Horizon explores the strange and wonderful world of illusions – and reveals the tricks they play on our senses and why they fool us. We show how easy it is to trick your sense of taste by changing the colours of food and drink, explain how what you see can change what you hear, and see just how unreliable our sense of colour can be. But all this trickery has a serious purpose. It’s helping scientists to create a new understanding of how our senses work – not as individual senses, but connected together. It holds the intriguing possibility that one sense could be mapped into another.
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.
Category:Nature Duration:49:00 Series: The Private Life of Plants
Born in Groot-Zundert, The Netherlands, Van Gogh spent his early life as an art dealer, teacher and preacher in England, Holland and Belgium. His period as an artist began in 1881 when he chose to study art in Brussels, starting with watercolours and moving quickly on to oils. The French countryside was a major influence on his life and his early work was dominated by sombre, earthy colours depicting peasant workers, the most famous of which is The Potato Eaters, 1885. It was during Van Gogh's studies in Paris (1886-8) that he developed the individual style of brushwork and use of colour that made his name. In 1888 he moved to Arles where the Provençal landscape provided his best-known subject matter. However, it also marked the start of his mental crisis following an argument with his contemporary Paul Gauguin. Van Gogh was committed to a mental asylum in 1889 where he continued to paint, but he committed suicide in 1890.
Category:Art Duration:60:00 Series: Power of Art
The human eye is a remarkable piece of precision engineering, but it is also extremely limited. Beyond the narrow range of light that makes up the familiar colours of the rainbow is a vast spectrum of light, entirely unseen. Richard Hammond does just that, using ground-breaking new imaging technologies to take the viewer on a breath-taking journey of discovery beyond the visible spectrum, seeing the world, quite literally, in a whole new light. From death-defying aerial repairmen in the United States using ultraviolet cameras to seek out an invisible force that lurks unseen on power lines, to German scientists unlocking the secrets of animal locomotion with the world's most powerful moving x-ray camera, to infrared cameras that can finally reveal the secrets within a humble beehive, he shows how new technologies are letting us see our world anew.
Category:Science Duration: Series: Invisible Worlds
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