Remember the first time you figured out that one math problem that had been impossible up until now? Remember that college recommendation that your high school teacher wrote for you that almost brought a tear to your eye? Well, now is your chance to say “thank you” to teachers everywhere.
The first full week in May is celebrated as Teacher Appreciation week in the United States and we are thrilled to join in the praise for our nation’s educators. Nobody instills curiosity in a young learner’s mind like a good teacher does. We are partial to many teachers, like decorated “Mathemagician” Arthur Benjamin – the math teacher everyone wishes they had. Watch Benjamin in action below and fall in love with math all over again.
So, take a little time to #ThankATeacher this week. Whether it’s your child’s teacher, your own childhood teacher, or your family member who works in education, let teachers know how appreciated they are. Stay curious with some of our top content about education here:
We are just one week away from the premiere of one of our most exciting original documentaries to date, Miniverse. The film features the always wonderful CuriosityStream advisory board member Michio Kaku, as well as astronomers Derrick Pitts and Laura Danly, and is hosted by former astronaut Chris Hadfield. All of you space fans out there may remember Commander Hadfield as a YouTube sensation for his performance of David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” aboard the International Space Station. Well, it turns out he’s just as fun and creative to work with as you might imagine. We sat down with Doug Cohen, executive producer of Flight 33, to live vicariously through him about working with one of the world’s greatest astronauts.
Q: What was Chris Hadfield (CH) like to work with?
A: Chris is a former fighter pilot and an astronaut, so the things that felt like challenges to the rest of us were no sweat to him. To quote one member of our crew, “Chris Hadfield is the best human being I’ve ever met.” It’s not just that he’s charming, curious and tireless; it’s also that he sings, plays guitar, tells great stories and, of course, he’s been to space!
Q: What was the funniest thing that happened while shooting Miniverse?
A: Chris had spent the whole day driving at about 40 miles per hour through the Mojave Desert while chatting with astronomer Laura Danly. We kept his speed down to reduce the amount of road noise during the conversation. As the sun set, we prepped to shoot beauty shots of the car driving down the lonely desert highway. I radioed to Chris that he should drive past the camera, and since we weren’t rolling sound he was now free to go as fast as he wanted. When I called “action”, he put the pedal to the metal and whipped past us at 122 miles per hour with poor Laura Danly holding on for dear life! That’s the last time I tell a former fighter pilot to drive as fast as he wants!
Q: Describe the dynamic between CH and Michio Kaku.
A: They were excited to meet each other! It was fun to watch the contrast between astrophysicist and astronaut. Michio made it clear that despite his fascination with space, he had no interest in doing something risky like traveling to Mars. Chris, on the other hand, said that the danger is precisely what makes him want to do it.
Q: Between CH and Derrick Pitts?
A: Derrick would have liked to be an astronaut himself, so he was thrilled to be Chris’ guide for the outer planets. The two of them bonded over some packets of freeze-dried “astronaut ice cream.”
Q: Between CH and Laura Danly?
A: When we asked Laura if she wanted to participate in the program, she said “you had me at Chris Hadfield”. They had a lot of time to talk as we drove from the mountains to the desert, and it was amazing how many things they saw reminded them of Star Trek episodes.
Q: What’s the hardest part of shooting so much inside of a car?
A: We had five cameras rolling inside the car at all times, plus cameras affixed to the exterior and to a chase car. That’s a lot of cameras that need a lot of tending. You are constantly stopping to troubleshoot misbehaving gear. We studied how James Corden does it for Carpool Karaoke and how Seinfeld’s team does it for Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, and took the best ideas from both. The difference with our show is that we were really traveling from place to place, so we couldn’t just stake out a route on a local road and keep circling. The entire country was our “set”.
Q: Why did the cops keep pulling CH over?
A: We had no problems in most of the country, but in New York and Washington, D.C. the police were extremely “curious” about this car with cameras all over the windows. Sometimes, we would neglect to remove our prop license plate that said “ROCKET”. That also drew the attention of the police on a couple occasions. One officer removed the license plate and cut in half! Luckily, we had made an extra one. In general, when we would tell the cops that we were making a science documentary with an astronaut and a bunch of astrophysicists, they let us go with nothing more than a confused look.
Q: Are there any funny stories from shooting in NYC near the Freedom Tower?
A: We shot at the Brooklyn Bridge across the river from Freedom Tower just before sunset, and as we were shooting, people were lining up to meet Chris and Michio. This actually happened almost everywhere–hotel lobbies, the steps of the Washington Monument–people from all over the world would show up and ask for an autograph or a selfie.
Miniverse premieres the week of April 17, only on CuriosityStream, and will be available in standard, HD and Ultra HD 4K resolution.
Two years ago today, we launched CuriosityStream under the leadership of my father, John Hendricks (Discovery Channel Founder & Former Chairman). Since its debut on March 18, 2015, CuriosityStream has evolved into the premiere destination for quality, factual programming in 196 countries worldwide. I am delighted to share these anniversary accomplishments with you, our fellow curious minds.
In the SVOD universe, content is king and CuriosityStream has some of the best science, nature, history and technology programs available anytime and anywhere. Our subscribers have gravitated toward the more in-depth programming, in contrast to the trends we see in linear television. While nonfiction documentaries about space and physics topics are hard to come by on broadcast and cable television, CuriosityStream subscribers have ready access to top performing CuriosityStream Originals like Deep Time History, Digits, Prescription: Nutrition, Stephen Hawking’s Favorite Places and many more. In the years to come, we will continue to invest in quality, original productions that will ensure CuriosityStream remains the world’s top streaming destination for on-demand documentaries.
Over the past year, our library has grown to over 1,700 titles and our focus on original content has taken some incredible strides.
Exclusive CuriosityStream Originals debuting on the service in 2017 include the science series Ancient Earth, available now, about extinction events in Earth’s history, as well as the space exploration special, Miniverse, coming in April, where viewers will tour a version of the Solar System scaled down to the size of the continental U.S., hosted by astronaut Chris Hadfield and featuring guest Michio Kaku. Later in the year, look forward to new episodes from our hit special Stephen Hawking’s Favorite Places, which debuted in September 2016, and the groundbreaking search for life on exoplanets in Living Universe. These are just a few of the titles our busy team currently has in production.
We have also made significant advancements in CuriosityStream’s platform design and function, based largely on what we’ve heard from you, our very valued subscribers.
Our interface design has been completely overhauled and replaced with a sleek back-end and front-end system that makes it easier for you to find the content you love.
Our new rating system and recommendation engine provide a smooth process for sourcing the best documentaries, geared specifically for each member.
We have layered our API into a CDN (Content Distribution Network) that serves content much more quickly and efficiently, enabling CuriosityStream to deliver some of the world’s best HD and 4K documentaries cost-effectively, keeping monthly and annual plans affordable to our members.
On the accessibility front, we recently launched CuriosityStream on Xbox One and have imminent app releases set for LG, Sony and Samsung Smart TVs in Spring and Summer of 2017, adding to our existing availability on Roku, Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Android, iOS, mobile and desktop.
With all of the progress and innovation achieved over the past two years, we have never lost our curiosity about the world around us. We know that you share our belief that curiosity is the lifelong driving force that fuels our passion to learn, create, understand and explore. As we move forward together on a journey to better comprehend our Universe, our civilization and ourselves, I want to personally thank you, our “curious at heart” subscribers.
With your support, this new quality revolution in television is now a reality.
This President’s Day, join us in reflecting on past leaders whose legacies are still felt today. What can we learn from how the United States has been governed in the past, and how did personal crisis, love, and politics play a role? The documentaries highlighted here will take you on a presidential journey to the past that feels extremely relevant in today’s modern political landscape.
George Washington was the first President of the United States and one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. He served as Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War and presided over the 1787 convention that drafted the United States Constitution. Widely admired during his time and still today, Washington was unanimously elected by the Electoral College not once, but twice.
With all of these accomplishments, it got us thinking: “How would President Washington’s communication style have differed if social media existed when he was in office?” Politicians in the 21st century are now expected to communicate to the masses through social media – sometimes to the point of scrutiny. Their every word is sent to millions and instantly fact-checked and analyzed across the world. Would the original “father of our country” have been viewed any differently if he communicated in tweets?
Our original, exclusive documentary #GeorgeWashington plays out that exact scenario, as historians analyze George Washington’s voluminous correspondence. Setting out his contacts and letters in the modern framework of a Facebook profile gives Washington’s busy and productive career a new transparency. Watch the film today and tweet about what you think using #GeorgeWashington!
Additional Featured Content
Presidents in Crisis – What can we learn from history about presidents in crisis? Before they led America through national crises, Presidents Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson were all transformed by personal trauma. Historian Doris Kearns Goodwin reveals the all too human men who became legends.
Lessons from the Presidents: Balancing Work, Love and Play – Doris Kearns Goodwin is back again to share her unique understanding of some of our greatest presidents. In this engaging lecture, she provides leadership lessons we all can learn from in our never-ending pursuit to live our fullest and most successful lives.
Lincoln’s Last Night – Through dramatic reenactments, this powerful documentary takes you on Abraham Lincoln’s journey from his early years as a rising politician through his presidency, the Civil War, to his untimely death.
JFK: Fact & Fable – Television made Jack Kennedy the ultimate celebrity during his presidency. However, the JFK we remember is the one his wife, Jackie, created after his death. From Air Force One to the Oval Office to the Rose Garden, Jackie Kennedy designed the symbols of presidential power still used today.
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.
As we settle into the routines of the new year, many of you (like me) might be striving to improve upon everyday habits, including diet and exercise. Inspiration and motivation — difficult to find in dreary winter weather — are there for you on CuriosityStream starting today, with our new January feature, Prescription: Nutrition. In this original and exclusive CuriosityStream series, Dr. Michael Greger (bestselling author and world-renowned public health expert) shares the latest scientific research behind the prevention of most chronic diseases, based on his and his team’s ongoing review of thousands of medical studies each year. His wealth of knowledge is distilled into practical advice on his non-profit website NutritionFacts.org, as well as in this captivating CuriosityStream original series.
The impetus behind this exclusive program came from my personal struggle at the beginning of last year to contend with some unnerving health scares. After attending a book reading for The Humane Economy written by our CuriosityStream Advisory Board member and my friend, Wayne Pacelle, I gave the vegan diet a try. Soon after, the nearly immediate benefits of my new fruit and vegetable diet unleashed my curiosity. I realized astounding improvements in my health (and surprisingly, my fitness) from eating so many fresh fruits and vegetables. Not only did I start consuming mass quantities of plant-based foods, but I also began consuming books, from The China Study to Dr. Greger’s How Not to Die. The authors had differing perspectives on diet, but all experts agreed that adding more fresh fruits and vegetables is the first step to improving your nutrition and your overall health.
When we polled our subscribers for their thoughts on potential CuriosityStream series, I was pleasantly surprised to see that Prescription: Nutrition had support from our member base. I wasn’t the only one fascinated by the power of plants. So I must thank our subscribers for their enthusiasm in bringing this series to fruition.
Broccoli Floating on a Shiitake Dashi – get the recipe and learn more about the series by clicking on the image!
While we might be searching to understand the complex physics underlying our Universe with dark matter, we have dark matter (or unknowns) in the form of the nutritional make-up of our food as well. Scientists have only identified (at most) 10% of the vitamins, phytonutrients and micronutrients bio-available in our food. When we opt for orange juice instead of a whole orange, we may think we are getting nutritional excellence with Vitamin C, but that Vitamin C may have been much more bio-available if it came with the glucose-slowing properties of pulp fiber and the other 90% unknown nutrients readily available in the unprocessed orange. There are many questions to be asked and more to be answered in Prescription: Nutrition.
Part and parcel with a new year arrives both reflection on the past and excitement (hopefully) toward the future. Here at CuriosityStream, we are very much looking forward to 2017 and to helping you become more curious about the many wonders in science, technology, history and nature. Our team has been hard at work over the holidays putting together a release schedule of original and exclusive titles debuting on CuriosityStream over the next few months. Take a look at some highlights below and stay tuned for their official premiere dates.
New year, new you! Hosted by Dr. Michael Greger, MD, author of the New York Times best-seller How Not to Die and editor of the world renowned website NutritionFacts.org, explore the dramatic health benefits of plant-based diets and the amazing revolution in how we approach our relationship with food. New episodes will be released bi-weekly beginning in early January.
Travel back in time to visit the three most powerful extinction events in Earth’s history. This original series explores the major events that wiped out between 70-90% of Earth’s species developed during the Permian, Triassic and Cretaceous periods.
Join former astronaut Chris Hadfield – a YouTube sensation for his performance of David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” aboard the International Space Station – along with hitchhikers Michio Kaku and more on a joyride across our Solar System, scaled down to the size of the continental United States.
You will be captivated by this epic story of our origins told through the story of one extended family. This group of men, women, and children are your guide to over 15 million years of human history, including the trials, drama and joys of being human across the ages.
Can a team of scientists reveal unknown chambers in the Great Pyramid using special muon detector plates beneath the pyramid? In this expedition, experts use high-tech drones, thermal cameras, laser scanning to create a 3D map of inside and out of the famous Giza plateau tombs.
Elizabeth Hendricks North
President & CEO, 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!