Plants do not have secret powers!

I originally posted this as a reply to a topic in MPISMS, but decided I was cheesed off enough to start a thread here

I heard about the show Supernature on the Discovery Channel, and set aside time to watch it. I knew I was going to be disappointed when the first paragraph in the program tells us that “maybe these birds have discovered the secrets of the Bermuda Triangle.”

Why should a nature show have to resort to Bermuda Triangle references?

Why did they feel the need to constantly mention ‘secret powers’ and ‘hidden forces’?

The biological world is amazing enough in its own right. It doesn’t have to be sold through hyperbole. Secret powers indeed.

More complaints:

–as far as I could tell, most of the nature footage was computer-generated! A nature show with fake animals! I don’t remember ever seeing National Geographic using pretend footage for their specials.

–MTV-style visuals. Quick cuts, rapid-fire editing. I hate this!

–Every 10 minutes or so, a plug for the Discovery Website with ridiculous click options: “Pick the best animal athletes” and “Choose the strangest animal parents.” WTF?

I am a biologist by education and profession. I also take issue with some of the claims made on the program, but I’ll not go into those here. Suffice it to say that the presentation itself has lowered my opinion of the Discovery Channel to sub-zero levels.

Hey Divemaster, it’s the November sweeps. Sad to see TDC stooping but at least they haven’t run stories about strippers and boas or some silly show about wrestling.

I agree that the hype on that show was a bit much but I’ll take bad TDC over the tripe on CBS, NBC or ABC.

PS - I am getting tired of that “squished” screen effect when TDC hypes their website.

By the time i have hids, they’ll be learning biology like this:
(rap tune)
See that bee!? He’s runnin’m around
picki’n up the pollen and puttin’ it down
making honey with the BEEZ!

By the time I have kids, they’ll be learning biology like this:
(rap tune)
See that bee!? He’s runnin’m around
picki’n up the pollen and puttin’ it down
making honey with the BEEZ!

Sanibelman, that’s got to be the funniest thing I’ve read this week. Thanks for the laugh!

Wu-Tang Killer Bees, Sanibel! :smiley:

Now back to our regularly scheduled topic. . .

I sorta agree with ya’ll on the hype and the way the show was presented. Hell, I stopped watching most shows about paranormal phenomena because of their presentation. But for me, the real problem is the way they say that the animals have “extrasensory perception,” and then go on to describe the senses of the animals. The things they speak of ( sonar, seeing in UV ) are not extrasensory! They’re the animals’ senses, plain and simple. Just because humans don’t have these senses, does not make them extrasensory!

I think that if the show didn’t have that falacy ( sp? ) it would have been a very enjoyable peice on the specialized senses of animals.

“Oh we were brought up on the Space-Race, now they expect us to clean toilets. When you have seen how big the world is how can you make do with this?”
Pulp, “Glory Days”

Well, if you weren’t happy with TLC you could have switched over to The Discovery Channel, which marks sweeps by showing 900 shows about sharks, preferably chewing off someone’s leg.

Does this mean I should take down the garlic garlands from my bedroom windows?

Oh, but Dr. Van Helsing said that I mustn’t!

– Lucy Westenra

You just hit one of my pet peeves. I can stand crap science and paranormal nonsense on network TV, because it doesn’t pretend to be anything but entertainment.

But networks like The Learning Channel and Discovery have a responsibility to make sure their information is accurate, because they present it that way. Yet these days there seems to be a never-ending procession of crackpot theories and junk science on these networks. Unfortunately, they mix it right in with the real science, so people can’t tell the difference. So clowns like Graham Hancock and his mysterious Sphynx get mixed in with Stephen Hawking, and the lay public will assume that they are of equal importance.

These networks are doing a lot of damage to science education, in my opinion.

One of the “reliable” cable educational networks had a big special called “The Men Who Killed Kennedy.”

It gave a very convincing account on how organized crime was the culprit.

Of course, they neglected all the evidence of the Warren Commission, and all the stuff that showed that LHO, acting alone, probably did the deed.

And, they did have a bunch of evidence that was made up for the program–including the “proof” of the gunman in the grassy knoll clearly shown in the (Morman? Mormon? Worman) polaroid.

That is, once they drew an outline in the shape of a man’s head leaning over the outline of a gun barrel, and conveniently colored in the shadows in flesh tones. There was no question that you were looking at a gunman.

Another program that really disappointed me was a special on the Bermuda Triangle, hosted by James Burke.

I have enjoyed Burke’s previous series, and it bothered me that he lent credence to the BM by hosting a program on it–that purported to find plausible explanations for the disappearances (like gas pockets).

Well, I feel like a real asshole. I posted the first topic on this subject, and said I liked the show. I did. I thought a lot of the content was really cool and interesting. While annoyed by the flashy photography and the website advert, I guess I’m used to it. I watch a lot of TV, less nowdays though, and that crap is all over the place. Documentaries on TDC and TLC have flashy lights and camera angles and crap. It’s really annoying, but I figured that was to be expected.

Yes, the claim that animals and plants have mystic powers was a really lame idea on their part. But some of the stuff in the show was really cool. So, my position is this:

Cool animal facts that I never knew: 9 (maybe 8)

annoying camera shots: 2

calling animal sences supernatural: 1

the cool camera shots that turn a moving object into a seamless, frozen panning shot, um… thingie: 10

Teasing us with the chick sunbathing in Australia: 1

Addressed the phenomenon of raining animals as a simple weather phenomenon: 8

Dolphins can see through people: 1

Watching a dude drink frog piss from the source: 10 (That was way cool!)

The show had it’s moments. But they way it was presented blew chunks.

The show that I really like is the one on Disney (Wildlife with Jeff Corbin? Is that it?). I don’t know how accurate the biology stuff is, but I like the way he talks to kids (the audience) as though they were intelligent.


Why sex is better than religion: There are laws against forcing sex on minors who can’t think for themselves.

You’ve obviously never toked upon some Columbian Redbud dude.

The best is that Aussie crocodile hunter guy. I could watch him and his wife for hours.

“This adult croc wants to make linked sausages out of me and my wife, so let’s see if I can poke her with a short stick!”

And besides, if plants DID have secret powers, we wouldn’t know about them. Otherwise they wouldn’t be secret powers, would they?
There WAS one semi-recent show on the Discovery Channel that renewed my faith in that network. It was on Crop Circles, and it spent pretty much the whole show explaining why they were all human-made.

It also had an amusing aside, where a kid released a 6-foot weather balloon with a flashlight in it at night. Several witness swore it was an alien spacecraft, and one said it was at least half a mile across!

Quick-N-Dirty Aviation: Trading altitude for airspeed since 1992.

Tracer, plants do have secret powers.
That green shit I smoked over the weekend put me in the same orbit as Jupiter.

A solar orbit out past the main belt asteroids? Wow, that is impressive. D’you have any idea how much delta-V is required to boost you into a circular orbit that far from the sun?

(And I congratulate you on being able to time your circularizing burn so well. Hohmann transfers can be awfully tricky!)