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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars For Itchy Audiences and Science Teachers
"NOVA: The Unknown World"; second in the series "The Odyssey of Life"; WGBH (c1996), 54 minutes.

This superb photography by Lennart Nilsson has essentially four segments. The longest is the initial view of the human body as ecosystem, from the dessert wrist to the hairy forests. [This perspective was first developed by Mary Marples in a Scientific American...
Published on March 19, 2011 by John Richard Schrock

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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nice Photography - Poor Story
While the photography used in making this movie is very impressive, the story line they used to tie it together was too forced. It seems the story was developed to utilize the camera images they had already filmed. Otherwise, an interesting piece. Also, I am not sure why Amazon's title says "Stacy Keach" and the DVD cover credits "David Ogden Stiers" as the narration.
Published on January 5, 2007 by R. Anderson


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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars For Itchy Audiences and Science Teachers, March 19, 2011
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This review is from: NOVA - The Unknown World (DVD)
"NOVA: The Unknown World"; second in the series "The Odyssey of Life"; WGBH (c1996), 54 minutes.

This superb photography by Lennart Nilsson has essentially four segments. The longest is the initial view of the human body as ecosystem, from the dessert wrist to the hairy forests. [This perspective was first developed by Mary Marples in a Scientific American article nearly 30 years ago.] The hair follicle mite is shown crawling in hair follicles without mentioning that it is harmless, perhaps beneficial. Animation of skin stems cells of the dermis produces the dead epidermis that flakes off. Thus when we look at a person, we look at a layer of dead cells. [A short clip of what a kiss looks like from the viewpoint inside the mouth could get a class of middle school students giggling.] Dust mites are shown reveling in skin flakes that are ubiquitous, although they have an important job to "cleanup our mess." Clothes moth larvae are shown in action eating wool; adults also shown. The fur beetle (a dermestid) larvae eat a fur coat. Silverfish eat book starch. A pseudoscorpion roams and eats booklice. Museum beetles (again dermestids) damage stuffed animals and insect collections. (It does not note that dermestid beetles--also called carpet beetles--eat most plant and animal proteins.) An old house borer is shown boring through wood; carpenter ants live in wood. At 20 minutes the theme changes to inside the human body, with views of blood clotting and new skin forming. Bacteria are in huge numbers and reflect beneficial as well as harmful varieties--tooth decay among other bacteria in the mouth. Time lapse shows bacterial growth. Macrophages are on patrol in the blood and lymph, shown in both video and still photos. Dead macrophages plus their engulfed bacteria constitute pus. A white blood cell is shown engulfing an asbestos fiber. Electron microphotography shows viruses. Two minor errors are in this section when the narrative states the virus "forces its way into the cell nucleus" and after replication "force their way through the cell membrane"--both passive actions. Antibodies as shown as a corona around a cell. The AIDS virus is shown in color enhanced EM photos. At 31 minutes, the theme shifts to multicellular internal parasites with "snail fever," showing the parasitic larvae (cercaria) penetrating the skin of the foot and the resultant worms ingesting red blood cells, then releasing eggs into the bloodstream and into urine. The mosquito and malaria are briefly shown, mostly the mosquito since the plasmodia are not photogenic. The treatment is cursory, alluding only to the destruction of the RBCs and not indicating the alternation with other tissues or to the variable cycles of chills this causes. The parasitism and predation theme continue with other organisms: scale bug on a plant, aphids sucking sap, ladybugs eating the aphids, hover fly larvae sucks the aphid juices (hemolymph), a bug "beaks" a caterpillar, male stag beetles joust for the right to mate with the female and winner mates with the females, and ants "sew" together fern frond "leaves" for a nest, food, and shelter. [Another error is a reference to the aphid cornicles being "siphon-like tubes," they are not tubes or siphons.] At 40 minutes the theme shifts to the outdoor environment, starting with the Venus flytrap, the digitalis leaf combating aphids, and the potato leaf fibers. The video asks us to see the world from the small viewpoint of beetles, earthworms, and snails. A pool of water contains rotifers, protists (Stentor, other ciliates, mosquito larvae, etc.) Daphnia are shown, with excellent views of "live birth" and eggs. An anthill, soil mites, and soil decomposers are critical in recycling. A bird is shown mating; then we follow its death and time-lapse decomposition: "Death awaits us all." Final emphasis is on how all molecules are recycled into "new life." Last minute then recapitulates the microenvironments.

This NOVA follows a story line written to tie together the photography available and is therefore fragmented.But it will hold general audiences, and probably leave most of them itching. For the science teacher, the photography is excellent, the sections noted above can be used separately allowing additional explanation and discussion. For middle and high school students, the language is comprehensible. For college use, the instructor will need to supplement with more precise terminology than provided by narrator David Ogden Stiers.

John Richard Schrock
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great film for 7th graders..., December 14, 2007
By 
Ms. Teacher (Los Angeles, California) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: NOVA - The Unknown World (DVD)
I present this film to about 160 7th graders each year and they love it, although I feel itchy every time I watch it. Seeing what is living on/in you can be gross - but that is the fun. The micro photography is worth the price of the DVD and the explanations are very easy to understand. A simple lesson plan that works great for all learning levels - just let the students list 5 new things they learned as they watch. They will ask you to pause the DVD because they are all so involved. The class can present their lists and discuss them at the end of the film.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nice Photography - Poor Story, January 5, 2007
By 
R. Anderson (Washington, DC) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: NOVA - The Unknown World (DVD)
While the photography used in making this movie is very impressive, the story line they used to tie it together was too forced. It seems the story was developed to utilize the camera images they had already filmed. Otherwise, an interesting piece. Also, I am not sure why Amazon's title says "Stacy Keach" and the DVD cover credits "David Ogden Stiers" as the narration.
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2.0 out of 5 stars ehh, June 29, 2014
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This review is from: NOVA - The Unknown World (DVD)
Not what I expected,this video concentrates on gravety,atoms and theories. I wanted to learn about germs and what bacteria does.
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5.0 out of 5 stars WONDERFUL learning tool!, December 12, 2013
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This review is from: NOVA - The Unknown World (DVD)
I show this to my studetns each year when we learn about bacteria and germs and they are always fascinated by it. A terrific learning tool with some amazing facts!
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2.0 out of 5 stars Not really good, December 15, 2012
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The quality of the picture is not really good which is expected due to its published date of 1980 or something. But I was interested in the informational part of the DVD and when played, I was very dissatisfied. This was not worth buying...look for something else. This DVD is not good.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, August 30, 2014
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This review is from: NOVA - The Unknown World (DVD)
excellent product, excellent service!
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars You are not alone, February 28, 2009
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This review is from: NOVA - The Unknown World (DVD)
I wonder if the saying, "you are what you eat" applies to these little critters.If so they are futher up the evolutionary chain then we give them credit for.I am much more tolerant of creepy crawly things in my environment.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great shipping, December 18, 2011
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This review is from: NOVA - The Unknown World (DVD)
Great item, very good shipping. Product as promised. Awesome video to have if you are Microbiology buff such as I am. The product came in great condition
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0 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pleased, November 3, 2009
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The product came to our house in a timely manner and was in the condition specified.
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NOVA - The Unknown World
NOVA - The Unknown World by Mikael Agaton (DVD - 2005)
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