NatureThe Gathering Swarms at 7 pm
This program looks at some of the most extraordinary swarms on the planet, including a view from inside a locust swarm, mayflies along the Mississippi, 17-year cicadas, and brine fly hatches over Lake Victoria. Superswarms of finch-like quelea in Africa merit attempts at control through assaults on their roosts, while aggressive swarms of silver carp in North American seem able to overcome any kind of restraint. Dangerous swarms of killer bees, however, can be controlled to the point that they can be worn as a human bee suit. But beyond the power of sheer numbers, increasingly complex and organized swarms eventually give rise to swarm intelligence that allows complex decisions to be made.
NOVABombing Hitler’s Dams at 8 pm
In 1943 a squadron of Lancaster bombers staged one of the most audacious raids in history — destroying two gigantic dams in Germany’s industrial heartland and cutting the water supply to arms factories — with a revolutionary bouncing bomb invented by British engineer Barnes Wallis. Wallis and the pilots of 617 Squadron — a lively mix of Britons, Australians, Americans and Canadians — were hailed as heroes and dealt a mighty blow to the German war machine. In this program, NOVA recreates the extreme engineering challenges faced by Wallis and the pilots with the aid of six spectacular experiments. A crack team of experts including dam engineers, explosives specialists, mechanics and aircrew step into the shoes of the Dambusters and attempt to overcome each obstacle in turn.
Nature Leave It To Beavers at 7 pm
A growing number of scientists, conservationists and grass-roots environmentalists have come to regard beavers as overlooked tools when it comes to reversing the disastrous effects of global warming and world-wide water shortages. Once valued for their fur or hunted as pests, these industrious rodents are seen in a new light through the eyes of this novel assembly of beaver enthusiasts and “employers” who reveal the ways in which the presence of beavers can transform and revive landscapes. Using their skills as natural builders and brilliant hydro-engineers, beavers are being recruited to accomplish everything from finding water in a bone-dry desert to recharging water tables and coaxing life back into damaged lands.
NOVAEscape From Nazi Alcatraz at 8 pm
Colditz Castle, a notorious prisoner of war camp in Nazi Germany, was supposed to be escape-proof. But in the dark days at the end of World War II, a group of British officers dreamt up the ultimate escape plan: in a secret attic workshop, they constructed a two-man glider out of bed sheets and floorboards. Their plan was to fly to freedom from the roof of the castle, but the war ended before they could put it to the test. Now a crack team of aerospace engineers and carpenters rebuild the glider in the same attic using the same materials, and they’ll do something the prisoners never got a chance to try: use a bathtub full of concrete to catapult the glider off the roof of the castle. As the hair-raising launch 90 feet up draws near, the program explores the Colditz legend and exposes the secrets of other ingenious and audacious escapes. Then, after a 70-year wait, the team finally finds out if the legendary glider plan would have succeeded.
Nazi Mega WeaponsFortress Berlin at 9 pm
April 1945. Hitler is in the center of Berlin, 10 meters underground, surrounded by four-meter thick concrete walls, safe from any air attack the Allies can throw at him. But the Russians are advancing on the ground: the Red Army is lined up along the Oder River and going for the Fuhrer. Blocking the way are rings of ingenious defenses, kill zones and strong-points that have turned Berlin into a fortress. At the heart of this fortress is the Fuhrerbunker.
NatureShark Mountain at 7 pm
Underwater filmmakers Howard and Michele Hall have spent 25 years diving and documenting the most remote and beautiful underwater locations, always learning something new about the fantastic creatures that live there. Yet even these remote places and creatures are at risk in today’s world, and being able to share their experiences with the rest of us is increasingly important to the Halls, and to us. They take us along on the dive of a lifetime, to a tiny outpost 300 miles off the coast of Central American – Shark Mountain.
NOVAWhy Sharks Attack at 8 pm
In recent years, an unusual spate of deadly shark attacks has gripped Australia, resulting in five deaths in 10 months. At the same time, great white sharks have begun appearing in growing numbers off the beaches of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, not far from the waters where Steven Spielberg filmed the ultimate shark fright film, Jaws. What’s behind the mysterious arrival of this apex predator in an area where they’ve rarely been seen for hundreds of years? Are deadly encounters with tourists inevitable? To separate fact from fear, NOVA teams up with leading shark experts in Australia and the United States to discover the science behind the great white’s hunting instincts. Do sharks ever target humans or is each attack a tragic case of mistaken identity? Can a deeper understanding of shark senses lead scientists to design effective deterrents and help prevent future attacks? With shark populations around the world plummeting, scientists race to unlock the secrets of these powerful creatures of the deep in their quest to save people — and sharks.
Nazi Mega WeaponsJet Fighter Me262 at 9 pm
Explore the most technologically advanced plane of World War II, the Messerschmitt Me262, a fighter jet that inspired a revolution in aerial warfare. Learn the remarkable story of an awe-inspiring aircraft, the subterranean bat-cave where it was built and the battle for air supremacy that decided the fate of the war.
NatureSnow Monkeys at 7 pm
In the frigid valleys of Japan’s Shiga Highlands, a troop of snow monkeys make their way and raise their families in a complex society of rank and privilege where each knows their place. Their leader is still new to the job and something of a solitary grouch. But one little monkey, innocently unaware of his own lowly social rank, reaches out to this lonely leader, forming a bond with him that manages over time to warm his less than sunny disposition. It is a rare and remarkable gesture that alters both their lives. Changing seasons bring new babies to care for, a profusion of insects and blossoms to eat, family disagreements to squabble over and tragedies to overcome. Mating season brings competition for females as the days grow shorter and colder in a rush toward winter. But with their now confident leader to guide them and their families to shelter and care for them, this troop of snow monkeys is ready to face the world.
NOVAInside Animal Minds: Who’s The Smartest?
What would it be like to go inside the mind of an animal? We have all gazed into a creature’s eyes and wondered: what is it thinking about? What does it really know? Now, the revolutionary science of animal cognition is revealing hard evidence about how animals understand the world around them, uncovering their remarkable problem-solving abilities and exploring the complexity of their powers of communication and even their emotions. In this mini-series, NOVA explores these breakthroughs through three iconic creatures: dogs, birds and dolphins. We’ll travel into the spectacularly nuanced noses of dogs and wolves, and ask whether their reliance on different senses has shaped their evolution. We’ll see through the eyes of a starling in flight and test the tool-using skills of the smartest of birds, the crow. We’ll listen in as scientists track dolphins in the Caribbean and elephants on the African savannah, trying to unlock the secrets of animal communication. As we discover how researchers are pushing the animal mind to its limits, we’ll uncover surprising similarities to — and differences from — the human mind. What makes an animal smart? Many scientists believe the secret lies in relationships. Throughout the animal kingdom, some of the cleverest creatures – including humans – seem to be those who live in complex social groups, like dolphins, elephants and apes. Could the skills required to keep track of friend and foe make animals smarter? To find out, NOVA goes inside the social lives of some of the smartest animals on the planet.
Your Inner FishYour Inner Monkey at 9 pm
Our primate progenitors had bodies a lot like those of modern monkeys and spent tens of millions of years living in trees. From them we inherited our versatile hands, amazing vision and capable brains – but also some less beneficial traits, including our bad backs and terrible sense of smell.
NatureTouching The Wild at 7 pm
Joe Hutto’s idea of research is anything but normal, dedicating seven years of his life to becoming a wild mule deer. The herd would ordinarily run from any human but, incredibly, these keenly intelligent animals come to regard this stranger as one of their own. Accepted by the matriarch, he walks among them, is even groomed by them, and can lie with a pregnant doe talking to its unborn fawns. As he crosses the species divide, Joe is tapping into a new understanding about these elusive animals, literally entering a deer society. The captivating joy he feels for his new family is nothing short of infectious, but this human predator also learns to see the world from the point of view of prey — and it’s an experience that will ultimately rock him to his very core; sharing their world so personally finally takes a toll that sends him back to his own kind.
NOVAInside Animal Minds: Dogs & Super Senses at 8 pm
What would it be like to go inside the mind of an animal? We have all gazed into a creature’s eyes and wondered: what is it thinking about? What does it really know? Now, the revolutionary science of animal cognition is revealing hard evidence about how animals understand the world around them, uncovering their remarkable problem-solving abilities and exploring the complexity of their powers of communication and even their emotions. In this mini-series, NOVA explores these breakthroughs through three iconic creatures: dogs, birds and dolphins. We’ll travel into the spectacularly nuanced noses of dogs and wolves, and ask whether their reliance on different senses has shaped their evolution. We’ll see through the eyes of a starling in flight and test the tool-using skills of the smartest of birds, the crow. We’ll listen in as scientists track dolphins in the Caribbean and elephants on the African savannah, trying to unlock the secrets of animal communication. As we discover how researchers are pushing the animal mind to its limits, we’ll uncover surprising similarities to — and differences from — the human mind. What is it like to be a dog, a shark or a bird? This question is now getting serious attention from scientists who study animal senses. Humans rely on smell, sight, taste, touch and sound; other animals have super-powered versions of these senses, and a few have extra senses we don’t have at all. From a dog that seems to use smell to tell time to a dolphin that can “see” with its ears, discover how animals use their senses in ways we humans can barely imagine. But it’s not just the senses that are remarkable – it’s the brains that process them. NOVA goes into the minds of animals to “see” the world in an entirely new way.
Your Inner Fish Your Inner Reptile at 9 pm
A key moment in our evolutionary saga occurred 200 million years ago, when the ferocious reptile-like animals that roamed the Earth were in the process of evolving into shrew-like mammals. But our reptilian ancestors left their mark on many parts of the human body, including our skin, teeth and ears.
Nature My Bionic Pet at 7 pm
The animals of the world may increasingly need our help with big issues like preserving habitat or species conservation. But sometimes individual animals need our help as well. Left disabled without fins, flippers, beaks or tails because of disease, accidents or even human cruelty, these unfortunate creatures need what amounts to a miracle if they are to survive. Luckily for them, sometimes miracles do happen. Amazing prosthetics made possible by the latest engineering and technology are able to provide just what they need. And scientists are finding that innovations created in the process are benefitting both animals and humans.
NOVAInside Animal Minds: Bird Genius at 8 pm
What would it be like to go inside the mind of an animal? We have all gazed into a creature’s eyes and wondered: what is it thinking about? What does it really know? Now, the revolutionary science of animal cognition is revealing hard evidence about how animals understand the world around them, uncovering their remarkable problem-solving abilities and exploring the complexity of their powers of communication and even their emotions. In this mini-series, NOVA explores these breakthroughs through three iconic creatures: dogs, birds and dolphins. We’ll travel into the spectacularly nuanced noses of dogs and wolves, and ask whether their reliance on different senses has shaped their evolution. We’ll see through the eyes of a starling in flight and test the tool-using skills of the smartest of birds, the crow. We’ll listen in as scientists track dolphins in the Caribbean and elephants on the African savannah, trying to unlock the secrets of animal communication. As we discover how researchers are pushing the animal mind to its limits, we’ll uncover surprising similarities to — and differences from — the human mind. Today, researchers are discovering that some creatures have mastered skills purportedly restricted to humans. Many are bird brains. Meet a cockatoo with a talent for picking locks; a wild crow on a mission to solve an eight-step puzzle; and a tame raven who can solve a puzzle box so quickly that his performance has to be captured with high-speed photography. Are these skills really evidence of high intelligence or just parlor tricks, the result of training and instinct? To find out, NOVA tests the limits of some of the planet’s brainiest animals, searching for the secrets of a problem-solving mind.
Your Inner Fish at 9 pm
Our arms, legs, necks and lungs were bequeathed to us by a fish that lumbered onto land some 375 million years ago. The genetic legacy of this creature can be seen today in our own DNA, including the genes used to build our hands and limbs.
NatureWhite Falcon, WhiteWolf at 7 pm
On Canada’s remote Ellesmere Island, where June is spring, July is summer and August is already autumn, the race is on for two remarkable species to raise their families. The white gyr falcon is enormous, the largest and most powerful falcon in the world. Yet last summer, the nesting falcon pair here failed to raise any young. The rare Arctic wolves rely on every member of the pack to chase and bring down the prey that keeps them alive. Last year was good to them, and they raised three cubs. But for the wolves and the falcons, as well for as the snowy owls, musk oxen, lemmings, Arctic foxes and hares who share this fragile ecosystem with them, fortunes are always precarious.
NOVAWild Predator Invasion at 8 pm
Over the last few centuries we have shot, trapped and skinned the predators that formerly thrived at the top of the food chain in the wild. Wild bears, wolves and big cats are all in retreat, and a growing number of scientists are discovering that by eliminating predators, we have changed the environment. Removing predators from the wild has thrown ecosystems off-kilter, triggering domino effects that scientists are just beginning to understand. In “Wild Predator Invasion,” NOVA follows scientists who are trying out a simple but controversial solution: returning apex predators –like wolves, bears, and panthers — to their natural environments. Can these newly reintroduced predators restore the natural balance of their ecosystems without threatening the humans who live among them?
Secrets of the DeadCarthage’s Lost Warriors at 9 pm
Carthage, the proud capital of the vast Carthaginian Empire, is ablaze. Marauding Romans are mercilessly slaughtering and pillaging. Any survivors face a terrifying fate as slaves on Roman galleys or in their quarries. Escaping the bloody carnage is impossible… or is it? Could some of the once-mighty Carthaginians have got away? And even more incredibly — could they have turned west on an epic journey across the vast Atlantic Ocean to new shores? Did they set foot in South America, long before Columbus ever walked the face of the Earth?
Wednesday is Science Night on KLRU! This week we have Nature, Nova and Secrets of the Dead. Here’s more about each show:
NatureWhat Plants Talk About at 7 pm
When we think about plants, we don’t often associate a term like “behavior” with them, but experimental plant ecologist JC Cahill wants to change that. The University of Alberta professor maintains that plants do behave and lead anything but solitary and sedentary lives. What Plants Talk About teaches us all that plants are smarter and much more interactive than we thought!
NOVACold Case JFK at 8 pm
Can modern forensic science uncover fresh clues about the assassination of JFK?
Secrets of the DeadThe Lost Diary Of Dr. Livingstone at 9 pm
To celebrate the 200th anniversary of Dr. David Livingstone’s birth, new forensic techniques are being used to study the famed explorer’s lost diary. It reveals he was witness to the brutal massacre of slaves at the hands of their traders. And the writings in this diary suggest he was a far different man than the legend that surrounds him.
NatureFrogs: The Thin Green Line at 7 pm
It is the greatest mass extinction since the dinosaurs. Population by population, species by species, amphibians are vanishing off the face of the Earth. Despite international alarm and scientists scrambling for answers, the steady hemorrhaging of amphibians continues like a leaky faucet that cannot be fixed or a wound that will not heal. Large-scale die-offs of frogs around the world have prompted scientists to take desperate measures to try to save those they can.
NOVAVenom: Nature’s Killer at 8 pm
Venom scientists are in a race against time. Inside the bodies of many creatures, evolution has produced extreme toxic cocktails, all designed for one reason: to kill. It took millions of years to perfect these ultimate brews of proteins and peptides and we have only just begun to discover their potential. Now, the race is on to collect and study them before the animals that produce them disappear. But how does venom do its deadly work? NOVA reveals how venom causes the body to shut down, arteries to bleed uncontrollably and limbs to go black and die. But nature’s most destructive and extreme poisons could contain the building blocks for a new generation of advanced drugs that could treat heart attack, stroke, diabetes, obesity and cancer. VENOM follows scientists on their expeditions to track down and capture the planet’s most deadly creatures, risking life and limb just to tease out milligrams of venom and get it back to the lab. Find out how nature’s deadliest cocktails could be medicine’s brightest new hope.
Skeletons Of The Saharaat 9 pm
This film tells the story of scientist Paul Sereno’s amazing discovery of a prehistoric human burial ground in the middle of one of the world’s most forbidding desert. Like many great scientific discoveries, this one happens by accident. Sereno, one of the world’s leading experts in finding fossils of dinosaurs and ancient crocodiles, is on an expedition to Niger, in Saharan Africa. Six weeks into a three-month journey, Sereno’s team makes an unexpected discovery. They find bones all right, but these bones don’t belong to prehistoric beasts — they are human bones, the last remnants of a people who lived from 10,000 to 5,000 years ago when this now forbidding landscape was a thriving culture on the edge of a vast lake. Sereno’s team counts the remains of dozens within a few minutes. “Skeletons of the Sahara” tells the story of this find and what it reveals to us about two civilizations that once thrived in what is now the world’s largest desert.
Return Of The Wolves: The Next Chapterat 7 pm
Narrated by Peter Coyote, this program follows the reintroduction of wolves into Yellowstone and Idaho, and explores why the wolf remains a controversial animal.
Super SkyscrapersThe Billionaire Building at 9 pm
This program is part of Architecture Month
Upon completion, One57, on Manhattan’s 57th Street, will rise more than 1,000 feet, making it the tallest residential tower in the western hemisphere and boasting spectacular views of Central Park. “One57″ follows the teams tasked with creating New York’s most luxurious residential skyscraper and their ambition to redefine luxury living the big city. Condominiums at One57 showcase state-of-the- art interiors: double-height ceilings, full-floor apartments, bathrooms clad in the finest Italian marble and the finest material finishes.