Science news and highlights of the week
Rank #1: Is quantum supremacy ‘garbage’?.
A quantum computer has performed a calculation considered impossible for conventional computers, but how meaningful is the result? As our guest reveals, this quantum state can be hugely significant and garbage – at the same time. Also we look at a new method of gene editing, which avoids cutting up DNA, get to grips with where the worlds worms live and watch elements being created in distant solar collisions.Listeners Michael and Ricky have been walking a tributary of the River Thames in London, UK. They’ve noticed that there are loads of fish, which have only returned in recent years thanks to clean water initiatives. But what about salmon, they wonder? Could they one day return too? If they popped some salmon eggs in the river, would they return to spawn later on in their lives?We head to Norway to find out whether it’s possible. There, we follow the life cycle of salmon, from birth to death and travels to the salmon’s spawning grounds, before following their path out to sea and beyond. We explore the science behind ‘natal homing’ - returning to the place of your birth in order to reproduce. It isn’t just confined to salmon. But how does it work? (Photo: A quantum circuit from Google's Sycamore computer. Credit: Google)
Rank #2: The birth of a new volcano.
A new undersea volcano has appeared off the coast of East Africa. The sea floor between Madagascar and Mozambique has become increasingly seismically active in the last year. As well as the appearance of this active volcano, local islands are now experiencing frequent earthquakes. The causes of Indonesia’s Palu Bay tsunami last year are being examined thanks to social media. Videos taken as the tsunami hit have been analysed to determine wave heights and speeds and suggest possible causes. Scientists at a massive underground physics research facility in Italy are to stand trial over safety risks. The facility uses poisonous chemicals. There are concerns these could leak into drinking water supplies in the event of an earthquake. As scientists keep finding ever more fascinating facts about the invisible housemates that share our homes, we investigate what might be lurking in quiet household corners or under our beds. We head out on a microbial safari with expert tour guide Dr Jamie Lorimer from the University of Oxford to find out what kind of creatures are living in our kitchens, bathrooms and gardens - from bacteria normally found in undersea vents popping up in a kettle, to microbes quietly producing tiny nuggets of gold. For so long this hidden world has been one that we’ve routinely exterminated - but should we be exploring it too?(Image: Multibeam sonar waves, reflecting off the sea floor near the French island of Mayotte, reveal the outline of an 800-meter-tall volcano (red) and a rising gas-rich plume. Credit: MAYOBS team (CNRS / IPGP -Université de Paris / Ifremer / BRGM)
Dr Adam Rutherford and guests illuminate the mysteries and challenge the controversies behind the science that's changing our world.
Rank #1: First human drawing, Cycling genes, Oden Arctic expedition, Hello World.
A new discovery of abstract symbolic drawings on a rock has been found in the Blombos Cave, about 300 km east of Cape Town in South Africa. The fragment - which some say looks a bit like a hashtag - puts the date of the earliest drawing at 73,000 years ago. As archaeologist Chris Henshilwood tells Adam Rutherford, the discovery is a "a prime indicator of modern cognition" in our species.Nearly half the human genome contains genes that regulate what your organs should be doing at a specific time of day, This has enormous potential importance to the efficacy of drugs - what time of day you take them could be a real issue. John Hogenesch from Cincinnatti Children's Hospital has been studying the genes that cycle with our daily lives. His new database of cyclic genes could help plan the best timing for a host of therapeutic interventions Physicist Helen Czerski has been in the Arctic for the last five weeks, aboard the Swedish research vessel and ice breaker Oden. As the expedition comes to a close we hear about the team's attempts to elucidate the driving forces behind the unusual weather patterns around the North Pole. Inside Science has been profiling authors shortlisted for the prestigious Royal Society science book prize. This week it's mathematician Hannah Fry's new book, Hello World: How to be human in the Age of Machines. You can hear extracts from it on Book of the Week on Radio 4 all this week too.Producer Adrian Washbourne.
Rank #2: Neanderthals; Plague; Wind Tunnel; Music Timing; Stem Cells.
We now know that Neanderthals and our ancestors interbred over 40,000 years ago. Recent research has shown that most people of European or East Asian descent carry a small percentage of Neanderthal DNA - about 2%. But two new papers this week examine some of the physical characteristics we may have got from the genes of our ancient cousins. They include some disease susceptibilities and hair and skin characteristics, which may have helped our forebears survive in northern climes.There have been many sensationalist headlines in the news this week suggesting that the deadly bubonic plague could return, when really, it never went away. And while it can still be deadly, it can be treated early with antibiotics. In the Middle Ages the Black Death is thought to have killed up to half of the European population and so too did the Justinian Plague 800 years earlier. Now scientists have compared these two plague genomes to find that they were both caused by distinct strains of the same bacterium, Yersinia Pestis. Knowing how the pathogen evolved in the past is crucial to our understanding of possible future strains of plague. Lead author Dr David Wagner from the University of Arizona tells Dr Adam Rutherford that it's very unlikely the plague will return on a mass scale.It's a windy Show Us Your Instrument this week - Prof Konstantinos ('Kostas') Kontis, Professor of Aerospace Engineering shows us around his wind tunnel. It's used to help develop more effective plane wings, helicopter rotors, and wind turbine blades, but cyclist Sir Chris Hoy has also been a test sample. Glasgow University is currently building a hypersonic wind tunnel, which can test air flow at speeds of up to Mach 10.We all unconsciously synchronise our movements and researchers at the University of Birmingham have shown how professional musicians make tiny adjustments in their playing to keep time with their colleagues. Alan Wing, Professor of Human Movement in Psychology tells Adam how this research about minute synchronisation is helping to inform how robots can be designed to interact with humans.Stem cells can become any other cell in the body from nerve to bone to skin, and they are touted as the future of medicine. Embryos are one, often ethically charged, source of stem cells and in 2006 Nobel prize winning research showed that skin cells could be "genetically reprogrammed" to become stem cells. These were called induced pluripotent stem cells. Scientists in Japan have now shown, in mice, that this previous painstaking method of making the versatile cells can be replaced by little more than a short dip in acid. Professor Chris Mason from University College London tells Adam that this major breakthrough could be faster, cheaper and possibly safer than other cell reprogramming technologies.Producer: Fiona Hill.
We take your questions about life, Earth and the universe to researchers hunting for answers at the frontiers of knowledge.
Rank #1: Is maths real?.
Faced with one cake and eight hungry people, it’s pretty obvious how maths underpins reality. But as mathematics gets further from common sense and into seemingly abstract territory, nature still seems to obey its rules - whether in the orbit of a planet, the number of petals on a flower, or the structure of an atom. But what exactly is the relationship between mathematics and reality? That’s the impossibly difficult question CrowdScience has been set this week by our listener Sergio in Peru. It’s one that’s been pondered by humans for millennia: the Greek philosopher Pythagoras believed “All is number”. Is maths a human construct to help us make sense of reality - a tool, a model, a language? Does maths create its own reality? Or is it reality itself?CrowdScience explores these questions with the help of experts from the fields of philosophy, mathematics and science: Dr Eleanor Knox, Dr Eugenia Cheng, Professor Lucie Green, Alex Bellos and Stefano Centineo. Presenter: Marnie ChestertonProduced by Cathy Edwards for the BBC World Service(Photo: A young woman with her eyes closed standing in front of chalkboard, working out maths formulas. Credit: Getty Images)
Rank #2: The Fourth Dimension.
How would a fourth dimensional being appear to humans?"It would look just weird" is one way to answer the question 'How would a fourth dimensional being appear to humans?' But it's more complicated than that - theoretical cosmologist Andrew Pontzen describes how objects are viewed from one dimension to another, and how it might affect parking spaces. Also on the programme: our panel of experts discuss bubble experiments, a theory that the Black Death was a virus, space elevators, algae as a biomass fuel, what affects the speed of digestion in our gut, a short definition of dark energy and the question is it true our DNA has alien properties?With Helen Czerski, department of mechanical engineering, University College London; virologist Jonathan Ball, University of Nottingham; and cosmologist Andrew Pontzen, University College London.Do you have a question we can turn into a programme? Email us at email@example.com.(Image: Stripes and points of light, one guess what a 4th dimension might look like, Credit: Thinkstock)
5 Live's science podcast, featuring Dr Karl, plus Dr Chris and Naked Scientists with the hottest science news stories and analysis.
Rank #1: 5 Live Science.
Chris Smith investigates the rise of antibiotic resistance.
Rank #2: Dr Karl.
Dr Karl answers your science questions.
Professor Jim Al-Khalili talks to leading scientists about their life and work, finding out what inspires them and asking what their discoveries might do for us in the future.
Rank #1: Brian Cox on quantum mechanics.
Professor Brian Cox of Manchester University describes how he gave up appearing on Top of the Pops to study quarks, quasars and quantum mechanics. Although he describes himself as a simple-minded Northern bloke, he has acquired an almost God-like status on our TV screens; while the 'Cox effect' is thought to explain the significant boost to university admissions to read physics. He talks to Jim Al-Khalili about learning to be famous, his passion for physics and how he sometimes has difficulty crossing the road. In 2005 Brian was awarded a Royal Society Research Fellowship for his work on high energy particle collisions at CERN and elsewhere - an enviable academic achievement. In 2009, he was voted one of the sexiest men alive by People magazine. He has invented a new kind of celebrity - a scientist who's regularly snapped by the paparazzi.Brian wants everyone to be as excited as he is about the laws that govern our universe: the beautiful, counter-intuitive and often weird world of quantum mechanics that explains what happens inside the nucleus of every atom, right down at the level of those exotically named elementary particles - quarks, neutrinos, gluons, muons. Challenged by Jim to explain the rules of quantum mechanics in just a minute, Brian succeeds; while conceding that the idea that everything is inherently probabilistic, is challenging. Even Einstein found it difficult. Schrodinger's cat, or Brian Cox, for that matter, are simultaneously both dead and alive. That's a fact. What this is all means is another question. "Am I just an algorithm?" Brian asks. "Probably", says Jim. Producer: Anna Buckley.
Rank #2: Lawrence Krauss on dark energy.
Lawrence Krauss has had an unusual career for a cosmologist. Not content with dreaming up theoretical models of the Universe, and writing bestselling science books, he gathers audiences of thousands for his talks with leading figures, from Noam Chomsky to Johnny Depp. And soon, he will star as an evil scientist in the film 'Salt & Fire' directed by Werner Herzog.Inside the world of physics, Krauss predicted the existence of a mysterious 'dark energy' in space, several years before it was found, although the Nobel Prize for the discovery was later given to three other scientists. As a public atheist, Krauss has come to blows with religious and political lobbies inside the United States. He tells Jim Al-Khalili why 'coming out' as an atheist in the US is considered so controversial.Producer: Michelle Martin.
Technological and digital news from around the world.
Rank #1: Chinese surveillance app analysed by researchers.
Travellers to China through Kyrgyzstan are being forced to install a surveillance app on their phones. Professor Thorsten Holt is on the programme to explain, with the help of investigative journalists, how he has hacked into and analysed this surveillance app. He says the app compiles a report on your phone contacts, text messages and even your social media accounts, as well as searching for over 73,000 specific files. Atmospheric MemoryA breath-taking new art environment where you can see, hear and even touch sound, has opened in Manchester. The exhibit is inspired by Charles Babbage, a pioneer of computing technology from 180 years ago. He once proposed that if all spoken words remain recorded in the air, a powerful computer could potentially ‘rewind’ the movement of all air molecules. So how has the ground-breaking ideas of Charles Babbage influenced art and technology today?. Robotic EndoscopyEndoscopies are medical procedures that involve threading a camera through the body to see inside. Anyone who has had one will know how uncomfortable they can be. But, they are also challenging for the doctor - taking on average 100 to 250 procedures to be able to perform well. Reporter Madeleine Finlay met Dr Joe Norton, who is part of an international team developing an intelligent robotic system that could make it a lot less painful for both the patient and clinician. Game Designing: Mentoring the Next GenerationMathew Applegate works with over 300 young people in Suffolk on game design, and has just won the BAFTA Young Game Designers Mentor Award. Having been a hacker and spent time working for the government, Mathew then set up his Creative Computing Club in 2012, which delivers courses on game design, robotics, AI, VR and much more. He spoke to us on why he believes game design is so beneficial for the young people of Suffolk. (Photo caption: “Analysing the App’s binary software code” credit: © Mareen Meyer ) Producer: Ania LichtarowiczProducer: Ania Lichtarowicz
Rank #2: New Phone in China? Scan your face….
Mobile phone users in China will have to submit to 3D face scans to get a sim card. Technology ethicist Dr Stephanie Hare and New York Times Asia correspondent, Paul Mozur, discuss how this will affect citizens’ privacy, and whether China is alone in making this decision. Petr Plecháč from the Institute of Czech Literature uses a piece of software that can identify people by the pattern of their written language. Gareth speaks with him about Shakespeare’s Henry VIII and the likelihood of John Fletcher co-authoring this key text. Reporter William Park takes a go at being a virtual burglar. He investigates a game that is allowing researchers to understand what thieves do during a break-in, with the aim of understanding their moves and decision making. A technique that allows people to check how computer neural networks make decisions about image classification may help to reduce mistakes by AI in medical imaging. Dr Cynthia Rudin explains why bird identification was the perfect model to test the computers’ abilities – and check them. (Image: Facial recognition with smartphone. Credit: Getty Images) Presenters: Gareth Mitchell and Bill ThompsonProducer: Rory Galloway
Health issues and medical breakthroughs from around the world.
Rank #1: Autism: the problems of fitting in.
Many people with autistic spectrum disorder learn techniques to overcome their difficulties interacting with others. The first study that has looked at the consequences of these compensatory strategies reveals some benefits but also significant downsides. The consequences can be stress, low self-esteem, mental illness and misdiagnosis. Claudia talks to lead researcher Professor Francesca Happé from King’s College London and Eloise Stark, a woman with autism.A new research programme at Imperial College London is investigating the link between obesity and infertility in men. Madeleine Finlay explores why weight gain and other factors of modern life might be influencing men’s sperm health.Tick-borne Lyme disease is on the rise in the northern hemisphere. Lyme disease can develop into a serious illness. It is hard to diagnosis early and delayed diagnosis means lengthy treatment and recovery. Dr Mollie Jewett at the University of Central Florida is working on a much faster means of diagnosis, and a more effective treatment. Deborah Cohen meets Dr Jewett and her ticks.Graham Easton is in the Health Check studio to talk about links between hearing loss and dementia, and the worrying spread of bacteria resistant to carbapenems, one of the most important kinds of antibiotic drugs. (Photo caption: A young woman standing in the middle of a crowded street – credit: Getty Images) Health Check was presented by Claudia Hammond with comments from Dr Graham Easton.Producer: Andrew Luck-Baker
Rank #2: Lighting the brain after birth.
Claudia Hammond visits the Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition.Every year a minority of births goes wrong and the baby is deprived of oxygen, which can lead to long-term brain damage and conditions such as cerebral palsy. Early treatment can reduce the likelihood of permanent disability or even death, so a team at University College London have now developed a new portable device which uses harmless infra-red to detect signs of brain injury in newborn babies, minutes after birth. It is called Cyril and consultant neurologist Subhabrata Mitra and Dr Ilias Tachtsidis, Reader in Biomedical Engineering, demonstrate it to Claudia.Antibiotic-resistant bacteria are a well-known problem, with one insidious thriving place being medical implants, where they form impenetrable biofilms. But there could be a solution from scientists at Nottingham University. Kim Hardie, a molecular microbiologist, is part of a team that has developed special slippery coatings for biomedical devices, such as catheters, that stop bacteria attaching and sticking in the first place. It is hoped these super biomaterials will help in the fight against super bugs, which has huge implications for infection rates in hospitals globally.It is estimated that one in nine people experience some form of breathlessness, which is most common in conditions such as heart failure, lung disease, panic disorder and Parkinson’s. But there are also significant numbers of people who suffer from breathlessness which cannot be explained. A team at Oxford University hypothesise this might be driven by networks in the brain. So using brain scans and computational modelling, Breathe Oxford has examined breathlessness in athletes, healthy people and those with chronic lung disease, seeking clues as to why some individuals become disabled by their breathlessness, while others with the same lung function live normal healthy lives. Claudia discusses this relationship between breathlessness and brain perception with lead researcher and anaesthetist Professor Kyle Pattinson and research scientist Sarah Finnegan. They also, using a ‘Steppatron’, demonstrate what it is like to live with a chronic lung condition. Mirror-touch synaesthesia is a rare type of synaesthesia where people can actually feel something that they can see being done to someone else. For example they might seem to feel a brush on their hand whilst watching someone else having their hand stroked. Dr Natalie Bowling from the University of Sussex researches this condition. It is estimated that 30% of the population could experience some form of synaesthesia and Claudia also meets Kaitlyn Hova, a violinist with visual-auditory synaesthesia. She demonstrates her violin, which lights up with different colours according to how she sees the notes. (Photo caption: Members of the MetaboLight team working together to develop novel light technologies to assess brain injury severity in newborns within hours after birth - credit: MetaboLight) Producer: Helena Selby
Brilliant solutions to the world’s problems. We meet people with ideas to make the world a better place and investigate whether they work.
Rank #1: Problem-Solving Prizes.
People can’t resist a prize, especially when there’s money to go with a medal, and for hundreds of years that basic human urge has been used to push humanity forward. When you focus minds and money towards a simple target, incredible things can happen - from the clock that won the Longitude prize money in the 1700s to the spacecraft that won the XPRIZE in 2004. Are there any problems that a big enough prize cannot solve?Producer & Reporter: William KremerPhoto Caption: Pilot Mike Melvill standing on Space Ship One, which went on to win the Ansari XPRIZEPhoto Credit: Getty ImagesThis programme uses a sound effect created by Freesound user bone666138Correction: Since our interview with Marcus Shingles was recorded, he has stepped down as CEO of XPrize
Rank #2: Teaching Kids To Think.
Giving children lessons in how to think and learn for themselves can lead to dramatic improvements in results, according to education researchers. World Hacks meets children learning these “meta-cognition” techniques through philosophy lessons and juggling and looks at the difficulties in implementing the system.Presented by Sahar Zand. Image caption: Child with hand up in class / Image credit: AP
A close look at chemical elements, the basic building blocks of the universe. Where do we get them, what do we use them for and how do they fit into our economy?
Rank #1: Helium (He).
The second most abundant element in the universe, helium is rare on Earth. In liquid form it is used as a coolant in super conducting magnets in MRI scanners – so should this rare element be used in something as frivolous as party balloons? And what happens to the helium when that balloon inevitably escapes the clutch of a small child?(Picture: US National Helium Reserve; Credit: Jonny Dymond/BBC)
Rank #2: Aluminium (Al).
Light, strong and flexible, aluminium is used in drinks cans, window frames, aircraft and packaging. Ubiqitous today, why was it valued more highly than gold 150 years ago? Is it better to recycle this metal, or spend vast amounts of energy creating more of it from scratch? And why is Jaguar Landrover teaching robots to rivet?
Surprising stories from unusual places. With ideas too big for a single episode, The Compass presents mini-series about the environment and politics, culture and society.
Rank #1: Finance.
Trillions of dollars flow through the global economic system every day and intermediaries in the finance sector take a cut on every dollar, euro and yen. But financial technology – “fintech” – is fast-changing how the system works. Philip Coggan of The Economist explores how the coming technical revolution in finance will create new winners and losers – and perhaps a rebalancing of global financial power.Producer: Ben Carter(Photo: Tech Globe on hand. Credit: Shutterstock)
Rank #2: Ocean Stories: The Atlantic.
1/4 In this first episode we cross the ocean from the Grand Banks to the tip of South Africa via Reykjavik in Iceland meeting those involved in fishing and working along the shores of the Atlantic.Beneath the waves, oceanographer Jon Copley from Southampton University provides a fascinating underwater commentary, demonstrating how currents and ocean ridges link the lives on every shore of the Atlantic.The Atlantic Ocean covers more than 100 million square kilometres, stretching from southern Africa to Iceland and from the Americas to Europe. Named after the Greek God Atlantikos and for the area of water near to the Atlas Mountains, it has shaped human history and culture in more ways than any other ocean as a trade route, a slave passage and as a vital source of food. For centuries it has been a source of wealth and prosperity for those who voyaged across it in search of food, from the Basque sailors who ventured to North America in search of cod and whale meat, to the Vikings who traversed it long before European explorers began exploring and exploiting its peoples and riches.It was fish that enabled this early travel and it is fish that has continued to sustain populations around the Atlantic ever since, from Newfoundland to Iceland and onward to West Africa. This first episode of our new series exploring the great oceans of the world looks at the communities eking a living from its waters - their culture, their livelihoods and the challenges they face.Presenter: Liz Bonnin(Photo: Icebergs off the coast of Canada's Newfoundland Credit: Getty Images)
Global experts and decision makers discuss, debate and analyse a key news story.
Rank #1: What Does Steve Bannon Think?.
Steve Bannon is widely seen as one of the most influential – and in some quarters one of the most dangerous - men in President Trump’s administration. He holds the key post of White House Chief Strategist, but who is he and what does he really believe? Join Owen Bennett Jones and his guests on Newshour Extra this week as they consider Mr Bannon's influence in the future direction of policy. How will his mix of right and left-wing views shape President Trump’s economic plans? How might his interest in fringe historical theories impact on social and foreign policy? And what are the consequences of his belief that the Judeo-Christian West is facing an existential crisis in its confrontation with the Islamic world?
Rank #2: Trump and Russia: A Long Relationship.
President Trump’s connections with Russia is a story that won’t go away. There are so many allegations flying around that it can be difficult to separate what is actually known and what is rumour. The President and his supporters have one key point - that despite all the coverage and official investigations, there is still no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. Nor is there evidence that Trump’s business connections to Russia are other than legitimate. But did Russia try to influence the election outcome? And what about the stream of stories linking members of Trump’s team to Russia? As a special counsel is appointed to oversee the investigation into alleged Russian interference in the US presidential election, Owen Bennett Jones and panel of expert guests marshal the facts and explain what is known for sure about Donald Trump’s longstanding relationship with Russia.Photo: Donald Trump in White House talking on phone to President Putin, 28 January 2017. Credit: Getty Images
Discover world history, culture and ideas with today’s leading experts.
Rank #1: Do we Need Artificial Intelligence?.
Look out of the window and you won’t see many robots – but the AI revolution is here. The relentless encroachment of machine-thinking into every aspect of our lives is transforming the way we think and act. Machine-learning algorithms drive our smartphones and social media - and they are increasingly present in our homes, offices, schools and hospitals. Whether driving cars, diagnosing disease or marking essays, artificial intelligence is everywhere. But how does machine-thinking compare to human thought and what are the limitations of AI? From biased training data to impenetrable black-box algorithms, Quentin Cooper and guests explore the strengths and limitations of AI. To discuss whether we need AI are - Zoubin Ghahramani, professor of Information Engineering at the University of Cambridge and deputy director of the Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence; Lydia Nicholas, senior researcher at the British innovation foundation Nesta; Professor Kentaro Toyama of the University of Michigan, co-founder of Microsoft Research India and author of Geek Heresy: Rescuing Social Change from the Cult of Technology.(Photo: A woman uses a mobile phone as she walks in front of an autonomous self-driving vehicle as it is tested in a pedestrianised zone. Credit: Getty Images)
Rank #2: Korea: Two Countries, One Past.
For over a thousand years the Korean Peninsula was one nation, with a unique identity and character. So what caused it to be divided into two countries that have become so radically different, culturally, economically and politically? Bridget Kendall is joined by Namhee Lee, associate professor of modern Korean history at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA); Eleanor Soo-ah Hyun, curator of the Korean Collections at the British Museum; and Dr James Hoare, a former diplomat who set up the first British Embassy in North Korea, and is now a Research Associate at the Centre of Korean Studies in the School of Oriental and African Studies in London (SOAS).Photo: Korean dancers perform a traditional dance. (Getty Images)
The BBC Natural History Unit produces a wide range of programmes that aim to immerse a listener in the wonder, surprise and importance that nature has to offer.
Rank #1: Natural Histories : Poppy.
Poppies are associated with many things but to most people they are a symbol of remembrance or associated with the opium trade. Natural Histories examines our fascination with the flower. Lia Leendertz visits the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew where James Wearn shows her a collection of poppy paraphernalia from around the world. Andrew Lack, of Oxford Brookes University and author of Poppy, explains how the flower made its way to the British Isles with the introduction of agriculture, and Joe Crawford of Exeter University describes the popularity of the opium poppy in 19th century Britain, especially among female poets. A vibrant opium trade led British horticulturalists to try and establish a home grown opium crop - without success. Fiona Stafford appraises the poppy in art encouraging us to look again at Monet's late 19th century painting of a poppy field in northern France. It was painted just a few decades before the outbreak of the Great War which established the red poppy as a permanent reminder of the bloodshed of fallen soldiers.
Rank #2: Living World from the Archives - Celtic Rainforest.
High in the hills of the Snowdonia National Park in Wales, can be found a rare and fascinating habitat. We all know of the importance of the Tropical Rainforests, however these Celtic Rainforests are in a way even rarer, with Britain being home to most of the best preserved examples in the World. The Valley is changing and time could possibly be running out for these remarkable and sensitive habitats, which have been suffering from pollution and climate change since the dawn of the Industrial Age. Brett Westwood relives programmes from The Living World archives, this episode from 2011. Wales is home to a remarkable and rare forest. Paul Evans joins Ray Woods from Plantlife Cymru in Snowdonia.In an area where 200 days of rain each year is normal, Paul and Ray don their waterproofs and venture up the valley of the Rhaeadr Ddu, the Black Waterfall. The landscape in this valley is dominated by water, not only from the exceptional rainfall this area is known for, but from the river thundering along many rapids and waterfalls providing a constant mist of high humidity within the Atlantic wood enveloping the valley. Linked to a mild climate in this part of Wales, everything in the woodland is a carpeted in a magical sea of emerald green moss, fungi and lichen. This valley is home to some rare and exotic plants, the filmy ferns are however special in this landscape. Ray and Paul eventually make it to the side of the huge Rhaeadr Ddu waterfall itself, where, as the roar of the water almost drowns their voices, there on a single rocky outcrop, bathed in constant spray they discover the rare, minute and exotically beautiful Tunbridge Filmy-fern. Nearby a Wilson's Filmy-fern is found on a single boulder of an ancient moss encrusted dry stone wall. How did this Filmy-fern get here is a point of discussion.
In-depth, hard-hitting interviews with newsworthy personalities.
Rank #1: Pro-Brexit Conservative MP, Owen Paterson.
Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May is facing a mutiny inside her own Conservative Party, which threatens to scupper her Brexit deal and quite possibly her premiership too. If she loses the key parliamentary vote on her deal in just a few days time, the UK could plunge into political chaos. The stakes could hardly be higher for Owen Paterson, a Conservative MP and former Minister intent on rejecting Mrs May’s Brexit. Is it too late to avert a damaging national crisis?Image: Owen Paterson (Credit: AFP/Getty Images)
Rank #2: Clinical Psychologist - Jordan Peterson.
Anger is a powerful force in politics and there's a lot of it about. Donald Trump, Brexit and a host of populist movements have been fuelled by anger with the way things are. Where does it come from? How best to respond? One much discussed, provocative perspective comes not from a politician but the Canadian clinical psychologist, Jordan Peterson, whose defence of traditional values has won him a worldwide following. Is his diagnosis liberating or dangerous?(Photo: Dr Jordan Peterson. Credit: Carlos Osorio/Getty Images)