Margaret (pling) wrote,

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Wonders of the Solar System; Ancient Worlds; Natural World

Started off TV night with the first episode of Wonders of the Solar System - all about the sun. I'd stumbled across this by accident when I was setting something else to record, pleased I did and pleased that for once I found an interesting series at the first episode, not the second as I often do :) The series is presented by Brian Cox who, judging by his wikipedia bio, is one of those irritating people who's good at everything. He's good at presenting tv programmes too. The programme was a mix of computer graphics, footage from telescopes/space probes of various sorts and exotic earth locations. Some of which seemed picked so they had the best trips (not sure why they were in the US for doing the water-heating experiment to discover how much energy the sun was putting out, for instance), and some of which were more important (like filming the solar eclipse from somewhere it was a total eclipse - the Ganges in this case). A good programme - informative & entertaining & Cox is a nut (in a good way) about physics & astronomy :)

Next up was Ancient Worlds - this episode was all about Alexander the Great & his impact on Mediterranean & Middle Eastern civilisation. Miles doesn't much like Alexander, that was very clear ;) And his reasons seemed pretty sensible - Alexander may have conquered the known world of c.300BC but he didn't really do much to rule it, it was all about conquest. His successors, on the other hand, after the initial unseemly power struggles did settle down and rule (and Hellenise) the various parts that the Alexandrian empire devolved into. This includes Ptolemy & for the first time in this series Miles seemed to approve of Egypt! One of the things I'm liking about this series is that the modern-day footage mostly seems relevant to the point at hand - so when he was talking about (in the previous episode) unrest in Greek cities, we had modern day unrest to illustrate it, etc. Unlike just sticking the presenter in a random London street and having them shout across the road to the camera about something that has nothing to do with London or streets or whatever, just to provide a visual. Which is a silly thing to niggle at me, but it does, and I'm pleased this series doesn't do it.

Finished up with another episode of Natural World. This one was about the eland and baboons (and other animals) that live in South Africa's Drakensberg (Dragon Mountains) - also featuring vultures of various sorts, jackals, servals and ice rats (I think that was what they were). Toby liked the ice rats best, and kept looking off to the side of the tv to see where they'd run to ;) We boggled at the bearded vultures that swallowed whole bits of bone that looked bigger than their mouths, and at the wide mouth frog which swallowed a crab whole which then wriggled about inside the frog.
Tags: astronomy, egypt, greece, history, nature, physics, science, tv
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