Charlie

13 minutes

Mary-Jane Rubenstein: multiverses, pantheism and ecology

27 minutes

Bayes’s theorem, and making probability intuitive

16 minutes

In the absence

29 minutes

EXCLUSIVE

Symphonie diagonale

7 minutes

An African-American revolutionary and fugitive reflects on decades of exile in Cuba

Once a political revolutionary in the United States, Charlie Hill has lived in Cuba for 46 years. Part of the Republic of New Africa, a black separatist movement that sought an independent black state in the US south, Hill and members of his group clashed with law enforcement in 1971 in Jackson, Mississippi. The details of the encounter are disputed, but one police officer ended up dead, and Hill was accused of the murder. After hijacking a plane with two other members of his group and rerouting to Havana, he was offered political asylum by the Cuban government, and has made the country his home ever since. Framed around a letter to Hill’s nine-year-old son, this short documentary finds Hill considering his life, legacy and future amid thawing US-Cuba relations, a turn of events that could result in his extradition to the US. In June 2017, the US president Donald Trump rolled back the changes in US relations with Cuba, and as of September 2017, Hill is still living in exile.

Director: Kadri Koop

If you think that modern cosmology leaves no room for ‘god’, start using your imagination

‘We’re not so much abandoning the idea of the gods, we’re just trying to pull them all the way into the Universe.’

From the possibility of infinite universes to the prospect of panpsychism, puzzles have arisen in physics that can take science to some very counterintuitive places. According to Mary-Jane Rubenstein, assistant professor of religion and feminist, gender and sexuality studies at Wesleyan University in Connecticut, new theories and breakthroughs at the forefront of cosmology need not – and moreover, should not – elbow out theology from the conversation about our place in the cosmos. Instead, as she argues in this wide-ranging interview recorded at the HowTheLightGetsIn Festival from the Institute of Arts and Ideas in 2019, science should encourage us to build more durable myths and theologies to suit our times.

What is it to be Bayesian? The (pretty simple) math modelling behind a Big Data buzzword

If you’ve ever tripped up over the term ‘Bayesian’ while reading up on data or tech, fear not. Strip away the jargon and notation, and even the mathematics-averse can make sense of the simple yet revolutionary concept at the core of both machine learning and behavioural economics. As this video from the YouTube channel 3Blue1Brown skilfully explains, at its most basic, Bayes’s theorem is a tool for assessing degrees of probability based on prior conditions. And there are ways to make it altogether more intuitive than the statistical formulas might suggest. Although the theorem dates back to its 18th-century namesake, the English statistician and philosopher Thomas Bayes, it has gained increasing relevance in the Big Data revolution.

Video by 3Blue1Brown

‘They told us to stay put’: the South Korean ferry disaster that sank lives and trust

On 16 April 2014, the ferry MV Sewol sunk off the coast of South Korea, killing 304 people – the vast majority of them high-school students on a field trip. Like many other tragedies, the event made headlines around the world before quickly fading from the international news cycle. In South Korea, however, facts about the incompetence, government failures and lapses in responsibility that led to the Sewol’s sinking emerged slowly over the course of several years, prolonging pain and stoking anger to the present day. The documentary In the Absence by the South Korean director Yi Seung-Jun is a devastating account of the sinking and its aftermath – from the first signs of trouble at sea to the years-long struggle by bereaved families demanding accountability and justice. Combining original material with real-time audio and video of the tragedy, the film offers an extraordinary, chilling account of the consequences of following instructions from inept authorities – and the profound breakdown of public trust that follows such a disaster.

Director: Yi Seung-Jun

Producers: Gary Byung-Seok Kam, Park Bong-Nam

Website: Field of Vision

Dadaism ridiculed the meaninglessness of modern life – with captivating results

Dadaism was an avant-garde artistic movement born amid the wreckage of the First World War in Europe and formed in reaction to the perceived meaninglessness of modern life – in particular, of capitalism and its violence. The Swedish artist Viking Eggeling’s stop-motion animation Symphonie diagonale is considered both a Dadaist masterpiece and an early example of experimental animation. Basing the imagery on drawings he created alongside the influential German artist and fellow Dadaist Hans Richter, Eggeling revised and screened several versions of the short from 1922 up until his death in 1925. Shown as a silent film upon its release, this version of Symphonie diagonale features an original score, exclusive to Aeon. The contemporary Illinois-based composer William Pearson intends his music to react to Eggeling’s original vision in both style and composition, with playful, occasionally mechanical organ sounds, and melodies forming in sequence with the visuals emerging on screen.

Director: Viking Eggeling

Composer: William Pearson

Researcher: Tamur Qutab

An African-American revolutionary and fugitive reflects on decades of exile in Cuba

Once a political revolutionary in the United States, Charlie Hill has lived in Cuba for 46 years. Part of the Republic of New Africa, a black separatist movement that sought an independent black state in the US south, Hill and members of his group clashed with law enforcement in 1971 in Jackson, Mississippi. The details of the encounter are disputed, but one police officer ended up dead, and Hill was accused of the murder. After hijacking a plane with two other members of his group and rerouting to Havana, he was offered political asylum by the Cuban government, and has made the country his home ever since. Framed around a letter to Hill’s nine-year-old son, this short documentary finds Hill considering his life, legacy and future amid thawing US-Cuba relations, a turn of events that could result in his extradition to the US. In June 2017, the US president Donald Trump rolled back the changes in US relations with Cuba, and as of September 2017, Hill is still living in exile.

Director: Kadri Koop

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