Beautiful book full of beautiful ideas.

Jean-Francois Chabas and David Sala have collaborated on a number of children’s books, but my favourite has to be La colère de Banshee.  It’s a visual feast.

colere de banshee 1



Sala’s artwork here is an homage to Klimt, and the words by Chabas are poetry. I haven’t found this book in English, but it sounds better in French anyway.

“En Irlande, pays des enchantements, la banshee est la plus puissante des fées.”

In Ireland, land of enchantment, the banshee is the most powerful of the fairies.


When the little fairy loses something dear to her, the world responds to her fear and anger.

colere de banshee 2



Don’t stand between a banshee and her comfort item!


colere de banshee 3


Available on Amazon (in French).



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For COSMOS lovers: What are neutron stars?

All of us at Socratica grew up watching Carl Sagan and his groundbreaking series Cosmos.  Most people think of it as a series on astronomy, but it was really more about our place in the universe as thinking, exploring creatures looking to understand who we are and how did we get here.

When I taught biology, I regularly showed Sagan’s episode about evolution as an introduction to the topic. My students would laugh about his pronunciation of “yooman” and his odd speech patterns with unexpected….PAUSES. But by the end of the episode, they were completely won over and wanted to see more of this fascinating man.

Sagan and his tree

This line always got a big laugh.

Carl Sagan’s enthusiasm and broad knowledge of so many subjects made us want to learn almost everything from him. The work we do at Socratica is maybe best considered an homage to great teachers like Sagan.  There’s no way we could ever capture his special sauce – but we do get inspiration from his candor, his love for teaching, and his quest to know.

We’re over the moon to start a new playlist on Astronomy. Our first video:  What are Neutron Stars?


Over the moon, see what I did there? I crack myself up sometimes.


We recommend, obviously:


Cosmos DVDs

Cosmos: Carl Sagan
This is the 13-hour set of DVDs – one of the best programs in television history.





And this is the companion book with a new foreward by Neil DeGrasse Tyson.



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Socrates. Put to death for corrupting the youth of Athens. Our hero.

Socrates is considered one of the founders of Western Philosophy, and the inventor of the Socratic Method which is still widely used in classrooms today. He’s something of a mystery, though, because what we know of him comes from second-hand accounts. What?! It’s true, the great teacher left behind no writings of his own.

Our hero and namesake is the star of our latest “Great Thinkers” video.


We recommend the following works from Socrates’ students, Plato and Xenophon:



The Last Days of Socrates (Penguin Classics)



Conversations of Socrates (Penguin Classics)


And just for fairness, we’ll include Aristophanes (although Plato called the account of Socrates in the play “The Clouds” slander):


Lysistrata and Other Plays (Penguin Classics)



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A Visit to YouTube Space Los Angeles

Socratica Studios recently took a little field trip. We were invited to come visit YouTube Space Los Angeles, a giant facility Google has created for production of YouTube videos. There are other locations in New York, London, and Tokyo.


There were many stages we will be able to reserve and record on. One massive stage had a cut-up piece of an airplane that was available to use as a set. We just missed the gorgeous Hallowe’en set that was made in collaboration with Guillermo del Toro  – I hope they do something similar this year!


Socratica Studios is located on the east side of sprawling Los Angeles, California, and it feels like quite a shlep to get out to Playa Vista (close to LAX). In good traffic, it might take an hour – on a bad day, closer to two. But while we were there, we saw a lot of cars with license plates from Oregon, Washington, Utah, Texas…it made me wonder just how many people are up and moving themselves to LA to follow their dreams and become the next big YouTube star.

On this visit, a very nice fellow from Google picked our brains about how we are trying to grow our channel. What have we done to monetize? YouTube ads. What else have we tried for funding? One Kickstarter campaign, which failed – hopefully we can try another one now that we have a better idea what we’re doing. FanFunding is enabled on our YouTube channel, and we have had one donation (thank you, anonymous donor!). What sort of “branding” do you have, and have you tried merchandising? Hmm, not sure we want to be in the T-shirt selling business, but we’ll keep that in mind.

We asked for feedback – what else should we be doing, what are the strategies that have worked for other channels – but we really didn’t get many straight answers. I completely understand that they don’t want to give us advice and then be held responsible for that, in case it doesn’t work out, but…we could use a little concrete help here!


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