We're changing our name to POD ACADEMY! We have a new website! And a new logo! Woohoo! Rutger and Gil are officially tying the knot in their partnership (well, our partnership), as the two halves of this podcast - Pod Academy. We're keeping the Academy brand name, and leaving the GoT to the YouTube channel. We also have a new website where we'll post all our new episodes, and in the future add a blog and some other cool stuff. We want to thank our patrons for supporting our work!
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Fauda is a hit Israeli television series about an Israeli undercover unit fighting Palestinian terrorism. It has been picked up by Netflix and turned into an international success, with season 4 being in the works. Abed El Rahman Natour is the Arabic translator for the show, taking the parts of the scripts that need to be translated into Arabic, either for the Arab-speaking characters, or the Jewish characters working undercover as Palestinians.
When you interact with someone else and you have to decide whether to cooperate with them or cheat them, the difference between the choices can sometimes be expressed in simple cost/benefit analyses. If we are generous with each other we might both reap the rewards. But maybe cheating is cheaper - unless you punish me for it. The mathematical analysis of these choices is called game theory. Extrapolate that to the Cold War. In this episode, Gil Kidron and Dr Rutger Vos explore four movies on this topic: A Beautiful Mind (2001) about the life and times of John Nash, one of the pioneers of game theory, and three Cold War nuclear stare-down movies, Dr Strangelove (1964) and Fail Safe (2000), and War Games (1983).
Over the course of 400 years, from 1500 to 1900, the interaction between Europeans and Native Americans changed enormously. Initially, the new arrivals stepped off of their boats into a maelstrom of local events. By the end, events would be entirely dominated by European settlement, with native cultures fighting for their survival on the margins. In this review, Rutger and Gil look at three snapshots along the way of this process. We begin with Apocalypto (2006), where the Europeans almost don't matter at all. Then, in Pocahontas (1995), the native people and the settlers are roughly even-keeled and the latter are even temporarily rebuffed. By the end, in Dances with Wolves (1990), autonomous native life only exists in the remote prairies, which are set to change forever as well.
The HBO series, The Plot Against America, whose last episode aired on Monday, April 20th, depicts the political rise of a Trump-like figure in the US during the early stages of WWII. In this episode, Gil and Rutger discuss why this series hit us so hard. Family stories, our worries about the present, and the fragility of democratic systems come together in this review.
Both nature and computing are at certain levels digital. Code organized in discrete symbols (DNA bases, bits) can be understood, decoded, and manipulated. But do we understand these systems well enough to meddle with them? In this episode, Dr Rutger Vos explores this question in a review of three movies: The Imitation Game (2014), Jurassic Park (1993), and Independence Day (1996). And, how will our ability to manipulate these codes affect our fight against the coronavirus?
The jungle has long been a very attractive topic in movies and books, with its unstoppable nature teeming with mysterious and dramatic creatures and plants. In this episode, Dr. Rutger Vos joins Gil Kidron to talk about the jungle from a scientific perspective, as well as about how it is perceived in the human imagination. We explore the topic through five movies: Apocalypse Now (1979), Avatar (2009), Apocalypto (2006), Jungle Book (2016) and The Legend of Tarzan (2016). One fictional jungle and jungles in Latin America, India, Africa, and South East Asia.
In an offhand remark, The Expanse claims that other forms of life are possible, such as forms based on silicon rather than carbon. How plausible is that? And what else would need to be in place? You'd need liquid water, for one. In fact, a whole bunch of things would need to fall exactly into place. Things that are on the one hand rare - but given the enormous numbers of stars and exoplanets would still occur many times. So where are all the aliens? In this podcast, Gil and Rutger talk about habitability and the origin of life.
To mark Christmas, we look at movies depicting the life and times of perhaps the most controversial rabbi of the Second Temple period: Jesus of Nazareth. We rewatch the Life of Brian and are reminded of Empire and of the brutality with which the Romans imposed their will homogenously across enormous swathes of land, ironically setting up the environment in which the ideology of the guy they executed could spread. We then go over the odious Passion of the Christ, which features prosthetic noses and blood curses, and wrap it up with the interesting but slow-moving Last Temptation of Christ. Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukah, and everything else!
Wall Street and its flaws are a common theme in movies, which emphasize the excesses, the risk-taking, and the societal fallout. But once upon a time, banking and finance were boring, steady occupations - and even before that, they were the domain of Florentine family businesses and Venetian Jews. What changed, and why? In this History in Movies podcast Gil Kidron welcomes again Rutger Vos, this time to talk about how Hollywood portrays the world of finance capitalism.