A dozen awesome Nova documentaries you can watch with Hoopla

Get the best of NOVA for free with Hoopla and your Mentor Public Library card.

Get the best of NOVA for free with Hoopla and your Mentor Public Library card.

We’ve talked about Hoopla before. It’s a cool digital service we offer that lets you stream music, TV shows and movies anywhere and at any time for free with your Mentor Public Library card.

It also has an awesome collection of NOVA documentaries; so if you’re interested in physics, history, space, dinosaurs—pretty much anything—you could be learning about it right now.

Here are some of our favorites.

1. Bigger than T-Rex

Almost a century ago, paleontologists found the first tantalizing hints of a monster even bigger than Tyrannosaurus Rex, perhaps the largest predator ever to walk the Earth: spectacular fossil bones from a dinosaur dubbed Spinosaurus. But the fossils were completely destroyed during a World War II Allied bombing raid, leaving only drawings, lots of questions, and a mystery. Learn about Spinosaurus—the dinosaur that waited 70 million years (and then another century) to be discovered.

If you like that, then watch: Arctic Dinosaurs and Last Extinction: Megabeasts’ Sudden Death.

2. Dogs Decoded

New research is revealing what dog lovers have suspected all along: Dogs have an uncanny ability to read and respond to human emotions. Humans, in turn, respond to dogs with the same hormone responsible for bonding mothers to their babies. How did this incredible relationship between humans and dogs come to be?

If you like that, then watch: How Smart Are Animals?

3. Ghosts of Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu is the most famous archeological ruin in the Western hemisphere and an iconic symbol of the power and engineering prowess of the Inca. NOVA joins a new generation of archeologists as they probe areas of Machu Picchu that haven’t been touched since the time of the Incas and unearth burials of the people who built the sacred site.

If you like that, then watch: Cracking the Maya Code, Emperor’s Ghost Army, and Riddles of the Sphinx.

4. Deadliest Volcanoes

From Japan’s Mount Fuji to the “Sleeping Giant” submerged beneath Naples to the Yellowstone “Supervolcano” in the United States, NOVA travels with scientists from around the world who are at work on these sites, attempting to discover how likely these volcanoes are to erupt, when it might happen, and exactly how deadly they could prove to be.

If you like this, then watch: Killer Landslides and Hunt for the Supertwister.

5. Doctors’ Diaries

In 1987, NOVA’s cameras began rolling to chronicle the lives of seven young, bright medical students embarking on the longest and most rigorous endeavor in higher education: the years-long journey to become a doctor. From their first days at Harvard Medical School to the present day, none of them could have predicted what it would take, personally and professionally.

If you like this, then watch: Vaccines – Calling the Shots.

6. Is There Life on Mars?

This NOVA showcases the latest scientific results from the Mars Rovers and NASA’s Phoenix probe, which are poised to reveal provocative new clues in the tantalizing search for water and life on the Red Planet.

If you like this, then watch: Can We Make It to Mars?

7. Bible’s Buried Secrets

Go on a scientific journey to the beginnings of modern religion, and dig into both the Bible and the history of the Israelites through the artifacts they left behind. This powerful exploration of science, scripture, and scholarship examines the most pressing issues in biblical archaeology.

If you like this, then watch: The Bible Unearthed.

8. Fabric of our Cosmos

From the passenger seat of a New York cab driving near the speed of light to a pool hall where billiard tables do fantastical things, Brian Greene reveals space as a dynamic fabric that can stretch, twist, warp and ripple under the influence of gravity. Space, far from being empty, is filled with some of the deepest mysteries of our times.

If you like this, then watch: Physics and our Universe.

9. First Air War

By World War I’s end, the essential blueprint of the modern fighter aircraft had emerged: it was now an efficient killing machine that limited the average life expectancy of a front line pilot to just a few weeks. To trace the story of this astonishingly rapid technological revolution, NOVA takes viewers inside The Vintage Aviator, a team of New Zealand-based aviation buffs dedicated to bringing back classic WWI fighters.

If you like this, then watch: Rise of the Drones and Bombing Hitler’s Dams.

10. Ape Genius

The great apes—which include chimps, orangutans, gorillas and bonobos—seem to have rich emotional lives similar to our own. But just how smart are these animals? A new generation of investigators is revealing the secret mental lives of great apes, and our evolutionary next-of-kin are turning out to be far smarter than most experts ever imagined.

If you like this, then watch: Becoming Human.

11. Why Planes Vanish

NOVA tells the inside story of the search for Flight MH370 and meets the key players from all corners of the globe who have spent months searching for the lost plane. How easy is it to make a plane disappear? Or can new technology guarantee that in the future, nothing will ever be ‘lost’ again?

If you like this, then watch: Ben Franklin’s Balloon.

12. Judgment Day: Intelligent Design

One of the latest battles in the war over evolution took place in a tiny town of Dover in eastern Pennsylvania. In 2004, the local school board ordered science teachers to read to their high school biology students a statement that suggested there is an alternative to Darwin’s theory of evolution. The science teachers refused to comply with the order, and alarmed parents filed a lawsuit in federal court accusing the school board of violating the separation of church and state. Suddenly, the small town of Dover was torn apart by controversy, pitting neighbor against neighbor

If you like this, then watch: What Darwin Never Knew.

If you want to watch any of these videos but don’t know how to use Hoopla, you can check out this video tutorial that one of our librarians made.

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