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TV Programs

January - December 1998

Night Creatures of the Kalahari
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Beneath the grassland plains of the Kalahari lies a hidden world of rare and exotic animals. By day, the Kalahari belongs to familiar predators and grazing animals. At night, the earth seems to release scores of seldom seen nocturnal creatures—Bush Babies, Brown Hyenas, Aardvarks and Fungal Termites—in search of food.
Original broadcast date: 01/06/98
Topic: animal biology/behavior


Mysterious Mummies of China
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Perfectly preserved 3000-year-old mummies have been unearthed in a remote Chinese desert. They have long, blonde hair and blue eyes, and don't appear to be the ancestors of the modern-day Chinese people. Who are these people and how did they end up in China's Takla Makan desert? NOVA takes a glimpse through a crack in the door of history, to a past that has never before been seen outside of China.
Original broadcast date: 01/20/98
Topic: archaeology


Supersonic Spies
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The race to build the world's first supersonic passenger airliner led to a massive espionage effort during the Cold War between the Soviet Union and the west. The Soviets started years behind the Concorde team, but espionage enabled Konkordski to beat Concorde into the air by three months. Now, NOVA reveals the cause behind the fatal Konkordski disaster at the 1973 Paris Air Show, which put the Soviet's work on the plane in a deep freeze. In a twist of fate, Konkordski is being resurrected in a NASA initiative to build the second generation of supersonic jets.
Original broadcast date: 01/27/98
Topic: technology/aeronautics & flight, technology/weapons & warfare


Animal Hospital
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Tapping into the clearly demonstrated affection we all have for our pets, this program will offer an offbeat, sometimes humorous, sometimes sad portrait of pets, their owners, and the veterinarians who treat our beloved animals' ailments. From race horses under the knife for cancer treatment, to Manhattan hounds on Prozac, to anorexic boa constrictors, we will show how cutting edge veterinary medicine is saving lives, and draw viewers into the mini-dramas that unfold each day in homes, in zoos, and in veterinary hospitals across the country.
Original broadcast date: 02/03/98
Topic: animal biology/behavior, medicine/heath care & surgery


The Brain Eater
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In this scientific mystery, NOVA ventures to the front lines of medical research where scientists are scrambling to understand the strange new ailment popularly known as "mad cow disease." Highly infectious and incurable, this disease has claimed the lives of nearly a million cattle in Britain, and a variant is responsible for a handful of deaths in humans. Millions more people may have been exposed, and now the race is on to determine if we are on the brink of another deadly epidemic like AIDS or Ebola. What scientists are finding is making them rethink many fundamental assumptions about epidemiology and may hold startling implications for public health in the future.
Original broadcast date: 02/10/98
Topic: animal biology/behavior, medicine/disease & research


Everest - The Death Zone
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NOVA treks with a group of Himalayan climbers in their quest to reach the summit of Everest, along the way exploring in never-before-conducted tests how extremes of weather and altitude affect the human mind and body. Why do some people succumb so quickly to the ills caused by high altitude while others do not? Does exposure to extreme hypoxia—or lack of oxygen—take a lasting toll on the mind and body? Images of the brain scanned before and after the expedition may reveal truths about the physical traumas suffered in an oxygen-depleted environment, and give us new insight into why the tallest mountain in the world has claimed so many victims.
Original broadcast date: 02/24/98
Topic: human biology/behavior


Search for the Lost Cave People
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NOVA follows an international team of archaeologists and spelunkers into the Rio la Venta Gorge deep in the Chiapas jungle of Central America. In a rugged canyon they find caves filled with startling remains of a people called the Zoque who lived hundreds of years before the Maya. The extreme inaccessibility and relative dryness of the caves has preserved rare artifacts including bones, clothes, rope, and jewelry. Moving downstream from the caves the team finds a legendary city hidden in a tangle of jungle vines. Evidence of the Zoque's sophisticated writing system and their practice of ritualistic cannibalism and child sacrifice is shedding new light on a little known civilization.
Original broadcast date: 03/31/98
Topic: archaeology


Warnings from the Ice
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Could the world be facing the next deluge—a catastrophic rise in sea levels—as a result of the rapid break-up of the huge Antarctic ice sheets? The ice sheets hold 70% of the world's fresh water in a deep freeze cold enough to shatter steel, but now scientists are racing to understand whether the recent calving of a Connecticut sized iceberg signals the beginning of a giant meltdown.
Original broadcast date: 04/21/98
Topic: environment/weather, environment/ecology


Crocodiles! With David Attenborough
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An unprecedented look at a dangerous predator, this is the second of three natural history programs hosted by Sir David Attenborough. Surviving virtually unchanged since the days of the dinosaur and found throughout the world, these remarkable creatures have the tools for survival. Long known as vicious hunters, new photographic techniques now allow us to see them cooperating with each other and protecting their families. From tiny babies hatching from the shell we see them grow into great beasts capable of standing up to the lion and bringing down a zebra.
Original broadcast date: 04/28/98
Topic: animal biology/behavior


The Truth About Impotence
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NOVA reports on new hope for victims of erectile dysfunction, also known as impotence. Among the promising therapies covered in the program are ones developed by Dr. Irwin Goldstein of Boston University School of Medicine and Dr. Harin Padma-Nathan, director of the Male Clinic in Santa Monica, CA. Actual cases are profiled, featuring men talking candidly about their problem—and going through treatment—on camera. Erectile dysfunction affects an estimated 52% of men between the ages of 40 and 70.
Original broadcast date: 05/12/98
Topic: human biology/behavior, medicine/health care & surgery


Lost at Sea: The Search for Longitude
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It was one of humankind's most epic quests - a technical problem so complex that it challenged the best minds of its time, a problem so important that the nation that solved it would rule the economy of the world. The problem was navigation by sea—how to know where you were when you sailed beyond the sight of land - establishing your longitude. While the gentry of the 18th Century looked to the stars for the answer, an English clockmaker, John Harrison, toiled for decades to solve the problem. His elegant solution made him an unlikely hero and remains the basis for the most modern forms of navigation in the world today. This film will be both a celebration of Harrison's invention and an adventure story. An expedition on a period sailing vessel as it sails the open sea will demonstrate the life and death importance of finding your longitude at sea.
Original broadcast date: 10/06/98
Topic: social sciences/misc, technology/engineering, technology/weapons and warfare


Chasing El Niño
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A massive planet-sized machine controls our weather day-to-day, and our climate season-to-season. It takes an event of staggering proportions to disrupt a machine this large and powerful, a juggernaut with more energy than a million nuclear bombs. Signs now indicate that such an event is underway - El Niño. More than a series of storms stunning the California coastline, El Niño is second only to the seasons in its effect on global weather. In a P-3 off the coast, a team plunges into a storm front to explore its cause and effects. In a boat off the Galapagos, an array of buoys are checked for temperature and current data. On a mountan in Peru, signs of the devastation of past El Niños are revealed. As scientists push to extremes to explore this phenomenon, they understand for the first time the extent to which all the world's weather is connected, and just how delicate is the balance.
Original broadcast date: 10/13/98
Topic: environment/weather, environment/ecology


Terror In Space
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Experience the harrowing and life-threatening problems aboard the aging Mir space station through the eyes of the Russian and American astronauts who lived through them. Feel the heat from the fire that erupted on board. See the collision between Mir and another space craft. Endure the power outages and the computer failures that have jeopardized lives. Hear the debate over whether NASA should continue to risk its astronauts by sending them to Mir in preparation for the launch later this year of the most ambitious space project yet—the International Space Station.
Original broadcast date: 10/27/98
Topic: astronomy/space exploration


Special Effects Titanic and Beyond
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NOVA goes behind the scenes of Hollywood's biggest blockbuster ever, "Titanic," and lifts the curtain on how James Cameron achieved his spectacular vision. The secrets behind the explosions on the set of The X-Files movie and the painstaking work that went into having a computer-animated Flubber are revealed. Although the computer has made such effects both easier to produce and more likely to fool the eye, there is nothing new about them. In this star-studded NOVA the art of illusion meets the science of perception.
Original broadcast date: 11/03/98
Topic: photography/film


Deadly Shadow of Vesuvius
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At present there are over 1400 active volcanoes on this planet. Many of these are either at sea or in remote places where they present little risk to anyone. A small number are situated in the middle of populated areas and, although inactive, have troublesome histories. One is Mt. Rainier, which overlooks Seattle, and the other is Mt. Vesuvius, which dominates the Bay of Naples. One does not have to look far beyond the shattered remnants of the Roman city of Pompeii to understand the risk that Vesuvius presents today. The volcano has remained dormant since 1944, but geological evidence suggests that Vesuvius is on the move again. The city of Pozzouli is being torn apart. Over two million people live under the shadows of Vesuvius. This program will look at new scientific measurements of this infamous volcano, at the threat posed by a new eruption, and at the historical day of August 24, 79AD, when Pompeii died.
Original broadcast date: 11/10/98
Topic: geology/earthquakes and volcanoes


Ice Mummies
A three-part series on the science of the frozen past.
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Frozen in Heaven
This is the bizarre and fascinating story of the remains of Inca culture, frozen for posterity high in the mountains of the Andes. Evidence has emerged of sacrifice to the mountain gods, whose existence dominated the civilization over 500 years ago. The film traces the frozen bodies of children uncovered by archaeologists in South America, and follows an archaeological expedition to a high-altitude sacred site in search of ritual remains and another body. How did they come to be there? Why did they go to their deaths willingly? What was the religious framework that dictated their sacrifice to fierce gods?
Original broadcast date: 11/24/98
Topic: archaeology

Siberian Ice Maiden
The Siberian Ice Maiden, discovered in the Pastures of Heaven, on the high Steppes, is believed to have been a shamaness of the lost Pazyryk culture. She had been mummified and then frozen by freak climatic conditions around 2400 years ago, along with six decorated horses and a symbolic meal for her last journey. Her body was covered with vivid blue tattoos of mythical animal figures. Together with the newly discovered body of a man, nicknamed "Conan," her body has now been restored, and is providing new clues to the role and power of women in the nomadic peoples of ancient Siberia.
Original broadcast date: 11/24/98
Topic: archaeology

Return of the Iceman
Cutting-edge science and archaeology are reconstructing the life and culture of The Iceman—the 5000-year-old frozen corpse found buried in the ice of the Alps. By analyzing every inch of the Iceman's body and the tools and equipment found with it, scientists are piecing together the most complete picture yet of the late Stone Age in this part of Europe. X-ray, CAT scan, and microscopic analysis of this spectacular find is revealing where the iceman lived, what he ate, and how he may have died; nuclear physics reveals that the Iceman's hair was contaminated with arsenic and copper, suggesting he was involved in copper production centuries before it was known to exist in the region.
Original broadcast date: 11/24/98
Topic: archaeology


Leopards of the Night with David Attenborough
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Night stalkers by nature, leopards are observed both by night and day, using state-of-the-art camera equipment, to reveal never before seen hunting behavior. Filmed in the Luangua Valley in Zambia, Leopard reveals the challenges and dangers faced daily by these beautiful animals. Shadowed by hungry hyenas in pursuit of leftovers, and stalked by lumbering crocodiles hoping to tackle a lone leopard on a kill, how can they hope to challenge such beasts?
Original broadcast date: 12/01/98
Topic: animal biology/behavior


The Perfect Pearl
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Pearls are back in fashion. For thousands of years humans have speculated about the mystery of the pearl, a unique gem produced by a living animal that requires no mining, extraction, cutting, or polishing to reveal its beauty. NOVA travels around the world to exotic locations where rare pearls are harvested by divers, and to farms where huge numbers of pearls are grown. Will the cultured pearls ruin the value of those grown in the wild? From the depths of the ocean to the riches of Fifth Avenue NOVA revels in the luster of these desirable gems.
Original broadcast date: 12/29/98
Topic: animal biology/behavior

 

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