Posts Tagged 'discovery'

Items of Note: Life, Choices, Life Choices

Remember how Planet Earth was/still is completely amazing?  Discovery/BBC (the same people who did Planet Earth) is doing another series in the same vein, with incredible nature footage, impressive feats of film-making, ants catching a fungus that explodes their heads (or at least I hope- That’s my favorite episode, hands-down.  That and the shark that eats the seal in mid-air).  It’s Life, and you can watch clips and an explanation here (after a commercial). Oprah is narrating, and it’s a pleasure to hear her calm voiceover as this Komodo dragon tries to eat a water buffalo.

If that clip didn’t make you hungry enough to stop reading and go get a snack, check out this article from the NYT’s Green Inc column.  It summarizes a study of the behavior of consumers who are given green shopping choices, and who buy environmentally-friendly things.  The gist is, viewing ecofriendly shopping options makes us more altruistic.  But actually buying green stuff makes us smug, thieving jerks:

“People do not make decisions in a vacuum,” the researchers concluded, adding that “while mere exposure to green products can have a positive societal effect by inducing pro-social and ethical acts, purchasing green products may license indulgence in self-interested and unethical behaviors.”

The experimenters attribute this to a “single-action bias”, which leads people facing big problems to rationalize making one small responsive action as ‘enough’ to then consider those problems solved.  I’m not sure how that progresses to petty theft (read the article) but perhaps green consumers feel they deserve a little extra for their troubles?  I recognize myself in the single action bias description, for sure. I’ll check for the other part later this week (I need to stock up on recycled TP- will it cause me to cut off an old lady in the parking lot?  Stay tuned!)

Third noted item is also scholarly. I’ve got all the responses I want from graduate programs, and I’m deciding between the University of Washington and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  I welcome opinions to flavor my other research.

Green TV: Hulu and Beyond

This post is mostly to justify the amount of time I’ve spent watching Remington Steele at Hulu this past week, but when I was looking through their archives, I came across a surprising number of environmentally-oriented programs.  What’s up with all this green tv?

Hulu is a free streaming video site- like Youtube, but they carry entire shows and movies.  It’s legal, and there’s some stuff you have to sign in to watch, and there are a couple of commercials played during each episode.  But the videos stream pretty quickly and without weirdness for me, so that’s a nice big plus.

You can watch clips or episodes from “Big Ideas for a Small Planet”, which is a documentary series about sustainable topics- power, water, fashion (!?), and the like. “Eco Biz” profiles entrepreneurs in green businesses, and new eco-business strategies. “Ecoist” appears to be clips of famous people talking about their environmental activism. National Geographic has a passel of short environment documentaries posted, also. Oh, and Fox was helpful and posted their 10-second clips of famous people telling you to do green things from Earth Day. So, if you feel the need to hear Omar Epps lecture you on reusable bag use, be Hulu’s guest.

As for environment movies, there’s…uh…The Day After Tomorrow.  Which is awesome, but not in the informative way.

Looks like there are some entire channels dedicated to green programing now- Sundance’s The Green, Discovery’s Planet Green.  They’ve got reality shows (on Planet Green: Greensburg- after a tornado destroyed everything, they’re trying to rebuild, well, green) and celebrities (Sundance does Ecoist, but a more entertaining series has Isabella Rosselini in elaborate insect costumes while describing in graphic detail their mating rituals.  Probably NSFW, or children for whom the facts of life have not been outlined, though bug love presents a much less loaded conversation-starter than most cable programming).  Plus home makeovers, science, history, business…like other cable channels, only I’m hoping the show host banter is less grating and more informative.

I’ve got at least a season of Steele left, but maybe I’ll stream some Big Ideas afterward.  Anyone else seen these shows?  Whats good?


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