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Trinity and Beyond: The Atomic Bomb Movie

   1995    Technology
An unsettling yet visually fascinating documentary presenting the history of nuclear weapons development and testing between 1945 until 1963. Narrated by William Shatner, features extremely rare film segments from top secret government archives and startling footage of nuclear bomb tests conducted by Great Britain and China, plus the largest atomic explosion ever created by Russia, and de-classified U.S. footage released to the public as recent as May, 2006. Whether being exploded under the ocean, suspended by a balloon, shot from a cannon or even detonated in space, these weapons are capable of devastating destruction - the quality of these images is as startling as are remarkable.

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

Workingman Death

   2005    Culture
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.
Top Gear
Top Gear

   2012    Technology
The Sky at Night
The Sky at Night

   2020    Science
Planet Earth
Planet Earth

   2007    Nature
The Mind Explained
The Mind Explained

   2019    Medicine
Dynamic Genomes Series
Dynamic Genomes Series

   2019    Medicine
How to Grow a Planet
How to Grow a Planet

   2012    Science
Inner Worlds Outer Worlds
Inner Worlds Outer Worlds

   2012    Culture