This Day In History: Japan Surrenders

September 2nd marks the 70th anniversary of the Japanese Empire officially surrendering in World War II. On that day in 1945, Japanese foreign minister, Manoru Shigemitsu, boarded the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay to formally sign the Japanese Instrument of Surrender, overseen and accepted by General Douglas MacArthur, supreme commander of the Allies.

Before cracking open your old history books or popping in the Pearl Harbor or Saving Private Ryan DVDs, check out these top five documentaries featured on CuriosityStream that will give you an in-depth experience of our world’s most epic conflict of the 20th century. Gain insight from world historians that closely examine the war experience, from Hitler’s rise in power to Hiroshima.


BBC | Two-Part Documentary

A two-part documentary series on the defining moment of the 20th Century – the world’s first atomic attack. This program shows what it is like to live through a nuclear explosion. The action takes viewers into the room where the crucial political decisions are made; on board the Enola Gay on her fateful voyage; inside the bomb as it explodes; and on the streets of Hiroshima when disaster strikes. Special effects recreate the reality of the mission, and archive film replays the horrific aftermath.  Here’s a preview:


Killing Hitler

BBC | Two-Part Documentary

June 1944 — British intelligence suggests that without Hitler, the German war effort would falter. ‘LBX’, a staff officer with the Special Operations Executive, must devise a plan for Hitler’s assassination. How could a British agent get close enough to Hitler to kill him?


BBC | Documentary

The planning for the Allied invasion on June 6th 1944 took two years and cost thousands of lives, and involved a deception of breathtaking audacity. D-Day examines the intricate jigsaw, presenting events through the eyes of the men and women who were there, telling their extraordinary stories.

D-Day: Hidden Traces

Terranoa | Documentary

D-Day – June 6th 1944 : Uncovered by recent archeological digs, traces left behind by soldiers and civilians on the battle ground such as helmets, badges, bullets, weapons, and cans plus findings of underground passages and secret blockhouses provide new insights into WW2 history.  Here is a look:


The Men and Machines That Beat Hitler

BBC | Two-Part Documentary

This is the story of the veterans who fought in the 5th Royal Tank Regiment – a team of ordinary men who faced the frontline in both Europe and beyond. Their involvement in the Second World War spanned the humiliating defeat at Dunkirk, victory in the deserts of North Africa and finally saw resentment and revolt before D-Day. Based on the unpublished diaries and memoirs of the men who were thrust together in extraordinary circumstances to fight Hitler and his forces, this program uses drama and documentary to bring their stories to life.

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CuriosityStream goes back to school!

Yes, that’s the school bell ringing you hear! Summer is winding down and kids are going back to class. You can help them supercharge their learning with 2 new series from CuriosityStream!

Imagine three teenage pranksters who challenge the laws of physics with their superpowers. That’s Quarx, an original series that takes an entirely new spin on science education and physics. Think of it as a science-fueled romp for the YouTube generation. How do you sneak into a party if you’re not on the guest list?  What happens if your pet black hole ends up eating the entire world?  These teens channel all their energy into finding the answers in physics.  That’s something parents can get excited about. But shhh! Don’t tell the kids it’s educational.

Grab your science-curious kids and check out a free preview episode here.

There’s also the wild adventures of Baron Munchhausen, who takes a quirky look at the greatest inventors in history. That’s Mind Blowing Breakthroughs – a series that puts the Baron right in the middle of those flashes of genius that changed the course of humankind…from Leonardo da Vinci to the Wright Brothers. This definitely isn’t how they teach history in high school!

Besides those 2 new series, CuriosityStream offers learners of all ages in depth documentaries on everything from the the planets and dinosaurs to Shakespeare and the science behind dreams.

Pens and pencils? Check. Backpack? Check. Laptop? Check, check. Now, don’t forget to add CuriosityStream to your school supply list. For a limited time at, you can watch the first episode of Quarx, and new subscribers can take advantage of a special discount for three months of CuriosityStream, starting at $5.

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5 Fascinating Moments From The 2015 Curiosity Retreat

  1. David McCullough’s inspiring story of discovery, curiosity, genius, and sense of purpose. The master historian told the story of Orville and Wilbur Wright. But this was more than a timeline of the brothers’ great invention and the birth of aviation. We all covered that back in history class. This was the story of personal drive, commitment, family and an intellectual curiosity that never relented. And when the incomparable David McCullough told the story, it became about more than the Wright Brothers. It was an inspiring message of innovation, teamwork, and personal character that we can all strive for in every aspect of our lives.
  1. Dr. Brian Greene, illuminating what we know and still don’t know about the nature of our own reality. Particles, waves, probability – these are the core elements of quantum mechanics, as explained to us by the renown physicist. Dr. Greene’s animations allowed us all to understand the complex theories as a physicist would. We visualized how these important waves of probability would combine, or coalesce, and how the particles that make up our universe act like these waves. But how do we go from the spread out waves of probability to the definite reality of our experience? That is the puzzle, he says, and in his own words, the mystery is exciting, frightening, thrilling. But Dr. Greene is working on solving it.
  1. A grammar lesson, of sorts, from political theorist Dr. Danielle Allen. In particular, the misplacement of a very important period. You know the beginning of the second sentence from the Declaration of Independence: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” There is it is, our guarantee of these profoundly American rights and ideals. But Dr. Allen argued the sentence doesn’t end there. A misplaced period in the very first ever printing of the document led to a significant misinterpretation. Dr. Allen theorized that our nation’s founders put equal importance on our individual rights as well as our responsibility to create good government that ensures the rights of everyone. The document is 1,337 words, and Dr. Allen challenged us to read every one of them. Our summer reading assignment from the Harvard Professor.
  1. Rick Smolan, boggling our minds with facts such as these: More pictures have been taken in the last 2 months than since the dawn of photography. And our 15th century ancestors experienced the same amount of information in their entire lifetimes as we do now in one single day. The revolution of big data is here. Smolan, a journalist and photographer, focused his lens on the technologies that impact our daily lives, and their impact on our privacy, and our future — from marketing strategies to lure shoppers into big box stores to crisis response in disaster zones. Smolan described the explosion of data as helping our planet grow a nervous system with each of us evolving into human sensors. For better or worse is yet to be decided.
  1. Dr. Art Benjamin, the amazing Mathemagician, calculating the square of 97,437. In his head. Without a calculator. You try it. Enough said!

Our 2015 Curiosity Retreat guests also heard deep dives from several other Luminaries on topics such as The Creative Brain, Conscious Capitalism, and The Wonders of Our Oceans. All of our 2015 Curiosity Retreat lectures are available now on CuriosityStream. What will you find fascinating?

Vanessa Gillon

Coordinating Producer, CuriosityStream


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Celebrating the Pluto Flyby!

A team from CuriosityStream witnessed the historic moment of the Pluto Flyby!

“The Pluto mission is a human endeavor” said Alan Stern, as the crowd at The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory patiently awaited the highly anticipated flyby of New Horizons by Pluto on the morning of July 14th, 2015 just minutes before 8:00am.

The big lit screens gave the count, five minutes away and everybody was standing by; American flags in hand, we saw media, scientists, mission team members and international visitors come together for Pluto’s final reveal and well deserved comeback. Bill Nye, the Science Guy, joined the enthusiastic group to the side of the stage, as the buzz starting growing. Multiple electronic devices on hand, cameramen filming on their mobiles and video equipment simultaneously, and a man three seats down surprised that the picture he sent had just reached the other side of the world “I just sent this to Australia!” he exclaimed looking at his screen. There was even a replica of the New Horizons probe turned into a hat that was passed around among some lucky heads.


Before we could even realize it, the countdown had started. Nervous eyes scanned the room looking for a sense of understanding of what was about to take place. Alan Stern and New Horizons team members encouraged everybody to join in — “Make sure they can hear us all over the world!”. A countdown like no other; actually, one of the best countdowns you could ever witness. Far beyond the hype of New Year’s and watching fireworks in the sky, this was it: a once in a lifetime event, for all the talented individuals from the New Horizons, NASA, and JPL teams, that took nine years of continuous monitoring and a very long waiting period.

And so it went, from 10 down to the last second, the hundreds of people gathered for the early morning event loudly raised their voices as they experienced history in the making. This time, there were no pictures, no live transmission on screen, no man floating down the iconic stairs or a spacecraft roughly landing on a red planet. As invisible and low key as the Pluto flyby was, it was also a collective mind-blowing understanding of how far we have come – the final frontier of our solar system has now been explored. And as a lonely probe continues to fly into the unknown beyond Pluto and onto the Kuiper Belt, we are certain that we can now welcome a new chapter of space exploration and the next set of discoveries — lead, as always, by the curious ones.

Laura Santana

Marketing and Production

Relive the excitement of July 14th, 2015!



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Destination: Pluto

The New Horizons mission launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida on January 19, 2006.  Since then, NASA’s space probe has traveled a million miles a day for nearly 10 years to reach its destination, Pluto!  It will gather its closest images on July 14, 2015 — the 50th Anniversary of the Mariner 4’s flyby of Mars.  However, this mission will collect 5,000 times more data than the Mariner 4!

Five episodes about the New Horizons mission are now available on and include expert interviews with principal investigator, Alan Stern.  Watch Destination: Pluto, and dive deep into the #PlutoFlyby!


Elizabeth Hendricks North

President | CuriosityStream



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And Now A Word From T-Rex!

I am so grateful to all the little people out there for their outpouring of love and adulation. First, all those adds for the new Jurassic World movie, and now the premiere of The Rise & Fall of Yours Truly on!

A big shout out to the folks at CuriosityStream for reminding the world that I am as charming as I am deadly. CuriosityStream has taken the trouble to profile my humble beginnings, my longtime career as a movie star (I still get residuals from King Kong), and my stunning makeover in the 1990s. My feathers are most becoming, I’m told.

It wasn’t easy, my friends, waiting 65 million years to be discovered, but I am having the time of my life! Be sure to watch The Rise and Fall of T-Rex on CuriosityStream.



Here’s a sneak peak of the Rise and Fall of T-Rex!


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Welcome to CuriosityStream!

CuriosityStream is officially more than two months old! I’m delighted to report that more and more people each day find that we are the best place to satisfy their curiosity about our world.

Recently, I’ve been traveling the world talking to filmmakers and producers about CuriosityStream. From MIPDoc in Cannes to INPUT in Tokyo, most everyone I’ve spoken to has shared an interest in our new home for quality informative documentaries and series. We continue to refine CuriosityStream so that subscribers can explore a new and fascinating area or idea each and every day.


It takes a great team to find captivating content and to create the platform to share that media. It also requires a vision for organizing and presenting it to you, the viewer. At CuriosityStream, we’ve known from the start that people don’t find documentaries or factual programs by titles. They find content by searching areas and topics of interest. We’ve built CuriosityStream to do that curation work for you up front, by tagging shows thoughtfully and thoroughly by topic and many multi-sub-topic areas. This work is invisible to our members, but it enables them to easily use the top menu bar to select one of our many sub-topics, from Genetics to Artificial Intelligence to Philosophy. Often programs satisfy multiple areas of interest, so our system delivers unique and compelling recommendations to feed your singular curiosities. Perhaps watching our BBC series Vikings leads to a recommendation to learn more about another of England’s conquerors, William the Conqueror. Or perhaps your curiosity about Pluto leads you to learn about the difference between asteroids and comets. We dive deep into the science with the astronomers from the Lowell Observatory. Did you know it was Lowell Observatory that ultimately named the dwarf planet Pluto, discovered by Percival Lowell in 1930?

With CuriosityStream, we are also experimenting with new types of entertaining yet informative media. Our Curiosity Retreat Lectures (filmed at Gateway Canyons Resort & Spa at our annual Curiosity Retreats) provide expert deep dives into topics as diverse as the future of nanotechnology to understanding the Middle East. And in our Curiosity Studio, we interview world-renowned experts on a dazzling array of topics. These interviews are produced with compelling visuals and form the basis of our Curious Minds series… making topics like quantum computing more accessible. Try it yourself: I bet you will be able to describe a qubit to a friend after watching our Curious Minds: Quantum Computing series with Chris Monroe.

With so much to explore, I can only hope you take time to enjoy your own personal journey of curiosity.


Elizabeth Hendricks North
President | CuriosityStream

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The Wide World of SVOD

Twelve months ago, I didn’t even know what SVOD meant.  My focus as a programmer at three television networks was to find co-productions and commissions that appealed to the broadest audiences. Here at CuriosityStream, I’m learning that it is possible to “program” for viewers of diverse and very specific interests.  I put “program” in parenthesis because I think TV and SVOD are vastly different. CuriosityStream can offer a deep dive, and more importantly, provide an experience similar to the serendipitous nature of surfing the Web… something missing in linear TV.

For instance, on June 5th and 6th, we will stream the DARPA Robotics Challenge live. 25 teams from around the world will be running robots through their paces of standard disaster conditions — cutting holes through walls, flinging away debris, opening doors and shutting off valves. Just like the best television coverage of any live event, we’ll have multiple feeds of the competition and exclusive behind-the-scenes footage. But for the curious mind, we’ll have so much more. Just a click away, you’ll find original profiles of some of the coolest robots these teams have built. And there’s a comprehensive series about robots in development in Europe. Want to learn more about the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant disaster that instigated the DARPA Challenge? Check out a 15-minute video of the wave of destruction along the Japanese coast after the tsunami that caused the meltdown. It is all available here.

By the way, you probably know that SVOD means subscription video on demand.  To me, it’s come to mean that you can binge on quality factual programming, and discover new and surprising connections along the way, on your own time, whenever and wherever you like.

Steve Burns
EVP, Content Production and Acquisition

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Dr. Vint Cerf’s “Grand Experiment”

He is considered one of the true “Fathers of the Internet” – a pioneer in the world of technology. Dr. Vint Cerf was on the original team that helped build the Internet and send the first email message. Dr. Cerf was a critical player in working on what is called packet network interconnection protocols — TCP/IP. Dr. Cerf spoke with me at our pop up studio in Gateway, Colorado, during our first summer of Curiosity Retreats. He focused on those very early days of the Internet:

“And in the earliest stages when Bob Kahn and I were wrestling with this question, “How do we get these different kinds of packet switch nets to communicate with each other and make it operate in such a way that any computer at the edge could talk to any other computer on any other network and wouldn’t have to know exactly how that worked. They didn’t have to know, how were the packets being routed to multiple networks. They didn’t have to worry about, what kind of transmission facility was being used.”

As Dr. Cerf looked back on his team’s amazing creation that has transformed and connected the world as we know it, there is still a sense of awe and wonderment:

“Grand experiment is a beautiful way to describe all this. It’s a grand, global collaboration of people who figured out how to build a piece of internet, found somebody to connect to and let the system grow in a very organic way, and then invent new applications for it—which just gets to the heart one of the features of internet and its philosophy—and that’s openness. It’s the willingness to let people try anything out that they want to.”

But Dr. Cerf is the first to admit, it’s not all good. He told me there is a dark side to the Internet that it has been very hard to control:

“We still have this fundamental, basic problem. Software has bugs, and we don’t know how to write bug-free software. And until we can write bug-free software, we will always have potential vulnerabilities that can be exploited by other people.”

Yet, the birth of the Internet has now revolutionized communication, e-commerce and so many other parts of our world — that all began decades ago with a simple email message between two distant computers in California!

Richard Sergay
Chief Curator

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DARPA Challenge: Behind the Scenes

Here at CuriosityStream, our series and documentaries cover everything from the origins of the universe to the cultural and technical revolutions that created the world we recognize today. But we don’t stop there. Beyond our rich history looms another vast expanse of time: the future. Technology is shaping even the most fundamental aspects of our human experience. Who knows what the world of tomorrow will actually look like? The DARPA Robotics Challenge might give us a sneak peek.

This week, beginning on June 5th, the DARPA Robotics Challenge (DRC) will highlight the most cutting-edge robotics technology being developed around the world. And you can watch it live right here on 25 teams will face off in California, putting their robots to the test against some of the most technically challenging real-life tasks designed by man.

DARPA – the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency – is often called the mad science division of the Pentagon. The idea of the robotics challenge came about after Japan’s Fukushima nuclear meltdown in 2011. DARPA scientists wondered, could robots have done what man couldn’t do in that disaster? Could robots have saved the day? When I talked to Gill Pratt, Program Manager for the Robotics Challenge, about Fukushima, he told me: “…That first day, if human beings or anyone had been able to open the ventilation valves…[the] three big explosions would not have occurred.” Could a machine be designed to go where sending humans would be too dangerous, if not impossible? And the Robotics Challenge was born.

I’ve been lucky enough to follow two competing teams on the road to the Robotics Challenge — Tartan Rescue and Team ViGIR. And let’s get one thing straight: even though the event takes place right outside of Los Angeles, these are not Hollywood’s robots. They’re not capable of running 60 miles per hour or jumping over buildings. And they’re certainly not a heartbeat away from becoming self-aware and taking over the world. But they do represent the pinnacle of human engineering and software development achievement to date.

Florian is Team ViGIR’s robot entry. The 6’ 2”, 300-pound humanoid machine lacks the dexterity of an adult human, but it’s hugely powerful and more than capable of tackling the myriad of disaster-related tasks for which it has been designed. I found it fascinating that Florian was designed by a team with members from several international universities. They collaborated across nine different time zones! Despite the challenges they faced, including a late arrival of their robot and a broken arm close to the contest date, I felt their exuberant energy when I met them. They truly embody the enthusiasm and forward-thinking dynamic that defines the robotics community.

Tartan Rescue’s CHIMP robot is another terrific example of today’s most sophisticated robotic capabilities. Inspired by previous autonomous vehicle technology, CHIMP can move on all four limbs, or stand and walk. This simian-inspired machine finished third during the 2013 trials, and is currently one of the heavy favorites to take the win.

Regardless of the outcome, the DRC is a testament to how far robotics have evolved over the last few years. While the AI machines of the silver screen won’t be on display, what you will see is the cutting-edge work that may one day get us there. Remember to check out the Robotics Challenge live, right here on CuriosityStream.

Jorge Franzini

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