Today, the topic of climate change is a major part of daily life, yet 40 years ago it was virtually unheard of. Since then, Horizon have followed scientists as they have tried to unpick how the climate works and whether it is changing. Dr Helen Czerski delves into this unique archive to chart the transformation of a little-known theory into one of the greatest scientific undertakings in history. It has been a constantly surprising journey of discovery that has revolutionised our understanding of climate, and seen scientists face unprecedented controversy and criticism.
By the time he died in 1931, Thomas Alva Edison was one of the most famous men in the world. The holder of more patents than any other inventor in history, Edison had achieved glory as the genius behind such revolutionary inventions as sound recording, motion pictures, and electric light. Edison's curiosity led him to its cutting edge. With just three months of formal schooling, he took on one seemingly impossible technical challenge after another, and through intuition, persistence, and a unique team approach to innovation, invariably solved it." Driven and intensely competitive, Edison was often neglectful in his private life and could be ruthless in business. Challenged by competition in the industry he'd founded, Edison launched an ugly propaganda campaign against his rivals, and used his credibility as an electrical expert to help ensure that high-voltage electrocution became a form of capital punishment. Edison explores the complex alchemy that accounts for the enduring celebrity of America's most famous inventor, offering new perspectives on the man and his milieu, and illuminating not only the true nature of invention, but its role in turn-of-the-century America's rush into the future.
With the rapid emergence of digital devices, an unstoppable, invisible force is changing human lives: Big Data, a word that was barely used a few years ago but now governs the day for many of us. The real time visualization of data streaming in from satellites, billions of sensors and GPS enabled cameras and smart phones is beginning to enable us to sense, measure and understand aspects of our existence in ways never possible before". This massive gathering and analysing of data in real time is also allowing us to address to some of humanity biggest challenges, including pollution, world hunger and illness, and it is also helping create a new kind of planetary nervous system. But as Edward Snowden and the release of the NSA documents have shown, the accessibility of all this data comes at a steep price. The Human Face of Big Data captures the promise and peril of this extraordinary knowledge revolution.
Four and a half billion years ago, the young Earth was a hellish place, a seething chaos of meteorite impacts, volcanoes belching noxious gases, and lightning flashing through a thin, torrid atmosphere. Then, in a process that has puzzled scientists for decades, life emerged. But how? Join mineralogist Robert Hazen as he journeys around the globe. From an ancient Moroccan market to the Australian Outback, he advances a startling and counterintuitive idea—that the rocks beneath our feet were not only essential to jump-starting life, but that microbial life helped give birth to hundreds of minerals we know and depend on today. It's a theory of the co-evolution of Earth and life that is reshaping the grand-narrative of our planet’s story.
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