Science Night 3/28

Nature “Ocean Giants: Giant Lives” at 7 pm
The great whales such as the blue and the bowhead are the largest animals that have ever lived on our planet. Yet these mighty leviathans feed on tiny shrimp and sardines. “Giant Lives” discovers why size matters in the world of whales.

Nova “Cracking Your Genetic Code” at 8 pm
What will it mean when most of us can afford to have the information in our DNA — all three billion chemical letters of it — read, stored and available for analysis? As NOVA reveals in “Bioethics” we stand on the verge of a revolution in medicine, the first effects of which are already upon us. We meet cancer patients returned to robust health and a cystic fibrosis sufferer breathing easily, because scientists have been able to pinpoint and neutralize the genetic abnormalities underlying their conditions. But we also meet ethicists convinced we need to consider the moral dilemmas raised by the new technology. Will it help or hurt us to know that we are likely to come down with a serious disease? What if such information falls into the hands of insurance companies, employers, prospective mates? Should parents be allowed to select embryos with specific characteristics? Both ominous and promising, the new era of personalized, gene-based medicine is one thing for certain: it’s relevant to everyone. Because soon you will be deciding whether to join the ranks of those who know what their genes reveal.

Quest For The Lost Maya at 9 pm
This program explores archaeological evidence of a previously unknown Mayan society based in the Yucatan Penisula of southern Mexico. The film surveys their dramatic rise to prominence in the “preclassic era” of the Maya (800-700BC) as well as new evidence of the collapse of their civilization in the 800-900s AD.