Austrian director Michael Glawogger travels to five countries to focus on some of the worst jobs imaginable: Ukrainian miners crawl into tiny cracks in old coal pits to scratch out a few bags of winter fuel; Indonesian workers trudge long distances carrying baskets with hundreds of pounds of sulfur chunks extracted from a steaming mountain; Pakistanis risk explosions and burial under tons of scrap iron as they dismantle huge carrier ships. The visuals are everything here. Despite the hardships depicted, many sequences have a dreamlike beauty. In addition, the director has a bone-dry sense of irony; during the Ukraine scenes, he frequently cuts away to a statue of Stakhanov, the "hero" lauded by the Soviets for his superhuman work habits. He also shows us an old German smelting works that's been converted into a theme park.
This scientific detective tale tells the story of a remarkable group of pioneers who wanted to reach the ultimate extreme: absolute zero, a place so cold that the physical world as we know it doesn't exist, electricity flows without resistance, fluids defy gravity and the speed of light can be reduced to 38 miles per hour. Absolute zero became the Holy Grail of temperature physicists and is considered the gateway to many new technologies, such as nano-construction, neurological networks and quantum computing. The possibilities, it seems, are limitless. The first episode Chronicles the major discoveries leading towards the mastery of cold, beginning with King James I's court magician, Cornelius Drebbel, who managed to air condition the largest interior space in the British Isles in 1620. Other stories will include the first "natural philosopher," Robert Boyle, a founder of the Royal Society in Great Britain; the Grand Duke Ferdinand II de Medici's involvement in the creation of the first thermometer; the establishment of the laws of thermodynamics by three young scientists, Sadi Carnot, James Joule and William Thomson; and Michael Faraday's critical achievement in liquefying several other gases which set the stage for the commercial application of cold to refrigeration and air conditioning.
Category:Technology Duration:59:00 Series: Absolute Zero
Michael Wood tells the tale of China's first great international age under the Tang Dynasty (618-907). From the picturesque old city of Luoyang, he travels along the Silk Road to the bazaars of central Asia and into India on the track of the Chinese monk who brought Buddhism back to China. This tale is still loved by the Chinese today and is brought to life by storytellers, films and shadow puppet plays. Then in the backstreets and markets of Xi'an, Michael meets descendants of the traders from central Asia and Persia who came into China on the Silk Road. He talks to Chinese Muslims in the Great Mosque and across town hears the amazing story of the first reception of Christianity in 635. Moving south, Michael sees the beginnings of China as an economic giant. On the Grand Canal, a lock built in 605 still handles 800 barges every day! The film tracks the rise of the silk industry and the world's favourite drink - tea. Michael looks too at the spread of Chinese script, language and culture across east Asia. 'China's influence on the East was as profound as Rome on the Latin West', he says, 'and still is today'. Finally, the film tells the intense drama of the fall of the Tang. Among the eyewitnesses were China's greatest poets. In a secondary school in a dusty village, where the Chinese Shakespeare - Du Fu - is buried in the grounds, the pupils take Michael through one famous poem about loss and longing as the dynasty falls. And in that ordinary classroom, there is a sense of the amazing drama and the deep-rooted continuities of Chinese culture.
Category:History Duration:59:00 Series: The Story of China
The title of Ava DuVernay's extraordinary and galvanizing documentary refers to the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, which reads 'Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States.' The progression from that second qualifying clause to the horrors of mass criminalization and the sprawling American prison industry is laid out by DuVernay with bracing lucidity. With a potent mixture of archival footage and testimony from a dazzling array of activists, politicians, historians, and formerly incarcerated women and men, DuVernay creates a work of grand historical synthesis.
|Showing 29||- 30||of 30||<<||<|