Wednesday, November 07, 2012


Guys, I never realize how many documentaries I really watch until I do these blogs.

Here are a few educational gems to indulge in, if you've got an hour or so to spare, or want something running in the background while you fold laundry. Happy viewing!

Atlantis: The Evidence
I've watched a lot of documentaries about Atlantis, but this one was the most comprehensive. It took all the historical theories about Atlantis and covered each of them. It's based on the idea that Plato wrote about Atlantis as a cautionary tale against wealth, creating this world from snippets of surrounding cultures. Fun documentary, and a great introduction into the legend.

The Beauty of Maps
There are several parts to this documentary, but I've only watched the first bit about Medieval maps. (I'm not sure if the other bits are available of these days, I'll find 'em and watch 'em.) This first documentary focuses on the Hereford Mappa Mundi, which is one of the oldest complete maps in the world. I hadn't thought about this before, but this documentary caused me to realize that maps don't just give us a location...they give us a world-view. That line "here be dragons" was actually used on a real map. Maps also had a role in "othering" peoples...they could be portrayed as lower class in a map.

Cracking the Maya Code
Okay, first of all, this documentary features this screenshot:

 so, that's fun. Also, linguistics is fascinating. So are the Mayans.

Do We Really Need the Moon? 
Okay, EVERYTHING about our entire existence is tied to the moon. Not just the tides. Heck, if it wasn't for the moon, life on earth might not even exist. You might find yourself looking up every time you go outside at night for a while after watching this. Or wishing you had a telescope. Or both.

Greeks: Crucible of Civilization 
Favorite parts about this? Story of the marathon, and learning more about Socrates. Greece really was the crucible of civilization. Can you imagine how incredible it is that democracy was born? No one had EVER done that in the world the Greeks knew about at the time! Seriously...without a handful of black and white stones on some steps in Athens, the U.S. as we know it probably wouldn't exist. Man, the Greeks were awesome. (Okay, so they didn't treat their women very well, know.) 

Revelation of the Pyramids
You guys. Aliens totally built the pyramids. This documentary PROVES it.
Okay, so it's a little heavy-handed on the conspiracy angle. Interviews are interspersed with these intense image/music sequences. But the math behind this whole pyramid thing is pretty crazy awesome. And I like the parallels with other cultures that it draws.

The Science of Dogs
Okay, besides being fascinating, this documentary also features, for about two minutes, the expertise of a guy named Dr. Morten Kringelbach, which should be reason enough to watch. If that isn't enough for you, you can be drawn in by the interesting history of domestication and how/why dogs seem to communicate so well with human beings.

The Secret Life of a Manic Depressive
This is a slightly heavier documentary than those I usually recommend, but it is EXCELLENT. Stephen Fry, that gem of a British entertainer, has suffered from manic depression for most of his life, but has chosen not to be medicated. In this 2-hour documentary, he shares his story and interviews handfuls of others about their experiences with this often misunderstood condition. There are a lot of brave people who deal with the challenges of manic depression, and they are each even more courageous for sharing their stories. I feel that I learned a great deal both about the medicine and the humanity of manic depression.

We the Tiny House People
Have you heard of the Tiny House movement? People moving away from space-wasting/spacious living and finding joy in 400 square feet? There's also a blog about the phenomenon, and I am totally enchanted by it. Jacob and I's current apartment is only about 700 square feet...probably a little less. But I was totally inspired by the simplicity with which the "Tiny House People" live. One aspect of tiny house living that I especially love is its eco-friendly nature. Less space = less stuff, fewer emissions, less electricity, and more alternative energy. Even if you're not inspired to give up all your worldly goods and move into a shed, you may be inspired to go through your home, get rid of a few things and make some changes to smaller living. (Oh, and there's a charming hippie lady who lives on a delightfully colorful houseboat, and there is a part of me that wants her life. And her houseboat.)


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dixiebelle said...

I truly enjoyed reading your post this morning. I love documentaries too but gave up television since I do not have time in my hectic crazy life to watch it. I'd rather read anyway =)

Recently downsized from 3,000 sq ft to 1,600 sq ft. I have nine people including me sleeping in my house. I take in strays. We all seem to work out well together living communally. Didn't plan on that but the universe just gave me these various folks who need refuge so I'm enjoying them while they're here.

Less is more when it comes to living!

A said...

I've seen the Stephen Fry Manic depression one--so interesting, and it's Stephen Fry, so how could it not be good? And I hadn't heard of the tiny house movement persay, but I've seen small houses like that on talk shows and on blogs. There is something very appealing about it, but I think it could be difficult too.

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