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Generation Iron II
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Rapidly Evolving Human
2018 Science HD
We humans often like to think we're the end of the line when it comes to evolution. But if we rewind through our short time on Earth as a species, and the many changes that have occurred to us along the way, we find we're still very much a work in progress. Renowned geneticist and author Spencer Wells reveals how changes in our genetic code have fuelled major changes in our appearance and capabilities over time, and why scientists believe we're continuing to rapidly evolve today. By understanding these changes, we are better prepared for the future.
The Story of Maths The Language of the Universe
This four-part British television series outlines aspects of the history of mathematics. Written and presented by University of Oxford professor Marcus du Sautoy, it is a co-production between the Open University and the BBC. In the first episode, Marcus du Sautoy in Egypt uncovers use of a decimal system based on ten fingers of the hand and discovers that the way we tell the time is based on the Babylonian Base 60 number system. In Greece, he looks at the contributions of some of the giants of mathematics including Plato, Archimedes and Pythagoras, who is credited with beginning the transformation of mathematics from a counting tool into the analytical subject of today. A controversial figure, Pythagoras’ teachings were considered suspect and his followers seen as social outcasts and a little be strange and not in the norm. There is a legend going around that one of his followers, Hippasus, was drowned when he announced his discovery of irrational numbers. As well as his work on the properties of right angled triangles, Pythagoras developed another important theory after observing musical instruments. He discovered that the intervals between harmonious musical notes are always in whole number intervals.
The Story of Maths
Prediction By The Numbers
Predictions underlie nearly every aspect of our lives, from sports, politics, and medical decisions to the morning commute. With the explosion of digital technology, the internet, and 'big data,' the science of forecasting is flourishing. But why do some predictions succeed spectacularly while others fail abysmally? And how can we find meaningful patterns amidst chaos and uncertainty? From the glitz of casinos and TV game shows to the life-and-death stakes of storm forecasts and the flaws of opinion polls that can swing an election, 'Prediction by the Numbers' explores stories of statistics in action. Yet advances in machine learning and big data models that increasingly rule our lives are also posing big, disturbing questions. How much should we trust predictions made by algorithms when we don't understand how they arrive at them? And how far ahead can we really forecast?
Comet of the Century
Comet ISON can well be the brightest and most spectacular comet for a generation. It appeared above the eastern horizon from December 2013 as a glorious streak across the sky. ISON has been travelling towards the sun for ten thousand years and will make only one orbit through its corona before disappearing off into the outer solar system.
But as well as providing a great spectacle, ISON's tail of vaporised gas and water, hundreds of millions of kilometres long, will give insights into some of the greatest mysteries of science; it will help explain the origins of the solar system, whether earth's water was delivered on comets and even whether we are alone in the universe.
Dinosaurs Myths and Monsters
From dinosaurs to mammoths, when our ancient ancestors encountered the fossil bones of extinct prehistoric creatures, what did they think they were? Just like us, ancient peoples were fascinated by the giant bones they found in the ground. Historian Tom Holland goes on a journey of discovery to explore the fascinating ways in which our ancestors sought to explain the remains of dinosaurs and other giant prehistoric creatures, and how bones and fossils have shaped and affected human culture.
In Classical Greece, petrified bones were exhibited in temples as the remains of a long-lost race of colossal heroes. Chinese tales of dragons may well have had their origins in the great fossil beds of the Gobi desert. In the Middle Ages, Christians believed that mysterious bones found in rock were the remains of giants drowned in Noah's Flood.
Tom encounters a medieval sculpture that is the first known reconstruction of a monster from a fossil, and learns about the Native Americans stories, told for generations, which contained clues that led bone hunters to some of the greatest dinosaur finds of the nineteenth century.
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