#BrainFood brings you the best shows on TV and radio, science apps and books to activate your mind, and fun events to visit. This week – whales at the Natural History Museum, out-of-body experiences, and the wildlife in your back garden.
BBC Four, Tue 11 July, 9:00-10:30pm
You don’t need to go to the Serengeti to witness wildlife in abundance. Chris Packham follows a patch of suburban gardens over the course of four seasons, revealing fox litters with up to five fathers, spiders that change colour to catch their prey, and a once-in-a-year frog mating frenzy. Chris and his team of experts will be aiming to find out just how well our gardens support wildlife, and what we can do to make them even better.
BBC Radio 4, Sat 8 July, 8:00-9:00pm
With the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists recently moving the Doomsday Clock to two and a half minutes to midnight, Robin Ince explores our endless fascination with the apocalypse. Drawing on archive clips from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Orson Welles, Noam Chomsky, Richard Feynman, and more, Robin asks what our preoccupation with the end of days says about us.
Susan Blackmore, Robinson, £14.99
Aged 19, Susan Blackmore had an out-of-body experience (OBE). She went on to spend much of her career as a psychologist attempting to find out just what had happened. Seeing Myself is a guide to the latest thinking around OBEs. Once the preserve of parapsychology and occultism, scientists are now discovering that these experiences can tell us a surprising amount about the workings of the brain and the mysteries of consciousness.
Natural History Museum, London, 14 July 2017 – 28 Feb 2018
Celebrate these enigmatic giants of the deep at this new exhibition. The 100+ exhibits will include full skeletons, skulls, organs and an immersive experience, together showing how whales (plus dolphins and porpoises) swim, eat, breathe and sense their prey. Meanwhile, 14 July also sees the reopening of the museum’s spectacular Hintze Hall, which will have the skeleton of a blue whale diving through its centre.
iOS/Android, EEVO, free
BBC Taster, the BBC's testing ground for experimental ideas, has just released its first VR app. A highlight at launch is Planet Earth II 360, an interactive experience in which David Attenborough guides the viewer through six of the series' most stunning locations. Also available is a VR trailer for upcoming BBC Three documentary One Deadly Weekend in America. More experiences are set to be added to the app over the coming weeks and months, so stay tuned!