New Films on Demand titles – October 2012

Films on Demand, a streaming video platform used by Media Services, continues to surprise with the size and breadth of its collection. The service just added in excess of 450 streaming videos to its database that you can view from on- or off-campus. Though they aren’t yet in the library catalog, they can all be accessed from the Films on Demand website. A few highlights include…

Last of the Giants: Medical Mysteries, Series 1 (2001, 50 min.)
Giants are not just the stuff of myth and legend; they are real people, and their condition is caused by a medical disorder that can now be treated. John Paul Ofwono of Uganda is currently the tallest man in the world. Though that makes him a celebrity in his country, he urgently needs treatment for acromegaly, the condition that now threatens his life. Acromegaly is caused by a disorder of the pituitary gland that causes it to produce excessive amou­nts of growth hormone. It is likely the same condition that made the biblical Goliath such a huge man. The program features famous giants and several young people who would have died in early middle age, but who have now been successfully treated.

Student Speeches for Analysis, Volume 1 (2005, 105 min.)
By observing and analyzing some of the best and worst speech techniques, students are encouraged to examine their own speeches more critically. A supplement to any speech textbook, this first volume examines introductions plus informative and persuasive speeches.
The Foolish Wise Ones (1957, 35 min.)
This classic program focuses on the savant syndrome, telling the story of three severely mentally handicapped people. Each possesses an extraordinary talent—for playing music, creating art, or remembering dates. Noel Patterson is autistic and requires constant care, yet he is an exceptional pianist and can reproduce almost any music effortlessly. David Kidd has an IQ of only 68, but he is an expert in the recondite mathematics of calculating the calendar. Although Stephen Wiltshire is mentally challenged, he draws remarkable pen-and-ink likenesses of buildings from memory. The savant syndrome was first identified by a 19th-century French psychologist, who referred to these remarkable individuals as the “foolish wise ones.”

Plastics: Quirky Science (2011, 30 min.)
Plastic has become ubiquitous—impressive, since we’d been living without it for centuries! Can you imagine that plastic was invented accidentally—for the purpose of making billiard balls? This program investigates the history of plastic: from the first plastic—discovered when someone witnessed how Southeast Asian farmers used the poop of a little beetle, called shellac, to preserve wood—to Dupont’s development of nylon, the first synthetic material to replace silk. But plastic is made with oil and is hard to break down. See how a U.S.-based company is creating a bioplastic grown inside microorganisms. Plastic grown in the field? Now that is quirky! Part of the series Quirky Science.

Off the Grid: American Communities in the Wake of the Financial Crisis (2011, 75 min.)
Crafting a unified response to economic turmoil is no easy task at the federal level, but towns and cities across the U.S. have faced the aftermath of the 2008 recession in ways that are quick, innovative, and authentic. Their methods, while not always successful, offer a wealth of teaching points for studies in civics, economics, sociology, and political science. In Great Barrington, Massachusetts, a new local currency circulates. In Austin, Texas, big corporations and the federal government alike have triggered community opposition. And in Colorado Springs, the link between an anti-tax philosophy and a lack of city services becomes all too evident. The film also looks at symptoms of the recession seen in America’s broader infrastructure and society—such as declining roads and highways, decaying buildings, and swelling homeless populations.

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