The online encyclopedia Wikipedia marked its 20th anniversary in 2021. With its philosophy “knowledge by all, for all”, Wikipedia has all but replaced printed encyclopedias in our collective consciousness. What does this mean for the world’s accumulated knowledge?
For more than 20 years now, people can look up online answers to all manner of questions. With some 50 million articles in almost 300 languages, Wikipedia would appear to be a treasure trove of knowledge. Anyone can contribute. But little is known about the individual creators of this enormous pool of information. What motivates them to devote unpaid time in the service of human knowledge? And what happens if the collective is infiltrated by contributors with a hidden agenda in the pay of nations or industry giants? Why is 85% of the content provided by what’s become known as stereotypical “angry white men” contributing content that they consider relevant for the planet? And will artificial intelligence soon take over? This film provides a critical appraisal of the pros and cons of the online encyclopedia.
Can the aging process be reversed – or even halted, altogether?
If we manage to decode this final mystery of our human biology, we might soon be able to eradicate age-related illnesses like cancer, dementia and heart problems.
The race to invent the miracle pill is well underway. Today, international researchers are getting astonishingly close to realizing humanity’s dream of immortality.
The hunt for immortality gained traction with the discovery of Costa Rica’s so-called “Blue Zone,” by Luis Rosero-Bixby. In the “Blue Zone,” on the Nicoya Peninsular, he found a remarkable number of centenarians. Here, male life expectancy is the highest in the world. Their healthy lifestyle is one factor, but the promise of longevity is probably also because their telomeres – sections of DNA found at the end of chromosomes – are longer than those of the average person.
It’s a field of research currently being explored by Maria Blasco in Madrid. But this is just one of many possible factors influencing the process of aging. Senescent cells may also play a key role. Also known as “zombie cells”, these attack our body in old age and flood it with alarm signals until, at some point, we collapse under their weight. That’s a theory proposed by another researcher in Spain, Manuel Serrano.
A billion-dollar industry is already knocking impatiently at the lab doors. The first to market the miracle pill is guaranteed incredible wealth. That’s why investors are sponsoring young bio-startups in Hong Kong. Keen not be left out, US Big Tech is vying for the world’s best scientists. Alex Zhavoronkov has secured a slice of that pie, with a cash injection of more than 250 million dollars for his company’s work on aging research.
Whereas some pioneers’ visions burst like bubbles, others rush to get other, rather more dubious products onto the market. But their efficacy is now measurable. The epigenetic clock devised by Steve Horvath can measure our biological age, regardless of our actual age in years.
With his research on the thymus gland, California’s Greg Fahy managed to not only decelerate the aging process, but reverse it. His initial study on humans showed that a particular drug cocktail took an average two-and-a-half years off their age.
Young biohackers like Nina Khera from Boston want everyone to benefit from this research. Together with friends, she’s working on the “epigenetic clock for all”. But while we’re busy trying to counter the aging process and all the illnesses it entails, fundamental questions arise: Should we be messing with nature like this? Are we about to overwhelm the planet with more and more people? Criminal biologist Mark Benecke in Cologne says that these questions are coming far too late.
Die größten Bestien der Welt haben schon immer die Fantasie beflügelt. Aber obwohl es Vorteile haben kann, groß zu sein, bringt es auch beträchtliche Herausforderungen mit sich. Nehmen Sie die größte Eidechse der Welt, den Komodowaran, der aufgrund seines enormen Appetits das Zehnfache seines Gewichts aufnehmen muss, oder das größte Tier von allen – die Giraffe – die mit einem so langen Hals einen immensen Blutdruck kontrollieren muss. Die größten Bestien der Natur müssen außergewöhnliche Anstrengungen unternehmen, um zu gedeihen. Dies sind ihre epischen Überlebensgeschichten!
Fault Lines investigates whether social media exacerbates America’s youth mental health crisis.
In 2021, a whistleblower inside Facebook disclosed a trove of documents showing that the company had studied its own platforms’ toxic effects on teen girls.
The revelations struck a chord with Hillary Hamilton, a mother in Colorado who spent more than a year investigating whether social media may have contributed to her daughter’s death by suicide in 2020.
Fast fashion has radically transformed the textile industry. These days, 56 million tons of clothing are sold every year. But cheap garments come at a high price: A precarious existence for workers and a catastrophic environmental impact.
The clothing industry is currently deluging the planet with garments. With 100 billion items produced every year, that’s more than ever before. International companies are locked in an ongoing race to create new styles and win higher profits. And this gigantic expansion is set to continue: The sector is forecast to grow by 60 per cent by 2030.
On the one hand, fast fashion means affordable clothes for all. Zara is known as the original fast fashion brand. The Spanish clothing giant creates 65,000 new styles every year.
Shopping for clothes has become a veritable leisure activity stoked by social media: half of all Instagram posts are related to fashion and beauty. This is how market leaders in fast fashion influence their customers’ buying behavior, backed by relevant neuromarketing specialists.
Fast fashion profits from e-commerce. No more trying on clothes in the store, the customer orders online and has the garment delivered – and if they don’t like it, they just send it back. Throwaway clothes and throwaway work: carried out by an army of couriers within the precarious gig economy.
The textile industry is the sector with the world’s second-highest environmental price tag. Fast fashion manufacturers’ favorite material – viscose made from wood fibers – is marketed as a climate-friendly alternative. But producing this fabric uses a whole range of chemicals. This leads to serious health issues, not only for those working in the factories, but also for people living close by, for example in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh.
Every year in Europe, four million tons of clothing ends winds up in the trash. Less than one per cent of this is recycled. The fashion industry likes to parade its sustainability credentials, but the reality is quite the opposite.
Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat. In the virtual world, everyone wants to put their best foot forward. But the quest for validation can become an addiction.
The dynamics on social networks can cause serious damage, especially for impressionable young people.
We spend hours on “social media” – Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat. We’re seduced by their unspoken promise: They’ll help us share our views, indeed our whole lives, with the entire world. In this virtual world, everyone is happy. Everyone has a perfect body, lives in a fancy house and is surrounded by beautiful people. Everyone makes themselves seem important, and everyone passes judgment.
But this constant striving for validation can quickly become an addiction, one that has devastating consequences for psychological health. And it is young people who are most susceptible. This documentary shows the real dangers of this “dictatorship of happiness” on social networks, and introduces viewers to some of its young victims.
Danny was 14 when he posted his first selfie on Facebook. But he didn’t get many likes. So he posted more and more photos in a desperate quest for recognition. Soon he was posting hundreds of selfies a day. He stopped eating in order to “optimize” his body, and lost 12 kilograms. Then he stopped going to school and didn’t leave the house for six months: He had come to believe he was so ugly that people would be afraid of him. In desperation, he even attempted suicide.
It wasn’t until Danny made a clean break from all “social media” that he slowly recovered. His story may sound extreme. But with the invention of “likes” and the concept of self-promotion, according to which everything has to be confirmed by others to be considered real, the creators of social networks are changing our behavior.
Marie, 22, has 4,922 followers and her biggest worry is disappointing her subscribers. She spends one day a week tweaking the image of her perfect Parisian life. She spends hours on her makeup and takes hundreds of photos to find the one picture she wants to post. In front of the camera, she breaks down and confesses how vulnerable she feels – and how desperate she is to be liked.
George Carlin’s American Dream, directed by Judd Apatow and Michael Bonfiglio, chronicles the life and work of the legendary comedian.
Carlin’s career spanned half a century during which he headlined 14 HBO comedy specials and appeared on The Tonight Show over 130 times, constantly evolving with the times and staying sharply resonant up until his death in 2008 and beyond. The documentary examines a cultural chameleon who is remembered as one of the most influential stand-up comics of all time.
The two-part documentary tracks Carlin’s rise to fame and opens an intimate window into Carlin’s personal life, including his childhood in New York City, his long struggle with drugs that took its toll on his health, his brushes with the law, his loving relationship with Brenda, his wife of 36 years, and his second marriage to Sally Wade. Intimate interviews with Carlin and Brenda’s daughter, Kelly Carlin, offer unique insight into her family’s story and her parents enduring love and partnership.
Chris Rock, Jerry Seinfeld, Patton Oswalt, Stephen Colbert, Bill Burr, Bette Midler, W. Kamau Bell, Sam Jay, Judy Gold and Jon Stewart are among those interviewed for the project.
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The sex industry has been transformed by the internet, and most sex workers now meet their customers through online sites. Their pictures can be seen next to adverts for lawn mowers and patio furniture, but has the move away from the streets made prostitution any safer for the women involved? Reporter Bronagh Munro investigates the online pimps who traffic vulnerable women for sex and the high-profile website that is helping them to cash in.
The Tinder Swindler is a British true crime documentary film directed by Felicity Morris and released on Netflix on 2 February 2022. The documentary tells the story of the Israeli conman Simon Leviev (born Shimon Hayut) who used the dating application Tinder to connect with individuals who he then emotionally manipulated into financially supporting his lavish lifestyle on the pretext he needed the money to escape his “enemies.”
Coca-Cola sells more than 100 billion throwaway plastic bottles each year. Panorama investigates their promises to crack down on plastic waste. Globally, more of Coke’s plastic packaging is found littered than any other brand. Filming on the ground in Samoa, the Philippines and Uganda, this film asks if Coca-Cola is on track to achieve its pledge to create a world without waste.
New fossil discoveries are revolutionizing the way we view these ancient reptiles. Marvel at these scientifically accurate, beautifully-rendered CG dinosaurs as we examine what years of hard science has shown us about how they once lived.
Consider a whole new world of colorful, fluffy dinosaurs. Feathers, the evolutionary breakthrough that allowed for more stable body temperatures, which translated into outstanding mobility, even in cold weather.
Research has made headway into the world of the 'gigantic dragon' that ruled the prehistoric seas. What do we know about how this massive predator was able to dominate the oceans of 60 million years ago?
How do you successfully fight disinformation and lies? Two years ago, we filmed in Lithuania how so-called “Elves” fight against Russian trolls. With the war in Ukraine, the fight against disinformation becomes even more fierce.
In the current war between Russia and Ukraine, accurate information is vital. But the Russians seem to be masters at strategically deploying disinformation. Constantly, Russian trolls are producing whole and half falsehoods, and fake news that appears on social media and news sites. Their goal: to sow confusion, play off populations and put alliances under strain.
In the Baltic States, they are used to this information war. They have been bombarded with disinformation from Russia for years. Lithuania is at the forefront of the fight against disinformation: their army has a control room that monitors the media 24 hours a day for fake news. In addition, the country is rich in a volunteer army of troll fighters: the online Elves, who cooperate with the fake news hunters of DebunkEU.org.