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Naked Science (2004)
Every episode is an enjoyable science lesson.
First of all... great, informative series! I've learned a lot, enjoying every minute of the entertaining science lessons portrayed in this series.
The earlier comment about religion not being represented in the Darwin episode was a tad myopic. Christianity has been a bane to science since the Holy Roman Empire. There are just too many examples to cite (Capernicus, Galileo to start). Let us not revive the Dark Ages.
In simple terms, there is no scientific proof of God. Miracles are nearly always discredited when put to scientific scrutiny. But this only means that religion and science don't mix. Religion demands belief in the absence of proof. Science demands hard, repeatable proofs to substantiate any theory it will accept as fact.
If the earlier commenter had really paid close attention to the Darwin episode, he would have recognized a large segment had thrust it into a surprisingly well-founded defense of Creationism by a religious scientist who questioned Darwinism with some formidable data to back his theories. The episode ended with a strong question mark, in my mind, much as the title does.
Perhaps a more patient re-viewing of the episode is warranted. But don't expect the conversion of the bulk of the scientific community to Christianity too soon. They may scratch their heads over "The Origin of the Species" more though.
The religious right needs to understand that science isn't the enemy of Christianity. We can co-exist! Science is just a patient explanation of reality and a problem solving tool, with an emphasis on the latter. Long-held beliefs in many genres fall to the wayside when confronted with newer, better proofs of how reality ticks and better tools to predict and solve more problems.
Should defying reality be a prime concern of the Church? History says no. The far more important job of saving souls is where men and women of the cloth should, and do, excel. Science isn't muscling in on their profession. The two fields are ill-trained and equipped to compete with the other's respective expertise.
So give the creators, producers and enjoyers of this series a break. It's just Naked Science. It's a fun learning experience. No need to make it into another battlefield of us vs. them. It's all us. Enjoy. And peace be with us!
College Tele-Course, Episode List
"Universe - the Infinite Frontier" won an Emmy and New York Festivals Finalist awards. It is a video telecourse comprised of 26 half-hour episodes (programs). There is also a 21-episode series adaptation available, "Universe: The Infinite Frontier Adaptation".
It is based on the college astronomy textbook, "Horizons", by Michael A. Seeds, Professor of Physics & Astronomy. Professor Seeds was also senior consultant for this video telecourse. "Horizons" had been the best-selling college astronomy textbook in the country several years.
The series was produced by the Coast Learning Systems division of Coastline Community College, an award-winning producer of instructional media since 1973. This 1994 course seems to be no longer available. And it seems to be superseded by their 2005 production of "Astronomy: Observations & Theories". As with all of their courses, it was developed under the supervision of a National Academic Advisory Team representing community colleges and universities from all over the United States.
These 28-minute episodes (lessons) are most often viewed on college-run public television stations. College credit for courses associated with this series can be earned through enrollment at those colleges.
Here is the list of 26 episodes with descriptions for "Universe - the Infinite Frontier":
1. "The Scale of the Cosmos" introduces the stars, galaxies, and planets with stunning computer animation and photographs from NASA and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL).
2. "The Sky" explores different cultures' views of celestial events and objects over the span of human history.
3. "Cycles of the Sky" explains the sidereal and synodic periods of the moon.
4. "The Origin of Modern Astronomy" examines the foundations of astronomy, and the work of Aristotle, Ptolemy, and other ancient Greek scientists and philosophers.
5. "Newton, Einstein, and Gravity" describes Newton's law of gravitation, three laws of motion, and traces the development of Einstein's theories.
6. "The Tools of Astronomy" presents an overview of the electromagnetic spectrum and the types of information provided by individual bands.
7. "Atoms and Starlight" traces the evolution of the scientific study of light and the identification of the basic types of spectra by Bunsen and Kirchhoff.
8. "The Sun" examines the unique tools utilized to study the sun. Solar astronomers and astrophysicists explain helioseismology.
9. "Stellar Properties" explains the basic technique of parallax and how it is used to measure distance.
10. "Stellar Formation" explains how stars form.
11. "The Lives of Stars" concentrates on the proton-proton chain of nuclear reactions. Computer animation shows how the hydrogen of a star is transformed into helium.
12. "The Deaths of Stars" outlines the events occurring in the eventual fate of a medium-mass star such as our sun, and discusses the significance of stars that have sudden deaths.
13. "Neutron Stars and Black Holes" explains and illustrates the discoveries and concepts of neutron stars, pulsars, and black holes.
14. "The Milky Way" examines the discovery and formation of the Milky Way.
15. "Galaxies" describes how spiral nebulae was first identified by Edwin P. Hubble and his assistant, Milton Humason, as galaxies located outside the Milky Way.
16. "Peculiar Galaxies" summarizes some of the unusual features of peculiar, or active galaxies, and the challenges they pose to those who study them.
17. "The Big Bang" examines the story of the birth and evolution of the universe, and describes current theories.
18. "The Fate of the Universe" (A companion to "The Big Bang") examines several major discoveries in cosmological research that fill gaps in our knowledge of the evolution of the universe.
19. "The Origin of the Solar System" examines the solar nebula theory, and summarizes the evolution of our solar system.
20. "Planet Earth" examines the solar nebula theory, and summarizes the evolution of our solar system.
21. "The Moon and Mercury" explores the two worlds, similar in outward appearance, but quite different inside
22. "Venus and Mars" provides close-up views of Earth's closest neighbors, Venus and Mars, through the use of computer-generated images.
23. "Jupiter and Saturn" describes features of the two planets and discusses similarities and differences between the atmospheres and interiors. It also includes images of Saturn taken on the Voyager missions.
24. "Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto" covers the three outermost planets. Astronomers describe the composition and various theories of each planet's origin in depth.
25. "Meteorites, Asteroids, and Comets" concludes the exploration of the solar system with an examination of solar system debris. Astronomers explain the composition of meteorites, asteroids, and comets and various theories about their origin.
26. "Life on Other Worlds" explores one of humankind's oldest questions: Are we alone in the universe?
Production, College Credit and Episode List
This series is actually a 20-episode telecourse (video-based course) produced between 2005 and 2006 by the Coast Learning Systems division of Coastline Community College, an award-winning producer of instructional media since 1973. This course supersedes their 1994 production of "Universe: The Infinite Frontier" which won an Emmy and a Finalist Award at The New York Festivals. As with all of their courses, it was developed under the supervision of a National Academic Advisory Team representing community colleges and universities from all over the United States.
These twenty 28-minute episodes (lessons) are most often viewed on college-run public television stations. College credit for courses associated with this series can be earned through enrollment at these colleges. Many college bookstores may sell the DVD set to students as required or suggested course materials.
The Universe: Beyond the Big Bang (2007)
This is the only two-hour episode. Accordingly, this the meatiest.
It covers the entire history of astronomy and astrophysics to the present. It is amazing how much territory they cover in just this one episode. No way could they do that with just the one hour of a typical episode.
We can think of this episode as a series synopsis, overview or condensed version of the series in one episode. It is by no means a substitution for the plethora of knowledge the entire series offers. Many subjects aren't even touched upon, which are gone into fine detail in some episodes, like "The Colonization of Space." However, this one episode could stand alone as a magnificent presentation of humankind's ascent of the "ladder of knowledge" of astronomy, astrophysics and particle/macro-physics to date.
This is the episode by which one can judge the entire series. You can see that I gave it a 10. Perfection of presentation, it may not have. But up-to-date content, it has in spades. It might be lacking for detail in some places. But that's the hook to watch the rest of the series. I'm surprised this wasn't the pilot episode.
This is an aside: I was watching this episode when a UPS delivery arrived needing my signature. I paused the recording, which leaves the title lettered over the screen. As I was signing for the packages the driver noticed what I had been watching and said, "The Universe! I love that series!" I was flabbergasted to find a fellow "Universe" enthusiast randomly at my door. This series must be more popular than I realized.
A great Kyle Henry film ***SPOILERS (and insights) AHEAD***
This is not a Hollywood mega-film: no major stars, no supermodels, no fun. It is a serious independent film with real-to-life actors. It presents an offbeat story which thrusts us viewers into the tortured, schizoid mind of Julia Baker. It is a helter-skelter ride from an overstressed working mother in Texas to the shattered person she becomes, alone in her personal, confused hell in New York.
She is compelled to find the large, spacious "room" she dreams of. She abandons her family to follow cryptic, hallucinated clues to find this "room". It ends with a blurred, double-visioned hallucination, which takes her (and us) looking down at something, who knows what, very close up. The blurred vision continues to look down from a perspective spinning upward into space. That alone is worth the price of the film rental. It is very unsettling to be sent on this schizophrenic journey way out of reality. But it is a masterful inside, experiential view of schizophrenia, apart from actually being schizophrenic. It is totally absorbing. Check your reality at the theater door.
If, however, you have a Hollywood movie mindset and no appreciation of where writer-director, Kyle Henry brilliantly wants to take you, you're apt to think this movie is a totally plot less, bizarre, incomprehensible, incoherent trip to nowhere. And a total waste of time. And you should pass on this one.
As a refresher, I include here a quote from a helpguide.com article on "What Is Schizophrenia":
"Schizophrenia is a brain disorder that affects the way a person acts, thinks, and sees the world. People with schizophrenia have an altered perception of reality, often a significant loss of contact with reality. They may see or hear things that don't exist, speak in strange or confusing ways, believe that others are trying to harm them, or feel like they're being constantly watched. With such a blurred line between the real and the imaginary, schizophrenia makes it difficulteven frighteningto negotiate the activities of daily life. In response, people with schizophrenia may withdraw from the outside world or act out in confusion and fear."