Category “Science”

Nerds 2.0.1: A Brief History of the Internet

Nerds 2.0.1: A Brief History of the Internet (1998) is a three-hour documentary film written and hosted by Mark Stephens under the pseudonym Robert X. Cringely and produced by Oregon Public Broadcasting for PBS. A sequel to Triumph of the Nerds, Nerds 2.0.1 documents the development of ARPANET, the Internet, the World Wide Web and the dot-com bubble of the mid and late 1990s. Episodes included:Networking the Nerds, Serving the Suits, and Wiring the World. It was broadcast two years prior to the collapse of the dot.com bubble. The documentary was later turned into a book of the same...

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Triumph of the Nerds: The Rise of Accidental Empires

This film chronicles the rise of the personal computer/home computer beginning in the 1970s with the Altair 8800, Apple II and VisiCalc. It continues through the IBM PC and Apple Macintosh revolution through the 1980s and the mid 1990s at the beginning of the Dot-com boom. It includes interviews with Apple Computer’s Steve Jobs and Microsoft’s Bill Gates. This three-part film first premiered on PBS in June 1996. The series was released in VHS format soon after airing but is now out of print. A release on DVD by Ambrose Video in 2002 was noted by product reviewers on Amazon.com and...

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Pedigree Dogs Exposed

Pedigree dogs are suffering from genetic diseases following years of inbreeding, an investigation has found. A BBC documentary says they are suffering acute problems because looks are emphasised over health when breeding dogs for shows. The programme shows spaniels with brains too big for their skulls and boxers suffering from epilepsy. The Kennel Club says it works tirelessly to improve the health of pedigree dogs. Pedigree animals make up 75% of the seven million dogs in the UK and cost their owners over £10m in vets' fees each week. Poor health The programme, Pedigree...

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A Universe From Nothing (Lecture)

Lawrence Krauss gives a talk on our current picture of the universe, how it will end, and how it could have come from nothing. Krauss is the author of many bestselling books on Physics and Cosmology, including “The Physics of Star Trek.” If you’ve ever wanted to answer that annoying question, “how could the Universe have formed from nothing”, then watch this video. Lawrence Krauss is funny, informative, and if you watch the entire video (it’s over an hour long, so you might need to pause it a few times), he will blow your mind. Lawrence seems like a pretty cool...

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EP 6/6 The Private Life of Plants

Broadcast 9 February 1995, the final episode deals with plants that live in hostile environments. Attenborough visits Ellesmere Island, north of the Arctic Circle, to demonstrate that even in a place that is unconducive to life, it can be found. Algae and lichens grow in or on rock, and during summer, when the ice melts, flowers are much more apparent. However, they must remain close to the ground to stay out of the chilling wind. In the Tasmanian mountains, plants conserve heat by growing into ‘cushions’ that act as solar panels, with as many as a million individual shoots grouped...

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EP 5/6 The Private Life of Plants

Broadcast 2 February 1995, the fifth programme explores the alliances formed between the animal and plant worlds. Attenborough dives into Australia’s Great Barrier Reef and contrasts the nocturnal feeding of coral, on microscopic creatures, with its daytime diet of algae. Some acacias are protected by ants, which will defend their refuge from any predator. Besides accommodation, the guards are rewarded with nectar and, from certain species, protein for their larvae as well. Fungi feed on plants but also provide essential nutriment to saplings. The connection is never broken throughout a...

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EP 4/6 The Private Life of Plants

Broadcast 26 January 1995, this episode examines how plants either share environments harmoniously or compete for dominance within them. Attenborough highlights the 1987 hurricane and the devastation it caused. However, for some species, it was that opportunity for which they had lain dormant for many years. The space left by uprooted trees is soon filled by others who move relatively swiftly towards the light. The oak is one of the strongest and longest-lived, and other, lesser plants nearby must wait until the spring to flourish before the light above is extinguished by leaves. Tropical...

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EP 3/6 The Private Life of Plants

Broadcast 19 January 1995, the next instalment is devoted to the ways in which plants reproduce. Pollen and a stigma are the two components needed for fertilisation. Most plants carry both these within their flowers and rely on animals to transport the pollen from one to the stigma of another. To do this, they attract their couriers with colour, scent and nectar. It isn’t just birds that help pollination: some mammals and reptiles also do so. However, it is mostly insects that are recruited to carry out the task. To ensure that pollen is not wasted by being delivered to the wrong flower,...

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EP 2/6 The Private Life of Plants

Broadcast 12 January 1995, this programme is about how plants gain their sustenance. Sunlight is one of the essential requirements if a seed is to germinate, and Attenborough highlights the cheese plant as an example whose young shoots head for the nearest tree trunk and then climb to the top of the forest canopy, developing its leaves en route. Using sunshine, air, water and a few minerals, the leaves are, in effect, the “factories” that produce food. However, some, such as the begonia, can thrive without much light. To gain moisture, plants typically use their roots to probe...

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