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The Satanic Verses 30 Years On
The publication of Salman Rushdie's novel The Satanic Verses in 1988 sparked a culture war in Britain between those in the Muslim community, who considered the book blasphemous and called for the book to be banned, and those defending it as an expression of freedom of speech. Protests, which began in the north of England, soon spread across the UK and to the rest of the Islamic world, culminating in February 1989 with Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini issuing a fatwa - a death sentence on the writer.
Now, 30 years on, broadcaster and journalist Mobeen Azhar embarks on a journey, starting in his native Yorkshire where the protest first began, to examine the lasting effect the book has had on the Muslim community and how the events of 1989 continue to have an impact today.
H.O.P.E. What You Eat Matters
Half of the population in Western society suffers from being overweight. Cardio-vascular diseases, diabetes and cancer are epidemic. Our meat consumption has quintupled over the past 50 years. 65 billion land animals are being slaughtered every year for food consumption. One third of the global grain production is fed to animals for fattening while 1.8 billion people worldwide suffer from hunger and starvation. Can there really be a solution to all these problems?
H.O.P.E. is a life-changing documentary uncovering and revealing the effects of our typical Western diet high in animal-based foods. It contrasts the limited interests of the pharmaceutical and agricultural industry with the all-encompassing interests of living beings on this planet and with the power of responsible consumer action. H.O.P.E. is an urgent call to action to all of us to commit to a change towards sustainability and safeguarding our living environment.
Drowning in Plastic
Our blue planet is facing one its biggest threats in human history. Trillions of pieces of plastic are choking the very lifeblood of our earth, and every marine animal, from the smallest plankton to the largest mammals, is being affected. But can we turn back this growing plastic tide before it is too late? Wildlife biologist Liz Bonnin visits scientists working at the cutting edge of plastics research. She works with some of the world's leading marine biologists and campaigners to discover the true dangers of plastic in our oceans and what it means for the future of all life on our planet, including us.
Liz travels to a remote island off the coast of Australia that is the nesting site for a population of seabirds called flesh-footed shearwaters. Newly hatched chicks are unable to regurgitate effectively, so they are filling up on deadly plastic. She visits the Coral Triangle that stretches from Papua New Guinea to the Solomon Islands to find out more from top coral scientists trying to work out why plastic is so lethal to the reefs, fragile ecosystems that contain 25 per cent of all marine life.
Numbers as God
Mathematician Dr Hannah Fry explores the mystery of maths. It underpins so much of our modern world that it's hard to imagine life without its technological advances, but where exactly does maths come from? Is it invented like a language or is it something discovered and part of the fabric of the universe? It's a question that some of the most eminent mathematical minds have been wrestling with. To investigate this question, Hannah goes head first down the fastest zip wire in the world to learn more about Newton's law of gravity, she paraglides to understand where the theory of maths and its practice application collide, and she travels to infinity and beyond to discover that some infinities are bigger than others.
In this episode, Hannah goes back to the time of the ancient Greeks to find out why they were so fascinated by the connection between beautiful music and maths. The patterns our ancestors found in music are all around us, from the way a sunflower stores its seeds to the number of petals in a flower. Even the shapes of some of the smallest structures in nature, such as viruses, seem to follow the rules of maths. All strong evidence for maths being discovered. But there are those who claim maths is all in our heads and something we invented. To find out if this is true, Hannah has her brain scanned. It turns out there is a place in all our brains where we do maths, but that doesn't prove its invented.
Experiments with infants, who have never had a maths lesson in their lives, suggests we all come hardwired to do maths. Far from being a creation of the human mind, this is evidence for maths being something we discover. Then along comes the invention of zero to help make counting more convenient and the creation of imaginary numbers, and the balance is tilted in the direction of maths being something we invented. The question of whether maths is invented or discovered just got a whole lot more difficult to answer
The film uses drones, hidden and handheld cameras to expose the dark underbelly of modern animal agriculture, questioning the morality and validity of humankind's dominion over the animal kingdom. While mainly focusing on animals used for food, it also explores other ways animals are exploited and abused by humans, including clothing, entertainment and research.
In words of its writer & director, Chris Delforce, 'Dominion to me is the idea of one group or entity exercising control, power or authority over another, under the belief that they have the right to do so. Often this belief seems to stem from the perception of self-superiority and that might equals right. Through this film I challenge both the notion that animals are inferior, and that we as humans have the right to use and treat them as we please for our own ends – and I briefly examine how this superiority complex has and continues to complement some of humanity's darkest ideologies, asking viewers to consider the similarities between racism, sexism and speciesism.'
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