Hostile Planet, premiering tonight at 9/8c, brings fresh grit and excitement to the nature documentary genre with innovative camera technologies and a willingness to showcase animals’ struggles in the most exposed environments. The series doesn’t shy away from the unpleasant realities faced by many animals in bleak, unrelenting wilderness, which drives the energetic storytelling throughout the six-part series.
New camera technologies allow stories to be told from creative and engaging perspectives. The camera incorporates the animal’s point of view into the series flawlessly, placing audiences in the middle of what they are watching. An immersive experience like this, which accredits the animal’s perspective of the world, brings new power to the wildlife film genre. But getting closer to the action and seeing events unfold as an animal would are not all that Hostile Planet does new; the series places a lot of focus on surviving in a rapidly changing world.
Mateo Willis, producer and director of the Mountains episode, sets Hostile Planet apart from other wildlife films, saying it is not “like a moving coffee table book which is nice and calm and you can put it away at the end and forget about and it’s not troubling. That is not a real representation of the world, particularly not today. Because our world is changing faster that it ever has before.” The plight of animals in increasingly volatile environments is visually and emotionally striking, especially given how timely and accurate the series is. The brutal, dramatic, and endless realities of the natural world are on full display in this show, and are sure to stir empathy and awareness in viewers. Read the rest
Life on Mars has always been a standard science fiction topic, but Season 2 of National Geographic’s “Mars” shows how real and attainable that focus has become. The first season of the docudrama series aired in 2016 and was notable for its blending of fiction and science-based documentary, a format the show has maintained and improved. Read the rest
This video accompanies National Geographic's terrific reporting on the global plastic waste crisis. it shows how America became a plastic-addicted throwaway culture, and how the earth is now paying for humanity's short-sighted sin. Read the rest
National Geographic reports exclusively on a project in Peru using low-altitude drones to identify dozens of ancient geoglyphs undetectable by the unassisted human eye. Read the rest
As a species, we've got a long history of being shitty to one another for no other reason than skin color. White folks, myself included, have arguably earned the right to drop the mic on bigotry. Over the centuries, we honed systemic racism to such a razor edge that the cuts our ugly worldview made are still being suffered today. As our world's recent politics have illustrated, a lot of people still buy into this superiority-of-the-white-man bullshit. But it's getting better. Views are changing, albeit slowly, and we're crawling on our knees towards equality.
I think that one of the reasons that it's taking us so long to get there is that no one likes to admit that they're wrong. Doing so puts you in a perceived position of weakness, which is ironic given that owning one's faults can be so powerful. Believing this as I do, I was really surprised to read this morning that National Geographic decided to call itself to account for the racist reporting that its correspondents have written and they've published over the decades:
Instead of wasting their time on naval gazing, the magazine's editorial team asked an outsider, historian John Edward Mason, to hunt down all of the ugly, racist writing he could find from National Geographic's archives. As National Geographic's current Editor-in-Chief Susan Goldberg explains, examining the publication's past was both painful and necessary:
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I’m the tenth editor of National Geographic since its founding in 1888. I’m the first woman and the first Jewish person—a member of two groups that also once faced discrimination here.
Jayaprakash Joghee Bojan risked crocodiles and other dangers to snap this stunning image of an orangutan, named National Geographic's top nature photo for 2017. Read the rest
Chameleons are a non-native species in Florida. They've gotten a foothold through illegal "chameleon ranching" by breeders. Enter reptile enthusiasts who call themselves herpers and who go out at night to catch these free-range invaders for fun and profit. Read the rest
Alberta’s Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology displays a nodosaur fossil that is so well-preserved that bumps and crevasses on its surface are clearly visible. National Geographic's Robert Clark captured amazing images. Read the rest
Gavin Grimm is the transgender teen bringing the fight to use a campus bathroom that corresponds to his gender identity, to the Supreme Court. Arguments will begin in March.
National Geographic and Katie Couric offer a personal glimpse into Gavin's story. Boing Boing favorite Andrea James served as a consulting producer on this segement. Read the rest
Matthew Killip directed this lovely short film about Klaus Kemp, a microscopist whose specialty had its heyday in Victorian times: arranging microscopic creatures into beautiful patterns. Read the rest
"Sardine Run" by G. Lecoeur edged out a competitive field of remarkable images to take National Geographic's 2016 title. Read the rest
National Geographic released Before the Flood over the weekend, and it is a calm but clear-eyed overview of the scope of the environmental crisis facing our planet. It also looks at pragmatic steps we can take right now to slow the damage. Read the rest
The National Geographic magazine has been a nonprofit publication since inception in 1888, but that ends today. The long-running American publication becomes very much for-profit under a $725 million dollar deal announced today with 21st Century Fox, the entertainment company controlled by the family of Rupert Murdoch.
Murdoch is a notorious climate change denier, and his family's Fox media empire is the world's primary source of global warming misinformation. Which would be no big deal here, I guess, were it not for the fact that the National Geographic Society's mission includes giving grants to scientists. Read the rest
The $750m deal places the legendary nonprofit under 21st Century Fox's control.
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The first edition of National Geographic was published in 1888, the same year that the National Geographic Society was founded. An note in the first issue said the publication would help spread the research of others, “so that we may all know more of the world upon which we live.”
But things have changed since 1888, and the Society said Wednesday that selling its publications to 21st Century Fox, which has partnered with the non-profit in owning and operating its television channels for almost 20 years, was the best bet for survival in the modern media market.
National Geographic reporter Bryan Christy commissioned two fake elephant tusks embedded with GPS, then planted them to track ivory smuggling routes from the Central African Republic into Sudan. Read the rest
She's approximately 12,000 years old now, but when she died in the Yucatan Peninsula she was only a teen. Read the rest