www.whyville.net Jan 31, 2003 Weekly Issue

Staff Writer

What's On!

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These listings cover television programs up to Thursday, February 6th.

Greetings, TV viewers!

This coming week's Show-of-the-Week is Battle of the X-Planes, a competition between two top aerospace companies to build the ultimate 21st Century jet fighter. On Tuesday at 8pm on PBS, watch these engineers debate, design, and fret over what the opposing team has come up with! Then join us for the MediaHour on Wednesday to discuss teamwork, engineering, jet planes and so on.

Want some clams? Watch the shows-of-the-week, then talk about them with me and other citizens (including other city workers, if they're available) in the House of Illusions Geek Speak. We usually meet on Wednesdays at 6:30pm Whyville Time.

(Due to the increasing popularity of the Media Hour -- we had over a dozen folks at the last two -- we may be moving to the Sportplatz. Keep your eyes peeled.)

If you come and really take part in the meeting, you'll get up to 50 clams from City Hall... you like that?

To sum up: tune to the show, show up to the chat, chat up your thoughts, and know you get clams!

This week's discussion surrounded the philosophical ideals of tragedy and endurance. We talked about the CNN show "Beating the Odds", in which famous women talked about overcoming adversity such as deafness, car accidents, and breast cancer in the Antarctic. Most folks weren't so impressed -- they said that anybody could overcome these things, believing that the strength lies within all of us. They shared stories of family and friends who had risen above similar struggles as shown in the TV show. All in all, it was an excellent discussion.

Thanks so much to all of you who came to talk turkey with Bigfoot Bill and I, including City Hall, girlyleo, Bracelet, TuxeyGirl, Fleur, ltd2rox, and TIKE. We look forward to seeing you all there again this week!

Everyone is welcome to email me what you and your parents think -- you can get clams for that, too. Email me, the MediaWiz of Whyville!

And now... the Media Menu!

Thursday, January 30

"UFO's -- What You Didn't Know: When UFO's Arrive" (History Channel, 9-10 pm E/P) This documentary is at a late hour and covers a topic you might want to get your parents involved in. I mean, this is a chance to get them to let you stay up late on a school night. Topic: just in case a UFO lands, the US government actually has a plan of action!! Also, a look at international files reveals that other governments, agencies and religious groups around the world have plans to deal with verifiable extraterrestrial contact. What would the Pope say!??

Friday, January 31

"NOW with Bill Moyers: America's Fuel Efficiency" (PBS, 9-10 pm E/P) This week's episode of PBS's current affairs magazine examines U.S. fuel efficiency -- not from the Washington D.C. or Detroit viewpoint but from inside various grassroots movements trying to create consumer demand for cleaner burning cars. California, a pioneer in air quality protection, passed the first U.S. law aimed at slowing global warming by reducing carbon dioxide emissions from cars -- other states are poised to follow. But the debate goes beyond only environmental concerns. People want to reduce the U.S. dependence on foreign oil. Some citizen activist groups see gas-guzzlers as a national security issue. While the administration is proposing to open new oil fields and offshore drilling sites to satisfy the demand for oil, environmentalists worry the impact of ever-growing fossil fuel consumption is devastating to the environment. Opponents of tapping more oil reserves charge that the technology exists to make even the most environmentally unfriendly cars and SUVs more fuel-efficient. But powerful automobile companies have fought regulation, contending that new technology takes time to develop and that consumers aren't buying the green cars. This broadcast looks at movements being led by Hollywood and religious groups trying to create consumer demand for cleaner burning cars. Here's a website with the latest information about available hybrid car technology: http://www.nytimes.com/2003/01/28/business/28HYBR.html.

Saturday, February 1

"Bio-Attack" (Court TV, 8-8:30 pm E/P) The topic in this documentary in the "Forensic Files" series is epidemiology. (The study of the occurrence, distribution, and causes of disease in human and animal populations) The example case in the program was a 1984 event when hundreds of people in The Dalles, Oregon became ill with food poisoning. Local, state and federal disease detectives slowly unraveled the medical mystery. Along with a unique strain of bacteria, they discovered a religious cult's bizarre plot to overthrow the government -- using germ warfare. For definitions of the scientific terms used in the episode, log on to http://courttv.aol.com/onair/shows/forensicfiles/episodes/bio-attack.html. Then click onto links such as the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the Atlanta-based US government institution whose mission is to study and prevent disease in human and animal populations.

Sunday, February 1

"Modern Masters: African-American Artisans" (HGTV Channel, 5-6 pm E/P) This documentary, airing as part of the celebration of Black History Month in the U.S., profiles outstanding African-American artists who share the passions and philosophies that inspire their work. Featured are sculptor and wood carver Charles Dickson of Los Angeles; clay artist David McDonald of Syracuse, NY; blacksmith Bill Johnson of Washington, D.C; wood carver Espi Frazier of Baltimore, MD; furniture maker Hermon Futrell of Colorado's Rocky Mountain region; basket weaver Henrietta Snype of Charleston, S.C.; and craftsman Frank Cummings of Long Beach, CA, whose pieces are displayed in the permanent collections of the White House and the Smithsonian. For detailed information about these artisans log on to http://www.hgtv.com/hgtv/cr_clay_pottery/article/0,1789,HGTV_3240_1385542,00.html.

"Bognor Birdman Competition" (Discovery Channel, 10-11 pm E/P) This is a documentary about people trying to fly. This year, the Centennial of Powered Flight will be celebrated in June. But, by way of giving some perspective on that big event, here's a show I think will reveal a lot about the mind-set of people before the development of the technology that got the Wright Brothers into the air. For the past 24 years, flight enthusiasts from all over the world have been gathering at an English seaside village for the pageantry and science of the "Bognor Birdman Competition". Contestants attempt to pilot their handmade, non-motorized aircraft for 100 meters to become eligible for a grand prize of 24,000 British Pounds or over $40,000 U.S. dollars. Watch the show and take a look at the official site of the event http://www.birdman.org.uk.) For perspective, there's a Wright Brothers site at http://www.centennialofflight.gov/essay/Wright_Bros/First_Powered_Flight/WR6.htm.

Tuesday, February 4

"Battle Of The X-Planes" (PBS, 8-10 pm E/P) This is a NOVA documentary about a technology competition from 1996 to 2001, when Boeing and Lockheed Martin produced rival designs and prototypes for the Joint Strike Fighter, a combat plane intended for the 21st century needs of the U.S. Air Force, Navy, and Marines. NOVA's film crew was allowed into both camps, in the first-ever inside look at a U.S. Department of Defense weapons competition. You'll get a fascinating glimpse of scientists at work on one of the most difficult and potentially lucrative aeronautical projects ever undertaken, which is expected to earn the winner $200 billion, with the potential to earn up to $1 trillion over the life of the project. The program captures their clandestine world where amazing machines are hatched amid brainstorming, cost-conscious compromising, and nervous speculation about what the other side has up its sleeve. Lots of cool details at http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/xplanes/about.html. (It's "Survivor" with scientists!)

Wednesday, February 5

"Great Performances: Dance In America -- Born To be Wild" (PBS, 8-9 pm E/P) This is a documentary about the American Ballet Theatre company's male dancers -- a top selection of international talent. You'll travel home with Jose Manuel Carre??o (Cuba), Angel Corella (Spain), Vladimir Malakhov (Ukraine), and Ethan Stiefel (United States), exploring the dancers' personal backgrounds and formal training. And you'll see a work specially created for the four dancers by Mark Morris, set to music by Robert Schumann. There's a website with videos, music and arts-educational materials at http://www.pbs.org/wnet/gperf/shows/borntobewild/borntobewild.html.

"Concrete Boat" (The Learning Channel, 10-11 pm E/P) This is an episode of the documentary series "Escape from Experiment Island" Two teams of "castaways" have five days to use ingenuity and teamwork to build a concrete boat as their only means of escaping the uncompromising weather and rugged conditions of Experiment Island off the Scottish coast. There's a website about these people and their techniques at http://tlc.discovery.com/fansites/experimentisland/challenges/challenges.html.

Thursday, February 6

"ABC Thursday Night At The Movies: NTSB" (ABC Network 8-10 pm E/P) This is a movie about the technicians of the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board. In the movie the airplane crash being investigated is fictional ("Flight 323"), but you'll learn a lot about how this scientific fact-gathering is done. The cast is led by Emmy winner Mandy Patinkin. Compare the movie with what's on the official NTSB website at http://www.ntsb.gov.


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