It’s a remote paradise between Australia and Papua New Guinea. Only a few thousand people live on the islands in the Torres Strait. They depend on a supply ship that sails to their isolated archipelago once a week.
There are 274 islands in the Torres Strait between Australia and Papua New Guinea, their white coral-sand beaches rising from warm, shallow waters. Around 20 of the islands are inhabited, with many several kilometers apart. The main island, Thursday Island, sounds like it could have been lifted from the pages of Robinson Crusoe. Residents who want to visit family or friends must do so by boat, having to deal with unpredictable tidal currents. Cargo ships from the mainland supply the islands with everything from food and medicine to cars and spare parts – and they don’t always arrive on schedule. But Torres Strait Islanders have always used their great ingenuity to cope with the scarcity of resources. They include Ken, who’s currently working on a sculpture for the reopening of a local church, Paula, a midwife, and Sylvia, who reads the weather reports on local radio.
Mining on asteroids sounds like the stuff of science fiction, but it could soon become a reality. Nations and powerful corporations already have plans for such ventures and are hard at work staking their claim to resources from space. How can economic growth continue unfettered once all the earth’s resources have been consumed?
Major companies and governments have long been working on plans to exploit the resources to be found in the vastness of space. How far are humans from achieving this? This documentary examines the technological requirements of space mining. It also assesses how great the desire is to find new sources of raw materials. The film touches on scientific and fundamental societal issues – including humanity’s craving for new territories and our degradation of the Earth as we attempt to exploit all our planet has to offer.
The USS Ronald Reagan cruised into a radioactive cloud from the Fukushima nuclear power plant in March 2011. Sailors on the aircraft carrier were exposed to radiation. This documentary looks at the event and what came before it. The discovery of the atom and radioactivity are among the most important advances in 20th Century science. This film provides a comprehensive, historical examination of a century of radioactivity. At the same time it remembers the victims – from the Curies to Fukushima.
The film-makers visit Japanese families who sued Tepco, the operator of the Fukushima reactor, after their children developed thyroid cancer following the tsunami and subsequent nuclear disaster. Sent to help tsunami victims, sailors from the USS Ronald Reagan give detailed accounts of what happened on board the carrier. Radiation victims on both sides of the Pacific recount their difficulties in getting information. The film also introduces others harmed by industrial and military secrecy over the issue. Among them are fishermen and veterans exposed to radiation during the nuclear bomb tests on Bikini Atoll, Hiroshima survivors and young women who worked with radium in US factories in the 1920s. Radioactivity is invisible and odorless, yet very harmful to life. A Japanese doctor tells viewers how radioactivity affects the human body, why it causes cancer, and what can be done to shield people against it.
Ken Burns, Lynn Novick and Sarah Botstein give us a behind-the-scenes look at the production of Hemingway. We explore where Ernest Hemingway lived and traveled as the team visits his home in Cuba, learn about his writing process through manuscripts housed at the JFK Library, and the impact of fame on his art. Hemingway from Ken Burns and Lynn Novick premieres April 5, 2021 on PBS.