Tag Archives: community engagement

Beyond the Black Disk

On August 21st, 2017, the United States will be treated to an event that hasn’t been seen in 99 years: a coast to coast total solar eclipse.  By that night, photographs of the blackened sun and its extraordinary corona will fill the Internet, but for those looking for something a little different, there are more eclipse day wonders to look out for ‘beyond the black disk.’

Enter our exclusive, original 4-part series, Eclipse Across America In anticipation of the once-in-a-lifetime event, our film crew teamed up with leading eclipse chasers, astronomers, and NASA scientists to travel and explore the path of the August eclipse.  What they returned with is a preview of the different eclipse phenomena that
will be on display that day and an inside look at how scientists are using this event to help us understand not only our home star, but the countless others in our Universe.

Inside an approximately 70-mile wide track stretching from Oregon to South Carolina (known as the path of totality), millions of lucky people will have a chance to witness the fully-eclipsed sun and its corona glowing around its edge.  This view of the sun’s outer atmosphere is truly one of a kind in our Solar System, making this August’s eclipse a “can’t miss” event for citizen scientists and astronomers alike.  But in the seconds leading up to the corona coming out, there will be plenty more to see… if you know where to look.

The experience of a total solar eclipse is really the experience of being in the shadow of the moon.  As serene as those moments of totality may appear, this shadow is actually traveling more than 1000 mph!  That motion may be difficult to sense from ground-level, but from a high point within the path of totality–a mountaintop, a butte, or even a hill with a clear, wide view of its surroundings–you will have a chance to look down and witness that shadow racing across the surface…weather permitting, of course!

As that shadow speeds toward you on the ground, the so-called ‘diamond ring’ phenomenon will be revealed up in the sky.  The moon’s cratered surface yields a bumpy, uneven silhouette so when it passes in front of the sun on August 21st there will be a moment when one final beam of light finds its way through one of these imperfections on the moon’s edge.  From Earth, this beam will glow like a sparkling gem on
the edge of a dimly lit ring.  But even this tiny fraction of the sun’s light will be far too bright to observe with bare eyes.  Make sure you’re still wearing your eclipse glasses for this one.

While the diamond ring will only be visible from inside the path of totality, Baily’s beads will be best experienced just along the edge of that path.  One example–at the Gateway Arch, in St. Louis, Missouri, the alignment between the observer, the moon, and the sun will be ever so slightly shifted off center.  Looking up from the base of the Arch, the moon will cover more than 99.95% of the sun’s surface, and similar to the diamond ring effect, trickles of light will find their way through the moon’s canyons and imperfections.  But instead of a single gem of light, the result here will be the appearance of a luminous, beaded edge that you will be able to see through your eclipse glasses far longer than anyone stationed near the center of the path of totality.

And then, for those in the path of totality, comes the corona.  It will be stunning, guaranteed.  Even seasoned eclipse chasers don’t always have the words to describe the power of the experience. Will you?

 

Watch the Eclipse Across America series trailer here:

 

All four episodes of Eclipse Across America are available now in Ultra HD 4K, only on CuriosityStream.

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Love is a curious thing

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.

Learn about the scientific interpretation of the evolutionary roots of our affectionate bonds with our kids in this heartwarming documentary, Leaps in Evolution: Creation of Motherly Love.

 

Additional Featured Content

Curious Minds: Sexual Selection – Explore why males and females behave the way they do across the animal kingdom when they select their mates.

 

JFK: Fact & Fable – The world is captivated by the love story of Jack and Jackie Kennedy. Our original film outlines how she cemented his legacy in the name of love.

 

Science Shorts: The Love Hormone – Oxytocin is believed to be responsible for human intimate relationships. But how exactly does it affect the body and mind?

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Programs to Honor Black History Month

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, Ebony follows 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.

 

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Prescription: Nutrition

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.

Watch the trailer below and tune in bi-weekly for new episodes of Prescription: Nutritiononly on CuriosityStream.

 

To your health and unbridled curiosity…

Elizabeth Hendricks North

President & CEO, CuriosityStream

Elizabeth Hendricks North is President and CEO of CuriosityStream. Follow her on Twitter @ehendricksnorth.

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All I want for Christmas is…to stay curious!

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!

Happy Holidays from all of us at CuriosityStream!

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A Look Back at American Politics

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.

 

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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.

 

cop_jfkfactandfable

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.

 

crl2016_kearnsgoodwin

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.

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In the Classroom with CuriosityStream

As back to school season gets underway, we were curious about how teachers are engaging with our content. We had to look no further than our members to learn that many students just might get a taste of CuriosityStream in their classrooms this year. Today, we hear from Todd Johnson, a Teacher and Media Specialist from Winnipeg, Canada about how CuriosityStream might make an impact in his school this year. And we like what we’re hearing!

Being a teacher, I am always looking for up to date/engaging media material to share with my students. I teach Social Studies and Science in the middle years (grades 6-9).

Upon first discovering CuriosityStream, I must admit that I wasn’t really thinking of it as a tool for a classroom. I was just more excited to explore and discover on my own, and then to share that knowledge during our science and history discussions. I tweeted out a few links to videos and it was mentioned to me on Twitter that maybe CuriosityStream might be valuable in the classroom, so I started thinking about what that might look like.

todd johnson 2

Now, from my teacher lens, I have a whole new perspective. Many of the subjects that we explore in class are covered on CuriosityStream with relevant, HD, high quality programming. Typical videos in a science catalog are expensive and can become outdated quickly. Videos on YouTube have ads, not to mention may not be credible and/or appropriate. CuriosityStream provides an ever-growing catalog of high quality videos – many that align to science and social studies – covering topics that our 15-year old textbooks have yet to discover.

“CuriosityStream provides an ever-growing catalog of high quality videos – many that align to science and social studies – covering topics that our 15-year old textbooks have yet to discover.”

One of the great parts of CuriosityStream is that there are lots of shorter videos. I think the days of rolling in a TV and having all students watch a video for the entire class are gone. First of all, most students use this as a time to check out, asking questions like: “Do we have to take notes?” Really what they mean is: “Can I take a nap?” Instead of the old way, students can sit down with their own device in a corner of the classroom and watch a video that is relevant to their studies. Or we can project a quick video using my device or laptop and projector. I see these videos as inquiry starters. Instilling a literal “curiosity stream” in our students is what we are trying to do as educators any way, and from what I’ve seen, the quality content available in CuriosityStream could become a significant part of a classroom environment.

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More and more these days, as a teacher, I find myself searching for ways to get students more involved in their own learning. To get students active, I often have my class set up in centers and students will rotate through to investigate topics that interest them. This is where I see CuriosityStream fitting into a classroom environment. It could be a resource in a center where students watch a pre-selected video, or search through the library to find a video related to their topic of research. Perhaps instead of having a worksheet of questions, a potential idea would be to have students generate five questions from one of the videos and then carry out research afterwards to answer some of them. Or they could create a quick presentation using an app on their own device, summarizing their learning from what they explored. CuriosityStream allows students the opportunity to browse an engaging library of short clips that are relevant to their subject area. I often use apps such as Socrative, Kahoot or ISpring Quizmaker, I could see it being a fun activity to show a quick clip followed by questions using one of these educational apps. Admittedly, I’m really just brainstorming ideas, but I’m excited to try this year and see where it leads us. I look forward to integrating CuriosityStream content this year and I’m positive that new ideas for how to leverage this service will generate from my students and fellow educators.

In just a few minutes of searching, here are a few CuriosityStream documentaries that line up with our curricular outcomes here in Canada:

Deep Time History

Deep Time History – Grade 8 Social Studies

InsideTheHumanBody_Final

Inside the Human Body – Grade 8 Science

JourneyOfTheUniverse_rev

Journey of the Universe – All Grades/subjects

Dark Matter

Cosmic Front: Dark Matter – Grade 9 Science/Astronomy

RebuildingAncientRome

Rebuilding Ancient Rome – Grade 8 Social Studies

 

This is just beginning to scratch the surface for how CuriosityStream might be used in a classroom. I will make it a goal this new school year to provide some more concrete examples of how CuriosityStream could become an invaluable classroom resource. Join me by starting a free trial if you’re not yet a member and exploring the content.

 

Todd Johnson

Todd Johnson is a Teacher, Media Specialist and proud CuriosityStream member from Winnipeg, Canada. Follow him on Twitter @mrj_rwp.

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How ‘Deep Time History’ Just Got Personal

They say knowledge is power. If that’s the case, then I felt on top of the world after watching CuriosityStream’s new 3-part series Deep Time History. It stuck with me for several days because I couldn’t help feeling a little overwhelmed by our universe’s astonishing 14-billion year history. It got me thinking about how brief the human experience is in comparison. And yet, there are humans who have significantly impacted our existence throughout time. Julius Caesar. Christopher Columbus. Albert Einstein. Mother Teresa. Malala Yousafzai. The list goes on.

As a marketer, reflecting on the human experience made me curious about the history of CuriosityStream’s community of viewers and followers. That curiosity felt like a natural alignment to the very premise of Deep Time History. So, we put the question out there as a way for people to bring their personal history into the larger conversation about the series: “What’s YOUR story?” Centered around the hashtag #MYdeeptimehistory, we asked people to share photos from their past for the world to see. I’ve been inspired, I’ve laughed and I’ve reflected on my own history while scrolling through the responses.

I dug up my old family photos and stumbled upon a few gems that I couldn’t help but share, including the baby picture below of me (in a very coordinated outfit, if I do say so myself) standing between two vintage cars.

Little Michael

I soon expanded to my father’s photo library and the scenery he has captured on camera. You see, my father is a world traveler and a few years ago, he put some of his favorite photos on a disc so that my brothers and I could cherish them forever. I learned that one of the places he has been to is The Perito Moreno Glacier, located in the Los Glaciares National Park in southwest Santa Cruz Province, Argentina. I had no idea. But here is the photographic evidence to prove it.

Perito Morena Glacier

As the #MYdeeptimehistory hashtag started to spread, it wasn’t long before some people within my personal network got in on the game. While I hate to play favorites, it was my friend and colleague John’s post that took my breath away. John is an educator who has trekked across the globe and fortunately, he always brings his camera along with him.

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In summary, the three engaging hours I spent watching Deep Time History turned into something much bigger. I loved the series and by learning about the history of our universe, I was inspired to reflect on the history of my own family and friends, which has taught me new things about some of the people I am closest to. And I hope you will do the same. Check out the series for yourself and share your photos with our curious community by tagging them on Twitter and Instagram using #MYdeeptimehistory.

We all have some amazing stories to tell. What’s yours?

Michael Hammerstrom

Michael Hammerstrom is CuriosityStream’s Manager of Marketing and Engagement. Follow him on Twitter @mhammerstrom.

Deep Time History is available now in ultra HD 4K, HD and standard definition on CuriosityStream.  The exclusive, original 3-part documentary series offers captivating insight into the links between astronomy, deep time geologic events and human civilization.

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