www.whyville.net Jun 13, 2002 Weekly Issue

Staff Writer

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Alligators (like your brother!), brilliant girl mathematicians (like you!), and Mel Gibson as Hamlet (like... uh... me! yeah!). Sounds like fun? Check it out!!

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!

Thursday, June 13

"Storyline Online" (log on www.bookpals.net/storyline/index.html any time after 12:20pm ET, 9:30pm PT) This is an online streaming video program launching worldwide on the web today, June 13. It will be available 24/7 with an audio portion, via toll-free telephone numbers (listed on the website) if you live in selected AZ, CA FL, MN and NV cities. The Screen Actors Guild Foundation, an affiliate of the movie workers' labor union (headquartered in Los Angeles) is providing readings of books for elementary school kids -- just like they have been doing live for school kids in California -- but now they're available on the net. Teacher's guides are also available. The first book-readings include "No Mirrors In My Nanna's House", "Wilfred Gordon McDonald Partridge", "The Night I Followed the Dog" "Thank You Mr. Falker" and "A Bad Case of Stripes". Actors doing the reading include Sean Astin, Amanda Byrnes, Jane Kacsmarek, Tia and Tamera Mowry and Bradley Whitford.

"Missile Wars" (PBS, 8-9pm E/P) This documentary presents scientific, military and intelligence experts on both sides of the issue of whether the U.S. should build a multi-billion dollar anti-missile system. After most of this program was filmed, the U.S. Government announced that official news about future test-firings of this technology will be withheld from the press, so this show is all you're going to hear, officially, about whether anti-missile technology works or not. There's information about the show at www.wnet.org.

"Camping Technology" (History Channel, 10-11pm E/P) From prehistoric times until today, living in the open has required special equipment -- tents, clothing, fire-making gear, lanterns, water purification equipment. This documentary traces these developments and practices of the military, survivalists and just plain recreational campers.

Friday, June 14

"Jack Kerouac -- On The Road" (C-SPAN, 8-10pm ET, 5-7pm PT) Taped live from historic sites and featuring experts discussing the author's background and the significance of his work, this is a program about the Beat Generation of the 1950's's most famous fiction work. You think you have a monopoly on angst and tendencies to run away from it all? This guy's story will probably make you feel better about yourself. And when the book gets assigned in your English class (it is, pretty often) you'll already know all you need to about it.

"Tampering with Nature" (ABC, 9-10pm E/P) This is a reprise of a documentary compiled by ABC 20/20 reporter John Stossel in which he looks at both sides of the scientific debate about altering natural processes. That includes genetic engineering of animals, food and humans.

Saturday, June 15

"Stranded" (Hallmark Channel, 9-11pm E/P) This is Part I of a premiere broadcast of a new TV movie version of the famous and often filmed adventure novel "Swiss Family Robinson". In this version, set in the era of sailing ships rather than jets (as was Tom Hank's solo-survivor of the story), the family displays plenty of old-world technical ingenuity using junk salvaged from their wrecked ship. It's grittier and not as cutsey as the old Disney version of the story made years ago. Part II airs Sunday, June 16 at 9pm E/P.

"In Code: A Mathematical Journey" (log on to www.science.ie/careers/main_sarah.html for information on author Sarah Flannery) The medium of communication I'm recommending this time is a book. Yes, how quaint. But nothing's quaint about this really cool true story of a girl's intellectual adventure. Starting with simple math puzzles, driven by a burning curiosity and encouraged by her mathematician father, she soon reached the point where she had developed an original algorithm -- at 16! In addition to the website I've given above, you can find lots more about this Irish girl-next-door by searching for "Sarah Flannery" on www.google.com. Her book is currently available in bookstores or by logging on www.algonquin.com and typing in her name.

Sunday, June 16

"Hamlet" (American Movie Classics, 3:30-5:35pm ET, 12:20-3:35pm PT) In this 1990 movie version of Shakespeare's play, Mel Gibson plays the Danish prince who has trouble making up his mind what to do about his problems with his mother and step-father. It's really interesting to watch and an easy way to learn stuff about the play which you can use on exams. Available on video, too.

"Lewis & Clark" (Discovery Channel, 9-10pm E/P) This is a new documentary look at an important U.S. scientific expedition -- maybe the most important one until the moon landing. When Pres. Jefferson bought the middle third of what is now the U.S. from Napoleon (for the price of a modest Beverly Hills house, by the way) nobody really knew what they were getting. So, a small crew was sent in on foot -- covering a route along which they seem to have left no markings, even though they came back having made various maps. But a modern archaeologist, Ken Karsmizki, has spent 14 years trekking along on their suspected route and found some surprises.

Monday, June 17

"Empires of Industry: Textiles" (History Channel, 6-7pm E/P) Here's a documentary about the technology that's required to save us from going around naked, or just covered in leaves and animal hides. Do I have your attention? Anyway, textiles are also a money thing -- cutthroat business and sometimes such a political hot potato that some people think trade disputes over textile production helped cause the American War Of Independence.

Tuesday, June 18

"Mostly True Stories: Urban Legends Revealed -- Alligators In The Sewers" (The Learning Channel 10-11pm E/P) The title of this natural history documentary reveals all, except how, exactly, baby alligators could never grow up to attack while you're in your bathroom. (Hint: sewer rats love to eat freshly hatched reptiles.) Nevertheless, this show spins a lot of tales, going back 75 years, about this possibility.

Wednesday, June 19

"My Adventures In Television" (ABC, 9:30 -10pm E/P) In this episode of a comedy series about the TV business the topic (plus the title of the episode) is "Diversity". Executives shown in the story find out how difficult it is to please minorities who have (in real life as well as in this episode) been lobbying to get characters who represent their group represented on the TV screen. You might want to tape this show to take to class to stimulate discussion.

Thursday, June 20

"Bigger Than ENRON" (PBS, 9-10pm E/P) This documentary dives deep into a controversy that's got lots of people on edge. The whole 'market economy" is in a mess and they folks can't trust ANY big business any more. Plus, the government regulators who were supposed to protect us from bogus dealings don't seem to mending their lax ways and getting to work. This topic rough stuff to follow, unless you've already have been buffeted by people on the Whyville site playing tricks to mess with your business or personal accounts. If so, you'll know what the people interviewed inthis show are talking about.

"Modern Marvels: Models" (History Channel, 10-11pm E/P) No, this isn't about fashion models - unless maybe you're a car freak and would fancy a sneak look at a mock-up of a next-generation concept car. This program is about scale models of technology -- which initially were built of plastic and clay to see what they might look like and are now modeled on computers. The same evolution is shown regarding ships, rockets, planes, whole factories and even cities. As well as theme park rides. But you'll also see the kinds of models that serious hobbyists fancy -- radio controlled planes, trains and automobiles. For a capper, this show takes you inside George Lucas' Industrial Light And Magic workshops where they built over 2000 miniature hand crafted models for his latest movie, more than any movie in history. Yes they used computers in the movie, too, but the best stuff was done the good old fashioned way -- real miniatures.


Thursday, June 13
    Storyline Online
    Missile Wars
    Camping Technology

Friday, June 14
    Jack Kerouac -- On the Road
    Tampering with Nature

Saturday, June 15
    In Code: A Mathematical Journey

Sunday, June 16
    Lewis & Clark

Monday, June 17
    Empires of Industry: Textiles

Tuesday, June 18
    Mostly True Stories: Urban Legends Revealed -- Alligators In The Sewers

Wednesday, June 18
    My Adventures In Television

Thursday, June 20
    Bigger Than ENRON
    Modern Marvels: Models


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