Science Night 11/13

Nature Parrot Confidential at 7 pm
Meet Lou. Abandoned in a foreclosed home, Lou is one of thousands of parrots in need of rescue. From the wilds of Costa Rica to suburban America, a loveable, quirky cast of parrots reveal their unforgettable tales and the bittersweet world they share with humans. Their outrageous intelligence and uncanny ability to communicate in any language has made parrots one of the world’s most popular pets. But unlike dogs and cats, parrots have not been domesticated. Hard wired for the wild, their ear-shattering squawks and unpredictable behavior are designed for the rain forest, not the suburbs. Add a lifespan of 50 plus years to their intense need to bond and a life in captivity often ends in disaster. With shelters and sanctuaries bursting at the seams, too many birds like Lou have no place to go.

NOVA Cold Case JFK at 8 pm
For decades, the assassination of John F. Kennedy has fueled dark rumors of conspiracies and mishandled evidence. Now, 50 years later, NOVA asks: Could modern investigators do better? We’ll see how state-of-the art forensic tools would be applied to the investigation were it to happen today. At the same time, NOVA takes a critical look at contemporary cases, like the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman, to reveal how charges of evidence mishandling and human error can mar even scientifically sophisticated detective work. Will forensics ever be truly foolproof, or does modern technology just give a scientific sheen to a practice that will always be more art than science?

Secrets of the Dead JFK: One PM Central Standard Time at 9 pm
Fifty years after the tragic shooting of President John F. Kennedy, this episode chronicles minute-by-minute the assassination as it was revealed in the CBS newsroom from the moment the President was shot until Walter Cronkite’s emotional pronouncement of his death, one hour and eight minutes later. The drama of “One P.M. Central Standard Time” — the episode title is taken from the time President Kennedy was declared dead at Parkland Hospital — is played out amidst the chaos in Dallas, in the hospital, and in the CBS newsroom in New York. Included in the program will be moving memories from men and women who were there on the day — in Dallas and New York.

Science Night 11/6

Nature Love In The Animal at 7 pm
Animals dance, sing, flirt and compete with everything they’ve got to find and secure a mate. For many, the all-important bonds they share as a couple are what enable the next generation to survive. But can we call these bonds love? In this look at the love life of animals, we see the feminine wiles of a young gorilla, the search for Mr. Right among a thousand flamingos, the open “marriages” of blue-footed boobies, the soap opera arrangements of gibbons, and all the subtle, outrageous, romantic antics that go into finding a partner. These are love stories all right, as various and intriguing as the lovers themselves.

NOVA Making Stuff Safer at 8 pm
In this mini-series, New York Times’ technology correspondent and best-selling author David Pogue takes a wild ride through the cutting-edge science that is powering a next wave of technological innovation. With his humor and zest for discovery, Pogue meets the scientists and engineers who are plunging to the bottom of the temperature scale, finding design inspiration in nature, and breaking every speed limit to make tomorrow’s “stuff” colder, faster, wilder and safer. Is it possible to engineer an absolutely safe world for ourselves? Host David Pogue explores the extent to which science and technology can protect us from monumental forces of nature such as earthquakes and epidemics. He challenges researchers to save us from dangers of our own making, such as traffic accidents and contact sports. Our increasing reliance on the internet makes us vulnerable to new risks: Pogue delves into cyber security, where computer experts work to shield us from attacks from hackers and terrorists. Risk is all around us – but we can be smart about it.

Raw To Ready Bombardier at 9 pm
Short-range regional jets are the backbone of domestic air travel. To withstand a high volume of flights, these jets must be comfortable, durable and fuel efficient, like the Bombardier CRJ-1000. Glass, titanium, fiberglass, lacquer and aluminum alloy each transcend their original states, harnessed to create a modern cutting-edge machine.

Science Night 10/30

Nature Wolverine: Chasing The Phantom at 7 pm
Its name stirs images of the savage, the untameable. Legend paints it as a solitary, bloodthirsty killer that roams the icy heart of the frozen north, taking down prey as large as moose, crushing bones to powder with its powerful jaws. But there is another image of the wolverine that is just beginning to emerge, one that is far more complex than its reputation suggests. This film takes viewers into the secretive world of the largest and least known member of the weasel family to reveal who this dynamic little devil truly is. Hard-wired to endure en environment of scarcity, the wolverine is one of the most efficient and resourceful carnivores on Earth.

NOVA Making Stuff Colder at 8 pm
In this mini-series, New York Times’ technology correspondent and best-selling author David Pogue takes a wild ride through the cutting-edge science that is powering a next wave of technological innovation. With his humor and zest for discovery, Pogue meets the scientists and engineers who are plunging to the bottom of the temperature scale, finding design inspiration in nature, and breaking every speed limit to make tomorrow’s “stuff” colder, faster, wilder and safer.

Raw To Ready Mack Truck at 9 pm
The highway truck – a modern workhorse, a heavy hauler vital to commerce – carries an 80,000-pound payload and must operate in every condition from sub-zero cold to triple-digit heat. To survive, it must be strong, durable and fuel-efficient, like the Mack Pinnacle, an engineering achievement made possible by platinum, petroleum, copper, manganese and polyurethane.

Science Night 10/23

NOVA Making Stuff: Wilder at 8 pm
In this mini-series, New York Times’ technology correspondent and best-selling author David Pogue takes a wild ride through the cutting-edge science that is powering a next wave of technological innovation. With his humor and zest for discovery, Pogue meets the scientists and engineers who are plunging to the bottom of the temperature scale, finding design inspiration in nature, and breaking every speed limit to make tomorrow’s “stuff” colder, faster, wilder and safer.

Raw To Ready Bentley at 9 pm
It’s a century-old obsession to find the right raw materials to build a car that is fit for both king and race car driver – perfectly luxurious and perfectly fast. The Bentley Motor Company has built common raw ingredients into their signature Mulsanne, an engineering achievement made possible by aluminum, leather, iron, wood and pigment.

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.

Science Night 10/9

Earthflight, A Nature Special Presentation: Flying High at 7 pm
A behind-the-scenes look at how Earthflight was made, including the extraordinary relationships between people and birds. Microlights, paragliders, drones, and camera-carrying birds and much more helped along the way.

NOVA Megastorm Aftermath at 8 pm
One year after Hurricane Sandy’s deadly strike, NOVA follows up on its 2012 film “Inside the Megastorm” with a fresh investigation of the critical questions raised by this historic storm: Was Sandy a freak combination of weather systems? Or are hurricanes increasing in intensity due to a changing climate? What can we do to prepare ourselves for the next Sandy and what progress has been made toward making our urban infrastructure more resilient?

Secrets of the Dead The Man Who Saved The World at 9 pm
Secrets of the Dead follows the drama and debate that surrounded the most critical point in the Cold War, and perhaps human history. While politicians desperately sought a solution to the stand-off, nobody was aware what was happening beneath the waves but the men on the B-59. The crew could only watch as their superiors entered a battle of wills that would determine the fate of humanity. The story of what happened that fateful day remained hidden for decades, only emerging in Russia in recent years. Now these events will be known to the world.

Science Night 10/2

Earthflight, A Nature Special: Asia And Australia at 7 pm
Japanese cranes dance in the snow, swallows and swifts visit the Forbidden City, lorikeets, cockatoos and budgies form giant flocks in Australia, pigeons guide us through India, and geese fly miles above the Himalayas.

NOVA Inside the Megastrom at 8 pm
Was Hurricane Sandy a freak combination of weather systems? Or are hurricanes increasing in intensity due to a warming climate? How did this perfect storm make search and rescue so dangerous? “Inside the Megastorm” takes viewers moment by moment through Hurricane Sandy, its impacts and the future of storm protection.

Quest For The Lost Maya at 9 pm
This program explores archaeological evidence of a previously unknown Mayan society based in the Yucatan Penisula of southern Mexico. The film surveys their dramatic rise to prominence in the “preclassic era” of the Maya (800-700BC) as well as new evidence of the collapse of their civilization in the 800-900s AD.

 

Science Night 9/25

Earthflight, A Nature Special Presentation: South America at 7 pm
Condors and scarlet macaws take us to the Andes and the Amazon. Giant petrels in Patagonia shadow killer whales. Hummingbirds feed at Iguazu Falls, vultures ride the thermals over Rio de Janiero, and black vultures target turtle eggs in Costa Rica.

Nova, Secrets of the Viking Sword at 8 pm
A modern-day swordsmith reverse engineers the ultimate weapon of the Middle Ages — a sword both prized and feared.

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. “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 9/18

Earthflight, A Nature Special Presentation: Europe 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 Why Ships Sink at 8 pm
Are you safe aboard a modern cruise ship? Twenty million passengers embark on cruises each year, vacationing in deluxe “floating cities” that offer everything from swimming pools to shopping malls to ice skating rinks. And the ships just keep getting bigger: The average cruise ship has doubled in size in just the last ten years. Some engineers fear that these towering behemoths are dangerously unstable, and the recent tragedy of the Costa Concordia has raised new questions about their safety. Now, NOVA brings together marine engineering and safety experts to reconstruct the events that led up to famous cruise disasters, including the ill-fated Concordia, the Sea Diamond, and the Oceanos. Are we really safe at sea-or are we on the brink of a 21st century Titanic?

Brains on Trail with Alan Alda: Deciding Punishment at 9 pm
Jimmy Moran is found guilty of badly injuring a woman during a robbery. In the sentencing phase of the trial, Judge Rakoff hears arguments from the court-appointed psychiatrist, the attorneys, the victim’s husband and Jimmy himself. Meanwhile, Alan Alda discovers how neuroscience is already influencing the sentencing of defendants – especially young defendants – by revealing how the immature teenage brain is vulnerable to foolish and impulsive acts. Before Judge Rakoff pronounces Jimmy’s sentence, Alda meets a judge who has volunteered to have his own brain probed as he makes sentencing decisions. This episode focuses on the sentence phase of Moran’s trial. We investigate Moran’s brain and look into what factors could have played into pulling the trigger.

Science Night 9/11

Earthflight, A Nature Special Presentation: Africa at 7 pm
Fly and arrow-dive with cape gannets among sharks, dolphins, whales and the great sardine run. Soar with fish eagles, flamingoes, kelp gulls and vultures to see the most animal-packed continent with fresh eyes.

Nova Ground Zero Supertower at 8 pm
NOVA returns to Ground Zero to witness the final chapter in an epic story of engineering, innovation, and the perseverance of the human spirit: the completion of One World Trade Center, the skyscraper rising up 104 stories and 1,776 feet from the site where the Twin Towers once stood. In this update of NOVA’s “Engineering Ground Zero, ” which featured behind-the-scenes access to the struggles of the engineers and architects working at 1 WTC and the National September 11 Memorial and Museum, NOVA goes inside the construction of the new tower’s final floors and the installation of its soaring, 800-ton spire and beacon. But 1 WTC isn’t the only engineering marvel taking shape here: NOVA goes underground to see the construction of a multi-billion dollar transit center whose sweeping, sinuous design is said to be inspired by the shape of a bird being released from a child’s hand. Will the buildings be completed on time under competing business, environmental, and safety demands? And will the final product be a fitting site for national remembrance?

Brains on Trail with Alan Alda: Determining Guilt at 9 pm
On trial is Jimmy Moran, who at 18 took part in a store robbery during which the storeowner’s wife was shot and grievously injured. Presiding is distinguished U.S. District Judge Jed S. Rakoff, who has a longstanding interest in neuroscience and its conceivable effect on criminal law. The trial raises common questions: Is a witness lying? How reliable is eyewitness testimony? What’s the best way to avoid a biased jury? How well can the defendant’s intentions be judged? Alan Alda explores how brain-scanning technology is providing insights into these questions and discusses the implications of neuroscience entering the courtroom. This episode showcases the guilt phase of Moran’s trial. We peer into the brains of others in the courtroom: the witnesses, judges and jurors.