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

Aug 21st
900a

Glue

Super! It's Krazy! And it can be found in everything from carpet to computers, books to boats, shoes to the Space Shuttle. It's even used in surgery! Without it, our material world would simply fall apart. In this episode, we'll visit the stuck-up, tacky world of glue. Glue's sticky trajectory spans human history and we'll cover it all--from Neolithic cave dwellers who used animal glue to decorate ceremonial skulls to modern everyday glues and their uses, including Elmer's glue, 3M's masking and Scotch tape, and the super glues. Remember the Krazy Glue commercial in which a man held himself suspended from a hard hat that had just been glued to a beam? Well, that 1970s vintage ad understates the power of glue. With the help of a crane, we're going to hoist a 6,000-pound pickup truck off the ground by a steel joint that's been bonded with glue!
Aug 21st
1000a

Edwards Air Force Base

Carved out of the middle of nowhere in the California desert, Edwards Air Force base has become the world's foremost center for aviation research. Edwards Air Force Base gave America its first jet plane, first rocket plane, first Flying Wing, and first Space Shuttle landing. It's where Chuck Yeager broke the sound barrier, and where the X-43 scramjet took jet power to nearly ten times the speed of sound.
Aug 21st
1100a

Deadliest Weapons

Put your finger on the trigger of the most lethal devices ever invented. Deadliest Weapons looks at the world's doomsday devices form the Iron Age to the War on Terror. Among the early weapons chronicled are: the gladius, the Roman double-edged sword responsible for more deaths on the battlefield than any other weapon until the invention of the firearm; siegecraft and artillery, such as catapults used by Alexander the Great and later the Romans as covering artillery; the crossbow, used by Norman invaders at the Battle of Hastings, and the development of gunpowder, firearms and cannons.
Aug 21st
600p

Desert Tech

It's hot, dry, deadly, and hard to ignore with close to 40% of Earth classified as desert. But in this scorching hour, the desert turns from barren wasteland into an environment rich with hope. In the Middle East, desalination of seawater now fills water needs. Americans have created booming desert communities like Las Vegas, where the Hoover Dam produces hydroelectric power and manmade Lake Mead supplies water. Native Americans farmed the desert on a small scale, but 20th-century technology begot greater opportunity. Once desolate areas of California and Mexico now grow agriculture due to irrigation, and the desert's abundant sunshine allows solar-energy and wind-power production. And in the future, desert technology may enable colonization of planets like Mars. We also take a look at how refrigeration and air conditioning have made life in desert communities tolerable, and examine the latest in survival gear and equipment.
Aug 21st
700p

Butcher, The

In a carnivorous world, a butcher is a necessary link in the food chain, carving a carcass of unsavory flesh into mouthwatering cuts. We trace the grizzly trade's evolution--from yesteryear's butcher-on-every-corner to today's industrial butcher working on a "disassembly" line. We tour the infamous remains of the Chicago Stockyards, where Upton Sinclair, Clarence Birdseye, and refrigeration changed butchering forever; witness high-speed butchering; and travel to a non-stop sausage factory. And if you're still squeamish, a USDA inspector offers the lowdown on HAACP--the country's new system of checks and balances on everything from quality grading to E. coli, Salmonella, and Mad Cow Disease. Finally, we visit the last bastion of old-school butchering--the rural custom butcher, who slaughters, eviscerates, skins, and cuts to his customer's wishes.
Aug 21st
800p

World's Biggest Machines 3

Giant, flame-breathing robots. A floating fortress, home to 5,500 sailors, longer than the Empire State Building is tall. And a diesel engine with 108,000 horsepower. (You read that right.) These giants must be seen to be believed! In this episode, we travel over land and sea to find these and more of the biggest, baddest, most audacious feats of engineering in the world.
Aug 22nd
900a

Doomsday Tech

Doomsday threats range from very real (nuclear arsenals) to controversial (global warming) to futuristic (nanotechnology, cyborgs, and robots). Despite the Cold War's end, we live under the shadow of nuclear weapons, arms races, and accidental launches. Next, we stir up a hotter topic--the connection between global warming and fossil fuels--and ask if they're cooking up a sudden, new Ice Age. And we examine 21st-century technologies that typify the dual-edged sword of Doomsday Tech with massive potential for both creation and destruction--nanotechnology (engineering on a tiny scale), robotics, and cybernetics. We witness amazing applications in the works, wonder at the limitless promise, and hear warnings of a possible nano-doomsday, with tiny, out-of-control machines devouring everything around them.
Aug 22nd
1000a

More Doomsday Tech

The second deadly hour examines more threats--both natural and manmade--that may endanger civilization. From the far reaches of space to tiny viruses, doomsday sources are many. But so are technologies used to keep doomsday at bay. Asteroids of significant size have hit our planet before and likely will again. Asteroid hunters demonstrate the Near Earth Asteroid Tracking (NEAT) program and methods being developed to destroy earth-aimed asteroids. Then, it's onto bioterrorism's sinister technologies--how highly virulent agents like smallpox and plague can be weaponized. Next, an ex-hacker turned cyber-security expert shows how vulnerable the nation's computers are to cyberterror. Finally, we visit the controversial world of biotechnology. Could genetically engineered crops backfire? Does a brave new world of genetically selected beings loom in our not-so-distant future?
Aug 22nd
1100a

Commercial Fishing

Battered and fried, tarter sauce on the side, or simply raw - seafood is a popular dish, no matter how you serve it. Americans consume more than 5 billion pounds of fish each year and it takes more than a rod and reel to fill that multi-billion dollar order. In this episode of Modern Marvels we'll follow the fish, the fishermen and the science trying to preserve the fisheries for generations to come.
Aug 22nd
600p

More Dangerous Cargo

It comes in many deadly shapes and sizes, and the transportation of dangerous cargo is one of the most meticulously planned procedures in the shipping world. We hitch a ride on a "dynamite run" from explosives factory to construction site; learn how liquid natural gas is shipped, a fuel that could vaporize entire city blocks if ignited; accompany a Drug Enforcement Administration truck as it transports confiscated illegal drugs to an incinerator site for destruction; fly with Air Net as it moves radioactive pharmaceuticals from factory to hospital; and tag along with two tigers, part of a breeding program for endangered species, as they travel from Texas to Ohio. As each story progresses, we explore the history of the transport of that particular form of Dangerous Cargo.