www.whyville.net Feb 7, 2002 Weekly Issue

Staff Writer

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Did you know there were women astronauts back during the '60s? Most people don't!

Did you know there's a really cool opera out there? No, really! Don't believe me? Seeing is believing!!

Oh, and you can't miss the best of the best Junkyard Wars. You just can't.

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

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

Friday, March 8

"The Motion Picture" (History Channel, 7-8pm E/P) This is a documentary about the problems of getting pictures to move. A hundred years ago Thomas Edison made the technology into a big business amidst all sorts of feuding about scientific, legal and even moral issues. (0ne of Edison's very first movies showed 2 people kissing - the technology made the picture so fuzzy and the people were so homely that you'll wonder when you see it why it caused an uproar.)

"Cadet Kelly" (Disney Channel, 8-9:40pm E/P) This is a movie about academic and personal discipline. A 14 year old is forced to go to a military academy. Her problem is worse than usual because she's been living a life allowing her wide creative freedom in New York until she goes to this rural school where her stepfather has taken over as commandant. Can a flaky artist ever become a disciplined scholar and cadet? Can her talent be channeled to help the drill team win a championship? (Program repeats March 9 and 10 at 8pm and March 12 at 7pm)

Saturday, March 9

"The Paralympic Games" (A&E Network, 6-7pm E/P) This is the first of eight consecutive hour-long sports broadcasts covering this month's 2002 Paralympic Games in Utah. This is the first winter version of the games to be held in the U.S. (The summer games where previously held in Atlanta.) In addition to coverage of competition by 500 athletes from 30 nations you'll see the true-life stories about overcoming disabilities to compete in these events (including the visually impaired, wheelchair-bound, amputees) at high levels of performance. Coverage runs on A&E each evening in this time slot until March 16th.

Sunday, March 10

"Secrets Of The Great Wall" (Discovery Channel, 3-4pm E/P) How was the Great Wall of China built? How was it originally designed and maintained? (Think about it; it's been kept up for 3000 years.) This documentary uses satellite images, computer animation and access to new archaeological digs and restoration projects to show how this technological marvel has dominated the landscape and culture of China for so long.

"Gorillas: Primal Contact" (A&E Network, 8-10pm E/P) This 2-hour documentary about the latest research about the relationship that has existed between gorillas and human beings since we shared a common ancestor millions of years ago includes a behind the scenes look at the new Congo gorilla exhibit at the Bronx Zoo and a visit to gorilla territory in Central Africa.

Monday, March 11

"The Miracle Worker" (Turner Classic Movies, 6-8pm ET, 3-5pm PT) This a great movie about a remarkable true event -- a teacher's struggle to help a student overcome deafness and blindness to learn to communicate. It won the actresses who played Annie Sullivan and the young Helen Keller each an Oscar. The story has been filmed several times -- this 1962 version is the best. People who recall seeing it when they were in the 8th grade back then get teary-eyed describing the way the story ends. Available on video.

"Sci-Trek: Deadly Crossings -- American Intersections" (Discovery Channel, 10-11pm E/P) This is a really serious program. Life and death issues in everyday experience. One in four Americans knows someone who was killed in an intersection crash. I mean, after viewing this show where traffic engineers point out lethal design flaws at busy intersections and discuss the "human factor" (driver rage and/or stupidity) you'll really look both ways hext time before crossing the street at the corner.

Tuesday, March 12

"Mercury 13: The Secret Astronauts" (History Channel, 6-7am E/P) Yes, here's another of those really interesting "secret" tech stories sprung on you at a terrible early hour. So set up the VCR the night before because this one's about the 13 women who qualified to become astronauts during the original Mercury space launch program during the '60's but were denied full status because of their gender. In the show you'll meet 3 of these women and also some current astronauts (because the rules got changed later).

"Science Times: The Gamble" (National Geographic Channel, 9-10pm ET, 6-7pm PT) The topic of this weekly science report, produced in collaboration with the New York Times, is how to build a better racehorse. We're not talking transistors and motors here but rather genetic tinkering as part of the selective breeding process. (Is there such a thing as a "speed gene"?) But some experts think that more traditional training methods will really determine the race's outcome -- which raises interesting questions for "nurture versus nature" debaters.

Wednesday, March 13

"La Boheme" (Ovation Network, 9-11pm ET, 6-8pm PT) I'm taking a chance here recommending an opera broadcast -- but bear with me for a moment. The director is the person who has hit musical movie, "Moulin Rouge", up for several Oscars this month, Baz Lurhmann. The opera is the most popular ever. The characters in the story are not much older than Whyvillians. In Luhrmann's staging they will be wearing modern clothes (no capes or floppy berets). Well, not modern exactly but really cool 1950's (major thrift store) styles. The music is absolutely, positively unforgettable. Grammy stuff. Your smarter friends and your smarter teachers will be really impressed when you say you saw this show. Available on video.

"The Best Of Junkyard Wars" (The Learning Channel, 10-11pm E/P) I guess I won't get away with calling this a documentary because it might seem to your parents that you are just asking them to let you stay up late to watch a Hollywood-style "awards show". The regular hosts of the Junkyard Wars series (one of the coolest, subtlest-ever recruiting campaigns for technical college enrollment) will be conducting a ceremony, "The Rusty Awards" in various categories honoring technological resourcefulness. Categories -- illustrated with scenes of the achievement -- include "Best Scrounger", "Best Transformation of Junk" and "Junkyard Machine of The Year". Junkyard Wars is a fantastic show, and this is the best of the best!

Thursday, March 14

"Primetime Thursday" (ABC, 9-11pm E/P) The topics covered in this special news-documentary are current trends in child adoption, particularly foster care. (Note: adoptive parents who are gay are among the many categories included in the report.)

"Spain: History Revealed" (Travel Channel, 10-11pm E/P) Beyond the usual sights shown in Spanish travel documentaries -- flamenco dancing, bullfighting, etc. -- is the dramatic and culturally rich story of the Moslem invasion and 800 year occupation of that European country. For an outstanding website about the artistic and mathematical genuis which flowered in Spain during that era, log on to http://weasel.cnrs.humboldt.edu/~spain/alh. And at the bottom of that site click on to "Math Show in Spain" for further neat stuff. You will be amazed.


Friday, March 8
    The Motion Picture
    Cadet Kelly

Saturday, March 9
    The Paralympic Games

Sunday, March 10
    Secrets of The Great Wall
    Gorillas: Primal Contact

Monday, March 11
    The Miracle Worker
    Sci-Trek: Deadly Crossings -- American Intersections

Tuesday, March 12
    Mercury 13: The Secret Astronauts
    Science Times: The Gamble

Wednesday, March 13
    La Boheme
    The Best of Junkyard Wars

Thursday, March 14
    Primetime Thursday
    Spain: History Revealed


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