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The Great European Disaster Movie

   2015    Science
Annalisa Piras and former editor of The Economist Bill Emmott, which explores the crisis facing Europe. Through case studies of citizens in different countries, the film explores a range of factors that have led to the present crisis, economic and identity challenges across Europe. High-level experts analyse how and why things are going so wrong. The film includes fictional scenes, set in a post-EU future, which feature archaeologist Charles Granda (played by Angus Deayton) travelling on a flight through a menacing storm, explaining to a child passenger what the EU was. Sombre, thought-provoking and witty, the film frames Europe through the eyes of those who have most at stake - the Europeans themselves.

The Seven New Signs of the Apocalypse

   2015    Culture
Every day our planet faces cataclysmic events that threaten our very existence. Whether from natural or man-made forces, rising from the earth or menacing from space, the world seems beset by more catastrophes than ever. Some believe the signs of the coming Apocalypse are all around us–as outlined in the bible’s most compelling book of prophecies: Revelation". And even the non-religious can’t ignore what appears to be a growing rate of globe-threatening disasters. Are we approaching a biblical “End of Times”? And if so–how will it happen? Will it come from an act of God? Or a colossal misstep of man? Get an uncomfortably close front row seat to some of the most likely apocalyptic scenarios our world faces today–and the history, both scientific and biblical, behind them.

The Immortals

   2014    Science
This episode covers the nature of how life may have developed on Earth and the possibility of life on other planets. Tyson begins by explaining how the human development of writing systems enabled the transfer of information through generations, describing how Princess Enheduanna ca. 2280 BCE would be one of the first to sign her name to her works, and how Gilgamesh collected stories, including that of Utnapishtim documenting a great flood comparable to the story of Noah's Ark. Tyson explains how DNA similarly records information to propagate life, and postulates theories of how DNA originated on Earth, including evolution from a shallow tide pool, or from the ejecta of meteor collisions from other planets. In the latter case, Tyson explains how comparing the composition of the Nakhla meteorite in 1911 to results collected by the Viking program demonstrated that material from Mars could transit to Earth, and the ability of some microbes to survive the harsh conditions of space. With the motions of solar systems through the galaxy over billions of years, life could conceivably propagate from planet to planet in the same manner. Tyson then moves on to consider if life on other planets could exist. He explains how Project Diana performed in the 1960s showed that radio waves are able to travel in space, and that all of humanity's broadcast signals continue to radiate into space from our planet. Tyson notes that projects have since looked for similar signals potentially emanating from other solar systems. Tyson then explains that the development and lifespan of extraterrestrial civilizations must be considered for such detection to be realized. He notes that civilizations can be wiped out by cosmic events like supernovae, natural disasters such as the Toba disaster, or even self-destruct through war or other means, making probability estimates difficult. Tyson describes how elliptical galaxies, in which some of the oldest red dwarf stars exist, would offer the best chance of finding established civilizations. Tyson concludes that human intelligence properly applied should allow our species to avoid such disasters and enable us to migrate beyond the Earth before the Sun's eventual transformation into a red giant.
Series: Cosmos 2014

Bears

   2014    Nature
Enjoy this wonderful documentary from Disney Nature about a family of brown bears living in the coastal mountain ranges of Alaska." A brown bear mother named Sky gives birth to two cubs named Amber and Scout in her den on a mountain slope. When April comes the bears will be ready to leave the den. As the bears leave the oncoming summer brings with it a threat of avalanches. Fortunately the bears are able to avoid disaster. Upon reaching the lush valley below, the cubs meet the other bears, some of which pose a threat to the cubs; among these bears are Magnus, a big healthy male, and Chinook, an older male. The family works together to survive the spring, with Sky keeping the cubs safe from Tikaani, a pesky grey wolf...

Virunga

   2014    Nature
A group of brave individuals risk their lives to save the last of the world's mountain gorillas; in the midst of renewed civil war and a scramble for Congo's natural resources." Virunga National Park in the Congo is a place of unique natural beauty. It is the home to a plethora of wonderful animals and vegetation but as is so often the way, it has several serious problems that threaten it. It's the location of human violence, corruption and exploitation. The disasters that specifically loom are two different groups, the M23 and SOCO International. The former are a violent rebel force who engages in an ongoing civil war with the Congolese government and the latter are a British energy company who specialise in oil exploration. Both M23 and SOCO invade the park in their own ways and neither seems very interested in the laws that have been set up to protect the flora and fauna that exist there, far less the people who live there. It seems hardly surprising in the case of M23, as they are a paramilitary organisation who can hardly be expected to be concerned with such things but it is the more legitimate big business SOCO who seem more worrying if anything. We discover in fact that they have been involved in a bribery campaign, utilising M23 as enforcers. It's a very murky situation where big money walks all over an impoverished nation and disregards a natural space that they can see no value in in their pursuit of financial profit.
Triumph of Life
Triumph of Life

   2006    Nature
The Wehrmacht
The Wehrmacht

   2007    History
Seven Ages of Rock
Seven Ages of Rock

   2007    Art
Prehistoric America
Prehistoric America

   2003    Nature
Planet Earth
Planet Earth

   2007    Nature
Cosmos
Cosmos

   1980    Science
Blood of the Vikings
Blood of the Vikings

   2001    History