Documentaries are a great way to chill out and relax while still doing some learning so you can feel like you made productive use of your time. Here are my favorite documentaries which are currently available for free on the internet. I created this list in response to a request that was posted in our discussion group, which you might want to check out as well. Without further ado, here are my picks for the very best free online documentaries:
#1 - The Adventure of English
The Adventure of English is an amazing, 8-part documentary series that traces the development of the English language through time. Each episode focuses on a specific time period. You will learn the story behind tons of different strange idiomatic expressions that exist in English but don't seem to make sense without the historical context. I really, really enjoyed this one and had actually been meaning to rewatch it.
#2 - How the Economic Machine Works
The economy is one of those things which effects everyone, but few people actually understand what is happening at any given time or why. This is a 30 minute introduction to the three key factors that create any economic circumstance, written by one of the most successful investors in history. Understanding these basic economic mechanics can enable you to make more informed choices about your life, so it's highly practical information.
#3 - The Human Animal
The Human Animal is a 6-part documentary series that examines human beings from a zoological perspective, which means comparing human beings to other animals. The series touches on many fascinating topics such as body language, dietary preferences, courtship rituals, and child rearing. The focus is definitely on the similarities between humans and other animals. It's a really interesting series which is going to make connections that you hadn't considered before about the way you act in your life. You may also be interested in the book version as well.
#4 - Imagining 10 Dimensions
This one is a little bit of a mind-bender, which I found to be quite fun. The current thinking in physics is that there are at least ten dimensions. Well, what the heck does that mean? The creator of this documentary did a great job of helping to visualize ten of these dimensions.
#5 - America's Occult Holidays
This is an interesting one. A lot of the holidays we celebrate actually have their roots in previous religions which are no longer practiced. You will learn a lot of interesting trivia about each major holiday which will deepen your understanding about why we do certain rituals during those times, while also providing you will some interesting conversation topics.
#6 - Thorium: An Energy Solution
Thorium reactors are a specific design for nuclear reactors which was invented in the 1970's and demonstrated to be viable, but never implemented at a widespread level. Unlike other nuclear reactors used for electricity production, they cannot have a nuclear meltdown due to their design (I'm told). This is one of those times on the internet when it's hard to understand the level of truth of the claims being made (since I'm not a nuclear physicist). If true, it's unclear why we don't have these reactors built all around the world already, since they would resolve both pollution concerns with other energy sources and safety concerns with nuclear meltdowns. However, the skeptical part of me thinks that investors would be investing billions and billions of dollars on this technology if they thought it was viable. At a minimum, it's a fascinating watch and you can form your own impressions.
#7 - Secrets of the Superbands
How do brands get us to buy their stuff? How do some brands build a cult-like following? This three part series explores these questions, focusing on one industry at a time. Part one is technology companies, part two is food brands, and then part three is fashion brands. I really enjoyed the documentary because these major brands are such a part of our lives in the current era. How are these "superbrands" creating designer desires within us that didn't even used to exist?
#8 - Addicted to Plastic
Plastic is one of the biggest problems of our time and very little seems to be happening in terms of fixing the issue. The host travels the world to trace the lifecycle of plastic so that we can better understand what is happening around us. Tour the Eastern Garbage Patch, which is a huge formation in the middle of the ocean that constantly collects more plastic. This one is kind of a bummer, but I think it's a helpful subject to know about.
#9 - The Pervert's Guide to Ideology
This is a fascinating journey into how certain ideologies ("the mechanisms that shape what we believe and how we behave") are recreated through Hollywood cinema. The movie examines a number of famous films, including Full Metal Jacket, Taxi Driver, and A Clockwork Orange, among many others. Out of all my selections for this article, The Pervert's Guide to Ideology was the most difficult to find online. I have included a link below to an external site which currently has it available. I will update the link in the future if I find a better source for it. The host, Slovene philosopher and psychoanalyst Slavoj Žižek, has a challenging accent but it's well worth the effort to understand what he is saying.
#10 - Enemies of Reason
Scientific skepticism is a tool which is really needed in this day and age of flimsy claims on the internet. In this two-part series, Richard Dawkins explains how science can debunk a variety of beliefs, such as communicating with the dead and water dousing. The second episode specifically focuses on homeopathic medicine, which is an area ripe with strange claims and seemingly limited evidence.
If you are looking for the best documentaries, you have come to the right place! We have curated the very top documentaries for your viewing pleasure. Free documentaries that you can watch online to learn more about yourself and the world. There are so many great documentaries out there, but we have selected ten of the very best. Some of the are new documentaries, but all of them are interesting documentaries. This is a great place to watch documentaries online.
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