What Is Life? Slides and Gramophone

I’ve posted my John Wesley Powell Memorial Lecture, “What is Life?” on blip.tv and have embedded it here. It’s a combination of my slides for the talk and a so-so audio recording. I stopped recording after my main talk, because the questions and answer period was pretty inaudible. That’s too bad, because we got into some interesting questions about whether viruses, prions, or even the Internet can be considered alive. Abbie Smith, who was at the talk, wrote about the discussion, and her own distaste for hard lines between life and non-life.

(New media postscript: I like building an archive of my talks, but I have yet to perfect a good system. A decent lapel mike will definitely help, but there is no easy way to mix slides and recording. Soundslide is okay in some ways, but it doesn’t do a good job embedding. I used Imovie to make this video, but it’s about as quick as assembling a watch.)

0 thoughts on “What Is Life? Slides and Gramophone

  1. Nice job.

    Re recording: the brute force way would be to get a good cheap HD camera. (Several makers have come up w. ~$1000 cameras that record to chips. Luddite that I am, I just bought a Canon HV30 camera that records to tape. The picture quality on all of them is good-great.) Spend enough to get one with a 1/8″ microphone jack. Get a radio lapel mike, plug the receiver into the camera, and plug your mike into the transmitter pack you clip to your belt.

    You’ll need a good tripod, and a larger than in-the-box battery.

    If you want to get especially fancy you could spend about 150 bucks on a good quality wide angle adapter. Then you can have you and your slides in the frame at all times, all your audio, and you can just upload the contents of your SD chips to your computer, title it as desired, check your audio levels, and just post.

    Alternatively, you can tighten the frame to more or less you, upload that, and then edit in the slides as you choose.

    You can also record from these cameras directly to your computer disk, but it’s space hog.

    Anyway — this is somewhat brute force, but it would work.

    best Tom

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