[time-nuts] HOW WE GOT TO NOW WITH STEVEN JOHNSON | "Time" An Inside Look | PBS

Alan Hochhalter alanh137 at gmail.com
Sun Oct 26 00:14:09 EDT 2014

I'd agree that the shows are very basic, but if it was full of stuff
equivalent to time-nuts level in any of the topics he covers, very few
would be able to understand it and might not watch it.  It is a lot like
the old Connections series.  I've found both interesting.

In the case of the time eposode, we get a bit about the longitude problem,
how the growth of railroad travel drove time zones in the US, etc.  The
average person probably never learned any of that in school.  (Don't
remember it if I did.)  Hopefully it will make a few folks understand that
a lot of things taken for granted now weren't always that way and how
different life was before development of modern time keeping devices.  The
same with most other technology - it doesn't just magically appear without
a lot of earlier developements.

Unfortunately, being on PBS, it probably won't reach a lot of people who
could use a bit of exposure to the idea that sometimes technology or
knowledge ends up being useful in ways that weren't thought of at the time
so some of those seemingly useless wastes of money turn out to be just the

I just watched the one on glass a couple of days ago.  As an example, he
made the argument that the development of printing and the use of
eyeglasses went together.  Before printed books most people had less need
for good near vision (or at least made do without it), but as books became
more common more people wanted to read them driving the need for eyeglasses
which wouldn't have been possible without clear glass and the technology to
make lenses.  I can't say that is really true or not, but it sounds
reasonable and it wasn't something I had thought much about before.


On Sat, Oct 25, 2014 at 6:01 PM, Rex <rexa at sonic.net> wrote:

> It's a series. The first night there were two shows back-to-back and I
> think the 2nd one was the time-related one.
> Its vaguely like the old "Connections" PBS series where; this thing  lead
> to that thing, which led to...
> I was multitasking so might not be the best critic, but I found it very
> grade school level. Most of the interesting stuff was glossed over. I was
> unimpressed enough that I never watched any of the following shows after
> those two.
> Maybe others have other opinions.
> -Rex
> On 10/25/2014 11:51 AM, Brooke Clarke wrote:
>> Hi:
>> I don't have TV and wonder if anyone who has PBS can comment on this
>> program?
>> preview at:
>> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RhDvGhFbpq8
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