Things to do this week: Wild Alaska Live

Looking for the best things to do this week? Don’t waste away being bored on the sofa… here’s our pick of ways to exercise your grey matter and nourish your neurons.

21st July 2017

#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 – bears in Alaska, earthworms in your garden, and a maths-tastic new app.


Wild Alaska Live

BBC One, Sun 23, Wed 26 & Sun 30 July, various times

We’re going on a bear hunt… in the wilds of Alaska. Over three nights, Steve Backshall, Matt Baker and Liz Bonnin broadcast live from North America’s last frontier, where the annual salmon run promises to kick off a feeding frenzy. Also joining in the feast will be eagles, beavers, wolves and whales and, in a TV first, Steve will attempt to land a helicopter on a glacier and then abseil down into its icy heart.


Natural Histories

BBC Radio 4, Tue 25 July, 11:00-11:30am

Earthworms: love them or loathe them, these slimy burrowers play a crucial role in our ecosystems, aerating our soils, clearing up pollutants, and producing natural fertilisers. Brett Westwood explores how these “intestines of the Earth” have wormed their way into our literature, culture and language.


Critical Critters © Bloomsbury
© Bloomsbury

Critical Critters

Ralph Steadman & Ceri Levy, Bloomsbury, £35

From the garden bumblebee to the Mongolian beaver, Critical Critters features more than 100 illustrations of critically endangered animals, alongside fact files, a diary of the authors’ creative process, and a few cheeky nonsense beasts. The illustrator is ‘gonzo’ artist Ralph Steadman, and his wonderfully idiosyncratic style captures the animals in a way no camera could.


Big Wild Sleepout © Ben Andrew (
© Ben Andrew (

RSPB Big Wild Sleepout

Nationwide, Fri 28 July – Sun 30 July

Nature spotting during the day is all well and good, but there’s a lot happening at night, too. This weekend event is your chance to discover our nocturnal denizens, with events happening around the country. If you prefer to nature hunt at home, visit the RSPB's website for downloadable activity sheets, outdoor eating recipes, and tips on how to make your garden a natural paradise. And don’t forget to enter our competition for a chance to win a sleepout kit worth nearly £600.


Calculator: The Game © Simple Machine
© Simple Machine

Calculator: The Game

iOS/Android, Simple Machine, free with in-app purchases

If the numbers round was always your favourite part of Countdown, this is the game for you. The aim is to get to the 'goal number' by manipulating digits within a certain number of moves. This might involve adding, subtracting, deleting, reversing or even sending the numbers through portals  we've not got that far yet!

For more fabulous apps, check out our list of the top 10 science apps for Android and iOS.


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