www.whyville.net Dec 13, 2001 Weekly Issue

Staff Writer

What's On!

Users' Rating
Rate this article

What's On!

Times Writer

The special highlight this week is Tele-Actor, an interactive webcast of some folks at the University of California at Berkeley doing cool stuff in their Microlab Clean Room. Log on early at teleactor.berkeley.edu to check out their voting tools and reserve a spot!

In other news, if you haven't seen it already, watch Finding Forrester, it's a great flick, especially for inspiring would-be-writers. Michael Medved always rocks my journalistic world. And of course, there's the show that's all about YOU!

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

Friday, December 14
    National Geographic Today
    Prison Boot Camp

Saturday, December 15
    The Human Edge
    Spies in the Sky

Sunday, December 16
    Good Entertainment Special

Monday, December 17
    The Quest for the True Cross
    Finding Forrester

Tuesday, December 18
    The Perfect Pearl

Wednesday, December 19
    Supermax Prisons

Thursday, December 20
    Merchants of Cool

Friday, December 14

"National Geographic Today" (National Geographic Channel, 7-8 p.m. E/P) This documentary newsmagazine has a story that may change your attitude about bugs. That creepy-crawly you usually shy away from could save your life. In China, such creatures -- big spiders like tarantulas, as well as scorpions, centipedes -- are bred in batches of thousands for their healing venom. The program also has a segment about an inner-city program in New York that trains kids in the art of fencing.

"Prison Boot Camp" (Discovery Channel, 10-11 p.m. E/P) This documentary -- something to make you think a serious thought or two during the holiday vacation -- describes a special incarceration and rehabilitation program -- a 90 day military boot camp regime intended to instill discipline and a sense of self-worth in convicted criminals who have accomplished little of value in their lives. (See also Wednesday's documentary noted below on a different view of this issue.)

Saturday, December 15

"The Human Edge " (National Geographic Channel, 8-8:30 p.m. ET, 5-5:30 p.m. PT) This science magazine's lead story describes how engineers use diamonds in computers, cars and airplanes. Other stories show NASA biologists searching for organisms that live in extreme environments like boiling springs or frozen rocks and another group of engineers' working on artificial sensory organs to help humans detect tastes and smells beyond our abilities - an "e-nose" and "e-tongue".

"Ellie-Vision" (Animal Planet Channel, 10-1l p.m. E/P) This is the initial episode of a new series in which you get to see the world from a wild African elephant's point of view. A specially adapted camera and microphone has been attached to a radio collar of the show's star, Ellie the elephant.

"Spies In the Sky" (The Learning Channel, 10-11 p.m. E/P) This is a documentary about the non-military use of spy-satellites. Anyone with a credit card nowadays can order images taken 400 miles up in space -- or you can buy once-secret satellite images taken at the height of the Cold War. The good news is that scientists can use this imagery to protect endangered species and firefighters can use satellite imagery to save lives.

Sunday, December 16

"Good Entertainment Special" (Hallmark Channel, 8-9 p.m. E/P) This is a holiday special hosted by a smart, tough-minded writer named Michael Medved. You'll figure him out right away when he reveals his choices of the most interesting and intellectually stimulating of the season's media products -- movies, TV shows, videos, DVD's and games. He also interviews some celebrities about their choices. (Compare the choices in this show to those cited this month in MediaWiz!)

Monday, December 17

"The Quest For The True Cross" (9-10 p.m. E/P) This is a documentary about the latest scholarly detective work going on concerning an almost forgotten fragment of wood, kept under lock and key by Cistercian monks in a church on the outskirts of Rome, that is thought to be a part of the True Cross on which Jesus was crucified.

"Finding Forrester" (HBO, 9- 10:30 p.m. 2-3:30 p.m. PT -- note these varied times) This is a movie about a bright 16-year-old inner city kid who undertakes to snatch a souvenir from the apartment of a mysterious neighbor but accidentally leaves a bag full of his writing behind. But the neighbor, a grey-haired recluse, then returns the writings to the kid -- with corrections! The story then unfolds with these two unlikely people -- the recluse is a famous novelist and the kid has the raw talent to become a serious writer -- forming a bond based on their passion for words. This is really worth watching during the holiday vacation.

Tuesday, December 18

"The Perfect Pearl" (PBS, 8-9 p.m. E/P) This is a "Nova" documentary about the locations around the world where pearls are grown and harvested, including Ago Bay in Japan where lately something has been mysteriously killing off pearl-producing oysters. There's a fascinating accompanying website, www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/pearl, which describes freshwater pearls, how to measure and evaluate pearls and the history of pearls.

Wednesday, December 19

"Tele-Actor" (web-event taking place 3-3:30 p.m. ET, noon-12:30 p.m. PT at teleactor.berkeley.edu) This media production is not a TV show, but rather a web-cast, taking place at a very specific time -- you should log on prior to the event to arrange to participate. When you do, you'll see an explanation by the University of California professors running this thing which says, among other things: "The Tele-Actor is a new system for participatory learning: A skilled human (seen on-screen) equipped with wireless audio/video moves through and interacts with a remote environment. Online "voters" (that's you) observe via the Internet. Voters not only view, but interact with each other and with the Tele-Actor by voting on what to do next. On 19 Dec 2001, from 12:00-12:30pm PST 3-3:30 p.m. EST), the Tele-Actor will visit the UC Berkeley Microlab Clean Room. In the meantime, please register and try our Spatial Dynamic Voting interface. On other occasions, the Tele-Actor can visit restricted sites such as a surgical operating room."

"Supermax Prisons" (The Learning Channel, 7-8 p.m. E/P) This documentary, another critical-thinking exercise for sure, examines the psychological, architectural and even the Constitutional issues of "maximum security" prisons. For instance, is the 23-hour-a day isolation feature of a supermax facility the right thing for a very dangerous criminal?

Thursday, December 20

"Merchants Of Cool" (PBS, 9-10 p.m. E/P -- check your local PBS station's listings) This is a repeat broadcast of a documentary about you. I mean that you, because of your age, are the subject of study by market researchers who sift through reams of data, focus group transcripts and interviews results conducted in malls -- all in search of your ideas about the "next big thing'' that might snare your attention and make you buy products. You're a market segment worth $150 billion a year. This is an anthropology documentary that will make you a sharp-eyed critic of all other anthroplogy documentaries you might see -- as well as a more picky shopper during this Holiday season.



  Back to front page