A language that can be spoken, hummed, or whistled? A language with no unique words for colour or numbers? Linguistics professor Daniel Everett claims that the unique language of the Piraha people of the Amazon is exactly that. More than 30 years ago, he travelled as a missionary into the Amazon rainforest to teach the tribe, but they ended up teaching him. Their way of life and unique form of communication have profoundly changed Everett, and inspired a theory that could undermine the most powerful theory (or theorist) of linguistics.
2012 • People
The philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche was one of the most brilliant and dangerous minds of the 19th century. His uncompromising and often brutal ideas smashed the comfortable presuppositions and assumptions of religion, morality and science. His was a world not just bereft of God but almost of humanity, breathtaking in both its post-religious starkness and its originality. Bettany Hughes goes in search of the beliefs of a man whose work is amongst the most devastatingly manipulated and misinterpreted in philosophical history. Nietzsche's dislike of systems and of seeking truths left his ideas ambiguous and sometimes incoherent. It was this that made him vulnerable to interpretation, and as a result his thoughts - which warned against the very notion of a political system like totalitarianism - were manipulated to strengthen its ideals. Vocally opposed to anti-Semitism, his anti-Semitic sister made sure he became the poster boy for Hitler's drive for an Aryan ideal.
It is one of the greatest and bloodiest mysteries in art: what happened on the December night in 1888 when Vincent van Gogh took a blade to his own ear? Jeremy Paxman joins art sleuth Bernadette Murphy on her amazing quest to discover the truth - what exactly did the artist do, why did he do it and who was the unknown girl he is said to have handed his severed ear to, her real identity kept secret by her family for over a century? It is an event that defines van Gogh, who created his greatest masterpieces including the sunflowers at the same moment as suffering mental torture, but what are the real facts? This revealing detective story travels from Vincent's home in the south of France to the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, and uncovers key evidence hidden in a Californian library that has created an art-world sensation, as we finally solve the mystery of Van Gogh's ear.
2016 • People
In previous decades, most news with global reach came from several major newspapers and networks with the resources to gather information directly. The speed with which information spreads now, however, has created the ideal conditions for something called circular reporting. Noah Tavlin sheds light on this phenomenon.
"I told you so..." H.G. Wells' self penned epitaph underscores a lifetime of grim yet uncanny prophecy. With stories like The Time Machine, The Invisible Man, The World Set Free, and The War of the Worlds, H.G. Wells established himself as a sci-fi writer of almost clairvoyant talent.