Modern Marvels

About the show

Celebrating ingenuity, invention and imagination on a grand scale, "Modern Marvels" tells the amazing stories of the doers, dreamers and sometime-schemers who create everyday items, technological advancements and manmade wonders.

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Upcoming episodes

Dec 14th
900a

Mega Speed Countdown

Modern Marvels is going big, and counting down. We take the "best of" Modern Marvels and give you the MEGA Top 10 countdown. On this edition: Speed. It's a pure adrenaline rush as we race the top 10 fastest marvels we've featured down to the speediest of all.
Dec 14th
1000a

More Snackfood Tech

They crunch; they ooze; they crackle; they pop - mmmmm yeah! Soft drinks, donuts, meat snacks, popcorn and gum. What's your weakness? From the hand-made treats of the earliest civilizations to hi-tech mass production, these snacks are borne of man's need to feed his cravings. Americans consume a whopping 10 billion cases of carbonated soft drinks annually - over $60 billion worth. That's about 50 gallons per person per year! We'll visit the World of Coca-Cola for a soda history lesson, and the Cadbury Schweppes production facility to get a demonstration of how they make Dr Pepper. We'll see just what goes into flavor development and the production of syrups, and how it's all combined and carbonated on a mass scale, bottled and shipped worldwide for all to enjoy.
Dec 14th
1100a

Brewing

It's one of the world's oldest and most beloved beverages--revered by Pharaohs and brewed by America's Founding Fathers. Today, brewing the bitter elixir is a multi-billion-dollar global industry. Join us for an invigorating look at brewing's history from prehistoric times to today's cutting-edge craft breweries, focusing on its gradually evolving technologies and breakthroughs. We'll find the earliest known traces of brewing, which sprang up independently in such far-flung places as ancient Sumeria, China, and Finland; examine the surprising importance that beer held in the daily and ceremonial life of ancient Egypt; and at Delaware's Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, an adventurous anthropologist and a cutting-edge brewer show us the beer they've concocted based on 2,700-year-old DNA found in drinking vessels from the funerary of the legendary King Midas.
Dec 14th
400p

Coffee

“Modern Marvels: Coffee” also takes viewers into the technological world of coffee giants like Starbucks, showing how billions of coffee beans make their journey from coffee farms and plantations, and are processed in gigantic roasting and packaging plants, before showing up in coffee cups all over the world.
Dec 14th
500p

Sugar

Sugar--it is the nearly miraculous substance that transforms food and drink the world over. Its byproducts are cane sugar, cane syrup, molasses, brown sugar and even rum. Sugar acts both to sweeten and to preserve. From coffee, tea, and soda to baking, candies, medicine--most anything that humans ingest--sugar is often a key ingredient. We will tour a sugar plantation on Maui, Hawaii to get an inside look at how cane sugar is produced today. We see the sugar stalks burned, the stems collected by machine and then put through an extensive process of extraction and purification--ultimately showing how a ton of harvested cane results in 200 pounds of raw sugar.
Dec 17th
300a

Wine

A glass a day is said to keep the doctor away. A defeated Napoleon drowned his sorrows in it; Thomas Jefferson became obsessed with it. Wine is an integral part of our culture and more wine is consumed today than ever before. Supermarket shelves that once carried only box wine and jugs are now lined with wines from Australia, Chile, and South Africa. Aerial imaging and infrared photography once used by NASA to map the moon is now employed by wineries to analyze soil, vine vigor, and even disease. Paying tribute to wine's unique history we will travel the world over to explore wineries, the worlds' most historic wine cellar and the oldest restaurant in Paris
Dec 17th
400a

The Supermarket

Our basic need and desire for food has made the supermarket one of the great success stories of modern retailing. Making customers' visits to the market as efficient as possible has led to many technological advancements such as bar coding and a scale that recognizes the type of produce placed on it. We'll explore the psychology of the supermarket including store layout, lighting, music and aromas that trigger the appetite. With a growing percentage of the public interested in eating healthier foods, organic grocers are carving out an increasingly large niche. These are just a few of the items worth checking out in this appetizing hour.
Dec 17th
500a

Tobacco

Tobacco is, at the very best, a contradictory crop. It's profitable, popular and poison. While tobacco has been instrumental in building empires (most notably our own), central to religious rituals, given solace to soldiers in times of war, and brought pleasure to countless smokers world over - it has sent millions to an early grave. Smoking is the single largest preventable cause of disease and premature death. It is a prime factor in heart disease, stroke, chronic lung disease, and a variety of cancers. Some health professionals believe that one billion people will die from tobacco related diseases over the course of this century. In an interview with the Surgeon General, we will explore this leading public health issue and how government regulation of the industry began.
Dec 17th
900a

Cowboy Tech

The period when the cowboy was "King of the Wild West" lasted a little more than thirty years. Over a century later, the cowboy's legacy, influence, and technology are still with us and continue to evolve. Travel back to the 19th century west when the American cattle industry boomed and learn how North American cowboys converted saddles, ropes, spurs, and other equipment originally developed by the Spanish into tools of the trade perfectly suited for the cattle industry.
Dec 17th
1000a

Civil War Tech

At a time where the United States was divided, Civil War technology revolutionized the way war was waged. Today, those technological milestones have evolved to ensure that our modern military has no equal in the world. Civil war tech explores how the war between the North and South was the first modern war, and that the technology used in it was a quantum leap beyond any previous conflict. The machine gun, aerial reconnaissance, advanced battlefield medicine, instantaneous communication, ironclad ships, even the first aircraft carrier were all innovations developed during the Civil War.