Watch Earth from Space (Discovery Channel Documentary)

Earth from Space is by far the best video I have ever seen about the Earth. The videography is absolutely stunning, but the information presented also rivals that. See how natural forces work on Earth, on its own and, of course, together. You really get a sense of how everything influences everything else. There’s a TON of information to learn, then contemplate consequences after that. Headache medication makers should really sponsor these awesome documentaries!

Below is the entire documentary. You can watch it in HD if you have the bandwidth and want to see it in all its glory. Do that by clicking on the YouTube icon near the bottom left corner.

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Obama Shows Presidential Qualities in His 2011 March Madness Brackets

President Barack Obama

Please click here to see how President Obama’s Brackets did after Round 1.

For the third year in a row, President Barack Obama has released his NCAA Basketball March Madness brackets. This year’s men’s edition sees a lot of key presidential qualities, which I will point out shortly. I will also be reporting by round on the progress of America’s most famous brackets, for the men’s tournament, like I did in previous years (2010, 2009). I will report in terms of the President’s Barackets performance against all those who entered in various large pools like those from CBS and ESPN. So please come back here and join me in checking da Prez’s Barackets progress after each round.

Below is President Obama’s Barackets for 2011, with a video of his reasoning for his picks. Have a look for yourself, then see why I see a lot of presidential qualities in his picks.

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Watch the Entire Neil Young MTV Unplugged Concert

I love the Chinese video websites Youku.com and Tudou.com because they allow for really long videos, as well as skirt the You can find all sorts of great stuff on Youku and Tudou, like this Neil Young MTV Unplugged concert. This was my favourite MTV Unplugged concert, even though Bob Dylan is at the top of my list for singer/songwriters.

If you haven’t seen this, please do enjoy. If you have, it probably never gets old. It doesn’t for me.

Enjoy!

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The concert play list includes:

1. The Old Laughing Lady
2. Mr. Soul
3. World On A String
4. Pocahontas
5. Stringman
6. Like A Hurricane
7. Needle And The Damage Done
8. Helpless
9. Harvest Moon
10. Transformer Man
11. Unknown Legend
12. Look Out For My Love
13. Long May You Run
14. From Hank To Hendrix

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Food, Inc. (full documentary)

If you eat food and you have never seen this documentary, you should.

Even if you’re vegan, this film is of relevance to you for many reasons, including the Monsanto conspiracy to dominate the world soybean market.

The film may be about America’s food industry, but a lot of it isn’t different around the western world, and a lot of it goes around the entire world because the US food exports pretty substantial amounts of food each year. Besides, those that control America’s food system don’t stop at the borders. Greed and crime have no borders.

If the video is a bit slow to load, please pause for 2-5 minutes while you do something else, then come back and viewing should be fine unless something is wrong with the source site.

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In Food, Inc., filmmaker Robert Kenner lifts the veil on our nation’s food industry, exposing the highly mechanized underbelly that has been hidden from the American consumer with the consent of our government’s regulatory agencies, USDA and FDA. Our nation’s food supply is now controlled by a handful of corporations that often put profit ahead of consumer health, the livelihood of the American farmer, the safety of workers and our own environment. We have bigger-breasted chickens, the perfect pork chop, herbicide-resistant soybean seeds, even tomatoes that won’t go bad, but we also have new strains of E. coli—the harmful bacteria that causes illness for an estimated 73,000 Americans annually. We are riddled with widespread obesity, particularly among children, and an epidemic level of diabetes among adults.

Featuring interviews with such experts as Eric Schlosser (Fast Food Nation), Michael Pollan (The Omnivore’s Dilemma, In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto) along with forward thinking social entrepreneurs like Stonyfield’s Gary Hirshberg and Polyface Farms’ Joel Salatin, Food, Inc. reveals surprising—and often shocking truths—about what we eat, how it’s produced, who we have become as a nation and where we are going from here.

Aside from all the insights I’ve gained on the topics of the documentaries I have presented on this site in the past couple of weeks, I have to say I’ve also gained a lot of insight into how people manipulate others in an organizational way. I’ve heard about bribing, having friends in high places, and such, but seeing it in action is something else. The Monsanto manipulation is the perfect example in this film. It’s disgusting enough people do it on their own, but when they find and collaborate, it’s a whole new level of crime as far as I’m concerned, somewhat similar to manslaughter (accidental or in the moment) and murder (premeditated).

It’s really tragic our justice system doesn’t have any punishment that is suitable for the crimes these people are doing.

Visit the Food Inc. website to learn more about the documentary, topics discussed and other related topics.

Colbie Caillat Singing the Best US National Anthem I’ve Ever Heard

My annual list of Best New Songs I Heard is usually reserved for songs I had never heard before. Sometimes, I throw in songs I had heard before, but never nearly as good that a version I just heard for the first time. This song falls in that second category, though it doesn’t quite have the gap for me to put on my list this year because of how many great versions I have heard in the past. Still,  it was good enough that I know, for me, it was the best rendition of this song that I have ever heard among the many I have heard.

The Star Spangled Banner is played at so many events I watch, on television or in person, that I am sure I have heard over 1000 renditions of it over the years. Naturally, there have been some outstanding versions among them, as well as some pretty grotesque ones. To me, though, Colbie Caillat’s version at the opening game of the National Football League season between the Minnesota Vikings and the New Orleans Saints was the best rendition of the song I have ever heard. Sorry, I don’t know the guitarist’s name.

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She sung it quietly and built it, without having to rely on volume power to peak. She didn’t need more drums or instruments to come in, or additional parts, either. She just rocked it gently a tad more each time and achieved the effect. That’s a hard thing to do!

The television footage of the players and crowd were also inspiring, and credits go to the NBC camera crew for capturing all that. Lots of players and coaches with hands over their heart, standing pretty still mostly, too. I also liked the shot of Jared Allen with the helmet held high. The New Orleans fans deserve credit for being in such solemn attention. A little cheer here or there in the right places can have just as good an impact as a roaring crowd all the way through like at some events. But you know, the right rendition will help you be like that to listen and be proud rather than not pay attention for any number of reasons.

All and all, I thought it was just superb. Too bad the online version I have above had the image and sound timing just a tad off to make it look like Colbie badly lip synced it.

I saw some online articles today on the rendition by Colbie Caillat. She’s got the Net talking about it, that’s for sure. There were likes and dislikes, and loves and hates, as to be expected. However, I’ve got to say the reasonings given for those who didn’t like it weren’t very sound. If the reasonings those people generally gave were valid, they should just go plunk it out on an out of tune synthesizer, or just get their computer to mechanically play it. They should appreciate how flexible their national anthem is that they could think so poorly of such a performance and yet, some people like myself think it’s the best rendition they’ve ever heard!

Leave me a comment with some other favourite renditions of the Star Spangled Banner if you care to share. Thanks!

Meanwhile, I’m going to look up some more of Colbie’s music. I had never heard of her till last night, but man, did she impress and got a new fan for that performance!

Flesch-Kincaid Grade Reading Level: 7.5