Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Exodus Earth ~ Venus

Venus is a hellish planet and within our solar system the world that is most reminiscent of Dante’s vision of Inferno. Today on Far Future Horizons, we join physicist Dr. Basil Singer and explore the possibility of colonizing Venus.

Venus is perhaps the most difficult planet in the solar system that we could possibly colonize. Yet, the colonization of Venus has been a subject of much speculation and many works of science fiction since before the dawn of spaceflight, and is still much discussed. Are floating cloud cities hovering over Venus’ hellish surface in our future?

Civil War Tech

Battle of Hampton Roads or the Battle of Ironclads

The Civil War is often referred to as the first "modern" war. Many of the technologies devised during that period permanently changed the way wars were fought.

Today on Far Future Horizons we present Civil War Tech, another exciting episode from the acclaimed documentary series Modern Marvels.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Stopping the Next Celestial Armageddon

Humanity faces a celestial Sword of Damocles. We can no longer go about our humdrum worldly concerns and abandon any attention to the heavens and the dangers that lurk in the local celestial neighbourhood. We face the celestial equivalent of a 9/11 writ large. Humanity can no longer ignore the objective reality that its long term survival and existence are imperilled.

It sounds like a Hollywood blockbuster: a deadly asteroid is on a collision course with Earth. But in reality, it's only a matter of time before a giant space rock threatens to wipe out civilization. An asteroid took out the dinosaurs sixty-five million years ago. Are we next? This episode analyzes the threat and explores the many ways--from a nuclear bomb to ingenious new technology--that experts are proposing to stop Armageddon. Humanity faces an
Extraterrestrial Imperative- we either become a spacefaring civilization or face the fate of the dinosaurs. 

Dolphins: The Second Smartest Animal?

Today on Far Future Horizons we take a close look at perhaps the second smartest creature on our planet. In a recent article scientists have declared Dolphins the world’s second most intelligent creatures after humans, with scientists suggesting they are so bright that they should be treated as “non-human persons”. It appears that we share this planet with another sentient species.

Studies into dolphin behavior have highlighted how similar their communications are to those of humans and that they are brighter than chimpanzees. These have been backed up by anatomical research showing that dolphin brains have many key features associated with high intelligence.

Dolphin intelligence is even more impressive than scientists previously believed. So what are the ethical ramifications for our treatment of these extraordinary creatures?

Now we have tangible evidence there is intelligent life in Aquatica. I even suspect that Dolphins may be more intelligent than we are. At least, to the best of my knowledge, they do not pollute their environment.

The ancestors of the modern day dolphins entered the water roughly fifty million years ago, in the Eocene epoch. They have existed on our planet ten times longer than our first proto-human ancestors. If Dolphins could talk directly to us what wonderful tales would they tell us about life in the sea before the advent of humankind?

Friday, April 25, 2014

Exodus Earth ~ Callisto

Today on Far Future Horizons we join physicist Dr. Basil Singer in exploring the potential of establishing a human outpost in the Jovian system on the moon Callisto.

Callisto is one of the Galilean moons discovered by Galileo in January 1610 along with three other large Jovian moons—Ganymede, Io, and Europa.

Callisto is the third-largest moon in the Solar System and the second largest in the Jovian system, after Ganymede. Callisto has about 99% the diameter of the planet Mercury but only about a third of its mass. It is the fourth Galilean moon of Jupiter by distance, with an orbital radius of about 1,880,000 km.

The Universe ~ The Outer Planets

Today on Far Future Horizons we are going to take a grand tour of the Outer Planets of our solar system. Our video feature for today is episode eleven of the first season of the History Channel’s outstanding documentary series – The Universe.

This instalment of “The Universe” looks at the solar system's most distant worlds – Uranus, a gas giant with the most extreme axial tilt of any known planet and its wildly orbiting moon Triton; its near-twin Neptune and its moons; and finally, distant Pluto which orbits the sun every 248 years.

New discoveries regarding the Outer Planets are creating a fundamental rethinking of our solar system. Uranus is a toxic combination of hydrogen, helium and methane. Scientists speculate that the planet was knocked on its side.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

The Universe ~ Total Eclipse

Today on Far Future Horizons we present episode seven of the fifth season of the History Channel’s outstanding documentary series – The Universe.

In this installment we examine an astronomical phenomenon that has inspired awe and wonder throughout the ages – The Total Solar Eclipse.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The Universe ~ Spaceship Earth

Today on Far Future Horizons we explore the origins of our remarkable home planet –Spaceship Earth.

Four and a half billion years ago in the high performance race to become a planet, primordial Earth made it to the winners circle to become the beautiful glistening blue orb we call our home. The competition was filled with chaos and violent collisions.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The World of Tomorrow as Seen from the New York World’s Fairs

"Let us move on, and step out boldly, though it be into the night, and we can scarcely see the way." ~ Charles B. Newcomb       

Today on Far Future Horizons we commemorate the anniversaries of two iconic grand expositions – The New York World’s Fair of 1939 which will be marking its seventy fifth anniversary on April 30th and the 1964/1965 New York World’s Fair which will be commemorating its golden anniversary on April 22nd, 2014.

In order to mark these two anniversaries we present three very special video features with the theme “The World of Tomorrow."

Far Future Horizons is all about exploration, discovery, and stepping forward to face future challenges boldly and decisively. The existential threats facing our global civilization are many but; we firmly believe that there were no limits to growth or the future prosperity of the human species. Human inventiveness and ingenuity can help us surmount any problem or obstacle in our path. This is the message we hope to continue to convey to our readers. 

I invite you then, dear readers to "step out boldly, though it be into the night, and we can scarcely see the way "  to the wonderful world of tomorrow.

Revisiting the 1964/65 New York World's Fair

Today on Far Future Horizons we relive the sights and sounds of the 1964/65 New York World's Fair with two special newsreels from the period: an NBC TV Special from 1964 "A World's Fair Diary," with Edwin Newman and a detailed report presented by veteran reporter Lowell Thomas.

In a “World’s Fair Diary” Edwin Newman takes us on a first hand tour of many attractions featured in the fair. He tends more towards the off-the-beaten-path attractions more so than the mainstays, but he gets a great glimpse of what was a once-in-a-lifetime event.

Lowell Thomas

In our second video feature Thomas reports from the partially completed New York World's Fair.  Lowell Thomas also reported twenty five years earlier from the New York World’s Fair in 1939.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Most of Our Universe Is Missing

Today on Far Future Horizons we again explore the dark side of the Universe with this exciting documentary from the BBC science series Horizon - Most of Our Universe Is Missing.

Less than two decades ago science seemed to understand how the universe worked. Everything in the Universe was thought to be made of atoms which were all created in the beginning at time-zero: the Big Bang. In between the atoms was nothing, a void: quite literally, 'space'.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Libra: The 21st Century Space Colony

Today on Far Future Horizons we present one of the first television motion pictures to depict life in a Space Colony as envisioned by the Gerard K. O'Neill - Libra: The 21st Century Space Colony.

The first motion picture to actually present life aboard an orbital space settlement was Earth II, a pilot film, which first aired on November 28, 1971. Unfortunately, the pilot was never fully developed for television.

Libra is a film which depicts a very hopeful vision of the human future which is deeply rooted in the work of space visionary Gerard K. O'Neill and outlined in his ground breaking book “The High Frontier: Human Colonies in Space”.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

The Seven Astonishing Wonders of Our Solar System

Solar System Painting©David A. Hardy

Today on Far Future Horizons we present a fascinating episode from the History Channel's highly acclaimed documentary series The Universe. In this episode we will be embarking on a grand tour highlighting the “Seven Wonders of the Solar System”.

In Search of the Queen of Sheba

Today on Far Future Horizons we join acclaimed BBC historian Michael Wood in the third instalment of his documentary series “In Search of Myths and Heroes” as we go in search of the legendary Queen of Sheba.

The story of the Queen of Sheba appears in religious texts sacred to Jews, Christians, and Muslims. Described in the Bible as simply a Queen of the East, modern scholars believe she came from the Kingdom of Axum in Ethiopia, the Kingdom of Saba in Yemen, or both. Their main clue is that she brought bales of incense with her as a gift; frankincense only grows in these two areas. Both countries claim her as theirs. Given that they are separated by only 25 kilometers of water, both could be right. 

Friday, April 18, 2014

The Last Days of Pompeii

On August 24th, 79 AD one of the most devastating natural disasters in recorded history destroyed the three neighbouring Roman resort cities of Pompeii, Herculaneum and Stabiae in the wake of the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. This volcano still threatens the Italian city of Naples today.

What follows is an ancient voice that reaches out from the past to tell us of the disaster. This voice belongs to Pliny the Younger whose letters describe his experience during the eruption while he was staying in the home of his Uncle, Pliny the Elder. The elder Pliny was an official in the Roman Court, in charge of the fleet in the area of the Bay of Naples and a naturalist. Pliny the Younger's letters were discovered in the 16th century.

"My uncle was stationed at Misenum, in active command of the fleet. On 24 August, in the early afternoon, my mother drew his attention to a cloud of unusual size and appearance. He had been out in the sun, had taken a cold bath, and lunched while lying down, and was then working at his books. He called for his shoes and climbed up to a place which would give him the best view of the phenomenon. It was not clear at that distance from which mountain the cloud was rising (it was afterwards known to be Vesuvius); its general appearance can best be expressed as being like an umbrella pine, for it rose to a great height on a sort of trunk and then split off into branches, I imagine because it was thrust upwards by the first blast and then left unsupported as the pressure subsided, or else it was borne down by its own weight so that it spread out and gradually dispersed. In places it looked white, elsewhere blotched and dirty, according to the amount of soil and ashes it carried with it.

My uncle's scholarly acumen saw at once that it was important enough for a closer inspection, and he ordered a boat to be made ready, telling me I could come with him if I wished. I replied that I preferred to go on with my studies, and as it happened he had himself given me some writing to do.

As he was leaving the house he was handed a message from Rectina, wife of Tascus whose house was at the foot of the mountain, so that escape was impossible except by boat. She was terrified by the danger threatening her and implored him to rescue her from her fate. He changed his plans, and what he had begun in a spirit of inquiry he completed as a hero. He gave orders for the warships to be launched and went on board himself with the intention of bringing help to many more people besides Rectina, for this lovely stretch of coast was thickly populated.

He hurried to the place which everyone else was hastily leaving, steering his course straight for the danger zone. He was entirely fearless, describing each new movement and phase of the portent to be noted down exactly as he observed them. Ashes were already falling, hotter and thicker as the ships drew near, followed by bits of pumice and blackened stones, charred and cracked by the flames: then suddenly they were in shallow water, and the shore was blocked by the debris from the mountain.

For a moment my uncle wondered whether to turn back, but when the helmsman advised this he refused, telling him that Fortune stood by the courageous and they must make for Pomponianus at Stabiae. He was cut off there by the breadth of the bay (for the shore gradually curves round a basin filled by the sea) so that he was not as yet in danger, though it was clear that this would come nearer as it spread. Pomponianus had therefore already put his belongings on board ship, intending to escape if the contrary wind fell. This wind was of course full in my uncle's favour, and he was able to bring his ship in. He embraced his terrified friend, cheered and encouraged him, and thinking he could calm his fears by showing his own composure, gave orders that he was to be carried to the bathroom. After his bath he lay down and dined; he was quite cheerful, or at any rate he pretended he was, which was no less courageous.

Meanwhile on Mount Vesuvius broad sheets of fire and leaping flames blazed at several points, their bright glare emphasized by the darkness of night. My uncle tried to allay the fears of his companions by repeatedly declaring that these were nothing but bonfires left by the peasants in their terror, or else empty houses on fire in the districts they had abandoned. Then he went to rest and certainly slept, for as he was a stout man his breathing was rather loud and heavy and could be heard by people coming and going outside his door. By this time the courtyard giving access to his room was full of ashes mixed with pumice stones, so that its level had risen, and if he had stayed in the room any longer he would never have got out. He was wakened, came out and joined Pomponianus and the rest of the household who had sat up all night.

Victims of Pompeii :  Pompeiians Flash-Heated to Death—"No Time to Suffocate"

They debated whether to stay indoors or take their chance in the open, for the buildings were now shaking with violent shocks, and seemed to be swaying to and fro as if they were torn from their foundations. Outside, on the other hand, there was the danger of failing pumice stones, even though these were light and porous; however, after comparing the risks they chose the latter. In my uncle's case one reason outweighed the other, but for the others it was a choice of fears. As a protection against falling objects they put pillows on their heads tied down with cloths.

Elsewhere there was daylight by this time, but they were still in darkness, blacker and denser than any ordinary night, which they relieved by lighting torches and various kinds of lamp. My uncle decided to go down to the shore and investigate on the spot the possibility of any escape by sea, but he found the waves still wild and dangerous. A sheet was spread on the ground for him to lie down, and he repeatedly asked for cold water to drink.

Then the flames and smell of sulphur which gave warning of the approaching fire drove the others to take flight and roused him to stand up. He stood leaning on two slaves and then suddenly collapsed, I imagine because the dense, fumes choked his breathing by blocking his windpipe which was constitutionally weak and narrow and often inflamed. When daylight returned on the 26th - two days after the last day he had been seen - his body was found intact and uninjured, still fully clothed and looking more like sleep than death.

Victims of Pompeii  Pompeiians Flash-Heated to Death—"No Time to Suffocate"

Shrieks of the People

In a second letter to Tacitus, Pliny describes what happened to him and to his mother during the second day of the disaster:

Ashes were already falling, not as yet very thickly. I looked round: a dense black cloud was coming up behind us, spreading over the earth like a flood. 'Let us leave the road while we can still see, 'I said, 'or we shall be knocked down and trampled underfoot in the dark by the crowd behind. 'We had scarcely sat down to rest when darkness fell, not the dark of a moonless or cloudy night, but as if the lamp had been put out in a closed room.

Pompeii: Map Showing the Extent of the Ash fall of the Vesuvius Eruption

You could hear the shrieks of women, the wailing of infants, and the shouting of men; some were calling their parents, others their children or their wives, trying to recognize them by their voices. People bewailed their own fate or that of their relatives, and there were some who prayed for death in their terror of dying. Many besought the aid of the gods, but still more imagined there were no gods left, and that the universe was plunged into eternal darkness for evermore.

There were people, too, who added to the real perils by inventing fictitious dangers: some reported that part of Misenum had collapsed or another part was on fire, and though their tales were false they found others to believe them. A gleam of light returned, but we took this to be a warning of the approaching flames rather than daylight. However, the flames remained some distance off; then darkness came on once more and ashes began to fall again, this time in heavy showers. We rose from time to time and shook them off, otherwise we should have been buried and crushed beneath their weight. I could boast that not a groan or cry of fear escaped me in these perils, but I admit that I derived some poor consolation in my mortal lot from the belief that the whole world was dying with me and I with it."

- Pliny the Younger

Today  we present two video features that recount the last days of the Roman city of Pompeii after the catastrophic eruption of Mount Vesuvius. “Pompeii: The Last Day” is a dramatized documentary that tells the tragic eyewitness story of the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. Lavish special effects based on archaeological evidence reconstruct each stage of Vesuvius’s cataclysmic eruption and its impact on soldiers, slaves, families, and lovers as they struggle with the unfolding tragedy.

The Last Day of Pompeii is a large canvas painting by Russian artist Karl Briullovin 1830-33

We also present the acclaimed 1959 motion picture "The Last Days of Pompeii" based the 1834 novel of the same name by Edward Bulwer-Lytton. 

So join us today as we relive one of the greatest natural disasters in recorded history.

Both Pompeii ~ The Last Day and The Last Days of Pompeii (1959) are available on DVD from Amazon Books

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Sci-Fi Science - Galactic Colonization

Today on Far Future Horizons we present another episode of Dr. Michio Kaku’s acclaimed documentary series “Sci Fi Science” and explore the exciting possibility of creating a galactic civilization.

The Kardashev Scale

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Creating a New Solar System

Today on Far Future Horizons we join Dr. Michio Kaku as he embarks on his most ambitious plan to date – the creation of a new solar system tailored made for humanity’s long term survival.

Dyson sphere

In this installment of Sci Fi Science, Dr. Michio Kaku meets extra solar planet hunter Paul Butler of the Carnegie Institution who identifies 47 Ursae Majoris as our nearest suitable star as the site for this massive astro-engineering enterprise.

Interior View of a Dyson-sphere 

But with no Earth like planets in orbit around 47 Ursae Majoris, it surely does not feel anything close to home. Gravity could be used to manipulate a moon into an Earth like position. But Dr. Kaku's thinking bigger than that. If he's building a whole new solar system for humanity, surely he should be able to harness the entire power output of our new sun. So he comes up with an incredible plan to completely encircle the sun with his own version of a Dyson sphere, which will act as a huge energy collector. What's more, once it starts spinning we'll be able to settle on the inside and become a truly stellar civilization.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Leonardo da Vinci and the Code He Lived By

Today on Far Future Horizons we mark the five hundredth and sixty second birthday of the quintessential Renaissance man Leonardo da Vinci by presenting the documentary Leonardo da Vinci and the Code He Lived By.

Leonardo was a man who came from humble beginnings who sort to remake, and redefine his life. In a very violent world he sort to create beauty and master the forces of nature.

This documentary recreates the world, the historical epoch and political milieu, with all its intrigues and assignations, of Leonardo's society with magnificent vivacity.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Nikola Tesla – The Man Who Created the Future

Today on Far Future Horizons we pay homage to Nikola Tesla.

Nikola Tesla invented many of the electrical technologies which underlie our technological civilization, including: alternating-current (AC) power transmission and electric motors; high-frequency (HF) communications, the basis for radio and television; neon lighting; remote radio-control; radio astronomy and X-rays. He was the man that developed the technology that electrified America and the world. He is credited by many maverick inventors as the man who almost single handedly created the future. Yet despite his great body of work he is largely forgotten by the general public at large.

Nikola Tesla’s influence could also be seen in such diverse fields as the development of RADAR, hybrid-fuel automobiles, the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) and particle beam weaponry. Tesla even foresaw the need for alternative energies sources such as geothermal and solar power and also envisioned an age where electric power would one day be transmitted wirelessly.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Exodus Earth ~ Titan

Today on Far Future Horizons we begin a brand new series of exciting documentaries titled “Exodus Earth” *also known as "Space Pioneer"  hosted by British physicist Dr. Basil Singer. In this series Dr. Singer explores one very important question - does humanity have a future in the Cosmos beyond its planetary home the Earth? Our first destination is Saturn's moon Titan.

Saturn Rise Over Titan's Surface

In Exodus Earth, the six-part series, we investigate if humans could possibly call Mercury, Venus, Mars, Saturn's moon Titan, Jupiter's moon Callisto and the exosolar planet Gliese 581c home in the future.

In Search of Myths and Heroes – Jason and the Golden Fleece

One of the most ancient and enduring of myths is that of the hero’s quest. Today on Far Future Horizons we present the second installment of Michael Wood’s acclaimed television series In Search of Myths and Heroes.

In this episode we follow in the wake of the sailing ship Argo and follow Jason and the Argonauts on an intrepid odyssey that will take them to the ends of the known world of classical antiquity.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Death of the Universe

Today on Far Future Horizons we present another episode of the acclaimed documentary series the Known Universe concerning the ultimate end of our universe.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

The Great Library of Alexandria

Today on Far Future Horizons we will wander through the halls of the Great Library of the Ptolemaic-Egyptian city of Alexandria. It was once the greatest centre of research and learning of the ancient world and served as the home of the greatest minds of classical civilization. Hipparchus, Euclid, Galen and Hypatia strolled through its magnificent galleries and made use of its fantastic collection of half a million papyrus scrolls encompassing the knowledge of classical antiquity.

Underwater Universe – The Seven Deadly Seas

Today on Far Future Horizons we embark on a voyage into the realm of inner space and visit the Underwater Universe of Aquatica (the Undersea realm of our planet).

Underwater Universe is a documentary series that tracks the history and evolution of the ocean’s seven deadliest zones. Locations that throughout history have been the direct cause of human devastation - floods, tsunamis, hurricanes, whirlpools, ice, underwater volcanoes, and shipping graveyards.

Journey to the Center of the Earth

Today on Far Future Horizons we delve into the fantasy and amazing accuracy of Jules Verne's classic novel and discover what it will take for humanity to conquer the final frontier – the center of the earth. This documentary first aired on the Discovery Channel in 2003.

Man has always been fascinated with the soil beneath his feet, but just how far beneath the earth's crust have we gone? Miners reveal some of the deepest mines ever constructed, while naval engineers demonstrate a deep-sea submersible capable of going 22,000 feet below the surface. In the lab, civil engineers talk of adapting NASA technology to develop a super-drill that could reach the center of the earth. And, scientists explain that there is in fact life very near the earth's molten core – just as Verne predicted.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Universe: Beyond the Millennium ~ Alien Life

“At the start of a new millennium we're about to embark on the greatest adventure of all time. Five hundred million miles from Earth, a spacecraft will land on Jupiter's icy moon, Europa. It's mission, to search for alien life. As we reach out across the galaxy, our spacecraft will explore the most extreme environments to answer the ultimate question, are we alone?” ~ John Hurt, The Expanding Universe: Searching for Other Life Forms.

Today on Far Future Calling we join the search for Alien Life in this episode from the acclaimed documentary series "Universe: Beyond the Millennium” narrated by John Hurt.

Humankind has pondered since time immemorial whether or not we are alone in the Universe. Only within the last century or so has the technology come into existence that would allow for the serious scientific search for such extraterrestrials.

This documentary details some of the discoveries that have been made thus far that might suggest the possibility of extraterrestrial life, as well as the continuing efforts of scientists to make new discoveries along those lines.

Europa Life Poster by Bill Wright: One Day Astronauts May Visit Europa to Search for Alien Life.

In Search of Eden and the Beginnings of Civilization

Today on Far Future Horizons we are going to take a trip back in time in Search of the mythical Garden of Eden and the beginnings of civilization. Whether or not you believe in the veracity of the biblical account, both of today’s video features contain a wealth of information concerning the origin of the first civilization to emerge on our planet – The Sumerians.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Decoding the Skies

Today on Far Future Horizons we are going to take another foray into the field of Archaeoastronomy and explore how our ancient forbearers decoded the night sky and built the foundations of civilization. Not with the help of ancient astronauts but through their own perseverance and innate intellect.

Our ancestors' relationship with the heavens led to some of humankind's ancient discoveries and greatest creations. The ancient Greeks discovered Earth was round; the Polynesians used the sun and stars to navigate vast oceans in simple canoes; some think amazing structures like Stonehenge were designed to observe the sky. Now, Known Universe examines mankind's first observations of the cosmos to understand how they put us on the path to modern discovery.