My candidate for the best Science Documentary of 2010. I know it's only January but I don't honestly see this being bested for the scale of it's ideas or the clarity of it's explanations.

It's one of those rare moments I truly feel I've learnt something new and understand more for having spent an hour listening to someone else talk.


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Oh boy! Thanks for posting this, interesting to say the least.
Cheers Rusty. Hope you get something worthwhile out of it.

There's a video on here already called "why did nobody tell me"

This was for me something a little like that - a stitching together of ideas - not exactly, it's not like no-one told me and some things I'm already familiar with but just coming to see a connection in a new way.
I second that for best doc of 2010. Absolutely amazing!
Glad I'm not alone. :-)
This is awesome. I was really looking for such a great, understandable presentation of these ideas - which I have been grappling with for some time now. This not only shows how math and nature 'overlap' - but also where art and science find common ground.
I agree Howard. That's what so excited me about it was the way it took these seemingly unique things and said "No look - they're all connected. Watch..."
Thanks. Mmm lots in there to unpack.

I new about Simple rules (I've been covering embryology in Biology recently - something Dawkins mentions in The Greatest Show on Earth as being like inflated Origami) - which is all about simple rules.

I never did fractals in any capacity at school (wish I had) but recall with great fondness learning the equation from here:


and of course, Evolution by Natural Selection.

What I love love love about this documentary is how it takes those three things and shows how they can be connected.

That was the intellectual link it gave me. And I was just floored. I hadn't made that connection on my own.
You should also explore Conway's Game of Life for examples of simple rules generating complexity (I recall that somebody has succeeded in describing/building a Universal Turing Machine within its parameters of 3 or 4 rules on a grid of cells.) More recently, a many hundred page tome by Stephan Wolfram (of Wolfram Research fame) has extended the idea of cellular automata all the way to A New Kind of Science.
Thanks. I'll add it to my reading list.

Currently plough through primateologist genius Robert Sapolsky, had ambitions to read Craig Venter's Autobiograpphy as well this year, plus I am going to read some Lovecraft...
Just watched it this morning. An outstanding job with a complicated issue.
Glad you enjoyed it Glenn. I agree taking something complex and simplifying it for easy consumption but that leaves you (the viewer) feeling educated is the mark of a truly successful factual documentary.

Too often the output I see on, for instance, the Discovery Channel is repetitive and bordering on condescending. This dared I think challenge an audience but lead them through it with plenty of forestalling and scaffolding of ideas (the evolved algorithms of the computer simulations was I think a nice touch - it's not just biology ....)
the evolved algorithms of the computer simulations was I think a nice touch - it's not just biology ....

As an 3D animator - I have to admit that the little 'evolving' legs appeared the most spurious (or at least, misleading) illustration of a claim about 'simulating evolution.' The underlying structure of legs that could successfully complete the task, along with the strictures on how they could move and not move, were in place from the get go. While I appreciate that it was pretty cool - it was a demonstration of heuristic programming and NOT a simulation of evolution or emergence.




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