Raccoon Nation • 2011 • episode "S50E14" The Nature of Things

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In an effort to outwit raccoons, are we pushing their brain development and perhaps even sending them down a new evolutionary path? Using high-definition, infrared cameras that turn pitch dark into daylight; we take viewers deep inside a world that was once shrouded in mystery – to gain new insights and understanding about a species that is far more elusive and wily than most people ever imagined. “There is a lot we don’t know, and the more we’ve looked at raccoons, the harder they are to understand.” — Stan Gehrt, Wildlife Biologist & Internationally recognized raccoon expert

The Nature of Things • 2008 - 2021 • 24 episodes •

The Secret Life of Owls

We all recognize the trademark hoots of the great horned owl. But how many of us have seen one up close? The great horned owl lives all over the Americas, from rural countryside to bustling cityscapes. Yet it’s rare to catch a glimpse of this elusive bird of prey. The Secret Life of Owls gives us a window into the life of this amazing species and introduces us to some passionate owl experts along the way. Through The Secret Life Of Owls, we will witness the power and wonder behind one of nature’s most fierce and formidable hunters.

2017 • Nature

Myth or Science

Drinking alcohol on a cold day warms you up. Eating grilled meat can increase your risk of cancer. Mosquitoes prefer blondes… ah, women. We've all heard the claims, but are they true? From Winnipeg to Florida, from New York City to Vancouver, B.C, molecular biologist Dr. Jennifer Gardy goes in search of the answers. It's a journey through seldom-seen research that forces Dr. Gardy to become a real-life guinea pig to test these claims and discover, once and for all, whether they're science fact or science fiction. The surprising results are revealed in Myth or Science. , results that could change your life. Most of us just accept these myths as fact. But it is surprising to discover which are true and which aren't. It's not what you expect. And the answers can make a major difference to your daily life, and your health.

2011 • Science

Ticked Off: the Mystery of Lyme Disease

Lyme disease, a mysterious tick-borne illness, is the fastest spreading vector-borne disease in the United States, and over the past decade, the tick that carries Lyme has been spreading across Canada with alarming speed. Ticked Off: The Mystery of Lyme Disease, is a fascinating and eye-opening documentary that explores a disease that has devastating effects, is often misdiagnosed and mistreated, and continues to be mired in a medical controversy. More than 30,000 cases are reported in the USA every year, but the real number could be as high as 300,000. And despite hard evidence that the Lyme-carrying, deer tick has already established populations across Canada, some people claim that patients here are still being told that they cannot contract Lyme in this country. Doctors agree that if it’s caught early Lyme disease can usually be cured with two to four weeks of antibiotics. There are others who believe that if it’s not caught early, the infection can develop into a debilitating condition they call Chronic Lyme. Yet unlike West Nile, Encephalitis or SARS, where the medical profession and scientists joined forces to find better treatments or a cure, many patients, who claim to have chronic Lyme, say that they are being denied treatment and left to suffer. So why is this happening?

2013 • Health

Brain Magic the Power of Placebo

What if each of us could make the symptoms of an illness disappear? Cast a spell so powerful it would actually rid us of pain, help us walk, or breathe better? For centuries placebos have been thought of as fake medicine involving trickery and deceit, but Brain Magic: The Power of Placebo pulls back the curtains on the proof that placebos can have powerful – and real – effects on our mind and body. New research is proving that everything from sugar pills, to saline injections, to sham surgery, can have real healing power. Placebos won’t shrink tumours or cure diabetes, but they can be effective in subjective conditions – where self-appraisal plays a role. And, as we’ll discover in Brain Magic, neuroscience is revealing how our bodies’ response to treatment is heavily influenced by our expectations, prior experiences, our beliefs, and the social cues that surround us.

2015 • Brain

Untangling Alzheimers

Untangling Alzheimer's is a dramatic and inspiring medical investigation driven by David Suzuki's journey to understand the science of Alzheimer's and the surprising new insights into its cause. David has a very personal interest in the disease because his mother, aunt and two uncles died of it. We join David on an intimate journey as he explores the newest breakthroughs in this devastating disease as well as his own chances of contracting the cruel condition. Alzheimer's today is the only leading cause of death that cannot be cured, prevented or even slowed. Worse, it's the only leading cause of death that is on the rise – and not simply because baby-boomers are getting older. Studies show that the increase is absolute across all age groups, and death rates continue to climb. With a new case developing every 69 seconds, scientists now speak of the Alzheimer's epidemic.

2013 • Astronomy

Where Am I

Where Am I? Is a new documentary about the skills we use to find our way around. Whether you are an Inuit hunter, a foraging insect, or just someone out for a stroll, your brain is performing one of its most fundamental services – it’s navigating. Why are some of us good at finding our way, while others are not? Good navigators are able to use both memory and imagination…remembering where they have been, and imagining where they’re going. Some researchers believe we build a cognitive or mental map when we navigate, a kind of bird’s eye view of our surroundings, a view that can be rotated and examined in our mind. There has been about sixty years of argument amongst scientists about whether humans and other mammals actually form these cognitive maps or not. The advent of GPS or Global Positioning Systems has changed the discussion about navigation. GPS triggers a simpler, more automatic navigational technique that does not involve building a mental map. With GPS, we simply respond to directions and may not truly understand where we are.

2013 • Physics

Secrets in the Bones

Hendrik Poinar is a bit of a mystery man – as in, he likes to solve them. And he’s part time traveller – as in, he likes to dig up the past. Think Doctor Who meets Indiana Jones. Poinar is an evolutionary biologist - which means he studies the nature of how we humans got here and where we’re going. He happily admits his childhood dream was to travel the world and travel back in time. “No-one imagines that there’s actually something still hidden within a bone that’s been buried for a few thousand years or 100,000 years, let alone the possibility of resurrecting it or bringing it back to life,” says Poinar. “I mean, that’s sort of completely bizarre. It’s like a time machine, yeah, it’s a kid’s dream.” Secrets in the Bones follows Poinar on an epic journey to Italy, Germany, Britain, and across the Unites States. His mission: solve one of the greatest mysteries of science, a mystery that has eluded researchers for more than six centuries: unlock the secrets of the fourteenth century killer disease that caused the Black Death and wiped out more than 50 million people.

2014 • History

Smarty Plants

Is it possible that plants are smarter than we think? They are among the world's oldest and most successful organisms and represent some of the strangest and longest living life forms on the planet. Stunningly diverse, plants have served us in many critical ways, from providing food, shelter and clothing to life-saving medicine. And yet we know very little about them. A luscious exploration of the natural world, Smarty Plants effortlessly integrates pioneering science with a light hearted look at how plants behave, revealing a world where plants are as busy, responsive and complex as we are. From the stunning heights of Utah's Great Basin Desert to the rainforests of Canada's west coast, Smarty Plants follows lead scientist and ecologist JC Cahill as he treks the green world and discovers that plants are a lot more like animals than we ever imagined. The world he reveals is one where plants eavesdrop on each other, talk to their enemies, call in insect allies to fight those enemies, recognize their relatives and nurture their young.

2012 • Nature

The Allergy Fix

If you’ve been to a children’s birthday party lately, chances are at least one of the little guests had a portable needle loaded with epinephrine. Its standard equipment for a growing generation of highly allergic kids: more than three times as many children have food allergies now than twenty years ago. And one out of every three children is now allergic to foods, animals, or plants. Something puzzling, and frightening, is going on with our immune systems. The Allergy Fix travels across Canada and to the US, the UK and Germany to investigate why allergies are on the rise – and what’s being done about it.

2014 • Health

The Fruit Hunters: Evolution of Desire (Part 1 of 2)

A journey through nature, commerce and adventure, The Fruit Hunters takes us from the dawn of humanity to the cutting of edge of modern agriculture — a series that will change not just the way we look at what we eat, but what it means to be human. The Fruit Hunters' first episode, "The Evolution of Desire," explores the origins of fruit's diversity and tells the story of humanity and fruit's intimate co-evolution. Every variety of fruit has a story, the story of the person who cultivated an individual plant, and then shared something wonderful with the world. To preserve this diversity is to retain this living memory. A passionate few, the fruit hunters, fight to preserve this diversity in a world increasingly dominated by economically driven monoculture.

2013 • Nature

Meet the Coywolf

Part wolf, part coyote this new hybrid species is the subject of a startlingly beautiful new film called Meet the Coywolf. A documentary that will both shock and amaze you. Coywolves emerged from a thin strip of land at the southern end of Algonquin Park less than a hundred years ago. Their arrival on the scene marks a rare event, the creation of a brand new hybrid species. A formidable wild animal that has spread across North America at an unprecedented pace, returning a new top predator to territories once roamed by wolves. Zoologist Roland Kays of the New York State Museum has been tracking these new creatures and describes them as having "a coyote like skull with wolf like teeth".

2013 • Nature

Shattered Ground

As Shattered Ground reveals, some see fracking as a great opportunity for money and jobs, and one that provides cheap, clean fuel. But, for others, the possible human health costs of this new drilling technology have motivated a large and vociferous anti-fracking movement. The debate over fracking has been echoed in the Oscar-nominated documentary Gasland and in Promised Land, the new Gus van Sant's feature film starring Matt Damon. Fracking's critics consider the industry a potential environmental disaster, citing chemical contamination of air and water. With pipelines proposed, terminals for liquefied natural gas (LNG) requiring billions of dollars of investment, and huge shale beds lying underneath highly-populated areas of the Canada and the US (including southern Ontario and the GTA), fracking is an issue that could affect every one of us.

2013 • Environment

A Dog's Life

A Dog’s Life reveals how our best friends perceive the world - from the moment they take their first morning walk to the time they curl up at our feet to go to sleep. We accompany Daisy, a Jack Russell Terrier, through an average day and on the way discover that, while dogs are not miniature humans, they are amazingly well adapted to life with us. But how well do we know them? A Dog’s Life explores the widely assumed facts that may actually be based on faulty and out-dated research. Is your dog really like a wolf? Does she need you to be the “alpha” dog, so she knows where to fit into your pack? Do they really see in black and white? Is it true that dogs have an amazing sense of direction?

2013 • Nature

The Autism Enigma

A fresh perspective on autism research with the developing "Bacterial Theory" of autism. The fastest-growing developmental disorder in the industrialized world, autism has increased an astounding 600 per cent over the last 20 years. Science cannot say why. Some say it's triggered by environmental factors and point to another intriguing statistic: 70 per cent of kids with autism also have severe gastrointestinal symptoms. Could autism actually begin in the gut? The Autism Enigma looks at the progress of an international group of scientists who are studying the gut's amazingly diverse and powerful microbial ecosystem for clues to the baffling disorder.

2011 • Health

Chasing Snowflakes

We have a relationship with few things in nature the way we do with snow: we hate it, we love it, and we think we understand it. But we barely know the contradictory and beautiful components of snow’s character. But that’s something scientists are changing. From the formation of single flakes to the howling 70 km/h winds of lake effect snow storms to the destructive power of avalanches, intrepid researchers are bringing snow science into the 21st Century.

2014 • Science

Raccoon Nation

In an effort to outwit raccoons, are we pushing their brain development and perhaps even sending them down a new evolutionary path? Using high-definition, infrared cameras that turn pitch dark into daylight; we take viewers deep inside a world that was once shrouded in mystery – to gain new insights and understanding about a species that is far more elusive and wily than most people ever imagined. “There is a lot we don’t know, and the more we’ve looked at raccoons, the harder they are to understand.” — Stan Gehrt, Wildlife Biologist & Internationally recognized raccoon expert

2011 • Nature

Return of the Prairie Bandit

Their habitat once stretched across the Prairies, but when humans wiped out the one thing they eat, the black-footed ferret disappeared. The only native North American ferret, this mysterious animal became the most endangered species in the world. For many years, they survived only in zoos. Now a fledgling project is attempting to bring the black-footed ferret back to Saskatchewan. This dramatic story of the ferrets’ reintroduction to the wild unfolds in Return of the Prairie Bandit, a new documentary by Kenton Vaughan set in the stunning prairie of southern Saskatchewan.

2011 • Nature

The Code Breakers

For decades, scientists believed that humans were forced to wait until the end of the last Ice Age before they could enter the Americas. Evidence suggests that 11,000 years ago they crossed the Bering Land Bridge by foot, into what is now modern-day Alaska. Those peoples were called the Clovis, and their arrival and hunting practices were blamed for the sudden disappearance of many large mammals, from mastodons and woolly mammoths to giant ground sloths and sabre-toothed tigers. In recent years however, tantalizing – but often frustratingly inconclusive – evidence of an earlier human migration into the Americas has begun to emerge. It is an incredible revelation – to think that ancient humans could somehow have managed to get past a sheet of ice four kilometres thick. In this fascinating documentary, Canadian anthropologist and adventurer Niobe Thompson takes us inside the incredible scientific discoveries that are finally unraveling these mysteries

2011 • History

The Emperor's Lost Harbour

In the heart of a metropolitan city of 15 million people and among the construction of a new billion-dollar transportation network, an archaeological sensation has been discovered: the ancient harbour of Theodosious. Theodosious was the last ruler over both Eastern and Western portions of a unified Roman Empire; the harbour has been buried and shrouded in mystery for over 800 years…until now. Istanbul, Turkey, is situated exactly between Europe and Asia. It has, since prehistoric times, bridged the gap between these continents, their cultures and its people. Engineers are working to connect East to West through a spectacular 1.4 kilometer railway tunnel, 60 meters below the surface, but they've been stalled by the discovery of the Emperor's Lost Harbor.

2011 • History

Great Vaccine Race

The inside story of the high-stakes race to defeat a killer virus and save millions of lives.

2021 • Health

Nature's Big Year

When humanity hits pause, nature reboots; scientists discover the surprising ways pandemic lock downs affected our planet.

2021 • Environment

The Machine that Feels

Artificial intelligence is becoming more empathic, emotionally intelligent and creative. So what does it mean to be human?

2021 • Technology

The New Human

The New Human takes the audience on a whirlwind tour into the minds of experts who remind us that our bodies are always changing in reaction to the world around us. What’s in store for us may be beyond anything we ever imagined.

2021 • Nature

The Great Wild Indoors

Within the quiet confines of your home, wild things are afoot. The great struggle to survive, the drama of life and death, the cold calculation of the hunter and the anxiety of the hunted and it goes on all around you. In the Great Indoors, every corner is a potential lair, every carpet a dense forest, and the wide spaces of your kitchen, an open savannah where the food is abundant, but so is the danger. A number of creatures fly in and get trapped; others may enter to dine and dash, but some will be found nowhere else but safe and sound at home in your home. So when you trap that house spider and decide to set it free outside, you may in fact be dooming it to death in a world it's never known.

2017 • Nature

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Forests

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Evolution

No two islands in the Galapagos are the same. The imperceptible drift of a continental plate keeps each island biologically isolated. David Attenborough explores this evolutionary crucible, encountering tortoises that weigh up to half a tonne, finches that use tools and lizards that communicate using press-ups; for Darwin, this was all evidence for his theory of evolution. We see the final footage of the world famous tortoise fondly known as Lonesome George, the last survivor of his species. David Attenborough was the last person to have ever filmed with him. Darwin’s famous visit had a downside – the arrival of man. David investigates the impact we’ve had in these islands, as our influence is a double-edged sword. We’ve disrupted the natural balance but he also believes Darwin would be thrilled with the advances we have made in science. We’re also now uncovering evidence that evolution is more rapid than Darwin could ever have imagined. Whatever wonders the Galapagos Islands hold today, they are only a hint of what awaits them in the future.

3/4Galapagos with David Attenborough • 2010 • Nature

The Painted Lady Butterfly

Every year, the painted lady butterflies undertake a mysterious migration. This discreet journey covers thousands of kilometers and triggers puzzles that scientists are still trying to understand today. Thanks to cutting-edge technology, we will track the butterflies on their journey.

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Return of the Giant Killers: Africa's Lion Kings

In southern Africa, a pride of lions has rewritten the rules - by learning to take down elephants. In this follow up to Africa's Giant Killers, we join the pride at the start of the rainy season. As the elephants depart, a catalogue of dramatic events unfolds. The pride males turn against each other, an inexperienced mum puts her new born cubs in mortal danger, a rival group of lions challenge the pride for its territory and, when lightning strikes, fires burn day and night. When the dust eventually settles, the pride is left with only one choice - to face their old foe the elephants or risk starvation. The final showdown awaits.

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This episode explores the story of two animals that hide behind seemingly impregnable coat of arms. Can Sir David Attenborough get in behind their armour and reveal their mysteries?

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