Explore the hidden history and super science of hot air balloons, synthetic rubber and metal detectors.
2017 • Technology
It's July 20, 1969. Four days after Apollo 11 thundered skyward from NASA's Kennedy Space Center, astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin become the first humans to set foot upon the moon, thanks to a marvel of engineering: the lunar module. It's the culmination of years of toil and millions of man-hours of engineering prowess. This is the story of the unsung heroes who built the unconventional flying machines that carried 12 Americans to the moon on six separate missions and made the dream of a generation come true.
The story of programming prodigy and information activist Aaron Swartz. From Swartz's help in the development of the basic internet protocol RSS to his co-founding of Reddit, his fingerprints are all over the internet. But it was Swartz's groundbreaking work in social justice and political organizing combined with his aggressive approach to information access that ensnared him in a two year legal nightmare. It was a battle that ended with the taking of his own life at the age of 26. Aaron's story touched a nerve with people far beyond the online communities in which he was a celebrity. This film is a personal story about what we lose when we are tone deaf about technology and its relationship to our civil liberties
2014 • Technology
The sea level in Venice has increased drastically in the last century or so, threatening the very existence of the city. Global warming and the harmful effects of tourism have amplified the phenomenon of acqua alta (sudden rise in sea level), rendering the traditional responses of inhabitants obsolete. It is urgent to act today. Projects conceived in laboratories across the globe are joining forces to save the city. These include RAMSES, a 3D modelization of the lagoon produced using lasers, which analyzes rises in water level; and MOSE, a series of movable dams costing over 4 billion euros, intended to block the sea in case of acqua alta. The film will take us on this extraordinary journey, the technological and scientific struggle for the survival of Venice, a survival that has been in doubt from its very construction.
2018 • Technology
Scientific advancements are challenging the concept of what it means to be human. Technology embedded in our bodies is fairly common: artificial limbs, pacemakers. But new research is taking us beyond replacement parts and into a new realm that is changing the nature of the human body and the human mind. Will the fusion of biology and technology change how we think, how we feel, how we experience the world?
Steven Johnson relates the story of people who take us out of the dark and into the light. Hear about Edison’s light bulb, which he didn’t actually invent, and learn how an 18th-century shipping community discovered a source of illumination by putting a kid inside a whale’s head. See how a French scientist accidentally discovered how to create neon light, leading to a revolution in advertising. Dispelling the myth of the individual “eureka” moment, Johnson reveals that teamwork and collaboration led the way to the most transformative ideas. Whether, altering the world’s sleeping patterns, giving rise to mass spectator sports, revolutionizing how global business is done or triggering one of the great social reforms in American history, the pioneers of light have made themselves indispensable throughout human history.