Science Night 4/9

Wednesday is Science Night on KLRU!

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.


NOVA Inside 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.

Science Night 4/2

Wednesday is Science Night on KLRU!

Nature White Falcon, White Wolf 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.


NOVA Wild 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 Dead Carthage’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?

Science Night 3/26

Wednesday is Science Night on KLRU! This week we have Nature, Nova and Secrets of the Dead. Here’s more about each show:

Nature What 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!

NOVA Cold Case JFK at 8 pm
Can modern forensic science uncover fresh clues about the assassination of JFK?

Secrets of the Dead The 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.

 

Science Night 3/19

Wednesday is Science Night on KLRU!

Nature Frogs: 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.


NOVA Venom: 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 Sahara at 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.

Science Night 2/26

Wednesday is Science Night on KLRU!

Return Of The Wolves: The Next Chapter at 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.

NOVA Ground Zero Supertower at 8 pm
This program is part of Architecture Month
Engineers race to complete 1 World Trade Center as they grapple with the final challenges.

Super Skyscrapers The 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.

 

Science Night 2/19

Wednesday is Science Night on KLRU!

Nature Honey Badgers: Masters Of Mayhem at 7 pm
“Honey badger is bad ass.” Those words and corresponding video became a YouTube sensation with 51 million hits. This relentless little creature is one the most fearless animals in the world, renowned for its ability to confront grown lions, castrate charging buffalo, and shrug off the toxic defenses of stinging bees, scorpions, and snakes. Little is known about its behavior in the wild or why it is so aggressive. This film follows three badger specialists in South Africa who take on these masters of mayhem in ways that must be seen to be believed.

NOVA Mystery of Easter Island at 8 pm
This program is part of Architecture Month
A team of scientists and volunteers test a theory on how the ancient stone statues were moved, using a 15-ton replica.

Super Skyscrapers The Vertical City at 9 pm
This program is part of Architecture Month
Shanghai Tower isn’t just a skyscraper — it’s a vertical city, a collection of businesses, services and hotels all in one place, fitting a population the size of Monaco into a footprint the size of a football field. Within its walls, residents can literally work, rest, play and relax in public parks, looking up through 12 stories of clear space; not just one, however, but eight of them, stacked on top of each other, all the way to the 120th floor. When complete, the structure will dominate Shanghai’s skyline, towering over its neighbors as a testament to China’s economic success and the ambitions of the city’s wealthy elite.

 

Science Night 2/12

Wednesday is Science Night on KLRU!

Nature The Animal House at 7 pm
Animals build homes for reasons very similar to our own, but they’ve been doing it for much longer. From a small depression in the sand to an elaborate, multi-chambered tunnel – animal structures can be simple or architectural marvels. In each case, the goal is the same – protection from predators and a nearby source of food. These structures, whether a nest, a burrow or a mound, are also the site of great dramas and extraordinary behaviors. From master builders like termites and beavers, to master decorators like the bowerbird, which places colorful flowers at the entrance to its nest, “The Animal House” will be a global look at the “homelife of wildlife.”

NOVA Great Cathedral Mystery at 8 pm
This program is part of Architecture Month
The Duomo in Florence is a towering masterpiece of Renaissance ingenuity and an enduring source of mystery. A team of U.S. master bricklayers help build a unique experimental “mini-Duomo” using period tools and techniques. Will it stay intact during the final precarious stages of closing over the top of the dome?

Super Skyscrapers Building The Future at 9 pm
This program is part of Architecture Month
Commonly known as “the cheese grater,” the Leadenhall Building is the pinnacle of London’s avant-garde architecture. Designed as a tapered tower with a steel exoskeleton, it’s the tallest skyscraper in the City of London and the most innovative. The teams behind the Leadenhall project had to radically rethink every aspect of the traditional building model. This program follows the monumental challenges that come with erecting this super skyscraper: it will be constructed off-site, delivered to location, and stacked and bolted together like a giant Lego set.

 

Science Night 2/5

Wednesday is Science Night on KLRU!

Nature An Original DUCKumentary at 7 pm
Masters of the water and air, they have conquered the globe. From deft dabblers to great divers, these are one of the Animal Kingdom’s ultimate athletes. Take a fascinating look at one of our most familiar birds.

NOVA Roman Catacomb Mystery at 8 pm
This program is part of Architecture Month
Beneath the streets of Rome lies an ancient city of the dead known as the Catacombs — a labyrinth of tunnels, hundreds of miles long, lined with tombs. Now, NOVA goes inside a previously-unknown complex within the tunnel system: a mysterious mass grave, locked away for nearly 2000 years.

Super Skyscrapers One World Trade Center at 9 pm
This program is part of Architecture Month
One World Trade Center, the tallest building in the western hemisphere and a famous modern landmark, is engineered to be the safest and strongest skyscraper ever built. This episode follows the final year of exterior construction, culminating with the milestone of reaching the symbolic height of 1,776 feet.

Science Night 1/29

Nature The Funkiest Monkeys at 7 pm
Twenty-five years ago, filmmaker Colin Stafford-Johnson (recently the central character in NATURE’s Broken Tail: A Tiger’s Last Journey) travelled to Sulawesi in Indonesia and fell in love with crested black macaques. These feisty monkeys are beach bums with punk hairstyles, expressive faces, copper colored eyes and some very unusual habits, making them some of the most charismatic of all monkeys. They only exist on this one island. Learning that their numbers have dropped dramatically, he makes a return visit to find out why and to see if he can help. Teaming up with a local expert and making a film about them and their plight allows him to share their story with the local schools and communities in the hope that a new understanding of the wonderful creatures in their midst will make them want to help, as well.

NOVA Ghosts Of Murdered Kings at 8 pm
NOVA follows archaeologists and forensic experts in Ireland’s County Tipperary in their methodical hunt for clues to the identity and the circumstances of various violent deaths of bog body victims. A new theory emerges that they are those of ritually murdered kings, gruesomely slain to assure the fertility of land and people.

Hawking at 9 pm
This is the intimate and revealing story of Stephen Hawking’s life. Told for the first time in Hawking’s own words and with unique access to his home and public life, this is a personal journey through Hawking’s world. The audience joins him at home, under the care of his nursing team; in San Jose as he “wows” a packed theatre audience; in Silicon Valley as he meets a team of technicians who hope to speed up his communication system; and as he throws a party for family and friends. HAWKING also carefully tells Hawking’s life journey, from boyhood under-achiever to PhD genius, and from a healthy cox on the Oxford rowing team to diagnosis of motor neuron disease, given just two years to live yet surviving several close brushes with death. The film also highlights his greatest scientific discoveries and plots his rise to fame and superstardom.

 

Science Night 1/22

Nature Meet The Coywolf at 7 pm
The coywolf, a mixture of western coyote and eastern wolf, is a hauntingly beautiful carnivore found increasingly on the streets of North American cities. Its appearance is very recent — within the last 90 years — in evolutionary terms, a blip in time. The story of how it came to be begins in Canada but by no means ends there. It is a tale of how quickly adaptation and evolution can occur, especially when humans interfere. New York wildlife biologist Roland Kay is fascinated by this new hybrid, the product of a shifting gene pool that is now stabilizing. Kays tracks and photographs coywolves with remote motion sensor cameras, collects road kill and scat, and obtains tissue and bone samples from fur trappers, hunters, and others to unravel the mysteries that define this new species.

NOVA Killer Typhoon at 8 pm
It was the strongest cyclone to hit land in recorded history. On November 8, 2013, Typhoon Haiyan — what some are calling “the perfect storm” — slammed into the Philippines, whipping the low-lying and densely-populated islands with 200 mile-per-hour winds and sending a two-story-high storm surge flooding into homes, schools, and hospitals. It wiped villages off the map and devastated cities, including the hard-hit provincial capital Tacloban. Estimates count more than 5,000 dead and millions homeless. What made Haiyan so destructive? In-depth interviews with the meteorologists charged with tracking and forecasting Pacific storms take us inside the anatomy of the typhoon, tracking its progress from its start as a low-pressure area over Micronesia to its deadly landfall and revealing why the Pacific is such fertile ground for cyclones. But that’s just part of the story of why this storm was so deadly. With crews on the ground within days of the storm, NOVA reveals how conditions dramatically deteriorated in the storm’s aftermath, as impassable roads and shuttered gas stations paralyzed the critical relief effort, leaving lifesaving food, water, and medicine to pile up at the airport. Disaster preparedness experts and relief workers scramble to understand why the Philippines was so vulnerable when other countries, like India, have successfully slashed storm casualty counts in recent years. As climate change and sea level rise threaten millions of the world’s most impoverished people with stronger, and perhaps more frequent, storms, how can we prepare for the next monster typhoon?

Chasing Shackleton Episode #103 at 9 pm
Following the successful sea crossing from Elephant Island, Tim Jarvis must now traverse the mountains of South Georgia to complete his re-enactment of Shackleton’s ‘double’. But injury, illness and bad weather are against him — the carefully picked team of eight shrinks to just three, leaving Tim, Royal Marine Baz Gray and sailor Paul Larsen to finish the job. Racing through a narrow weather window, and without a proper support team, they battle high winds, bad visibility, deadly crevasse fields and impossible climbs – even reliving Shackleton’s famous glissade down the Tridents — to finally reach their goal Stromness, and walk in to a hero’s welcome.