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Making it Work: Agriculture in India and Kenya

Angela Saini is on a farm in a rural corner of Karnataka in south India, meeting the team behind Akshayakalpa – a kind of Farm in a Box. When you are on a low income, how can you possibly find a way to raise the funds you need to get into farming, or simply keep your existing farm afloat? Angela meets an entrepreneur who thinks she has found the answer. Angela heads back to Nairobi to catch up with the founder of OkHi – the app that lets you find any address in the city, which we discussed...

Duration: 00:26:35

Making it Work: a Navigating Kenya's Streets with Technology

3/4 OkHi is a new navigation device which runs on your mobile phone and allows you to find an address, however remote, with GPS coordinates and a photo. It should be accurate to within ten metres and copes without the usual massive infrastructure changes required by sat nav systems. Just outside Bengaluru in India, we take a look at the problems of getting access to banking services in remote communities and the solution being offered by a new company called Sub-K, and their human ATMs....

Duration: 00:26:36

Making it Work: Rugged Tablets for African Schools

We start in Kenya where science journalist Angela Saini meets a company planning to bring reliable stable internet and rugged tablets to remote schools with the help of BRCK, a tough solution to internet problems in the shape of a – guess what - brick. She visits a school in a slum near Dagoretti in Nairobi to see the system in action. In the northern Indian state of Assam, people have the least access to good quality eyecare in the whole of India – 18% of all cataracts happen in this one...

Duration: 00:26:36

Making it Work: Affordable Medical Equipment in India

In India around a fifth of people still live below the poverty line, according to the most recent World Bank estimates. Businesses selling to this market need to keep prices low. In the famous tech city of Bengaluru, south India, we visit a veterinary clinic for pets, the unlikely home of a surprising young start-up, which is set to revolutionise one of the most common medical devices on the planet - the stethoscope. In a village in Mathura, about three hours drive from New Delhi we take a...

Duration: 00:26:34

Stargazing: South Africa's New Generation Astronomers

Science writer and author Dava Sobel reports on the Square Kilometre Array, the world’s biggest telescope, with its antennae spiralling out across the African continent. In the remote North Karoo town of Carnarvon in South Africa, she meets the next generation of astronomers, training to run this major telescope facility, currently under construction. And as we discover, since Copernicus’ naked eye observations through the mists on the Baltic Sea, there are more scientists, more knowledge,...

Duration: 00:26:31

Stargazing: Faith versus Science in Hawaii

Science writer and author Dava Sobell travels to Hawaii to ascend Mauna Kea, the tallest mountain in the world, with its huge base sunk into the Pacific. Among the observatories on the summit is also the proposed Thirty Metre Telescope, but as she discovers, the prospect is creating a terrible rift between astronomers and local Hawaiians. TMT will be able to discern gases in the most remote atmospheres, which may indicate extra terrestrial life, but the site is sacred for the Native...

Duration: 00:26:31

Stargazing: A New Vision of Our Cosmic Origins

Dava Sobel travels to Edinburgh, to catch sight of the most ambitious telescope currently being made. This time next year, the James Webb Space Telescope will begin its long journey to a stable orbit at a place called L-2, one million miles beyond the Moon. There, like a butterfly emerging from its chrysalis, the James Webb will unfold the components of its huge, intricate body and look back in time, to probe events that occurred nearly 14 billion years ago. The James Webb is a Nasa-led...

Duration: 00:26:31

Stargazing: Astronomy from the Edge of the World

Dava Sobel hears from telescope operators at ALMA, the remote observatory high in the Atacama Desert in Chile, talking to us with their oxygen tanks at the ready. As we hear, the ‘radio sky’ presents an alternate universe, in which the Moon and planets are barely detectable. In their place are clouds of interstellar gas and other exotic celestial sources which reveal different aspects of our history and astronomy. At ALMA, the radio astronomers do not need to wait until dark to make their...

Duration: 00:26:29

Stargazing: Copernicus' Heavenly Spheres

Dava Sobel uncovers the brilliance of her hero, the 16th century Polish astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus, who revealed the true model of the universe by putting the Sun, rather than the Earth, at its hub. He observed the heavens with his naked eyes, using only rudimentary tools. In the Cathedral town of Frombork on the Baltic Sea in Northern Poland, we’ll hear how he served as a canon his entire career and how he kept his astronomical findings like a terrible secret, fearful of being...

Duration: 00:26:32

On the Black Sea: Sailors of Sevastopol

The Crimean coast is so important that Russia seized it from Ukraine. But what have been the costs of gaining this valuable prize? The final leg of our five-episode journey across and around the Black Sea takes us to the port of Sevastopol. And we also reveal details about the next mini-series from The Compass. Producer Monica Whitlock. Photo: The embankment of Sevastopol, Crimea, Ukraine Credit: Getty Images

Duration: 00:27:32

On the Black Sea: a Land Forgotten

Ghost states like Abkhazia have the trappings of independence, but are unrecognised by most of the world. On the far north-east shore of the Black Sea, the region is determined to preserve its independence and ancient culture, including a pagan religion based around animal sacrifices, but the price of statehood is deep isolation. Presenter Tim Whewell discovers what life is like in Abkhazia. He begins his journey at the Abkhaz border and continues by horse-drawn wagon - the only available...

Duration: 00:27:11

Black Sea Truckers

Black Sea truckers are a tough bunch. Driving thousands of miles through Europe, the Caucasus and eastwards to China, they transport everything from biscuits to fridges to pigs. Tim Whewell joins them on board the huge Black Sea ferry that connects these places, sailing from Odessa to Batumi in Georgia. The truckers are mainly from the former Soviet Union, many have known each other for years, and once all belonged to one country. The truckers are endlessly inventive as they navigate the...

Duration: 00:27:13

On the Black Sea: Diving Deep

The unique properties of the Black Sea make it an archaeologist’s dream but an ecologist’s nightmare. Most of its water is almost devoid of life, so medieval shipwrecks are perfectly preserved. But wildlife is under threat. On his journey across the sea, presenter Tim Whewell dives under the waves to explore its layers of history – and layers of life and death. He joins marine archaeologists investigating the secrets of a prehistoric settlement and meets the biologists counting dolphins....

Duration: 00:27:05

On the Black Sea: The Voyage Begins

A voyage across a mysterious sea where empires have clashed for centuries and tensions are rising again. By ferry, rowing-boat, horse-drawn wagon, the BBC World Service travels over, around, and under the Black Sea, to discover its ancient and modern secrets. As Russia and Nato build up their naval power in the region, presenter Tim Whewell meets the Istanbul ship-spotter who helped alert the world to the scale of the Kremlin’s military involvement in Syria. Tim embarks on his journey over...

Duration: 00:27:51

A Tale of Two Rivers: Kuala Lumpur

In Kuala Lumpur the regeneration of the city’s Klang River is seen as a key element in the modernisation of the whole country. The capital city is keen to attract talent workers and tourists from all over Asia and beyond. But the historic downtown heart of Kuala Lumpur has become run down, the home to migrant workers from Bangladesh and Myanmar, while the economic focus has moved to the ring of steel and glass skyscrapers on the outskirts. Regenerate the Klang, the thinking goes, and...

Duration: 00:26:52

A Tale of Two Rivers: Los Angeles

In Los Angeles Susan Marling speaks to Frank Gehry. The famous architect has been charged with creating a master plan for the improvement of the Los Angeles River. It is a tough job. Since the 1930s when the river was straightened and lined with concrete to mitigate flooding, the waterway has been a hidden, polluted channel that many Angelenos did not even know existed. But now the money and the political will (we speak to mayor of LA, Eric Garcetti) are in place to ‘green’ the river,...

Duration: 00:26:52

Where Are You Going: Hong Kong

In a city where East meets West and old meets new, Catherine randomly approaches a man in a taxi queue to ask him about where he is going. A funny conversation about the parcel he is taking to a friend soon leads to a riveting account of his near-death experience. Such is the currency of this series where strangers reveal unexpected details about their lives. Catherine also chats to an exhausted Philippine maid enjoying downtime with her friends, meets the “Lolita Goths” who want to feel...

Duration: 00:26:51

Where Are You Going: Reykjavik

In the world’s northernmost capital, Reykjavik, Catherine Carr talks to a swimmer bequeathed a poignant request from a friend, to the shopkeeper who makes beautiful handbags out of fish skin; from the sister who makes an apology to a sibling with fresh pastries, to the roller derby girls walking on thin ice. These portraits capture something of the city’s DNA, its sense of isolation, mythical beauty and rugged adventure. (Photo: Residents of Reykjavik. Credit: Paul Jay/Loftus Media)

Duration: 00:26:50

Where Are You Going: Brussels

An interrupted journey is like a portal into somebody else’s life. Catherine Carr interrupts strangers on everyday journeys asks them where they are going. The encounters which follow reveal funny, poignant and sometimes astonishing details about the lives of others. In cosmopolitan Brussels, she meets a multilingual Bulgarian translator who is mad about dancing and whose wife thinks he’s “a little bit weird” – not least because he is openly gay. In a freezing park, we bump into a...

Duration: 00:26:50


Without the most basic resources – water, food and energy – the global economy could not function. Much of the world has grown used the ready supply of all three. But that might be changing. Demographics and climate change are likely to transform how we value and use essential resources. In this edition of Economic Tectonics, Joanna Haigh – a professor at London’s Grantham Institute at Imperial College – explores how, in her view, such changes could have profound consequences for the...

Duration: 00:26:49

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