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Words on a Page

   2020    History
Writing itself is 5,000 years old, and for most of that time words were written by hand using a variety of tools. The Romans were able to run an empire thanks to documents written on papyrus. Scroll books could be made quite cheaply and, as a result, ancient Rome had a thriving written culture. With the fall of the Roman Empire, papyrus became more difficult to obtain. Europeans were forced to turn to a much more expensive surface on which to write: Parchment. Medieval handwritten books could cost as much as a house, they also represent a limitation on literacy and scholarship.
No such limitations were felt in China, where paper had been invented in the second century. Paper was the foundation of Chinese culture and power, and for centuries how to make it was kept secret. When the secret was out, paper mills soon sprang up across central Asia. The result was an intellectual flourishing known as the Islamic Golden Age. Muslim scholars made discoveries in biology, geology, astronomy and mathematics. By contrast, Europe was an intellectual backwater.
That changed with Gutenberg’s development of movable type printing. The letters of the Latin alphabet have very simple block-like shapes, which made it relatively simple to turn them into type pieces. When printers tried to use movable type to print Arabic texts, they found themselves hampered by the cursive nature of Arabic writing. The success of movable type printing in Europe led to a thousand-fold increase in the availability of information, which produced an explosion of ideas that led directly to the European Scientific Revolution and the Industrial Revolution that followed.
Series: The Secret History of Writing

Hunting for Martian Life. The Perseverance Rover

   2020    Technology    HD
Meet Perseverance, NASA's latest rover, as it heads to Mars to answer one question: did life exist on the red planet? On the way, it will lay the foundation for human exploration of our closest neighbour.
Today, Mars is hostile to life. It's too cold for water to stay liquid on the surface, and the thin atmosphere lets through high levels of radiation, potentially sterilizing the upper part of the soil. But it wasn't always like this. Some 3.5 billion years ago or more, water was flowing on the surface. It carved channels still visible today and pooled in impact craters. A thicker carbon dioxide atmosphere would have blocked more of the harmful radiation. The Mars 2020/Perseverance rover is designed to better understand the geology of Mars and seek signs of ancient life. The mission will collect and store a set of rock and soil samples that could be returned to Earth in the future. It will also test new technology to benefit future robotic and human exploration of Mars, as the Ingenuity Helicopter.

Pluto: Back From the Dead

   2020    Science
The incredible story of how Pluto has been propelled from an unremarkable ball of ice on the edge of the solar system to a world of unimaginable complexity - where some form of alien life might exist.
New discoveries from the edge of the solar system are transforming what is known about Pluto, thanks to the New Horizons space probe that took the first-ever close up images of the planet. Pluto was once thought to be geologically dead, but the pictures revealed it to be an active world of stunning complexity, with mountains carved from ice, a nitrogen glacier that appeared to be moving and a recently active volcano, with data sent back lead some scientists to speculate that there may even be life on Pluto today.
Series: Space Deepest Secrets

Black Holes

   2020    Science
Astronomers are giving us astonishing news, visual proof of the reality of black holes. Stunning new findings are overturning conventional theories. The most common vision of black holes is that they are monstrous and mysterious bodies swallowing everything around them. However, the latest discoveries are drawing a link between black holes and the existence of life. A startling new picture is emerging. The existence of black holes is what made life on Earth possible.
Series: Space Phenomena

Alien Planets

   2020    Science
Our universe reveals itself in ways we’ve never seen before, thanks to new discoveries in astrobiology. Today, the advent of cutting-edge observational instruments is shedding light on amazing facts about life and the universe. NASA's next-generation space telescope TESS (Exoplanet Survey Satellite) has begun its search for Earth-like planets belonging to other star systems. How many of these 'exoplanets' can host life, and what kind of life forms can evolve in these environments?
Series: Space Phenomena
Building Giants
Building Giants

   2019    Technology
Neanderthal
Neanderthal

      History
The Last Dance
The Last Dance

   2020    Culture
Science and Islam
Science and Islam

   2017    History
The Nazis, A Warning From History
The Nazis, A Warning From History

   1997    History
The Men Who Built America
The Men Who Built America

   2012    History
Pets: Wild at Heart
Pets: Wild at Heart

   2015    Nature
Cosmos
Cosmos

   1980    Science