Semanal Week 8: Science Homework

This week’s video is a collaboration with my daughter Elizabeth. Her class at school were each given a small kit and asked to do some science experiments at home. A fun bit of father-daughter time, and a great opportunity for a video.

I’m in two minds about the content of the homework, though.

  • On the one hand, it’s good to see schools and parents working together in education and any opportunity to get involved in practical science is great.
  • On the other hand, I’m very uncomfortable with the insidious nature of the corporate sponsorship and advertising in this pack, especially the way that part of the “experiment” is really just junk science aimed at convincing children that they need cleaning products. I’m sure that any effervescent mixture would “produce a rich lather” and displace ketchup in the same way. And without leaving half a jar full of undissolved pollutant behind.

While you watch this, see how many casual bits of advertising and Proctor & Gamble product marketing you can spot, and have a good think about how 10-year-old children are being trained to be good little consumers in the name of science.

PS. You think there is a choice of detergents?

WordPress Problems

Something has gone a bit wrong with my WordPress installation. In order to keep the site running I have had to switch off all the plugin and theme stuff I had added, resulting in the change of appearance.

Feel free to leave comments as usual, but please be aware that all comments are currently being moderated until everything is back in place.

I hope to be back and running properly soon; sorry.

Milking Iris

A few things seem to have come together recently which make it somehow easier for me to sit down and edit some video.

Part of this is the impetus of the Semanal project, part of it is a recent upgrade to my current editing software of choice, and part of it is my recent purchase of a second DV camcorder (a JVC DR E720EK for only £99!) which I can use as a semi-permanently connected DV drive, leaving the other camcorder (a Sony DCR PC107E) ready for recording with no need to keep swapping tapes. I am also feeling the loss of my favourite little digital camera, which I had been using for nearly three years, stopped working a few months ago – its replacement produces lovely video, but is nowhere near as familiar and friendly for videoblogging.

The final component of this is the realisation that after a few years of videoblogging I have actually become relatively comfortable with editing. I know the software pretty well, I have a reasonably powerful and stable PC to edit on, I usually have a fairly clear idea of what I want, and (best of all) I seem to have the skills to get pretty close to what I have in my mind. This is mildly astonishing – I still vividly recall the weeks of clumsy and frustrating effort it took me to turn out even a simple few minutes of edited video when I first started in the early 1990s.

The upshot of all of this is that I have started dipping in to the hundreds of hours of tapes I have recorded over the years, and editing some of the raw footage into something a bit more watchable. Of course it’s not perfect, but with every one I do, I learn a bit more and get a bit better at it.

With all that in mind, here is this weeks video: A fragment of a visit to Shugborough Hall and Historic Estate in August 2006; edited in February 2008.