Science Night 10/16

Nature Saving Otter 501 at 7 pm
On a typical late summer day a baby sea otter washes up on the beach in Monterey, California — hungry, lost, injured. It’s a tragic event, but not surprising. California sea otters are struggling. For decades marine biologist Karl Mayer and his small staff have worked unceasingly — one otter at a time — to bring this “keystone” species back from the brink of extinction so it can play its important role in the local marine environment. But the effort has stalled, and no one knows why. This is the story of the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s 501st attempt to save an orphan otter. From her discovery as a stranded newborn pup crying on the beach through her rehabilitation in secret roof tanks atop the Aquarium, we follow as Otter 501 learns how to dive, hunt, eat, and fend for herself in the wild, where survival is a long shot at best.

NOVA Making Stuff Faster at 8 pm
Are there physical limits to how fast humans can go? David Pogue wants to find out how much we can tweak physiology and engineering to move humans and machines even faster. He investigates everything from lightning-fast electric muscle cars to ultra-sleek sailboats to ultra-fast cameras and quantum teleportation. But faster is also about efficiency and the science of optimization: getting things done in less time. From the floor of the New York Stock Exchange to UPS headquarters and inside a packed 737, Pogue’s quest for ultimate speed limits takes him to unexpected places where he comes face-to-face with the final frontiers of speed. NOVA also explores important questions: Is it possible to go too fast? Have we hit a point where innovation outpaces our ability to keep up?

Raw To Ready Komatsu at 9 pm
To extract precious metals found beneath the earth requires a massive 232-ton, two-story-tall dump truck with a load capacity of 320 tons – a giant earth-mover like the Komatsu 930-E. This amazing engineering achievement is made possible by five essential raw ingredients: coal, chromium, mineral oil, latex rubber and sulphuric acid, an electron superhighway that generates massive power.