Category “Science”

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...

Watch Documentary

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...

Watch Documentary

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...

Watch Documentary

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...

Watch Documentary

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...

Watch Documentary

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,...

Watch Documentary

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...

Watch Documentary

EP 1/6 The Private Life of Plants

Broadcast 5 January 1995, the first episode looks at how plants are able to move. The bramble is an aggressive example: it advances forcefully from side to side and, once settled on its course, there is little that can stand in its way. An altogether faster species is the birdcage plant, which inhabits Californian sand dunes. When its location becomes exposed, it shifts at great speed to another one with the assistance of wind — and it is this that allows many forms of vegetation to distribute their seeds. While not strictly a plant, the spores of fungi are also spread in a similar fashion....

Watch Documentary

The Sustainable City

Today, the way ecology is being incorporated into architecture has evolved considerably. Sustainable architecture, or green architecture, aims to minimize the negative impact of buildings on the environment by enhancing efficiency and moderating the use of materials, energy, and space. Spewing carbon dioxide, generating masses of waste, and consuming alarming quantities of energy and water, our cities place a heavy burden on both the global environment and the local ecosystem. Architecture itself has a tremendous impact on the environment. Today, the way ecology is being incorporated...

Watch Documentary