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From Pictures to Words

   2020    History
We take it for granted, but every time we pick up a pen or type on the keyboard, we are employing the most powerful technology ever invented: the technology of writing. Explore how the invention of writing gave humanity a history. From hieroglyphs to emojis, the series is an exploration of the way in which the technology of writing has shaped the world we live in.
The invention of writing about 5,000 years ago made civilization itself possible, and every innovation of the modern world is based on the foundation of the written word. But how and where did writing begin, and who began it? In From Pictures to Words, the first of three films about the history of writing, we uncover the hidden links between all the diverse writing systems in use today and trace the origin of our own alphabet to a turquoise mine in the Sinai Desert and a man riding a donkey whose name was Khebded.
Series: The Secret History of Writing

Chicago

   2014    Art
Foo Fighters commemorate their 20th anniversary by documenting the eight-city recording odyssey that produced their latest, and eighth, studio album. Foo Fighters founder Dave Grohl directs the series, which taps into the musical heritage and cultural fabric of eight cities: Chicago, Austin, Nashville, Los Angeles, Seattle, New Orleans, Washington D.C. and New York. The band based themselves at a legendary recording studio integral to the unique history and character of each location. One song was recorded in each city, and every track features local legends. Even the lyrics were developed in an experimental, unprecedented way: Grohl held off on writing them until the last day of each session, letting himself be inspired by the experiences, interviews and personalities that became part of the process. Foo Fighters Sonic Highways is, in Grohl’s words, “a love letter to the history of American music.” Each episode delves into the identity of each city -- showing how each region shaped these musicians in their formative years and, in turn, how they impacted the cultural fabric of their hometowns. Every artist who appears in the show, regardless of genre or locale, started as an average kid with universal dreams of making music and making it big. Grohl made his feature film directorial debut in 2013 with the universally acclaimed Grammy-winning Sound City, a celebration of the human element in the creation and recording of music. Foo Fighters have won 11 Grammy Awards, including four for Best Rock Album, more than any other band. Premiering on the eve of Foo Fighters’ 20th anniversary, Foo Fighters Sonic Highways aims to “give back” to the next generation of young musicians. As guitarist and singer Buddy Guy, an interviewee from the Chicago blues scene, explains, “Everything comes from what’s come before.”
In the first episode, Dave Grohl and friends discuss the rise of the famous Chicago music scene from the roots blues of Muddy Waters and Buddy Guy to the Rock and roll of Cheap Trick.
Series: Sonic Highways

Your Brain on Tech

   2018    Technology
Two and a half thousand years ago, the Greek philosopher Socrates worried that the wide use of writing would have a negative impact on people's minds. He said that writing would create forgetfulness, because people will not use their memories. They would trust the external written characters and not remember themselves. In a world with an ever-growing tech industry, Michael Stevens tries to find out what effect technology has on our brains. He finds Technology isn't just changing our lives, it's changing our brains. In his experiments he tests what just 10 days of gaming does to things like our spatial memory.
Series: Mind Field Season 2

The Story of China Ancestors

   2016    History
Michael Wood embarks on a great historical adventure, exploring the stories, people and landscapes that have helped create China's distinctive character and genius over four thousand years. Is the history of the world's newest superpower, from its ancient past to the present day.
Starting in Wuxi, Michael joins the Qin family reunion, when 300 relatives gather to worship their ancestors on Tomb Sweeping Day. 'Like the nation, the family has been through so much,' one says. 'Now everyone wants to know - what are our roots?'
Looking for the origins of the Chinese state, he visits the excavations at Erlitou and sees an exquisite turquoise dragon sceptre from 2000 BC. China's first writing is found on 'oracle bones' dug up from the Shang royal tombs at Anyang in the 1920s. At the Beijing Planetarium, Michael travels back in time as astronomers plot the planetary conjunction that the ancients believed foretold the overthrow of the Shang Dynasty. Next, the Age of Philosophers and Confucius, whose book Analects has had greater influence worldwide than even the Bible, according to some. In Xi'an, we hear how the First Emperor united China and created the authoritarian Qin state that gave us the word China. Finally, Michael returns to the temple fair in Henan for a dramatic night ceremony to give thanks to the ancestors. China, Michael concludes, is rising again, not just because of its economic strength, but because of the incredible solidarity of the Han Chinese view of their own civilisation, their sense of family and, of course, the presence of the ancestors.
Series: The Story of China

Can We Build a Brain

   2018    Technology    HD
Artificially intelligent machines are taking over. They’re influencing our everyday lives in profound and often invisible ways. They can read handwriting, interpret emotions, play games, and even act as personal assistants. They are in our phones, our cars, our doctors’ offices, our banks, our web searches... the list goes on and is rapidly growing ever longer. But how does today’s A.I. actually work—and is it truly intelligent? And for that matter, what is intelligence?
The world’s brightest computer programmers are trying to build brighter machines by reverse-engineering the brain and by inventing completely new kinds of computers, with exponentially greater speed and processing power. The documentary looks at how far we’ve come and where machines are headed as their software becomes ever more... cerebral. How close are we from a world in which computers take over—from diagnosing cancer to driving our cars to targeting weapons? If we place more and more of our lives under the control of these artificial brains, what are we putting at risk?
Series: Nova Wonders
Chef's Table
Chef's Table

   2017    Art
How the Universe Works Season 4
How the Universe Works Season 4

   2015    Science
Senna
Senna

   2010    Culture
Chemistry
Chemistry

   2010    Science
The Nazis, A Warning From History
The Nazis, A Warning From History

   1997    History
Through the Wormhole
Through the Wormhole

   2011    Science
Life In Cold Blood
Life In Cold Blood

   2008    Nature
Leaving Neverland
Leaving Neverland

   2019    Culture