The range and diversity of humanity is truly amazing. From the grandeur of nature to the mysteries of our own bodies, we’ve only barely scratched the surface of the wonders that surround us. Every day science is unearthing new discoveries great and small about the world around us – and if you’re looking to increase your own personal store of knowledge, there’s no better way than dipping into the Health, Science and Technology collection on SBS On Demand. A collection of revealing documentaries examining the intersection between humanity and science, the numerous titles on offer are often surprising, sometimes shocking – and always informative.
Here’s a guide to some of the many highlights now available.
24 Hours In Emergency
An accident can change your life in an instant. This series, filmed at one of the UK’s busiest hospitals, looks beyond the medical details of the patients brought in (though there’s everything on display here from life-threatening injuries to comedic mishaps) to examine the impact on their lives and relationships. There’s plenty of heartache and joy on display here as the hard-working staff struggle to repair shattered bodies while patients and loved ones face their own battles to rebuilt their lives.
Predict My Future
A group of 1,037 New Zealanders have been followed, measured and studied since their births in 1972. With around 96% of the original group still involved in the study, it’s been a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to track the development of a group from birth, through childhood into adulthood and middle age. Why don’t all kids grow out of crime? What are the triggers for mental illness? How does our childhood affect the way we age? This study has provided a wealth of information and insight across a wide range of fields, from health and medicine to behavioural and developmental sciences – and this series of documentaries takes an in-depth look at what we’ve learnt.
Business of Life
It’s a cliché that if you want to find out what’s really going on in the world, read the financial papers. But that doesn’t mean it’s not true, as this new talk show from Vice reveals. Focusing on the issues of the day from the financial side of things, it’s an eye-opening look on the forces that really shape our world, and how the options we’re given about how to live our daily lives are often sharply defined by other people’s desires to make a quick buck.
Adam Ruins Everything
We all think we have a pretty good handle on how the world works. Unfortunately, this also means that most of the time we’re not all that interested in finding out when (and how) we’re wrong. Enter Adam Conover: using a mix of jokes and actual information, he’s out there righting wrongs when it comes to our basic misconceptions as to how the world works. Sometimes it’s a bitter pill to swallow – having Adam dispel a lot of the myths around losing weight means giving up on those wonder weight-loss dreams – but it’s only by facing the facts that you’ll ever get real results.
With hundreds of years’ worth of knowledge of New Zealand’s native flora and fauna, the Maori have an extensive science all their own. But this knowledge isn’t merely a resource for western science to exploit; there’s a give and take intrinsic to the Maori concept of “Mātauranga Māori” – their way of knowing and the way that knowledge is linked to the environment the knowledge came from. Presented by Dr Ocean Mercier, a lecturer at New Zealand’s Victoria University, this series examines Māori innovation in the science sector, and the way the two approaches are being combined to produce real results towards fighting disease and protecting the environment.
Professor Noel Fitzpatrick and his team are back for a third series looking at their efforts to use cutting edge medicine to rescue a seemingly non-stop parade of adorable animals on death’s door. Bionic limbs? Figuring out how to split a bird’s hollow bones? All in a day’s work for these professionals. And it’s not just the pets that are suffering; often these animals are part of the family – when they’re not guide dogs or other support animals – so getting them back up and around can often be of vital importance for their humans too.
The World’s Most Extraordinary People
What better way to explore the limits of humanity than by finding people who go beyond them? In this series surgeon Gabriel Weston meets a range of people who live far outside what we’d consider the normal for a human being, from a woman living just fine with half a brain to a man who remembers every face he’s ever seen, a woman born with her heart outside her ribcage and the only person in the world to be completely cured of HIV.
Doctor Michael Mosley
Is it possible for a scientist to get too involved in his work? In the case of Michael Mosley, that’s a definite “maybe”. Across a series of BBC documentaries Mosley infects himself with a series of dangerous parasites, takes an in-depth look at what’s going on inside our digestive system, and undergoes a series of intentionally painful experiments to examine exactly how our sense of pain and pleasure are intertwined. There’s definitely a lot to be learnt here… including just how much punishment one man is willing to take to push the boundaries of science.
You can find a world of fascinating documentaries and scripted series every day at SBS On Demand.
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