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Plastic and the Future

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Friday, June 10, 2011

Susan Freinkel discusses the ubiquity of plastics in our world and the many problems that it is creating. Then the former director of the MIT Media Lab tells what the future holds for digital technology. Congolese director Djo Tunda Wa Munga discusses his new film, “Viva Riva!” Plus, our latest Please Explain is all about the disappearance of bees!

Plastic: A Toxic Love Story

Susan Freinkel describes why the plethora of plastics has created a major problem—we’ve produced as much plastic in the last 10 years as we did in the entire 20th century, and plastics draw on dwindling fossil fuels, leach harmful chemicals, litter landscapes, and destroy marine life. In Plastic: A Toxic Love Story, Freinkel tells the story of plastic through eight familiar objects: comb, chair, Frisbee, IV bag, disposable lighter, grocery bag, soda bottle, and credit card. She combs through scientific studies and economic data, reporting from China and across the United States to assess the real impact of plastic on our lives, and how we can learn to live without it.

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Digital Magicians of the MIT Media Lab

Frank Moss talks about how the researchers at MIT Media Lab are creating technologies that will greatly impact our lives over the next 25 years and reveals the highly unorthodox approach to creativity and invention at the Media Lab. In The Sorcerers and Their Apprentices: How the Digital Magicians of the MIT Media Lab Are Creating the Innovative Technologies That Will Transform Our Lives, Moss tells stories of people—from musicians to neuroscientists to visual artists to computer engineers—who are using Media Lab innovations to confront personal challenges.

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Djo Tunda Wa Munga on His Film Viva Riva!

Director Djo Tunda Wa Munga talks about his film “Viva Riva!” It’s a thriller about Congolese gas gangsters, set in Kinshasa, a city inundated with war, crime, corruption, food and energy shortages, and crushing poverty. “Viva Riva!”  won six awards at the 2011 African Movie Academy Awards, including best film, and it opens June 10 at Angelika Film Center.

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Please Explain: Why Honeybees Are Disappearing

Bees are disappearing from their hives in mass numbers, and there’s no clear explanation of why. Many believe that bees are a barometer of the health of the planet, and colony collapse disorder is raising questions about pesticides, genetically modified crops, monocultures, and mechanization of beekeeping. Taggart Siegel, director, and Jon Betz, producer, of the documentary “Queen of the Sun” tell us why honeybees are important to human life and agriculture, and the factors that are most likely leading to colony collapse and honeybee death on a grand scale in the United States and in Europe. In addition, they explain how some devoted beekeepers are trying to save them. “Queen of the Sun” opens at Cinema Village June 10.

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Rooftop Films

Rooftop Films is screening the documentary, "Battle for Brooklyn," directed by Michael Galinsky and Suki Hawley, who were on our show yesterday. I had the chance to talk to Dan Nuxoll from Rooftop Films after the show and learned that Galinsky and Hawley are among a group of directors who Rooftop has worked with over the years. Another filmmaker who has had multiple films screened through Rooftop is Todd Rohal whose "The Catechism Cataclysm" is screening in the parking lot across the street from BAM later this month. He is often grouped in with the mumblecore movement. However you might feel about that movement or just the word mumblecore, the fact that one of the stars is Steve Little, who is hilarious in the TV show "Eastbound & Down," may demand that you suspend judgment.

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