August 2014 Family Choice

KLRU chooses three programs each month for your family to enjoy and view together. In August 2014, we have the following lined up:

Wednesday, August 6, 7pm: The My Wild Affair series continues in August with “The Seal Who Came Home.” The true story of Andre, a two-day-old wild harbor seal who, in 1961, was rescued from certain death by Harry Goodridge, an arborist from Rockport, Maine. Over the next 25 years, Andre and Harry established a friendship that brought Andre into the world of humans without Andre’s ever having to sacrifice his wildness. The human world gave Andre shelter during the harsh New England winter, but staying wild at heart meant Andre had the know-how to make the 200-mile swim home to Rockport. This interspecies friendship weathered every kind of challenge, including, at the end, Andre’s blindness.

Wednesday, August 13, 7pm: NATURE’s Snow Monkeys. We are bringing this very popular episode back in the heat of summer to give us all a break and remind us that the cold weather brings challenges, too.

Wednesday, August 20, 7pm: My Wild Affair wraps up with an overview of the extraordinary stories and connections between undomesticated animals and human beings.

Science Night 1/30

NatureAttenborough’s Life Stories: Understanding the Natural World.” at 7 pm
In honor of Sir David Attenborough’s 60th anniversary on television, this three-part miniseries focuses on three fields that David Attenborough feels have been transformed most profoundly: filmmaking, science and the environment. Richly illustrated with the sequences (re-mastered in HD) that Attenborough has spent 60 years capturing, new interviews in which he revisits the content, stories and locations that were featured in his landmark series, and packed with the personal anecdotes of the BBC’s most accomplished raconteur, “Attenborough’s Life Stories” is a singular synopsis of a unique half-century plus. In “Understanding the Natural World,” Sir David Attenborough shares his memories of the scientists and the breakthroughs that helped shape his own career. He also recalls some of his more hair-raising attempts to bring new science to a television audience: standing in the shadow of an erupting volcano as lumps of hot lava crashed around him or being charged by a group of armed New Guinean tribesmen.

NOVA Who Killed Lindbergh’s Baby?” at 8 pm
In the aftermath of his 1927 solo transatlantic flight, Charles Lindbergh became the most famous human being on earth. When he and his wife, Anne, had a son, Charlie, the press dubbed him Little Lindy. On March 1, 1932, kidnappers snatched Little Lindy from the family home near Hopewell, New Jersey. Negotiations stretched out for weeks, but Charlie never returned. His body was discovered not five miles from Hopewell. Now, NOVA is reopening one of the most confounding crime mysteries of all time as a team of expert investigators employs state-of-the-art forensic and behavioral science techniques in an effort to determine what really happened to Lindbergh’s baby – and why.

Life On FireAsh Runners” at 9 pm
Around the Masaya Volcano in Nicaragua, life has struggled for thousands of years to re-emerge from the ashes. Underground, vampire and other bat species have colonized the miles of tunnels created by hot flowing magma. In the crater, parakeets and vultures have made nests on cliffs exposed to toxic gases. On the flanks of this still active mountain, the vegetation has been burnt away by lava flows leaving barren stretches that are recolonized over hundreds of years. At the foot of the volcano, fields, pastures and towns have grown over the oldest lava flows. In this harsh environment, nature struggles to conquer ash and lava before the next eruption erases its efforts … and the phoenix must rise again.

Science Night 1/23

Nature “Attenborough’s Life Stories: Life on Camera” at 7 pm
In honor of Sir David Attenborough’s 60th anniversary on television, this three-part miniseries focuses on three fields that David Attenborough feels have been transformed most profoundly: filmmaking, science and the environment. Richly illustrated with the sequences (re-mastered in HD) that Attenborough has spent 60 years capturing, new interviews in which he revisits the content, stories and locations that were featured in his landmark series, and packed with the personal anecdotes of the BBC’s most accomplished raconteur, “Attenborough’s Life Stories” is a singular synopsis of a unique half-century plus. In “Life on Camera,” Sir David Attenborough revisits key places and events in his wildlife filmmaking career, reminisces through his old photos and reflects on memorable wildlife footage, including swimming with dolphins and catching a komodo dragon. Returning to his old haunts in Borneo, he recalls the challenges of filming on a seething pile of guano in a bat cave.

NOVA “Rise of the Drones” at 8 pm
Drones. These unmanned flying robots – some as large as jumbo jets, others as small as birds – do things straight out of science fiction. Much of what it takes to get these robotic airplanes to fly, sense and kill has remained secret. But now, with unprecedented access to drone engineers (including a rare interview with the “Father of the Predator,” Abe Karem) and those who operate drones for the U.S. military, NOVA reveals the amazing technologies that make them so powerful. Discover the cutting-edge technologies that are propelling us toward a new chapter in aviation history.

Life On Fire “Phoenix Temple” at 9 pm
Around the Masaya Volcano in Nicaragua, life has struggled for thousands of years to re-emerge from the ashes. Underground, vampire and other bat species have colonized the miles of tunnels created by hot flowing magma. In the crater, parakeets and vultures have made nests on cliffs exposed to toxic gases. On the flanks of this still active mountain, the vegetation has been burnt away by lava flows leaving barren stretches that are recolonized over hundreds of years. At the foot of the volcano, fields, pastures and towns have grown over the oldest lava flows. In this harsh environment, nature struggles to conquer ash and lava before the next eruption erases its efforts … and the phoenix must rise again.

Science Night 1/16

Nature “Cracking The Koala Code” at 7 pm
This program examines the day-to-day dramas of an extended family of koalas, seen through the eyes of the scientists studying their every move and vocalization. Fascinating social dynamics include territorial displays, vicious fighting and the surprising life and loves of a “traveling salesman,” a rogue male who truly plays the field. New science even “cracks the koala communication code,” providing insights into their basic language and social structure.

NOVA “Ice Age Death Trap” at 8 pm
In a race against developers in the Rockies, archaeologists uncover a unique site packed with astonishingly preserved bones of mammoths, mastodons and other giant extinct beasts, opening a vivid window on the vanished world of the Ice Age.

Life On Fire “The Surprise Salmon” at 9 pm
In Alaska, the fresh water that feeds the rivers is snowmelt from North America’s highest mountains and most active volcanoes. Time and again, they erupt and poison the rivers. Scientists have only just begun to piece together what might have happened nearly 2,000 years ago, when one race of salmon faced the death of their natal river and were forced back to the open ocean on an exceptional adventure. Navigating between the sulphurous waters, bears, sharks and eagles, the fish escaped the Earth’s wrath to give birth to descendants that continue their pioneering journey to the heart of an active volcano.

Science Night 1/9

Nature “Cuba: The Accidental Eden” at 7 pm
This small island’s varied landscape, its location in the heart of the Caribbean and its longstanding place at the center of Cold War politics have all combined to preserve some of the richest and most unusual natural environments of the hemisphere. For decades, Cuba’s wild landscapes lay untouched while its Caribbean neighbors poisoned or paved over their ecological riches. Now, Cuba’s priceless treasures are about to face an onslaught. Tourism is already on the rise and most experts predict tourism will double once the U.S. trade embargo ends. What will happen to Cuba’s stunning biodiversity – an island filled with amphibians, reptiles and the most biologically diverse freshwater fish in the region?

NOVA “Decoding Neanderthals” at 8 pm
Over 60,000 years ago, the first modern humans –people physically identical to us today — left their African homeland and entered Europe, then a bleak and inhospitable continent in the grip of the Ice Age. But when they arrived, they were not alone: the stocky, powerfully built Neanderthals had already been living there for hundred of thousands of years. So what happened when the first modern humans encountered the Neanderthals? Did we make love or war? That question has tantalized generations of scholars and seized the popular imagination. Then, in 2010, a team led by geneticist Svante Paabo announced stunning news. Not only had they reconstructed much of the Neanderthal genome — an extraordinary technical feat that would have seemed impossible only a decade ago — but their analysis showed that “we” modern humans had interbred with Neanderthals, leaving a small but consistent signature of Neanderthal genes behind in everyone outside Africa today.

Life On Fire “Volcano Doctors” at 9 pm
Whether the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Colombia, Chile, Italy or Iceland, each of these countries is home to active volcanoes that are a threat to the populations settled at their feet. Every day, lava, ash, gas, bombs and avalanches are likely to slide down the gaping mouths of the rock giants. To avoid disasters, volcanologists are asked to anticipate and warn. They are asked to be prophets and to know how to analyze the volcanoes’ slightest tremors. Around the world, these volcano doctors use their tools and knowledge to try to protect those who live beneath the Earth’s fire.

Science Night 1/2

Nature “Broken Tail: A Tiger’s Last Journey” at 7 pm
Irish cameraman Colin Stafford-Johnson spent almost 600 days filming Broken Tail and his family for some of the finest tiger documentaries ever made. Broken Tail was the most charismatic tiger cub ever seen in Ranthambore, one of India’s best protected tiger reserves. But suddenly and without warning Broken Tail abandoned his sanctuary and went on the run, moving through farmland and scrub until he was killed by a train nearly 200 miles from his home. To track Broken Tail’s incredible journey, Colin and his soundman, Salim, retrace the tiger’s path and piece together the cub’s last days – and through his story reveal the fate of the few surviving tigers in India.

NOVA “Doomsday Volcanoes” at 8 pm
The eruption of Iceland’s Eyjafjallajokull volcano in 2010 turned much of the northern hemisphere into an ash-strewn no-fly zone. But Eyjafjallajokull was just the start. Katla, an Icelandic volcano 10 times bigger, has begun to swell and grumble. Two more giants, Hekla and Laki, could erupt without warning. Iceland is a ticking time bomb: When it blows, the consequences will be global. Meet scientists trying to understand those consequences – for air travel and for the global food supply and Earth’s climate. Could we be plunged into years of cold and famine? What can we do to prepare for the coming disaster?

Life On Fire “Icelandic Volcanoes” at 9 pm
The 2010 eruption of the Eyjafjallajokull volcano in Iceland provoked economic chaos by paralyzing a major air traffic network for days. This eruption, however, was mild. Much more powerful volcanoes in Iceland are ready to wake up. Through spectacular aerial footage of this country, which is an accumulation of lava and ash, a maze of craters and faults, the episode tries to discern which volcano could wake up next and what the consequences of a major eruption are likely to be. Europe has come to realize that a colossal power sleeps beneath Iceland, while Icelanders for centuries have learned to live amongst their volcanoes.

Science Night 12/26

Nature “Wild Balkans” at 7 pm
Thick forests, vast wetlands, deep chasms – this is a wild, inaccessible place that belongs more to myth than reality. The landscape looks as if it was taken straight form Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings.” But here there are neither orcs nor elves; rather, bears and wolves. This is not Middle Earth; rather it is middle Europe – the Balkans. Through the centuries this land has burned its way into the soul and spirit of its people. The jagged contours have thrown long dark shadows over the history of the peninsula, always in the middle, between forces of the East and the West. It’s as if the bloody history of the Balkans conspired to conceal its natural wonders. The landscape is still untouched and in it are wild animals that have all but vanished from the rest of Europe.

NOVA “Building The Great Cathedrals” at 8 pm
Carved from 100 million pounds of stone, soaring effortlessly atop a spiderweb of masonry, Gothic cathedrals are marvels of human achievement and artistry. But how did medieval builders reach such spectacular heights? Consuming the labor of entire towns, sometimes taking 100 years to build, these architectural marvels were crafted from just hand tools and stone. Many now teeter on the brink of catastrophic collapse. To save them, an international team of engineers, architects, art historians and computer scientists searches the naves, bays, and bell towers for clues to how the dream of these heavenly temples on earth came true. NOVA’s teams perform hands-on experiments to investigate and reveal the architectural secrets that the cathedral builders used to erect their soaring, glass-filled walls. This program reveals the hidden formulas, drawn from the pages of the Bible itself, that drove medieval builders ever upward.

NOVA “Quest For Solomon’s Mines” at 9 pm
Inspired by the Bible’s account of the splendor of his temples and palaces adorned in glittering gold and copper, countless treasure-seekers have set off in search of King Solomon’s mines. They have trekked through burning deserts and scaled the forbidding mountains of Africa and the Levant. Yet to date, the evidence that’s been claimed to support the existence of Solomon and other early kingdoms in the Bible has been highly controversial. In fact, there is so little physical evidence of the kings who ruled Israel and Edom that many contend that they are no more real than King Arthur. During the summer of 2010, NOVA and National Geographic embarked on two groundbreaking expeditions to expose new clues buried in the pockmarked desert of Jordan: the ancient remnants of a mass industrial-scale copper mine and a 3,000-year-old message from the past with the words “slave,” “king” and “judge.” These cutting-edge investigations illuminate the legend of Solomon and reveal the source of the great wealth that powered the first mighty Biblical kingdoms.

Science Night 12/19

Nature “Christmas at Yellowstone” at 7 pm
As snow falls and Christmas lights glow in Jackson Hole, a holiday season of a different sort settles in just beyond the town, in the great winter world of Yellowstone. Breathtaking landscapes frame intimate scenes of wolves and coyotes, elk and bison, bears and otters as they make their way through their most challenging season of the year. NATURE journeys in the footsteps of the men who first explored the park, and travels with their modern-day counterpart on his own journey of discovery. From the unique crystals of individual snowflakes to the grand sweep of Yellowstone’s Hayden Valley, this is a Christmas like no other.

NOVA “Riddles of the Sphinx” at 8 pm
The Great Sphinx is disappearing. It would not be the first time in its nearly 5,000-year history that the sands of Egypt have buried this wonder of the ancient world. But today the Sphinx confronts a threat far worse than being blanketed by dunes. The face of the mysterious Pharaoh is being sandblasted to oblivion, its features eroded beyond recognition by whipping winds while its limestone lion’s body is dissolved by rising saltwater and sewage and shaken by planes, cars and construction. Now, an international team of archeologists, architects and engineers, led by Zahi Hawass and Mark Lehner, is racing against time to save the Sphinx. With the aid of the most advanced digital 3D model ever constructed, they hope to save the Sphinx before it is too late. Along the way, they’ll also solve the riddles that have eluded the rescue missions of Pharaohs, Caesars and Emperors for more than 3,000 years. Who is the Sphinx and what did it symbolize? How was it built, when and by whom? NOVA follows the team to find out if they can reverse the destructive forces of man and nature to save this wonder of the ancient world.

NOVA “Building Pharaoh’s Ship” at 9 pm
A magnificent trading vessel embarks on a royal expedition to a mysterious, treasure-laden land called Punt. Is this journey, intricately depicted on the wall of one of Egypt’s most impressive temples, mere myth — or was it a reality? NOVA travels to the legendary temple, built some 3,500 years ago for the celebrated female pharaoh Hatshepsut, in search of answers to this tantalizing archeological mystery. Did Punt exist and, if so, where was it? Did the ancient Egyptians, who built elaborate barges to sail down the Nile, also have the expertise to embark on a long sea voyage? NOVA follows a team of archeologists and boat builders as they reconstruct the mighty vessel shown on the mysterious carving, and then finally launch it in to the Red Sea on a unique voyage of discovery.

Science Night 11/21

Nature “My Life As A Turkey” at 7 pm
Based on a true story. Deep in the wilds of Florida, writer and naturalist Joe Hutto was given the rare opportunity to raise wild turkeys from chicks. Hutto spent each day out and about as a “wild turkey” with his family of chicks until the day came when he had to let his children grow up and go off on their own. As it turned out, this was harder than he ever imagined. Hutto’s story eventually became a book, Illuminations in the Flatlands.

NOVA “Ancient Computer” at 8 pm
In 1900, a storm blew a boatload of sponge divers off course and forced them to take shelter by the tiny Mediterranean island of Antikythera. Diving the next day, they discovered a 2,000 year-old Greek shipwreck. Among the ship’s cargo they hauled up was an unimpressive green lump of corroded bronze. Rusted remnants of gear wheels could be seen on its surface, suggesting some kind of intricate mechanism. The first X-ray studies confirmed that idea, but how it worked and what it was for puzzled scientists for decades. Recently, hi-tech imaging has revealed the extraordinary truth: this unique clockwork machine was the world’s first computer. An array of 30 intricate bronze gear wheels, originally housed in a shoebox-size wooden case, was designed to predict the dates of lunar and solar eclipses, track the Moon’s subtle motions through the sky, and calculate the dates of significant events such as the Olympic Games. No device of comparable technological sophistication is known from anywhere in the world for at least another 1,000 years. So who was the genius inventor behind it? And what happened to the advanced astronomical and engineering knowledge of its makers? NOVA follows the ingenious sleuthing that finally decoded the truth behind the amazing ancient Greek computer.

NOVA ScienceNow “Can I Eat That?” at 9 pm
What are the secrets behind your favorite foods? Why are some treats – like chocolate chip cookies – delectable, while others – like cookies made with mealworms – disgusting? You may think you understand what makes something sweet, salty or bitter, but David Pogue gets a taste of a much more complicated truth as he ventures into labs and kitchens where everything from apple pie to Thanksgiving turkey to juicy grasshoppers is diced, sliced, dissected and put under the microscope. If scientists can uncover exactly what’s behind the mouth-watering flavors and textures we take for granted every day, could they help us enjoy our food more – without packing on the pounds?

Science Night 11/14

Nature “An Original Duckumentary” at 7 pm
Working with “Hummingbirds” producer Ann Prum, NATURE features another popular, beautiful and fascinating bird – the duck. The story follows a wood duck family and discovers how a male and female create a bond, migrate together across thousands of miles, nurture and protect a brood of chicks and come full circle as they head to their wintering grounds. But our stars are just one of some 150 species of ducks. They come in all shapes and sizes and abilities – some are dabblers popping in and out of the surface of a glass lake and others swim with powerful webbed feet underwater. They fly through the air on short, stubby wings, traveling in large, energy-efficient formations over thousands of miles. Some are noisy and gregarious, others shy and elusive.

NOVA “Ultimate Mars Challenge” at 8 pm
It could be NASA’s last chance to set wheels down on Mars until the end of the decade: in August 2012, a rover named Curiosity will touch down inside Mars’ Gale Crater, carrying 10 new instruments that will advance the quest for signs that Mars might have once been suitable for life. But Curiosity’s mission is risky. After parachuting through the Martian atmosphere at twice the speed of sound, Curiosity will be gently lowered to the planet’s surface by a “sky crane.” This first-of-its-kind system has been tested on Earth, but will it work on Mars? With inside access to the massive team of scientists and engineers responsible for Curiosity’s on-the-ground experiments, NOVA is there for the exhilarating moments after Curiosity’s landing — and for the spectacular discoveries to come. But no rover does it alone: Curiosity will be joining a team that includes the Mars Odyssey, Express and Reconnaissance orbiters, along with the tireless Opportunity rover. As we reveal the dynamic new picture of Mars that these explorers are painting, we discover the questions raised by 40 years of roving Mars: How do we define life? How does life begin and what does it need to survive? Are we alone in the universe?

NOVA ScienceNow “What Will The Future Be Like?” at 9 pm
Mobile phones that read your mind? Video games that can cure cancer? Wearable robots that give you the strength of Ironman? David Pogue investigates which technologies are likely to transform daily life for you — and your grandkids. They’re already taking shape in laboratories around the world — and gadgets that once were purely science fiction are on the verge of becoming as common as the iPhones and Androids Pogue reviews every day. What technological hurdles must engineers and computer scientists overcome before robots, mind-readers and holograms are all around us? And what will it mean to us as humans if we become even more entrenched in a 24/7 digital world?