Monthly Archives: April 2012

There’s No Tomorrow

There’s No Tomorrow is a half-hour animated documentary about resource depletion, energy and the impossibility of infinite growth on a finite planet.

Inspired by the pro-capitalist cartoons of the 1940s, the film is an introduction to the energy dilemmas facing the world today.

“The average American today has available the energy equivalent of 150 slaves, working 24 hours a day. Materials that store this energy for work are called fuels. Some fuels contain more energy than others. This is called energy density.”

“Economic expansion has resulted in increases in atmospheric nitrous oxide and methane, ozone depletion, increases in great floods, damage to ocean ecosystems, including nitrogen runoff, loss of rainforest and woodland, increases in domesticated land, and species extinctions.”

“The global food supply relies heavily on fossil fuels. Before WW1, all agriculture was Organic. Following the invention of fossil fuel derived fertilisers and pesticides there were massive improvements in food production, allowing for increases in human population.The use of artificial fertilisers has fed far more people than would have been possible with organic agriculture alone.”

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Garbage Warrior

What do beer cans, car tires and water bottles have in common? Not much unless you’re renegade architect Michael Reynolds, in which case they are tools of choice for producing thermal mass and energy-independent housing. For 30 years New Mexico-based Reynolds and his green disciples have devoted their time to advancing the art of “Earthship Biotecture” by building self-sufficient, off-the-grid communities where design and function converge in eco-harmony.

However, these experimental structures that defy state standards create conflict between Reynolds and the authorities, who are backed by big business. Frustrated by antiquated legislation, Reynolds lobbies for the right to create a sustainable living test site. While politicians hum and ha, Mother Nature strikes, leaving communities devastated by tsunamis and hurricanes. Reynolds and his crew seize the opportunity to lend their pioneering skills to those who need it most. Shot over three years and in four countries, Garbage Warrior is a timely portrait of a determined visionary, a hero of the 21st century.

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Inside North Korea

National Geographic correspondent Lisa Ling masquerades as a medical coordinator to gain an insider’s perspective on North Korea, one of the world’s most isolated and restrictive nations. Secretly protected throughout her investigation, Ling provides a uniquely illuminating account of the country’s all-powerful dictatorship and the obstacles faced by those striving to improve the lives of its citizens.

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Costa Concordia

The documentary will explore the build-up to the cruise ship’s disaster off the Italian island of Giglio Porto. The film will examine how the 290m long and 31m high ship managed to sink and also explore criticisms of ‘mega cruisers’. On the evening of January 13th 2012, in calm seas and overcast weather, under command of Captain Francesco Schettino, Costa Concordia struck a rock in the Tyrrhenian Sea just off the eastern shore of Isola del Giglio, off the western coast of Italy about 100 km (62 mi) northwest of Rome. This tore a 50 m (160 ft) gash on the port (left) side of her hull, which almost immediately flooded parts of the engine room and caused loss of power to her propulsion and electrical systems.

With water flooding in and listing, the ship drifted back to Giglio Island, where she grounded just 500 m (1,600 ft) north of the village of Giglio Porto, lying on her starboard (right) side in shallow water with most of her starboard side under water. Despite the gradual sinking of the ship, its complete loss of power, and its proximity to shore in calm seas, an order to abandon ship was not issued until over an hour after the initial impact.

Although international maritime law requires all passengers to be evacuated within 30 minutes of an order to abandon ship, the evacuation of the Costa Concordia took over six hours and not all passengers were evacuated. Of the 3,229 passengers and 1,023 crew known to have been aboard, two are missing and 32 are confirmed dead,[8] including a five-year-old girl whose body was found along with seven others by divers on February 23, over a month following the incident.

 

The World According To Monsanto

A great documentary exposing the evil agricultural nightmare called Monsanto and the story of Roundup and Roundup Ready Soybeans. A 2004 documentary film which makes an in-depth investigation into unlabeled, patented, genetically engineered foods that have quietly made their way onto grocery stores in the United States for the past decade. It voices the opinions of farmers in disagreement with the food industry and details the impacts on their lives and livelihoods from this new technology, and shines a light on the market and political forces that are changing what we eat.

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How much is your dead body worth?

When veteran broadcaster Alistair Cooke died in 2004 few suspected that he was yet to uncover his greatest story. What happened to his body as it lay in a funeral home would reveal a story of modern day grave robbery and helped smash a body-snatching ring that had made millions of dollars by chopping up and selling-off over 1000 bodies. Dead bodies have become big business.

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

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Where’s My Robot?

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

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

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Brain magic

Keith Barry shows us how our brains can fool our bodies — in a trick that works via podcast too. Then he involves the audience in some jaw-dropping (and even a bit dangerous) feats of brain magic.

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Fuel

Director Josh Tickell takes us along for his 11 year journey around the world to find solutions to America’s addiction to oil. A shrinking economy, a failing auto industry, rampant unemployment, an out-of-control national debt, and an insatiable demand for energy weigh heavily on all of us.

Fuel shows us the way out of the mess we’re in by explaining how to replace every drop of oil we now use, while creating green jobs and keeping our money here at home. The film never dwells on the negative, but instead shows us the easy solutions already within our reach.

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The Century Of The Self: Happiness Machines

The story of the relationship between Sigmund Freud and his American nephew, Edward Bernays. Bernays invented the public relations profession in the 1920s and was the first person to take Freud’s ideas and use them to manipulate the masses. He showed American corporations how they could make people want things they didn’t need by systematically linking mass-produced goods to their unconscious desires.

Bernays was one of the main architects of the modern techniques of mass-consumer persuasion, using every trick in the book, from celebrity endorsement and outrageous PR stunts, to eroticising the motorcar.

His most notorious coup was breaking the taboo on women smoking by persuading them that cigarettes were a symbol of independence and freedom. But Bernays was convinced that this was more than just a way of selling consumer goods. It was a new political idea of how to control the masses. By satisfying the inner irrational desires that his uncle had identified, people could be made happy and thus docile.

It was the start of the all-consuming self which has come to dominate today’s world.

Watch the entire series