Sunday, November 29, 2009

National Geographic - Nazi Art Theft
An epic story of the theft, destruction and miraculous survival of Europe’s art treasures during the Third Reich and World War II.

In a journey through seven countries, Nazi Art Theft will take you into the violent whirlwind of fanaticism, greed, and warfare that threatened to wipe out the artistic heritage of Europe. For twelve long years, the Nazis looted and destroyed art on a scale unprecedented in history. But heroic young art historians and curators from America and across Europe fought back with an extraordinary campaign to rescue and return the millions of lost, hidden and stolen treasures.

Now, more than sixty years later, the legacy of this tragic history continues to play out as families of looted collectors recover major works of art, conservators repair battle damage, and nations fight over the fate of ill-gotten spoils of war.


Extraordinary People - The Real Rain Man

Fifty-four-year-old Kim Peek is arguably the world's most famous savant and the inspiration behind the Oscar-winning film, Rain Man. He was diagnosed as mentally retarded at birth by a neurologist who spared him five minutes on his way to a golf game, and his parents were advised to place him in an institution. But his father, Fran, refused to give up on him and under his care Kim has developed a memory that, without equal, has made him a household name in the USA.

Described as "a living Google", Kim is a confounding mix of disability and brilliance that has baffled neurosurgeons. Most savants have only one dominating interest, but Kim seems to soak up everything: from sport to politics and even the minutiae of the British monarchy.


Thursday, November 26, 2009

Secret Society (suppressed BBC series)

The Secret Society series caused a political furore in 1987. BBC Director General Alasdair Milne's support for this series was one of the key reasons he was sacked (and replaced by Michael Checkland, an accountant). This Journalistic Coup d'État was conducted by Lord Victor Rothschild, Margaret Thatcher and Marmaduke Hussey in 1986.
The production team behind the series was threatened with prosecution under the Official Secrets Act. Mr Campbell's front door was kicked down and his home searched. In 1987, Strathclyde Police raided the corporation's Scottish headquarters in Glasgow and seized the tapes from the offices of BBC Scotland where the series had been made. Mr Campbell's home was also raided, The tapes were later returned and the series broadcast on the BBC except for episode one. The BBC decided that the episode (one) about secret cabinet committees was too sensitive to show before the 1987 general election. The Thatcher government leaned on the BBC to prevent its damaging allegations being made public.

1. The Secret Constitution: Secret Cabinet Committees - about small, secret and influential Cabinet committees.
2. In Time Of Crisis: Government Emergency Powers - Since 1982, governments in every other NATO country have been preparing for the eventuality of war. In Britain, these preparations are kept secret. So what will happen when the balloon goes up?
3. A Gap In Our Defences - Bungling defence manufacturers and incompetent military planners have botched every new radar system that Britain has installed since World War Two. Why? And can we stop it happening again?
4. We're All Data Now: Secret Data Banks - The Data Protection Act is supposed to protect us from abuse, but it's already out of date and full of loopholes. So what kind of abuses should we worry about?
5. The Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) - ACPO Making up their own law and policy. About the Association of Chief Police Officers and how Government policy and actions are determined in the fields of law and order.
6. Communications Zircon - About GCHQ with particular reference to a secret £500 million satellite. Reference to Zircon spy satellites which the public accounts committee were not told about.


National Geographic - Guns, Germs, and Steel ,Complete Series

Based on Jared Diamond's Pulitzer Prize-winning book of the same name, Guns, Germs and Steel traces humanity's journey over the last 13,000 years from the dawn of farming at the end of the last Ice Age to the realities of life in the twenty-first century.The three one-hour programs were filmed across four continents on High Definition digital video, and combinied ambitious dramatic reconstruction with moving documentary footage and computer animation. They also include contributions from Diamond himself and a wealth of international historians, archeologists and scientists. Guns, Germs, and Steel is a thrilling ride through the elemental forces which have shaped our world and which continue to shape our future.
Part 1: Out Of Eden

Jared Diamond´s journey of discovery began on the island of Papua New Guinea. There, in 1974, a local named Yali asked Diamond a deceptively simple question: Why is it that you white people developed so much cargo, but we black people had little cargo of our own? Diamond realized that Yali´s question penetrated the heart of a great mystery of human history -- the roots of global inequality. To examine the reasons for European success, Jared realized he had to peel back the layers of history and begin his search at a time of equality a time when all the peoples of the world lived in exactly the same way.

Part 2: Conquest

On November 15th 1532, 168 Spanish conquistadors arrive in the holy city of Cajamarca, at the heart of the Inca Empire, in Peru. They are exhausted, outnumbered and terrified ? ahead of them are camped 80,000 Inca troops and the entourage of the Emperor himself. Yet, within just 24 hours, more than 7,000 Inca warriors lie slaughtered; the Emperor languishes in chains; and the victorious Europeans begin a reign of colonial terror which will sweep through the entire American continent. Why was the balance of power so unequal between the Old World, and the New?

Part 3: Into The Tropics

So far, Jared Diamond has demonstrated how geography favoured one group of people ? Europeans ? endowing them with agents of conquest ahead of their rivals around the world. Guns, germs and steel allowed Europeans to colonize vast tracts of the globe ? but what happened when this all-conquering package arrived in Africa, the birthplace of humanity?


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Brothers In Arms: Basra
Filmmakers travelled to the arid desert of Basra to join British forces on the ground. They watched as our 4000-strong Army rapidly diminished over the course of March to the end of May this year. Extraordinary stories of soldiers become real as they speak openly about the the ordeals, trials and emotional stress they endure while fighting. No soldier is untouched by their experiences in Iraq. What do they really feel? What is it like to be fighting every day for months and months at a time. Do they believe in what they are fighting for? These are the ever-present issues they are forced to question. In the frankest interviews to date, soldiers from regiments, 5 Rifles and B Company explain candidly what life is like on the front line and explain how they feel about how they are perceived by the British public at home.


Naked Science : Triumph of the Tank

What is the deadliest tank ever built? What are tanks and where do they come from? We answer this using the best tank on the planet, the American made Abrams M1A2. This truly is a tank of today. It is fully integrated with computers, state of the art detection and communication systems. It can detect and kill its prey from miles away even in the dead of night. Despite its modern electronic technologies its design is based on ideas developed at the start of the last century - mobility, firepower and armor. These three features must be balanced, too much armor or too big a gun and it will be too heavy to move a round, too little and it will be mobile but vulnerable to enemy fire. We investigate what the design of the Abrams tank has learnt form WW2 tanks like the Russian T34 and how it has become the most deadly tank on the planet. But it still shares all its main features with its relatives of 90 years ago. It is designed on a principle established in WW1- the balance between: Mobility, Armor and Gun.


BBC - The Big Bang Machine

Professor Brian Cox visits Geneva to take a look around Cern's Large Hadron Collider before this vast, 27km long machine is sealed-off and the experiment to create the simulation of a black hole begins.

When it's up and running, it will be capable of creating the conditions that existed just a billionth of a second after the Big Bang. Brian joins the scientists who hope that the LHC will change our understanding of the early universe and solve some of its mysteries.


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Discovery Channel - If we had no Moon, What would life on earth be like without the moon?
What would life on earth be like without the moon? Well, chances are, there wouldn't be any life on earth without the moon. Life – if it had started at all – would still be in the earliest stages of evolution.

Scientists use the latest computer simulations to show how an ancient rogue planet – Orpheus – collided with the earth millions of years ago, producing a sizable chunk of debris that eventually became our moon. If that collision had never occurred, we would live in a very different place. Imagine a moon-less weather report – blizzards over the Sahara, floodwaters swallowing the Pyramids, 90-degree temperatures in Antarctica. As the earth wobbles on its axis – unsecured by the moon's gravitational pull – the polar caps would grow and recede at frightening rates. And without the moon, our planet would spin much faster – meaning four-hour days and searing temperatures.

Worse yet, evidence reveals that we are in fact losing our grip on our lunar friend thanks to the ebb and flow of the oceans' tides. Experts reveal theories for salvaging the moon – including hijacking Europa from Jupiter – and demonstrate how we can prepare ourselves for our eventual life without it.


BBC - To Mars By A-Bomb

Documentary telling the amazing true story of a top secret US government-backed attempt to build a spaceship the size of an ocean liner and send it to Mars, Jupiter and Saturn, propelled by thousands of miniature nuclear bombs. Awesome, fantastic and possibly crazy, Project Orion employed some of the best scientists in the world, including the brilliant British mathematician and physicist Freeman Dyson.


Monday, November 23, 2009

PBS - A Death in Tehran,Neda Agha Soltan

At the height of the protests following Iran's controversial presidential election this summer, a young woman named Neda Agha Soltan was shot and killed on the streets of Tehran. Her death -- filmed on a camera phone, then uploaded to the Web -- quickly became an international outrage, and Soltan became the face of a powerful movement that threatened the hard-line government's hold on power.

In A Death in Tehran, FRONTLINE revisits the events of last summer, shedding new light on Neda's life and death and the movement she helped inspire.


Orca Killer Whales

Observing the behavior of Orca “Killer Whales” off Vancouver Island
including the use of remote controlled cameras located on the sea floor.
The decline of the Orca, from ferocious predator to species at risk. Portrayed as a fearsome predator in popular culture, the killer whale suffers from a bit of an identity crisis. In fact, it's not a whale at all, but the largest of the dolphins. It is a highly inquisitive mammal, with the tightest family bonds of any animal on Earth. Sadly, this mighty predator is in grave danger of disappearing. It is among the most highly contaminated marine mammals in the world, a canary in a coal mine for the state of our oceans. Killer in Peril follows North America's top whale researchers on the Pacific coast as they unravel the complexities of killer whale culture and probe the causes of the orca's decline.


BBC - Panorama - Save Our Steel

Panorama helps citizen journalists Steven, Belinda and Tony find out the future of the steel industry, which employs tens of thousands of people.

They research the Welsh industry's past and talk to experts about its chances of surviving the recession, travelling first to London to ask a minister why the government will not subsidise it, and then to Mumbai to tackle the MD of Indian parent company Tata.


BBC - Mars A Horizon Guide

While the moon lies 240,000 miles away, Mars is at a distance of 50 million miles. Reaching the moon takes three days, but to land on Mars would take nearly eight months, and only two thirds of the missions to Mars have made it. The BBC has been there to analyse the highs and lows - including the ill-fated British attempt, the Beagle.


Thursday, November 19, 2009

PBS - Life Beyond Earth

The question of whether we are alone in the universe has intrigued humanity for centuries, and journalist Timothy Ferris presents an extensive look at the quandary in this fascinating and beautifully produced program from PBS. Ferris, as an engaging and inquisitive host, begins by discussing the development of life and the theory of evolution, as what we know about life on Earth could indicate whether it's possible for life to have developed elsewhere. Showing how scientists would expect life to exist elsewhere, Ferris then devotes his attention in a section entitled "Is Anybody Listening" to explain how radio telescopes are being used in hopes of making contact with intelligent beings beyond our own solar system. Throughout this documentary Ferris finds creative ways to make fairly complicated material easily understandable, and his offbeat approach to serious science is always entertaining and often fascinating. Experts such as scientist and bestselling author Stephen Jay Gould appear briefly in interviews to offer their insights, but for the most part the presentation is astoundingly visual. Ferris wisely opts to show something rather than merely talk about it, and the DVD is filled with startling and beautiful special effects as well as gorgeous footage shot both on Earth and in space. This is an excellent documentary that also happens to be a pleasure to watch.


Naked Science: Vesuvius Countdown

Vesuvius is considered by many to be the world's most dangerous volcano. Just six miles from the bustling city of Naples, this restless giant could kill millions in a fraction of a second. The question is... when? Next toVesuvius lie the ruinous cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum. They are haunting reminders of the volcano's past and potential wrath. Now, scientists are furiously trying to predict what it will do next... before it's too late. Using ancient artefacts and startling new scientific evidence, they are unravelling the secrets of Vesuvius.


Discovery Channel - Jack The Ripper In America

The greatest serial killer in history has never been named. But what if we are looking in the wrong place? In the 1890s a series of murders took place across the United States, and incredible new evidence may reveal the true identity of Jack the Ripper.


BBC - Merlin: The Legend

It was the little-known clergyman Geoffrey of Monmouth who first wrote about Merlin in the 12th century in his book The History of the Kings of Briton. Merlin is also a re-appearing figure in the famous Black Book of Carmarthen, which was written 750 years ago. In other medieval texts, it seems Merlin's character becomes more established and art historian Peter Lord says the reappearing character of an old, bearded man in a long gown makes him seem like a "medieval hoody".

Stories about Merlin have also been linked to the creation of Stonehenge

During the time of the Tudors, it is thought the character of Merlin and King Arthur were used to bring stability to the country after the wars of the Roses. This is demonstrated in Thomas Malory's epic Le Morte D'Arthur. Here Merlin is depicted as an advisor to his king and a stabilising influence from the old world in the tumultuous modern times.

In the 17th and 18th Centuries, a growing interest in ancient Britain led to Merlin being depicted as a druid and bardic figure in both literature and art.

And in the 19th Century, as the world went industrial, Merlin was depicted more as a romantic figure. He is overwhelmed by the seductive wiles of a woman in stories and art.

So, was there a real Merlin and how can we distinguish the man from the legend?

BBC - Armistice

Professor David Reynolds takes a fresh look at the events and personalities that brought about the armistice of 1918, venturing beyond the familiar British account of Remembrance Day to unravel how the Germans plunged to total defeat in just a few months at the end of the war. He uncovers a story of wounded egos, mental illness and political brinkmanship as statesmen and generals haggled over the terms of peace, while, at the front, the soldiers fought on with sustained brutality.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

PBS - Adventures with a Purpose - Norway: Quest for the Viking Spirit

A thousand years ago Vikings set out from the fjords of Norway striking fear across Europe. Yet today this ruggedly beautiful country is the home of the Nobel Peace Center, of explorers and adventure travelers and one of the most eco-friendly countries on earth. Bangs’ quest is to discover how such a progressive nation grew from such a violent past—if modern Norway is a result of its Viking heritage or a reaction to it. This time Richard’s adventures take him the length of Norway on a Quest for the Viking Spirit.

In 793 AD long ships with dragon-headed bows and square sails crossed the North Sea and landed on England’s shore. According to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, “The ravages of heathen men miserably destroyed God’s church on Lindesfarne.” Since that time the name “Viking” has been synonymous with pirates, violence and terror. But today modern Norwegians are active in peace and conflict resolution on a global scale. Norwegian women have one of the highest political participation rates and are active in gender equality issues worldwide. Norway is proud of its successful ecology efforts at home and actively supports ecology solutions in developing countries.

So why is there such a discrepancy between the ancient stereotype of marauding pirates and modern, civilized Norway? The Viking age ended over a thousand years ago. So why does it still resonate today? Could it be a romantic revision of a grisly past or cynical pandering to a growing tourist trade? In this documentary special Bangs explores the Viking Spirit and how it survives today in modern Norway. Richard’s Quest for the Viking Spirit begins in Oslo and travels to the extreme northern tip of Norway with stops in Alta, Kirkenes and Lofotr. Like early Vikings he sails from Tromsø down the western cost and experiences the beauty and majesty of the mountains and fjords with stops in Trondheim, Bergen, Flam and Sognefjord before returning to Oslo.


Discovery Channel - James Cameron's Expedition: Bismarck

It was WWII's most fearsome ship. A ship so powerful, it sank the pride of the British fleet with a single salvo. Hearing the news, Winston Churchill saw no choice. He sent nearly the entire Royal Navy to hunt and destroy the Bismarck. But what really happened to this German legend? Was she sunk? Or was she scuttled? Now Titanic director James Cameron returns to the high seas to tell the tale and search for the truth. Leading a team of explorers, historians and Bismarck survivors, Cameron examines the wreck three miles down and discovers the answers that may finally end the debate. With revolutionary production techniques and high-tech Remotely Operated Vehicles, Cameron lights up this dark world and gives us the first glimpse inside the Bismarck in more than 60 years. Stunning high-definition footage shows underwater images with cinematic clarity. And cutting-edge animation and ultra-realistic reenactments bring the survivors' stories to life. Join the expedition and relive the dramatic final days of the DKM Bismarck.

PBS NOVA - Extreme Ice

Extreme Ice focuses on climate change shown through time-lapse cameras set by internationally acclaimed photojournalist James Balog, who has placed equipment in more than two dozen glacial locations around the world in order to assess the impact of global warming. Cameras shoot once an hour during daylight. The endeavor will build an archive of some 300,000 images over two years and is one of the most comprehensive photographic studies undertaken on shrinking glaciers and rising sea levels.

As the world warms, the threat from rising sea levels poses an alarming potential for disaster. Some models now project a one-meter sea level rise over the next century, which could displace millions of people, from Florida to Bangladesh, and require trillions of dollars’ investment in coastal infrastructure. But these models don’t reflect recent findings that glaciers in Greenland and Antarctica are melting at an ever faster rate. What explains this alarming acceleration, and just how can we figure out what’s happening inside a gigantic wall of ice?

In collaboration with National Geographic, NOVA follows the exploits of acclaimed photojournalist James Balog and a scientific team as they deploy time-lapse cameras in risky, remote locations in the Arctic, Alaska and the Alps. Their goal is to create a unique photo archive of melting glaciers that could provide a key to understanding their runaway behavior. They’re grappling with blizzards, fickle technology and perilous climbs up craggy precipices to anchor cameras that must withstand sub-zero temperatures and winds up to 170 mph. In this high-action adventure, NOVA investigates the mystery of the mighty ice sheets that will affect the fate of coastlines around the world.


Sunday, November 15, 2009

Discovery HD - Egypt's Lost King

Josh looks at the controversial pharaoh Akhenaten, father of Tutankhamen and husband of Nefertiti, who changed the course of Egyptian history when he adopted monotheism and the worship of Aten, the sun god.


Saturday, November 14, 2009

BBC Horizon – Noah's Flood

“It all began in 1971 as a game of speculation – a bit of light relief from the rigours of tectonic and oceanographic investigation in the Mediterranean basin.” American oceanographer Bill Ryan was on the scientific team which showed that the Mediterranean had been a vast desert basin until, 5 million years ago, the world’s oceans rose and burst through the Straits of Gibraltar to create the Mediterranean Sea.

Walter Pitman was helping to found the new science of plate tectonics. Ryan and Pitman’s British associate John Dewey (now Professor of Earth Sciences at Oxford) put up an ingenious idea – could a similar cataclysmic flooding of a massive basin account for the Biblical Flood – a catastrophe of such enormity that it would remain in human memory down the ages? If so, where might it have taken place?

The idea never went away and 20 years later, in 1991, Ryan and Pitman began their search. This year they will announce their findings to the scientific world. Richard Curson Smith’s film takes Pitman and Ryan back to the Black Sea, where they now believe that the Flood occurred in 5,600 BC.

Filmed on location in Turkey, Bulgaria, Russia and the United States, HORIZON tells the story of the discovery through the eyes and experiences of the two scientists. Like Laurel and Hardy, they swing from disappointment to despair, to euphoria, as they pursue their dramatic idea, working with geological evidence from the Turkish navy, drilling into the bed of the Black Sea alongside a team of Russian scientists (who were tracking fall-out from Chernobyl), building in all the data available from experts in climate and tree-ring dating, and finally testing their findings on their colleagues in the Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University, and at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute.

Bill Ryan and Walter Pitman may have a romantic streak in their natures, but there’s nothing eccentric about their ideas. They are, says Professor Dewey, “Two of the finest American earth scientists working in the field”. They have gathered a hoard of evidence to demonstrate that the Black Sea had fallen 120 metres below the level of the worlds oceans as a result of a sudden freezing of Northern Europe and Asia which dramatically reduced the flow of the great rivers which fed it.

The Black Sea became a vast fresh-water lake. The Earth warmed, the oceans rose again and smashed through the Bosphorus Straits with the force of a hundred Niagara Falls, filling the Black Sea basin to its present level with the salt water of the oceans.

The implications are enormous. Who lived by the Black Sea before the deluge? What may it tell us about the spread of Neolithic farming, culture and technology into Europe and beyond? Did this extraordinary event become the stuff of ancient storytelling, so that Noah and his Ark became a symbol for real people who were driven from their lands by a real flood?


The Siegfried Line: Germany's Massive Defensive Border

A documentary that looks at Germany's heavily fortified defensive border, the Siegfried Line, a massive system of tunnels, garrisons and minefields.

History Channel - Black Blizzard

Take a front row seat on a period of U.S. history from 1930-1940 when America's heartland was ravaged by a weather phenomenon that became known as a "black blizzard." Watch as scientists and special effects experts recreate the black blizzards in amazing detail and reveal that this was a man-made disaster. Discover how these phenomena form, what they're made of, and how they affect people's health and the environment. Learn how a black blizzard emerged so ferociously that it seemed like a moving mountain range creating enough static electricity to power New York City


BBC - Last Chance to See,Komodo Dragon

Stephen Fry and zoologist Mark Carwardine head to the ends of the Earth in search of animals on the edge of extinction, following the route Mark took 20 years ago with the author Douglas Adams.
On a journey through Malaysia and Indonesia to track down the deadly Komodo dragon, the travellers help to release turtles into the wild and encounter one of the deadliest snakes on earth.


National Geographic: Mystery Of The Wolf

One of Europe's last great predators, the wolf is an animal that remains cloaked in myth and mystery. But a new vision is emerging thanks to an ambitious research project in Italy's Pollino National Park. Paolo Ciucci leads a team of biologists from the University of Rome on a quest to learn more about this elusive species. Tracking two wolves, Rebecca and Francesco deep into the forest, the biologists work to reveal the true nature of the wolf and maintain its haven within the Pollino National Park.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Discovery HD Theater - Sunrise Earth E09 Swallow Sea Cave

The Coast of Maine — From within a dark sea cave carved out of a cliff, we look towards the east and catch the sun rising over the ocean. The tide is low and the pools within the cave hold delicate young northern anemones, white and pink, as well as red coralline algae and common periwinkles. The rhythmic surge of ribbon kelp in the easy surf and the natural acoustics of the cavern provide soothing echoes in the spirit of Mendelssohn's Fingal's Cave overture. Cave swallows dart in and out of the entrance to feed their young, nesting in the cliff wall overhead.


Thursday, November 12, 2009

Fearless Planet, Extreme Adventures in Extreme Places-Hawaii

Take an adrenaline-filled thrill ride through the Earth's most awesome natural wonders, taking extreme filmmaking to a whole new level. Join world paragliding record holder and renowned extreme sportsman Will Gadd as he journeys to some of the most amazing locations in the world – Alaska, the Sahara, Hawaii, the Great Barrier Reef and the Grand Canyon – to understand how these stunning formations were created.

Hawaii - Episode 1

Learn the violent past of one of America's most beautiful archipelagos. Follow Will, geologist Lloyd French and surfer Kaleo Amadeo as they discover amazing natural forces at work below the island, learn what processes turned this region into a surfers paradise, and see how the islands were originally formed.


BBC - The Protestant Revolution

Historian Tristram Hunt looks at how Protestantism has affected people's lives in The Protestant Revolution, a new, four-part series for BBC Four.

This is a story of a revolution which has affected every person in the West, and nearly every country in the world.

It is a revolution which influences the very fabric of existence – from what we do for a living, to who we vote for, who we go to war with and how we see ourselves as individuals and as nations.

The series investigates the scientific, cultural, economic and political aspects of the movement with the aid of key academic witnesses, and concludes that the reach of Protestantism is so profound that it is impossible to imagine the modern world without it.

The series explores how the revolutionary nature of the Reformation shaped the world we live in today, from modern art to the war in Iraq.

When Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the Wittenberg Church door, he unleashed a revolution in thought and events which would have both astonished and horrified him.

From modern capitalism to the shape of the nuclear family, Protestantism has moulded the Western world in its image, and this is the dramatic story of how and why that happened.

Tristram says: "Now that the traditional culture of Protestantism has fallen away in the UK, I wanted to show just how elemental a force this religion has been in shaping our modern world.

"From the books we read, to the political parties we vote for, to the ways we live and love, the Protestant revolution continues to reverberate.

"As Britain struggles with its sense of national identity and as the forces of evangelical Protestantism grow across the world an understanding of this faith, its meanings and legacy seems more vital than ever."


Bush Family Fortunes

This hour long documentary follows the award-winnning reporter-sleuth Greg Palast on the trail of the Bush family, from Florida election finagling, to the Saudi connection, the the Bush team's spiking the FBI investigation of the bin Laden family ... Full Descriptionand the secret State Department plans for post-war Iraq. The film features music by Moby, was originally produced by the BBC, and was completely updated and reedited for this US DVD exclusive edition. Extras include exclusive interview with Palast, interactive DVD-ROM documents displaying the trail of money and political paybacks that are second nature withing the Bush famiily's political practices.

Greg Palast is an award-winning, muckraking journalist intent on telling the stories no one else wants to tackle. From East Timor, to the lawsuits surrounding uber-pharmaceutical company Pfizter, to Exxon's appalling safety record, he has remained unflinching in his Robin Hood attempt to hold the powerful accountable for their crimes. Based on the often shocking reports published in his internationally best selling book "The Best Democracy Money Can Buy," this one-hour documentary exposes the missteps and scandalous truths about the Bush family dynasty, including the election heist, the Saudi connection, and the secret State Department plans for postwar Iraq. Accompanied by a fantastic soundtrack by Moby, the DVD also includes an interview with Palast as he discusses the current status of the media, and the system political paybacks by which the Bush family has run the US.


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

National Geographic - Seed Hunter

Our planet is heating up and one of the first casualties will be our food. Solutions to this crisis lie within Mother Nature herself in the form of diverse genes found in the wild ancestors of our staple foods - and the man to hunt them down is Dr Ken Street, the Indiana Jones of agriculture. Ken and his team will travel to the land where agriculture began nearly 10,000 years ago. In the remotest parts of the Middle East and Central Asia, the genetic origins of our daily bread and other food still survive. The crops growing here have taken centuries to develop robust genetic traits that allow them to thrive in the harshest of climates. Scientists around the world want access to these genes so they may be integrated into food crops compromised by global warming.


Discovery Channel – The Ultimate Guide: DOLPHINS & WHALES


Peaceful, friendly, intelligent beings that swim as if the owned the sea, dolphins have long evoked our affection and fascination, but we know little about them. Ultimate Guide takes a fresh look at the world of the dolphins and meets up with scientists who are deepening our understanding of them.

The largest creatures that ever lived and yet exquisitely graceful mammals, whales can dive a mile into the depths of the ocean. Learn about their past, discover their successes and failures, see startling comparisons of size and speed in this reference to the world’s greatest living creatures

Discovery: Bulding The Future-1280x720

Building the Future is a landmark series from the Discovery Channel about humankind's phenomenal ingenuity in engineering and shaping the world around us.

Each program focuses on a simple human need — shelter or water, energy or safety — and explores how that basic requirement has led to some of the most incredible, awe-inspiring achievements of our species.


Race and Intelligence Science's Last Taboo

It's been the subject of controversy ever since IQ tests were invented. In 2007 Nobel prize winner James Watson (one half of the team who unravelled DNA) became the latest eminent scientist (all of them white) to cause a furore when he suggested research proved black people were less intelligent.

Meanwhile, right wing websites hailed him as the new Galileo - a martyr to political correctness that was concealing the fact that there is indeed evidence that shows different races score differently in IQ tests. But are the tests biased? Is race really a scientific category at all?


Monday, November 9, 2009

BBC - The Secret Life of the Berlin Wall

Berlin is a place that is indispensable to the imagination, a city where history ticks all the boxes. The longest of all the helter-skelter rides that Berliners have taken through the playground of history ended in 1989 when the Berlin Wall shattered into a million souvenirs.

The Berlin Wall was the ugly, concrete obstacle that for more than a generation (from 1961 to 1989) split the city and divided its families. Hundreds of people, mainly young, were killed there trying to escape to the West.

The people who built the Wall thought they were building a brave new socialist world. But their dream turned into a nightmare as over time the Wall poisoned, corrupted and brutalized the little world it encircled.

In The Secret Life of the Berlin Wall, the dreams and nightmares come dramatically back to life as the spies, informers, double agents and interrogators of Cold War Berlin weave their nervy spells of double lives and double dealing.

Walls divide the world into two and this is a film with two faces - flawed heroes and heroic villains, traitors, compromised victories and sad defeats. A world of good intentions heading in bad directions. A world where nothing is what it seems to be.


BBC - Glamour's Golden Age

Series looking at the 1920s and 30s, which creates a portrait of an age so daring, influential and exciting that it still shapes who we are today.

Hermione Norris narrates a three-part series on the 1920s and 30s, which creates a portrait of a golden age so daring, so influential, so exciting that it still shapes who we are today.

The decades between the world wars saw a cultural revolution in music, fashion, design and the arts. Mass media, mass production and the resulting mass exposure to an alluring, seductive glamour saw the world changing at a dizzying pace, amid which many of our modern obsessions were born.


Sunday, November 8, 2009

Credo: John Paul II

The story of Pope John Paul II, born in Poland as Karol Wojtyla, as told through the memories of the generation who grew up during his life and pontificate. Andrea Bocelli performs arias and religious hymn. Orchestra e choir of Santa Cecilia National Academy Myung-Whun Chung


The Prize - The Epic Quest for Oil, Money & Power (1992)

This exciting and entertaining eight-part series, based on Daniel Yergin's Pulitzer Prize-winning book,
captures the panoramic history of the biggest industry in the world.
Shot on location in Azerbaijan, Egypt, England, Indonesia, Japan, Kuwait, Mexico, Russia, Scotland, Turkey,
and the United States, the series features fascinating characters, archival footage, and interviews with
the people who shaped the oil industry. Yergin appears on camera throughout the series to discuss
oil's impact on politics, economics, and the environment.

Please note that this material has been sourced from VHS videotape.


Thursday, November 5, 2009

Discovery-Understanding Electricity

Man has harnessed electrical power to light and fuel the world. Learn what electricity is, where it comes from, and how it works.


BBC - Allosaurus Land of the Giants

Following the phenomenal success of their Walking the Dinosaurs series, the BBC produced this special, focusing specifically on Allosaurus, a Jurassic Period predecessor to Tyrannosaurus Rex. The program, narrated by Kenneth Branagh, uses the fossilized remains of an Allosaurus, nicknamed Big Al, as the basis for the story. Using state-of-the-art computer animation, Big Al is brought to life as viewers discover how this ferocious predator mated, hunted, and died. Also included is Big Al Uncovered, a "making of" segment of sorts. Here, using the Big Al fossils, scientists explain why they attributed particular traits and characteristics to the animated Big Al. ~ Matthew Tobey, All Movie Guide


BBC- Prehistoric America

Journey through the long-vanished corners of prehistoric North America, beginning when man first entered the vast, unspoiled continent some 14,000 years ago, in this appealing BBC documentary. Witness ancient beasts, mammoths, mastodons, giant bears, and sabre-toothed cats, and see the legacies each has passed to their modern successors.

Computer animation and digital effects bring to life mammoths, saber-toothed cats, giant ground sloths, short-faced bears, glyptodonts, and a plethora of smaller animals in a lush Ice Age mosaic. Discoveries from sites across America are the basis for the reconstructions.

The BBC team behind "Blue Planet" and "Walking with Dinosaurs" now takes you back to an “early America” beyond imagination. Travel back 14,000 years as humans were first entering the continent, sharing it with ancient beasts.


BBC Walking with Monsters - Life Before Dinosaurs

A 90-minute documentary about life before the dinosaurs. Starting from the Cambrian Period (530 MYA) and ending
at the Early Triassic Period (248 MYA), Walking With Monsters shows the life and death struggles prehistoric creatures
before the dinosaurs went through. It also portrays an accurate picture of our first ancestors.


Tuesday, November 3, 2009

PBS Nature - Life in Death Valley

NATURE's LIFE IN DEATH VALLEY takes viewers into the simmering cauldron of one of the world's most extreme environments.

From 93 million miles away, the sun fixes its heated gaze on the scorched desert expanse of Death Valley National Park -- the hottest, driest place in North America. But this is no typical desert. Here, breathtaking mountains rise two miles above sprawling salt flats, and mighty sand dunes dance alongside deep craters. Nowhere else is a land so exquisite in its beauty yet brutal in its extremes.

In this ultimate testing ground, the rules are simple -- adapt or perish. Fascinating desert dwellers have ingenious ways to outwit Mother Nature in their quest to survive. Tiny antelope squirrels lay with their bellies to the ground in order to purge their bodies of excess heat, while jackrabbits use their long ears to cool themselves. Whereas the animals appear to do everything in their power to avoid the extreme conditions of Death Valley, many visitors are drawn to the park for the sheer challenge. Top athletes flirt with their own mortality in what has become known as the toughest footrace on the planet, the Badwater Ultramarathon. This 135-mile road race snakes through the valley during the cruel blaze of summer.

In Death Valley, things are never quite as they seem. Beneath its parched surface lies one of America's largest aquifer systems. Rare access into this astonishing, water-laden underworld brings viewers into a secret realm. Here, a team of biologists works to protect the critically endangered Devil's Hole pupfish, a species that has lived in this watery cavern since the last Ice Age. Explore the mystique and the majesty of the largest park in the continental United States on LIFE IN DEATH VALLEY.


BBC Horizon – Trial & Error

It was the simplest idea but one with enormous potential. If a gene is defective in the human body, just replace it with one that works properly. Gene therapy would mean that genetic disorders would become a thing of the past. Cancer would be cured, as would cystic fibrosis and hundreds of other genetic illnesses. Scientists were justifiably excited about the idea but, this enthusiasm that would end up costing one young man his life.

Jesse Gelsinger was born with a liver disorder, a rare condition called ornithine transcarbamylase (OTC) deficiency that stops the liver metabolising ammonia. People with the disease can suffer from brain damage or coma. At its most extreme the illness is fatal.

“In 1998, Jesse was as healthy as I had ever known him”

Paul Gelsinger, Jesse’s father

Jesse was lucky, able to lead a fairly normal life although he had a daily cocktail of drugs to control his condition. Jesse wanted to help others. When he was offered a chance to take part in a medical trial to test the safety of using gene therapy for OTC deficiency, he was keen to participate. He knew this was not a cure for his condition but that, by volunteering he might be able to help others in the future.

Delivering a cure

Although the concept of gene therapy is simple, the practice of administering the treatment is much more difficult. In order to replace defective genes, doctors must get working ones into the body and to the place where they are needed.

Scientists had an ingenious solution to the problem. Hijack one of our most deadly enemies – the virus. A virus infects a human by inserting its harmful genes directly inside our cells. Normally this causes damage to the cell making us sick, but scientists were convinced they could tame this natural ability. Replace the harmful genes with good ones, and the virus would be the perfect delivery vehicle, or vector.

It was initially believed that a retrovirus would be the best way of getting modified genes into the body. Most viruses and cellular organisms store their genetic material as deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA). Retroviruses use ribonucleic acid (RNA) instead. Retroviruses combine their genetic material with that of the host permanently, hence they can offer a permanent cure.

Unfortunately trials using retroviruses had very little success treating any illness other than one particular type of blood disorder, severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID). British doctors have recently used this technique to cure five year old Rhys Evans with great success. Scientists realised that if they wanted to treat organs in the body like the heart, liver or lungs, they would have to find an alternative way of delivering their treatment – retroviruses simply couldn’t get in.

The answer would come from respected scientist Dr James Wilson, who had in 1992 set up the largest gene therapy centre in the world. He proposed using the most common virus around: the adenovirus, cause of the common cold. The adenovirus seemed like a good choice because it is able to affect almost every cell in the human body.

The trial

Wilson needed a disease to trial his adenovirus vector on, and by chance set his sights on OTC deficiency, the disease affecting Jesse Gelsinger. So in September 1998 Jesse and his family were approached to participate in a trial. Jesse knew that taking part was not going to cure his OTC but he was keen to help because he knew that if successful he would have played a part in curing thousands of diseases.

On 12 September 1999 Jesse arrived at the University of Pennsylvania to begin the trial. One day later a member of Wilson’s team injected Jesse with the tame viral particles. He was given the biggest adenovirus dose of any of the trial participants. The doctors told Jesse to expect a small reaction to the virus.

On the 14th when a nurse checked on Jesse she found that he was slightly confused and jaundiced. Although they doubted this was serious, the team wanted to be sure. The adenovirus was supposed to be harmless but Jesse’s body was behaving like it was under attack. By the next day Jesse was in a coma.

Over the next two days Jesse’s condition deteriorated until on day five, Wilson’s team of doctors delivered the devastating news to his parents. Jesse had no brain activity, his internal organs were shutting down. The doctors suggested that Jesse be removed from life support. Jesse died at 2.30 pm on 17 September.

Learning the lessons

In the aftermath of Jesse’s death, it emerged that vital facts about the dangers of the vector had never been given to the Gelsingers. What chance of success is there now for gene therapy and at what risk? For many people the dream of gene therapy is dead. It is not the cure all that we dreamed of ten years ago but instead it is a highly selective treatment for a very small number of diseases. Gene therapy may still become an effective treatment for thousands of people but this is no miracle cure.


Monday, November 2, 2009

Line Of Fire - The Fall Of Port Stanley

  June 1982 saw the final battles of the Falklands War.For the servicemen of the British Task Force, the campaign to defeat a determined enemy had been difficult and costly, but now the capital Stanley, the final prize, lay within their grasp. This programme tells the story of the drive to liberate Stanley, during which battles such as those at Tumbledown and Mount Longdon found their way into the pages of British military history.Featuring computer animated 3D graphics that clearly illustrate strategy, tactics and the ebb and flow of the battles, the programme draws on extensive archive footage.Also featured are atmospheric battle recreations, new location footage and expert comment and analysis.


Discovery Channel - Royal Deaths & Diseases

With an ageing monarch and an intense interest in the health of the royal family, Royal Deaths and Diseases brings to light the most intimate records of Britain's kings and queens.
It exposes the secrets of their illnesses and dealings with doctors and reveals the truth behind deaths on the battlefield, failed successions and the often catastrophic consequences of an untimely royal death.

The Episodes are:

01. Living by the sword (medieval and early modern monarchs who went into battle)
02. Madness (Explores the history of royal insanity in Britain, and the ways in which it was treated.)
03 - Decadence (sexual indulgence, gluttony, alcoholism, and drug addiction)
04. Tainted blood (Hereditory Diseases)
05 - Royal Childbirth. ( the importance of producing a male heir, and the difficulties faced.


BBC - The World's Greatest Money Maker
Warren Buffett is the greatest investor of all time. His decisions about buying shares and companies have beaten the stock market year after year and made him the richest person in the world - thought to be worth 37 billion dollars.

Yet Buffett lives modestly in his native Omaha, in America's mid-West, and runs his 150 billion dollar business with a staff of just twenty. Evan Davis meets him to find out about his unique investment strategy and his eccentric lifestyle. He talks to Buffett's family, friends and colleagues about the man they call the Sage of Omaha, and Buffett's friend Bill Gates praises his philosophy of life.

As the greed of the super-wealthy is widely criticised in the current financial crisis, Davis asks whether Warren Buffett is the acceptable face of the filthy rich.


BBC - In the Land of the Northern Lights

An amazing journey in Norway's Far North as Joanna Lumley pursues a life-long dream to track down the elusive, stunningly beautiful Northern Lights.

Joanna grew up in tropical Malaysia, and as a little girl had never seen snow or felt cold. But inspired by the fairy tales and picture books of the North, she always longed to make this journey.

Now at last she travels north across the Arctic Circle, up through Norway and finally to Svalbard, the most northerly permanently inhabited place on earth, where she has to cope with temperatures approaching minus 30 degrees celsius.

Joanna's journey takes her from train to boat and husky-sled to snowmobile as she is pulled ever-northwards by what she calls 'the strongest point of the compass'. She explores the romantic fjords of Lofoten and learns to ride a snowmobile, speeding across endless expanses of Lapland tundra with a Sami herdsman in search of his reindeer.

As she reaches the Arctic Ocean she prepares for bed in an hotel made entirely of ice. As she seeks her personal Holy Grail, viewers get to see new sides of the charming, indefatigable and idiosyncratic Joanna Lumley, responding with humour and deep emotion to one of the world's most magnificent but extreme environments.

But will she finally achieve her dream?

eXTReMe Tracker