Author Topic: Frozen Planet. Another ace from the BBC.  (Read 6820 times)

Eccentrica Gallumbits

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Re: Frozen Planet. Another ace from the BBC.
« Reply #25 on: November 03, 2011, 06:06:24 pm »
I suspect that's largely down to the fact that Attenborough's role these days is principally as a figurehead. This isn't a true Attenborough series in the same way that Life On Earth was, for the simple reason that his main involvement is being back in the studio reading a script. OK, he probably has some involvement in the commissioning and editing process as well, but it lacks the impact of seeing him larking about with gorillas.

It's really time for him to had over the baton to someone younger who can actually get out there and do the job hands-on - I reckon Steve Backshall would be a brilliant natural successor to Attenborough. Backshall's Deadly 60 is by far the best natural history prog on telly at the moment.

d.
He was out on the Antarctic in last night's show. Or maybe the Arctic. I was skyping Bobb at the time so I'm not sure. But there isn't a lot of larking around he can do at the poles - he's not exactly going to start trying to cuddle a polar bear or a narwhal.
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Re: Frozen Planet. Another ace from the BBC.
« Reply #26 on: November 03, 2011, 08:43:51 pm »

It's really time for him to had over the baton to someone younger who can actually get out there and do the job hands-on - I reckon Steve Backshall would be a brilliant natural successor to Attenborough. Backshall's Deadly 60 is by far the best natural history prog on telly at the moment.

d.

Infidel!

I've seen a bit of Backshall, I think, and much prefer Attenborough. Too many of the younger lot feel the need to shout all the time. Give me understated.

Anyway, you don't need someone on screen all the time. A good commentary tells you what you need to know, and the pictures do the rest.

Long may Attenborough reign.
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citoyen

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Frozen Planet. Another ace from the BBC.
« Reply #27 on: November 03, 2011, 10:49:24 pm »
He was out on the Antarctic in last night's show. Or maybe the Arctic.

Oh, I must have missed that bit. Apologies, Mr ASir D.  :-[  [edited - thank you, Rhys  ;D]

d.

Rhys W

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Re: Frozen Planet. Another ace from the BBC.
« Reply #28 on: November 03, 2011, 11:30:25 pm »
That's "Sir" to you!  ;D

citoyen

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Re: Frozen Planet. Another ace from the BBC.
« Reply #29 on: November 04, 2011, 11:23:05 am »
A good commentary tells you what you need to know, and the pictures do the rest.

One of my problems with Frozen Planet is that it doesn't have a good commentary.

It does have silly music, though, which is wholly unnecessary and detracts from my enjoyment.

I know what you mean about young presenters being shouty but I find Backshall engaging and interesting.

d.

Mr Larrington

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Re: Frozen Planet. Another ace from the BBC.
« Reply #30 on: November 04, 2011, 03:01:14 pm »
I literally LOLed at the thieving Adele penguin.

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Wowbagger

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Re: Frozen Planet. Another ace from the BBC.
« Reply #31 on: November 06, 2011, 09:09:17 pm »
I questioned one statement by Attenborough which seemed just to hang in the air: it was about the orcas not being penguin eaters, but fish eaters, and they were only dancing on their tails to find out which way the open sea was.

How do they know?
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redshift

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Re: Frozen Planet. Another ace from the BBC.
« Reply #32 on: November 06, 2011, 09:12:19 pm »
Presumably the researchers spend a lot of time trawling the literature (along with youtube and wikipedia) for such observations from people who do know, then they write the script, and DA reads it...
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Re: Frozen Planet. Another ace from the BBC.
« Reply #33 on: November 06, 2011, 09:16:10 pm »
Barakta's watching a narwhal fight.  On an iPad.  Fuck yeah!
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Wowbagger

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Re: Frozen Planet. Another ace from the BBC.
« Reply #34 on: November 06, 2011, 09:18:10 pm »
Presumably the researchers spend a lot of time trawling the literature (along with youtube and wikipedia) for such observations from people who do know, then they write the script, and DA reads it...

My problem with this sort of stuff is that I've taken as gospel stuff that I've read in books about animals and then my own experience has demonstrated the book to be wrong - or at least, incomplete. This sort of thing turned up fairly often when I was beekeeping.

My (very well qualified) beekeeping mentor explained this by saying "Well, the bees clearly don't read the right books!"
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mcshroom

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Re: Frozen Planet. Another ace from the BBC.
« Reply #35 on: November 06, 2011, 09:57:14 pm »
I've just found out that my Dad is getting the box set for Christmas, so I might be watching Narwhal traffic jams on Christmas day :)

Oh and the Narwhals clips have their own little web site here
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LEE

Re: Frozen Planet. Another ace from the BBC.
« Reply #36 on: November 07, 2011, 10:13:19 am »
Presumably the researchers spend a lot of time trawling the literature (along with youtube and wikipedia) for such observations from people who do know, then they write the script, and DA reads it...

My problem with this sort of stuff is that I've taken as gospel stuff that I've read in books about animals and then my own experience has demonstrated the book to be wrong - or at least, incomplete. This sort of thing turned up fairly often when I was beekeeping.

My (very well qualified) beekeeping mentor explained this by saying "Well, the bees clearly don't read the right books!"

Given the speed that the Penguins were waddling away it seems that nobody told them that the Orcas didn't eat Penguins.

I loved the sequence showing a chavvy Penguin stealing stones from another.  Until then I didn't realise a Penguin could display a "I'm totally innocent and simply have no idea who took your stones" expression.

mattc

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Re: Frozen Planet. Another ace from the BBC.
« Reply #37 on: November 07, 2011, 10:29:19 am »
I questioned one statement by Attenborough which seemed just to hang in the air: it was about the orcas not being penguin eaters, but fish eaters, and they were only dancing on their tails to find out which way the open sea was.

How do they know?
Its called an educated guess. It's likely that the orcas learn a lot from the higher viewpoint, but researchers are 95% certain they use the information about local geography. Of course they may also be making detailed notes of penguin society, and the significance of fancy eyebrows therein.

Or were you asking about Orcas eating fish? Your post is unclear.
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Re: Frozen Planet. Another ace from the BBC.
« Reply #38 on: November 07, 2011, 11:25:59 am »

They start sending it on Danish television tonight After reading this thread, it seems like a must see.  :thumbsup:

Wowbagger

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Re: Frozen Planet. Another ace from the BBC.
« Reply #39 on: November 07, 2011, 12:07:25 pm »
I questioned one statement by Attenborough which seemed just to hang in the air: it was about the orcas not being penguin eaters, but fish eaters, and they were only dancing on their tails to find out which way the open sea was.

How do they know?
Its called an educated guess. It's likely that the orcas learn a lot from the higher viewpoint, but researchers are 95% certain they use the information about local geography. Of course they may also be making detailed notes of penguin society, and the significance of fancy eyebrows therein.

Or were you asking about Orcas eating fish? Your post is unclear.

My post was about the certainty of scientists telling us about animal behaviour, our knowledge of which can only be gleaned by observation (parrots excepted - they can talk so can explain what they are doing). Assumptions can be made, but such certain statements by Attenborough would be better if he said something along the lines of "Our observations make us think that..."
Oh, Bach without any doubt. Bach every time for me.

Re: Frozen Planet. Another ace from the BBC.
« Reply #40 on: November 07, 2011, 12:07:41 pm »
How do they know?

The programme's researchers have read the scientific literature and condensed it to a narrative. Like any scientific claims, these are hypotheses on the basis of the available evidence, and inevitably the narration doesn't include all the caveats that appear in the science. (I think this is necessary simplification when making this kind of popular programme, but it's a shame that the BBC don't provide us with a way to trace back the narrative to the primary research.)

Quote from: Wowbagger
I questioned one statement by Attenborough which seemed just to hang in the air: it was about the orcas not being penguin eaters, but fish eaters, and they were only dancing on their tails to find out which way the open sea was.

Attenborough says (at 46:14 in episode 2):

Quote from: Attenborough
There is no real need for the penguins to be alarmed. These killer whales are a kind that only eats fish. Rising out is simply the best way for the whales to work out which cracks lead toward the coast and better fishing.

Pitman and Ensor (2003) is a paper supporting the first claim ("These killer whales are a kind that only eats fish"). The evidence for the restricted diet of population C comes largely from observation of stomach contents by Soviet whalers. See page 137: "Berzin and Vladimirov (1983) reported the stomach contents of 785 killer whales taken by the Soviet fleet in 1979/80". For this population the stomach contents was "98.5% fish, 0.4% marine mammals, 1.1% squid". On the other hand there's behavioural observation that goes the other way:

Quote from: Pitman and Ensor (2003)
Various personnel at McMurdo Station, Ross Sea, have reported that they have seen killer whales attacking both penguins and seals just off the base there on several occasions. Although it is not known which type of killer whales were involved (or even if these were really attacks), Type C is by far the most common form in the McMurdo area and would be the most likely candidate."

Ballard and Ainley (2005) have some intriguing observations of killer whales chasing (but apparently not catching or eating) penguins in the Ross Sea, and speculate as to the whales' motivation:

Quote from: Ballard and Ainley (2005)
... the presence of so many young whales, and the apparent focus of the adults on delivering single penguins to the young without any attempt to actually consume the penguins lead us to speculate that training was precisely the motivation. Such a scenario fits the definition of ‘training’ as reviewed by Baird (2000). While it seems killer whales rarely, if ever, eat Adélie penguins, penguins may offer a sort of “training simulator” for young learning to help provide food for the pod.

So the state of knowledge is more complex than can be summed up in a couple of sentences of narration, as you'd expect.

The second claim "Rising out is simply the best way for the whales to work out which cracks lead toward the coast and better fishing" is likely to be an informed guess based on watching the animals and tracking their movement using satellite-tracking tags attached to the whales' dorsal fins. Andrews et al. (2008) describes the research:

Quote from: Andrews et al. (2008)
Since at least the early 1970s, killer whales have been recorded annually in McMurdo Sound shortly after the icebreaking has begun. The whales have apparently learned to take advantage of foraging habitat made available when the icebreaker(s) opens up the channel, which allows whales to forage deeper into the fast  ice than they could otherwise (Pitman and Ensor 2003)."

(I couldn't find a paper that directly comments on the "rising out of the water to look for cracks" behaviour, but I only spent a few minutes searching. If you find something, post it here.)

References cited

Edit: I see from episode 3 that Bob Pitman was brought in by the BBC to be their killer whale consultant, so it's not a surprise to see his research featuring heavily.

Eccentrica Gallumbits

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Re: Frozen Planet. Another ace from the BBC.
« Reply #41 on: November 09, 2011, 09:47:25 pm »
 :-\

I know it's the circle of life and all that, but some of this tonight is quite hard to watch.
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Re: Frozen Planet. Another ace from the BBC.
« Reply #42 on: November 09, 2011, 09:49:59 pm »
The seals fight sequence was a bit spiky, for sure..

Re: Frozen Planet. Another ace from the BBC.
« Reply #43 on: November 09, 2011, 09:53:18 pm »
:-\

I know it's the circle of life and all that, but some of this tonight is quite hard to watch.

I'm pretty immune to the natural need for stuff to eat other stuff, but the orcas and minke was an eye opener. I know lots of predators gang up and exhaust their prey, but somehow the minke and the orca seemed too related. It was like bullying.

The more I see of orcas, the more I realise they are the chimps of the sea - a reminder that animals have many of the less attractive qualities we used to think were unique to us....

I did like the polar bear drying himself on the ice though. And the muskox were cool!
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Re: Frozen Planet. Another ace from the BBC.
« Reply #44 on: November 09, 2011, 10:00:55 pm »
Yikes. Just saw the 'making of', and the Orcas lining up to do their wave thing at the camera boat... 
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Eccentrica Gallumbits

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Re: Frozen Planet. Another ace from the BBC.
« Reply #45 on: November 09, 2011, 10:12:36 pm »
I'm pretty immune to the natural need for stuff to eat other stuff, but the orcas and minke was an eye opener. I know lots of predators gang up and exhaust their prey, but somehow the minke and the orca seemed too related. It was like bullying.

The more I see of orcas, the more I realise they are the chimps of the sea - a reminder that animals have many of the less attractive qualities we used to think were unique to us....

I did like the polar bear drying himself on the ice though. And the muskox were cool!
I didn't like the birds grabbing the penguin chick either. I know everything has to eat something else to live, but  :(
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nicknack

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Re: Frozen Planet. Another ace from the BBC.
« Reply #46 on: November 09, 2011, 10:33:34 pm »
Yikes. Just saw the 'making of', and the Orcas lining up to do their wave thing at the camera boat...

I couldn't believe the reaction of the chap in the boat - along the lines of, "oh, bless. They want to eat us. How thrilling."

Just as well the whales didn't realise the boat was an inflatable. One bite and you're fresh meat mate.
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Jaded

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Re: Frozen Planet. Another ace from the BBC.
« Reply #47 on: November 09, 2011, 10:47:18 pm »
The music was mostly unnecessary and spoiled the program.

As for nat. hist. programmes being made up. A person I know worked with a (insert well known natural history channel company here) in Australia.

Filming bats. Sadly the tree that the bats were in wasn't photogenic enough, so they moved them to one that was.  ::-)
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andygates

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Re: Frozen Planet. Another ace from the BBC.
« Reply #48 on: November 09, 2011, 10:59:16 pm »
The orca hunt was a beautiful bit of coordinated bullying.  Chapeau, if you wore hats, my predatory pals.

And just turn the bloody sound off if you don't like it.   ::-)
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Jaded

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Re: Frozen Planet. Another ace from the BBC.
« Reply #49 on: November 09, 2011, 11:11:10 pm »
You think wild life is enhanced by smug classical music?  ::-) ::-)


Mind you, most of the noises are also added after - I doubt many of the animals had lavalier microphones on for the long shots.

Twee made up stuff that detracts from the rather good footage.
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