www.whyville.net Feb 21, 2003 Weekly Issue

Staff Writer

Media Menu

Users' Rating
Rate this article

Times Writer

There's been a change for the Pick of the Week -- check out the Dirty Bomb special on PBS Tuesday night.

Thursday, February 20

"Witness James Baldwin" (A&E Network, 8-9 pm, E/P) This documentary profiles the life of the celebrated African-American writer and civil rights activist James Baldwin. Included are his expatriate days in Paris and work with Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X, his personal and professional successes and controversial struggles. In addition to showcasing such texts as "Go Tell It on the Mountain", "Notes of a Native Son", "Giovanni's Room", and his play "Blues for Mr. Charlie", there are rare recordings of Baldwin reading his works. Narrated by Danny Glover. Rated TV-G. A resource file for students and teachers is at http://falcon.jmu.edu/~ramseyil/baldwin.htm

Friday, February 21

"Whitetails in America" (Discovery Channel, 8-9 pm E/P) This is a natural science documentary about one of the most beautiful and graceful animals in North America, the whitetail deer. The program follows the details of the deer's life -- from birth to death -- through all four seasons of the year. It's rated TV-G, but I should point out that it does have a scene showing the live birth of a baby deer.

Saturday, February 22

"Shipwrecks and Salvage" (Discovery Channel, 9-10pm E/P) This is a technology documentary about equipment used in a particularly difficult natural setting -- the Bering Sea between North America and Russia. It's also about adventure-seekers, fortune-seekers and environmentalists whose goals are either destroying or restoring life to crippled fishing vessels on the Aleutian Islands. In the program, savage storms force these crews back to their land-base base five times before work can begin.

Sunday, February 23

"Ultimate 10 Technological Inventions" (The Learning Channel, CANCELLED) This documentary was to take a look at the background of what its makers have chosen as the 10 most influential inventions of the 20th Century. You may not agree with this list. For a quick look at it prior to watching the show, or if you miss the show entirely on TV, log on to on http://tlc.discovery.com/convergence/techinventions/techinventions.html for information on each invention.

There's another site I recommend, which gives alternative choices about influential inventions -- I think the Global Positioning System's inventor is very much worth knowing about: http://www.nae.edu/nae/naehome.nsf/weblinks/NAEW-4NHML8?Opendocument. Click on the list of inventors honored in 2002 for information about him -- and also click on the list of inventors honored in previous years. And, if you're interested in becoming an inventor yourself, log on to http://www.invent.org/index.asp. There's information on that site you can use forever and ever to beef up your school science reports -- I mean from 6th grade thought college.

Monday, February 24

"Juarez" (Turner Lcasic Movies, 8-10 pm ET , 5-7 pm ET) This is a dramatized version of the life of the great Mexican leader Benito Juarez. It contains many things you may be surprised to know. First, while Abraham Lincoln was leading the fight in in the U.S. to keep the country from being broken up by southern U.S. states that had England as their ally, The Republic of Mexico was invaded and put under French military occupation. Leading Mexico's fight against the French was Juarez, a brilliant lawyer and full-blooded Zapotec Indian. Second, if you're a Francophile, you might not feel comfortable watching this movie, because the French are the bad guys in this story -- and they lose. You will, however, discover Mexicans -- wherever they live in North America or elsewhere -- stage a big celebration every year on the 5th of May. "Cinco de Mayo" marks the anniversary of a major French defeat by Mexican forces near the city of Puebla. . Further information at http://www.mexconnect.com/mex_/history/jtuck/jtbenitojuarez.html Available on video.

Tuesday, February 25

NEW MediaHour Pick-of-the-Week: "Dirty Bomb" (PBS, 9-10 pm E/P -- also check local listings) This is a "Nova" report about a very serious scientific matter: Last summer, an American Al Qaeda sympathizer, Jose Padilla, was arrested on suspicion of planning a "dirty bomb" attack on the United States. Suddenly, one of the ultimate nightmare terrorist scenarios seemed a step closer to reality. But few know what a dirty bomb really is or what devastation it could cause. How easy is it to acquire materials and manufacture a dirty bomb? How does it differ from a conventional nuclear bomb, and how destructive would it be? How can lives be saved if one should explode? The program dramatizes two credible attack scenarios based on sophisticated models developed by radiation experts. These models are then played out in two major cities, Washington, D.C. and London, with results that are both frightening and sobering. The companion Web site, follows the unsettling history of events related to the dirty-bomb scare: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/dirtybomb.

Wednesday, February 26

"Secret Subs" (Discovery Channel, 10-11 pm E/P) This is not a documentary about a new sandwich, but rather about naval technology that has been in use for decades and only now coming to public attention. During the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, Russia sent 4 subs on a mission to Cuba, armed with nuclear missiles which could be fired from underwater and blow up U.S. aircraft carriers. And the Russians had orders to use these weapons if they were attacked while at sea. The program contains recently released U.S. and Russian archival material, exclusive interviews and re-enactments of the naval stand-off that resulted -- showing how nuclear war was averted.

Thursday, February 27

"Ancient ER" (The Learning Channel, 10-11 pm E/P) The title of this medical science documentary is obviously a reference to the popular tv drama "E.R", which takes place in a modern hospital emergency room. Now that we have your attention I will reveal that what you're really going to get from this program is a detailed description of the amazingly advanced treatments of ancient Egypt and ancient India. Extraordinary surgical procedures, artificial limbs and even plastic surgeries were among recorded procedures -- recorded in fascinating medical textbooks at that time, which are being studied anew today. You will be amazed at how similar these practices are to modern medicine.


Did you like this article?
1 Star = Bleh.5 Stars = Props!
Rate it!
Ymail this article to a friend.
Discuss this article in the Forums.

  Back to front page