Monday, March 30, 2009

Hannibal - The Fall of Carthage

Did Hannibal carelessly squander the power of Carthage? Were the ingenious strategist's legendary victories paradoxically the reason for the downfall of this incredibly rich trading empire? Why did Hannibal, at the very height of his triumphant campaign, refrain from attacking the city of Rome? Why was the military genius of Hannibal not enough the defeat the rising power of Rome?




This documenatary delves into the rise of the small trading city-state of Carthage that became one of the richest and most powerful seafaring nations in the Mediterrranian. Following the battles of the great Carthage general, Hannibal, the defeat of Rome seemed almost inevitable, yet Rome prevailed.





Whole new questions come to light in this documentary: not only historians, but also psychologists, scientists and doctors piece together the images of the past. Archaeologists provide the data for lavish computer animations that recreate the fascinating events of the past. Facilitated by computers, a breakneck journey leads us through the eye of the duellists, directly into the brain, where - split seconds before the decision is taken - possible alternatives are drafted as visions of history: 'What would have happened if...? - this teasing and likewise scientific question arouses the viewers' fantasy - and compellingly illustrates how, for a brief moment in history, the development of today's world hung by a thread.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

New Forum

Forums are an excellent way for web nuts to discuss a wide range of topics.

With this in mind, we are trialing a new forum for OD4U. It is actually a Google Group forum, so it is lacking in some features we'd like to see...but we are planning to upgrade to a more functional forum system in the near future.

We have added 'Google Groups' gadget to the sidebar (just above the chat box) where you can click on 'visit this group' to just have a look. If you want to be able to use the forum, i.e. make posts, reply to other users etc. you will have to subscribe.

The subscription process is easy...
  1. Enter your email address in the field and click on the 'subscribe' button. Make sure this is a valid email address as you will be contacted for verification purposes.
  2. Check your email for the verification email and click on the verification link. This will open a page on your browser.
  3. You will be asked to answer the question, "What is the name of the OD4U webmaster". Type in your answer to this question (hint it can be found at the bottom of every post on this website) and then click 'Apply to this group'.
  4. THAT'S IT!
The OD4U webmaster will then be sent an email to alert them to your application request. We will try to approve requests as quickly as possible, but you may experience up to a 24 hour delay.

Once you are approved, you will have full member functionality.

I strongly encourage all regular visitors to this site to get involved in the forum. It is a place where you can express your opinions, make friends and generally increase your participation in your site - OD4U.

If you have any problems with subscribing to the forum, please leave your comments on this post. Any issues you have once you are using the forum can be addressed there.

The Secret

Due to the numerous comments expressing their strong disapproval of this film, it has been removed from OD4U.

I acknowledge that I exercised poor judgement on my decision to post this film and sincerely apologise to my loyal regulars.

Thank you all for your honest feedback!

FOR THOSE THAT STILL WANT TO WATCH THIS FILM, FOLLOW THE LINK BELOW...

The Secret

Friday, March 27, 2009

The Trials of Ted Haggard

This documentary by Alexandra Pelosi takes a behind-the-scenes look at the recent life and hard times of ex-minister Pastor Ted. Ted Haggard had it all: prosperity, a doting wife, five kids, and a ministry that reached out to approximately 30 million followers who hung on his every word, whether on TV or in person at one of his arena sermons.




Ted Haggard had it all: prosperity, a doting wife, five kids and a ministry that reached more than 30 million followers who hung on his every word. But in 2006, it all fell apart in a sea of scandal. Journalist/filmmaker Alexandra Pelosi returns to talk with "Pastor Ted"--whom she met while filming Friends of God for HBO--who was exiled from the church he built and the state where he lived after admitting to "sexual immorality" and to buying methamphetamines.





Following Haggard and his family as they move from house to house and motel to motel, Pelosi interviews the sullied ex-minister as he works as a traveling insurance salesman...and maps out a strategy for redeeming himself and supporting his family.




The Medici - Godfathers Of The Renaissance

The Medici were one of European history's most influential merchant families and patrons to some of the greatest artists in the Italian Renaissance -- including Leonard da Vinci, Michelangelo and Raphael. Movers and shakers from the 14th century onward, the Medici used any means necessary, whether it be money or merciless tactics, to leave a lasting impression on art and science.




From a base in 15th-century Florence, the Medici family used charm, patronage, duplicity, and ruthlessness to amass wealth and power. The Medicis also ignited Western history's most important cultural and artistic revolution, the Renaissance, but doomed their own ordered world. This epic drama in the courts, cathedrals, and palaces of Europe traces a family's powerful ambition and a continent's tortured struggle to emerge from the Dark Ages.


PART ONE




PART TWO




PART THREE





More documentaries like this...

The True Story of Rasputin

Spartacus - Behind The Myth

Leonardo - The Man Behind the Shroud?


Get this documentary on DVD...

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Biography - Jack the Ripper

'Jack the Ripper' is one of the most enduring and famous serial-killer legends that still captivates the world's imagination.



The culprit responsible for slaughtering five prostitutes, and possibly more, in London's East End in the autumn of 1888 was never apprehended. Despite countless investigations which claim to have definitive evidence of the killer's identity, the brutal murderer's name and motivation are still unproven.

The moniker 'Jack the Ripper' originates from a letter written by someone who claimed to be the Whitechapel butcher, which was published at the time of the attacks. The killings all took place within a mile area and involved the districts of Whitechapel, Spitalfields, Aldgate and the City of London.




Adding to the mystery of the affair is the fact that several letters were sent by the killer to the London Metropolitan police, taunting them about his gruesome activities and speculating on further murders to come. The plethora of theories as to the identity of the killer, ranging from the famous Victorian painter Walter Sickert to a Polish migrant and even the grandson of Queen Victoria have all contributed to a culture of folklore and ghoulish entertainment.

Wiki has this to say about Jack the Ripper.

More on Jack the Ripper...

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Adventure of English

Melvyn Bragg travels through Britain to tell the story of how an insignificant German dialect, which only arrived in the country in the fifth century, evolved into a language which is now spoken and understood by more people than any other around the world. We trace English from its humble roots to its flowering in the writing of Shakespeare and his contemporaries. English is a global language.




Every day, in cities all around the world, English is used in encounters between people of different countries. It is estimated that well over a thousand million people around the world speak, or have a working understanding of, English. This is its story. It's a story that really reads like an adventure of extraordinary survival, invasion, near extinction on more than one occasion, and astonishing flexibility.

PART ONE - Birth of a Language




PART TWO - English Goes Underground




PART THREE - The Battle for the Language of the Bible




PART FOUR - This Earth, This Realm, This England




PART FIVE - English in America




PART SIX - Speaking Proper




PART SEVEN - The Language of Empire




PART EIGHT - Many Tongues Called English, One World Language



Documentary Genre Survey Results

Thanks to all those that participated in our first survey. This is the first of many surveys we will be conducting over the next couple of months that are aimed at helping us create a site that our loyal regulars can call their own.

There were three documentary genres that emerged as clear favourites...
  • Space
  • Physics
  • History
There were also strong preferences for...
  • Sociological
  • Nature
  • Political
Whilst we will not reduce the wide range of documentary genres available at OD4U, we will certainly be making a strong effort to bring you more documentaries from your favourite genres.

We will be implimenting a documentary catagory menu later this week making it easier to find your favourite catagory...the first of many improvements to come.

Thank you all for your continued support!

Monday, March 23, 2009

How Art Made the World

Why does our world look like it does? That great modern mystery is spectacularly unravelled in this international landmark series; an epic quest across five continents and 100,000 years – via some of the greatest treasures of the ancient world – to the heart of human creativity.




Discovering how the first big artistic discoveries were made, and how they have cascaded down the centuries to define the look of the present day – this is your invitation to see the world from an utterly new perspective. Encompassing everything from cave paintings to ceramics and pyramids to palaces, the series probes the global trend for unrealistic depictions of the human body; the secret powers of the feature film; how politicians manage to manipulate people so easily; visions of death and the afterlife; and crucially, why we use imagery at all.




Beautiful, surprising, and compelling, this awe-inspiring adventure is not only for art lovers, but for anyone who has ever wondered about their place in the world.

PART ONE - More Human Than Human



PART TWO - The Day Pictures Were Born



PART THREE - The Art of Persuasion



PART FOUR - Once Upon a Time



PART FIVE - To Death and Back




Click here to visit the PBS site for this documentary.

More documentaries like this...

This Strange Eventful History

Power of Art


Get this documentary series on DVD today...



Sunday, March 22, 2009

Site Changes

I am currently experimenting with some changes to the site. You should still be able to watch documentaries without any issues.

Thanks for your patience...

Scott

The Greeks - Crucible Of Civilization

It was perhaps the most spectacular flourishing of imagination and achievement in recorded history. In the fourth and fifth centuries, B.C., the Greeks built an empire that stretched across the Mediterranean from Asia to Spain.




They laid the foundation of modern science, politics, warfare and philosophy, and produced some of the most breathtaking art and architecture the world has ever seen. The Greeks: Crucible of Civilization recounts the rise, glory, demise and legacy of the empire that marked the dawn of Western Civilization.The story of this astonishing civilization will be told through the lives of the great heroes of Ancient Greece.


PART ONE




PART TWO




The newest advances in computer and television technology will be used to rebuild the Acropolis, recreate the Battle of Marathon and restore the grandeur of the Academy, where Socrates, Plato and Aristotle forged the foundation of Western thought. The Greeks: Crucible of Civilization combines dramatic storytelling, stunning imagery, groundbreaking research and distinguished scholarship, rendering Classical Greece gloriously alive.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

The Atom Smashers

Physicists at Fermilab, the most powerful particle accelerator in the United States, are closing in on one of the universe’s best-kept secrets: what is known as the Holy Grail of physics or the reason why everything has mass. With the Tevatron, an underground particle accelerator buried deep beneath the Illinois prairie, Fermilab scientists smash matter together, accelerating protons and antiprotons in a four-mile-long ring at nearly the speed of light. They do this to find the God particle—the Higgs boson—whose existence was theorized nearly 40 years ago by Scottish scientist Peter Higgs.




The physicists searching for the Higgs boson are excited; they may be approaching the discovery of a lifetime and there’s almost certainly a Nobel Prize for whoever finally finds it. Wars, natural disasters and a growing deficit are chipping away at America’s ability to maintain its role as science leader. In the midst of this uncertainty, Fermilab struggles to stay alive, just as a new and more powerful accelerator in Europe prepares to open its doors and potentially make the discovery first.




This tightening race makes Fermilab physicists like Nobel Laureate and elder statesman Leon Lederman, rock band front man ben Kilminster and newlyweds John Conway and Robin Erbacher contemplate their future in physics. Despite dwindling support, the scientists show infectious enthusiasm as they wrangle the cantankerous Tevatron to record-breaking energies, increasing the odds of a discovery.





Then, in December 2006, research findings indicate that the Higgs might be lighter than previously believed and, therefore, easier for Fermilab to find. Then comes the bombshell: governmental budgets are slashed and a key project is canceled at Fermilab. The Tevatron is scheduled to be turned off permanently, unless a major discovery is made. A race to the finish begins.

More documentaries like this...

Atom - A Documentary

An Experiment to Save the World

The Six Billion Dollar Experiment

The Elegant Universe


Get this documentary on DVD today...

Friday, March 20, 2009

Aleister Crowley

Here are two documentaries on Aleister Crowley...famous amongst other things for his association with Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn.




Wiki has this to say about 'The Beast" and his assocciation with the order...

Involved as a young adult in the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, he first studied mysticism with and made enemies of William Butler Yeats and Arthur Edward Waite. Like many in occult circles of the time, Crowley voiced the view that Waite was a pretentious bore through searing critiques of Waite's writings and editorials of other authors' writings. In his periodical The Equinox, Crowley titled one diatribe, "Wisdom While You Waite", and his note on the passing of Waite bore the title, "Dead Waite".

His friend and former Golden Dawn associate, Allan Bennett, introduced him to the ideas of Buddhism, while Samuel Liddell MacGregor Mathers, acting leader of the Golden Dawn organization, acted as his early mentor in western magic but would later become his enemy. Several decades after Crowley's participation in the Golden Dawn, Mathers claimed copyright protection over a particular ritual and sued Crowley for infringement after Crowley's public display of the ritual. While the public trial continued, both Mathers and Crowley claimed to call forth armies of demons and angels to fight on behalf of their summoner. Both also developed and carried complex Seal of Solomon amulets and talismans.

In 1899, Crowley acquired Boleskine House, in Foyers on the shore of Loch Ness in Scotland. In a book of fiction, titled Moonchild, Crowley later portrayed Mathers as the primary villain, including him as a character named SRMD, using the abbreviation of Mathers' magical name. Arthur Edward Waite also appeared in Moonchild as a villain named Arthwaite, while Bennett appeared as the silent, monkish Mahathera Phang. While he did not officially break with Mathers until 1904, Crowley lost faith in this teacher's abilities soon after the 1900 schism in the Golden Dawn (if not before). Later in the year of that schism, Crowley travelled to Mexico and continued his magical studies in isolation. Crowley's writings suggest that he discovered the word Abrahadabra during this time.

In October 1901, after practicing Raja Yoga for some time, he said he had reached a state he called dhyana—one of many states of unification in thoughts that are described in Magick (Liber ABA). 1902 saw him writing the essay Berashith (the first word of Genesis), in which he gave meditation (or restraint of the mind to a single object) as the means of attaining his goal. The essay describes ceremonial magick as a means of training the will, and of constantly directing one's thoughts to a given object through ritual. In his 1903 essay, Science and Matter, Crowley urged an empirical approach to Buddhist teachings.


Aleister Crowley - The Other Loch Ness Monster





Aleister Crowley - The Wickedest Man in the World



Cannabis - The Evil Weed

Cannabis is the world's favourite drug, but also one of the least understood. Can cannabis cause schizophrenia? Is it addictive? Can it lead you on to harder drugs? Or is it simply a herb, an undervalued medicine?




Addiction specialist Dr John Marsden discovers that modern science is finally beginning to find answers to these questions. John traces the cannabis plants' birthplace in Kazakhstan; finds the origins of our sensitivity to cannabis in the simple sea squirt; and finds out just what it does to our brains.





He meets people who have been changed by this drug in drastically different ways - from those whose lives have been shattered to those who lives have been revived.

More documentaries like this...

If Drugs Were Legal

The Hemp Revolution

The Human Mind

Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Roman Empire

In the year 100 AD, the Roman Empire was at the peak of its power; it had conquered the whole of the Mediterranean, and, for the last 60 years, its legions had occupied Great Britain. 'Pax Romana' or 'Roman Peace' ruled the land. Everywhere glorious cities, bridges and aqueducts stood, yet this Roman peace would only be enjoyed for another 60 years.




The Roman Empire reveals how an empire, which seemed destined to rule for 1000 years, would soon be swept away by barbarian hordes. How can such a breakdown be explained? How can we understand what the Roman army in fact was?

The Legions of Rome

The first episode provides a snapshot of what the Roman Empire was like in 100 AD, concentrating on the fort of Vindolanda, on the border of what is now England and Scotland. Archaeologists have uncovered items which throw light on everyday life at the time, and help to explain why the Empire weakened during this period.




It reveals how administering such a vast territory was a difficult, if not impossible task. Economic and social problems undermined the institutions, and personal ambition and the conquered territories aspirations to independence, threatened the central power.







Timgad: the Rome of Africa

The city of Timgad in North Africa is a perfect illustration of the Empire's impressive system of expansion. It is testimony to the Roman method of cultural domination and assimilation. The program takes a look at this showpiece city, whose purpose was to instil in the natives of Mauritania the desire to become, and remain, Roman citizens.




Every stone bears witness to an intense, exhilarating lifestyle, like the traces left by games of hopscotch or marbles, or the telling anonymous graffiti which reads: "Hunting, bathing, gaming, jesting - this is the life".







Grandeur and Decadence

The final episode explores the tragedy of Pompeii, which has provided a rare insight into the lives of its citizens. Although the latest excavations provide further proofs of the magnificence of the Roman Empire, they also show how its hedonistic way of life contained the seeds of Rome's moral decay.




In Rome itself, eminent citizens played an important part in society. They were expected to prove their devotion to their city by distributing and putting on shows. Circuses were the chief form of entertainment. The elaborate spectacles staged at the Colosseum were a foretaste of the decadence to come.







More documentaries like this...

Secrets of the First Emperor

The Story of India

Egypt's Golden Empire

Another Small Request

Online Documentaries 4 U is now 10 months old (a lifetime in cyberspace!) and we are beginning to build a loyal band of regular visitors. In just 2 months we will celebrate our 1st birthday and we’d like to thank you all for your continued support.

You may have noticed recently that we have begun advertising documentaries on DVD at Amazon.com. This is a response to the many enquiries we have had from regular visitors that want to get their hands on high quality DVD copies of our documentaries. Not all of the documentaries linked to at OD4U are available on DVD.

OD4U is based strongly on the principle of making the best online documentaries around available to our visitors for free. With this in mind, we have worked hard to minimise the amount of advertising on the site and have refused several recent offers from advertisers to implement pop-up ads.

I began this site as personal blog and as a way to share my passion for documentaries with the world. Although OD4U is hosted on the free Blogger platform, we do have many ongoing costs and need to recoup a minimum amount each month to break even. I would like to stress that OD4U does not operate at a profit.

Whilst we do receive donations from time to time for which we are extremely grateful, we are actually able to cover all of our costs through the Google advertising on the site. We understand that the current economic climate makes it difficult for people to donate and would rather that our regular visitors support their favorite site by clicking through some of the ads.

Over the last couple of months, we have unfortunately not received enough revenue from our Google advertising to cover our costs…that is why we are asking for your support.

Back in November last year we issued a call for support in two areas…

1. Clicking through the Google advertising on our site.


2. Stumbling, Digging or any other form of social bookmarking.


…and we’d like to ask you to do it again.

We are planning changes OD4U, but will not be able to carry out any upgrades without the support of our loyal regulars.

Finally, I would like to thank all those that have voted in this month’s survey. I will discuss the findings of the survey when it is finished. The next couple of surveys we conduct will be asking important questions about changes you would like to see at OD4U, so be prepared to speak up.

Thank you for your enduring support!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Black Death

In the 14th century the Black Death was an unprecedented human disaster. In 3 dreadful years over one third of Europe's population was wiped out. This documentary examines the spread of the plague & its effects on medicine, religion & society at the time.




Some people believe it was sent by God to punish the sins of the world. First recognized in 542 AD, the plague swept from Egypt through Asia Minor and Europe on a path of destruction, killing more than 100 million in countless outbreaks and plunging the world into the Dark Ages.





Today, much is known about this ancient scourge, and modern medicine is largely able to contain it. But its origins remain unclear, and there is always the threat that a new, disease-resistant strain could once again prove to be a major threat to mankind. The Black Death is a comprehensive look at the deadliest disease to ever strike mankind.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

A Crude Awakening - The Oil Crash

An unforgettable and shocking wake-up call, A Crude Awakening offers the rock-solid argument that the era of cheap oil is in the past. Relentless and clear-eyed, this intensively-researched film drills deep into the uncomfortable realities of a world that is both addicted to fossil fuels and blissfully unaware of the looming "peak oil" crisis.




Drawing on an international cast of maverick energy experts and thinkers, directors Basil Gelpke and Ray McCormack debunk the conventional wisdom that oil production will continue to climb, and instead stare bleakly at a planet facing economic meltdown and conflict over its most valuable resource. Featuring a haunting score by Phillip Glass and a fascinating array of rare archival footage, the film explores oil's rocky relationship with human progress in locales ranging from ancient Baku, Azerbaijan to dusty oilpatch town McCamey, Texas.





Amidst a dark and disturbing vision of our future, A Crude Awakening hints at a humbler way of life built around sustainability and alternative energy, providing a visually stunning, boldly prophetic testament which provokes not just thought but action.

Click here for the official site.

More documentaries like this...

The 11th Hour

Crude - The Incredible Journey of Oil

Invaders From the Sea

Support the producers of the film, buy the DVD...

Monday, March 16, 2009

Jupiter - The Giant Planet

As the earth churns ominously with the effects of global warming, this is a revealing and prescient journey into the heavens. From the planets to the stars and out to the edge of the unknown, history and science collide in this epic exploration of the Universe and its mysteries.




In ‘Jupiter’, we journey half a billion miles from the earth’s surface to a mini solar system of over 60 moons rotating around a powerful planet of gas. Its flowing colours and spots hold strange beauty, but contain violent storms and jet streams.

NOTE: You need to click play on Megavideo links twice...1st time may open a popup, 2nd time should play the film.




Could this big, bright ball of turbulent weather have been the star of Bethlehem? Could one of its moons harbour life beneath its icy crust? Jupiter, the giant planet, is the king of many questions concerning our solar system and could possibly hold the answers.


Get this series on DVD today...

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Secret Files of the Inquisition

Based on previously unreleased secret documents from European Archives including the Vatican, Secret Files of the Inquisition unveils the incredible true story of the Catholic Church's 500-year struggle to remain the world's only true Christian religion.




At the dawn of the second millennium Europe was slowly emerging from the blackness and ignorance of the Dark Ages. There were no nations and the people were loyal only to their immediate community and to God. The keeper of God's word was the Catholic Church, the only religion in all of Christendom. The supreme religious leader, the Pope in Rome, crowned the Kings who became rulers of the Holy Roman Empire stretching from Sicily north to Poland. The Emperor was ruler of the temporal world while the Pope and his Bishops reigned supreme over the Spiritual world.




By the 12th and 13th century, cracks began appearing in this ordered world. Emperors no longer submitted to being crowned by the Pope and across Europe Kings demanded the right to select their own Bishops. But for the Pope the most terrifying threat came from upstart Christian sects who challenged church doctrine and the absolute power of the Roman Pope. To preserve the purity of the faith and the unquestioned authority of the Pope, the Church began to crack down on all dissenting with a new weapon: the Inquisition. For over half a millennium a system of mass terror reigned. Thousands were subject to secret courts, torture and punishment.


PART ONE - Root Out Heretics




PART TWO - The Tears Of Spain




PART THREE - The War Of Ideas




PART FOUR - The End Of The Inquisition




More documentaries like this...

The Hidden Story of Jesus

What Would Jesus Buy?

The Bible's Buried Secrets

Judgement Day - Intelligent Design on Trial


Get this amazing series on DVD today...

Jesus Freaks

This is Creationfest, a four-day Christian rock show-cum-revival held every summer in Eastern Washington where religion, politics, and music collide.





It is here that thousands of eager young Christians gather to worship, save souls, and get “Crunk on Christ”. Jesus Freaks takes you deep into the heart of this contemporary Christian culture where religion and rock n’ roll make strange bedfellows.


A great reference on DVD...



Saturday, March 14, 2009

The Outer Planets

New discoveries regarding the Outer Planets are creating a fundamental rethinking of our solar system. Uranus is a toxic combination of hydrogen, helium and methane. Scientists speculate that the planet was knocked on its side after colliding with another body.




Neptune's largest moon, Triton, is cold and barren, but some scientists speculate that liquid water might exist under Triton's icy surface. If this is proven true, Triton could be the home to one of the biggest discoveries of all time. Cold and inhospitable, Pluto completes one orbit around the solar system every 248 years.


NOTE: You need to click play on Megavideo links twice...1st time may open a popup, 2nd time should play the film.



Cutting-edge computer graphics are used to bring the universe down to earth to show what life would be like on other planets, and to imagine what kind of life forms might evolve in alien atmospheres.

More documentaries like this...

BBC Space - with Sam Neil

Hubble - 15 Years of Discovery

Space Tourists

The Biggest Things in Space


Get the whole series on DVD...

Friday, March 13, 2009

Monsoon Railway

Monsoon Railway traces the amazing stories of some of the 1.5 million people who work for the world's greatest railway. For the last 150 years the railway in India has driven social and economic development in the country, and it is a railway on which the billion-strong population depends.




Focusing on an area in the North East of India - Assam and Bengal - Monsoon Railway captures a rare snapshot of the lives of those who work on the network, and follows three workers from July to September 2004 during the unforgiving rains of the summer monsoon.

PART ONE



PART TWO



PART THREE

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Black Pharaohs

Dr Vivian Davies claims that a recently discovered set of hieroglyphs proves that, in 800 BC, Egypt was under the rule of black Pharaohs from neighbouring Nubia. This film examines the impact of these sensational discoveries. "Listen to me you who are upon earth...For I warn of the coming of Kush." This inscription details an Egyptian tomb owner's role in saving Egypt from death and destruction in a war fought with the Kingdom of Kush (modern-day Sudan) in 1600 BC. Historians have long known about Kush, but relegated its importance to a vassal state of Egypt, significant only for its gold reserves.




Early excavations in the Kush capital at Kerma suffered from the innate racism of the archaeologists. Fabulous grave goods, discovered in the 20th century, were thought to have belonged to Kush's Egyptian overlords. They didn't consider that a black African culture could have challenged Egypt's supremacy. The inscription exposed the truth. Although it won battles, Kush eventually lost the war, and for the next 1000 years, Egypt had the upper hand. But the inscription served as a warning prophecy to Egypt that it might pay a high price. The enslaved Kushites would have their revenge.




Allowed, and even encouraged, to rebuild their own kingdom along the lines of Egypt, in 747 BC, Kush attacked the Pharaoh's power in a daring land grab. The Kushite king, Piye, overthrew the yoke, conquered mighty Egypt and established a 100-year rule of black Pharaohs. Even after being ousted from the Egyptian throne, Kushite kings continued to rule an empire as mighty as any, until the arrival of Alexander the Great. For a number of years, British Museum archaeologists have been making find after find in the Upper Nile Valley to substantiate this story - huge lost pyramids, burial chambers of 200 workers, and stores of gold.

More documentaries like this...

Egypt's Golden Empire

Egypt's Ten Greatest Discoveries

The Vanished City of the Pharaoh

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

New Chat Box

A new chat box has been installed...scroll down!

Genetically Modified Food - Panacea or Poison

In the last thirty years global demand for food has doubled. In a race to feed the planet, scientists have discovered how to manipulate DNA, the blueprint of life, and produce what they claim are stronger, more disease-resistant crops.




However, fears that Genetically Modified Food may not be safe for humans or the environment has sparked violent protest. Are we participating in a dangerous global nutritional experiment.





This informative film helps the viewer decide if the production of genetically modified food is a panacea for world hunger or a global poison.

More documentaries like this...

Sweet Misery - A Poisoned World

The Truth About Vitamins

Mark Thomas on Coca Cola


Get this documentary on DVD today...



Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Racism - A History

This documentary series chronicles the shifts in the idea of 'race' and the history of racism in Europe, The Americas, Australasia and Asia. These films show how ideas of racial difference have evolved in response to historical events, and identify the profound impact that the idea of 'race', and the fact of racism, has had on science, culture, society and global history.




By exploring the history of 'race' - from the early emergence of racial consciousness to the impact of the very latest discoveries in genetics - this series examines the nature of the 'racial landscape' which, for five centuries, has occupied such an important place in the collective imagination of the West.

PART ONE




PART TWO




PART THREE


Monday, March 9, 2009

1453 AD - The Siege of Constantinople

In 1204 crusaders sacked the city, then renamed Constantinople. For the next thousand years, the Byzantine Kings hid safely behind the massive walls of Constantinople.





Then in 1453, with the Turkish Ottoman Empire encircling the city, Sultan Mehmet brought the newest technology of the 15th century, the cannon, and finally brought down the walls of the world's most impregnable fortress.


Get this amazing series on DVD...



Saturday, March 7, 2009

Power of Art

This is not a series about things that hang on walls, it is not about decor or prettiness. It is a series about the force, the need, the passion of art...the power of art.




1 - Caravaggio

Michelangelo Merisi left his birth town of Caravaggio in the north of Italy to study as an apprentice in nearby Milan. In 1593 he moved to Rome, impatient to use his talents on the biggest stage possible.




Caravaggio's approach to painting was unconventional. He avoided the standard method of making copies of old sculptures and instead took the more direct approach of painting directly onto canvas without drawing first. He also used people from the street as his models. His dramatic painting was enhanced with intense and theatrical lighting.





Caravaggio's fate was sealed when in 1606 he killed a man in a duel. He fled to Naples where he attempted to paint his way out of trouble, he became a Knight, but was then imprisoned in Malta and then finally he moved to Sicily. He was pardoned for murder in 1610, but he died of a fever attempting to return to Rome.


2 - Bernini

Born in Naples, Bernini was an exceptional talent from an early age and went on to dominate the art world of 17th century Rome. His work epitomised the Baroque style and his sculpture, church interiors and exteriors and town planning could be seen everywhere. He was also a painter, playwright, costume and theatre designer.




Bernini worked under successive Popes; Pope Gregory XV made him a knight and Pope Urban VIII took him as his best friend. He was revered in his time until a jealous rage caused him to have the face of his mistress slashed after discovering her romance with his brother.





His reputation fell further after his bell towers for the Cathedral of St Peter's started cracking in 1641. He redeemed himself and kick started his career again with arguably his most famous work, The Ecstasy of St Theresa, in 1652.


3 - Rembrandt
Born to a family of millers in Leiden, Rembrandt left university at 14 to pursue a career as an artist. The decision turned out to be a good one since after serving his apprenticeship in Amsterdam he was singled out by Constantijn Huygens, the most influential patron in Holland.




In 1634 he married Saskia van Uylenburgh. In 1649, following Saskia's death from tuberculosis, Hendrickje Stoffels entered Rembrandt's household and six years later they had a son. Rembrandt's success in his early years was as a portrait painter to the rich denizens of Amsterdam at a time when the city was being transformed from a small nondescript port into the economic capital of the world. His historical and religious paintings also gave him wide acclaim.





Despite being known as a portrait painter Rembrandt used his talent to push the boundaries of painting. This direction made him unpopular in the later years of his career as he shifted from being the talk of the town to becoming adrift in the Amsterdam art scene and criticised by his peers.



4 - David

Born to a wealthy Parisian family, Jacques-Louis David was aged seven when his father was shot dead in a pistol duel. Brought up by his uncles, his desire was to paint and he was eventually sent to his mother's cousin, Francois Boucher, the most successful painter in France at the time.




Painting became an important means of communication for David since his face was slashed during a sword fight and his speech became impeded by a benign tumour that developed from the wound, leading him to stammer. He was interested in painting in a new classical style that departed from the frivolity of the Rococo period and reflected the moral and austere climate before the French Revolution.





David became closely aligned with the republican government and his work was increasingly used as propaganda with the Death of Marat proving his most controversial work.


5 - Turner

One of Britain's most celebrated artists, Turner showed exceptional artistic talent from an early age and entered the Royal Academy aged fourteen.




His English landscapes made his name but there was a darker side to his paintings that was difficult for the critics to swallow, both in the increasingly informal use of paint and the subject matter that was critical of the romanticised vision of Britain in the late nineteenth century.





Turner bequeathed 300 of his paintings and 20,000 watercolours and drawings to the nation. He led a secretive private life. He never married, but had a mistress and fathered two children. He died in a temporary lodging in Chelsea, under the assumed name of Booth.



6 - Van Gogh

Born in Groot-Zundert, The Netherlands, Van Gogh spent his early life as an art dealer, teacher and preacher in England, Holland and Belgium.




His period as an artist began in 1881 when he chose to study art in Brussels, starting with watercolours and moving quickly on to oils. The French countryside was a major influence on his life and his early work was dominated by sombre, earthy colours depicting peasant workers, the most famous of which is The Potato Eaters, 1885.





It was during Van Gogh's studies in Paris (1886-8) that he developed the individual style of brushwork and use of colour that made his name. In 1888 he moved to Arles where the Proven├žal landscape provided his best-known subject matter. However, it also marked the start of his mental crisis following an argument with his contemporary Paul Gauguin. Van Gogh was committed to a mental asylum in 1889 where he continued to paint, but he committed suicide in 1890.


7 - Picasso

Born in Malaga, Spain, Picasso's many styles and prolific work rate have marked him out as one of the most recognised artists of the twentieth century.




Not limited to one medium he created sculptures, etchings and prints. His artistic career only began to boom once he moved to Paris in the early 1900s. His Blue Period, reflecting the colour and his mood at the time was followed by his Rose Period, work inspired by primitive art and then Cubism, which shocked the critics, but ultimately made his name.





Guernica (1937) was created during Picasso's Surrealist period and captures the horror of the bombing of the Basque town of Guernica during the Spanish Civil War. By the end of World War II, Picasso had become an internationally known artist and celebrity.


8 - Rothko

Born in Dvinsk, Russia (now Daugavpils, Latvia) Rothko moved with his family to Portland, Oregon in 1913. His painting education was brief - he moved to New York to study under the artist Max Weber and then struck out on his own.




Rothko is known for his abstract expressionism paintings, but he moved through more traditional styles in his early career, including Surrealist paintings in the 1940s. In 1947 he embarked on the first of his large abstract 'colour-field' paintings, formalising their structure further in the 1950s.





Rothko had huge success with largescale solo shows, but committed suicide in 1970.


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Friday, March 6, 2009

The Inner Planets Mercury & Venus

This documentary takes a fascinating new look at a very old universe. Fifty years after man first ventured into outer space, we examine the greatest secrets of the heavens. Each episode outlines how humans have explored the universe, and scrutinises the discoveries they have made.



As the earth churns ominously with the effects of global warming, this is a revealing and prescient journey into the heavens. From the planets to the stars and out to the edge of the unknown, history and science collide in this epic exploration of the Universe and its mysteries.




Scorched by their proximity to the sun, Mercury and Venus are hostile worlds; one gouged with craters from cosmic collisions and the other a vortex of sulphur, carbon dioxide and acid rain. In this instalment, we delve into the mysteries of these two magnificent planets.





Prime examples of planets gone awry, do they serve as a warning for ominous scenarios that might someday threaten Earth? Cutting-edge computer graphics are used to show what life would be on other planets and to imagine what kind of life forms might evolve in alien atmospheres.

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Thursday, March 5, 2009

The Dinosaur Fossil That Fooled The World

In February 1999 at a vast gem and mineral fair in the US desert city of Tucson, an amazing fossil from China came on to the market It was priced at $80,000 and only the very top dealers were invited to see it. It had the head and body of a bird and the tail of dinosaur. It had all the characteristics of one of the most sought-after fossils in all paleontology – the missing link that proved once and for all that dinosaurs evolved into birds.




One of the world’s most revered and widely-read magazines became involved. In exchange or an exclusive story, it agreed to fund the analysis if the fossil. A team of top experts in the field were assembled to examine the new discovery.




In October 1999, a press conference was held at the magazine’s headquarters to publicise their international scoop. The magazine proclaimed a new species, archaeoraptor lianoningensis. Then, after a detective story that followed a path across China, the awful truth emerged.The fossil was a fake. It had been constructed out of fragments of several different animals. One of the world’s most respected popular science journals had made a terrible mistake.

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My Pet Dinosaur

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Ape Genius