Friday, May 29, 2009

The Myths of Pearl Harbour

Every American knows the date December 7, 1941 the morning the Japanese Imperial Navy launched a massive attack on Pearl Harbor. What most people don't know is that the first shots of the battle were fired by an American naval vessel, nearly an hour before the air attack started! The ship's target? One of Japan's four secret weapons the so-called "midget? subs two-man vessels designed to cripple U.S. ships from below, while Japanese bombers rained fire from above.

Examine the role these midget subs played in the Pearl Harbor attack, the technology and strategy behind the subs and the recent discovery of one sub sunk outside the harbor that morning. Accompany marine archaeologists on a dive as they get their first look at the sub and watch as a World War II vet gets his second look 61 years later. Forensic photo analysts use state-of-the-art technology to determine whether a controversial photo taken from a Japanese plane reveals a mysterious fifth sub firing on American ships inside Pearl Harbor that morning. Could the Americans have been warned in time to defend themselves against the Japanese attack?

Pearl Harbor was one of the greatest sea and air battles of the history. For many years, it's been said that the Japanese soldiers attacked first and that they were guilty of the deaths. However, many historians have doubts about this and they believe that the American soldiers overreacted against a simple exploration mission, provoking the Japanese troops to attack. With the help of experts and pictures taken during the battle, this documentary will try to determine what really happened that day.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Busted - The Citizens Guide to Surviving Police Encounters

Most people don't know their basic constitutional rights, and those who do usually waive them in the face of police intimidation. Worse, police rely on people's fear and ignorance of the law to trick them into waiving their rights, which often lands them in jail. That's why Flex Your Rights (FyR) -- a Washington, DC-based educational group -- created BUSTED: The Citizen's Guide to Surviving Police Encounters.

This fun 45-minute educational film realistically depicts three common police scenarios -- traffic stop, street stop, and home entry. Narrator Ira Glasser, a former ACLU executive director, shows you how to avoid cops gotcha games as they try to trick you into waiving your rights; how to be courteous but not intimidated by police tactics; and how phrases such as I don't consent to any searches can keep you out of jail.

BUSTED was made for anyone who's afraid that their looks or lifestyle makes them a target for law enforcement. This includes skaters, smokers, rockers, and freedom-loving people of all sorts.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Inside Hamas

What is the reality of daily life in Gaza under Hamas and can a militant religious organisation move from international pariah to meaningful political player? David Rosenberg explores the issues. ‘A man once jumped from the top floor of a burning building in which many members of his family had already perished. He managed to save his life; but as he was falling he hit a person standing down below and broke that person's legs and arms. The jumping man had no choice; yet to the man with the broken limbs he was the cause of his misfortune... The injured man blames the other for his misery and swears to make him pay for it.

The other, afraid of the crippled man's revenge, insults him, kicks him and beats him up whenever they meet.’ The Polish Jewish writer, Isaac Deutscher, used this analogy to illustrate the tragedy of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the basis on which it would endure. Deutscher doesn’t state the nationality, ethnicity or religion of the man who jumped or of the passer-by. There were enough conflicts throughout the 20th century to show that no community or nation has a monopoly either of doing harm or of being victims. Every group is capable of trampling on the rights of another.

While the creation of Israel in 1948 promised a secure future for Jewish refugees who had survived the Holocaust, it inflicted a permanent injustice on the Palestinian people, most of whom were dispossessed and turned into refugees. The Palestinians call this the Nakba (catastrophe). They fled mainly to neighbouring Arab states and some later reached Europe and America. In further wars (1956 and 1967), Israel gained more territory – Gaza from the Egyptians and the West Bank from Jordan – and annexed East Jerusalem. Today around half the Palestinians in the world live under military occupation in the West Bank, or under Israeli rule in East Jerusalem, or confined in Gaza – a narrow strip of land 40km by 5km along the Mediterranean, home to 1.5 million people, which Israel has evacuated while keeping the population there dependent on it for essential supplies.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

The Day the Earth Nearly Died

250 million years ago, long before dinosaurs roamed the Earth, the land and oceans teemed with life. This was the Permian, a golden era of biodiversity that was about to come to a crashing end. Within just a few thousand years, 95% of the lifeforms on the planet would be wiped out, in the biggest mass extinction Earth has ever known. What natural disaster could kill on such a massive scale? It is only in recent years that evidence has begun to emerge from rocks in Antarctica, Siberia and Greenland.

The demise of the dinosaurs, 65 million years ago (at the so-called K/T boundary), was as nothing compared to the Permian mass extinction. The K/T event killed off 60% of life on Earth; the Permian event 95%. Geological data to explain the destruction have been hard to find, simply because the rocks are so old and therefore subject to all kinds of erosion processes. It seems plausible that some kind of catastrophic environmental change must have made life untenable across vast swathes of the planet.

In the early 1990s, the hunt for evidence headed for a region of Siberia known as the Traps. Today it's a sub-Arctic wilderness but 250 million years ago, over 200,000km² of it was a blazing torrent of lava. The Siberian Traps were experiencing a 'flood basalt eruption', the biggest volcanic effect on Earth. Instead of isolated volcanoes spewing out lava, the crust split and curtains of lava were released. And the Siberian flood eruption lasted for millions of years. Could volcanic activity over such a long time alter the climate enough to kill off 95% of life on Earth?

China's Stolen Children

Through the personal stories of several men, women and children whose lives are impacted by the stolen-child black market in China, China's Stolen Children brings viewers face-to-face with a crisis brought on by the controversial one-child policy, implemented in 1979 to slow the country's explosive population growth. As narrator Ben Kingsley explains, "The Chinese government doesn't want the outside world to know about the crisis facing China's children, so this film had to be made entirely undercover. The film crew posed as tourists, moved hotels every three days, and changed SIM cards after every phone call." Remarkably, the subjects all agreed to appear on-camera, although several interviews are held in darkened cars or out-of-the-way locations to avoid detection. The result is a harrowing look at an illegal but largely uncontrollable practice that has reached epidemic proportions.

The film is a powerful indictment of the unforeseen impact of the world's largest experiment in social engineering. One man, Detective Zhu, works full-time to locate missing children, with modest success. His latest case involves Chen Jie, a boy kidnapped at 5 while under his grandmother's care (his heartbroken parents hire Zhu to track him down). Also profiled are Wang Li, a trafficker who once sold his own son; Jong Jang, one of the lucky few stolen children to be rescued; and Way Ling, a mother-to-be who, at 19, is too young to be legally married, and who now faces a dilemma: whether to pay exorbitant fines to keep a baby born without identity or rights, or sell it through a broker like Wang Li. While thousands of heart-wrenching tales like these unfold each year, Zhu laments that authorities seem more concerned with keeping the crisis quiet than tracking down stolen sons and daughters.




Legal abortions are commonplace for Chinese families in the one-child era. Moreover, with ultrasound machines allowing parents to determine gender at 4-5 months, many first-time pregnancies are aborted if the fetus is female. This selective (and illegal) practice is the result of China's traditional preference for sons; here and in other Asian cultures, brides migrate to husbands' families, leaving their own parents to fend for themselves in old age. Because of this, parents covet male babies. In the one-child era, as many as 40 million baby girls have been selectively aborted - creating a gender gap that has left millions of men with little hope of finding wives. And while the black market for male children remains robust, there is a growing demand for girls as well.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Crater of Death

This is the profile of an extraterrestrial mass murderer: one whose existence was denied by scientific orthodoxy for nearly two decades, but has now been tracked down. 65 million years ago a 15km wide asteroid hit the Earth. In 1978 Walter Alvarez, a Nobel-prize-winning physicist, and his son Luis, first proposed the outrageous idea that a meteorite strike blasted the dinosaurs into extinction, taking with them half of life on the planet.

Their theory was hotly disputed. Now the irrefutable evidence is rolling in. Martin Belderson's dramatic film retraces the hunt for evidence for the hidden 'smoking cannon': the crater left by the impact 65 million years ago. In 1991 it was found, buried beneath the coastline of the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico. The central crater is at least 180km wide and nearly 20km deep. The outer impact rings may stretch to 300km in diameter, making it the largest crater produced in the inner solar system in the last four billion years. But did it cause extinction?

The fossil record seemed to show a gradual decline and extinction of animals like the dinosaur before the line of the impact. The in-fighting forced many scientists to re-examine their fossil beds. What they discovered has overturned the orthodoxy and led to a new understanding of how extinction works, and why some species survived whilst others vanished. Alvarez, father and son, have finally been vindicated.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

First Olympian

Two and a half thousand years ago, sport was tough. Few athletes survived the rigours of the great sporting arenas of the Ancient Greeks and only one athlete has survived the ravages of time to offer a unique insight into a remarkable ancient world. First Olympian tells the “Athlete of Taranto´s” fascinating story.

Fifty years ago, a skeleton was found in Taranto in Southern Italy. On opening an ancient tomb,archaeologists found the skeleton with four richly decorated jars in each corner of the tomb, revealing that the owner had an obsession for sport. Cutting edge forensic analysis reveals fascinating details about his diet, general health and appearance and which sports he excelled at.

Lavish special effects and dramatic reconstruction then recreate the awesome sight of ancient Olympia and the games that would have drawn up to 40,000 spectators. They were definitely more brutal than the Olympics of today - one wrestler ensured victory by breaking his opponents’ fingers - but were they more physically challenging? To discover the truth, modern athletes are put to the test in a series of events using equipment designed from the remains of ancient originals.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Betrayed

Fergal Keane investigates how a terrible slaughter, three quarters of a century ago, has returned to haunt the relationship between Turkey and its western allies. For decades the Armenian people have campaigned to have the killings of hundreds of thousands of their forefathers in Ottoman Turkey in 1915 recognised as genocide.

But there has been an equally determined campaign by Turkey to deny genocide with threats of reprisals against any country which uses the word to describe the slaughter. Now as the United States steps up its efforts to win Ankara's support in any conflict with Iraq Correspondent reveals new Turkish pressures. Threats to withdraw military bases have forced the American Congress to abandon legislation which would have used the all important term, "genocide".

The programme also discloses how President George W Bush and his predecessor Bill Clinton both broke promises to the Armenian community that they would recognise genocide. Talking to Armenian survivors, Turkish officials and key political figures in the United States Correspondent investigates a story of terrible slaughter, political intrigue and a people betrayed.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

A Comet's Tale

Although believed to be gods by many ancient civilisations, who saw them as bringers of life or harbingers of doom, to Isaac Newton they were the key to unlocking the secrets of gravity. Hundreds of years later, a new breed of space mission can show what comets are really made of, where they come from, and their surprising influence on events on Earth.

A rare chance to see space agency footage as a comet strikes Jupiter and is caught on camera. In one of the biggest explosions that have ever been witnessed, scientists discuss the theoretical impact of a relative blast on Earth.

This film cannot be HERE to watch on Google Video.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Lost Treasures of the Ancient World - Ancient China

The Great Wall of China remains the most soaring architectural achievement of the Chinese people - but it's not the only one, as this program reveals.

Man has constructed many remarkable monuments, but only one can be seen from space. The Great Wall of China remains the most soaring architectural achievement of the Chinese people –but it’s not the only one, as this entertaining and informative program reveals.

Highlights include dazzling graphic re-creations of a Chinese village from seven thousand years ago, the terracotta army of the First Chinese Emperor and Beijing’s Forbidden City. Features superb 3D graphics, State-of-the-art computer generated animation, all new location footage, and expert commentary and analyses.

The Boy who Sees Without Eyes

This is the miraculous story of American teenager Ben Underwood, who has been completely blind since the age of three when he lost both eyes to retinal cancer. Yet, Ben zooms around on a skateboard, shoots basketball hoops, and dodges lamp-posts and parked cars unaided. How does Ben do all this without the use of his eyes? Incredibly, Ben has taught himself to see with sound, using an extraordinary technique he has created. Ben makes a sharp click with his tongue from which the echo bounces off the object right back at him, allowing him to know precisely where objects are located.

The technique, called 'echo-location', is not dissimilar to the way a bat or dolphin uses sound to see. Ben was able to distinguish objects with his clicking by noticing that objects 'sounded' different. Driving along in the car for example, Ben noticed that the side streets sounded different to the buildings, something his family, and the scientists at the University of California in Santa Barbara who are conducting tests into Ben's amazing ability, find astonishing. Seeing with sound has transformed Ben's life.

His mum lets him play in the street, just like all the other kids, because his sound pictures seem to make him more aware of danger than his sighted friends. He can even rollerblade quite easily and do chores around the house. Ben refuses to let society label him as disabled, so when he meets another blind man who also uses echo-location with the extra assistance of a white cane to help him get around extra tricky situations, Ben finds it hard to take up the use of a tool he sees as not for him - a young boy who has relied on his own extraordinary ability to allow him to see in his own way for so many years.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Marijuana Nation

This one is just for Cheryl. The big question after all these years and scientific findings, is why the US government still classifies marijuana as a class one drug, akin to heroin and crank. Doctors will tell you the miracles it works for the chronically ill, cancer patients and for a natural sleep aid. It's a crop that earns more than corn, and Americans grow some of the best of it in the world. The legitimate earning potential for farmers and distributors is astronomical.

Correspondent Lisa Ling goes undercover to private fields and indoor state of the art hydroponic farms talking to the very reasonable and resolute people who will not buckle under possible legal ramifications. The movement to end the draconian punishments for possession and growing increase every day, as the population is getting older and sicker, insurance is harder to obtain and pay for and who refuse to be held hostage by Big pharmaceutical companies gouging consumers for legal alternatives.

Ling goes to "Oaksterdam", a part of Oakland that has become a legal medical marijuana haven and in the process, has revitalized the entire neighborhood by invigorating nearby businesses and shops. Even those who are not users are happy about the transformative nature the pot trade has done to help the local economy. One advocate estimated that nearly $3 million in annual tax revenue was contributed to the city of Oakland in 2003 alone, with revenue increasing annually.

Deadly Ascent

In an exploration of extreme medical science, we ascend Alaska's Denali—aka Mt. McKinley—to try to solve the mystery of high-altitude deaths on one of the most dangerous mountains on Earth. This documentary chronicles daring mountain rescues and emergency medical evacuations as it accompanies an expedition team of researchers and experts employing the latest NASA technology to investigate the lethal diseases attacking climbers all over the world.

Each year, more than 1,000 people attempt to reach Denali's summit. Nearly half of those fail and several die trying—sliding off of icy cliffs, crushing bones against rocks, falling into hidden crevasses, or simply getting lost and succumbing to the cold. It's no secret—cold can kill . But why? Even some of the most physically fit and well-equipped climbers still die on Denali, debilitated by a strange and confounding sickness.

The producers of this documentary assembled a team of medical researchers, rescuers, world-class mountaineers, military special forces, and an astronaut taking part in a study by Dr. Peter Hackett, who turns the mountain's vertical arctic landscape into a high-altitude lab. Home to the highest medical rescue camp in the U.S., Denali offers a unique opportunity, since it's one of the few places on Earth where doctors can study humans in extreme conditions.

Click here to visit the official website of this documentary.

Monsters We Met

When our early ancestors entered new lands they encountered a variety of strange new creatures, monsters that no longer exist. What were they like and where are they now? What are the real answers to the mystery of the missing megafauna?

Some scientists believe there is damning evidence that humanity hunted the megafauna to extinction. The 'overkill' hypothesis holds that the megafauna vanished only a few centuries after the arrival of man and that hunting was the primary cause of the extinctions, for the following reasons:

  • only the larger animals disappeared
  • there is archaeological evidence of human hunting
  • animals had survived previous times of climate change

There have been many mass extinctions throughout geological history, the most well-known being the disappearance of the dinosaurs at the end of the Cretaceous Period. In analysing these events, scientists find that small, medium and large species all become extinct, although large animals (those over 44kg adult weight) always suffer the heaviest loss. These large animals are termed 'megafauna'.

In contrast, the extinctions at the end of the Pleistocene seem to target large animals, with the small to medium ones escaping relatively lightly. Scientists that support the overkill hypothesis believe that this evidence points to humans as the culprits. The impact of human hunters on populations of large, slow-maturing, slow-breeding animals, such as mammoths and diprotodons, was bound to be far greater than any effect they might have had on small, rapidly breeding prey such as hares or squirrels. Therefore, the overkill theory seems to explain why only the megafauna died out.



Opponents of the overkill hypothesis point to a variety of evidence that human hunters were not the culprits. Their arguments against humanity as killers are:

  • long periods of human-megafauna coexistence
  • little evidence of hunting
  • people were hunting the wrong species

For the overkill hypothesis to hold true, prehistoric humans must have killed off the megafauna very rapidly - within 1,000 years of arriving in a region. If the extinction happened more slowly than this, it wouldn't have been true overkill. More to the point, it may be impossible to pick apart all the interrelated factors (hunting, climate and competition) that would have played a part over a longer period.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

The Assassination Of King Tut

Three thousand years ago, a boy became king. Tutankhamun, the most famous of all the Egyptian pharaohs, died before his 20th birthday. The cause of death: a mystery. Even though the crime occurred over 3,000 years ago, evidence still remains.

Examine the clues and see if you can name the prime suspect.You be the detective and evaluate the clues. Find out about the victim and the prime suspects. Whodunit? Was it Tut's ambitious commander-in-chief of the most powerful army in the known world, fearful that Tut's youth and physical weaknesses might leave Egypt vulnerable to attack? Perhaps Maya, Tut's chief finance minister and the man who held the country's purse strings, felt his wealth threatened by the young king.

Did Ankhesenamun, Tut's bride since childhood, blame him for two heartbreaking miscarriages? Or could it have been Ay, Tut's prime minister, advisor, protector and father figure, who wanted the boy king cast aside in his own insatiable quest for power?

Click here to visit the official website.

Did Darwin Kill God?

There are some who believe that Darwin's theory of evolution has weakened religion, fuelled in part by Richard Dawkins' publishing phenomenon The God Delusion. Conor Cunningham argues that nothing could be further from the truth. Cunningham is a firm believer in the theory of evolution, but he is also a Christian. He believes that the clash between Darwin and God has been hijacked by extremists - fundamentalist believers who reject evolution on one side, and fundamentalist atheists on the other.

Cunningham attempts to overturn what he believes are widely held but mistaken assumptions in the debate between religion and evolution. He travels to the Middle East where he shows that from the very outset, Christianity warned against literal readings of the biblical story of creation. In Britain, he reveals that, at the time, Darwin's theory of evolution was welcomed by the Anglican and Catholic Churches.

Instead, he argues that the conflict between Darwin and God was manufactured by American creationists in the 20th century for reasons that had very little to do with science and religion and a great deal to do with politics and morality. Finally, he comes face to face with some of the most eminent evolutionary biologists, geneticists and philosophers of our time to examine whether the very latest advances in evolutionary theory do in fact kill God.

Patent for a Pig

The American biotechnology firm, Monsanto, has applied for a patent for pig breeding in 160 countries. The patent is for specific parts of the genetic material of pigs which Monsanto's genetic researchers have decoded. If this patent is granted, pig breeding would be possible with the approval of the company.

Farmers and breeders are naturally alarmed because these genes have long existed in the great majority of their pigs. Using DNA tests they can prove that there is no new invention in the patent applications but that, instead, granting this patent would be to allow a part of nature to fall into the hands of a single company.

Monsanto's influence on the patent offices is huge. If the patent is approved, money will have to be paid to Monsanto for every pig in the world carrying this genetic marker. This has long been the case for certain feedstuffs, such as genetically modified maize. Many farmers in the US have already become dependent on the company. It is not merely a question of money, however, but also a question of the risk posed to consumers. In America, as in Europe, cases of infertility in animals fed with genetically modified maize are becoming increasingly common. No-one yet knows what effects such products are having on humans.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Biography - Barrack Obama

When he called himself "a skinny kid with a funny name" at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, his political star was already on the rise. By the time he decimated the competition in 2004 race for the Illinois Senate, he was the bona fide golden child of a Democratic party desperately in need of a winner. In many ways, the story of Barack Obama is a uniquely American tale of the 21st century, where racial lines are blurry and the most interesting chapter is just beginning.

This prophetic biography about the life of Illinois senator Barack Obama was made before he began campaigning to be the Democratic party's candidate for the 2008 presidential race. Still, the program suggests Obama has one or another kind of profound, Anerican destiny as a mixed-race activist who never comfortably fit into one or another group, and had to look deep into his own roots to understand his identity. The son of a white American mother and black Kenyan father, Obama was abandoned by the latter when he returned to his native country to work for its improvement.

Raised by his mother--whom Obama credits with teaching him many of his values--and his grandmother, Obama lived in Hawaii as a child but moved to Indonesia for a few years when his mom remarried. There, Obama saw cyclical poverty and the underlying factors that perpetuate it before returning to Hawaii. Interviews with childhood friends and his sister describe Obama's restlessness before attending Harvard law school and propelling himself into a life of public service and community activism. Often accused of lacking enough political experience to qualify him for the White House, Obama comes across in this show as a visionary and experienced consensus-builder who can reach across opposing points of view.

Secret Lives - L. Ron Hubbard

An intriguing, but bizarre, biographical documentary by Channel 4 on the 'Secret Life' of L Ron Hubbard - the Sci Fi author and creator of the Scientology cult. This biopic from 1997, with some fantastic archive interviews with the man (and other people from the 'org' who knew him) - is an interesting look at the start/development of the weird cult and its even stranger founder: L Ron Hubbard.

There's some revealing information inside, such as Hubbard's spiralling manic-depressive emotional state, the use of drugs on himself/family and the resentment he felt towards his son due to Quentin's homosexuality (eventually causing suicide). Also, the political repercussions to L Ron's actions as Scientology's leader - especially legally in Europe, is an important history to the world's largest (and most farcical) cult.

A controversial public figure, many details of his life are subjects of contention. The Church of Scientology has produced numerous official biographies which present Hubbard's character and his multi-faceted accomplishments in an exalted light. Biographies of Hubbard by independent journalists and accounts by former scientologists paint a much darker picture of Hubbard and in many cases contradict the material presented by the Church.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

The Man Who Lost His Body

In 1971 Ian Waterman was a butcher on Jersey. He was nineteen, newly qualified and working flat out to make a go of the business. Then suddenly he went down with what seemed to be gastric flu. But it wasn’t. He became wobbly and weak. Within days he had collapsed and was in hospital, unable to move or feel his body.

He has never regained that feeling, yet against all the odds, he has made an apparently miraculous recovery. HORIZON tells Ian’s extraordinary story. Ian had contracted a disease of the nervous system so rare that the doctors on Jersey were unable to diagnose it. It had destroyed all the sensory nerves responsible for touch, and for conveying information about muscle and joint position, senses so fundamental to our capacity to move in the world that they have been called a sixth sense.



Without this “proprioception” we can have no inner sense of posture or limb position and cannot initiate or control movement. Ian was told that he would spend the rest of his life in a wheelchair. But Ian wasn’t paralysed, and he was determined that he was going to lead as normal a life as he could. With the help of physiotherapists he discovered that he could regain control of his limbs through his eyes. So long as he could see the limbs he was moving, he could will his muscles into action and monitor their movements. Doggedly, he taught himself to stand and walk, to use cutlery and a pen, to pick up mugs of tea and to gesture convincingly while talking, but each movement required unfaltering conscious effort.


In an increasing fear-driven world (which the establishment media helps drive) , the NWO keep pushing for less civil rights in the name of ‘the war on terror’ . These can come into effect of RFID tagging, biometrics in school and work places. The original purpose of biometrics would to be easier ID and security, and that such a thing. But wouldn’t it be bad if laws were passed to make it mandatory to have very tight biometric-like ID systems?

This is a documentary about how advances in technology are providing more innovative methods of personal identification - describing the pros & cons. It depicts technologies like scans of our fingerprints, retinas, veins in our hands & facial recognition.



Through interviews with researchers ,manufacturers and promoters of biometric techniques, this French documentary examines the various uses of biometrics (border control, building access security, workplace checks) and the way biometrics is implemented to serve political, military and technological interests in various parts of the world.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Gimme Shelter

Gimme Shelter is a 1970 documentary film directed by Albert and David Maysles and Charlotte Zwerin, chronicling the Rolling Stones' 1969 US tour, which culminated in the disastrous Altamont Free Concert. The film is named after "Gimme Shelter", the lead track from the Rolling Stones' 1969 album Let It Bleed.

The film depicts some of the Madison Square Garden concert, later featured on the live album, Get Yer Ya-Ya's Out!, as well as the photography session for the cover, featuring Charlie Watts and a donkey. It also shows the Stones at work in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, recording "Wild Horses". Performances documented in the film include Ike and Tina Turner (who were one of the Rolling Stones' opening acts for the 1969 tour), the Flying Burrito Brothers, and Jefferson Airplane.

Much of the film chronicles the behind-the-scenes dealmaking that took place to make the free Altamont concert happen. The action then turns on the concert itself at the Altamont Speedway, the security for which was provided by the Hells Angels. As the day progressed, with drug-taking and drinking by the Angels and members of the audience, the mood turned ugly. Fights broke out during performances by The Flying Burrito Brothers and Jefferson Airplane. At one point Jefferson Airplane lead singer Marty Balin was knocked out by a Hells Angel. The Grateful Dead opted not to play after learning of the incident with Balin. By the time the Stones hit the stage, the crowd was especially restless.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

What's the Problem with Nudity?

What is wrong with nudity? Why are people embarrassed about their bodies? How and why did they get the way they are?

This documentary takes a group of volunteers and subjects them to a series of psychological and physical tests to challenge attitudes to the naked human form. The questions raised strike at the heart of human physical and social evolution.

Human beings are the only creatures that can be 'naked' - but why, how and when did people lose their fur? That question takes Horizon around the world to meet scientists from Africa to Florida, and they are finding answers in unexpected places: the chest hair of Finnish students, the genetic history of lice, and the sweat of an unusual monkey. It turns out that something everyone takes for granted may hold the key to the success of the entire human species.


My Strange Brain

This documentary explores unusual neurological conditions. It profiles four people with different disorders that affect their memories and sleeping patterns. One woman was struck down by a virus that has erased all her recollections of the last 20 years, while another woman is unable to record new memories. The film also meets a man who loses his muscle tone every time he experiences heightened emotions.

For Mohammad Doud, each day is a constant battle to stay awake. One second he is talking normally, the next he slumps to the floor as if paralysed. Mohammad has cataplexy, which means that any feeling of heightened emotion leads to a total loss of muscle tone. His condition is so severe it can strike up to 60 times a day. Now, for the first time in more than 20 years, he embarks on the 30-minute train journey into London, battling the effects of his condition all the way.


Claire Rutherford and her husband preside over a family of boisterous teenagers in their large house near Peterborough. So far, so ordinary - but Claire's story is anything but normal. Four years ago, the same common herpes virus that causes cold sores attacked Claire's brain, completely wiping out her memories of the previous 20 years. This film follows Claire as she battles to rebuild her memories.


Nicola Pomphrett was also struck down by viral encephalitis, but in her case it has left her unable to lay down new memories. Nicola lives in a perpetual present time with a working memory of no more than two minutes. Now she undergoes a series of experiments which vividly demonstrate her goldfish-like inability to recall new information. And for Seattle teenager Alanna Wong, "normal" life is measured in periods of seven to ten days at a time. She suffers from the rare sleeping disorder Kleine-Levin Syndrome, which causes her to sleep for up to 20 hours a day. In attempt to confirm her diagnosis once and for all, this film records Alanna as she undergoes an advanced brain scan.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Nukes in Space

Boasting material that was recently declassified, this documentary presents some startling material about how the United States detonated a number of atomic bombs in space during a top-secret cold war weapons program. The history of military rockets is detailed, beginning with the Nazi V2 rockets that attacked England late in World War II.

The problems encountered in the America's cold war rocketry program is dramatically illustrated with a film montage of U.S. missiles spectacularly blowing up on their launch pads. After the Soviets launched Sputnik, America's resolve to be able to wage war in space stiffened, and test detonations of atomic weapons in space began. The effects of these little-known tests were bizarre and included electromagnetic disturbances that blew fuses in Hawaii while creating beautiful, if dangerous, artificial auroras that gave the tests the nickname of the "Rainbow Bombs."

Of particular interest in this documentary are tapes of White House meetings at which President John F. Kennedy and his top science and military advisers discussed the atomic tests in space. The bomb detonations caused radiation problems in space, damaging fledgling communications satellites, and the government eventually called an end to the program. This is an entertaining and very informative look at a piece of cold war history that seems like vintage science fiction, yet it's all real.

The Codebreakers

The famous digital divide is getting wider. This documentary examines whether free/open source software (FOSS) might be the bridge? FOSS contains 'source code' that can be used, copied, studied, modified and redistributed without restriction. It has been around for over 20 years but most PC owners are not aware that the Internet search engines and many computer applications run on FOSS.

"It's not that FOSS has had a bad press, it has had no press because there is no company that 'owns' it," says executive producer Robert Lamb. "But we found that in the computer industry and among the afficionados, it is well known and its virtues well understood." The crew of the independent producers who made the film went to nearly a dozen countries around the world to see how the adoption of FOSS presents opportunities for industry and capacity development, software piracy reduction, and localization and customization for diverse cultural and development needs.

Stories from The Codebreakers include computer and Internet access for school children in Africa, reaching the poor in Brazil, tortoise breeding programmes in the Galapagos, connecting villages in Spain, and disaster management in Sri Lanka. The documentary also includes interviews from key figures around the world. Intel, IBM, Sun and Microsoft all seem to agree that FOSS is a welcome presence in computer software. According to Jonathan Murray of Microsoft "The Open Source community stimulates innovation in software, it's something that frankly we feel very good about and it's something that we absolutely see as being a partnership with Microsoft."

Flu Time Bomb

Thanks again to 'Simmons' for suggesting this documentary. Flu Time Bomb is a one-hour documentary that explores the connections between the 1918 flu pandemic and the threat of a deadly new strain of influenza, H5N1. The program interweaves the story of Russian virologists tracking the spread of H5N1 in migratory birds with the groundbreaking efforts of Jeffery Taubenberger and Johan Hultin to unearth and rebuild the genome for the 1918 flu virus.

Today, as a deadly new strain of influenza spreads across the world, scientists are looking to the past in order to prepare for the future. The clues needed to prevent a global pandemic, they believe, are locked in the long-dormant genes of one of the greatest plagues in history-the 1918 Spanish flu.

To understand the 1918 catastrophe and its implications for today's battle, we travel around the world. In Siberia and Mongolia former Soviet bioweapons scientists hunt the virus in the field; in the United States a 1918 pandemic flu survivor remembers the terror in his small New England town; in labs around the globe researchers push the limits of science to develop new ways of making vaccines. Flu Time Bomb is the first documentary to interweave the story of the devastating 1918 flu pandemic with the modern investigation into the virus that caused it, and explore the deep implications that this research has on today's battle against H5N1 - perhaps the most dangerous strain of influenza mankind has ever seen.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Constantine's Sword

This documentary by James Carroll (who wrote the book of the same name) is especially compelling and insightful."Constantine's Sword" is a reflection and historical journey into how many denominations of Christianity evolved into a warring religion from the peaceful teachings of Jesus. Carroll focuses on the Roman Emperor Constantine who elevated the cross into a symbol that sanctified war, and made killing justified in the name of Christ and God.

Carroll is the narrator and traveler who takes us on an expedition into how Christ's message became distorted over time, leading up to where the movie starts: the evangelical hot bed of Colorado Springs, Colorado, and the evangelical takeover of the U.S. Airforce Academy in that city. He then moves backwards in time to about 350 years after Christ's death, interweaving his journey with personal remembrances of growing up in an observant Catholic family.


Click here to watch this part of the documentary on Veoh.


Click here to watch this part of the documentary on Veoh.

Constantine's Sword is an astonishing exploration of the dark side of Christianity, following acclaimed author and former priest James Carrol on a journey of rememberance and reckoning. Warning of what happens when military power and religious fervor are joined, this new film from Oscar-nominated director Oren Jacoby asks: Is the fanaticism that threatens the world today fueled by our own deeply held beliefs?

Click here to visit the official website.

Union - The Business Behind Getting High

Thanks to 'Simmons' for suggesting this documentary. The Union: The Business Behind Getting High is a 2007 documentary film by Canadian filmmaker Brett Harvey. The film explores the illegal growth, sale and trafficking of marijuana in the Canadian province of British Colombia. Its theatrical run was limited to film festivals. The film follows host Adam Scorgie as he examines the underground market, interviewing growers, police officers, criminologists, economists, doctors, politicians and pop culture icons, revealing how the industry can function despite being a criminal enterprise.

The history of marijuana and the reasons for its present prohibition are discussed, often comparing it to the prohibition of alcohol in the United States in the 1930s, suggesting that gang drug warfare and other negative aspects associated with marijuana are a result of prohibition, not the drug itself. The gangs that grow and traffic the drugs are likened to those that appeared in major U.S. cities during the Prohibition, with the intention of profiting from the sale of illegal alcohol.

The film received numerous honors, some of which included the National Film Board Award for "Best Canadian Documentary" at the 2007 Edmonton International Film Festival, "Outstanding Documentary Feature" at the 2007 Winnipeg International Film Festival, "Grand Prize Best Editing" at the 2007 Rhode Island International Film Festival, "People's Choice" and "Best Canadian Documentary" at the 2008 Okanagan Film Festival and runner up for "People's Choice Most Popular Canadian Film" at the 2007 Vancouver International Film Festival. All together the documentary was officially accepted to 31 International Film Festivals. Most recently it was also nominated for "Best British Columbia Feature Film of 2007" by the Vancouver Film Critics Circle.

Click here to visit the official website.

The War On Democracy

Set both in Latin America and the United States, the film explores the historic and current relationship of Washington with countries such as Venezuela, Bolivia and Chile. Pilger claims that the film "...tells a universal story... analysing and revealing, through vivid testimony, the story of great power behind its venerable myths. It allows us to understand the true nature of the so-called "war on terror". According to Pilger, the film’s message is that the greed and power of empire is not invincible and that people power is always the "seed beneath the snow".

Pilger interviews several ex-CIA agents who purportedly took part in secret campaigns against democratic countries and who he claims are profiting from the war in Iraq. He investigates the School of the Americas in the U.S. state of Georgia, where General Pinochet’s torture squads were reportedly trained along with tyrants and death-squad leaders in Haiti, El Salvador, Brazil and Argentina.

The film uses archive footage to support its claim that democracy has been wiped out in country after country in Latin America since the 1950s. Testimonies from those who fought for democracy in Chile and Bolivia are also used.

The Secret Life of Your Bodyclock

If you’re reading this any time after lunch and you’re not dead, well done. You have, in the words of Professor Russell Foster, a chronobiologist, “survived the most dangerous part of the day”. Chronobiologists study the body’s various internal clocks. In this documentary, specialists reveal, among other things, that you are three times more likely to have a heart attack between 6.00am and noon, when the blood is stickier and the vessels stiffer. These are the “danger hours”.

Why are you more likely to have a heart attack at eight o'clock in the morning or crash your car on the motorway at two o'clock in the afternoon? Can taking your medication at the right time of day really save your life? And have you ever wondered why teenagers will not get out of bed in the morning?

The answers to these questions lie in the secret world of the biological clock.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The Manson Women

Barely out of their teens, Susan Atkins, Leslie Van Houten and Patricia Krenwinkel, laughed their way through their trial for multiple murder. Did cult tactics make them kill?

Some thirty years on, Charles Manson and his infamous ‘family’ still repel and fascinate us. We can't seem to forget the trio of hippie girls who laughed their way through their death penalty trial-and offered up bizarre displays of devotion to their scrawny, enigmatic guru.

Barely out of their teens, Susan Atkins, Leslie Van Houten and Patricia Krenwinkel didn't fit our notions of what brutal killers should look like. All grew up in California's booming, post-war suburbs. They were children of the middle class who went out into the night and butchered seven people they did not know.

How did it happen? Were they victims themselves, brainwashed by Manson's personality, and a mix of drugs and sex? And what of the most devoted of Manson's girls - Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme - who led daily vigils on the sidewalks outside of court? Who was she? How did this brew of personalities lead to the country's first cult murders?

The Battle for Canada

In the first half of the 18th century, British and French interests in North America increasingly overlapped. British war minister William Pitt ordered an invasion up the St. Lawrence. Racing winter, British forces scaled the cliffs near Quebec City at night, with no retreat possible.

For 3 years French and British soldiers had fought for control of North America. In a suprise attack led by English General James Wolfe in 1759, British forces scaled the steep cliffs surrounding the fortress of Quebec, overtaking the French and ushered in an era of British rule of Canada.

This excellent documentary is part of the 'History's Turning Points" series and is a definative history of this important event in the history of North America.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Darwin's Struggle - The Evolution of the Origin of Species

This stunning documentary tells the little-known story of how Darwin came to write his great masterpiece, On the Origin of Species, a book which explains the wonderful variety of the natural world as emerging out of death and the struggle of life.

In the twenty years he took to develop a brilliant idea into a revolutionary book, Darwin went through a personal struggle every bit as turbulent as that of the natural world he observed. Fortunately, he left us an extraordinary record of his brilliant insights, observations of nature, and touching expressions of love and affection for those around him.

He also wrote frank accounts of family tragedies, physical illnesses and moments of self-doubt, as he laboured towards publication of the book that would change the way we see the world. The story is told with the benefit of Darwin's secret notes and correspondence, enhanced by natural history filming, powerful imagery from the time and contributions from leading contemporary biographers and scientists.

More documentaries like this...

The Genius of Charles Darwin

Evolution - Darwin's Dangerous Idea

Was Darwin Right?

Charles Darwin and the Tree of Life

Friday, May 1, 2009

Suggest a Documentary - Final Post

We will be initiating a page for documentary suggestions over the next few days, but you can feel free to make your suggestions here in the meantime. The new Suggest a Documentary page will have a simple form you need to fill out, so you need to just put in as much information as possible.