www.whyville.net Feb 21, 2002 Weekly Issue

Staff Writer

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Special Viewing Note: In light of the recent Why-Pox outbreak here on Whyville, I've picked out a couple illness-related shows. I hope you learn and enjoy them!

I've also looked at a couple of websites that touch on similar topics -- the best is www.discovery.com/exp/epidemic/flu/flu.html. There is also one that might be okay, but it seems to be commercial; I mean it's informative but leans towards the commercial: www.fluwatch.com. And there's a general one about immune systems: www.howstuffworks.com/immune-system.html. Maybe there is something useful here -- let me know what you think!

Watch the shows and let me know what you think. Email me, the MediaWiz of Whyville!

Click here for an index of this week's shows. And now, the Media Menu!

Friday, February 22

"The Flu" (Discovery Channel, 9-9:30am E/P) This documentary contains things you can use to participate in Whyville's web-based "infection simulator" project. The broadcast, using a filming technique that travels inside the body of a 25 year old motorcycle courier, will show how her immune system attacks unfriendly invaders such as viruses. If you miss the TV show, there's a related website about how diseases spread -- www.discovery.com/exp/epidemic/flu/flu.html. And www.fluwatch.com shows how mapping is used to follow an epidemic.

Saturday, February 23

"Firefighter School" (A&E, 8-9pm E/P) In this documentary in the series "Behind Closed Doors With Joan Lunden" she suits up and trains with recruits at a large emergency training center. It's a mock city with realistic industrial refineries, railroad cars, aircraft and even a ship. Trainees learn how to use the latest special equipment for fighting fires in these places. A related documentary about a "disaster city" center in Texas where firemen, policemen and doctors train to work for the Federal Emergency Management's Urban Search and Rescue System airs on A&E Monday, February 26, at 10pm E/P.

"Babies On The Brink" (CNN, 8-9pm ET, 5-6pm PT) This is a documentary about a hospital neo-natal unit or "preemie ward" where premature babies are born and fight for life. The frontiers of medical knowledge and wrenching ethical dilemmas collide here every day. Science does save lives, but it also propels scientists (doctors) and people (parents) into unpredictable emotional territory.

Sunday, February 24

Next@CNN (CNN, 4-5pm ET, 1-2pm PT) This is a newly launched newsmagazine about innovation -- not just gizmos but also neat new ways of dealing with problems. In this edition you'll learn about lawsuits that take aim against e-mail spam, a sidewalk math quiz that gets New Yorkers calculating, wild animals moving into suburbia while suburbanites fight back, a Hong Kong device that jams other people's annoying phone conversations and a spectacular underground river may soon be flowing with treated sewage.

"Queen Of Denial" (PAX Network, 8-9pm E/P) This episode of the dramatic series "Doc" on the family-oriented PAX channel deals with the perils of prescription drug abuse. The clinic administrator in the story is initially delighted when her former sorority sister drops in for a visit, but becomes increasingly alarmed at the possibility that the visitor may be hooked on painkillers.

"Homes Of The Underground Railroad" (HGTV Network, 9-10pm E/P) This is a documentary about the secrets of the "underground railroad' -- actually a series of safe hiding places along the route from the slave-owning Southern States deep into to the free Northern States. Fugitive slaves during the Civil War era were welcomed, protected and helped along the way thanks to homeowners who were 'abolitionists' (anti-slavery activists) in Ripley, OH, Des Moines, IA, Boston, MA, Princeton, IL, Auburn, NY, Fountain City, IN, and Burlington, VT (on the way to Canada). Websites with extensive information are available at www.hgtv.com/HGTV/project/0,1158,FOLI_project_33861,FF.html or www.nationalgeographic.com/railroad/1.html. Also watch "Roots: The Gift" a movie on this topic, Monday, February 25th -- see details below.

"The Rosa Parks Story" (CBS, 9-11pm E/P) This new movie for television, based on the life of Rosa Parks, the "mother" of the civil rights movement, depicts her courageous act of civil disobedience in refusing to sit in the back of the bus as required by old racial segregation laws. Angela Bassett stars. Available on video. There's a very complete website about this film and the historical events available for students and teachers at www.kidsnet.org/cbs/rosaparks/home.html.

Monday, February 25

"Roots: The Gift" (Hallmark Channel, 9-11pm E/P) This is a movie, separate from the famous TV series, but with the lead actors from those shows, about African-borne Kunta Kinte, the main character in Alex Haley's history-based novel "Roots". In this story Kinte (played by LeVar Burton) helps a free black man smuggle runaway slaves to freedom. Available on video.

"Last Secrets Of The Axis" (History Channel, 9-11pm E/P) Again, the TV people have used an overheated title for a show that's really interesting just because of the bare content -- in this case a rare kind of geography lesson. The word "axis" is in the headlines nowadays and this documentary explains how it came into use during WWII because of work by a distinguished German geography professor. He knew where everything in the world was located -- every forest, factory, mine, village and pond -- and how all this fit in with theories back then that ancient Germany mythology and Japanese samurai traditions were connected through the Middle East. You'll also learn about the word "geopolitics".

Tuesday, February 26

"The Missing Link" (PBS, 8-9pm E/P) Here's a fun word. Tetrapods. That's us, by the way, but also any other creature with four limbs such as a reptile, bird or a fellow mammal. But it seems we all descended from a fish, or several transitional breeds of fish whose fins evolved into limbs. This documentary looks at the latest evidence, unearthed from red dirt in Pennsylvania and museum drawers in Latvia about these ancient creatures.

"The Incredible Human Body" (PBS, 9-10pm E/P) This National Geographic Special documentary tour of the inside the bodies of four real people (that you meet) gets right down to their stem cells. A professional athlete, a couple trying to conceive, a man with a brain tumor. Thanks to high-tech imaging, you're sort of looking at these people from the inside out.

Wednesday, February 27

"Security Systems" (History Channel, 7-8pm E/P) This documentary isn't about the kind of airport security systems people are talking about lately. Instead it's about the kind of technology and professionals that safeguard our personal possessions and sometimes our lives from robbers. You'll see that throughout history there has been a sort of psychological warfare going on between protectors and thieves, each intent on outfoxing the other.

Thursday, February 28

"Cyberchase" (PBS, 2:30-3pm E/P on some stations, also 3-3:30 E/P -- check local listings) The topic of this lively animated program about math is "symmetry". And you'll find out lots about it when the villain on the program (called "Hacker") steals and reprograms a machine that had been making everything cyberspace symmetrical. He threatens to make everything tilted and unbalanced and disagreeable to look at. The kids in the show must master the properties of symmetry, which are hidden in many objects, to restore a sense of pleasing regularity in the world.

"Blizzards" (History Channel, 4:30-5pm E/P) Here's a short, rather frightening documentary in a series called "Wrath Of God" which describes a blizzard in 1888 that was so severe that it completely paralyzed mighty New York City and, in Nebraska earned the name "The School Children's Blizzard" because its victims were trapped and some perished in their one-room schoolhouses. (It's one of the reasons that, nowadays, they tell you to stay home when there's a blizzard.)


Friday, February 22
    The Flu

Saturday, February 23
    Firefighter School
    Babies On The Brink

Sunday, February 24
    Queen of Denial
    Homes of the Underground Railroad
    The Rosa Parks Story

Monday, February 25
    Roots: The Gift
    Last Secrets Of The Axis

Tuesday, February 26
    The Missing Link
    The Incredible Human Body

Wednesday, February 27
    Security Systems

Thursday, February 28


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