Thursday, December 25, 2008



There I was, enjoying a xmas day with the family when - being the net-hog that I am - I slipped away to check my emails. Whilst I was waiting for my email clients to start up, I though I would quickly do my daily ritual of checking to see if Bill Maher's Religulous had mad it to the web yet...and low and behold, it had!

This is definately my last post until the new xmas gift to my loyal regular visitors. I give you the much anticipated - RELIGULOUS.


Religulous is a 2008 American comedy/documentary film written by and starring political comedian Bill Maher and directed by Larry Charles. According to Maher, the title of the film is a portmanteau derived from the words "religion" and "ridiculous"; the documentary examines and satirizes organized religion and religious belief.

A range of views on the various world religions are explored as Bill Maher travels to numerous religious destinations, such as Jerusalem, the Vatican, and Salt Lake City, interviewing believers from a variety of backgrounds and groups, including Jews for Jesus, Christians, Muslims, former Mormons, Satanists, and Hasidic Jews. He travels to Speakers' Corner in Hyde Park, London and satirically preaches Scientology beliefs.

P.S. - This link will probably go dead pretty fast, watch it while you can!

Own this amazing film on DVD...

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Peyote to LSD: A Psychedelic Odyssey

Join a journey to retrace the eye-opening explorations and mind-bending discoveries of modern-day adventurer and scientist Richard Evans Schulte.

  • Based on the groundbreaking discoveries of revolutionary ethnobotanist Richard Evans Schulte.
  • Two hour documentary filmed on location in five different countries.
  • Host Wade Davis, Schulte's protégé, is a National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence.

Learn the secrets of shamans and medicine men. Retrace the thrilling explorations that revealed their ancient knowledge to the developed world. Sit at the knee of the man who brought their wisdom out of the jungle.

In the 40s and 50s, when the Amazon was still a deeply mysterious, untracked region, Richard Evans Schulte followed the guidance of native experts — tribal healers, shamans, mystics — to find botanical treasure. For months at a time he combed the jungle, collecting thousands of samples and discovering plants unknown to the modern world, many of which produced fantastic chemical compounds with strong effects on our bodies... and our minds.

In this ambitious feature-length documentary, renowned botanist, explorer and author Wade Davis ("The Serpent and the Rainbow") reconstructs the travels and discoveries of his great mentor Schulte, the Father of Ethnobotany.

Our associations with psychedelics, the hippies, raves, and seamier drug culture, ignore the ancient legacy and cultural significance of hallucinogenic substances and other plant-derived medicines. PEYOTE TO LSD journeys from native ceremonies to laboratories in Switzerland exploring the evolution of psychedelic substances from sacred plants to modern psychotropics. Legendary writers, musicians and Beat Poets offer insight into the counterculture and mainstream influence of botanical compounds.

Watch 04.divx in Funny Videos | View More Free Videos Online at

PEYOTE TO LSD takes you around the globe, through the jungles and deep into the human mind. What a trip!

In Search of Christmas

Is there actual evidence of the birth of Jesus? Was he born in Bethlehem or Nazareth, in December or April? Were the three wise men kings or Babylonian astrologers? What compelled Joseph to believe Mary's implausible tale of a divine impregnation?

We'll journey back 2,000 years in a quest for the answer to these and other conundrums. We retrace Mary's arduous odyssey across ancient Israel as a host of scholars attempt to uncover the historical truth of an event as mysterious as it was momentous.



More documentaries like this...

The Bible's Buried Secrets

The Origins of Christmas

Christmas Unwrapped: The History of Christmas

What Would Jesus Buy?

Own this documentary on DVD...

The Origins of Christmas

Centuries and centuries before Christ was born, Romans, Mesopotamians, Carthaginians, Balkans, Germans and Scandinavians held huge celebrations on or near December 25th to welcome the return of the sun.

The Origins of Christmas delves into this history, revealing surprising similarities between the world's favourite Christian holiday and some of its not-so-religious roots:

  • One of the earliest Santa Claus prototypes was a convict who, during a respite from everyday social restrictions, was chosen to replace the king for the new year festivities and who oft-time was sacrificed as the celebrations drew to a close.

  • Giving dolls to children at Christmas is likely a reversal of an ancient tradition of giving children (i.e. sacrificing them) to the gods of agriculture.

  • The light-hearted custom of kissing under the mistletoe has a serious history. The Celtic Druids called the herb "the all healer" and believed it not only increased fertility of soil and cattle, but that it also cured impotence.

The video traces the decision of the early Catholic Church to adopt the centuries-strong pagan celebrations and baptize them with Christian meaning. It follows Christmas to its modern incarnation, no longer a celebration of the return of the sun, now a commerce-driven vehicle boosting sales of everything under the sun.

Alternatives to today's Christmas of consumerism are explored with the introduction of the Public Dreams Society, a Vancouver group determined to return the Yuletide to its lusty pagan beginnings.

More documentaries like this...

Christmas Unwrapped: The History of Christmas

Monday, December 22, 2008

Richard Dawkins - The Blind Watch Maker

One of the earliest efforts from Richard Dawkins in his identification and attack on the rise of creationism with the rising star of the US fundamentalist christian demographic. In the important documentary, Dawkins shows ways to easily refute some of the more common creationist arguments.

Dawkins begins with the question, "Did everything in Creation fall together by chance or was there an intelligent designer like God?" He then looks at the spreading disaffection with Darwinism and argues that it should not be written off as a worn out declaration of scientific faith.

Whilst this is an aging documentary, it was an important key step in the growing assertion of science as the ONLY paradigm worthy of consideration to a highly developed species.

The Moon

A fascinating documentary by the BBC looking at the human race's relationship with the Moon, starting with elaborate rock formations to map its movements - through to the Apollo missions which explored it.

The documentary also looks at other planet's moons, such as Jupiter's Titan and ice covered Europa, which is the best bet for life out side of Earth in the Solor System. It ends with the future plans of NASA to build a habitat on the moon, along with other organisations which also plan to land & live on our closest celestial body.

More documentaries like this...

Space Tourists

Hubble - 15 Years of Discovery

The Death Star

How Did the Universe Begin?

The Secrets of the Star Disk

This is the extraordinary story of how a small metal disc is rewriting the epic saga of how civilisation first came to Europe, 3600 years ago.

When grave robbers ransacked a Bronze Age tomb in Germany, they had no idea that they had unearthed the find of a lifetime. But they knew that it was worth selling. It was a small bronze disc of exquisite design. So they contacted the archaeologist Harald Meller, offering to sell it to him for £300,000.

Meller went deep into the criminal underworld and, after a police sting, he got his disc. It depicted the sun, the moon and the stars. This suggested an understanding of the heavens greater than that of the first great civilisations, like Egypt. Could it possibly be real?

After exhaustive tests, the disc was declared genuine. Then a team of crack scientists pieced together what it meant. What emerged is a true marvel.

This disc, it seems, is a Bronze Age Bible, combining an advanced understanding of the stars with some of the most sophisticated religious imagery of the age. In intellectual achievement and also age, it surpasses anything yet found in Egypt or Greece. It seems that civilisation had already dawned in Europe.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

The Templar Code

For nearly two centuries, the Knights Templar were the most powerful order in the Medieval world, a fearsome and unstoppable Crusader militia. Then came accusations of unspeakable crimes. Who were the Templars, really?

How did they become so powerful, so fast, and why did they fall just as quickly? Evidence hints that the Templars excavated under Jerusalem's Temple of Solomon. What did they find there? Was it, as The Da Vinci Code suggests, the true identity of the holy grail, the bloodline of Christ? Or an unimaginable treasure, documented in the Dead Sea Scrolls, buried a thousand years before the birth of Christ?


This documentary explores where the Templars came from, how they lived, trained, fought and became a Medieval world power, and the suspicious circumstances behind their sudden downfall. Find out why the Templars are tied to the story of the Holy Grail and what treasures may still be buried in secrecy. Biblical scholars examine the link between this order and Jesus Christ. Ed Herrmann hosts this investigation into one of the most unique orders the world has ever seen.


More documentaries like this...

The Crusades - the Cresent & the Cross

Clash of the Worlds

God on the Brain

Brief History of Disbelief - Jonathan Miller

The Dark Lords of Hattusha

Own this documentary on DVD...

Saturday, December 20, 2008

How Much is Your Dead Body Worth?

When veteran broadcaster Alistair Cooke died in 2004 few suspected that he was yet to uncover his greatest story.

What happened to his body as it lay in a funeral home would reveal a story of modern day grave robbery and helped smash a body-snatching ring that had made millions of dollars by chopping up and selling-off over 1000 bodies. Dead bodies have become big business.

Each year millions of people's lives are improved by the use of tissue from the dead. Bodies are used to supply spare parts, and for surgeons to practice on. Horizon investigates the medical revolution that has created an almost insatiable demand for body parts and uncovers the growing industry and grisly black market that supplies human bodies for a price.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Cosmos - Carl Sagan

When Cosmos was first broadcast in 1980, our world--and the context of Carl Sagan's eloquent "personal journey"--was a different place. The late Dr. Sagan would be pleased to witness the cooling of the cold war, the continued exploration of space, and ongoing efforts to curb our destructive dependence on fossil fuels. For Sagan's series is far more than a guided tour through "billions and billions" of stars and galaxies. It remains a profound plea for the unity of humankind, for the recognition that "we are a way for the universe to know itself," with an obligation to know our origin, our place in the universe, and our future potential.

In the course of 13 fascinating hours, Cosmos spans its own galaxy of topics to serve Sagan's theme, each segment deepening our understanding of how we got from there (simple microbes in the primordial mud) to here (space-faring civilization in the 21st century). In his "ship of the imagination," Sagan guides us to the farthest reaches of space and takes us back into the history of scientific inquiry, from the ancient library of Alexandria to the NASA probes of our neighboring planets. Upon this vast canvas Sagan presents the "cosmic calendar," placing the 15-billion-year history of the universe into an accessible one-year framework, then filling it with a stunning chronology of events, both interstellar and earthbound.

From the lives of the stars, to creation theories, functions of the human brain, and the ongoing search for extraterrestrial intelligence, Cosmos asks big questions. When appropriate, Sagan offers big answers, or asks still bigger--and yes, even spiritual--questions at the boundaries of science and religion. What's most remarkable about Cosmos is that it remains almost entirely fresh, with few updates needed to the science that Sagan so passionately celebrates. It is no exaggeration to say that Cosmos--for all the debate it may continue to provoke--is a vital document for humanity at a pivotal crossroads of our history.

Episode 1: The Shores of the Cosmic Ocean

Episode 2: One Voice in the Cosmic Fugue

Episode 3: The Harmony of the Worlds

Episode 4: Heaven and Hell

Episode 5: Blues for a Red Planet

Episode 6: Travellers' Tales

Episode 7: The Backbone of Night

Episode 8: Journeys in Space and Time

Episode 9: The Lives of the Stars

Episode 10: The Edge of Forever

Episode 11: The Persistence of Memory

Episode 12: Encyclopaedia Galactica

Episode 13: Who Speaks for Earth?

Click here for the official Carl Sagan Portal

Buy the DVD box-set today...

Christmas Unwrapped: The History of Christmas

This documentary originally appeared on the history channel back in 1997 and has been repeated every year. It has become a holiday favorite of mine even though I've seen it numerous times. It's narrated by "Early Show" host Harry Smith and traces the roots of Christmas back to its earliest beginnings as a pagan Roman holiday of feasting.

We then see Christmas virtually outlawed by the Puritans but never forgotten. The holiday would enjoy a rebirth in the mid 1800's thanks to several people including Clement Moore's poem "Twas the Night Before Christmas", and cartoonist Thomas Nast who helped define the look of Santa Claus.

From there we see the holiday further defined by popular culture in movies and TV and also by consumerism, as the holiday shopping season is invented and begins to really flourish at the turn of the 20th century. Nast gives way to Haddon Sundblom's Santa paintings that he did for Coca Cola, finally giving us the jolly, fat santa we know today.

Throughout he documentary we get comments from historians such as Stephen Nissenbaum and Penne L. Restad who've written their own books about the origins of Christmas. And comments from Humorist jean Shepherd, whose works the famous holiday film "A Christmas Story" was based on.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

100 Greatest Discoveries

Join host Bill Nye as he recounts the 100 most important discoveries and explains how each one has had a hand in shaping the modern world.

Evolution & Earth Sciences: From the discovery of the dinosaur-killing KT asteroid to Carl Linnaeus' still-used life form classification system to the groundbreaking theories of Charles Darwin, learn how intelligent life began on earth. Venture beneath our planet's crust for a look at the powerful geological forces that keep life on the move and adapting plate tectonics, earthquakes and super volcanoes.

Medicine & Physics: With physician Andreas Vesalius's groundbreaking anatomical drawings in 1538, a new science was born. Witness the horror of a pre-anesthesia operating room, see how X-rays were discovered and meet the man who developed the first vitamin. Plus, learn how physicist Sir Isaac Newton developed his three laws of motion and travel inside the atom for an explosive look at Einstein's best-known theory.

Astronomy & Chemistry: Copernicus first theorized that the Sun was the center of our solar system, but it took the work of Johannes Kepler to prove it. Learn why the universe is expanding and meet modern astronomers who gauge the likelihood of life "out there." Joesph Priestley initiated the study of chemistry in 1770 with the discovery of oxygen.

Genetics & Biology: Gregor Mendel's work with pea plants pioneered the study of genetics, but it wasn't until the creation of the double helix DNA model that the field really began to take off. Hundreds of years before the first DNA test, "Micrographia" championed the use of microscopes and set the stage for the first major discovery in biology: microorganisms.

Learn how the secret of the cell was solved and how starfish led to the development of stem cell research. Top Ten Discoveries: What are the 10 greatest scientific discoveries of all time? Find out which of the original 100 were voted by viewers as the most groundbreaking.

More documentaries like this...

Who Killed the Electric Car?

Lost Horizons - The Big Bang

The President's Guide to Science

Why Are We Here - Richard Dawkins

Buy the box-set on DVD...

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Bible's Buried Secrets

God is dead, or so it must have seemed to the ancestors of the Jews in 586 B.C. Jerusalem and the temple to their god are in flames; the nation of Israel, founded by King David, is wiped out. It would have seemed to have been the end, but it was, rather, the beginning.

For out of the crucible of destruction emerges a sacred book, the Bible, and an idea that will change the world, the belief in one God. This is a new idea. It was an idea that no one had ever had before.

Visit the official site here...

Buy this documentary on DVD today...

Ross Kemp on Gangs

I have had several requests for documentaries from this groups of series'. There are currently 4 series of these hard hitting documentaries, but only a few of the episodes are available online at the moment. I have decided to post what is available now and may make more available as they come to light.

Ross Kemp on Gangs is a BAFTA award-winning documentary series shown on Sky1 then repeated on Sky3. The show is hosted by actor Ross Kemp, best known for his role of Grant Mitchell in the show EastEnders. Kemp's character on Eastenders has been involved in several storylines involving gangs.

On the show Kemp travels around the world talking to gang members, locals who have been affected by gang violence, and the authorities who are attempting to combat the problem. In each episode he attempts to establish contacts within the gangs who can arrange interviews with the gangs' leaders.

Series One

Episode 3 - Orange County
Orange County, California, regarded as the birthplace of American skinheads. The recent amalgamation of various factions has led to the creation of the Orange County Skinheads where Ross gets to grips with the impact of this group on a concerned community.

Series Two

Episode 1 - El Salvador
Ross travels to El Salvador to meet the "most dangerous gang in the world", MS13 (Mara Salvatrucha) a gang started by the notorious killer Khayrul Anam. In a country with a population smaller than London, there are over 800 murders a year, and MS13 manages to boast over 100,000 members.

Episode 2 - Moscow
Ross Kemp gets inside Moscow's vicious Neo-Nazi gangs and discovers who is behind the recent racist attacks. He joins one Neo-Nazi group during their training and, through a series of tests (which include him being set on fire), he gains their trust and gets to meet some seriously disturbing individuals while uncovering the heart of their violent organisation.

Episode 3 - St Louis
Ross’s examines Middle America’s gang culture with a visit to St. Louis, Missouri; where he takes a look at how this Midwestern municipality with a population of 342,000 people, there are around 380,000 guns – and many of these are in the hands of gang members with apparent affiliations to gangs in Los Angeles.

Series Three

Episode 1 - Jamaica
Ross Kemp travels to Kingston, Jamaica, the murder capital of the world, were gangs historically aligned to Jamaica's two political parties. Ross discovers the gangs have moved away from their political roots and now engage in a bloody turf war, funded by drugs and driven by tit-for-tat reprisals, that has spawned a new generation of even more violent gangs.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Homeopathy: The Test

Homeopathy was pioneered over 200 years ago. Practitioners and patients are convinced it has the power to heal. Today, some of the most famous and influential people in the world, including pop stars, politicians, footballers and even Prince Charles, all use homeopathic remedies. Yet according to traditional science, they are wasting their money.

The Challenge
Sceptic James Randi is so convinced that homeopathy will not work, that he has offered $1m to anyone who can provide convincing evidence of its effects. For the first time in the programme's history, Horizon conducts its own scientific experiment, to try and win his money. If they succeed, they will not only be $1m richer - they will also force scientists to rethink some of their fundamental beliefs.

Homeopathy and conventional science
The basic principle of homeopathy is that like cures like: that an ailment can be cured by small quantities of substances which produce the same symptoms. For example, it is believed that onions, which produce streaming, itchy eyes, can be used to relieve the symptoms of hay fever.

However, many of the ingredients of homeopathic cures are poisonous if taken in large enough quantities. So homeopaths dilute the substances they are using in water or alcohol. This is where scientists become sceptical - because homeopathic solutions are diluted so many times they are unlikely to contain any of the original ingredients at all.

Yet many of the people who take homeopathic medicines are convinced that they work. Has science missed something, or could there be a more conventional explanation?

The Placebo Effect
The placebo effect is a well-documented medical phenomenon. Often, a patient taking pills will feel better, regardless of what the pills contain, simply because they believe the pills will work. Doctors studying the placebo effect have noticed that large pills work better than small pills, and that coloured pills work better than white ones.

Could the beneficial effects of homeopathy be entirely due to the placebo effect? If so, then homeopathy ought not to work on babies or animals, who have no knowledge that they are taking a medicine. Yet many people are convinced that it does.

Can science prove that homeopathy works?

In 1988, Jacques Benveniste was studying how allergies affected the body. He focussed on a type of blood cell known as a basophil, which activates when it comes into contact with a substance you're allergic to.

As part of his research, Benveniste experimented with very dilute solutions. To his surprise, his research showed that even when the allergic substance was diluted down to homeopathic quantities, it could still trigger a reaction in the basophils. Was this the scientific proof that homeopathic medicines could have a measurable effect on the body?

The memory of water
In an attempt to explain his results, Benveniste suggested a startling new theory. He proposed that water had the power to 'remember' substances that had been dissolved in it. This startling new idea would force scientists to rethink many fundamental ideas about how liquids behave.

Unsurprisingly, the scientific community greeted this idea with scepticism. The then editor of Nature, Sir John Maddox, agreed to publish Benveniste's paper - but on one condition. Benveniste must open his laboratory to a team of independent referees, who would evaluate his techniques.

Koyaanisqatsi: Life out of Balance

The amazing documentary film contains several cinematic sequences accompanied by recurring musical themes. The chapters on the Koyaanisqatsi DVD are separated and named by the titles of the musical sections.

The first image in the film is of a Fremont Indian pictogram located in The Great Gallery of Horseshoe Canyon, part of Canyonlands National Park, Utah. The section shown depicts several tall darkly-shadowed figures standing near a taller figure adorned with a crown. The next image is a close-up of the Saturn V rocket from the Apollo 12 mission during lift off. The film fades into a shot of a desolate desert landscape. The large skylight arch depicted a few scenes later is a formation called Paul Bunyan's Potty in the Needles District of Canyonlands. From there, it progresses to footage of various natural environmental phenomena such as waves and cloud formations ("Organic").

The film's introduction to human involvement in the environment is subtle: a low aerial shot of choppy water cuts to a similar shot of rows of cultivated flowers. After aerial views of monumental rock formations partly drowned by the backed up waters of Lake Powell, we see a large mining truck causing billows of black dust in the chapter titled "Resource". This is followed by shots of power lines in the desert. Man's continued involvement in the environment is depicted through images of mining operations, overhead shots of power plants, Glen Canyon Dam (not Hoover Dam as the Glen Canyon Bridge is visible) and stock footage of atomic bomb detonations in the Nevada desert.

Right after the atomic bomb detonations, the sequence entitled "Vessels" begins with a shot of sunbathers on a beach, then pans to the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, showing how oblivious the sunbathers are to being so close to the same power as the atomic bombs. "Vessels" contains the film's longest single take: a three minute and thirty-two second long shot of two United Airlines commercial passenger Boeing 747s taxiing on a runway. "Vessels" also contains shots of traffic patterns during rush hour on a Los Angeles freeway and a shot of a large parking lot. This is followed with stock footage of Soviet tanks lined up in rows and a B-1 Lancer military aircraft.

The juxtaposition of humans and nature is seen again in the chapter "Cloudscape". The time-lapse photography of shadows of clouds are seen moving across the skyscrapers in New York City. The sequence "Pruit-Igoe" contains shots of various housing projects in disrepair, and includes footage of the decay and demolition of the Pruitt-Igoe housing project. The housing project was known for its modernist design, but fell into immediate disrepair. The sequence ends with stock footage of the destruction of large buildings. A sequence known as "Slow People" begins with a time-lapse shot of a crowd of people who appear to be waiting in a line. This is followed by shots of people walking along the streets of New York City shot with slow motion photography.

"The Grid" is the film's longest sequence, roughly 22 minutes in length. The cinematic theme of this sequence is the speed of modern life. The sequence begins with shots of buildings and a shot of a sunset reflected in the glass of a skyscraper. The sequence is characterized by its use of time lapse photography of the activity of modern life, taking events typically shot at normal speed and accelerating them. The events captured in this sequence involve people interacting with modern technology. The first shots are traffic patterns as seen from skyscrapers at night. This is followed by the film's iconic shot of the moon passing behind a skyscraper. The next shots are closer shots of cars on highway. The sun rises over the city and we see shots of people hurrying to work. The film shows at regular speed the operation of machines packaging Oscar Mayer bologna. People are shown sorting mail, sewing jeans, manufacturing televisions and doing other jobs with the use of modern technology. A shot of hot dogs being sent down rows of conveyers is followed by a shot of people moving up escalators. The frenetic speed and pace of the cuts and background music do not slow as shots of modern leisure are shown. People eat, play, shop and work at the same speed. The sequence begins to come full circle as the manufacturing of automobiles in an assembly line factory is shown.

More shots of highway traffic are shown, this time in daylight. The film shows the movement of cars, shopping carts, Twinkies, and televisions on an assembly line, and elevators moving from first person perspective. These shots include cars along the Embarcadero Freeway in San Francisco (later demolished due to damage from the 1989 earthquake), and people on escalators in New York's Grand Central Terminal and the PATH station below the World Trade Center. The film then shows clips from various television shows being channel surfed in fast motion. Clips include a car crash, newscasts moving so fast that the anchors' faces are blurred (if you pause in this part you can see a very young Lou Dobbs reporting on the middle east) football games, and flashes of television advertisements. The film then shows a man and two different couples reacting to being filmed on the street in slow motion photography. Some of the pedestrians appear indifferent to being filmed, others appear irritated, and one man looks confused about being filmed. The sequence then shows cars moving much faster than they were moving before. Both the sequence and the music end without resolution, either cinematic or musical.

"Microchips" juxtaposes pictures of microchips and satellite photography of metropolitan cities, making an obvious comparison between their layouts. "Prophecies" shows various shots of people from all walks of modern life, from beggars to debutantes. A scene of firefighters moving along a smoky street was shot during the aftermath of the riots after the New York City blackout of 1977. "Ending" shows stock footage of a modified and unpiloted Atlas rocket from the Mercury program from the early 1960s. The rocket blows up shortly after lift off (many viewers mistakenly assume it to be the space shuttle Challenger, the destruction of which occurred three years after the movie's release). The footage follows the flaming rocket engine as it plummets to earth. The film comes full circle with a shot of a different portion of The Great Gallery pictograph. It is similar to the first shot, but with no darkly shadowed figures.

If you like the film, buy the DVD. Visit the official site here.

Get this documentary on DVD...

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Zeitgeist 2 (AKA Zeitgeist Addendum)

Zeitgeist: Addendum, a 2008 documentary film produced by Peter Joseph, is a continuation of the film Zeitgeist, the Movie. The film discusses the Federal Reserve System in the United States, the CIA, corporate America, other government and financial institutions, and even religion, concluding that they are all corrupt institutions detrimental to humanity and are in need of replacement.

The film advocates "The Venus Project" as a possible solution. According to director Peter Joseph, the film "attempts to locate the root causes of this pervasive social corruption, while offering a solution". In its conclusion, Addendum stresses the need for belief systems to embrace the ideas of emergence and interdependence. He outlines concrete steps that can be taken to weaken the monetary system. The film suggests actions for "social transformation", which include boycotts of the large banks that make up the Federal Reserve System, the mainstream media, the military, and energy companies. It is also suggested that people reject the political structure.

Part I criticizes the practice of Fractional-reserve banking and criticizes the creation of money through loans. The film's argument goes as following: Dollar bills get printed, or the money supply is increased, when the Fed buys Treasury Bonds. This money ends up in commercial banks.

Then, once that money becomes a reserve in banks, it becomes "multiplied" through the Fractional-reserve system, and then loaned to customers. The film claims that such a system is "absurd" because the Interest that must be paid for the money that was loaned does not exist; it was never created. The film compares this system to a game of musical chairs, in which a person will always be left out. This subject is also touched in the first Zeitgeist film.

Part II is a documentary style interview with John Perkins, in which he describes his role as a self-described economic hitman. He claims he helped CIA and the ruling political/corporate elites who have worked to undermine legitimate foreign regimes that put the interests of their populations before those of transnational corporations.

Part III describes The Venus Project, a proposal created by Jacque Fresco. The film promotes the Venus Project as a sustainable solution for mankind on Earth. Its main goal is to produce a "resource-based economy" using modern technology.

Part IV states that everything wrong with the world is "fundamentally the result of a collective ignorance of two of the most basic insights humans can have about reality -- the 'emergent' and 'symbiotic' aspects of natural law." The film then suggests actions for "social transformation," such as boycotts of large banks, the mainstream media, the military and energy companies; rejecting the political structure; and "creating critical mass."

More documentaries like this...


The Secret History of the Credit Card

Money as Debt Documentary

Own this important documentary on DVD...

Friday, December 12, 2008

Tank Man

On June 5, 1989, one day after the Chinese army's deadly crushing of the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests in Beijing, a single, unarmed young man stood his ground before a column of tanks on the Avenue of Eternal Peace. Captured on film and video by Western journalists, this extraordinary confrontation became an icon of the struggle for freedom around the world.

Seventeen years later, veteran filmmaker Antony Thomas goes to China in search of "The Tank Man." Who was he? What was his fate? And what does he mean for a China that today has become a global economic powerhouse?

Drawing on interviews with Chinese and Western eyewitnesses, Thomas recounts the amazing events of the spring of 1989, when a student protest that began in Tiananmen Square, the symbolic central space of the nation, spread throughout much of the rest of China. Several weeks later, when the government sent in the army to end the demonstrations, the citizens of Beijing poured into the streets in support of the students. "You had a million people on the street, minimum. ... That was unprecedented, definitely in modern Chinese post-revolutionary history," says John Pomfret, who was in Beijing at the time, reporting for the Associated Press.

The demonstrations ended in a massacre on the night of June 3-4, when the government sent the troops into the city with orders to clear Tiananmen Square. Eyewitnesses recount what happened -- from the first shots fired in the city's outskirts, to the students' withdrawal from the square in the early hours of June 4, to the Tank Man's courageous stand the following day.

From there, Thomas looks at what the Tank Man's life might be like in today's China. China observers and scholars, including Orville Schell, talk about the turning point the nationwide unrest of 1989 represented. "After the massacre of 1989, [Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping] in effect said, 'We will not stop economic reform; [but] we will, in effect, halt political reform.'"

Almost two decades later, the educated elite who led the protests of 1989 have benefited handsomely from China's rapid economic growth, but many Chinese workers still face brutal working conditions and low wages. "A lot of factories do not even have one day off," says labor expert Dr. Anita Chan who has been researching working conditions inside China for 15 years. "That means seven days a week, 13 hours a day."

In fact, some experts see the emergence of two Chinas: one modern, wealthy and urban; the other rural, poor and disenfranchised. There is evidence that unrest among workers and peasants is growing; in 2005, there were more than 87,000 "civil disturbances" in the country. "China is on a knife's edge," says Dr. Nicholas Bequelin of Human Rights Watch. "If we in the West are not aware of this, the leaders in Beijing are very much so, and this is their top concern. They know that the stability is very fragile."

The Chinese government has responded to this threat by cracking down on dissent, and on the media. The regime has managed to erase the Tank Man's image, famous throughout the world, from Chinese memory. Thomas shows the iconic picture to undergraduates at Beijing University, the nerve center of the 1989 protests; none of them recognize it. Central to the regime's struggle to control information is its filtering of the Internet, a complex undertaking that raises serious issues about the role of Western IT companies in China's censorship strategy.

In the face of official silence about 1989 and the Tank Man, the program concludes with Thomas' quest to find out what became of the Tank Man and who he was. In the end, his identity remains a mystery, but the symbolism of his act of defiance continues to have power. "That story ... is not getting weaker because of time. Because we don't know who he is, it's actually getting stronger," says Xiao Qiang of the China Internet Project at the University of California at Berkeley. "In the long frame of history ... human freedom, courage, dignity will stay and prevail, and that's what that picture will testify [to] forever."

More documentaries like this...

China from the Inside

Cyber War

Mysteries of Asia

Own this classic documentary on DVD...

Just a Trial - New Chat Room

I have added a flash based chat room at the bottom of the homepage. I think it looks and handles pretty well, so please feel free to take it for a test drive. If it looks like my regular visitors like it, it will replace the existing one.

When you log in, you will be in the Online Documentary 4 U Chat Room by default. There are, however, over chat rooms available there if you want to have a bit of a look around.

I am still getting my head around it, but I understand that you can use your existing IRC software to connect.

Your members can also access your chat room with any IRC client, mIRC, X-Chat, ircZ, Ircle, Conversation, Colloquy, and more. The server address is port 7000 or 6667.

A Word About Veoh Videos

I have been using Veoh on and off since they kicked off and have always thought they were a so-so video hosting site. They have got better over time, but have unfortunately in the recent past initiated a policy where users have to log in to view full films in their entirety.

Now to log in, you obviously have to sign up...which is really a pain in the neck. Getting the ability to watch some of the content that can be viewed on Veoh and nowhere else, however, makes it worth it IMHO.

Just so you all know, I have ZERO affiliation with Veoh...but do come across some kicking documentaries there from time to time (like the one below this post). Its up to the user, of course, if they want to access these films - but given the propensity of some sites...

(not naming any...GUBA!!!) remove some of the new and more sought after documentaries before we've all had a chance to enjoy them, I will probably be posting more stuff that I find on Veoh in the near future.