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[starttext] When his clan, including his wife and baby girl Nea, are massacred, Ao, a desperate Neandertal man, decides to leave the North country where he has been living for the South where he was born.

His aim is to join his twin brother, from whom he was separated when he was nine.

On his long and adventurous way home, he meets Aki, a Homo Sapiens woman... [endtext]

Ao: The Last Neanderthal


[starttext] It was thriving long before the dinosaurs ruled the Earth, and scientists thought it had died out more than 65 million years ago. But in 1938, fishermen on a South African trawler netted a massive, scaly, blue-gray fish, and suddenly the long-extinct creature from the depths was back, stunning scientists and capturing headlines across the world.

The coelacanth story has more improbable twists than a crime thriller. The chance discovery in 1938 was topped by a bizarre stroke of fate in 1997, thousands of miles away from the original find. A marine biologist was casually strolling through a fish market in Indonesia when he spotted a new subspecies lying on a slab in a fish market. That find triggered a renewed hunt for the elusive creature in the wild. When a submersible finally revealed the fish's underwater lair, scientists were greeted with video images of coelacanths performing a bizarre "headstand" dance in the depths.

But having survived the theorized meteor strike that killed off the dinosaurs, will this hardy creature now withstand the attention from museums, aquariums, and media, all eager to acquire a specimen of their own?  [endtext]

Coelacanth: The Fish That Time Forgot


[starttext] Hundreds of years ago in faraway Iceland the Vikings began to write down dozens of stories called sagas - sweeping narratives based on real people and real events.

But as Oxford University's Janina Ramirez discovers, these sagas are not just great works of art, they are also priceless historical documents which bring to life the Viking world.

Dr Ramirez travels across glaciers and through the lava fields of Iceland to the far north west of the country to find out about one of the most compelling of these stories - the Laxdaela Saga. [endtext]

The Viking Sagas


[starttext] The discovery of double-helix structure of DNA is to science what Mona Lisa is to painting. It has been called the single biggest discovery of all times. But it was not just stumbled upon - it was a race.

Specifically, it was a race between two teams of young scientists working in Britain. Rosalind Franklin and Maurice Wilkins were trying to identify the structure by studying X-ray diffractions of the DNA molecule. But Jim Watson and Francis Crick studied a little bit of everything -- including, to the consternation of some, the work of their competitors. A few have gone so far as to accuse Watson of stealing Franklin's X-ray work.

In any case, Waston and Crick's inquisitive working style ultimately allowed them to determine the DNA structure first, in 1953 -- an achievement that led to their Nobel Prize in 1962. Meanwhile, Franklin passed away in 1958 from cancer. [endtext]

DNA: The Secret of Life [1/5]


[starttext] In 1973 two scientists undertook an experiment which rocked the world. By transferring DNA from one species to another, Herb Boyer and Stan Cohen became the first Genetic Engineers. Their experimrnt triggerd a wave of controversy about the dangers of genetic manupulation, but it also generated a multi billion dollar industry.

Biotechnology would soon transform the pharmaceutical industry and genetically modified food was to herald the biggest revolution in agriculture since the industrialization of farming. Yet the public was skeptical, and so were certain scientists. Some feared that a cancer-causing gene stitched into the DNA of a bacterium might be accidentally absorbed in the human gut, enabling cancer to be passed on like an infectious disease. Biologists from all over the world were called to a meeting in California to draw up a strict set of safety guidelines.

When the panic subsided the stage was set for a biotechnology bonanza. A race began to produce genetically engineered insulin. A couple of years later a young researcher called Rob Horsch, who worked for the chemical giant Monsanto, produced the first genetically engineered plant. The biotech revolutions had arrived. [endtext]

DNA: Playing God [2/5]


[starttext] In the 1990s, the race to work out the structure of DNA 50 years ago was eclipsed by another race: to catalogue all the genes in the human genome. The rivalry became so bitter that presidents and prime ministers had to intervene in an epic endeavour that will take a decade to complete and cost billion of dollars.

The story begins in 1990, when the Human Genome Project was launched to decipher the complete instruction manual of the human being. This epic endeavour took over a decade to complete and cost billions of dollars. Eight years after its launch, a rival private bid was announced in an attempt to shut the public project down. A personal feud erupted between Craig Venter, who ran Celera's privately funded Genome Project, and Sir John Sulston, who oversaw Britain's share of the public Human Genome Project. Craig Venter believed he could finish the Human Genome several years before the public project.

The fighting became so intense that President Clinton stepped in to try to unite the two sides. Clinton asked a go-between to sort out the two warring groups. Over pizza and beer in a basement, the two sides agreed to a cease-fire. They would announce their draft results -- together -- in a joint celebration hosted by The White House in June 2000. [endtext]

DNA: The Human Race [3/5]


[starttext] Bud Romine was diagnosed with incurable cancer in 1994. He was given three years to live. In 1996 a newspaper article caught his eye.

The article described the work of a local doctor, Brian Druker, who was testing a new kind of cancer drug. In 1997, months away from death, Bud Romine became the first patient ever to take Gleevec. Within 17 days, Bud had returned to perfect health. Indeed, the drug seems to cure everyone with Bud's disease -- Chronic Myeloid Leukemia -- by fixing the DNA that causes it. Today, the prospect of more drugs that work at the level of DNA is a real one. In 1990, Gleevec was the only one in development. There are currently hundreds of drugs in development that might work in the same revolutionary way on different kinds of cancer.

The final work for the DNA scientists is identifying all the damaged genes that cause cancer. But with the Human Genome Project finished, a single lab will be able to do this in just five years. Fifty years after Crick and Watson discovered the double helix, the secret of life may finally be living up to its name. [endtext]

DNA: Curing Cancer [4/5]


[starttext] Jim Watson was asked to give a tour of the future. He believes that DNA science should be used to change the human race.

His views are both extraordinary and extremely controversial. Watson argues for a new kind of eugenics -- where parents are allowed to choose the DNA of their children -- to make them healthier, more intelligent, even better looking.

His vision may be disagreeable, yet it's a natural consequence of the decades of scientific exploration launched by his and Francis Crick's discovery of the double helix. It's worth considering what effect the advancements in genetic science may have on our future. [endtext]

DNA: Pandora's Box [5/5]


[starttext]  Two part mini-series follows the journeys of two different groups of modern humans as they encounter other human species.

The first group encounters Homo erectus and is forced to cross the Thar Desert to reach the sea.

The second group encounters Neanderthals in Europe.[endtext]

Planet of the Apemen: Battle for Earth [1/2]


[starttext] Two part mini-series follows the journeys of two different groups of modern humans as they encounter other human species.

The first group encounters Homo erectus and is forced to cross the Thar Desert to reach the sea.

The second group encounters Neanderthals in Europe.  [endtext]

Planet of the Apemen: Battle for Earth [2/2]


[starttext] In this the first episode of a three part BBC documentary, Iain Stewart tells the story of James Hutton, the founding father of geology. [endtext]

Men of Rock: Deep Time [1/3]


[starttext] In this the second episode of a three part BBC documentary, Iain Stewart finds out how geologist Edward Bailey discovered Scotland once had super volcanoes. [endtext]

Men of Rock: Moving Mountains [2/3]


[starttext] In this the third and final episode of a three part BBC documentary, Iain Stewart tells the story of Louis Agassiz, who first proposed that the earth had experienced an ice age. [endtext]

Men of Rock: The Big Freeze [3/3]


[starttext]From its highest mountains to its deepest oceans, our world has challenged explorers of every generation to reach further and seek what lies beyond the horizon.

Century upon century, the lure of the unknown has taken humans to every corner of the globe and it has given us a view of Earth that our ancestors could barely imagine.

Now, the drive to explore is leading us upward and outward - off our own planet and out into the solar system where a host of alien worlds offers us vast new terrains to uncover.

We roam this territory today, not with our material bodies, but with our robot surrogates, which we have flung through the brutal vacuum and sent plunging into conditions more extreme than any astronaut could endure.

Today we see the sun, moon and planets with penetrating clarity - not through human eyes, but through the eyes of the intrepid machines that are blazing a trail for us across the solar system.

Their cameras have become our windows onto a bold new adventure.

The latest missions to the sun and planets are providing images so crisp and spectacular it is like peering through a window at another world.

But make no mistake; these images are more than just pretty pictures of nature.

The increasingly sophisticated and detailed views are shaping our understanding of who we are, where we came from and where we are going.

The underlying message of this series is that we are witnessing an unprecedented new age of exploration. [endtext]

Cosmic Vistas


[starttext] Qin Shi Huang 259 BC -- 210 BC. was the king of the Chinese State of Qin from 246 BC to 221 BC, during the Warring States Period.

He became the first emperor of a unified China in 221 BC He ruled until his death in 210 BC at the age of 49.

Calling himself the First Emperor after China's unification, Qín Shǐ Huáng is a pivotal figure in Chinese history, ushering in nearly two millennia of imperial rule.

After unifying China, he and his chief advisor Li Si passed a series of major economic and political reforms.

He undertook gigantic projects, including building and unifying various sections of the Great Wall of China, the now famous city-sized mausoleum guarded by the life-sized Terracotta Army, and a massive national road system. [endtext]

The First Emperor of China


[starttext] "Earth From Space" is a groundbreaking two-hour special that reveals a spectacular new space-based vision of our planet.

Produced in extensive consultation with NASA scientists, NOVA takes data from earth-observing satellites and transforms it into dazzling visual sequences, each one exposing the intricate and surprising web of forces that sustains life on earth.

Viewers witness how dust blown from the Sahara fertilizes the Amazon; how a vast submarine "waterfall" off Antarctica helps drive ocean currents around the world; and how the Sun's heating up of the southern Atlantic gives birth to a colossally powerful hurricane.

From the microscopic world of water molecules vaporizing over the ocean to the magnetic field that is bigger than Earth itself, the show reveals the astonishing beauty and complexity of our dynamic planet. [endtext]

Earth From Space