Saturday, February 28, 2009

The Real Da Vinci Code

History...or hogwash? Take a look at the facts on which Dan Brown built his blockbuster novel.




You've read the novel. Now learn the real story. With intellectual rigor and a hint of impish humor noted British actor and commentator Tony Robinson follows the trail laid down by Dan Brown in The Da Vinci Code and undertakes his own quest for the Holy Grail.




Interviewing such respected experts as Biblical scholar Elaine Pagels, Robinson crisscrosses Europe and the Holy Land, from Scotland's Rosslyn Chapel to Jerusalem's Temple Mount, in hot pursuit of historical truth. He also sits down with Michael Baigent, who co-authored Holy Blood, Holy Grail the controversial book from which Brown drew the theories underpinning his novel.




Did a sect of medieval warrior-monks uncover a shocking secret about Jesus, Mary Magdalene, and the Holy Grail? Did Leonardo Da Vinci plant clues to the long-suppressed truth in his paintings? Do shadowy societies protect the Grail, even today? The Real Da Vinci Code is an informative, entertaining investigation that authoritatively separates imaginative fiction from historical fact.


Get this documentary on DVD today...

OD4U Survey

In an effort to provide more targeted content to our viewers, we are running a survey this coming month. We encourage all regular visitors to this site to tell us what genre of documentary they would like to see more of here at OD4U.

You can vote for more than one type of genre, but it is probably better to restrict your selections to three genres only. The survey is in the lower part of the sidebar...vote today!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Jimi Hendrix the Uncut Story

Those looking for historical details, insights, and heartfelt testimonials from family, friends, music industry royalty, and fellow musicians will be greatly satisfied with Jimi Hendrix: The Uncut Story. One would obviously expect a documentary spanning Hendrix's life and career to include the most important facet of the man: his music and him performing that music live. However, The Uncut Story has none of Hendrix's original music.




There are loads of great clips of Hendrix's performances, and lots of photos and stock video footage, but none of them are set to Hendrix's music. This is without a doubt the strangest thing about this documentary. The film is not endorsed or authorized by the James Marshall Foundation or Experience Hendrix, LLC, which is probably the reason the music was not allowed to be used. But even so, skeptics should shelve any prejudices that this documentary is not a high-quality representation of the master himself.




The content and attention to detail is exceptional. Another impressive aspect of the documentary is the number of songs that are analyzed by friends and family. Lack of music aside and the puzzling fact that the three-hour program is spread over three discs, it may be safe to say Jimi Hendrix: The Uncut Story is one of the best documentaries on the life of Hendrix that has been made. Fans looking for the story behind the music will be pleasantly surprised.

Part One - 1942 to 1961




Part Two - 1961 to 1967





Part Three - 1967 to 1970




Click here for the official Jimi Hendrix website.


Get this documentary on DVD today...

Egypt's Ten Greatest Discoveries

Dr. Zahi Hawass, the guardian of Egyptian antiquities, and a team of leading archaeologists identify Egypt's ten greatest discoveries. Through scientific analysis, modern archaeology takes you beyond these finds and unlocks their hidden secrets.



From major battles, to mega-constructions, to religion and magic, these discoveries uncover the exotic and complex stories of kings, queens and thousands of ordinary people. Join these experts as they reveal the people who developed many of the architectures, beliefs and disciplines that rule the modern world today.



Watch Egypt's Ten Greatest Discoveries | View More Free Videos Online at Veoh.com


More documentaries like this...

Egypt's Golden Empire

The Vanished City of the Pharaoh

The Lost Pyramids of Caral


Buy the DVD today...

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Project Poltergeist

This is the story of two genuine scientific heroes. For forty years, John Bahcall and Ray Davis were engaged in a single extraordinary experiment - to find out why the Sun shines. In the end they would triumph. Davis would win the Nobel Prize and, thanks to their work, a whole new theory about how the universe is put together may have to be created.



At the heart of this story is a tiny, utterly mysterious thing called a neutrino. Trillions of them pass through your body every second, touching nothing, leaving no trace. Yet neutrinos are one of a handful of fundamental particles in the universe, essential to every atom in existence and clues to what makes the Sun work. But their ghost-like quality made trapping and understanding them immensely difficult.



What then followed was a bizarre series of experiments. They led from a vat containing 600 tons of cleaning fluid, to a vast cavern in a Japanese mountain, to a hole in the ground in Canada two kilometres deep.


What they would reveal would stun the world of science. It seems that neutrinos may be our parents. They may be the reason why everything, including us, exists.


More documentaries like this...

Atom - A Documentary

Einstein's Unfinished Symphony

Lost Horizons - The Big Bang

The Hawking Paradox

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Anarchism In America

A colorful and provocative survey of anarchism in America, the film attempts to dispel popular misconceptions and trace the historical development of the movement. The film explores the movement both as a native American philosophy stemming from 19th century American traditions of individualism, and as a foreign ideology brought to America by immigrants.




This documentary features rare archival footage and interviews with significant personalities in anarchist history including Murray Boochkin and Karl Hess, and also live performance footage of the Dead Kennedys.

Wikipedia notes that...

"Anarchists are those who advocate the absence of the state, arguing that common sense would allow people to come together in agreement to form a functional society allowing for the participants to freely develop their own sense of morality, ethics or principled behaviour. The rise of anarchism as a philosophical movement occurred in the mid 19th century, with its idea of freedom as being based upon political and economic self-rule. This occurred alongside the rise of the nation-state and large-scale industrial capitalism, and the corruption that came with their successes.




Although anarchists share a rejection of the state, they differ about economic arrangements and possible rules that would prevail in a stateless society, ranging from complete common ownership and distribution according to need, to supporters of private property and free market competition.




For example, most forms of anarchism, such as that of anarcho-collectivism, anarcho-communism or anarcho-syndicalism not only seek rejection of the state, but also other systems which they perceive as authoritarian, which includes capitalism, markets, and private property. In opposition, a political philosophy known as free-market anarchism or anarcho-capitalism argues that a society without a state is a free market capitalist system that is voluntarist in nature.






The word "anarchy" is often used by non-anarchists as a pejorative term, intended to connote a lack of control and a negatively chaotic environment. However, anarchists still argue that anarchy does not imply nihilism, anomie, or the total absence of rules, but rather an anti-authoritarian society that is based on the spontaneous order of free individuals in autonomous communities, operating on principles of mutual aid, voluntary association, and direct action."


Get the DVD today...



Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The True Story of Rasputin

This documentary is about Rasputin, a Siberian peasant who worked his way into the innermost circles of Russian royalty, then fell from an idealized holy man to a corrupt villain. Born in 1869 in Siberia, Rasputin was a young rogue with an eye for the ladies.




When he was 28, he joined a monastery where he became influenced by a religious sect that believed that to attain salvation, one had to sin, and Rasputin sought salvation often -- by indulging in orgies. In 1903, he went to Russia's capital in St. Petersburg where he worked his way into affluent society. Russians were titillated and disgusted by him. In 1905, he ingratiated himself into the royal family after he apparently used hypnosis to save the life of their young son, a hemophiliac.



Legend has it that Rasputin endeared himself to Alexandra and that they had an affair. By World War I, certain Russians began to tire of Rasputin's antics and he was murdered in 1916. Eighteen months after his death, the royal family was executed by Bolsheviks.


Get the DVD today...

Monday, February 23, 2009

Where's My Robot?

Danny Wallace really wants a robot...




He wants it to walk like him and talk like him. It's what scientists have been promising us for generations but it's a promise so far unfulfilled. Danny circumnavigates the globe searching for robot nirvana and trying to uncover how far away his dream is.




He discovers that the robotics world is as weird as it is insanely complicated. During his quest he meets a Japanese man who makes copies of himself and his daughter, an Italian who claims he's found the key to human intelligence in a video game and a Singaporean whose less than promising looking homage to Dusty Bin, might just turn out to be the robot of Danny's dreams.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Earth - The Climate Wars

Global warming, and how to combat it, has provoked intense debate, changed the way we see the planet and created headlines around the world. But when and how did scientists first discover global warming, why has it led to such furious debate and who should we believe?




PART ONE - The Battle Begins

In the 1970s the world seemed to be falling apart. From acid rain to overpopulation, ecological concerns were at the fore. And it was at this time that climate change first became a hot political issue. But it wasn't global warming that frightened scientists, it was the complete opposite; a new ice age.



Dr Iain Stewart traces the history of climate change from its very beginning and examines just how the scientific community managed to get it so very wrong back in the Seventies. Along the way he uncovers some of the great unsung heroes of climate change science, and introduces us to a secret organisation of American government scientists, known as Jason, who wrote the first official report on global warming as far back as 1979.




He shows how - by the late 1980s - global warming had already become a serious political issue. It looked as if the world was uniting to take action. But it turned out to be a false dawn. Because in the 1990s global warming would be transformed into one of the biggest scientific controversies of our age.



PART TWO - Fightback

Dr Iain Stewart investigates the counter attack that was launched by the global warming sceptics in the 1990s. At the start of the 1990s it seemed the world was united. At the Rio Earth summit the world signed up to a programme of action to start tackling climate change. Even George Bush was there. But the consensus didn't last.



Iain examines the scientific arguments that developed as the global warming sceptics took on the climate change consensus. The sceptics attacked almost everything that scientists held to be true. They argued that the planet wasn't warming up, that even if it was it was nothing unusual, and certainly whatever was happening to the climate was nothing to do with human emissions of greenhouse gases.




Iain interviews some of the key global warming sceptics, and discovers how their positions have changed over time.


PART THREE - New Challenges

Having explained the science behind global warming, and addressed the arguments of the climate change sceptics earlier in the series, in this third and final part Dr Iain Stewart looks at the biggest challenge now facing climate scientists. Just how can they predict exactly what changes global warming will bring?



It's a journey that takes him from early attempts to model the climate system with dishpans, to supercomputers, and to the frontline of climate research today: Greenland. Most worryingly he discovers that scientists are becoming increasingly concerned that their models are actually underestimating the speed of changes already underway.





More documentaries like this...

The Great Global Warming Swindle

The Big Freeze

Global Dimming

Life After People

A World Without Water

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Saturn - Lord of the Rings

With its famous rings, Saturn is the most distant planet clearly visible to the naked eye. But how did the rings get there and when were they formed? To study the planet in detail, scientists needed to get closer. So on 15 October 1997, the Cassini-Huygens spacecraft was launched.



The Cassini-Huygens is one of the most ambitious spacecraft ever launched, taking seven years to reach Saturn. The mission itself consists of two separate probes. The first is the enormous Cassini probe, designed to gather information about all aspects of the Saturnian system, from its many rings to its 33 moons. The second is the Huygens probe, a smaller wok-shaped craft, attached to the side of Cassini. Its task is to plunge through the atmosphere of Titan, Saturn's largest and most mysterious moon.



The project is a joint NASA, European Space Agency (ESA) and Italian Space Agency venture. It has cost $3.27 billion and involves over 17 countries. It was inspired by another successful mission- the launch of the two Voyager Deep Space probes. These left Earth in 1977, and arrived separately at Saturn in 1980 and 1981. They sent back revolutionary data, changing what scientists thought about the Saturnian system.




They revealed that Saturn's rings are far more complex and dynamic than any one had ever imagined. They also suggested that the rings had been formed after the planet itself. Why? And how old were they? But the Voyager probes had to move on, past Uranus and Neptune and beyond, leaving these fundamental questions about the rings unanswered.

More documentaries like this...

BBC Space - with Sam Neil

Titan: A Place Like Home?

Hubble - 15 Years of Discovery

The Death Star

The Cosmos - A Beginner's Guide

Friday, February 20, 2009

The True Story Of Black Hawk Down

On October 3, 1993, an elite force of 120 American Delta units and Ranger infantry were dropped into Mogadishu, Somalia, to abduct two lieutenants of Somalian warlord Mohmaed Farrah Aidid. When two Black Hawk helicopters were shot down, a mission that was supposed to last one hour turned into a 15-hour ordeal that resulted in 18 American deaths and 73 American casualties. This documentary combines actual footage of the operation and interviews with key survivors to present a minute-by-minute account of the battle.




Drawing on Mark Bowden's bestselling book about the incident and extensive interviews with the author, The True Story Of Black Hawk Down is a compelling, minute-by-minute look at the battle that claimed 18 American lives. US Rangers and Somali militiamen share their harrowing experiences, and former officials from Aidid's organization reveal how they were able to use the attack to their advantage. Finally, diplomats and high-ranking officers reflect on the incident's legacy, including the widely-held assumption that it weakened America's resolve to send troops abroad.




Balancing exceptional combat footage, brilliant commentary and the recollections of those who were there, The True Story Of Black Hawk Down is an unforgettable look at modern warfare.


Get this documentary on DVD today...



Thursday, February 19, 2009

The True Story - Escape from Alcatraz

This is a historical documentary examining a remarkable escape attempt from Alcatraz prison. In June 1962, three inmates successfully broke out of the jail and took to the waters of San Francisco Bay in a makeshift raft, never to be seen again.




The film uses interviews with former inmates, guards and FBI to piece together the story of the escape, while three modern-day coastguards board a replica of the raft to see if it could have carried the men to freedom.


Get this documentary on DVD today...

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

I.O.U.S.A.: One Nation - Under Stress - In Debt

Thanks to Sebastian and many others that requested this documentary. The United States has been spending its way deeper and deeper into the red, and saddling future generations with the mess—but who's paying attention?




To answer that question, this documentary talks with some of the most revered voices in the nation, including Warren Buffett; former Treasury Secretaries Paul O’Neill and Robert Rubin; Pete Peterson, CEO of The Blackstone Group; Congressman Ron Paul (R-Texas); and bestselling Empire of Debt author Bill Bonner.



Armed with these interviews, historical references, and damning statistics, this documentary takes a lively and entertaining romp through the four deficits the nation faces: the budget deficit, the personal savings deficit, the trade deficit—and what former U.S. Comptroller General David Walker, who resigned abruptly in 2008 over Congress’s lack of action, calls the “leadership deficit” in Washington.





Defiantly non-partisan, the empowering solutions outlined in this film are a must-watch for any American who wants to help change “business-as-usual” in Washington with the new administration now in the Oval Office. “We the People” can get our politicians to stop spending, promote responsible economic programs, and hand our children and grandchildren the secure future they deserve.

Click here for the official website.

More documentaries like this...

The Ascent of Money

Money as Debt

Born Rich

Super Rich: The Greed Game


Get the DVD today...

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Werner Herzog: Beyond Reason

Legendary for his refusal to compromise in his search for the 'real truth', German film director Werner Herzoghas a reputation for pushing cast, crew and studios to the absolute limit. Stories from his best known film, Fitzcarraldo, are of a catastrophe-riddled shoot in the Peruvian jungle, which took three years to film and saw two plane crashes, a border war, and attacks from a hostile tribe.




Herzog is as far from the mainstream as it is possible to be, so it is a surprise when Alan finds him living in the Hollywood Hills. Spending time with Werner at some of his favourite Los Angeles locations, Alan attempts to uncover whether Herzog is the maverick risk-taker he appears to be. He also questions what the future is for Herzog - will he succeed in bucking the Hollywood system, or will he be forced to compromise his unique vision and style?




With footage from Werner's extensive back-catalogue of work, including Rescue Dawn, Grizzly Man, Even Dwarfs Started Small and Fitzcarraldo, the documentary is a revealing insight into one of modern cinema's most surprising and complex filmmakers.

PART ONE



PART TWO

Monday, February 16, 2009

The Great Global Warming Swindle

This film by the documentary-maker Martin Durkin presents the arguments of scientists and commentators who don't believe that CO2 produced by human activity is the main cause of climate change.




It's a controversial film that was roundly attacked by some scientists and enthusiastically received by others, and the arguments it contains are an important part of the wider debate on the causes of climate change.





Please note that I do not agree with the main premises of this documentary. I do believe, however, that it is important to see an argument from all sides...the viewer will have to make their own mind up.

More documentaries like this...

Life After People

What on Earth is Wrong With Gravity?

The 11th Hour


Get the DVD today...

Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Ascent of Money

Professor Niall Ferguson examines the origins of the pillars of the world's financial system, and how behind every great historical phenomenon – empires and republics, wars and revolutions – there lies a financial secret.




Episode 1: Dreams of avarice

From Shylock's pound of flesh to the loan sharks of Glasgow, from the 'promises to pay' on Babylonian clay tablets to the Medici banking system, Professor Ferguson explains the origins of credit and debt and why credit networks are indispensable to any civilisation.





Episode 2: Human bondage

How did finance become the realm of the masters of the universe? Through the rise of the bond market in Renaissance Italy. With the advent of bonds, war finance was transformed and spread to north-west Europe and across the Atlantic. It was the bond market that made the Rothschilds the richest and most powerful family of the 19th century. And today governments are asking it to bail them out.





Episode 3: Blowing bubbles

Why do stock markets produce bubbles and busts? Professor Ferguson goes back to the origins of the joint stock company in Amsterdam and Paris. He draws telling parallels between the current stock market crash and the 18th-century Mississippi Bubble of Scottish financier John Law and the 2001 Enron bankruptcy. He shows why humans have a herd instinct when it comes to investment, and why no one can accurately predict when the bulls might stampede.





Episode 4: Risky business

Life is a risky business – which is why people take out insurance. But faced with an unexpected disaster, the state has to step in. Professor Ferguson travels to post-Katrina New Orleans to ask why the free market can't provide adequate protection against catastrophe. His quest for an answer takes him to the origins of modern insurance in the early 19th century and to the birth of the welfare state in post-war Japan.





Episode 5: Safe as houses

It sounded so simple: give state-owned assets to the people. After all, what better foundation for a property-owning democracy than a campaign of privatisation encompassing housing? An economic theory says that markets can't function without mortgages, because it's only by borrowing against their assets that entrepreneurs can get their businesses off the ground. But what if mortgages are bundled together and sold off to the highest bidder?





Episode 6: Chimerica

Since the 1990s, once risky markets in Asia, Latin America and eastern Europe have become better investments than the UK or US stock market. The explanation is the rise of 'Chimerica', the economic marriage of China and the United States. But does it make sense for poor Chinese savers to lend to rich American spenders?






Buy this series on DVD today...



Saturday, February 14, 2009

Science and Islam

Physicist Jim Al-Khalili travels through Syria, Iran, Tunisia and Spain to tell the story of the great leap in scientific knowledge that took place in the Islamic world between the 8th and 14th centuries.



Its legacy is tangible, with terms like algebra, algorithm and alkali all being Arabic in origin and at the very heart of modern science - there would be no modern mathematics or physics without algebra, no computers without algorithms and no chemistry without alkalis.




For Baghdad-born Al-Khalili this is also a personal journey and on his travels he uncovers a diverse and outward-looking culture, fascinated by learning and obsessed with science. From the great mathematician Al-Khwarizmi, who did much to establish the mathematical tradition we now know as algebra, to Ibn Sina, a pioneer of early medicine whose Canon of Medicine was still in use as recently as the 19th century, he pieces together a remarkable story of the often-overlooked achievements of the early medieval Islamic scientists.


More documentaries like this...

An Islamic History of Europe

The Seven Wonders of the Muslim World

The Lost Pyramids of Caral

Mysteries of Asia

Friday, February 13, 2009

My Pet Dinosaur

It's a palaeontologist's dream: the chance to live in a world where dinosaurs are not something to be dug out of the ground but are living among us. It may sound far-fetched but dinosaurs were actually rather unlucky. The meteorite impact that doomed them to extinction was an event with a probability of millions to one. What if the meteorite had missed?




Had dinosaurs survived, the world today would be very different. If humans managed to survive alongside them, we wouldn't have the company of most, if not all, of the mammals with which we are familiar today. Giraffes, elephants and other mammals wouldn't have had space to evolve.





Would we be hunting Hadrosaurs instead of elk? Or farming Protoceratops instead of pigs? Would dinosaurs be kept as pets? And could the brighter dinosaurs have evolved into something humanoid?

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Big Freeze

Imagine our world in the not-too-distant future? In parts of the northern hemisphere, the temperature plummets to -90 F. At 130 below, public transportation fails. Those caught outside freeze to death.




Buildings collapse under the weight of snow and ice. The power goes out, society collapses, and anarchy takes its place. Could this be a vision of our future? In this documentary, Naked Science examines what may cause temperatures to plummet and how this could spell disaster for our planet.





More documentaries like this...

Visions of the Future

Strange Days on Planet Earth

A World Without Water


Get the DVD today...

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Secrets of the First Emperor

In the early years of anno domini, China experienced one of its most formidable and brilliant rulers in the personage of Qin Shi Huang, or 'The First Emperor of Qin.' By all accounts a visionary, Huang is now credited with laying the groundwork for the Chinese empire, setting forth the plans for the Great Wall (the first ruler to do so) and establishing the largest burial site on Earth - a site guarded by an "army" of 7,000 terracotta soldiers.




This program explores Qin Shi Huang's life and impact on successive generations, with a wealth of CGI animation and dramatic reenactments. It also depicts the ways in which a man whom many regarded as a walking terror could paradoxically qualify as one of China's greatest benefactors.





More documentaries like this...

Mysteries of Asia

The Last Aztec

Tibet's Hidden Kingdom

The Vanished City of the Pharaoh


Own this documentary on DVD...

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Jews

This documentary series gives an unprecedented insight into Jewish life in Britain today. For those that have had trouble accessing Veoh videos, it may be the case that if the video is smaller than 30 minutes long, that you can watch it without the Veoh Player...but this is an unconfirmed rumor.

PART ONE - The Prisoner
It begins with the story of ultra-orthodox Hasidic Jew Samuel Leibowitz, who has multiple convictions for international drug-smuggling.



Filmmaker Vanessa Engle follows him as he comes out of prison and returns to his community, documenting his re-entry into ultra-orthodox life to discover whether he can overcome his transgressions and live once again as an observant Hasidic Jew.






PART TWO - The Next Generation
This episode looks at the psychological inheritance of the Holocaust. It may have taken place over half a century ago, but the children of refugees and survivors still find themselves carrying the inherited trauma from the past in their everyday lives.



A reflection on the second generation experience which explores how the past informs the present and how history lives on inside our heads.






PART THREE - Keeping the Faith
This episode tells the story of 52-year-old millionaire philanthropist Jonathan Faith.



Former owner of high street chain Faith shoes, he retired from the business to devote himself to trying to reverse the decline in the observant Jewish population, which is currently a mere 270,000 people. He spends his fortune not on yachts, but on a mission to prevent religious Jews in Britain from becoming extinct.






More documentaries like this...

The Seven Wonders of the Muslim World

China from the Inside

Monday, February 9, 2009

Gamer Revolution

Anticipation builds in Seoul, South Korea as 20,000 screaming fans await the arrival of their video game idols for the ultimate game-off - Beatlemania 21st century style. In Romania, teens slave away in a "virtual sweatshop" racking up points for Westerners who are too busy to play their own games. And somewhere in a small town 100 miles from the Arctic Circle, the largest gathering of online gamers in the world is getting underway.



Computer games are a global phenomenon and a $25 billion dollar a year industry. Over 800 million people worldwide are regular players. GAMER REVOLUTION, shot in HD, is the first full-length documentary to look past the hype, paranoia, and hoopla to explore the real stories behind the computer game revolution.



GAMER REVOLUTION explores how computer games are not only a new medium for the 21st century, they are a massive form of change in our world." says Rachel Low, President, Red Apple Entertainment. "The idea of living inside a computer-generated universe is happening right now. The line between the real world and the virtual world is disappearing. Millions of people feel that they have a life inside these games."


Sunday, February 8, 2009

The Atheism Tapes

In this documentary series, Jonathan Miller meets up with some of the key contributors from his three-part Brief History of Disbelief in these half-hour extended conversations.




PART ONE - Colin McGinn
English philosopher McGinn speaks about the various reasons for not believing in God, and some of the reasons for. He gives a thorough treatment of the ontological argument. In addition, McGinn draws an important distinction between atheism (lack of belief in a deity) and antitheism (active opposition to theism); he identifies himself as both an atheist and an antitheist. Finally, he speculates about a post-theistic society.




PART TWO - Steven Weinberg
Weinberg talks about the effectiveness of the Design Argument, both in the past and today. He also discusses the reasons that people become religious, including the varying influences of physical and biological arguments against religion. Miller connects this to a higher likelihood of biologists being non-believers than physicists, which Weinberg finds surprising.




Weinberg goes on to distinguish between harm done in the name of religion from that done by religion and states that both of these are very real and very dangerous. He goes on to discuss the difference between religious belief in America and Europe, and about how he doesn’t like the "character" of the monotheistic God. He ends by saying that science is very definitely corrosive to religious belief, and that he considers this a good thing.




PART THREE - Daniel Dennett
American philosopher Dennett explains why he called one of his books Darwin's Dangerous Idea, and why many of Darwin's contemporaries, in particular, considered Darwin's theory of evolution to be dangerous. He goes on to deal with the question of consciousness (i.e., is the consciousness /soul distinct from the body), talking about Darwin's rejection of the soul and the possible origins and psychological purposes of a belief in an immaterial soul.




Next, he talks about his Christian upbringing and how he became an atheist. He goes on to ask why it is thought rude to criticise religious belief, and suggests that it is due to the influential status of the religions in question. He finishes by wondering whether we could live effectively in a post-theistic world.


PART FOUR - Arthur Miller
Playwright Arthur Miller and Jonathan Miller talk about disbelief and their experiences of anti-Semitism. He was born to moderately affluent Jewish-American parents, Isidore and Augusta Miller, in Manhattan, New York City, in 1915. Wall Street Crash of 1929 after which his family moved to humbler quarters in Gravesend, Brooklyn.




Because of the effects of the Great Depression on his family, Miller did not have money for college after graduating in 1932 from Abraham Lincoln High School (New York). Before securing a place at the University of Michigan, he worked in a number of menial jobs to pay for his tuition. He continued working in Ann Arbor to supplement his income.



PART FIVE - Richard Dawkins
Biologist Richard Dawkins talks to Jonathan Miller about his implacable opposition to all religion.Dawkins is a prominent critic of creationism and intelligent design. In his 1986 book The Blind Watchmaker, he argued against the watchmaker analogy, an argument for the existence of a supernatural creator based upon the observed complexity of living organisms, and instead described evolutionary processes as being analogous to a blind watchmaker. He has since written several popular science books, and has made regular appearances on television and radio programmes, predominantly discussing the aforementioned topics.




Dawkins is an atheist, secular humanist, sceptic, scientific rationalist, and supporter of the Brights movement. He has widely been referred to in the media as "Darwin's Rottweiler", by analogy with English biologist T. H. Huxley, who was known as "Darwin's Bulldog" for his advocacy of natural selection. In his 2006 book The God Delusion, Dawkins contends that a supernatural creator almost certainly does not exist and that faith qualifies as a delusion − as a fixed false belief. As of November 2007, the English language version had sold more than 1.5 million copies and had been translated into 31 other languages, making it his most popular book to date.



PART SIX - Denys Turner
Christian theologian Denys Turner defends the case for God as the answer to the most important questions. He has written widely on political theory and social theory in relation to Christian theology, as well as on Medieval thought, in particular, mystical theology.




More documentaries like this...

Richard Dawkins - The Blind Watch Maker

Why Are We Here - Richard Dawkins

Richard Dawkins - The Enemies of Reason

The God Who Wasn't There

Evolution - Darwin's Dangerous Idea


Own this documentary series on DVD...

Saturday, February 7, 2009

The Story of Maths

Four-part series about the history of mathematics, presented by Oxford professor Marcus du Sautoy. This series is currently only available on Veoh, so my apologies to those that have issues with Veoh. I will post alternative links as soon as they become available.



After showing how fundamental mathematics is to our lives, du Sautoy explores the mathematics of ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia and Greece. In Egypt, he uncovers use of a decimal system based on ten fingers of the hand, while in former Mesopotamia he discovers that the way we tell the time today is based on the Babylonian Base 60 number system.



In Greece, he looks at the contributions of some of the giants of mathematics including Plato, Euclid, Archimedes and Pythagoras, who is credited with beginning the transformation of mathematics from a tool for counting into the analytical subject we know today.

PART ONE



PART TWO



PART THREE




PART FOUR



More documentaries like this...

Fermat's Last Theorem

Absolute Zero

Einstein's Unfinished Symphony

Newton - The Dark Heretic


Get this documentary series on DVD today...

Spartacus - Behind The Myth

Two thousand years ago, the Roman Empire was the strongest and most powerful assembly of people on Earth. In the year 73 BC, they boasted the greatest army in the ancient world, but their army was to be taken down many times over by Spartacus - an unlikely hero who achieved an extraordinary feat that would be remembered in history for decades to come. Spartacus: Behind the Myth is a fascinating one-hour special that unveils the truth about the man who is still a legend to this day.




Unearthing intriguing new details about his origins, ingenious tactics and mysterious death, the information detailed in this documentary goes way beyond the man who was made famous by Kirk Douglas's 1960 feature film. Combining special historical research with stunning dramatisations, find out how just one man, who lead a small band of lowly slaves that grew from 70 to 100,000, struck fear in the heart of Rome when he came close to crushing the mighty Roman Empire.

Questions about Spartacus's origins will be answered, and new information about his slave army will be revealed by a team of leading experts who include a top psychological profiler, US Special Forces, ancient archaeologists, and historians. They will share insights to unravel the true character of this freedom fighter who took on the ancient world's greatest power.


PART ONE





PART TWO


Friday, February 6, 2009

The History of the Devil

The notion of the devil does not originate in the Bible, as many may think - In the Old Testament, Satan is just another one of God's servants. It is in Iran that the religious teacher Zarathustra simplified things, ending up with only two - a God of the Good and a God of Evil. This belief then spread throughout the Middle East. In the Jewish world, Satan, God's obedient servant, was gradually replaced by Saden, God's eternal enemy. The Greeks had an underworld called Hades. It didn't have fire, but the valley outside Jerusalem, called Hell, did. In Hebrew it was known as Gehenna, a smouldering rubbish heap to which fire was regularly set. That is where bodies of executed criminals were burned. Gehenna was the inspiration for the Christian hell.




When the Romans ruled, their persecutions of Christians and Jews were attributed to 666, symbol of the Devil, but also the numerical identity of Emperor Nero. Emperor Constantine converted to Christianity in the 5th century and made it the state religion. Anyone not adhering to Catholic rules was a heretic, a worshipper of God's enemy. As Christianity spread under the Roman Empire, the devil took on some of the characteristics of Pan, whom the Romans kept on worshipping- Hence the horns and claws for feet in the newly born imagery of the devil.

By the Middle Ages, the devil became real - everything physical and material was bad, everything spiritual was good. Islam was then seen as evil personified, hence the Crusades. The Inquisition then went so far as to claim that "heretics" were in league with the devil. The Church used excuses of heresy in order to acquire wealth. Women in particular were considered to be close to the devil. Between 60,000 and 300,000 women were burned as witches.




Luther split the Church and each denomination accused the other of demonisation. When the New World of the Americas was colonised, the devil went along. The town of Salem is synonymous with witch hunts. By the 18th century, science had come into the picture and the idea of the devil became more sophisticated, being well groomed, wealthy and sexually appealing. He promised everything to people in return for their soul.

With the age of Revolution, a completely new image of the devil appeared. He was depicted as a lonely figure who suffered under an overbearing God. He was now a brave and handsome fellow and becomes romanticised. The devil was now admired. In the 20th century, the devil became a figure of fun and is considered no better or worse that the common man.




In 1966, the Church of Satan was founded in California. Satan became a popular figure in modern film. In the film "Rosemary's Baby", Satan triumphs and the film "The Exorcist" brought evil into a new perspective. In the 1980s, news of organised Satanists swept the media.





In the US, most people believe the devil is real and see recent events such as September 11 as a testimony. "Evil is real and must be opposed," said Bush. This is classic dualist thinking of the past and the war against terror seems very similar to the war against heretics. When being interviewed about the US attack on Falluja Colonel Brandl maintained that the enemy was Satan and that he lives in Falluja. In conclusion, it is perhaps high time we got rid of the notion of the devil and hell.