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The Mastery of Flight

   1998    Nature
The second programme deals with the mechanics of flight. Getting into the air is by far the most exhausting of a bird's activities, and Sir Attenborough observes shearwaters in Japan that have taken to climbing trees to give them a good jumping-off point. The albatross is so large that it can only launch itself after a run-up to create a flow of air over its wings. A combination of aerodynamics and upward air currents (or thermals), together with the act of flapping or gliding is what keeps a bird aloft. Landing requires less energy but a greater degree of skill, particularly for a big bird, such as a swan. Weight is kept to a minimum by having a beak made of keratin instead of bone, a light frame, and a coat of feathers, which is maintained fastidiously. The peregrine falcon holds the record for being fastest in the air, diving at speeds of over 300 km/h. Conversely, the barn owl owes its predatory success to flying slowly, while the kestrel spots its quarry by hovering. However, the true specialists in this regard are the hummingbirds, whose wings beat at the rate of 25 times a second. The habits of migratory birds are explored. After stocking up with food during the brief summer of the north, such species will set off on huge journeys southwards. Some, such as snow geese, travel continuously, using both the stars and the sun for navigation. They are contrasted with hawks and vultures, which glide overland on warm air, and therefore have to stop overnight.
Series: The Life of Birds

Star

   2000    Science
Travel to heart of the Sun, our star, a cauldron of superheated gases that writhe and contort along immense magnetic field lines. Discover how even life itself is forged in the heart of stars. We are made of stardust.
Series: The Planets

Is Gravity An illusion

   2014    Science
We feel it every moment of our lives but for physicists, gravity is the longest running unsolved mystery of the universe. Why do all objects that have mass pull on one another? Cutting-edge theories are proposing unexpected answers: Gravity could be another force in disguise, a thermodynamic mirage, or even, a shadow of a hidden holographic universe. If so, the force that holds us to the surface of the earth, and holds the earth in orbit around the sun, may be a trick of the mind. We feel it, but it may not be real. Is Gravity an Illusion?
Series: Through the Wormhole Season 5

Antarctica: A Year on Ice

   2013    Nature
A visually stunning journey to the end of the world with the hardy and devoted people who live there year-round. The research stations scattered throughout the continent host a close-knit international population of scientists, technicians and craftsmen. Isolated from the rest of the world, enduring months of unending darkness followed by periods when the sun never sets, Antarctic residents experience firsthand the beauty and brutality of the most severe environment on Earth. Capturing epic battles against hellacious storms, quiet reveries of nature's grandeur, and everyday moments of work and laughter, this unique documentary shows a steadfast community thriving in a land few humans have experienced. Using specially modified cameras and spectacular time-lapse photography, filmmaker Anthony Powell captures the splendor of the region like no film before. ANTARCTICA: A YEAR ON ICE gives testament to the planet's natural wonders, humanity's thirst for adventure, and the emotional extremes that accompany a year within the last pristine wilderness on the planet.

Over the Rainbow

   2013    Culture
With optional Hebrew subtitles. Simon Schama's history of the Jewish experience plunges into the lost world of the shtetl, the Jewish towns and villages sewn across the hinterlands of Eastern Europe which became the seedbed of a uniquely Jewish culture. Shtetl culture would make its mark on the modern world, from the revolutionary politics of the Soviet Union to the mass culture of Tin Pan Alley and Hollywood. It was also the birthplaces of Hasidism, the most visible, iconic and, arguably, most misunderstood expression of Jewish faith and fervour. This chapter of the story travels from the forests of Lithuania, where Simon's own family logged wood and fought wolves, to the streets of the Lower East Side where the sons of shtetl immigrants wrote the American songbook. With grim inevitability, the story returns to Eastern Europe in 1940 - where the genocidal mechanisms of the 'final solution' were beginning to grind the shtetl world into dust and ash.
Series: The Story of the Jews
Earth, the Power of the Planet
Earth, the Power of the Planet

   2007    Nature
Fleetwood Mac Live in Boston
Fleetwood Mac Live in Boston

   2004    Art
The Life of Birds
The Life of Birds

   1998    Nature
Generation Iron
Generation Iron

   2017    Culture
Ice Age Giants
Ice Age Giants

   2013    Science
Planet Earth II
Planet Earth II

   2016    Nature
Nova Wonders
Nova Wonders

   2018    Technology
Vietnam in HD
Vietnam in HD

   2011    History