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The Secret Life of Chaos image

The Secret Life of Chaos

Chaos theory has a bad name, conjuring up images of unpredictable weather, economic crashes and science gone wrong. But there is a fascinating and hidden side to Chaos, one that scientists are only now beginning to understand.

It turns out that chaos theory answers a question that mankind has asked for millennia - how did we get here?

In this documentary, Professor Jim Al-Khalili sets out to uncover one of the great mysteries of science - how does a universe that starts off as dust end up with intelligent life? How does order emerge from disorder?

It's a mindbending, counterintuitive and for many people a deeply troubling idea. But Professor Al-Khalili reveals the science behind much of beauty and structure in the natural world and discovers that far from it being magic or an act of God, it is in fact an intrinsic part of the laws of physics. Amazingly, it turns out that the mathematics of chaos can explain how and why the universe creates exquisite order and pattern.

And the best thing is that one doesn't need to be a scientist to understand it. The natural world is full of awe-inspiring examples of the way nature transforms simplicity into complexity. From trees to clouds to humans - after watching this film you'll never be able to look at the world in the same way again.

 
Oh My God image

Oh My God

"What is God?" is the question that drives Oh My God?, a glib, simplistic documentary from first-time director Peter Rodger. To his credit, Rodger displays no qualms about tackling a subject that has perplexed the world's greatest thinkers. Regrettably, his film adds nothing but glitz and noise to our understanding of religion.

Rodger concentrates on four faiths—Christianity, Judaism, Islam and Buddhism—offering observations about each and backing them up with illustrations. His approach is annoyingly scattershot, bouncing from one continent to another while pretending to find connections between, say, a rodeo in Texas and a druid ritual in England. Interview subjects range from schoolchildren to taxi drivers, with the occasional musician and B-list celebrity thrown in for ballast. The end result is a kind of whirlwind course in comparative religion, with theology reduced to soundbites, pretty pictures and limp metaphors.

Capturing imagery and recording interviews do not add up to a documentary, no matter how much you swaddle them in World Beat music and fancy editing. What's missing from Oh My God? is any sense of narrative structure, of logical debate, of intellectual curiosity. Instead, Rodger inserts himself into the material, displaying astonishing condescension and attitudes that are borderline-racist. He plays cartoon music over a sequence of a Muslim searching for a passage in the Koran, ridicules a born-again Christian for owning a gun shop, and refers to the Maasai as "colorful" people who "cut fashion figures."

What will viewers learn from Oh My God? God means different things to different people. The concept of God has been used for both good and evil purposes. Religion has caused many wars. But the most prominent fact to emerge from the documentary: Rodger has a broad list of contacts and enough free time to travel the world to film them.

Picking apart the reasoning in Oh My God? doesn't require much effort, even if you are the type to take spiritual guidance from tour guides, singers and models. It's one thing to give voice to crackpots only for the opportunity to belittle them, or to bask in the glow of presences like Ringo Starr and Hugh Jackman. But when Rodger prowls the corridors of a children's cancer ward to question terminal patients about the afterlife, he crosses into disturbingly exploitive material. Poor judgment like this is the defining characteristic of Oh My God?.

 
Everything image

Everything

Professor Al-Khalili set out to discover what the universe might actually look like. The journey takes him from the distant past to the boundaries of the known universe. Along the way he charts the remarkable stories of the men and women who discovered the truth about the cosmos and investigates how our understanding of space has been shaped by both mathematics and astronomy.

 
 

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