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Oct. 06, 2011

Knightly Exploring

by Sam Flatow

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Underground acid-slime changed my life.

Ok, maybe it isn’t that dramatic. After watching the caves episode of Planet Earth (which featured living acid-slime), I remarked to a friend how great a show it was. His response?

“It’s too bad we had Sigourney Weaver to narrate.”
“Well I thought she was good.”
“Yeah, but in the UK they had David Attenborough.”
“Who’s David Attenborough?”
“Oh he’s great, you should check him out when you have the chance.”

So I cruised around the Internet and it turned out that almost every one of my favorite nature videos had something to do with David Attenborough. You may have noticed that I’ve used Attenborough clips before: one about zombie ants and another on toilet training pandas. There’s a reason for that; he makes the viewer feel like a child who finds a magician practicing alone in the woods – and there’s no trick, it’s actually magic. You think, “alright, what’s so amazing about…whoa.”

Slugs. David Attenborough managed to find the beauty in those gross things from the underside of logs. Now when I spot those little evicted snails, I try not to think of the closest saltshaker.

He could be exploring different types of cheese and I’d still be mesmerized. “This metamorphosis, from milk to snack, has been captured on camera, for the first time!” That’s what makes his work so hypnotizing, this urgent sense of “I must stay silent or else the cheese will hear me” that he casts on the audience. It’s the kind of thing where if a friend walks into the room and asks what you’re watching, you answer “shh, Gouda.”

So if you love this naturally bizarre world but somehow missed last week’s interview with David Attenborough, you don’t have an excuse anymore – it’s right here.

About Sam Flatow

Sam is an assistant producer at Science Friday where he prepares the tasty SciFri snacks and blogs about smart cephalopods and zombie ants.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Science Friday.

Science Friday® is produced by the Science Friday Initiative, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

Science Friday® and SciFri® are registered service marks of Science Friday, Inc. Site design by Pentagram; engineering by Mediapolis.

 

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