www.whyville.net Jan 3, 2002 Weekly Issue

Staff Writer

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Watch the shows and tell me what you and your parents think. Email me, the MediaWiz of Whyville!

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

Thursday, October 31

"Top Ten Ghostly Getaways" (Travel Channel, 8-9 pm E/P) If you've decided to play it safe and not go outside on All Hallow's Eve, you may want to work out your wigglies vicariously by watching this documentary about the world's most ghost-infested places (tell your parents it's a geography assignment). This show will be followed by two additional hour-long programs, "Most Haunted In America" and "World's Best Haunted Places In America" -- about locales such as Old Town San Diego, Alcatraz Island and Las Vegas' Flamingo Hotel. A book about these places -- which actually covers Canada as well as the U.S. is "Historic Haunted America" by Michael Norman and Beth Scott. (Look it up on one of the on-line bookseller's sites where various people have reviewed it and used it as a travel guide -- even to visit places near where you live.)

Friday, November 1

"NOW with Bill Moyers" (PBS, 9-10 pm E/P) This the main story in this edition of PBS's newsmagazine is entitled "Democracy In Danger" and will focus on the limits and potential of the current two-party system in the U.S.

Saturday, November 2

"Behind Closed Doors with Joan Lunden" (A&E Network, 4-5 pm E/P) This documentary program contains 2 stories: how currency is manufactured at the U.S. Mint and what's in the back rooms of the Smithsonian museum in Washington that people don't get to see. (At the Mint and Bureau of Engraving where the money story was filmed there's a special department there which handles "moldy and abused" currency. The Smithsonian's backrooms are shown to be full of items like historic spacecraft)

Sunday, November 3

Next@CNN (CNN, 4-5 pm ET, 1-2 pm PT) The main story in this science and technology newsmagazine is about North Carolina State University physics professor John Hubisz' quest to correct mistakes in middle school science textbooks. For more information on his findings, log on http://www.psrc-online.org/curriculum/book.html.

"CBS 60 Minutes" (CBS, 7-8pm E/P) The theme of the main story in this newsmagazine is that not all scientists are doing mankind a favor by pursuing their research. Reporter Mike Wallace investigates links between a California doctor and one another one who headed the South African apartheid germ warfare program and who has made recent contact with governments like Iraq. The other story is about this year's unusual elections in Texas, where there's no Bush family member running for the first time in 22 years, a candidate is trying to become the first black U.S. Senator from the South, and another is vying to be the state's first Hispanic governor.

Monday, November 4

"Page To Screen: Jaws" (Bravo, 8-9 pm E/P) This documentary (in a series which explains how a book is transformed into a movie) covers Peter Benchley's "Jaws", the granddaddy of "don't-go-near-the water" stories (maybe except for "Moby Dick"). You'll see rare behind-the-scenes footage, exclusive interviews with the author, filmmaker, actors and critics and a wealth of clips from the film itself. (The story of how the movie got made is in some respects more suspenseful than the film itself.)

"Underatanding: Obesity" (The Learning Channel, 10-11 pm E/P) There have been several documentaries on this topic. This one is the more comprehensive than the others. It's also both easier to watch and more difficult (emotional scenes). Fat was crucial for survival though difficult times in history. But now the mix of fast food and labor-saving technology has made fat a problem world-wide. So, scientists are working on an anti-fat drug and trying to find a gene to control body weight. You'll follow the personal experiences of overweight kids in New Orleans, an actress competing for roles with thinner women, a 370 pound woman who resorts tot major surgery and a plus-sized model whose bout with bulimia almost killed her.

Tuesday, November 5

"Election Night Coverage" (CNN, C-SPAN. Fox News, MSNBC, afternoon to midnight, E/P) I have a feeling that visiting the channels covering the U.S. Congressional elections will provide a dramatic and instructive experience and give you an early look at the impact this day's events will have on countries wherever you live.

"Scientific American Frontiers: Forever Wild?" (PBS, 8-9 pm E/P) This documentary explores an interesting question: if environmental scientists succeed in restoring a damaged natural location, what will it really be like? Reintroduced bison are helping restore an Oklahoma cattle ranch to wild prairie, while revealing what's essential to keeping it that way. And research at the completely reorganized Biosphere 2 shows how rescued rainforests and coral reefs might lose their essential wild features in the global climate of the future.

Wednesday, November 6

"Intimate Portrait: Sally Ride" (Lifetime Channel, 4-5 am E/P) Here's another instance where a valuable program is airing at a terrible time and requires you to tape it unless you're an insomniac. In this instance it's airing as part of the Cable industry's ongoing service to schools whereby they broadcast selected shows in the wee hours specifically so they can be captured on tape for classroom use. This documentary chronicles the life of the young astrophysicist who became the first female American astronaut in space. For more info on Dr. Ride log on http://sallyrideclub.com/

"Unsolved History: Custer's Last Stand" (Discovery Channel, 9-10 pm E/P) This archeology documentary challenges many parts of the legend of U.S. Army General Custer's 1876 defeat in Montana at the hands of Native Americans migrating to Canada. Until recently accounts of the event were so muddled that even prominent encyclopedias have said "no one really knows". But, using ground-penetrating radar ( and simple shovels) modern scientists for the last ten years have collected evidence from the battlefield on the Little Big Horn River to find out what really happened. There's further info on this research at http://www.custerbattle.com/home/ec_pubs.htm

Thursday, November 7

"Garbage" (History Channel, 7-8 p.m. E/P) I've recommended this documentary before but, on the occasion of it's re-broadcast I'm really serious about saying you should tape the show and take it to class. Learn how to use less stuff! It bothers me that it's become commonplace to refer to the populace as "consumers" rather than "citizens". (One is essentially passive -- being used by marketers, the other implies action and being productive.) Garbage stands as a smelly testament of mankind's wastefulness. This program describes the ever-changing composition of refuse, current high- and low-tech means of taking out the trash and explains recycling.


Thursday, October 31
    Top Ten Ghostly Getaways

Friday, November 1
    NOW with Bill Moyers

Saturday, November 2
    Behind Closed Doors with Joan Lunden

Sunday, November 3

Monday, November 4
    Page To Screen: Jaws
    Understanding: Obesity

Tuesday, November 5
    Election Night Coverage
    Scientific American Frontiers: Forever Wild?

Wednesday, November 6
    Intimate Portrait: Sally Ride
    Unsolved History: Custer's Last Stand

Thursday, November 7


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