Michael Hammerstrom is the Manager of Marketing and Engagement at CuriosityStream, the world's premiere nonfiction streaming service. He previously led national community engagement efforts for PBS, focusing on K-12 education, as well as for the national nonprofit KaBOOM!, mobilizing high need communities to build playgrounds through competitive grants and grassroots fundraising. He holds a BFA in Theatre and Liberal Arts from The Boston Conservatory and started his career performing and teaching children's theatre.
In honor of Valentine’s Day, we are featuring a wide variety of content that looks at intimate relationships, both human and animal, from scientific and historical perspectives. Sit back and share these touching programs with someone special tonight!
Leaps in Evolution: Creation of Motherly Love
Episode two of our three-part series Leaps in Evolution examines the unique bond between mother and child, across all species, and how it has evolved.
Most human mothers raise fetuses inside their wombs and breast feed their babies for a long time after birth. Have you ever stopped to wonder what made humans evolve so that we raise our children so affectionately? The latest research reveals an unexpected origin of mothers’ affection toward their children. Scientists believe that our ancestors experienced unforeseen dramatic changes in DNA under threats of extinction. These DNA changes caused humans to be devoted to raising children.
This Black History Month, we are shining a spotlight on content that explores history, culture and storytelling across the globe, from Africa to the United States. Our marquis featured program is Ebony: The Last Years of the Atlantic Slave Trade, arguably one of the most beautifully filmed and directed films ever made about the transatlantic African slave trade. One of the top production companies in France, Les Films D’ici, along with Senegalese director Moussa Touré shot much of this tragic story in Africa, giving it shocking authenticity.
Ebony: The Last Years of the Atlantic Slave Trade
Slavery is the shared dark side of the history of many nations around the globe. But apart from the accounts of our schoolbooks and a few memorable dates, what do most people really know about the struggle to put an end to the Atlantic Slave Trade?
During the second half of the 19th century, slavery and the trade linked to it were theoretically forbidden. The concept of abolitionism was spread out all around the colonies of various empires. However, the slave trade continued and brought even more injustice and violence, in a world that was at the dawn of a major change.
Through realistic dramatic recreations, and authentic drawings and documents of the time, Ebonyfollows the tragic lives of Africans who were sold into slavery in Guinea and transported across the ocean to work under brutal slave owners in the French West Indies in the early 1800’s. Watch the powerful story here.
Additional Featured Content
Ray Charles: If You Can Sing – Iconic musician Ray Charles shows how “easy” it is to sing from the heart, explaining how he beautifully executes his craft.
Butterfly Effect: Martin Luther King, Jr. – What would the Civil Rights movement have been like if Martin Luther King, Jr. had not been motivating change?
Lessons Learned: Time In Africa – Henry Crumpton, a former CIA covert operative, tells a story from his post in Africa that changed his way of thinking.
February 2nd will mark one of NASA’s Juno space probe’s closest flybys to Jupiter. We are celebrating by sharing what we’ve learned along the way since Juno first set out to Jupiter with a newly released episode in our original series Destination: Jupiter! Then, travel to China during the peak of this year’s Chinese New Year celebrations with our newly curated content collection, China. It’s a busy week for curious minds and we’ve got you covered with content spanning the globe and the Universe.
Seven months since the Juno spacecraft arrived at Jupiter on July 4th, 2016, the mission has started to lift the veil on the largest and most mysterious planet in our solar system. Since its initial approach, the craft has been on a 53-day orbit around the gas giant. Thus far, there have been three close flybys in August, October, and December of 2016. During that time, Juno has flown a mere 2600 miles above the Jovian clouds, employing eight cutting-edge space exploration instruments to collect images and peer below the thick atmosphere of the planet, hoping to reveal its inner most secrets.
As the next flyby approaches on February 2nd, the Juno team will be tasked with making an unexpected and critical trajectory decision, impacting the future of the carefully-planned mission. Review what has been uncovered so far in Mission Update, the second episode in our exclusive, original Destination: Jupiter series, and learn how you can become an active participant in the Juno Mission to Jupiter!
Chinese New Year
The most anticipated global event in China’s calendar is in full swing, when people take to the streets to ring in another year. Unlike the festivities of many countries, which always take place at midnight between December 31 and January 1, Chinese New Year is a moveable festivity. This year, the celebration began on January 27 (New Year’s Eve) and continue for around two weeks (ending on February 2) and the year will last until February 15, 2018. This year is the “Year of the Rooster” – those born in 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993 and 2005 are known as Roosters.
To honor the occasion, we have created a new content collection, full of our most fascinating and informative documentaries about China. The collection contains 11 programs and spans over 12 hours, guaranteeing that you can become an expert on all things China by the time this year’s New Year celebrations come to a close.
Find the collection in its entirety here. Happy New Year!
If you have been following NASA’s Curiosity Mars Rover, then you know it has had quite an eventful couple of months! It has recently discovered an odd-shaped iron meteorite that some likened to “an alien egg,” viewed spectacularly layered rock formations and, just last week, slabs of rock cross-hatched with shallow ridges were discovered that likely originated as cracks in drying mud. This makes it a perfect time to explore our new collection, Mars: The Red Planet.
Mars is the fourth planet from the Sun and the second-smallest planet in the Solar System after Mercury. Named after the Roman God of War, it is often referred to as the “Red Planet” because the iron oxide prevalent on its surface gives it a reddish appearance. 50 years of space exploration have brought us closer to understanding Mars, but is it as hospitable as many experts think?
This newly curated collection is made up of eight programs, totaling just over six hours of content all about Mars. Perfect for all age ranges, the content covers everything from whether or not there is water on Mars to the likelihood of life on Mars to what it would take for humans to colonize Mars.
So, why not make it a night of star gazing and dreaming of far away galaxies? Grab some popcorn and get ready to binge on facts and speculations about the Red Planet. Find the full collection here, only on CuriosityStream.
As we look back on 2016, we want to take this opportunity to thank you for being a part of our curious community. This past year has been monumental for science and technology and CuriosityStream been there every step of the way with documentaries that explore key moments in science, history, space, technology, nature and the human spirit.
Journey down memory lane by binge-watching our top 10 curious moments of the year. Who knows what 2017 will have in store?
I think it’s safe to say that 2016 was a change-making year, to say the least. I, for one, learned a lot and am anxious to see what 2017 has in store. In a year filled with controversy, new beginnings, tragedy, joy, milestones and re-writing history, one thing binds it all together: curiosity. As the son of an engineer and a costume designer and uncle to three growing boys – all of whom embody curiosity and creativity – I can’t wait to spread some holiday cheer this year in the form of CuriosityStream gift cards. This year, we have introduced digital gift cards available here, as well as hard copies available on Amazon.com. The best part is that annual subscriptions add up to a 16% savings over the course of the year as opposed to monthly plans – something to keep in mind for all of you existing monthly subscribers who might be interested in upgrading in the new year!
I hope you will join me this holiday season by giving the gift of curiosity. After all, no one should be curious alone.
Here I am staying curious with my nephew on a fall day after watching a ton of documentaries!
Pearl Harbor: Into the Arizonais available now in ultra HD 4k, HD and standard definition on CuriosityStream. In this powerful documentary, an expedition team explores the inside of the USS Arizona 75 years after it was destroyed at Pearl Harbor, exposing never-before-seen artifacts and stories of survival.
Resting on the murky ocean floor of Pearl Harbor is the USS Arizona, one of the most sacred war graves known in the world. When the seasoned battleship was destroyed by a surprise Japanese attack 75 years ago in Pearl Harbor, over 1,000 men aboard the ship lost their lives in the blink of an eye.
America was forever changed by the events of this day, a day that has lived in infamy throughout time. The attack on Pearl Harbor was the single incident that pulled America into World War II, changing the course of history. Today, the remains of the USS Arizona serve as a memorial to the American people, and is a stark reminder about the consequences of war. Each year, thousands upon thousand of tourists visit the USS Arizona to see a glimpse of our nation’s past. But to the survivors of the attack, the USS Arizona represents something much deeper. It’s a symbol for all those who paid the ultimate price for their country, an event which should never be forgotten.
Donald Stratton, USS Arizona Survivor
Survivor Donald Stratton was one of the few men stationed on the Arizona to survive the attack. For the past 75 years, he’s been waiting for the opportunity to see inside the ship he was once stationed on. Its current state remains a mystery to him, and to the world. There isn’t a day that goes by where Don doesn’t think about what happened on December 7, 1941. While the USS Arizona has changed drastically over the years, Don relives key moments of his life as he explores inside the sunken wreckage, a sight he never thought he would see again. Don gets one last chance to see items from his past: a desk stationed in the admiral’s quarters; a well-preserved suit hanging in a closet of a sailor’s room; and even glimpses of the ship’s teak deck, which Don walked on during the attack. The discoveries made during the expedition are moments that makes Don’s journey complete.
“Some of the personnel did survive, and I was one of them. I think about it every day…how many people didn’t make it that day.”
– Donald Stratton, USS Arizona Survivor
The expedition isn’t just for survivors of the attack. It’s for the families who lost loved ones as well. A woman who’s uncle died aboard the ship gets a chance to see the final resting place of her beloved family member…a moment of recognition that her family won’t soon forget.
Watch the trailer below and watch the full documentary here.
JFK: Fact and Fable is an exclusive original CuriosityStream documentary that explains how television made John Fitzgerald “Jack” Kennedy the ultimate celebrity during his presidency, yet the JFK we remember is actually the one his wife, Jackie, created after his death.
You’ve heard the phrase: “Behind every successful man, there is a woman.” In no case is this more true than in the story of John F. Kennedy’s presidency and legacy, the topic of our exclusive original documentary, JFK: Fact and Fable.
If you think you know what to expect, guess again. The JFK we remember is the one that Jackie Kennedy created. While she was always pictured by her husband’s side, few people know how much of an impact she made on her own. From the Oval Office to the Rose Garden to Air Force One, Jackie’s stamp was on everything, and still remains today. Have you ever noticed how the presidential seal appears whenever the president speaks? That’s thanks to Jackie. How did welcoming ceremonies for foreign leaders go from simple airport greetings to elaborate hosted events at the White House? Jackie again. And just hours after JFK’s death, still in a blood-splattered dress and carrying the grief of a world in shock, Jackie directed that his funeral reproduce the rites of Abraham Lincoln’s funeral a century earlier. That decision would forever link JFK to Lincoln.
“He so wanted to be a great president – I think he still can be.” – Jackie Kennedy
Jack and Jackie were both obsessed by the judgements of history. Two weeks after Jack’s death, Jackie famously stated, “He so wanted to be a great president – I think he still can be.” She devoted the rest of her life to making him just that. Today, JFK still remains the most popular U.S. president among those who have no living memory of him.
Conscious Capitalism is an exclusive, original CuriosityStream documentary that explores a new twist on the system that fuels wealth and industry in America and for many countries around the globe. Thought leaders, along with the leaders of two corporations — Whole Foods Market and Waste Management — provide an insider’s look at the new face of capitalism.
It used to be that business was about profit, no matter the cost to employees, community and environment. In our newest documentary, producer Dan Birman asks viewers to imagine a world where a different model operates.
Birman is shining the spotlight on conscious capitalism, the idea that companies can do things differently. “If a company starts with a purpose, then all other things start to fall in place,” Birman said. Businesses that subscribe to this idea would choose to reduce the disparity in wages between their managements and employees, be more environment-friendly, and charge fairer prices. Thus, they build sustainability by gaining the trust of consumers and the community. Birman admits, “It sounds utopian in some respects, but it’s a great model to at least discuss.”
“If a company starts with a purpose, then all other things start to fall in place.”
Let’s put this into context. Have you ever paid a visit to your local Whole Foods and noticed that the employees seem happy and knowledgeable about their product? That could be attributed to the fact that Whole Foods has revolutionized employee relations by focusing on team member engagement, empowerment, job satisfaction and fair wages, driving down its turnover rate to just 14%, compared to the 47% grocery industry average, according to John Mackey, CEO and co-founder of Whole Foods Market, who is considered by many to be one of the fathers of the conscious capitalism movement. Plus, get a behind-the-scenes look at how Waste Management, North America’s leading provider of comprehensive waste management and residential recycling services, is protecting the environment while also generating $13 billion in revenues from lines of business that include recycling, landfill renewable natural gas projects, landfill gas-to-energy projects and carbon sequestration in landfills.
The film not only highlights these success stories, but also gives viewers insight into the four pillars of conscious capitalism and why this new way of doing business works in the modern economy. I think you’ll find it particularly timely, given the upcoming transfer of power in the U.S. administration and the big question of what is going to happen with the economy.
Watch the trailer below and watch the full documentary here. Stay curious, everyone.
It’s almost impossible to escape American politics in today’s media. But if you want to take a break from the headlines of 2016, look back at some key moments that have helped to shape America’s political landscape in the featured history content below. Happy streaming!
Harvard University political scientist Danielle Allen explores the bold minds and historical circumstances that resulted in one of the greatest political writings in history, the Declaration of Independence.
Abraham Lincoln was the first president from the Republican party up until his tragic assassination. Revisit Lincoln’s journey, from his early years as a rising politician through his presidency, the Civil War, and ultimately his death.
The JFK we remember today is the one his wife Jackie created. From Air Force One to the Oval Office to the Rose Garden, learn how Jackie Kennedy designed the symbols of presidential power still used today.
Through her unique understanding of some of our greatest presidents, Doris Kearns Goodwin, writer and presidential biographer, provides lessons we all can learn from in our pursuit to live our fullest and most successful lives.
Michael Hammerstrom is CuriosityStream’s Manager of Marketing and Engagement. Follow him on Twitter @mhammerstrom.