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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

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

Life in the Undergrowth
Life in the Undergrowth

   2005    Nature
The Secret History of Writing
The Secret History of Writing

   2020    History
Cosmos
Cosmos

   1980    Science
Planet Earth
Planet Earth

   2007    Nature
Leaving Neverland
Leaving Neverland

   2019    Culture
Zeitgeist
Zeitgeist

   2007    Culture
Queen Live at Wembley Stadium
Queen Live at Wembley Stadium

   1986    Art
Clash of the Gods
Clash of the Gods

   2009    History