Category “Educational”

Dead Men’s Tales: Harry Houdini

Throughout his career, Houdini (born Erik Weisz; March 24, 1874 – October 31, 1926) performed three variations on a “Buried Alive” stunt/escape. The first was near Santa Ana, California in 1917, and it almost cost Houdini his life. Houdini was buried, without a casket, in a pit of earth six feet deep. He became exhausted and panicky trying to dig his way to the surface and called for help. When his hand finally broke the surface, he fell unconscious and had to be pulled from the grave by his assistants. Houdini wrote in his diary that the escape was “very dangerous” and that...

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Days That Shook The World: Hiroshima

During the final stages of World War II in 1945, the United States conducted two atomic bombings against the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan, the first on August 6, 1945 and the second on August 9, 1945. For six months, the United States had made use of intense strategic fire-bombing of 67 Japanese cities. Together with the United Kingdom, and the Republic of China the United States called for a surrender of Japan in the Potsdam Declaration. The Japanese government ignored this ultimatum. By executive order of President Harry S. Truman, the U.S. dropped the nuclear weapon...

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David Attenborough’s Madagascar

Episode 1: Island of Marvels Madagascar, the world’s oldest island, broke off from Africa and India and has been on its own for more than 70 million years. In splendid isolation, it has evolved its very own wildlife – more than 80 per cent of it is found nowhere else. And that wildlife is quite extraordinary. In this episode, we reveal the island’s most bizarre and dramatic places, and the unique wildlife that has made its home in each, thanks to the geology and isolation of this Alice-in-Wonderland world. The stars are the lemurs, Madagascar’s own primates. A family of indris...

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Darwin’s Secret Notebooks

Using Darwin’s own diary and field notes as a travel guide, retrace Darwin’s expedition beyond the Galapagos to uncover the forgotten evidence that inspired his revolutionary work. He wasn’t a mathematician. He wasn’t an inventor. He was just a 20-something guy who liked to poke around in the dirt. Yet, Charles Darwin developed a theory of evolution so significant that it forms the bedrock of biology, and so radical it is still controversial in some circles today. In 1859, when he was 50, Darwin published “On the Origin of Species,” the work that outlined the theory of natural...

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Dark Future of the Sun

Our Sun has served Earth well for almost five billion years. It has bathed us with heat and energy and sustained life on our planet. But like people, our home star is mortal. In five billion years, it will stop nurturing its planetary offspring. In this documentary we voyage some five billion years into the future to see how the Sun will eventually end its existence and affect the future of life on our planet. Will humanity one day find a new home amongst the stars and survive the death of the...

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Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers

In 1971 Daniel Ellsberg, a high-level Pentagon official and a war strategist, concludes that the Vietnam war is based on decades of lies and leaks 7,000 pages of top secret documents to The New York Times, making headlines around the world. Hailed as a hero, vilified as a traitor, and ostracized by even his closest colleagues, Ellsberg risks life in prison to stop a war he helped plan. This story of one man’s profound change of heart is also a piercing look at the world of government secrecy as revealed by the ultimate insider. Marked by a landmark battle between America’s greatest...

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Dambusters Declassified

Martin Shaw takes a fresh look at one of the most famous war stories of them all. The actor, himself a pilot, takes to the skies to retrace the route of the 1943 raid by 617 Squadron which used bouncing bombs to destroy German dams. He sheds new light on the story as he separates the fact from the myth behind this tale of courage and ingenuity. Using the 1955 movie The Dam Busters as a vehicle to deconstruct the raid, he tries to piece together a picture of perhaps the most daring attack in the history of aviation warfare. Along the way, Shaw hears from the last RAF veteran of the...

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D-Day’s Sunken Secrets

Off the coast of France an international team is exploring a hidden battlefield, looking for the secrets of how the greatest naval mission in history unfolded. Buried here is a treasure trove of ships, tanks and potentially unexploded mines, these are the wrecks of D-Day. June 6th 1944, for years Hitler had devastated Europe killing millions and now is the time for the allies to make their move but the odds were against them. Three years in the making this was the most epic struggle of the 2oth...

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D Day to Berlin

From the moment that Allied forces established the first beachhead in Normandy on D-Day, the end of the war in Europe was in sight. But although many soldiers joked about being in ‘Berlin by Christmas’, tenacious German resistance soon brought home the realisation that there were to be no quick victories. It was a nearly a year before the defeat of Nazi Germany was complete and Hitler’s Third Reich lay in ruins – a year of murderous struggle in the hedgerows of the bocage, exhilaration at the liberation of Paris, tragedy in the ill-fated Operation Market Garden and panic as the...

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