Archive for the ‘Moving Image!’ Category

Montreal Comedyworks – Best of Open Mic winner – 26 June 2011

Tuesday, June 28th, 2011

At long last, all my English-speaking friends can find out what I’ve been saying on my comedy shows all these years:

(It was filmed sideways, that’s why it looks kinda weird)

My favourite song today – Madder Red

Monday, June 13th, 2011

Madder Red by Yeasayer from Secretly Jag on Vimeo.

My favourite song, today – Hello, I Must Be Going.

Saturday, April 16th, 2011

This is not the version I want you to hear. This is the version I want you to hear (embedding disabled :/ ) But if you can’t be bothered to click on that link, listen to the happy version instead:

Natural Selection and You – in 3 minutes

Friday, April 15th, 2011

This is my 3 minute presentation from the preliminary round of the Greek 2010 FameLab competition. Even though the judges were impressed, I never attended the finals because I wasn’t allowed out of Greek Army boot camp. If you liked the rainbow presentation, this one is much, much better.
The deer vs human bit was borrowed from Douglas Adams (a speech I have linked to on this blog on at least 3 different occasions). I was also heavily influenced by an article titled Human Evolution Has Stalled which, while quite incendiary, posits some interesting points. Mainly, that society currently holds two contradictory views:

1. It is wrong to attempt to create better humans through selective breeding, forced sterilization, genetic manipulation, or any other form of eugenics. (We should not play god).
2. Genetically inferior humans who would surely die if left to fend for themselves should be given whatever aid they need to survive, and should have the right to reproduce if they so choose. (We should play god).

I would also like to thank my very good friend Dimitris Plexidas for his invaluable help in choosing a topic and brainstorming the idea. Props to Panagiotis Theologou, as well, for finding the video of the entire event, which I had no idea existed.

The video is in Greek, but I’ve translated the text into English for posterity and the satisfaction of all my friends. Ελληνικό κείμενο εδώ.

Everyone, more or less, knows about Darwin’s theory of evolution, about natural selection.
The idea, roughly, is that if you take 10 deer, throw them in a colder climate and come back 10 generations later, the deer you find will have thicker fur. And the reason for that is that some of the original deer had slightly thicker fur than the rest. This gave them slightly higher chances of survival and slightly higher chances of sex, thus allowing them to spawn offspring with even thicker fur and so on and so forth.
So you can see that evolution is, in a way, much like vaccuuming.
I don’t want to dwell too much on the mechanism of evolution, what interests me is the way it has influenced the human species.
Evolution has been especially generous to us. We have been gifted with logic, language, opposable thumbs and armpit hair. We could have been like the platypus, which has neither logic, nor language, nor thumbs, nor armpits (they can’t carry watermelons, they can only nudge them forward with their beaks).
In fact, I suggest to you that evolution has favoured us so effectively that we have surpassed it. We have transcended the very process that brought us to where we are.
Because if you take 10 humans and throw them in a colder climate, they’ll look at the deer and say “Hey… that fur looks thick and warm. I’ll take it.”
Modern technology, modern medicine and modern prophylactics have resulted in our exclusion from the process of natural evolution. Their very purpose is to provide the same opportunities in life to everyone, regardless of their genetic predisposition, whether they be diabetic, high-risk for cancer, or Olympiakos FC fans.
All of this makes us very nervous. We’re nervous because we’re aware that all this knowledge hasn’t been internalised. It’s not in our DNA. There’s no gene for building cars, cell phones or the Internet. If something goes horribly wrong, if, say, the ocean were to rise by a meter, or we get hit by an asteroid, 10,000 years of technological progress will be reversed overnight. We realise this whenever there’s a sudden power failure, or if we find ourselves in a strange neighbourhood after dark: not much has changed in the last 10,000 years. Our chances of survival are pretty much the same.
Fortunately, evolution has left us with one last present. A sort of parting gift: Foresight. The ability to predict the consequences of our actions and to act in order to avoid them.
Now, it’s up to us to use it.
But even if we don’t, we’ll be taken care of by natural selection.

You’ll find a transcript of the judges’ comments right after the jump.


Φυσική Επιλογή και Εσύ – σε 3 λεπτά

Friday, April 15th, 2011

Αυτή είναι η τρίλεπτη παρουσίασή μου από τον προκριματικό γύρο του διαγωνισμού Famelab, το 2010. Παρ’ότι κατάφερα να εντυπωσιάσω την κριτική επιτροπή, δεν εμφανίστηκα ποτέ στον τελικό γιατί δε με άφηναν να βγω από το στρατόπεδο νεοσυλλέκτων. Αν σας άρεσε η παρουσίαση για το ουράνιο τόξο, αυτή είναι πολύ, πολύ καλύτερη. Και στα ελληνικά!
Το κομμάτι για τα ελάφια είναι δανεισμένο από Douglas Adams (μία ομιλία που έχω λινκάρει σ’αυτό το blog σε τουλάχιστον 3 διαφορετικές περιστάσεις). Μ’επηρέασε επίσης ένα άρθρο με τίτλο Human Evolution Has Stalled το οποίο, παρ’ότι αρκετά προκλητικό, θέτει μερικές ενδιαφέρουσες ιδέες. Κυριότερη εξ’αυτών η ιδέα πως η σημερινή κοινωνία περιθάλπει δύο αντίθετες μεταξύ τους απόψεις:

1. Είναι λάθος να προσπαθούμε να δημιουργήσουμε καλύτερους ανθρώπους μέσω της επιλεκτικής αναπαραγωγής, της υποχρεωτικής στείρωσης, της γενετικής τροποποίησης ή οποιασδήποτε άλλης μορφής ευγονικής. (Δεν πρέπει να το παίζουμε θεοί).
2. Γενετικά κατώτεροι άνθρωποι που σίγουρα θα πεθαίνανε αν έπρεπε να βασιστούν αποκλειστικά στις δικές τους δυνάμεις, πρέπει να εξοπλιστούν με κάθε βοήθεια ώστε να επιβιώσουν, και έχουν δικαίωμα στην αναπαραγωγή. (Πρέπει να το παίζουμε θεοί).

Θέλω επίσης να ευχαριστήσω τον πολύ καλό μου φίλο Δημήτρη Πλεξίδα για την ανεκτίμητη βοήθειά του στην επιλογή θέματος και στο brainstorming της ιδέας. Ευχαριστώ επίσης τον Παναγιώτη Θεολόγου που ξέθαψε το βίντεο ολόκληρης της εκδήλωσης, για την ύπαρξη του οποίου δεν είχα ιδέα.

English version here.
Το βίντεο καθώς και το κείμενο της παρουσίασης μετά το άλμα.

Color Vision, Diet Advice and How Rainbows Work: a 3 minute (or so) presentation

Wednesday, April 13th, 2011

I was about to post my FameLab presentation on human evolution when I realised I had never blogged my video on how rainbows work.

I took part in the preliminaries of the Greek FameLab competition in 2010 and made it to the finals, but never got the chance to compete because the Greek Army wouldn’t let me out of boot camp. FameLab is an international science communication competition. The participants are supposed to present a scientific subject in a clear, concise, and entertaining manner, in under 3 minutes.
I had the opportunity, along with the rest of the Greek finalists, to take part in a workshop on science communication and media skills. As part of the workshop, we were supposed to prepare a 3 minute presentation on one of the following subjects:
1. What makes pop corn pop?
2. What causes a rainbow?
3. Why do leaves change colour in autumn?
4. Why do I feel dizzy when I spin?
5. What are stem cells?
6. Why do some people have brown eyes – or blue?
7. What is the difference between bacteria and viruses?

None of these subjects are particularly fascinating to me. In the end, I picked rainbows, hoping to talk about colors and vision and xkcd’s fascinating color survey. Unfortunately, it turns out there’s only so much you can fit into 3 minutes, all while trying to explain a phenomenon that is not, in fact, as simple as saying “refraction”. Thanks to the internet, this can now be remedied. Here’s the text of the presentation I wanted to give, followed by the video of the actual one, right after the jump.


Night & Day

Friday, December 10th, 2010

If you wondered what art looks like:

VideoDay And Night – Pixar

My favourite song, today – Runaway

Thursday, December 2nd, 2010

Magic For Real

Monday, October 25th, 2010

Kary Novel and I visited Alexia Amvrazi at the Athens International Radio last Friday, to be interviewed on her show, Athens4Real. Aside from interviewing us on air, she was also kind enough to shoot a short video promo. Which I’m posting here.

Learn magic with Kary Novel and me! Join the fun!

See us perform at the Comedy Nights! Wednesday to Sunday at 22:00, Aiolou 48-50, Monastiraki.

How To Be Alone

Thursday, August 12th, 2010

I’m posting this here, almost as a reminder to myself…