stories from his life and then reads from his memoir providing an entertaining story about flying to Germany to protest a Nazi funeral. He answers many questions and closes with a passionate cry against the greed of the richest 400 Americans who have now accumulated more wealth than 150 million of the poorest U.S. households combined. Enjoy this talk by Michael Moore.

8. Richard Dawkins: There Never Was a First Homo Sapiens

This is a short video preview of the video of evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkin’s talk with Henry Finder at the New Yorker Festival. For the full video you’ll need to pay $9.95. Dawkin’s briefly answers the question “Who was the first person?” which he addresses his latest book The Magic of Reality. He says that there never was a first person but if we go back 185 million generations ago there is slow, gradual continuum of evolution from fish to human. He says it’s like asking when did a child become an adult and that the change is so gradual that one cannot pinpoint it.

7. Debate: The World Would Be Better Off Without Religion

In this lively debate from Intelligence Squared U.S., four speakers argue whether or not the World would be better without religion. On the faith-based side of the aisle, Dinesh D’Souza and Rabbi David Wolpe point out several strong cases for how religion has provided human beings with a framework for moral action and meaning. Countering these claims are Matthew Chapman and A.C. Grayling, both of whom enumerate on the historically negative social influence of religious belief and do not necessarily agree that faith is synonymous with ethical living.

6. Slavoj Zizek: Catastrophic But Not Serious

Slavoj Zizek is a Slovenian philosopher who works in the traditions of Hegelianism, Marxism, and Lacanian psychoanalysis. We didn’t get a chance to watch this one yet, but feel free to dive in if you’d like.

5. Steven Pinker: Language as a Window into Human Nature

In this 15-minute RSA animated lecture Steven Pinker takes a look at using overt language vs. innuendo. He takes a look at a few examples from the movies Fargo and `When Harry Met Sally to illustrate his point. He uses anthropologist Alan Fiske’s idea of three relationship types: dominance, communality, and reciprocity. When these relationships cross over they often lead to awkwardness. Through indirectness we can help bridge the gap between these relationships. We can also use innuendo in a relationship to avoid awkwardness. If we are overt with our language we can’t take it back and there is common knowledge about what is said, but if we use innuendo then there is no mutual knowledge and we can maintain the fiction of our current relationship.

4. Robert Sapolsky: Are Humans Just Another Primate?

Primatologist and neurobiologist Robert Sapolsky speaks at the California Academy of Sciences on the differences between humans and the rest of the animal kingdom. He dispels many myths about the uniqueness of humans such as we are the only violent species, we are the only species capable of altruism, and we are the only species that uses tools. And while our DNA and genes are 98.6% similar to chimpanzees, we do have bigger brains with many more neurons than they have. And with these bigger brains we have developed the capacity for symbolic culture and language, the ability to take pleasure in delayed gratification, the capacity for morality that goes far beyond the basic reciprocity of primates, and many more interesting unique qualities which Sapolsky addresses in this hour-long talk. At the end he answers some great questions from the audience.

3. Roger McNamee Says Google Is Done

Roger McNamee is the founding partner of the venture capital firm Elevation Partners which has $1.9 billion of assets under management. In this talk delivered at the Churchill Club McNamee makes some bold predictions about the future of business on the Internet. Most notably he feels that Google and their domination of the web through Internet search is on its way out as new players in search have entered the space (Wikipedia, Facebook, Yelp, etc.) and Apple has revolutionized the web with the iPhone and the iPad and their new model of apps. McNamee also feels that the new web language of HTML 5 is going to dramatically change the web by making the creative tools of generating great web apps much easier and more affordable. And as a member of the band the Flying Other Brothers, he gives his thoughts on the future of the music industry during the Q&A period.

2. WikiLeaks: Why It Matters. Why It Doesn’t?

With this roundtable hosted by the Churchill Club, the Wikileaks scandal serves as a jumping off point for a discussion on how we access government secrets. Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg, internet law commentator Jonathan Zittrain, and other notable pundits within the tech sector survey how Julian Assange’s work to make classified documents available on a broader scale has redefined journalism and put pressure on 4th amendment rights. They also explore new tools governments are utilizing to supress information, keep tabs on citizenry, and control behavior in a rapidly changing global exchange of information.

1. Christopher Hitchens: Some Confessions and Contradictions

Author and journalist Christopher Hitchens passed away a few weeks ago on December 15, 2011 at the age of 62. In this most watched video from FORA.tv in the year 2011, Christopher Hitchens sits down with Paul Holdengraber, Director of Public Programs at the New York Public Library, and Hitchens discusses his life with stories from his memoir Hitch-22. Hitchens covers a great deal in this 90 minute interview from his parents to his heroes to his political beliefs over the years. It’s an excellent look into the life of this popular writer and public intellectual whose work spanned the last four decades.

Watch the most popular intelligent videos from FORA.tv!