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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

Chicago

   2014    Art
Foo Fighters commemorate their 20th anniversary by documenting the eight-city recording odyssey that produced their latest, and eighth, studio album. Foo Fighters founder Dave Grohl directs the series, which taps into the musical heritage and cultural fabric of eight cities: Chicago, Austin, Nashville, Los Angeles, Seattle, New Orleans, Washington D.C. and New York. The band based themselves at a legendary recording studio integral to the unique history and character of each location. One song was recorded in each city, and every track features local legends. Even the lyrics were developed in an experimental, unprecedented way: Grohl held off on writing them until the last day of each session, letting himself be inspired by the experiences, interviews and personalities that became part of the process. Foo Fighters Sonic Highways is, in Grohl’s words, “a love letter to the history of American music.” Each episode delves into the identity of each city -- showing how each region shaped these musicians in their formative years and, in turn, how they impacted the cultural fabric of their hometowns. Every artist who appears in the show, regardless of genre or locale, started as an average kid with universal dreams of making music and making it big. Grohl made his feature film directorial debut in 2013 with the universally acclaimed Grammy-winning Sound City, a celebration of the human element in the creation and recording of music. Foo Fighters have won 11 Grammy Awards, including four for Best Rock Album, more than any other band. Premiering on the eve of Foo Fighters’ 20th anniversary, Foo Fighters Sonic Highways aims to “give back” to the next generation of young musicians. As guitarist and singer Buddy Guy, an interviewee from the Chicago blues scene, explains, “Everything comes from what’s come before.”
In the first episode, Dave Grohl and friends discuss the rise of the famous Chicago music scene from the roots blues of Muddy Waters and Buddy Guy to the Rock and roll of Cheap Trick.
Series: Sonic Highways

Planet Earth A Celebration

   2020    Nature    HD
In these extraordinary times, there is one thing that can offer solace to everyone – the wonder of the natural world. In the most extreme of environments, from the hottest deserts to the freezing poles, from the highest mountains to underwater kingdoms, animals overcome adversity to survive and thrive, offering a message of hope to humanity.
To raise our spirits, David Attenborough, Hans Zimmer and Dave unite for a special Natural History event – Planet Earth: A Celebration. The special one-hour programme brings together eight of the most extraordinary sequences from Planet Earth II and Blue Planet II including racer snakes vs iguana, surfing bottlenose dolphins and rare footage of the Himalayan snow leopard.

Fresh Water

   2019    Nature    HD
Everything that lives on land, animal or plant, depends on fresh water. Yet only part of it is within reach: Much of the planet's fresh water, is locked away, almost two-thirds of it lies frozen around the poles. Even away from the poles, much of the land's fresh water freezes each winter. The need for fresh water is as strong as ever. However, the supply is becoming increasingly unpredictable and uncertain for all manner of species. We are not alone in our need for water, but we have the ability to ensure the fresh waters of the world do flow, and we alone can determine how they are shared.
Series: Our Planet

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.
Apocalypse: World War 1
Apocalypse: World War 1

   2014    History
Generation Iron
Generation Iron

   2017    Culture
The Truth About
The Truth About

   2018    Medicine
The Universe Season 8
The Universe Season 8

   2016    Science
Senna
Senna

   2010    Culture
Ancient Aliens
Ancient Aliens

      History
Prehistoric America
Prehistoric America

   2003    Nature