Wednesday begging at 7 pm on Nature, the beaver, more than any other animal, is responsible for creating fertile landscapes across North America, but it hasn’t gotten much recognition for that accomplishment until now. A growing number of scientists, conservationists and grass-roots environmentalists have come to regard beavers as overlooked tools in reversing the effects of global warming and world-wide water shortages.
In central China, a vast underground mausoleum conceals a life-size terracotta army of cavalry, infantry, horses, chariots, weapons, administrators, acrobats, and musicians, all built to serve China’s first emperor, Qin Shi Huang Di, in the afterlife. NOVA at 8 pm reveals the secrets of one of archaeology’s greatest discoveries and brings to life the startlingly sophisticated world of Qin’s legendary empire.
Imagine a world without the power to capture or transmit sound. Journey with Steve Johnson on How We Got to Now at 9 pm to the Arcy sur Cure caves in northern France, where he finds the first traces of the desire to record sound – 10, 000 years ago. He also learns about the difference that radio made in the civil rights movement and discovers that telephone inventor Alexander Graham Bell thought that the best use for his invention was long-distance jam sessions. During an ultrasound on a pregnant dolphin, he realizes just how big a role sound has played in medicine. The unsung heroes of sound have had an impact on our working lives, race relations, saving lives and the radical alteration of cities.
Education and entertainment come together for KLRU’s Science Night every Wednesday beginning at 7 pm.
Nature starts the evening off. Sloths, once largely ignored, have become a hot topic of scientific researchers. Sanctuaries and rehabilitation centers are also springing up, as development often displaces these gentle creatures. Filmed in Panama, Costa Rica and Colombia, this is a story of friendship between a journalist and the sloth she named Velcro and a network of people working to learn more about sloths in order to protect them.
Almost a century ago, paleontologists found the first tantalizing hints of a monster even bigger than Tyrannosaurus Rex, perhaps the largest predator ever to walk the Earth: spectacular fossil bones from a dinosaur dubbed Spinosaurus. Bringing together experts in paleontology, geology, climatology and paleobotany, this NOVA/National Geographic special at 8 pm brings to life the lost world over which Spinosaurus reigned more than 65 million years ago.
Finally on How We Got to Now with Steve Johnson at 9 pm, only in the last 200 years have humans learned how to make things cold. Johnson explains how ice entrepreneur Frederic Tudor made ice delivery the second biggest export business in the U.S. and visits the place where Clarence Birdseye, the father of the frozen food industry, experienced his eureka moment. He also travels to Dubai to see how mastery of cold has led to penguins in the desert. From IVF to food, politics and Hollywood to human migration, the unsung heroes of cold have led the way.
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. With their 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 on Nature | Snow Monkeys Wednesday at 7 pm.
When World War I began in 1914, pilots occasionally took pot shots at one another with rifles; however, the fighter had become an efficient killing machine. NOVA | First Air War Wednesday at 8 pm joins a team as they uncover the secrets of some of aviation’s most colorful and deadly early flying machines and explores how their impact played a key role in the nightmare slaughter of the Western Front.
Whether changing our genetic make-up, altering the world’s sleeping patterns, transforming architecture, taking us into space or triggering one of the great social reforms in American history, the pioneers of light have made themselves indispensable throughout human history all on How We Got to Now with Steven Johnson | Light Wednesday at 9 pm.
Crows do not have the best of reputations, but their image is about to take a real turn in Nature | A Murder of Crows Wednesday at 7 pm. New research has shown they are among the most intelligent animals in the world, able to use tools as only elephants and chimpanzees do, able to recognize each other’s voices and 250 distinct calls. They are very social, mate for life and raise their young for up to five years. And they are able to recognize individual humans and pick them out of a crowd up to two years later.
The first stage in the adventure of human flight began with daring inventors and aeronauts in 18th-century Paris, where a handful of brilliant and colorful pioneers developed all the essential features of today’s hot air and gas balloons. Their exploits fascinated Benjamin Franklin, who was serving in Paris as the American ambassador. To explore this burst of innovation, NOVA | Ben Franklin’s Balloons Wednesday at 8 pm recreates the thrilling and daunting prospect that the balloon pioneers faced as they left Earth for the first time.
On How We Got to Now with Steven Johnson Wednesday at 9 pm, Johnson considers how the invention of the mirror gave rise to the Renaissance, how glass lenses allow us to reveal worlds within worlds and how, deep beneath the ocean, glass is essential to communication. The link between the worlds of art, science, astronomy, disease prevention and global communication starts with the little-known maverick innovators of glass.
Alongside the fastest, strongest, smartest animals are nature’s misfits, odd, bizarre and unlikely creatures that at first glance seem ill-equipped for survival. Left at the starting line in the race for life, these are the apparent losers in the story of evolution, yet somehow they manage to cling to life and in some cases even thrive. Nature | Animal Misfits Wednesday at 7 pm reveals some surprising details about how evolution really works, demonstrating that all animals are remarkably well-adapted to their chosen way of life.
Dirty water has killed more humans than all the wars of history combined, but in the last 150 years, a series of radical ideas, extraordinary innovations have changed our world. On How We Got to Now with Steven Johnson | Clean Wednesday at 8 pm, it’s not only about the world becoming a cleaner place – the iPhone, the subway, flat screen TVs and even the bikini are the result of the valiant efforts of the unsung heroes of clean.
The world today is obsessed by time. On How We Got to Now with Steven Johnson | Time Wednesday at 9 pm, learn how advancements in navigation, the way we work, technology and travel would have been impossible without the unsung heroes of time.
On Penguins: Spy in the Huddle | Growing Up Wednesday at 7 pm, penguin chicks become increasingly independent, and emperor and rockhopper parents place them in a creche and go fishing. Emperor chicks go skating, while rockhopper chicks practice their jumping skills. Eventually all the chicks leave for the sea, tackling the same hazards as their parents before them, from sea lions to predatory birds, high cliffs to glaciers.
The disappearance of Flight MH370 stunned the world. In an era of smart-phones and GPS, how could a 270-ton passenger jet vanish into thin air? It was a rude awakening for all of us, showing just how far we are from the world we imagined we lived in – in which every move is monitored all the time. NOVA | Why Planes Vanish Wednesday at 8 pm tells the inside story of the search for Flight MH370 and meets the key players, from all corners of the globe, who have spent months searching for the lost plane.
To protect occupied Europe from an Allied invasion, Hitler demanded the construction of a defensive wall stretching thousands of kilometers from France in the south to Norway in the north. Nazi Mega Weapons | Atlantic Wall Wednesday at 9 pm is the story of how this vast engineering project sucked in huge quantities of raw materials and men from all over the Third Reich … and faced its ultimate test on D-Day.
A team of archaeologists, engineers, woodworkers and horse trainers join forces to build and test two highly accurate replicas of Egyptian royal chariots on Nova | Building Pharoah’s Chariot Wednesday at 8 pm. They discover astonishingly advanced features, including spoked wheels, springs, shock absorbers, anti-roll bars and even a convex shaped rear mirror, leading one of them to compare the level of design to the engineering standards of 1930′s-era Buicks! By driving our pair of replicas to their limits in the desert outside Cairo, NOVA’s experts test the claim that the chariot marks a crucial turning point in ancient military history.
On Penguins: Spy in the Huddle Wednesday at 7 pm, newborn emperor penguins in Antarctica are caught walking on their mothers’ feet and taking their own first unsteady steps. In the Falklands, rockhopper chicks meet their unruly and predatory neighbors while eggcams provide unique views of the colony. In Peru, Humboldt chicks take on fur seals and take aim at gulls.
Around 800 BC, Kush, a little-known subject state of Egypt, rose up and conquered Egypt, enthroned its own Pharaohs and ruled for nearly 100 years. Find out more about this unlikely chapter of history that has been buried by the Egyptians and belittled by early archaeologists on Rise of the Black Pharoahs Wednesday at 9 pm. Now, in the heart of Sudan, archeologists are finding indisputable evidence of an advanced African society with powerful armies, vast reach and spiritually-driven imperial aspirations to rival the Egyptians’.
Penguins cross treacherous, frozen seas and avoid dangerous predators to reach their breeding grounds. The hard work for all the penguins finally pays off when their tiny, vulnerable chicks begin to hatch. Follow their journey on Penguins: A Nature Special Wednesday at 7 pm.
Our lives are going digital. We shop, bank and even date online. NOVA | Rise of the Hackers Wednesday at 8 pm investigates how a new global geek squad is harnessing cutting-edge science — all to stay one step ahead of the hackers and keep our data safe.
In Secrets of the Dead Wednesday at 9 pm a group of amateur historians test the bones of King Richard III, hunchbacked, with an arrow through the spine. Richard is considered the most evil king to have ruled England – and a fearsome warrior as well, despite the extreme curvature of his spine. Now, scientists are examining the bones to find out more about the king.
Earthflight, A Nature Special Presentation at 7 pm
Cranes and geese rise over Venice, Dover, Edinburgh and the monkey-guarded Rock of Gibraltar. In Rome, the Loire Valley, Holland and Hungary, birds gather by the millions to breed and two by two to raise their families.
Nova Vaccines: Calling The Shots at 8 pm
Diseases that were largely eradicated 40 years ago are returning. How do parents decide whether to vaccinate or not, and what are the risks to the child and to society? Featuring research scientists, pediatricians, psychologists, anthropologists, and parents, this program travels the globe to look at the science behind vaccinations, track epidemics, and investigate the serious human costs of opting out.
Operation Maneter Crocodile at 9 pm
Mark Evans travels to Namibia’s Chobe River, a place that’s known as the croc attack capital of the world. To find a way to keep both people and crocodiles safe, Mark joins leading croc experts Rom Whitaker and Dr Patrick Aust to carry out a radical new experiment.
Join us this Wednesday for KLRU’s Science Night!
Soaring with fish eagles, flamingoes, kelp gulls and vultures, Earthflight, A Nature Special Presentation: Africa shows us the most animal-packed continent with fresh eyes. Fly with the most amazing winged creatures at 7 p.m. on KLRU.
Next at 8, NOVA joins a new generation of archeologists as they probe areas of the most famous archeological ruin in the Western hemisphere, Machu Picchu. The team unearths burials of the 15th-century Incans and discovers land untouched since their time on Ghosts of Machu Picchu. Don’t miss the exploration on KLRU!
On Operation Maneater, veterinarian Mark Evans travels to the shores of Canada’s Hudson Bay where polar bears are causing havoc in isolated communities. He joins the Polar Bear Alert team as they transport a captured bear by helicopter to a release site and more on Polar Bear, airing at 9 p.m. Wednesday on KLRU.
Check out the wonders of the world around us this week on KLRU!