Go to: Home page of www.BillHowell.ca

Past and Future Worlds

01Sep2017 materials & scripts done, 28Oct2017 first web posting

This "Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math" "video prototype" for youth, includes : At present, the full video (540 Mbytes) is too slow (dragging, deep voices, slow video), and is too cumbersome to go from one time to another. So until I convert to a different video [codec, contailer] formats (perhaps H.264 codec & .MKV container?) or find a video viewer that is better suited to large files, the videos for each scene are posted instead (see the listing below), giving better throughput and easy of going from one scene to another by separate loading. Microsoft Windows (and hopefully MacIntosh?) users can view this by downloading the VLC media viewer. "... VLC is a free and open source cross-platform multimedia player and framework that plays most multimedia files, and various streaming protocols. ..." At present, this full video cannot be moved forward and back within the video, something I will fix when I get the time, as the ability to go back over material and skip sections is particularly important with this video. In the meantime, the separate "Scenes" listed below can be used by moving back and forward.

The video is composed of eleven "scenes" that can be played individually. While these can be streamed via your browser, I recommend downloading the files (right-control and "Save link") to overcome slow internet connections and for practical use : Quick notes for educators
This video is NOT intented as a purely, fun, inspiring viewing to be done in one shot. It is targeted towards youth who actually have some interest in, or curiosity about, the themes presented, and who will want to go back and forth over the details to think about the content. Viewers can [download, forward, backup] the presentation at their leisure from home to revisit details provided that are not directly included in the script, and to re-think what is presented.

I much prefer to go into the details of the [history, mathematics, science, technology], and I dislike [arm waving, sensationalising, trivial thinking] of our [media, prophets], which normally drowns out an hides the substance and reality of themes that touch us. There is an importnat role for the hype - at least it catches our eyes and invites us to delve more deeply into a subject, but it is a mistake to do so trivially, or to believe much of what is being said. You will note that this video fits into the arm-waving category, so take what I have said with a grain of salt, as you always should.

The presentation was intended for youth, but given my lack of [teaching ,training] background, I suspect that the jargon is far too specialised and the concept may be too foreign for many. Perhaps it is best suited to young "geeks" who love computer programming and crazy ideas. In that case,

Here are a few suggestions, and I'm sure educators can think of better ideas of how to use and adpt the content and experiments :
There are many [spelling-grammar mistakes, erroneous comments, math & science alip-ups] in the videos, and a fair amount of my own personal [opinion, conjecture, perspectives] which have their won pitfalls. While the intent was to list these here, I'm out of time for now, so just a couple are listed. Missing themes
While I have included a number of "themes" (essentially personal thoughts & opinions), in this once-through video prototype the following are missing : Comments on the unorthodox style of the video
To me, a key purpose of a presentation is to provoke [thinking, questions, critique, debate]. No theory is a closed issue for me, and they all can be disputed. I would have liked to promote more of this in the video, but at least there is ample material for debate here.

You will note that many of the comment slides are not commented on at all by the script, and this is intentional. There is no way to read and pondeer those slides by simply viewing the video once-through, so the intent is to raise issues for futher careful reviewing of the video. I actually prefer to provide several background threads of [conflicting, alternate] concepts in the context of "mutiple conflicting hypothesis" but that would have requred more time for producing the video.

I have used popular songs as a background to most of the scenes, which is actually distracting, but on the other hand if someone finds a scence to be of lesser interest, then thay at least have something to listen to. It would be better to use theatrical background music, but that is for some future project.

Video prototype issues
This a "one-shot" production, without the cycles of script re-editing, major revamping of slides, correction of video and audio timings, etc that would normally be done. As such, while it is intended as a "stand-alone" video that can be observed at any time from home, it is not as "tight" as one would expect, and having someone on hand to help youth through the content would definitely help.

Unfortunately, there are issues with the functioning of the final video, as mentioned above, for example the video-audio streams have been slowed down for the scenes (sometimes severely), inabilitity to move and skip back and forth within the video. This is very bad for the "Hearing aids" scene. Re-processing of the audio and video streams 3 or 4 times is a contributing factor, forced by trading off quality to accomodate the limitations of my old 32 bit desktop computer. Another problem is premature termination of scenes, leading to the loss of the last few seconds of some of them.

Although some references appear in the text box at the lower right-hand side of the video, more appear in the scripts. Unfortunately, I have not provided an adequate listing, as many, many key references are not listed.

The QNial programming language was used to [direct, sequence, conduct, whatever] the video production, together with a LibreOffice Calc spreadsheet that acts as a great front-end for preparing code specific to the video sequencing. These can be found in the Programming code directory listing, and will be handy for anyone interested in the details of how I produced the video. I like to describe the QNial programming language of Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada as "... the beautiful child of a marriage between LISP and APL ...". It is not commonly used today, and even though it is an interpreted language, I always get frustrated with other languages that I also use, it's conceptual power always brings me back home to it. Bug hunting can be problematic if you don't build in bug taps and [structured, object oriented] capabiities, but for much of what I do I keep those chains to a minimum so I can use the full power of the language.

I spent a couple of weeks putting together the voice notes, images, videos and music, which is a small fraction of the 2.5 months required to produce it. Most of my time, roughly 5 weeks, was used to ugrade the QNial programming code (cleaning up by implimenting structured vartiables bordering on object-oriented capabilities). The other two weeks was required for voice recordings of scripts, iterative [changes, corrections] for the video sequencing, and searching for a few images etc to better illustrate concepts. Altogether, there should be double the number of images to make the text-voice-only section more informative, but again time was the limiting factor in producting this. Normally I would expect that 2 weeks to a month would be require to produce this kind of video.

A big issue is copyright for most of the video content. To some degree this is covered by :
Directory of available files for this webpage.

Last updated:
28Oct2017 initial posting