Library Haul – February 24, 2015

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Since I have a bit of time of my hands while I recover slowly (slowly, very slowly), I’ve been watching a lot of TV. As part of my recovery process I’ve also been dragging myself out of the house on slow walks around the neighborhood, and with a library only two blocks from my house, there have been a lot of library visits (BPL – if you’re wondering why there’s been a sudden spike in your circulation stats this month, you’re welcome).

Today I filled my basket with nonfiction DVDs, which are pretty much my favourite genre. I love documentaries, and I grew up watching Nature, Nova and National Geographic (I’m humming the National Geographic theme song as I type). Here are the DVDs I have waiting to be watched this week.

Resurrecting Richard III

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In 2011, a group of amateur historians made an incredible archaeological find: the bones of King Richard III, hunchbacked, with an arrow through the spine. Now, scientists are testing the bones to find out more about the king and also conducting fascinating experiments to determine whether Richard could have fought so ferociously in battle with such a severe deformity.

I love the Secrets of the Dead series (which isn’t nearly as morbid as it sounds), so I’m always excited to find a new episode. History was always my favourite subject in school (side note: in grade 12, my entire purpose for living was to win the school award for top student in history, which I did), and I majored in history in university, so it’s a subject area I am still very passionate about. I never understood people who thought history boring – history teachers, perhaps, but never history. Being of English extraction (in case the name hadn’t given it away), I was steeped in English history as a child, and I haven’t outgrown my fascination with it.

Evolve

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For man, beast and nature, it’s been a constant battlefield of change. Some strategic advances were anatomical while others were behavioral. While the bald eagle developed telescopic vision capable of spotting a hare a mile away, the shark evolved the act of sex as we humans know it. Discover what has propelled creatures large and small to survive. Trace the history and importance of these adaptations from their earliest beginnings to today.

This is a four-disc set, so we’ll see how far into I get before it’s due back. While history is my first love, I also have soft spots for science, particularly biology. This series is a bit older, so we’ll see how the effects hold up, but I’m certainly intrigued. Evolution amazes and confounds me, and I’m always interested in learning more.

Honey Badgers

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This is one the most fearless animals in the world, renowned for its ability to confront grown lions, castrate charging buffalo, and shrug off the toxic defenses of stinging bees, scorpions, and snakes. Our film will follow a team of researchers in South Africa who are searching for the truth behind the honey badger.

I’ll be honest, being sick for so long has left me feeling a bit despondent and in need of some cheering up and motivating. I saw this disc at the library and thought, why not? We all need to call upon our inner honey badger badness from time to time!

Collapse

collapse

Over the 20th and 21st centuries, the rise of this civilization has seemed unstoppable. But could modern, industrialized civilization fall apart? Three hundred years from now, will scientists find evidence that this civilization followed a recipe for disaster like that of the Maya or the Romans? Imagine it has already happened. National Geographic reveals a look into the future to descendants in the year 2210 as they set out on a scientific expedition to figure out what happened.

This National Geographic special was based on the book of the same name by Jared Diamond. I haven’t read Collapse yet, but I have read Guns, Germs and Steel and The Third Chimpanzee by the same author, so I am very curious to see this adaptation.  

Egyptian Secrets of the Afterlife

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New excavations are revealing more than we’ve ever known about what the Egyptians knew they’d encounter on their afterlife journey. Today, Dr. Zahi Hawass is excavating a mysterious tunnel at the very bottom of Seti’s tomb, a perilous tunnel dug far below the surface of the Earth. On a true Indiana Jones-style quest, Dr. Hawass will put his own life in jeopardy for the sake of discovery.

I love anything to do with ancient Egypt. To be honest, I’m not the biggest fan of Dr. Hawass, who sometimes seems to be in it as much for the fame as for the research (and who, according to some reports, has an ego large enough to rival the Great Pyramid itself), but I just couldn’t resist this National Geographic special.

So, there you have it – my library haul! Have you borrowed any good DVDs from the library recently?

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