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This topic contains 46 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by  Tej 1 year, 2 months ago.

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  • #8993

    Andy Sawers
    Moderator
    Topics: 112
    Replies: 587

    This is Sky at Night week, of course. Last night’s programme was about Uranus and Neptune. It repeats on Thursday at 7.30pm and midnight and is on iPlayer.

    Tonight (Monday) is the start of a big space week on BBC4. At 8.00pm Horizon repeats a programme called Is Everything We Know About the Universe Wrong?

    At 9pm is a programme called Cosmonauts: How Russia Won the Space Race. There’s an article and some video clips on the BBC website about the first-ever spacewalk, by Alexei Leonov in 1965 – and how it nearly killed him when his spacesuit expanded in the airless environment. (The scrolling on this feature is a bit weird.) (The programme is repeated Thursday at 10.30pm.)

    At 10.30pm is a programme about Afghanistan’s only astronaut.
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    Tomorrow (Tuesday) night at 9pm is the second episode of the latest Brian Cox spectacular, Human Universe.

    Also at 9pm Tuesday on BBC4 is the film Moon, directed by David Bowie’s son Duncan Jones. Made on a $5m budget, it’s a great story with a terrific ending. I’ve seen it twice. (No link, so as to prevent any spoilers!)

    It’s followed by a programme entitled Do We Really Need the Moon? then at 11.30 by Being Neil Armstrong. At 12.30am is the oft-repeated programme about Voyager.
    ______________________________

    Wednesday [not Thursday as I said earlier] at 9pm on BBC4 is a programme about CERN and the search for the Higgs Boson: Storyville: Particle Fever. It’s followed by a Horizon programme on black holes then a programme abut the last space shuttle.
    ______________________________

    Talking about Horizon, iPlayer has some classic past episodes available with no time limit for watching them. This weekend while painting the hall I decided to listen to some of these episodes instead of playing my iTunes library for the 50th time. What a treat!

    Man in Space was a 1966 episode about the Gemini missions and preparations for Apollo. Fascinating to see what they made of it all when they were still more than three years away from the moon landing.

    To Infinite and Beyond was excellent: what happens if you show up at a hotel with an infinite number of rooms – and it’s fully-booked? It connects to cosmology and the size of the Universe.

    Strangeness Minus Three was the sort of programme they don’t make these days: demanding a lot of attention to follow it and low on graphics, but also with a few interesting ‘human’ stories This 1964 programme on the discovery of a sub-atomic particle features a very young Richard Feynman.

    Not astronomical, but bound to appeal to Mike (and others): Fermat’s Last Theorem.

    Finally, this programme was, as its title suggests, an absolute joy: a 1981 interview with Richard Feynman entitled The Joy of Finding Things Out. Don’t miss this one. Don’t.

    • This topic was modified 2 years, 8 months ago by  Andy Sawers.
    • This topic was modified 2 years, 8 months ago by  Andy Sawers. Reason: link fix
    • This topic was modified 2 years, 8 months ago by  Andy Sawers. Reason: corrected date of programme broadcast
    #9064

    Tej
    Participant
    Topics: 36
    Replies: 582

    Thanks for that lineup…I missed everything, lol. But actually I have my media centre record all things space and science automatically, so I have built up a huge huge digital library of science and astronomy documentaries, I have probably watched only about a half of it over the years!

    As for “Moon”, that was a great indie scifi. Reminded me of a series of children fiction books I had read called the Scott Sanders Space adventures which were largely set on a moon base including a robot called Robbie (I am sure that was the name although I might be mixing up the name with Forbidden Planet) and was written by none other than Patrick Moore! Did any of you read them? Did any of you even know he wrote children science fiction?! They were great and really scary! Well, they were when I read them as a child, wonder how they hold up today, might give one of them a read. Anyway, another recommendation for “Moon”. The success of this film, gave the director reigns to make a bigger budget hollywood scifi called Source Code which was in contrast an exhilerating piece of scifi compared to the very slow burn nature of “Moon”. If you enjoy the slow pacing of cerebral movies like 2001 and SOlaris, you will enjoy this film.

    Andy, I totally agree with you not to give any synopsis because the thing I hate about movies today is that they give too much surprises away in both trailers and synopsis. I like to be surprised from page one. It is a double edge sword admittedly because they have to “sell it” and sometimes its unavoidable to give away some of the early surprises in a movie to catch the target market’s attention. I actually avoids all trailer for movies that I know I will see anyway because I am quite the movie addict…particularly with scifi. I have one of the these “eat all you can” movie buffet memberships with Cineworld and see on average 2 films a week, making sure I see every single scifi film regardless of its rating. For instance, just this week I saw two scifi films called “Lucy” by Luc Besson (director of Fifth Element) and the umpteenth dystopia YA fiction movie adaptation of “The Maze Runner”. Both films are dumb as heck B movies but very entertaining. Not sure you and Brian would like them, though, as they are really quite dumb and I am shamefully a junkie for this sort of thing, although Luc Besson’s Lucy tries to be intellectual, even had Morgan Freeman lecturing “Through the Wormhole” style which I found hilarious. The premise for Lucy was about the evolution of homosapiens use of the brian capacity, starting from a small percentage to around 10% of what we are able to tap into today. The film speculates our next step in evolution is to tap into more of our cerebral neural network gaining new abilities such as sonar skills which Dolphins have (whom according to “professor” Morgan Freeman use more of their brain capacity than humans) but this being a Luc Besson movie, they have to take things to extreme and invent a drug that enables use of all 100% of the brain and I leave it to your imagination in where the film goes from there 🙂 Nonsense but fun.

    One huge movie to look out for on November 7th is Interstellar, directed by Christopher “Dark Knight” Nolan. The title should be enough to whet our appetite and given Christopher Nolan’s incredible filmography so far, I can near guarantee that it will be one helluva cinematic experience.

    Oh crap, I’ve done it again…I’ve gone way way off the track. I’m getting another bloody yellow card, I just know it. Maybe I should create a scifi (or more specifically astronomy related) film thread?

    I’ll get back on track.

    Andie, thanks for that 80s Heather Couper “Planets” episode on youtube, I watched two of the episodes so far and I am glad to see that I wasnt looking upon them fondly with rose tinted glasses because they really were superb shows, wonderfully presented and still valid in its information. Its fun listening to them speculating the timeline of projected progress. For example, one speculated that man should reach Mars by 2010ish…although now wrong, it was a very realistic assumption giving the efforts and energetic imagination put in at the time.

    I’ll repeat the link Andy gave me, this one is about Mars:

    For Other episodes of the The Planets and The Stars series in the 80s presented by Heather Couper, this fella, created a channel called UKAstronomy and uploaded his VHS recordings of the series and other shows such as Sky at Night.

    https://www.youtube.com/user/UKAstronomy/videos

    • This reply was modified 2 years, 8 months ago by  Tej.
    #9066

    Andy Sawers
    Moderator
    Topics: 112
    Replies: 587

    invent a drug that enables use of all 100% of the brain

    Sounds a bit like Limitless. (Bradley Cooper, Robert de Niro)

    #9067

    Andy Sawers
    Moderator
    Topics: 112
    Replies: 587
    #9068

    Tej
    Participant
    Topics: 36
    Replies: 582

    <div class=”d4p-bbt-quote-title”>Tej wrote:</div>
    invent a drug that enables use of all 100% of the brain

    Sounds a bit like Limitless. (Bradley Cooper, Robert de Niro)

    Right, that’s going on my rental queue, thanks.

    I recall seeing the Particle Fever episode but I am not sure I recognise the Cosmonauts Russian documentary, will watch that this evening, now that Ruperts astrophotography workshop is postponed!

    #9071

    Brian Blake
    Participant
    Topics: 187
    Replies: 409

    Tej  this thing about only using 10% of our brain is rubbish.  We use 100% of our brain.  this was put about by people who wanted to try to justify supernatural powers etc. Our brain would not have evolved to what it has become unless we were using all of it.  Brian Cox explains that process in the first episode of Human Universe.

    I have been watching a lot of the shows that Andy has on his list, got more still to see. The cosmonaut programme was excellent as was the one on the Afghan cosmonaut.  Unfortunately I missed Moon and it is not on BBC iplayer.

    #9074

    Tej
    Participant
    Topics: 36
    Replies: 582

    Tej this thing about only using 10% of our brain is rubbish. We use 100% of our brain. this was put about by people who wanted to try to justify supernatural powers etc. Our brain would not have evolved to what it has become unless we were using all of it. Brian Cox explains that process in the first episode of Human Universe.

    I have been watching a lot of the shows that Andy has on his list, got more still to see. The cosmonaut programme was excellent as was the one on the Afghan cosmonaut. Unfortunately I missed Moon and it is not on BBC iplayer.

    I know its rubbish, Brian, dont worry I dont believe what movies tell, especially when its Luc Besson, otherwise I would be wondering why we not searching for the Fifth Element 😉 its why i called the films nonsense…junk makes for fun entertainment though!

    Films like Gravity, The Right Stuff and your favourite, 2001 have much more factual substance wrapped in a fictitious plot…and like you, I do love them more because of their higher degree of plausibility even though many liberties are still taken with the science in order to engage a better narrative.

    Brian Cox’s new series is awesome yet again. Its just so well presented and explained in very laymans terms. The second episode goes into the Why are we here? question. I just love the fact he covers unexpected elements from a why a leopard has spots to the similarness in structure of the rivers in the whole solar system to the multiple universe theory.

    I also had to laugh when he said the laws of cricket is far more complex then the secrets of the universe…he’s gotta point.

    The thing with Brian Cox’s series from his “Wonders of” to this latest, is that he is really conjecturing his OWN opinion, albeit an opinion I’m sure most scientists would agree with, only exotic theoretical phyicists may not agree with some of Cox’s conclusions.

    This contrasts to factual documentaries such as Horizon. Where Brian Cox gives his own opinion, Horizon series offer all sides of opinions…generally. And that is why I am so in love with the Horizons.

    Brian Cox is a “Brian”washer but one I do not mind being partly Brianwashed by 🙂

    • This reply was modified 2 years, 8 months ago by  Tej.
    #9077

    Brian Blake
    Participant
    Topics: 187
    Replies: 409

    Sorry Tej misunderstood your post.  Actually Brian Cox was not happy with Wonders of the Universe because he felt that it was not representative of what he wanted.  Especially in the edit.  Spoiler alert I have not seen all of ep1 and none of ep2 yet.

    #9081

    Tej
    Participant
    Topics: 36
    Replies: 582

    Incidentally, I thought both these were excellent!

    Gosh Andy, you are so right. The Cosmonauts: How Russia won the Space Race is certainly right up there amongst the most riveting and revealing pieces of television documentary. Beautifully narrated, heartwarming, tragic and even funny. An astonishing epic of the space race which we have seen many times, sure but never from the Russian’s candid and fresh perspective (at least not from what I have seen before). I have admired Russia’s space race achievements but never as much as America’s simply because I am only ever fed with the American’s perspective and in turn grew more attached to the American individuals involved who recounts their experience. But here we get a wonderfully refreshing perspective from the brave and bold Russian individuals who recount their experience with such candidness, humour, pride and regret that my admiration for them has elevated to a whole new level.

    Yes, a must see for sure to get that fascinating balance of perspectives of the great space race.

    Wonderfully enlightening.

    PS I absolutely fell apart in stitches with the “Beep beep”.

    #9201

    Andy Sawers
    Moderator
    Topics: 112
    Replies: 587

    One huge movie to look out for on November 7th is Interstellar, directed by Christopher “Dark Knight” Nolan.

    Just seen this – the black hole “science” behind Interstellar‘s CGI. Apparently, former Caltech astrophysicist Kip Thorne is an executive producer.

    • This reply was modified 2 years, 8 months ago by  Andy Sawers.
    #9241

    Tej
    Participant
    Topics: 36
    Replies: 582

    Just seen this – the black hole “science” behind Interstellar‘s CGI. Apparently, former Caltech astrophysicist Kip Thorne is an executive producer.

    I am not going to watch that just yet until I have seen the movie on the 6th November but thanks for the link…although I think Brian posted it too somewhere else?

    I have not actually read the synopsis or even watched any trailers apart from the first teaser which generally dont reveal much. As a serial movie goer, I am quite sensitive to knowing anything about a movie that I know I going to see regardless because I want to enjoy the mysteries unravel from the first scene…yeah I am right strange one! :). If you saw Chris Nolan’s previous, absurdly high concept film “Inception” which was about the nested dreams (outrageous non science!), then prepare for something along that line!

    If you want to really smack your head at the stupidity of science in film, you should see Ridley Scott’s Prometheus. The cinematography is absolutely stunning and its a good story but the science is the most ridiculous! I think Gravity deserves an award for being the most scientifically faithful piece of fictional SF entertainment…in relative terms that is as we are talking about the movies of course.

    #9243

    Brian Blake
    Participant
    Topics: 187
    Replies: 409

    I agree with you about Prometheus, unfortunately that spoiled the film for me.  Not that impressed with gravity either.

    #9245

    Tej
    Participant
    Topics: 36
    Replies: 582

    I agree with you about Prometheus, unfortunately that spoiled the film for me. Not that impressed with gravity either.

    What do you think was the most scientifically sound (including speculative futuristic science) astro SF film? two films spring to mind are 2001 for futuristic speculation (for its time, not sure about those monoliths though!) and The Right Stuff (although, thats based on true story of the space so that doesnt really count)

    There was a low budget indie film I saw called Europa Report last year which had a lot of interesting attention to detail in its “realistic” long distance space travel ideas. The film itself was a spooky lost footage thriller type genre. If any of you have a subscription to netflix, its on there now.

    Back to TV

    The latest Human Universe episode covered much the same ground as one of his Wonder of the Universe episode (“Are we Alone”) and whilst I enjoyed his completely unnecessary globe trotting, scuba diving journey, I have to agree with Andy, in that much of it is exotic padding. But his delivery and narrative is still engaging and while I think he will start to annoy the hardcore (if he hasnt already), his attractive presentation will continue to excite new audiences.

    Again, like the Wonders of series, and unlike the Horizon series, its all centred on his own opinion and his rather biased investigation, which is fine, he does explore other views on the side though.

    • This reply was modified 2 years, 8 months ago by  Tej.
    #9247

    Andy Sawers
    Moderator
    Topics: 112
    Replies: 587

    But why ride a motorcycle through Rome when talking about the alignment of the planets that enabled the Voyager missions? Why even mention Cepheid variables if there’s no plan to explain about them properly? Why make a big long deal out of a Murano glassblower’s family business and thereby give the impression that Galileo went to Venice just so he could get his hands on quality lenses for his telescopes – when there are so many more interesting things to say about Galileo himself? Why go to Morocco to – well, I forgot why he went to Morocco… Why? Why?

    #9249

    Tej
    Participant
    Topics: 36
    Replies: 582

    But why ride a motorcycle through Rome when talking about the alignment of the planets that enabled the Voyager missions? Why even mention Cepheid variables if there’s no plan to explain about them properly? Why make a big long deal out of a Murano glassblower’s family business and thereby give the impression that Galileo went to Venice just so he could get his hands on quality lenses for his telescopes – when there are so many more interesting things to say about Galileo himself? Why go to Morocco to – well, I forgot why he went to Morocco… Why? Why?

    Yeah, its all fluff and gorgeous photography. Perhaps Brian Cox did explain a lot more but the producer call the shots on how much he/she wants on presentation and how much nitty gritty science. Then you have the director orchestrating “alright, Brian lets reign it back on the details, now just stand on the edge of the cliff there, face the sea please and flick your hair from side to side…that’s good Brian, very sexy…ok cut, lets head off to India now”. Brian: “sounds profoundly good to me, Ill think of something there remotely related to something profound in the cosmos”…

    • This reply was modified 2 years, 8 months ago by  Tej.
    • This reply was modified 2 years, 8 months ago by  Tej.
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