Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Can't Make It to Antarctica? PBS Can Help.

I came across an episode of the PBS series Nature titled "Under Antarctic Ice" today. Apparently it was originally shown on television in 2003, but it was re-run this year. As a result, they posted the entire episode in high quality video online. You've got to check it out! There are some amazing scenes - a sea anemone eating a jellyfish many, many times its size, brittle stars, seals, piles of bright pink starfish on the ocean floor. I agree with one of the commenters that perhaps too much time is spent showing the preparations of the scientists. But not because science is boring - on the contrary, it is good for the public to see how science is done. It makes scientists more accessible and human when we see the reality that most scientists are not ivory-tower theorists but dedicated workers. No, I wish we saw fewer humans because I think that there are few things humans can do that are more entertaining than one delicate brittle star curling its thin limbs around another as it tries to capture and consume it. And I could watch penguins launch themselves out of the water onto the ice for hours, if not all day.

The episode provides a great look into a world few of us can or will ever visit. Many thanks to PBS for hosting the entire episode online.

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