Nature & Environment

Animals

Trace the history of how wolves, one of humanity’s oldest rivals, evolved into the domesticated dogs we call “man’s best friend.”

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Since their emergence over 200,000 years ago, modern humans have established communities all over the planet. But they didn’t do it alone. Whatever corner of the globe you find humans in today, you’re likely to find another species as well: dogs. So how did one of our oldest rivals, the wolf, evolve into man’s best friend? David Ian Howe traces the history of humanity’s first domesticated animal.

Lesson by David Ian Howe, directed by Cabong Studios.

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Keywords: Dogs | Friends | History
About 10 years ago, the news was packed with reports about something called colony collapse disorder — a mysterious phenomenon that involved the disappearance of enormous numbers of bees. Then, the news

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stopped talking about it. So what gives? Are bees safe now?

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Category:  Nature & Environment
Keywords: Flowers | Insects
A male firefly emits a series of enticing flashes. He hopes a female will respond and mate with him. A female from a different species mimics his patterns: by tricking the male, she lures him in — and turns him into a meal.

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Where else do we see this kind of trickery in the animal kingdom? Eldridge Adams details the surprising complexity of how animals manipulate predators, prey and their rivals.

Lesson by Eldridge Adams, directed by The Duke and the Duck.

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Keywords: Animals | Deception
BBC
The ‘Inside the Animal Mind’ team rig a house with cameras for a week to test a theory: that dogs use their sense of smell to keep track of time.

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Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be an animal? This series gives startling and revelatory answers. Combining jaw-dropping demonstrations of animals’ abilities with revealing photography, Chris Packham travels the world to uncover the secrets of the animal mind.

Chris explores the remarkable ways animals use their senses. Focusing on dogs, he discovers how their powerful sense of smell creates a bizarre alternative reality.

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Category:  Nature & Environment
Keywords: Dogs | Pets | Time

They say that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks — but that saying might not be as trustworthy as you’d think.
Hosted by: Olivia Gordon

Category:  Nature & Environment
Keywords: Age | Dogs | Learning | Tricks
Every 13 or 17 years, billions of cicadas emerge from the ground to molt, mate and die. Adult cicadas only live a few weeks above ground, but you’d be hard pressed to ignore them — they are extremely loud! Rose Eveleth

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explains everything you need to know about these noisy insects, admitting that there’s still some things we just don’t understand.

Lesson by Rose Eveleth, animation by Eli Enigenburg.

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Category:  Nature & Environment

When Hank watches nature documentaries he always comes away with one big question: how is that not killing you? In today’s episode of SciShow he looks at three unusual ways that animals manage not to get killed by nature.

Category:  Nature & Environment
Keywords: Animals | Death
Australia: An entire continent so infested with deadly creepy crawlies and creatures of all kinds, it seems like it’s actively trying to kill you. But is the natural world really any more dangerous down under than anywhere else?

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Hosted by: Stefan Chine

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Keywords: Adventure | Australia | Death
Follow a queen fire ant as she builds a colony, protects it from neighboring ant armies and fends off would-be usurpers vying for her throne.

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In the spring, just after a heavy rainfall, male and female fire ants swarm the skies for a day of romance, known as the nuptial flight. Thousands of reproduction-capable ants take part in a mating frenzy, and for one successfully mated female, her work is only beginning. Walter R. Tschinkel details how the new queen builds a colony and protects it from neighboring ant armies.

Lesson by Walter R. Tschinkel, directed by Lisa Vertudaches.

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Category:  Nature & Environment
Keywords: Insects | Life

When having multiple cubs, pandas will usually only care for one baby and abandon the other, but switching them around might be the key for both twins’ survival. Narrated by David Attenborough.

Category:  Nature & Environment
Keywords: Babies | Wildlife
As professional arborists, brothers-in-law Tom Otto and Shaun Sears are quite adept at climbing trees. The cats that they rescue are not. And with a plethora of trees—and cats—around Seattle, they decided to put their off

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hours to good use and return scared, stuck kitties to their worried owners. Working completely off donations, these two cat lovers are helping keep Seattle’s free-climbing felines grounded.

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Category:  Nature & Environment
Keywords: Cats | Pets | Trees

Where are the baby dinosaurs? In a spellbinding talk from TEDxVancouver paleontologist Jack Horner describes how slicing open fossil skulls revealed a shocking secret about some of our most beloved dinosaurs.

Category:  Nature & Environment
Keywords: Dinosaurs | Science
Gregory Berns spent his entire life around dogs. So when his most beloved pet passed away, he began to wonder whether his dog reciprocated the same love and care he felt for him. As a neuroscientist at Emory University,

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he took his curiosity to the test. Now, he scans the brains of dogs using MRI machines, trying to decode canine behavior using brain activity.

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Keywords: Dogs | Medicine | Training
In ancient times, wildcats were fierce carnivorous hunters. And unlike dogs, who have undergone centuries of selective breeding, modern cats are genetically very similar to ancient cats. How did these solitary, fierce

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predators become our sofa sidekicks? Eva-Maria Geigl traces the domestication of the modern house cat.

Lesson by Eva-Maria Geigl, directed by Chintis Lundgren.

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Keywords: Cats | History | Pets
When it comes to the animal kingdom’s most extreme milk, cows don’t make the cut. Hooded seal milk contains more fat than ice cream, while wallaby milk contains more sugar than coca cola. Nine banded armadillos

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produce milk with ten times the calcium as cow milk, and flamingos produce a pink, nutritious, fluid called crop milk.

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Category:  Food | Nature & Environment
Keywords: Animals | Milk
These 4 animal dads do a lot of work for their children. Some of them don’t eat while the kids develop, or defend them and make sure they survive. These dads come from the world of fish, bugs, and birds. Using different

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strategies and making various sacrifices, they help their offspring survive.

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Category:  Nature & Environment
Keywords: Father | Responsibilities

If you doubled in size, your weight would be eight times greater. That’s the trouble with growing tall. Gravity’s pull is keeping us all down. But there are a few earthly giants that have fought gravity and won. 

Keywords: Animals | Height | Length
Though the common ancestor of all modern birds could fly, many different bird species have independently lost their flight. Flight can have incredible benefits, especially for escaping predators, hunting and traveling long

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distances. But it also has high costs: consuming huge amounts of energy and limiting body size and weight. Gillian Gibb explores what makes birds give up the power of flight.

Lesson by Gillian Gibb, directed by Anton Bogaty.

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Keywords: Birds | Flying

Dr John Bradshaw explains why pet cats constantly miaow at their owners. Taken from Cats Uncovered.

Category:  Nature & Environment
Keywords: Asking | Cats
It’s a common saying that elephants never forget. But the more we learn about elephants, the more it appears that their impressive memory is only one aspect of an incredible intelligence that makes them some of the

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most social, creative, and benevolent creatures on Earth. Alex Gendler takes us into the incredible, unforgettable mind of an elephant.

Lesson by Alex Gendler, animation by Avi Ofer.

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Keywords: Africa | Animals | Memory

Sometimes your cat looks at you like they’re just absolutely revolted. So, does your cat think you’re gross?

Category:  Nature & Environment
Keywords: Cats | Pets | Smells
Vox
Their life arc is our life arc— from city to suburb, from tragedy to bliss. Special thanks to all Vox staffers and family that sent over their dog videos.

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When Alvin lost his dog Rainbow, he felt as though a human has died.

Humans have a special — and somewhat an odd — relationship with dogs. 60% of Americans own a pet, and the most popular of them are dogs. Our relationship with them actually goes back pretty far. Some scholars believe that wolves and humans hunted and lived among each other — and the reason humans came out on top was because we partnered with wolves. Then, as we evolved so did our furry friends. Now, we treat these animals like family. We give them names, keep them safe, and share our lives with them. So when it’s time for them to go, it feels a lot like we’re losing a part of the family.

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Keywords: Death | Dogs | Family | Pets
Vox

Monkeys are our closest biological relatives, and they can’t speak. But parrots don’t seem to have a problem at all.

Keywords: Birds | Discussions | Speaking

Environment

Rooftops on homes across Australia are covered with solar panels. More and more households have been installing them the past 15 years, generating their own low-cost, clean electricity. Dr. Jemma Green is further

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empowering people as the co-founder and chairman of Power Ledger. The Perth-based technology company has created a peer-to-peer trading platform that allows neighbors to sell excess electricity when they have it and buy more electricity when they need it. They can even donate energy to local community groups and schools. Here’s how it works.

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Category:  Nature & Environment
Keywords: Community | Energy
Too often we think of air as empty space — but compared to a vacuum, air is actually pretty heavy. So, just how heavy is it? And if it’s so heavy, why doesn’t it crush us? Dan Quinn describes the fundamentals of air pressure and

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explains how it affects our bodies, the weather and the universe at large.

Lesson by Dan Quinn, animation by Sandro Katamashvili.

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Keywords: Environment | Weight
Explore the ancient methods of growing glaciers, the homemade bodies of ice used as water sources, and how they can be used to combat climate change.

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In the 13th century, Genghis Khan embarked on a mission to take over Eurasia, swiftly conquering countries and drawing them into his empire. But, legend has it that there was one obstacle that even he couldn’t overcome: a towering wall of ice, grown by locals across a mountain pass. M Jackson explores the ancient methods of growing glaciers and how they can be used to combat climate change.

Lesson by M Jackson, directed by Artrake Studio.

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Category:  Nature & Environment
Keywords: Cold | Growth | Mountains
The immense swell of a tsunami can grow up to 100 feet, hitting speeds over 500 mph — a treacherous combination for anyone or anything in its path. Alex Gendler details the causes of these towering terrors and explains

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how scientists are seeking to reduce their destruction in the future.

Lesson by Alex Gendler, animation by Augenblick Studios.

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Lake Maracaibo is the stormiest place on the planet. Thunderstorms rage above this massive body of water for up to 200 days of the year, with each ear-splitting event lasting for several hours. But why? Graeme Anderson

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lists the factors that create Lake Maracaibo’s seemingly ever-lasting storms.

Lesson by Graeme Anderson, animation by D. Lee Peffer II.

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Keywords: Superlatives | Weather
New York City residents produce 11,000 tons of garbage every day. Every day! This astonishing statistic is just one of the reasons Robin Nagle started a research project with the city’s Department of Sanitation. She walked the

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routes, operated mechanical brooms, even drove a garbage truck herself–all so she could answer a simple-sounding but complicated question: who cleans up after us?

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Category:  Nature & Environment
Keywords: Cities | New York | Recycling
Human beings are everywhere. With settlements on every continent, we can be found in the most isolated corners of Earth’s jungles, oceans and tundras. Our impact is so profound, most scientists believe humanity has left

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a permanent mark on Earth’s geological record. So what would happen if suddenly, every human on Earth disappeared? Dan Kwartler investigates.

Lesson by Dan Kwartler, directed by Globizco Studios.

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Category:  Nature & Environment
Keywords: Earth | End of the world | Humans
Did you know that gold is extraterrestrial? Instead of arising from our planet’s rocky crust, it was actually cooked up in space and is present on Earth because of cataclysmic stellar explosions called supernovae. CERN Scientist

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David Lunney outlines the incredible journey of gold from space to Earth.

Lesson by David Lunney, animation by Andrew Foerster.

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Category:  Nature & Environment
Keywords: Inventions | Wealth
Take a look at the theories behind why earthquakes occur, what makes them so hard to predict and the warning system technologies we rely on today.

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In 132 CE, Zhang Heng presented his latest invention: a large vase he claimed could tell them whenever an earthquake occurred for hundreds of miles. Today, we no longer rely on pots as warning systems, but earthquakes still offer challenges to those trying to track them. Why are earthquakes so hard to anticipate, and how could we get better at predicting them? Jean-Baptiste P. Koehl investigates.

Lesson by Jean-Baptiste P. Koehl, directed by Cabong Studios.

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Category:  Nature & Environment

Nature

Locked behind black steel doors in Northumberland, England, the Poison Garden at Alnwick Castle grows around 100 infamous killers. From deadly nightshade to hemlock, the only way a plant can take root in this

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garden is if it is lethal to humans. Created by the Duchess of Northumberland, this is one garden where you won’t want to stop and smell the flowers.

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Category:  Nature & Environment
Keywords: Danger | Gardening
In Alaska’s Denali National Park, you’ll find six million acres of sprawling forests, majestic mountains, active glaciers and flowing rivers. In the midst of this vast natural beauty, around two million acres of federally protected

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wilderness exists. Here motorized transport is prohibited. So how does one get around in the winter? Enter the Denali dogs. Denali is the country’s only national park with a working sled dog kennel. Let’s go meet the hard-working huskies!

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Keywords: Dogs | travel
Morning glories unfurl their petals like clockwork in the early morning. A closing white waterlily signals that it’s late afternoon. And moon flowers, as their name suggests, only bloom under the night sky. What gives plants this

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innate sense of time? Dasha Savage investigates how circadian rhythms act as an internal timekeeper for flora and fauna alike.

Lesson by Dasha Savage, animation by Avi Ofer.

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Category:  Nature & Environment
Keywords: Flowers | Plants | Time
What makes a tree grow tall? And do trees ever stop growing? Explore how photosynthesis and gravity can affect and limit the height of trees.

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Reaching heights of over 100 meters, Californian sequoias tower over Earth’s other 60,000 tree species. But even these behemoths seem to have their limits: no sequoia on record has been able to grow taller than 130 meters. So what exactly is stopping these trees from growing taller, forever? Valentin Hammoudi investigates why trees have limited heights.

Lesson by Valentin Hammoudi, directed by Doug Alberts.

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Keywords: Growth | Height | Trees
BBC
Hungry Venus flytraps snap shut on a host of unfortunate flies. But, despite its name, flies aren’t the flytrap’s only meal. As long as its prey is roughly the right size and touches two of its hairs within twenty seconds, the

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plant will dine on any insect or spider that comes its way.

Glands in the lobes then secrete enzymes that break the dinner down into a digestible soup. Ten days later, the trap pops open to reveal nothing but a dried out husk.

David Attenborough looks at the extraordinary ends to which animals and plants go in order to survive. Featuring epic spectacles, amazing TV firsts and examples of new wildlife behaviour.

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Category:  Nature & Environment
Keywords: Danger | Insects | Plants
Nature’s beauty can be easily missed — but not through Louie Schwartzberg’s lens. His stunning time-lapse photography, accompanied by powerful words from Benedictine monk Brother David Steindl-Rast, serves

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as a meditation on being grateful for every day. (Filmed at TEDxSF.)

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Category:  Nature & Environment
Keywords: Beauty | Earth | Nature
Floating off the coast of Vancouver Island, a 45-minute boat ride to the nearest town, is a sustainable island fortress complete with a dance floor, art gallery and garden. For artists Catherine King and Wayne Adams, this is

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home: a labor of love 24 years in the making.

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Keywords: Housing | Nature
When Andrés Ruzo was a boy, his grandfather would tell him tales of a mythical city of gold deep in the heart of the Peruvian jungle. Though never believing the stories to be true, the legend of the lost city stuck with him

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into adulthood. Years later, as a geothermal scientist, Ruzo decided to investigate. To his surprise, he discovered an incredulous river deep in the Amazon, with water hot enough to kill a human. Historically a place of pilgrimage for shamans and sorcerers, the river now faces increasing threats from poachers, loggers and squatters. Now, Ruzo is working hard to protect it.

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Category:  Nature & Environment
Keywords: Danger | Rivers
Tucked away in a corner of London’s Royal Botanic Gardens, there is a very peculiar plant. At first glance, it resembles a stumpy palm tree, but this ancient specimen is incredibly rare. It is, in fact,

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the very last of its kind on Earth. Encephalartos woodii is a cycad, a type of plant that once dominated the planet during the Jurassic Period. Over the millennia, the age of the cycad came to an end. And in the case of Encephalartos Woodii, we may have been left with only one—a single male specimen. This tree is the loneliest bachelor on Earth.

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Category:  Nature & Environment
Keywords: Friends | Plants | Trees
Explore what makes trees a vital part of cities, and how urban spaces throughout history have embraced the importance of trees. —

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By 2050, it’s estimated that over 65% of the world will be living in cities. We may think of nature as being unconnected to our urban spaces, but trees have always been an essential part of successful cities. Humanity has been uncovering these arboreal benefits since the creation of our first cities thousands of years ago. So what makes trees so important to a city’s survival? Stefan Al explains.

Lesson by Stefan Al, directed by Mette Ilene Holmriis.

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Keywords: Cities | Trees

Oceans

As benign as it may look up close, the tiny seaweed Caulerpa taxifolia can wreak quite a bit of havoc on coastal ecosystems. This super algae is very adaptable; it also grows fast and spreads easily. Eric Noel Muñoz gives the details of this plant’s incredible invasion, shedding light on the risks of introducing invasive species into new ecosystems.

Lesson by Eric Noel Muñoz, animation by Eli Enigenburg.[/show_more]
Category:  Nature & Environment
Keywords: Environment | Genetics | Oceans | Plants
Cristina Zenato needs only two words to describe sharks—nature’s masterpiece. A professional diver in the Bahamas, she loves sharks. Especially the Caribbean reef sharks that flourish around Grand Bahama Island thanks

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in large part to her efforts to protect them. The sharks swim right up to the woman known as the Shark Dancer and nuzzle against her while she pets them like they’re dogs or cats. We take a dive off Grand Bahama Island with Zenato to learn how she built such a strong bond with these beautiful creatures.

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Category:  Nature & Environment
Keywords: Mother | Oceans
Humankind has been looking for the giant squid (Architeuthis) since we first started taking pictures underwater. But the elusive deep-sea predator could never be caught on film. Oceanographer and inventor Edith Widder

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shares the key insight — and the teamwork — that helped to capture the squid on camera for the first time.

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Keywords: Oceans | Research
Whales are the largest living animals that have ever existed on this Earth. A blue whale can grow to a whopping 110 feet in length, outweighing even the dinosaurs. But curiously their story begins from rather humble beginnings.

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Here is the story of how whales became the giants of the sea.

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Category:  Nature & Environment
Keywords: Animals | Big | Oceans
New videography techniques have opened up the oceans’ microscopic ecosystem, revealing it to be both mesmerizingly beautiful and astoundingly complex. Marine biologist Tierney Thys has used footage from

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a pioneering project to create a film designed to ignite wonder and curiosity about this hidden world that underpins our own food chain.

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Category:  Nature & Environment
Keywords: Fish | Life | Oceans
Vox
Microfibers, used to make things like yoga pants, are the ocean’s tiniest problem.
When you think of marine pollution, you might picture an oil-slicked seal struggling to breathe on a blackened

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beach, or a turtle looping in circles with the plastic collar of a six-pack wrapped around its neck. In the past, those powerful images have generated interest and resources for fighting marine pollution, but now a new, much tinier threat is emerging.

Microplastics — meaning any plastic object smaller than five millimeters — constitute the vast majority of plastic particles polluting marine habitats.

Of those microplastics, a large share are microfibers: tiny strands of plastic that are woven into fabric used to make clothing. These fabrics, known by names like polyester and nylon, are cheap to produce, comfortable to wear, and since arriving on the market in the late 1940s, companies have been using more and more of them. Every time we do laundry, a small amount of microfibers are separated from clothes made from these materials. Since those pieces of plastic are extremely small, they’re able to make their way through water treatment centers and into marine resources. Once they reach marine habitats, the ocean’s tiniest creatures consume them, and microfibers work their way up the food chain. Eventually, they reach us.

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Category:  Nature & Environment
Keywords: Eating habits | Oceans | Plastic

Vocabulary:
cove
secluded
float
shore
anchor
lighthouse
greenhouse
handsaw
hammer
power tool
nail
board (noun)
ton
land sick
biomass
canoe
paddle
real estate
prosper
fulfilled

Expressions:
subsistence living
hon

Vocabulary:
word
word
word
word
word
word
word
word
word

Expressions:
expression
expression
expression
expression

Vocabulary:
prestigious
involuntary
swindler
fraudulence
unwarranted
concern
unfounded
impostor
syndrome
faculty
pervasive
prevalent
disproportionately
underrepresented
downplay
abnormality
self-esteem
spiral
accolade
threshold
susceptible
voice (verb)
peer
dismiss
excel
ease
mentor
competence
banish
frank

Expressions:
nagging doubt
shake a feeling
put something to rest
surefire way

Vocabulary:
filmmaker
principle
handcuff
clown
distill
underdog
aspect
familiar
unfamiliar
chopsticks
keyboard
organic
grounded
clarity
stuntman
steady
gag
perfectionist
rhythm
distinct
continuity
elbow
bunch
flail around
unlike
invincible
impressive
humanize
asset
payoff
relentlessness
finale

Expressions:
kick ass
going above and beyond
get smacked in the face
sell a joke

Vocabulary:
explosion
smoke (noun)
engine
unique
pilot
route
unemotional
terror
instant
reach out (to someone)
postpone
urgency
purpose
regret
humanity
ego
reflect
eliminate
frame (verb)
artistic
talent
bawl
miracle

Expressions:
bucket list
brace for impact
mend fences
make sense
connecting dots