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The Great Math Mystery

   2015    Science
Go with us on a mathematical mystery tour, a provocative exploration of math's astonishing power across the centuries. We discover math's signature in the swirl of a nautilus shell, the whirlpool of a galaxy, and the spiral in the center of a sunflower. Math was essential to everything from the first wireless radio transmissions to the successful landing of rovers on Mars. But where does math get its power?" Astrophysicist and writer Mario Livio, along with a colorful cast of mathematicians, physicists, and engineers, follow math from Pythagoras to Einstein and beyond, all leading to the ultimate riddle: Is math an invention or a discovery? Humankind's clever trick, or the language of the universe? Whether we think we're good with numbers or not, we all use math in our daily lives. The Great Math Mystery sheds fascinating light on how math works in our brains and ponders the ultimate mystery of why it works so well when decoding the universe.

The Private Life of Plants: Travelling

   1994    Nature
Sir David Attenborough reveals plants as they have never been seen before - on the move and dangerously devious. About the major problems of life - growing, finding food, reproduction - and the varied ways plants have evolved to solve it. Filmed from the plant's point of view, using computer animations, fibre-optics and unique time-lapse photography. The first episode looks at how plants are able to move". The bramble is an aggressive example: it advances forcefully from side to side and, once settled on its course, there is little that can stand in its way. An altogether faster species is the birdcage plant, which inhabits Californian sand dunes. When its location becomes exposed, it shifts at great speed to another one with the assistance of wind — and it is this that allows many forms of vegetation to distribute their seeds. While not strictly a plant, the spores of fungi are also spread in a similar fashion. One of the most successful (and intricate) flowers to use the wind is the dandelion, whose seeds travel with the aid of 'parachutes'. They are needed to travel miles away from their parents, who are too densely packed to allow any new arrivals. Trees have the advantage of height to send their seeds further, and the cottonwood is shown as a specialist in this regard. The humidity of the tropical rainforest creates transportation problems, and the liana-species Alsomitra macrocarpa is one plant whose seeds are aerodynamic 'gliders'. Some, such as those of the sycamore, take the form of 'helicopters', while others, such as the squirting cucumber release their seeds by 'exploding'. Water is also a widely used method of propulsion. The tropical sea bean Entada gigas has one of the biggest fruits of all plants and is dispersed by water streams. However, most plants use living couriers, whether they be dogs, humans and other primates, ants or birds, etc., and to that end, they use colour and smell to signify when they are ripe for picking.
Series: The Private Life of Plants

Deeper, Deeper, Deeper Still

   2014    Science
This episodes the nature of the cosmos on the micro and atomic scales, using the Ship of the Imagination to explore these realms. Tyson describes some of the micro-organism that live within a dew drop, demonstrating parameciums and tardigrades. He proceeds to discuss how plants use photosynthesis via their chloroplasts to convert sunlight into chemical reactions that convert carbon dioxide and water into oxygen and energy-rich sugars. Tyson then discusses the nature of molecules and atoms and how they relate to the evolution of species. He uses the example set forth by Charles Darwin postulating the existence of the long-tongued Morgan's sphinx moth based on the nature of the comet orchid with pollen far within the flower. He further demonstrates that scents from flowers are used to trigger olfactory centers in the brain, stimulating the mind to threats as to aid in the survival of the species. Tyson narrates how Greek philosophers Thales and Democritus postulated that all matter was made up of combinations of atoms in a large number of configurations, and describes how carbon forms the basic building block for life on earth due to its unique chemical nature. Tyson explains on the basic atomic structure of protons, neutrons, and electrons, and the nature of nuclear fusion that occurs in most stars. He then discusses the existence of neutrinos that are created by these nuclear processes in stars, and that detecting such sub-atomic particles which normally pass through matter require subterranean facilities like the Super-Kamiokande that were used to detect neutrinos from the supernova SN 1987A in the Large Magellanic Cloud before light from the explosion were observed due to their ability to pass through matter of the dying sun. Tyson compares how neutrinos were postulated by Wolfgang Pauli to account for the conservation of energy from nuclear reactions in the same manner as Darwin's postulate on the long-tongued moth. Tyson concludes by noting that there are neutrinos from the Big Bang still existing in the universe but due to the nature of light, there is a "wall of infinity" that cannot be observed beyond.
Series: Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey

The Power of Flowers

   2012    Science
In the second episode, Professor Iain Stewart discovers how flowers have transformed our planet. He journeys to the remote islands of the South Pacific to track down the earliest flowers. In the deserts of Africa and rainforests of Vietnam, he sees how they brought brilliant colour to the most barren landscapes and sculpted the earth itself. And he learns how they drove the evolution of all animals - kick-starting our human story.
Series: How to Grow a Planet

Blood Filled Streets

   2016    History
After the murder of his brother Frank, Al Capone is out for revenge against William Dever and the Chicago police. He plots to kill every undercover cop that was in Cicero on the day of Frank’s death. Before he can set his plan in motion, however, Johnny Torrio returns from Italy and reclaims his control of their criminal empire. Torrio forbids Capone from killing cops, fearing it would spark an all-out war. Despite Capone’s personal loss, Torrio returns to a booming business that’s raking in $10 million a month. However, as Torrio and Capone’s empire grows, it becomes harder to keep smaller factions under control. After a small group of Italian mobsters attacks one of Dean O’Banion’s distilleries, O’Banion blames Torrio and decides to end their business partnership. He announces his retirement to Torrio and offers Torrio an opportunity to buy him out. Torrio meets O’Banion at the Seine Brewery on May 19, 1924, with the buyout money. Chicago police raid the brewery and arrest Torrio while letting O’Banion walk free: O’Banion had set the whole thing up. With prior convictions, Torrio serves a mandatory prison sentence but is first released on bail. He vows to kill O’Banion as payback and gives Capone his blessing to kill O’Banion. Capone spends months planning the hit. Capone knows that catching O’Banion off guard is nearly impossible, so he places an order with O’Banion’s flower shop for nearly $20,000 worth of flowers, knowing that O’Banion personally oversees his biggest arrangements. On November 10, 1924, O’Banion works in his shop preparing the flower delivery. Two of Capone’s men enter the shop and fatally gun O’Banion down. Four days later, Chicago’s most powerful Irish gangster is laid to rest in one of the most lavish funerals Chicago has ever seen. More than two dozen cars are required to transport floral arrangements as a crowd of 10,000 mourns the death of the infamous gangster. Torrio and Capone attend the funeral, infuriating O’Banion’s top lieutenants, Hymie Weiss and Bugs Moran. Chaos breaks out as smaller gangs through the city begin a turf war. It’s the beginning of an era of bloodshed in Chicago known as the Beer Wars. Over 300 people are murdered at a rate of 75 to 100 murders a year.
Series: The Making of the Mob
Dynamic Genomes Series
Dynamic Genomes Series

   2019    Medicine
Follow This
Follow This

   2018    Medicine
Space Deepest Secrets
Space Deepest Secrets

   2019    Science
Racism: A History
Racism: A History

   2007    Culture
Human Planet
Human Planet

   2011    Culture
Ice Age Giants
Ice Age Giants

   2013    Science
Reel Rock
Reel Rock

   2014    Culture