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Series: Cosmos: Possible Worlds

 

Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors

   2020    Nature
When Homo sapiens, which means 'wise ones,' discovered and controlled fire hundreds of thousands of years ago, everything changed. Fire allowed us to cook food and heat dwellings, and it served as a focal point for storytelling and sharing cultural identity among community members. We don't yet have established parameters for what it means to be 'distinctly human,' It would seem the only thing that separates us from other animals, Neil deGrasse Tyson ponders, is our neurotic need to feel 'special'. Against the backdrop of the Halls of Extinction, Tyson insists that there must be a clear distinction between ourselves and animals that justifies our eating them, wearing them and even bringing an end to their species.
From the birth of the devil in ancient Persia to a searing story of saintliness among macaque monkeys, this episode is an exploration of human potential for change. It concludes with the story of how one of history's greatest monsters was transformed into one of its shining lights.

Coming of Age In The Anthropocene

   2020    Nature
At 11 o'clock on New Year's Eve of the Cosmic Calendar, Homo erectus stood up for the first time, freeing its hands and earning the species its name. They began to move around, to explore, daring to risk everything to get to unknown places. Our Neanderthal relatives lived much as we did and did many of the things we consider to be 'human.' More restless than their cousins the Neanderthals and Denisovans, our Homo sapiens ancestors crossed seas and unforgiving landscapes, changing the land, ocean and atmosphere, leading to mass extinction. The scientific community gave our age a new name, 'Anthropocene.'
Since the first civilizations we've wondered if there's something about human nature that contains the seeds of our destruction. Syukuro Manabe was born in rural Japan and took an intense interest in Earth's average global temperature. In the 1960's, he would assemble the evidence he needed to predict the increase of Earth's temperature due to greenhouse gases until it becomes an uninhabitable and toxic environment, leading to our extinction. 'This doesn't have to be,' says Neil deGrasse Tyson, 'it's not too late. There's another hallway, another future we can still have; we'll find a way.'

Seven Wonders of the New World

   2020    Science
The final episode of the series ponders the fate of planet Earth. Neil deGrasse Tyson opens with a reflection on science and those who help us understand it: 'We all feel the weight of the shadows on our future, but in another time, every bit as ominous as our own, there were those who could see a way through the darkness to find a star to steer by.'
The young Carl Sagan and Neil Tyson first discovered their passion for science at the NY World's Fairs of the past. We visit the dazzling Pavilions of the 2039 NY World's Fair, where problems we currently think intractable have been plausibly solved through public commitment and scientific imagination. And our baby is a woman now, with a baby of her own and a future bright with possibilities.
Planet Earth
Planet Earth

   2007    Nature
Putin: A Russian Spy Story
Putin: A Russian Spy Story

   2020    History
Leaving Neverland
Leaving Neverland

   2019    Culture
Dynamic Genomes Series
Dynamic Genomes Series

   2019    Medicine
The Big Think
The Big Think

   2017    Technology
Space Phenomena
Space Phenomena

   2020    Science
Through the Wormhole
Through the Wormhole

   2011    Science
Reel Rock
Reel Rock

   2014    Culture