Stephen Fry

A Most Stupendous Podcast

If forced to name the greatest human named Stephen, Stephen Fry has to be somewhere near the top of the list. Eloquent and witty with an unparalleled love of of both language and learning. 

He has a new podcast called Great Leap Years - The Stories Behind Inventions. Specifically he's focused around inventions related to communication and information technology. It starts at the beginning with the development of language. If you're unfamiliar with the intense verbal tango that is listening to Stephen Fry, here's a sample of what you're in for:

You may know that I’ve had a lifelong interest in technology but you should understand too, I am not a scientist, technologist, engineer of hardware or software by training nor talent. It takes me a long time to understand scientific ideas simply because they’re nearly always founded in the abstractions of mathematics and I, since childhood, had an attitude to numbers that approximates my attitude to tigers: they are, to be sure, beautiful beyond words, magnificent, strange, fascinating, powerful. But they fill me with awe, fear, a deep sense of inadequacy, and a presentiment that unless I run away, I will wet myself.
— From Episode I - "When We Were Young"

The podcast is available through his website, but also through Apple Podcasts and quite free to enjoy. As far as I'm concerned, the episodes can't come out fast enough. 

h/t @pennjillette

The World's Greatest Stevens

What could be better than waking up on Monday morning and finding out that there is a clip of two of your favourite thinkers chatting for an hour? The fact that both are named Steven. 

Stephen Fry and Steven Pinker are two of the most eloquent speakers and writers I've ever come across. They're talking about Pinker's new book Enlightenment Now. You can see it sitting on the table between them as they chat. It's quite large and I'm about a third of the way into it. So far it's amazing. The thrust of the book is simply that the world is not actually going to hell in a handbasket. Things are getting better... much better... shockingly fast... and for some reason, nobody wants to notice. More importantly, we can understand why it's happening, and try to do more of it.

So if anyone needs me for the next little bit, I'll be watching this:

Random Martini Trivia

The British quiz show QI remains one of my favourite programs to watch. They have redefined educational entertainment. Their name is short for Quite Interesting, and the main rule of the show is you get points "for being interesting."

After a year of Magic & Martini I get sent lovely clips like this. Here is some interesting background on Martinis in general, and how James Bond prefers them in particular:

If you're a fan of things British, you will recognize the original host of Whose Line Is It Anyway, Clive Anderson and one of the world's most delightful all around humans, Stephen Fry

Stephen Fry the Magician

Sat down to watch the Christmas special of the M series of QI with a wonderful surprise at the end involving Stephen Fry and the president of the Magic Circle, Scott Penrose.You'll need to watch until the end, and knowing QI, you'll probably learn an interesting thing or two along the way! 

It's no secret that Stephen Fry has an interest in magic. In fact, QI has magic tricks sprinkled throughout the episodes. He also wrote about his experiences with the seminal text Expert Card Technique by Frederick Braue and Jean Hugard in his memoir, Moab Is My Washpot.