From the chopping of ice chunks high on the Mount Chimborazo to hearing firsthand about this family’s traditions, The Last Ice Merchant (El Último Hielero) is an engaging documentary about a man’s dedication to hard work and a way of life that has changed. (And the subtitles are at a good pace for reading out loud to younger kiddos.)
Twice a week for over half a century, Baltazar Ushca has hiked up the slopes of Mount Chimborazo, the tallest mountain in Ecuador, to harvest glacial ice that covers the highest altitudes of this dormant volcano. In the past, up to forty ice merchants made the journey up the mountain to mine the ice; today, however, Baltazar works alone. Even his brothers, Gregorio and Juan, both raised as ice merchants, have retired from the mountain to find more steady work.
Excellent storytelling by director Sandy Patch. The kid(s) should definitely see this.
There are more documentary clips and more ice in the archives.
Karl Sims is a digital media artist, computer graphics research scientist, and software entrepreneur. His influential artificial life computer animations, like this one from 1994, were programmed as virtual creatures that simulated evolution through genetic algorithms:
This video shows results from a research project involving simulated Darwinian evolutions of virtual block creatures. A population of several hundred creatures is created within a supercomputer, and each creature is tested for their ability to perform a given task, such the ability to swim in a simulated water environment. Those that are most successful survive, and their virtual genes containing coded instructions for their growth, are copied, combined, and mutated to make offspring for a new population. The new creatures are again tested, and some may be improvements on their parents. As this cycle of variation and selection continues, creatures with more and more successful behaviors can emerge.
The creatures shown are results from many independent simulations in which they were selected for swimming, walking, jumping, following, and competing for control of a green cube.
From TEDEd, there is a five finger trick for understanding and remembering the five processes — small population, non-random mating, mutations, gene flow, adaptation — that impact evolution (ie. the changes in the gene pool of a population from generation to generation). This video, narrated by Paul Andersen and animated by Alan Foreman, is seriously so excellent.