Category “Science”

The Mystery of the Jurassic

For years scientists have been trying to find the mysterious evolutionary master key responsible for transforming the dinosaurs into world-beaters. In the early Jurassic, 200 million years ago, they were a relatively small group of primitive creatures. By the late Jurassic, 50 million years later, they had become the magnificent array of carnivores and giant plant eaters that would dominate the planet for millions of years. In between lies the mysterious period of the middle Jurassic in which all these changes must have happened. But what were they? What was it that transformed the...

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Predators: The Ultimate Killing Machines

Predators, a series of six half-hour films, uses miniaturized cameras mounted on the hunters themselves to show the chase from their perspective. The series also uses action replays and computer animations, allowing it to analyze the tactics of predator and prey from every angle. It shows that both are often evenly matched, with no room on either side for the slightest mistake. One of the series producers, David Wallace, explained what his team had set out to do. Explosive moment. “In a standard natural history series, we take the life cycle of an animal or a place and beam the viewer...

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Secrets Of The Mind

They're not common, but there are people in this world who have profoundly different experiences of reality than you and I have. People who are technically blind but who can see anyway, who can feel pain in amputated limbs, who believe they are God and that they have created heaven and hell, and even people who think their own parents are imposters. These people may be called crazy, but they're not. Their ways of thinking are limited and distorted because some parts of their brains have suffered physical damage. Today neuroscientists like Ramachandran investigate their brains and their...

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Scientific American Frontiers

Surgical Slimmers. In spite of the risks, people are lining up to solve their weight problems in the operating room. And if the latest device – an implantable stomach “pacer” – works out, millions more will be taking the surgical way out. Cars that Think. The fully automatic car may be down the road a ways, but cars that do your thinking for you are just around the corner – they watch out for hazards, they listen to you, they read your lips, they even know when you’re distracted. Going Deep. A look back at the decades of effort that culminated in the deep sub Alvin reaching...

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Health: Body Builders

Can organs be built in a lab? This research isn’t something that might happen in the distant future. It’s being used today to grow fresh organs, open up new ways to study disease and the immune system, and reduce the need for organ transplants. Organ-farming laboratories are popping up across the planet, and showing impressive results. Here we look at the state of the union of a rapidly advancing field called tissue engineering: what’s been accomplished so far, and what’s right around the corner. Patients who undergo organ transplants require loads of toxic drugs to suppress their...

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Mars, Dead or Alive

The great PBS science series Nova scores another hit with Mars: Dead or Alive, capturing all the excitement surrounding the Mars rover landings of early 2004. Originally broadcast just as the first of the twin rovers (“Spirit” and “Opportunity”) was experiencing temporary communication problems with Earth-bound mission controllers, this riveting hour-long episode chronicles the risky $820 million Mars Exploration Rover (MER) project from design to touchdown, dramatically illustrating (through the use of detailed simulations and sophisticated computer animation) the considerable...

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Know your Mushrooms (2008)

Suggested By: confusedmime Ron Mann investigates the miraculous, near-secret world of fungi. Visionaries Gary Lincoff and Larry Evans lead us on a hunt for the wild mushroom and the deeper cultural experiences attached to the mysterious fungi. The oldest and largest living organisms recorded on Earth are both fungi. And their use by a new, maverick breed of scientists and thinkers has proven vital in the cleansing of sites despoiled by toxins and as a "clean" pesticide, among many other environmentally friendly applications. Combining material filmed at the Telluride Mushroom Fest...

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The Cove

The Cove begins in Taiji, Japan, where former dolphin trainer Ric O’Barry has come to set things right after a long search for redemption. In the 1960s, it was O’Barry who captured and trained the 5 dolphins who played the title character in the international television sensation “Flipper.” But his close relationship with those dolphins – the very dolphins who sparked a global fascination with trained sea mammals that continues to this day -- led O’Barry to a radical change of heart. One fateful day, a heartbroken Barry came to realize that these deeply sensitive, highly...

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Lord of the Ants

Every so often a giant emerges on the stage of science, someone who transcends the narrow boundaries of a particular line of research and alters our perspective on the world. E.O. Wilson is such a man. Ant expert E.O. Wilson has spent his career studying tiny creatures. Yet what sets him apart is his ability to step back and see the grand scheme of things. Newly appointed to Harvard, Wilson ignores charges by molecular biologists that his work with ants is mere “stamp-collecting.” He goes on to discover ants’ extraordinary means of communication, which opens up whole new areas of...

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