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  • Kon-Tiki Expedition – A Test of a Hypothesis for Human Gene Flow (1950)

    Kon-Tiki Expedition – A Test of a Hypothesis for Human Gene Flow (1950)

    Kon-Tiki was a legendary expedition that was carried out in 1947 by Norvegian anthropologist Thor Heyerdahl. The expedition tested a hypothesis whether Pacific Islands could have been colonized from Americas and thus wanted to demonstrate that waterways were not barriers but means of transportation and gene flow for human populations. Peopling of the Pacific is a fascinating story. The Polynesians were without question the greatest open ocean voyagers in the human history. They built double-hulled canoes and traveled over the […]

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  • Learning to Live on the Moon – PBS

    Learning to Live on the Moon – PBS

    Energy flows, nutrients cycle. This is how we can define working principles of an ecosystem in a nutshell. Our planet has a very complex land-air-water interaction and we are only beginning to understand the behavior of these systems by simplifying them in enclosed systems such as Landscape Evolution Laboratory (LEO). Due to its proximity, the Moon appears to be the most convenient celestial body to colonize. The Moon is so close that it can even occasionally get shielded by the […]

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  • City Farms – KQED/QUEST (2013)

    City Farms – KQED/QUEST (2013)

    On the forefront of Good Food Revolution Will Allen of Milwaukee demonstrates a working Urban Farm. He defines his effort as establishing oasis in a “food desert”. The program prepared by QUEST gives a brief biographical sketch and highlights from the project. Following a significant career in basketball, Allen decided to go back to farming. In 2008 he was granted a prestigious MacArthur Foundation “genius” grant for his influential contributions to the urban agricultural practices. “The Great Migration transformed the […]

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  • Kars Ardahan Documentary – Alkım Ün (2007)

    Kars Ardahan Documentary – Alkım Ün (2007)

    Director of the KarsArdahan documentary is an emerging Turkish documentarist Alkım Ün. In 2009 he received an award in Boston Turkish Film Festival with this production. Alkım Ün has a degree in biology education and has a particular talent in “reading the landscape” with the eyes of a biologist. Just before the project he had made lengthy observations on wildlife of the region. Kars – Ardahan Plateau is a biologically and geologically distinct region of Turkey. It sits between two […]

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  • What’s Really Warming Up Our Planet? NASA – SVS (2015)

    What’s Really Warming Up Our Planet? NASA – SVS (2015)

    NASA’s Scientific Visualization Studio (SVS) produced yet another visual to show how industrial and natural factors have been contributing to the global warming. These factors are wobbling of Earth’s axis, solar activity, volcanoes, land use, ozone pollution, aerosol pollution, greenhouse gases and their combined effects. The case is rather clear. Combined effects of man made factors follow the trajectory of warming closely. Since 1880 our planet warmed 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit and continues to increase. The atmospheric carbon concentration has passed […]

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  • If a Tree Falls: The Mozambican Forest at Risk – Mike & Sam Goldwater (2010)

    If a Tree Falls: The Mozambican Forest at Risk – Mike & Sam Goldwater (2010)

    “If a Tree Falls: The Mozambican forest at risk” is a documentary film produced and directed by Mike and Sam Goldwater. The project was commissioned by IIED – the International Institute for Environment and Development exploring the validity and application of the United Nations Collaborative Program on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries abbreviated as REDD. The documentary was shot in the Northern Mozambican province of Nampula. The film portrays an example for the tragedy of […]

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  • Popped Secret: The Mysterious Origin of Corn – Nathan Dappen & Neil Losin – HHMI (2015)

    Popped Secret: The Mysterious Origin of Corn – Nathan Dappen & Neil Losin – HHMI (2015)

    Domestication of plants and animals is a key transformation in recent Human evolutionary history leading to sedentary farming societies. Domestication of Maize particularly followed a different trajectory from the agricultural crops of the old world. This HHMI documentary tells how the ancestral wild grass called Teosinte was domesticated to evolve into Maize. In the old world, most domesticated grasses had a surprisingly similar “first step” that paved the way towards agriculture. In old world grasses including rice, wheat, barley and […]

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  • Landscape Evolution Observatory (LEO) – Biosphere 2

    Landscape Evolution Observatory (LEO) – Biosphere 2

    Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better. -Samuel Beckett- Biosphere 2 started as quite an ambitious challenge. It crammed five biomes into 3 acres of sealed facility and tried to create a mesocosm experiment. It was a “ship-in-a-bottle” style miniaturization of ecosystems; a tiny little man-made Hawaii in the Arizona desert (Hawaii is the only place on our planet where all biomes of the world, excepting Arctic Tundra exist). Biomes of the Biosphere 2 were […]

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  • Grass: A Nation’s Battle for Life (1924)

    Grass: A Nation’s Battle for Life (1924)

    Filmed on location between Turkey and Iran, Grass is an amazing first ethnographical account of nomadic Bakhtiyari people. The subjects of this film later also were revisited by landmark documentaries like the “Harvest of the Seasons” episode of the Charles Bronowski’s Ascent of Man series in 1973. Similarly, Akira Kurosawa’s 1975 film Dersu Uzala, centered around an aboriginal Nanai tribesman and Werner Herzog’s Happy People (2013) are productions in this tradition. The film is contemporary to Robert Flaherty’s Flaherty’s Nanook […]

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  • A Tribute to Jacques-Yves Cousteau: Cries from the Deep (1981)

    A Tribute to Jacques-Yves Cousteau: Cries from the Deep (1981)

    Ever since the publication of his first book titled “The Silent World” in 1953 Jacques Yves Cousteau has generated multiple waves of inspiration worldwide. A documentary produced under the same title won the prestigious Palm d’Or award at Cannes Film Festival in 1956. This is a rare achievement among nature documentaries. Cousteau’s second big hit arrived in 1965 with another production titled World Without Sun documenting activities of six crew members living in Continental Shelf Station II at 10m depth […]

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  • Leonardo Da Vinci the Anatomist – Nature Video

    Leonardo Da Vinci the Anatomist – Nature Video

    Leonardo da Vinci transformed natural sciences by his careful observations, experiments and illustrations. He distinguished himself in the harsh world of the Medici ruled 16th Century Florence in the aftermath of the fall of Constantinople. In this video by Nature Magazine, Senior Curator Martin Clayton exlains three of Leonardo’s most intriguing anatomical studies. Today, Leonardo’s drawings kept in solander boxes in the Print Room in the Royal Library at Windsor Castle. A selection of his drawings is on display in […]

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  • Secrets of the Hive – Why Puerto Rico’s Killer Bees Stopped Killing – Smithsonian Institution (2015)

    Secrets of the Hive – Why Puerto Rico’s Killer Bees Stopped Killing – Smithsonian Institution (2015)

    Secrets of the Hive is a Smithsonian Institution documentary directed by Dennis Wells. It focuses on the decline of the honeybees and reviews potential solutions to restore pollination service provided by these important domesticated insects. A major emphasis of the documentary is on the Africanized honeybees. These bees are a result of a failed experiment that started with good intentions in Brazil. Researchers in 1950s wanted to introduce the genetic vigor lost in honeybees due to domestication. Trials to selectively […]

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  • Before Mars – Novo Mundo (Episode I) – National Geographic (2016)

    Before Mars – Novo Mundo (Episode I) – National Geographic (2016)

    A defining feature of Human nature is exploration. We are hard wired with curiosity. It instinctively drives us to wonder what is behind the next hill. On planetary scale the Moon and the Mars are the nearest objects of interest in this endeavor. In this half-dramatized docu-feature film the National Geographic is aiming to inspire explorers that will colonize Mars. The mini-series takes place both in the future and in the present day. Episodes include interviews with influential people in […]

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  • The Antikythera Mechanism: The Two-Thousand-Year-Old Computer – Mike Beckham (2012)

    The Antikythera Mechanism: The Two-Thousand-Year-Old Computer – Mike Beckham (2012)

    Antikythera Mechanism is one of the best demonstrations of human intellect attempting to understand nature systematically. The contraption is most certainly a very complex device. It is an impressively accurate “analog model” of our then earth-centric universe. Science gives us prediction power and Antikythera Mechanism is an excellent example for how astronomical observations can be defined mathematically to reconcile lunar and solar calendars and predict eclipses with hourly accuracy using 27 gear pieces. It uses the Metonic Cyle first implemented […]

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  • Virtual Reconstruction of the Antikythera Mechanism – Michael Wright & Mogi Vicentini (2009)

    Virtual Reconstruction of the Antikythera Mechanism – Michael Wright & Mogi Vicentini (2009)

    Trying to predict future is one of the characteristics of Human nature which ultimately gave us the scientific method. Antikythera Mechanism is one of the best demonstrations of human intellect attempting to understand nature systematically. The contraption is most certainly a very complex device. It is an impressively accurate “analog model” of our then earth-centric universe. The Antikythera Mechanism was built like a clock. Trains of interlocking gearwheels controlled the movements of a minimum of seven pointers perfectly tracking the […]

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