Sagan discusses comets and asteroids as planetary impactors, giving recent examples of the Tunguska event and a lunar impact described by Canterbury monks in 1178. It moves to a description of the environment of Venus, from the previous fantastic theories of people such as Immanuel Velikovsky to the information gained by the Venera landers and its implications for Earth's greenhouse effect. The Cosmos Update highlights the connection to global warming.
Category:Science Duration:01:00:00 Series: Cosmos
This episode explores the nature of the greenhouse effect (discovered by Joseph Fourier and Svante Arrhenius), and the evidence demonstrating the existence of global warming from humanity's influence. Tyson begins by describing the long-term history of the planet Venus; based on readings from the Venera series of probes to the planet, the planet had once had an ocean and an atmosphere, but due to the release of carbon dioxide from volcanic eruptions, the runaway greenhouse effect on Venus caused the surface temperatures to increase and boiled away the oceans. Tyson then notes the delicate nature of the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere can influence Earth's climate due to the greenhouse effect, and that levels of carbon dioxide have been increasing since the start of the 20th century. Evidence has shown this to be from mankind's consumption of oil, coal, and gas instead of from volcanic eruptions due to the isotopic signature of the carbon dioxide. The increase in carbon dioxide has led to an increase in temperatures, in turn leading to positive feedback loops of the melting polar ice caps and dethawing of the permafrost to increase carbon dioxide levels. Tyson then notes that humans have discovered means of harvesting solar power, such as Augustin Mouchot's solar-driven motor in the 19th century, and Frank Shuman's solar-based steam generator in the 1910's. Tyson points out that in both cases, the economics and ease of using cheap coal and oil caused these inventions to be overlooked at the time. Today, solar and wind-power systems would be able to collect enough solar energy from the sun easily. Tyson then compares the motivation for switching to these cleaner forms of energy to the efforts of the Space race and emphasizes that it is not too late for humanity to correct its course.
Category:Nature Duration:40:00 Series: Cosmos 2014
Playing with Nuclear Fire' - In March 2011, the Tohoku earthquake in Japan created a tsunami that killed some 16,000 people and crippled the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. In the aftermath, the government and TEPCO, the plant's operator, withheld information about the extent of the damage. Three years later, citizens and the international community are left wondering if Japan really does have the situation under control, as the government is insisting, or if the danger is far greater than anyone is willing to admit. 'No Man Left Behind' - It's estimated that over a quarter million vets from recent wars have sought treatment for PTSD. Despite these statistics, veterans often face an uphill battle to get treatment, receiving inadequate attention and, most dangerously, overprescribed narcotics and other pharmaceuticals. Ryan Duffy meets veterans struggling with mental illness and addiction.
Category:Technology Duration:28:00 Series: Vice
The Southern Ocean, which circles the globe without being blocked by land, is home to the Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC), the longest of the world's ocean currents. Also known as the "channel", it connects the Indian, Atlantic and Pacific Ocean basins and exerts a powerful influence over the Earth's climate. The ACC carries 150 times more water around Antarctica than the flow of all the world's rivers combined.
Category:Nature Duration:58:00 Series: Oceans
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