www.whyville.net Oct 18, 2001 Weekly Issue

Staff Writer

What's On!

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What's On!

Times Writer

Hi everybody,

Hey, even I, the MediaWiz, am busy helping Whyville find funding sources, so this week's column is going to be a little late. Okay, they're all up now! Sorry for the delay... Enjoy them when you see them!

This week, we've got the always cool Junkyard Wars, a show on brains doing wierd things, and a lovely exploration of a Romanian Cirque du Soleil-like group performing death-defying and mind-bending stunts.

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

Friday, October 19
    The Amazing World of Air Freight
    The Royal Scandal

Saturday, October 20

Sunday, October 21
    We Shall Not Be Moved
    Mountains of the Moon

Monday, October 22
    Mind Over Media: Voices From The Middle School

Tuesday, October 23
    Secrets of the Mind
    Scientific American Frontiers: The Gene Hunters

Wednesday, October 24
    Junkyard Wars: Naval Warfare

Thursday, October 25
    Aeros: The Illusion of Flight

Friday, October 19, 2001

"The Amazing World of Air Freight" (Discovery Channel, 9-10 p.m. E/P) Don't laugh. This is not a joke title or a joke documentary. Just imagine that you have the problem of shipping 55 thoroughbred horses from Kentucky to Northern Japan -- all on one plane -- overnight. How would you do that? Now think it out substituting racing cars. (Not necessarily easier to clean up after.) Or how would you move a million bottles of Beaujolais Nouveau (that's stuff that's supposed to be drunk right after it's been bottled) from a winery in France to every classy supermarket in the world -- in just a few days? This episode of the "On The Inside" reveals that, when you look closely, this "world" really is amazing..

"The Royal Scandal" (Hallmark Channel, 9-11 p.m. E/P) This isn't a documentary about Prince Charles, his brothers, or their former wives, but rather, it's a movie based on Arthur Conan Doyle's classic story "A Scandal In Bohemia", which had to do with one of Queen Victoria's kids and secret navy technology back then (submarines!). OK, the point of putting this 19th century stuff in today's viewing tips is that Holmes, while a fictional character, employed really advanced research methods for his day -- still very usable. If you don't believe me, just take a look at PBS' "Nova" special, "The Secrets Of The Mind" next Tuesday.

Saturday, October 2O

"Coins" (History Channel, 7-7:30 p.m.) Here's how to make money the old-fashioned way -- start with raw silver, heat it to 1000 degrees, stamp it with a coin press. If this procedure was good enough for George Washington, who had his personal silverware melted down to make the country's first official coins, it should be good enough for you. (But not to do at home. You have to take a job at the U.S Mints if you want to produce coinage legally.) This documentary is followed at 7:30 p.m by "Newspapers", a half-hour description of how to print one -- how they did it in Ben Franklin's day and how they do it now.

Sunday, October 21

"We Shall Not Be Moved" (ABC, 9:30-10:30 a.m. E/P) This documentary, produced for ABC by Southern Baptist Communications group, is about the role of churches as a site for a kind of "war room" where strategy for the civil rights movement was planned and initiated -- and the history and spiritual aspects of that struggle.

"Mountains Of The Moon" (Bravo Network, 9:30-midnight ET, 6:30-9 p.m. PT) This is a movie based on the true story of a pair of scientists, each something like Indiana Jones but sort of nastier and probably insane, who competed in the exploration of Africa (on foot and in dugout canoes -- no airplanes or GPS gear). The prize was to be the first to find the source of the Nile. Back in England, having barely avoided being killed by Africa, they nearly killed one another arguing their respective cases before the scientific community. Makes you wonder if you want to get involved in any kind of controversial science work, because nothing has changed since in a hundred years when it comes to securing "bragging rights".

Monday, October 22

"Mind Over Media: Voices From The Middle School" (Court TV Channel, noon-1 p.m. E/P) This is a documentary intended to be carried on your school's in-classroom TV during the day. You might want to let your teachers know about it or tape it for them to use. The stated purpose is to ''showcase positive steps families and educators can take to develop television-viewing habits and understand how television impacts their lives." The telecast is sort of a kick-off event for this year's version of an annual observance called "Take Charge Of Your TV Week" which was launched seven years ago when people really began to get worried about violence on TV. Much has happened in the media-world since then -- including the appearance of media-savvy folks like you Whyvillians on the scene. So this show may miss the mark with most of you. But it might be something you should bring to other folks' attention anyway. Online details about the 'take charge' week at www.ciconline.org.

Tuesday, October 23

"Secrets Of the Mind" (PBS 8-9 p.m. E/P) PBS' rigorously scientific "Nova" documentary series get into some bizarre stuff in this episode about the University of California San Diego Center for Brain and Cognition. By combining clinical observation with scientific reasoning and a knack for asking the right questions, center director Dr. V.S. Ramachandran is finding answers to questions about the location the brain of our religious feelings, the ability of the conventionally blind to ''see'', amputees to ''feel'' absent limbs and the tendency of some post-coma patients to see things that aren't there. The Dr. is a fan of Sherlock Holmes, by the way, and uses also sorts of cool "deduction" techniques gleaned from the books about that 19th century detective. There's some House of Illusion-like artwork and a cute "Probe the Brain" game at www.pbs.org/nova/mind.

"Scientific American Frontiers: The Gene Hunters" (PBS, 9-10 p.m. E/P) In this documentary about the very latest stuff going in human gene research, we see Dr. Cynthia Kenyon of the University of San Francisco using chemicals to create mutations in healthy nematode worms. She forces them to age in order to uncover a gene that might control aging in people. Also we meet James Watson, co-discoverer of the double helix that gave rise to the field of molecular biology and visit the largest Human Genome Project lab where robots help researchers decode billion-letter 'sentences' of data.. Lots more on this topic at www.pbs.org/saf.

Wednesday, October 24

"Junkyard Wars: Naval Warfare" (The Learning Channel, 9-10 p.m. E/P) Another deceptively titled documentary. Only the junk is real. The ''warfare" is something out of "Revenge Of the Nerds", which is the point of this popular documentary series which sends competing teams of scientists into strange places to solve problems using stuff that's lying around. This time they have to build underwater torpedos and sink the other team's model boat. One group uses compressed gas, the other (this is crazy to try underwater) a very very long electrical extension cable.

Thursday, October 25

"Aeros: The Illusion of Flight" (Bravo Chanel 8-9:30 p.m. E, 5-6:30 p.m. PT) This documentary follows a group of Olympic gymnasts as they transform their unusual training regime into a crowd-astounding public performance. You'll see the evolution of a Romanian version of the gravity-defying show that, so far, only the Canadian Cirque du Soliel has been able to present. This is absolutely, positively, forever and ever, stuff you should not try at home. But you'll never forget seeing it if you watch the show.



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