The Western Lines

September 18, 2010

Modern Marvels: 80’s Tech

Filed under: Alex Michael Bonnici,History of Science,Modern Marvels,Technology — ralphbuttigieg @ 7:05 am

Today on Discovery Enterprise we take a trip back in time, all the way back to the 1980s and will examine some of the most popular gadgets and fads of that defined a decade.

Join us as we take a retrospective look at Sony’s Walkman, the Rubik’s Cube, the DeLorean DMC-12, and of course the microchip which changed electronics forever.

Modern Marvels: 80’s tech


September 17, 2010

Modern Marvels: 70’s Tech

Filed under: Alex Michael Bonnici,History of Science,Modern Marvels,Technology — ralphbuttigieg @ 7:05 am

Today on Discovery Enterprise we take a retrospective look at the technology of the Nineteen Seventies.

From pong to CB radios, to the instant camera to the Pontiac Firebird and everywhere in between it all has the mark of the technology of the seventies.

Modern Marvels: 70’s Tech

September 16, 2010

Modern Marvels: 60s Tech

Filed under: 60s Tech,Alex Michael Bonnici,History of Science,Modern Marvels,Technology — ralphbuttigieg @ 7:05 am

Today on Discovery Enterprise we take a ride back to the 1960s and recall the technological happenings that helped shape the decade.

Colour TV, computers the size of Mac® trucks and Lava lamps we return to the heady days of the Space Age with this affectionate look at the advances that convinced us the “future is NOW!” For over a decade, Modern Marvels has brought grand stories to life. This documentary is the ultimate celebration of engineering excellence.

From broadcast satellites to superballs, high-tech advances in the 60s improved every part of our lives.

Modern Marvels: 60s Tech

September 15, 2010

How the Universe Works: Extreme Stars

Filed under: Alex Michael Bonnici,How The Universe Works,Nebulas,Stellar Evolution — ralphbuttigieg @ 6:17 pm

Today on Discovery Enterprise we explore the fascination story of the birth of stars and how their creation changed the cosmos forever, eventually leading to planets life and, at least in our nook of the universe, the emergence of sentience itself.

If we could watch the night sky over a period of millions of years, we would witness the stars undergo an astonishing sequence of transformations. Thanks to a new generation of telescopes we can follow the unfolding life story of a star from the moment of its first gestation as a prostellar object forming in a majestic cosmic nebula, through to the moment of birth.

How The Universe Works: Extreme Stars

Understanding Electricity

Filed under: Alex Michael Bonnici,Benjamin Franklin,electricity,Nikola Tesla,Physics — ralphbuttigieg @ 7:05 am

Today on Discovery Enterprise we seek to understand the life force that is the impetus of our technological civilization – Electricity.

Our technological civilization depends on electricity, on the electrons in motion within copper wire. Electrons flow through countless switches and machines not unlike water through aqueducts and canals. Electricity also flows through our very bodies and brains as if it were the divine spark that gives us life. And, electricity may have indeed been the spark of life itself.

Electricity may even have helped in the genesis of life, when it provided the energy that synthesised the first organic compounds in the primordial oceans of our infant planet. These prebiotic compounds would eventually give rise to the first replicating molecules and ultimately the first living cells.
In 1996, electricity helped usher in a brave new world, when researchers successfully cloned a sheep named Dolly. A tiny spark of electricity was used to fuse cells and start the egg growing into an embryo.

In 1752, Benjamin Franklin stepped out into a storm armed only with an iron key, Leiden jar and a kite and showed that lightning was electrical in nature. The of ongoing work of Benjamin Franklin, along with that of his contemporaries Luigi Galvani and Alessandro Volta, helped humanity snatch lightning from the heavens and led us into a new Promethean Age, permanently keeping the darkness of night at bay.

And, through the later work of their intellectual heirs – André-Marie Ampère, Michael Faraday, Nikola Tesla and Thomas Edison our technological civilization came into being.

Understanding Electricity

September 14, 2010

The Man Who Walked Across the World

Filed under: Alex Michael Bonnici,Ibn Battutah,Tim Mackintosh Smith — ralphbuttigieg @ 7:05 am

Today on Discovery Enterprise we present the astonishing story of the thirty year odyssey of the greatest explorer of the Islamic World – Ibn Battuta.

In this wonderful three part documentary travelogue, Tim Mackintosh Smith follows in the footsteps of Fourteenth Century Moroccan scholar Ibn Battuta.

In June 1325, when he was twenty one years old, Ibn Battuta set off from his hometown of Tangier on a hajj (pilgrimage) to Mecca, a journey that would take sixteen months. Yet, Ibn Battutah would not see Morocco again for twenty four years.

The full extent of Ibn Battuta’s adventure would involve a seventy five thousand mile trek across the entirety of the known Islamic world and beyond. During the course of which, he visited forty countries and three continents in a thirty year odyssey.

The account of his travels and excursions are known as the “Rihla” (voyage in Arabic) in which he recounts the full extent of his travels which covered a distance readily surpassing that of his predecessors and his near-contemporary Marco Polo.

The Man Who Walked Across the World

PART ONE – Wanderlust

PART TWO – Magicians and Mystics

PART THREE – Trade Winds

September 13, 2010

A Study in Sherlock

Filed under: Alex Michael Bonnici,Arthur Conan Doyle,Sherlock Holmes — ralphbuttigieg @ 7:05 am

Today on Discovery Enterprise we take a trip down memory lane as we view an entertaining retrospective of the many silver screen and television incarnations of Arthur Conan Doyle’s legendary creation – Sherlock Holmes.

A Study in Sherlock

September 12, 2010

Sherlock Holmes: The True Story

Filed under: Alex Michael Bonnici,Arthur Conan Doyle,Joseph Bell,Sherlock Holmes — ralphbuttigieg @ 7:05 am

Today on Discovery Enterprise, the game is afoot as we go in search of the real life inspiration behind Arthur Conan Doyle’s – Sherlock Holmes.

A leading Nineteenth Century professor of medicine, Dr. Joseph Bell was a pioneer in a new science that later would be known as forensic medicine. Joseph Bell is the real life model for the greatest fictional detective in history. And it was he who inspired his student, Arthur Conan Doyle to create the world’s greatest literary legend of all time.

Sherlock Holmes: The True Story

September 11, 2010

Lost Civilization of the Amazon

Filed under: Lost Cities of the Amazon,Ralph Buttigieg — ralphbuttigieg @ 10:36 pm
courtesy Washington Post
Was there an advanced civilization in the Amazon? Evidence seems to be mounting there was.:
But scientists now believe that instead of stone-age tribes, like the groups that occasionally emerge from the forest today, the Indians who inhabited the Amazon centuries ago numbered as many as 20 million, far more people than live here today.

“There is a gigantic footprint in the forest,” said Augusto Oyuela-Caycedo, 49, a Colombian-born professor at the University of Florida who is working this swath in northeast Peru.

Stooping over a man-made Indian mound on a recent day, he picked up shards of ceramics and dark, nutrient-rich earth made fertile hundreds of years ago by human hands. “All you can see is an artifact of the past,” he said. “It’s a product of human actions,” he said.

The evidence is not just here outside tiny San Martin de Samiria, an indigenous hamlet hours by speed boat from the jungle city of Iquitos. It is found across Amazonia. 

It looks like Colonel Percy Harrison Fawcett was on to something.

Carl Sagan’s Cosmos – Who Speaks for Earth?

Today on Discovery Enterprise we present the thirteenth and final episode of Carl Sagan’s highly acclaimed PBS documentary series – Cosmos: Who Speaks for Earth?

In this final instalment of Cosmos, Carl Sagan leaves us with a sobering message: Human Civilization has to make a choice between life and death.

Carl Sagan said it best with words that are poetic and powerful in their majesty:

“The civilization now in jeopardy is all humanity. As the ancient myth makers knew, we are children equally of the earth and sky. In our tenure of this planet, we have accumulated dangerous, evolutionary baggage — propensities for aggression and ritual, submission to leaders, hostility to outsiders, all of which puts our survival in some doubt. We have also acquired compassion for others, love for our children, a desire to learn from history and experience, and a great, soaring passionate intelligence — the clear tools for our continued survival and prosperity.

Which aspects of our nature will prevail is uncertain, particularly when our visions and prospects are bound to one small part of the small planet earth. But, up and in the cosmos an inescapable perspective awaits. National boundaries are not evidenced when we view the earth from space. Fanatic ethnic or religious or national identifications are a little difficult to support when we see our planet as a fragile, blue crescent fading to become an inconspicuous point of light against the bastion and citadel of the stars.”

Carl Sagan’s Cosmos – Who Speaks for Earth?

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