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BBC Premiered Jan 01, 2009 Unknown

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  • Season 1
    • The Village In English Fiction
      4/25/09
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      Learn how the idea of the village has inspired many classic English authors, from Thomas Hardy to George Eliot, and how it functions as a literary setting. The village has been seen as an idyllic setting, but also one in which tragedy and disaster unfolds. You will learn how the village has been idealised, exploited and even satirized in the works of authors like Stella Gibbons and Dylan Thomas. The influence of the village is felt today in the work of modern artists, who are in turn inspired by classic poets and novelists. By using the setting of the village as a literary device, writers produce works of all genres, from romance to satire, comedy to horror. Has the perception of the village grown weaker or stronger now that urban centers have expanded so much?moreless
    • Ian Rankin's Secret Edinburgh
      4/25/09
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      Discover how over twenty years of writing about the same character has affected Ian Rankin's personal life. Inspector Rebus is Rankin's most popular creation, and he equates their relationship to that of Jekyll and Hyde. See how the landscape of Rankin's Edinburgh is closely tied to that of Rebus, from the cul de sac they both lived on to the murder enquiry taking place at the time of Rankin's writing. Rankin is considering ending the life of Inspector Rebus. Will this free him and allow him to focus on other projects?moreless
    • Romantic Poets 2
      Romantic Poets 2
      Episode 856639
      4/25/09
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      First noted for being poet Byron's favorite swimming spot, the lake near Grantchester was frequented by Rupert Brooke 100 years later. The voice of his generation, Brooke's poetry emerged during the first World War, though he never fought in the trenches. Known for being charismatic and handsome, Brooke died young on a naval expedition, but wrote frequently of his love for the English countryside, and Grantchester in particular.moreless
    • Early 20th Century English Writers
      4/25/09
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      Taking in the rolling fields and hills of Dorset, in which Thomas Hardy set tales of passion and escape, learn how a writer's favorite landscape can be as vital as the characters that populate it. Hardy turned Dorset into Wessex, a space that contrasted the wild and untamed elements with the ordered, disciplined ones. Dylan Thomas retreated to a village in Wales to write, and this picturesque setting inspired some of his greatest works. Lastly, visit a timeless town in Cornwall, first encountered by Daphne du Maurier in the 1920s, which provided the setting for her famous book 'The Birds' – later made into a movie by Alfred Hitchcock.moreless
    • Doris Lessing
      Doris Lessing
      Episode 856635
      4/25/09
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      Learn how an award-winning author emerged from a rural childhood in Southern Africa. Finishing formal education at the age of fourteen, Doris Lessing went on to write prolifically and on a wide range of topics. Her work has inspired readers and writers alike, and she clearly rejects many conventional approaches to literature. Lessing is often described as being a truly modern writer, and is preoccupied with the power of the mind, thought and dreams. Her work is never afraid to confront the unpleasant aspects of life, but is this a mark of her success or something that will marginalize her work? This includes archive and modern interviews with the author.moreless
    • Romantic Poets 1
      Romantic Poets 1
      Episode 856633
      4/25/09
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      Starting with a young William Wordsworth's terror while rowing on a lake, learn how the poet's understanding of the natural world affected his entire life and poetic work. See how Samuel Taylor Coleridge had more disturbing encounters with his landscape, which fed into his nightmares and hallucinations, and how William Yeats fell in love with his homeland and became a proud Irish nationalist. Lastly, Robert Burns's credentials as an impoverished, hard-working Scotsman meant he became a national hero for championing 'the common man' and rescuing Scots folk songs from extinction.moreless
    • Love In Literature
      Love In Literature
      Episode 856624
      4/25/09
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      Learn about the history of love in literature, as discussed by a variety of contemporary authors and critics. From the difficulties of rhyming the word 'love' in poetry, to a look at the psychology of love and romance. Love affairs have altered and sometimes destroyed the course of events, in fiction and in life, and this powerful theme is explored in medieval literature right through to 'Bridget Jones's Diary.' Jane Austen's 'Pride and Prejudice' is discussed as one of the most popular and enduring love stories of our time, amongst other classic works.moreless
    • Maya Angelou
      Maya Angelou
      Episode 856623
      4/25/09
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      Maya Angelou's 'I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings' is one of a series of autobiographical works that explore issues such as racism and childhood trauma, and in this interview the author talks about her childhood memories, sings some of her work and ponders the question of faith and religion. Angelou also discusses the more traumatic elements of her early life, and how they have in fact helped her to thrive and grow stronger. Now at an age where she has witnessed many triumphs, she reflects on the post-2008 American political landscape.moreless
    • Face to Face With Famous Authors
      4/25/09
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      Learn about the motivations and early circumstances of celebrated authors Salman Rushdie, Arthur Miller and Allen Ginsberg. Rushdie discusses the impact of his fiction in what he terms a 'political' furore, amid the question of 'The Satanic Verses.' Miller talks of his early working years, during which he earned the money to attend university, and of his ten year affair and marriage to Marilyn Monroe. Ginsberg speaks about his religious experiences with Hinduism and Buddhism, his parents and his homosexuality.moreless
    • Anti-War Movement
      Episode 856597
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      Take a look at the anti-war movement in the wake of new draft laws in the US during the Vietnam War. When fighting for the American forces stopped being a matter of choice, resistance to the draft laws began to rise. By the 1960s this became a significant movement and generated a societal conflict of its own. Forums and advice seminars on ways to avoid the draft took place across the Sates, while those already engaged in battle were interviewed in opposition to the objectors. Witness the accompanying pop culture movement to end the war and the draft law in the form of protest songs and radical publications, as well as the intervention of religious and spiritual figureheads, and how this tied in to the end of the conflict in Vietnam.moreless
    • The Living Room War
      Episode 856596
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      Learn how the Vietnam War was the first major conflict to appear on people's televisions every night, as the conflict escalated in tandem with the rise of television news reportage. The constant and relentless images of skirmishes and raids descending into sheer brutality presented the news of war in a different light, and the futility of many missions led spectators around the world to question the tactics and motivations of the US involvement. Watch original news reports from the era and see how this became a 'living room war,' in which it became clear that confusion and disarray took hold of many operations. How did this news coverage affect the public image of war, and how did the various responses to it shape the way of conflict as we know it today?moreless
    • Fall of Saigon
      Episode 856595
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      At the Fall of Saigon, the end of the Vietnam War was finally in sight. North Vietnamese troops entered Saigon on April 30, 1975 and the South Vietnamese forces accepted defeat. The war was over, and the war was lost: at this point the unification of Vietnam into a single Communist state could begin, but many South Vietnamese scrambled to evacuate the country alongside the American troops. Some escaped, but many did not. Witness the beginnings of a journey to freedom and uncertainty as undertaken by many Vietnamese. These desperate scenes took place in a tense few hours in which families were separated and many bids for freedom were denied.moreless
    • Seeds of Conflict
      Episode 856593
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      Here we see the origins of the term 'domino theory,' or what President Eisenhower termed 'the falling domino principle,' in which Communism was seen as a movement that would spread in a linear fashion from one region to the other. Witness news reports from the period that chart the development of the Vietnam conflict, starting with the American commitment to defend South Vietnam, and moving on to cover the escalating involvement of American troops and the heavy losses of life that ensued on both sides. These stories also focus on the end of the French empire and the withdrawal of the French legions, giving a wider perspective to this lengthy conflict. See how the scale of this war began to mount on all sides, and how a strategy of containment led the United States to commit so many resources over sixteen years of fighting.moreless
    • Quagmire
      Episode 856592
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      Learn how many observers at the time came to view the American involvement in the Vietnam conflict as a quagmire, or a military involvement with no clear way to withdraw troops or exit the conflict. While President Nixon pushed for a process of Vietnamization, in which South Vietnamese would step into the positions held by American troops, further attacks and battles on the North Vietnamese frontiers took place. Major incidents including Firebase Gerry and the battles of Du Bop and Hill 423 complicated this plan even further, and it began to be clear that the American forces were the real target in these operations, rather than the South Vietnamese. In addition to this, large caches of weapons were discovered and the conflict began to spill over into Cambodia.moreless
    • Life During Wartime
      Episode 856589
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      Discover the realities of living as a member of the US Military Personnel while on a tour of duty. Witness the first-hand accounts of the difficulties and dangers of fighting in the Vietnam conflict in a series of candid and poignant interviews. The accumulating trauma and mounting disillusionment of troops is clear to see, but so too is the bravery and devotion to duty of the American men and women serving in this war. From the ballad-singing helicopter pilot suffering from the loss of several compatriots to the medical staff on call around the clock treating soldiers with horrific injuries, discover the personal stories behind the harrowing conflict in Vietnam. Many young men and women were exposed to traumatic events in this war, and for many the end rarely seemed in sight.moreless
    • The Gulf of Tonkin
      Episode 856588
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      The incident of 'the Gulf of Tonkin' refers to two connected skirmishes off the coast of North Vietnam which have long been shrouded in mystery, and the circumstances of which are still subject to doubt and controversy. See how the report of an attack on US Destroyer Maddox led to a second, disputed report of an attack, and how this in turn was instrumental in passing the Southeast Asia Resolution, meaning that US forces could be deployed here by President Lyndon B Johnson without a declaration of war from Congress. Learn how the response to alleged events set a pattern for military responses from the US, and how the President was given powers to wage war, without declaring war, based on events that may never have happened.moreless
    • Battle of Hue
      Episode 856587
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      Known as one of the bloodiest battles in the Vietnam conflict, the Battle of Hue was part of the TET Offensive of 1968. Hue was taken over by North Vietnamese and Vietcong forces, and the US military fought to regain it in a grueling street-by-street battle, in which by increments the well-fortified citadel of the city was recaptured. Thousands of civilians were rounded up and executed, before being buried in mass graves, and the onslaught was indiscriminate. The five-day battle, fought 'inch by shattered inch,' bombarded an estimated eighty percent of the city's structures. As Marine Captain Myron Harrington asked, 'Did we have to destroy the city in order to save it?'moreless
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      Between January and April of 1968, the US marine post of Khe Sanh came under heavy fire from North Vietnamese forces. Learn how the US military responded to these attacks, launching an intensive aerial attack, dropping thousands of tonnes of explosives on the areas surrounding Khe Sanh in a bombardment the like of which had never been seen in the history of warfare. See how more primitive techniques accompanied this onslaught, such as tunnelling and the use of divining rods and stethoscopes to detect hidden bunkers and tunnels. Shorter-range combat is revealed here too, thanks to risky camerawork at ground level, and trench warfare is enacted between the besieged and the attacking North Vietnamese troops.moreless
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      Between January and April of 1968, the US marine post of Khe Sanh came under heavy fire from North Vietnamese forces. Learn how the US military responded to these attacks, launching an intensive aerial attack, dropping thousands of tonnes of explosives on the areas surrounding Khe Sanh in a bombardment the like of which had never been seen in the history of warfare. Witness the responses of soldiers caught in the siege, and their feelings of anxiety and fear in the face of this lengthy and unpredictable attack. Although the battle of Khe Sanh was eventually won by US forces, was it really a tactical or strategic achievement or simply an accomplished mission?moreless
    • Our Planet Earth
      Episode 855693
      2/25/09
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      How much do we really know about greenhouse gases, why the dinosaurs disappeared and the delicate balance that sustains life on Earth? 65 million years ago one event led to the extinction of dinosaurs. Huge volcanoes erupted, filling the sky with green house gases and led to Global Warming. Today, the burning of fossil fuels is causing the same effect by releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and thickening the greenhouse blanket around the Earth. Are the same factors that decimated the creatures of the Triassic Age threatening to push our species on Earth today to extinction?moreless
    • Migration for Food
      Episode 855692
      2/25/09
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      Experience nature's journeys which stretch the limit of human imagination. Watch epic migrations by land, sea and air as animals traverse the world in an unrelenting search of food. Follow humpback whales through five months of fasting as they navigate the ocean in the longest migration of any mammal; join a million wildebeest as they trek both day and night across the East African savannah and chase summer with swallows in their six thousand mile flight from England to Africa.moreless
    • On Their Own
      Episode 855691
      2/25/09
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      Whether on land or underwater the beginning of a young animal's life will be the foundation for its understanding of the world. Entering a perilous environment, these youngsters need to learn the skills to survive within minutes of being born. Discover species where fathers give birth, creatures expand 20,000 times in size and which reptiles bury their eggs in termite mounds for up to 9 months. Explore the eating habits of seahorses, metamorphosis of caterpillars and the protective nature of monitor lizards as their offspring adapt to their new homes.moreless
    • 2/25/09
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      Follow the marathon travellers of the natural kingdom on their incredible journeys, unravelling some of the great mysteries of migration. Why do animals and even some plants undertake these odysseys and how do they accomplish the extraordinary navigational feats that are often involved? Follow snow geese, salmon and turtles on their urgent mission to breed and reproduce. Learn how snow geese make their way from the marshlands in New Mexico using a complex system of magnetic fields and sunlight in order to find their way North, with astonishing accuracy. Watch salmon face a wide range of predators, from grizzly bears to scavenging eels, which ensures only the strongest get to complete their journey. Next, the green turtle moves from the tropical reefs to join other turtles across the ocean to return to the breeding grounds of their birth.moreless
    • African Babies
      Episode 855688
      2/25/09
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      In the natural world there are amazing ways of protecting and preparing the young to go out into the world. Watch as a nearly blind elephant calf learns to trek for food, a newborn gazelle runs form danger before his first feed and a protective mother hippo watches her baby surface from underwater to take its first breath. See a wildebeest's maternal instincts kick in as she fiercely shields her cub from hyenas and how a gorilla family prepares their offspring for adulthood.moreless
    • 2/25/09
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      Understand some of the issues that perplexed evolutionist Charles Darwin and what inspired him. The key to some of his discoveries lie in geology. The idea of the impact of gradual change would form the basis of his theory of evolution. He labored over missing evidence in his study of fossils that supported his theory that the earth was billions of years old. He also postulated that all animals of a kind come from one common ancestor: dogs, for instance, are all descendants of wolves. Unfortunately, Darwin lacked a vital component in the explanation of his theories: genetics. He recognised this fault though, and struggled constantly to question not just the ideas of others but also his own. His unceasing quest for the truth opened vital doors in our understanding the natural world.moreless
    • Miniature Creatures
      Episode 855684
      2/25/09
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      Millions of tiny, often invisible creatures may go unnoticed, but they surround us everywhere on both land and sea. Learn how color and sound are used by small creatures to communicate whether for protection or courtship. Cicadas, though tiny, are the loudest of all insects, reaching 120 decibels with a call that can travel up to a mile. See how beetles use vibrations to communicate in a secret Morse code and how bogong moths travel at night, navigating by the moon and stars. Some animals compensate for their small size by living in large groups. Travel to the jungles of West Africa where communal hunting spiders share whatever they catch in their webs and find out how insects can be insurmountable forces that organize into marching armies in search for food.moreless
    • Wild Animals: Neighbors
      Episode 855682
      2/25/09
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      More animals than could be imagined have come in from the wild - into our towns and even our homes. The Asian Elephant and man have developed a system of symbiotic cooperation. In this episode, an elephant, able to learn and respond to up to forty different commands, works for the Mahout or elephant-driver, who in turn looks after the elephant. In Thailand, we see macaques labouring to harvest coconuts. A trained monkey will do this up to 800 times a day for its master. Also sharing our world, are snakes whose skins and venoms have been used for medicinal purposes for years, and while only some snakes are killers, they are certainly the stuff of many nightmares. Animals have always worked hard for us; can we not find more room for them?moreless
    • 2/25/09
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      The often perilous first steps in a young animal's life will form the basis of its understanding of the world. Although an elephant can survive over two weeks without water, elephant families annually trek for miles to return to watering holes, guided by their remarkable memory of previous journeys. Watch orangutans, the largest tree dwelling animals in the world, navigate treetops in their never-ending search for food. We think it is natural for apes to climb trees; but it takes a youngster a year to attempt its first solo climb. This is also the first step in a longer climb – towards independence. In this episode, see how a mother cheetah, the world's fastest sprinting mammal, teaches her cubs to master a kill. And observe young grisly bears climb through the snow to Arctic rivers in Alaska to fish for their first salmon.moreless
    • Nature's Habitats
      Episode 855678
      2/25/09
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      Discover a miniature universe within our world teaming with life. Using remarkable micro and macro photography learn how some of the smallest and perhaps most bizarre members of the animal kingdom construct different styles of shelter around the world. See miniscule architectural designers use their sophisticated skills and materials around them to build incredible structures. In this episode, female potter wasps use a ceramics technique to build mud pots to house their eggs, blind termites build complex skyscrapers with their own system of air-conditioning, and black fly larvae withstand the force of water to protect their homes by producing silk lifelines. Follow these tiny builders as they survive in the most extreme conditions.moreless
    • Our Future At Risk
      Episode 855676
      2/25/09
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      Is the Earth really changing or is it just part of the planet's natural rhythms? Man's interaction with the environment has lead to problems such as famine and drought. More recently, rising Co2 levels are affecting the thermohaline circulation which may be causing more frequent killer storms and wild weather. As the planet faces overpopulation and food shortages, we may be overlooking our ability to develop new and better ways of feeding ourselves. But the genetic modification programs that would make this possible have a deadly side effect: mutating viruses that are increasingly resistant to medication and could pose a threat to our world. Once we've tampered with nature do we really know what will happen next?moreless
    • Our Changing World
      Episode 855675
      2/25/09
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      Global Warming is an inescapable fact. As temperatures rise and ice caps melt, man faces some serious ecological and environmental issues that could have detrimental consequences for the planet. This series of three short programs looks at the links between climate, tectonic plates, rising temperatures, receding mountain glaciers and expanding oceans. Learn how the movement of tectonic plates triggers one of nature's most spectacular and dangerous forces. Eruptions can have global repercussions with the potential to alter the future course of the human species forever, yet we have no power over them. All of these changes are impacting our global landscape and affecting our ecosystems.moreless
    • Keeping It Green
      Episode 855674
      2/25/09
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      Travel from Havana Cuba to Somerset England and experience green revolutions in model communities. With relatively little investment, communities are turning inner-city wastelands into productive agricultural areas for food and creating an organic gardening culture. Learn how one community reduced its carbon footprint with a solar powered school without reliance on modern gadgets. See how ordinary Cubans, after the Russians withdrew their economic support in the 1980s, had to grow food without fertilizers and pesticides. Despite not owning the land, people decided to set up makeshift gardens in order to feed the community. Next, we see the efforts of a British schoolboy adamantly fighting against the threat of global warming in a village in Somerset, England. The community uses sustainable means to have as little impact on the planet as possible.moreless
    • Wind In Texas
      Episode 855673
      2/25/09
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      As the United States attempts to utilize more renewable and clean energy, could the solution be in the windy landscapes of Texas? Investment in wind turbines has increased over the last few years, as deregulation and rising fuel costs are propelling the industry into big business. In Texas, where wind turbines are already powering over 180,000 homes, could more be done? The US harvests less than 1% of its energy from alternative energy sources. Areas which are lacking resources and have been depleted of fossil fuels are often ideal for wind farming, so are there other areas in America which could be ideal for renewable energy? Hear from T. Boone Pickens who is committed to reducing our dependency on foreign oil.moreless
    • Solar Preview
      Episode 855671
      2/25/09
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      Learn how you can use solar power technology to offset up to 70% of your energy consumption and live a sustainable lifestyle. Even with rising energy costs and strained power grids, discover how to shrink your energy bill and make money and with solar energy. Find out how you could be selling your excess energy back to the power company even in states with short days and less light. You will learn about smart glass insulation, solar panels and how to harness the sun for all your power needs.moreless
    • Wind Farm Cape Cod
      Episode 855652
      2/25/09
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      Wind farms are an eco-friendly power source but are they a blight on the landscape? It seems there are growing questions over where to build new wind farms. In Cape Cod, Massachusetts, we learn about a debate over a proposal to use wind power to replace electrical power plants. Some citizens argue that the building of a wind turbine taller than the Statue of Liberty creates a visual impact much the same as a power station. Others believe that these offshore wind farms will have a negative effect on local fisheries. Proponents believe this is the best site for a wind farm that harvests clean energy and is an ideal way to tap into one of the most inexhaustible and abundant wind resources in the United States.moreless
    • Green Living
      Episode 855650
      2/25/09
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      Do you know what your carbon footprint is? An average American generates 50,000 pounds of carbon emissions per year. Learn ways you can conserve resources and live a carbon neutral lifestyle. By reducing our energy consumption and choosing eco-friendly products like hybrid cars and compact fluorescent light bulbs, we can offset the impact our modern lives have on our environment and our planet. If each person in the US traded one incandescent light bulb for a compact fluorescent the impact would be like taking one million cars off the road for one year. This is just one of the many practical tips for green living you can learn about in this episode.moreless
    • Green Entrepreneurs
      Episode 855645
      2/25/09
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      By recycling waste products from old computers to making organic compost from worm waste, green entrepreneurs may help to solve energy problems around the globe. We take a look at a budding business making a profit from garbage. The ability to turn recycled products into a profit is now a reality and nothing illustrates this more than one company's efforts to turn worm waste into highly effect fertilizer. Learn how small recycling centers are attempting to fight against toxic electronic waste by recycling e-waste into functioning equipment. See how US homeowners are now saving $1500 a year on their heating bill by using eco-friendly sawdust pellets or mixtures of heating and soybean oil to heat their homes. Understand how an investment in miniature solar panel energy has given birth to new products able to power anything from laptops to homeless shelters for disaster victims.moreless
    • Green Architecture
      Episode 855640
      2/25/09
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      Learn how green architects are building fashionable, functional homes entirely out of eco-friendly and recycled materials. These maverick designers use environmental strategies to build ecological structures without sacrificing beauty. From green skyscrapers in New York showcasing stunning floor to ceiling windows and waterfalls in the atriums, to celebrity homes in Southern California, see design ideas and innovations across the country. By using water from rainfall, organic waste for mulch and geothermal heating and cooling systems, see how earth friendly architects can help you save energy and protect our fragile environments.moreless
    • Driving Ethanol
      Episode 855634
      2/25/09
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      As people are looking to save money at the pump, ethanol, an alcohol distilled from corn, has become a viable alternative to gasoline. Among the fastest growing energy industries in the world is the production of corn grown ethanol. This clean burning fuel may help reduce US dependence on foreign oil and reduces our toxic exhaust emissions. Learn how to moonshine your own ethanol by distilling it at home and get a glimpse of automobiles of the future that run on flex fuel or blended ethanol. Find out how flex fuels are being used to fight the high cost of gasoline and which innovative automakers are using ethanol.moreless
    • Alternative Biofuels
      Episode 855628
      2/25/09
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      What is biofuel and is it a viable substitute for fossil fuels? Can soybean oil be used to power car engines? And is recycled fast food grease an alternative to gasoline? Learn how the United States can help lower its carbon footprint and reduce fossil fuel emissions. New non-toxic biofuels which emit fewer pollutants are already being used in cars and have the potential to power anything from trucks to airplanes and to even heat homes.moreless
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