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The Great Levelling

   2010    Technology
Twenty years on from the invention of the world wide web, this major new series takes stock of its profound impact – how, for better and for worse, the digital revolution is reshaping our lives. Dr Aleks Krotoski explores the meaning of a phenomenon that is transforming everything, from how we learn to how we shop, vote and make friends. With a quarter of the planet connected so far, this series examines what is in store for the remaining 75 per cent of the world's population as they come online." In the first part series, Aleks charts the extraordinary rise of blogs, Wikipedia and YouTube, and traces an ongoing clash between the freedom the technology offers us, and our innate human desire to control and profit. Dr Aleks Krotoski looks at how it is reshaping almost every aspect of our lives. Joined by some of the web's biggest names - including the founders of Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, Apple and Microsoft, and the web's inventor - she explores how far the web has lived up to its early promise.
Series: The Virtual Revolution

The Cost of Free

   2010    Technology
In the third programme of the series, Aleks gives the lowdown on how, for better and for worse, commerce has colonized the web - and reveals how web users are paying for what appear to be 'free' sites and services in hidden ways. Joined by some of the most influential business leaders of today's web, including Eric Schmidt (CEO of Google), Chad Hurley (CEO of YouTube), Bill Gates, Martha Lane Fox and Reed Hastings (CEO of Netflix), Aleks traces how business, with varying degrees of success, has attempted to make money on the web. She tells the inside story of the gold rush years of the dotcom bubble and reveals how retailers such as Amazon learned the lessons. She also charts how, out of the ashes, Google forged the business model that has come to dominate today's web, offering a plethora of highly attractive, overtly free web services, including search, maps and video, that are in fact funded through a sophisticated and highly lucrative advertising system which trades on what we users look for. Aleks explores how web advertising is evolving further to become more targeted and relevant to individual consumers. Recommendation engines, pioneered by retailers such as Amazon, are also breaking down the barriers between commerce and consumer by marketing future purchases to us based on our previous choices. On the surface, the web appears to have brought about a revolution in convenience. But, as companies start to build up databases on our online habits and preferences, Aleks questions what this may mean for our notions of privacy and personal space in the 21st century
Series: The Virtual Revolution

Surviving

   1995    Nature
the final episode deals with plants that live in hostile environments. Attenborough visits Ellesmere Island, north of the Arctic Circle, to demonstrate that even in a place that is unconducive to life, it can be found. Algae and lichens grow in or on rock, and during summer, when the ice melts, flowers are much more apparent. However, they must remain close to the ground to stay out of the chilling wind. In the Tasmanian mountains, plants conserve heat by growing into 'cushions' that act as solar panels, with as many as a million individual shoots grouped together as one. Others, such as the lobelia in Mount Kenya, have a 'fur coat' of dense hairs on their leaves. The saguaro cactus in the Sonoran Desert flourishes because of its ability to retain vast amounts of water, which can't be lost through leaves because it has none. Many desert dwellers benefit from an accelerated life cycle, blooming rapidly within weeks after rainfall. Conversely, Mount Roraima is one of the wettest places on Earth. It is a huge sandstone plateau with high waterfalls and nutrients are continuously washed away, so plants have to adapt their diet if they are to survive. A bladderwort is shown invading a bromeliad. Inhabitants of lakes have other problems to contend with: those that dominate the surface will proliferate, and the Amazon water lily provides an apt illustration. Attenborough ends the series with an entreaty for the conservation of plant species.
Series: The Private Life of Plants

Conquistadors: The Search for El Dorado

   2002    History
Francisco de Orellana failed to find El Dorado, but discovered the Amazon. Early in 1541, a rumor swept Quito that beyond the mountains, there lay a land richer than Mexico, or even Peru - a land of gold. The ruler of this land was so rich that he covered himself with gold dust every day and washed it off every evening. He was "the golden man", El Dorado. They had tree goals: to find La Canela, the land of cinnamon: to assess new lands for colonization; and to find El Dorado. On march 1541, They marched eastwards with more that 200 Spanish troops and thousands of native servants.
Series: Conquistadors

Lord of Asia

   1997    History
Michael crosses Iran towards the Caspian Sea. He meets nomads who tell of Alexander's tryst with an Amazon queen, and the living descendants of Alexander's Persian enemies, who have their own tales of `Alexander the Accursed'.
Series: In the Footsteps of Alexander the Great
Natural World
Natural World

   2009    Nature
Walking with Cavemen
Walking with Cavemen

   2003    History
The Wehrmacht
The Wehrmacht

   2007    History
Dinosaur Planet
Dinosaur Planet

   2003    Science
The Crime of the Century
The Crime of the Century

   2021    Medicine
Prehistoric America
Prehistoric America

   2003    Nature
The Story of God
The Story of God

   2016    Culture
The Life of Mammals
The Life of Mammals

   2002    Nature