Modern Marvels - Season 11

Wednesday 10:00 PM on The History Channel Premiered Jan 01, 1995 In Season


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Episode Guide

  • More Doomsday Tech
    More Doomsday Tech
    Episode 75
    From the far reaches of space to tiny viruses, doomsday sources are many. But so are technologies used to keep doomsday at bay.
  • Doomsday Tech 1
    Doomsday Tech 1
    Episode 74
    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.moreless
  • Engineering Disasters 16
    Chaos in Guadalajara, Mexico, when the city streets explode; an airplane crash outside of Paris that ranks as one of the worst in history; two mining dams in Italy collapse engulfing a village in a tidal wave of sludge; a generation of children in a small Texas town are entombed in the rubble of their school; an oil tanker runs aground off the coast of England and introduces the world to the devastation of the first super spill... Engineering Disasters 16 delves into the shocking chain of events leading up to each of these horrific catastrophes and examines resulting technological improvements designed to prevent similar tragedies in the future.moreless
  • Commercial Fishing
    Commercial Fishing
    Episode 68
    Battered and fried or simply raw--seafood is a popular dish, no matter how you serve it. Americans consume more than 5-billion pounds yearly, an order that takes more than a fishing rod to fill and worries conservationists. We follow the fish, the fishermen, and the science trying to preserve fisheries for future generations--from ancient ships on the Nile to a modern technologically sophisticated factory trawler on the Bering Sea to the University of New Hampshire's open-ocean aquaculture research project. And we witness a wide variety of fishing methods--from gillnetting and longlining to lobster trapping. Hop aboard and sail through time and around the globe as we explore the harsh conditions of life at sea and experience firsthand one of history's deadliest jobs. Brace yourself and feel the ice-cold, salt spray on your face as we explore commercial fishing!moreless
  • Snackfood Tech
    Snackfood Tech
    Episode 67
    Extruders, molds, in-line conveyor belts. Are these machines manufacturing adhesives, plastics, or parts for your car? No, they're making treats for your mouth--and you will see them doing their seductively tasty work in this scrumptious episode. First, we visit Utz Quality Foods in Hanover, Pennsylvania, that produces more than one million pounds of chips per week, and Snyder's of Hanover, the leading U.S. pretzel manufacturer. Next, we focus on the world's largest candy manufacturer, Masterfoods USA, which makes Milky Way, Snickers, Mars, and M&Ms, and take a lick at the world's largest lollipop producer, Tootsie Roll Industries. And at Flower Foods' Crossville, Tennessee plant, an army of cupcakes rolls down a conveyer belt. The final stop is Dreyer's Bakersfield, California plant, where 20,000 ice cream bars and 9,600 drumsticks roll off the line in an hour.moreless
  • Engineering Disasters 15
    A series of construction errors causes a devastating flood that brings Chicago to a standstill. A deadly accident traps hundreds in a smoke-filled Alpine tunnel, with no ventilation. Three boilers explode on a Mississippi riverboat resulting in thousands of deaths and earning the disaster the title of the worst in maritime history. Two buildings, halfway around the world from each other, collapse from the same type of shoddy construction methods--14 years apart. And a cockpit warning system malfunctions, causing a fiery, fatal crash before the jetliner ever takes off. We interview design and construction experts as we investigate what went wrong. And we talk with rescue personnel, eyewitnesses, and victims as we visit the tragedies' sites to see what improvements have been implemented to insure against these kinds of disasters.moreless
  • Washington Monument
    Washington Monument
    Episode 65
    The U.S. capital boasts many memorials, but none with a more bizarre history than the obelisk erected to America's first president. Over 55 stories high and weighing over 90,000 tons, the Washington Monument stands stalwart in the city's center. From concept to completion, it took 100 years--years filled with mystery, ceremony, conflict, government action, and inaction. Proposed in the late 1700s by a group of prominent citizens and finished in the late 1800s by the Army Corps of Engineers, the exterior is mainly Maryland white marble, while the interior is made of granite, iron...and a few surprises. How did it come together and why did it take so long? Historians tell stories of stalling bureaucracy, secret societies, and triumphant engineering. Stark and daunting on the outside, we let viewers know what's inside.moreless
  • Engineering Disasters 14
    In this hour, we examine a massive oil tanker explosion that killed nine; a subway tunnel cave-in that swallowed part of Hollywood Boulevard; a freighter plane crash that destroyed an 11-story apartment building; an historic molasses flash flood; and a freeway ramp collapse that buried construction workers in rubble and concrete. Investigators from NTSB, Cal/OSHA, and Boeing, structural and geo-technical engineers, and historians explain how so much could have gone wrong, costing so many lives. And aided by computer graphics, footage and photos of the disasters, and visits to the locations today, we show viewers what caused these catastrophes and what design experts have done to make sure they never happen again.moreless
  • Sub Disasters
    Sub Disasters
    Episode 62
    When the men and women aboard a modern submarine hear the command to dive, they can take a measure of comfort in the fact that no U.S. sub has been lost in nearly 40 years, though it's been said that the sea is a more hostile environment than space. The tragedies of former disasters have not been forgotten or squandered and the Navy has been extremely motivated to find ever more effective ways to prevent them. We'll examine sub disasters to discover what caused them and what they've taught us. And as we explore the early history of the submarine--including a sub used in the American Revolution and one used in the Civil War--we follow a modern crew using submarine simulators to train for disasters, study subs in the nuclear age, and explore state-of-the-art rescue technology.moreless
  • Engineering Disasters 13
    In this hour, death seeps out of the ground into a neighborhood sitting on a toxic waste dump at Love Canal in New York; soldiers die during Desert Storm in 1991 when software flaws render Patriot Missiles inaccurate; on September 11, 2001, World Trade Center Building #7 wasn't attacked, but seven hours after the Twin Towers collapsed, it too is mysteriously reduced to a pile of rubble; a night of revelry in Boston turns the Cocoanut Grove nightclub into an inferno that kills over 400 people in 1942; and the science of demolition is put to the test and fails when a building in Rhode Island, the "Leaning Tower of Providence", stands its ground.moreless
  • Surveillance Tech
    Surveillance Tech
    Episode 60
    In the world of surveillance, Big Brother is not only watching, he's also listening, analyzing, recording, scanning, and tracking every aspect of our lives. And with advanced surveillance technology, there's virtually no place to hide. We'll examine some of the most important and potentially terrifying equipment the world has ever seen...or rather, not this thriving surveillance revolution. We check out parabolic microphones that pick up conversations a mile a way, cameras that learn what and who to photograph, RadarVision that "sees through walls", and Uninhabited Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). And we explore the mind-bending future of surveillance technology, while, of course, reviewing its surprising history.moreless
  • Engineering Disasters 12
    In Milwaukee, 104 died after drinking contaminated tap water. At Texas A&M, a tradition turned tragic when a pile of bonfire logs collapsed onto its builders. Thousands of US soldiers expired in known WWII deathtraps--Sherman Tanks. In 1973, 14 men working on a 26-story building died when supports were removed from wet concrete. And in 1993, Denver's "dream" airport became a nightmare when its baggage-handling system ran amok. Aided by computer graphics, catastrophe footage, and visits to the locations today, MIT scientists, Center for Disease Control experts, WWII vets, bonfire builders, and construction engineers explain these tragedies and measures taken to prevent them in future.moreless
  • M1 Abrams Supertank!
    Join us as we penetrate the history of the world's most sophisticated tank--the M1 Abrams Main Battle Tank. In the most radical departure in U.S. tank design since WWII, the Supertank combines speed, heavy protective armor, and a fearsome 120mm main gun. In 1991, the new and unproven Abrams tank was deployed in Operation Desert Storm. Using night vision and laser targeting, the M1 Abrams tank destroyed Saddam Hussein's armored Republican Guard, and is again doing desert duty in the War in Iraq.moreless
  • 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.moreless
  • Engineering Disasters 11
    Join us for look into five engineering disasters... A dangerous cloud of gas explodes into Cleveland's worst fiery industrial disaster in 1944, killing 128 people. A dance competition turns deadly at the new Kansas City Hyatt in 1981, when a skywalk gives way and kills 114. In 1995, neighbors gaped at the spectacle of a $1.5-million San Francisco Bay area mansion breaking into bits as it fell into a massive sinkhole during a rainstorm. In 1931, one of the worst "natural" disasters ever occurred in the Yangtze River basin when six huge flood waves swept down the river destroying the insufficient dams and levees and killing at least 145,000 people. The "miracle mineral" that the U.S. was built upon turns out to be an invisible killer--an estimated 10,000 people die each year from asbestos-related diseases.moreless
  • Gas Tech
    Gas Tech
    Episode 54
    Gas--it makes a balloon go up, cooks our food, and fills our lungs. But this invisible state of matter does far more, and has a very visible impact on the world. We follow natural gas from well tip to stove top and trace its use from 3rd century BC Chinese salt producers to modern appliances. Next, we investigate the most plentiful gas in the universe--hydrogen--which may also prove to be the most powerful. We also experience the cryogenic world of industrial gasses--what they do and where they come from--as we travel to the British Oxygen Company's Braddock Air Separation Plant to see how they freeze millions of tons of oxygen and nitrogen. And at the Bush Dome Helium Reserve in Texas, we learn why the US government sits atop 36-billion cubic feet of the stuff. Finally, we look inside the colorful world of gas and neon lights. So lay back, breathe deep, and count backwards from 10...moreless
  • Presidential Movers
    Episode 53
    The vehicles that transport the President of the United States aren't your ordinary planes, trains, and automobiles. They are top-secret. And for your Average Joe, there's only two ways to find out what they're really like inside--either get elected or stay tuned...
  • Engineering Disasters 10
    Disasters investigated include: the 1984 Union Carbide debacle in Bhopal, India, where a toxic chemical release killed 3,800 people and left 11,000 with disabling respiratory ailments; and the 2003 sudden collapse of a 10-story parking garage at the Tropicana in Atlantic City, New Jersey that killed four and injured 20. We find out why a series of structures in Hutchinson, Kansas mysteriously caught fire and exploded in 2001; and examine the 1933 construction of a canal ordered by Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin that later proved to be nearly useless and cost many lives. And we get to the bottom of a maritime mystery, when a tanker carrying non-explosive materials in San Francisco Bay blew up in 1983.moreless
  • Guns of the Civil War
    It was a war in which brother fought brother and battlefields became slaughterhouses. During the Civil War, the country was in the midst of an industrial revolution and developed the most destructive killing machines the world had ever seen. Join us for a test fire of Civil War guns--the first truly modern weaponsmoreless
  • Engineering Disasters 9
    What happens when the calculations of builders and engineers prove wrong and their constructs come tumbling down? In this episode, we examine the 1987 failure of the Schoharie Creek Bridge in New York; the partial destruction by a runaway freighter of the Riverwalk Marketplace in New Orleans in 1996; the roof collapse of the Rosemont Horizon Arena in Illinois in 1979; the deadliest grain-dust explosion on record in Westwego, Louisiana, when a grain elevator exploded in 1977; and the crash of the British R101 airship in the 1920s.moreless
  • Harvesting
    Episode 49
    Cutting, digging, picking, stripping, shaking, and raking--whatever the crop, there's a custom machine to harvest it. It all began with handpicking and today it's often one man and one machine harvesting hundreds of acres in a single day. The farmer may even get a little help from satellites. Far above the earth, high-resolution photography is giving the grower more opportunities to cut costs and maximize the harvest. From the debut of the sickle in ancient Egypt to McCormick's famous Reaper to the field of ergonomics that assists human harvesters, we'll dig into the past and future of the harvest.moreless
  • Engineering Disasters 8
    Join us for a devastating but enlightening hour as we delve into complex and often-tragic engineering failures that have shaped our world. Five dramatic events unfold as we discover the causes of: the 1983 collapse of New England's Mianus Bridge; the sinking of the Ocean Ranger offshore oilrig in 1982; the crash of a Learjet 35 private plane carrying pro-golfer Payne Stewart in 1999; the 19th-century failure of South Fork Dam that resulted in the flooding of Johnstown, Pennsylvania; and the 1988 PEPCON (Pacific Engineering Production Company of Nevada) jet fuel plant explosion.moreless
  • More of the World's Biggest Machines
    On land, in the air, or on the sea--we examine some of the biggest machines ever built, including: the Antonov AN-225, the world's biggest aircraft; the GE 90-115B jet engine; the Sikorsky CH-53E helicopter; the Union Pacific's biggest steam locomotive, the "Big Boy" 4000 and GE's AC 6000; the Discoverer Enterprise, the world's largest oil-drilling ship; the RB 293 bucket-wheel mine excavator; and the LED Viva Vision, the world's largest printing screen, which stretches 4-blocks long in Las Vegas.moreless
  • St. Lawrence Tech
    St. Lawrence Tech
    Episode 44
    This episode focuses on St. Lawrence Technical University's Center for Innovative Materials Research, or CIMR. This pioneering research center pushes the envelope in diverse design fields, from bridge design to defense and homeland security. The episode focuses on the CIMR's superheating lab, which subjects materials to extreme conditions to test their utility in cutting-edge engineering projects.moreless
  • St. Lawrence Seaway
    St. Lawrence Seaway
    Episode 42
    The St. Lawrence Seaway is a monumental stairway in water, lifting massive ships hundreds of feet over thousands of miles. It's the world's longest inland waterway, a system of rivers, lakes, canals, dams, and locks that stretches 2,400 miles. And it's one of the greatest engineering triumphs of the 20th century, pulled off against the violence of raging water and extreme winter. An essential part of the commercial infrastructure of the US and Canada, this complex system provides direct access from the Atlantic to North America's heartland, enabling ships packed with trade to stop at any one its 65 ports--from Montreal to Duluth. From the 16th century, when French explorer Jacques Cartier searched for the legendary Northwest Passage, to the modern Seaway, built in the 1950s, we highlight the incredible engineering feats that went into creating the waterway.moreless
  • Police Pursuit
    Police Pursuit
    Episode 41
    Modern Marvel's Police Pursuit features an in-depth hour-long program, focusing on the history and the advances in technology allowing police officers to catch the bad guys in high-speed chases. The program covers the olden days of following moonshine runners to the exhilarating chases of 100 mph of today. It discusses how not only cop cars have advanced with technology and communication devices, but so have aircraft and sea-based patrol transportation devices.moreless
  • SOS Tech
    SOS Tech
    Episode 40
    A look at the technology that changed the serious game of Search and Rescue forever. At the mouth of Oregon's Columbia River, we visit the Coast Guard's Motor Lifeboat School, the training ground for High Surf Rescue.
  • The Sears Tower
    The Sears Tower
    Episode 39
    The Sears Tower, located in Chicago, was finished in 1973. It was the talllest building in the world for over 20 years, and remains the tallest building if you look at highest occupied space. See how the Sears Tower was conceived, designed and built and see how a cigerette pack was the basis for one of Chicago's most unique buildings.moreless
  • Skyscraper Hour 4
    Skyscraper Hour 4
    Episode 38
    Skyscraper Hour 4 is episode 34 of season 11. It is also known as "Building a Skyscraper: The Arteries." The episode covers how wiring and plumbing is installed in a skyscraper. It goes into depth about the history of wiring and plumbing in early skyscrapers and how it is now done with current technologies.moreless
  • Skyscraper Hour 3
    Skyscraper Hour 3
    Episode 37
    This episode, the third of four in the skyscraper series, describes building the interior of a skyscraper. Like the other episodes in the series, it follows the construction of the Caltrans building in Los Angeles. The show focuses on practical concerns such as elevators and climate control systems as well as safety systems, such as fire escapes and sprinklers. The program also highlights significant events and technologies related to these interior building systems.moreless
  • Skyscraper Hour 2
    Skyscraper Hour 2
    Episode 36
    This episode, the second of four in the skyscraper series, describes building the exterior of a skyscraper. Like the other episodes in the series, it follows the construction of the CalTrans building in Los Angeles. The episode highlights each stage of creating the exterior from design, to mockup, to actual construction. The program pays particular attention to the different elements involved in designing and building the exterior of a structure: aesthetics, safety, and finances. It also highlights important figures and events in the history of skyscrapers.moreless
  • Skyscraper Hour 1
    Skyscraper Hour 1
    Episode 35
    Skyscraper Hour 1 or Building a Skyscraper: The Skeleton is the 31 episode of season 11 of the popular History Channel show Modern Marvels and it aired on September 6, 2004. This episode explores the construction of the California Department of Transportation Building beginning with the skeleton of the structure. Also covered briefly in this episode is the history of skyscrapers and different framing techniques.moreless
  • George Washington Bridge
    When opened on October 25, 1931, the George Washington Bridge was the longest suspension bridge in the world. At 3,500 feet in length, the main span was more than double the distance of the previous record holder. Today, standing as a main traffic artery between Manhattan and New Jersey, the bridge referred to by locals as the "GW", is the busiest in the world carrying nearly 320,000 cars every day. We'll examine the construction methods employed that made the bridge an anomaly, coming in both under budget and ahead of schedule, and see why the GW is distinguished in a city of great bridges.moreless
  • Engineering Disasters 7
    Engineers and architects reveal what went wrong in five engineering disasters, including Baldwin Hills Dam that suddenly gave way, spilling liquid havoc in a quiet LA neighborhood; a mysterious plane crash that killed all aboard (Lockheed Electra); a massive freighter's shuddering crash into Tampa Bay's Sunshine Skyway Bridge; the 1994 Northridge, California earthquake that shook down poorly engineered buildings; and a 4-decade old coal mine fire that turned Centralia, Pennsylvania into a ghost town.moreless
  • Oil Tankers
    Oil Tankers
    Episode 30
    The biggest moving objects ever built by man, oil tankers dominate the world's waterways, both in size and numbers. Upwards of 10,000 strong, the world tanker fleet's vast number results from the modern, insatiable thirst for oil. We'll dig into the history of oil transport--from Civil War days to the critical WWII years and invention of the supertanker in the 1950s. And we examine the financial impact of modifying these steel leviathans to prevent future catastrophic environmental disasters.moreless
  • Extreme Aircraft
    Episode 29
    Join us for a supersonic look at some of the most cutting-edge aircraft ever developed--from the X-1 that first broke the sound barrier to the X-43 Scramjet that recently flew at Mach 7. These extreme aircraft have made their mark on aeronautical history, and sometimes on political history as well. The U-2 and SR-71 spy planes played a crucial role in the Cold War, and now Lockheed Martin's top-secret "Skunkworks" division is touting the new "air dominance" fighter plane-- the F/A-22 Raptor.moreless
  • World War I Tech
    Episode 29
    The first bombing airplanes and widespread use of chemical weapons...earliest tanks...submarines. When Industrial-Age technology and war first mixed on a large scale, the end result was ruthlessly efficient destruction. World War One epitomized the dark underbelly of the Industrial Revolution. We see how technological achievements that streamlined 19th-century production, improved transportation, and expanded science were used to efficiently decimate a generation of soldiers in the early 20th century.moreless
  • Apollo 11
    Episode 28
    As mankind's greatest achievement of the 20th century, Apollo 11 stood as the apogee of science, exploration, flight, and technological prowess. In scarcely 10 years, America went from rocketing monkeys to landing a man on the moon. Leaving Earth on July 16, 1969, Neil Armstrong, Edwin Aldrin, and Mike Collins pushed the limits of skill and endurance. See and experience the flight of Apollo 11 through the eyes of the astronauts, mission controllers, engineers, and designers who made it happen.moreless
  • Distilleries
    Episode 27
    From water and mash...still...vat...barrel and bottle--the distilling of alcoholic spirits is a big business and near-sacred religion. Its acolytes eye the color, swirl the glass, inhale the bouquet, sip, then ponder their ambrosia. What's your pleasure? Bourbon, Scotch, Rum, Gin, Vodka, or Tequila? We trace the history of distilling from the one-man/one-still tradition to the Voldstead Act of 1920 that devastated American distilleries to the mega-sales and high-volume distillery of today.moreless
  • Nuclear Technology
    Nuclear Technology
    Episode 26
    Nuclear research ranges from well-known applications, such as bombs and reactors, to little-known uses in medicine, food preparation, and radiation detection. It's also spawned ancillary technologies to store nuclear waste and clean up accidents. Despite the risk of use and abuse for destructive purposes, many scientists remain optimistic about what's next for the atom. In an explosive hour, we explore the atom in war and peace, and the latest in nuclear power generation, safety, and security.moreless
  • Robots
    Episode 25
    The history of robotics is traced over 2,000 years; archival interview with Isaac Asimov.
  • Greatest Movies Gadgets
    Cars that fly and drive themselves. Spiffy spy tools that see under doors and through walls. Water "Harleys" that fly above and below the surface. Only in the movies, right? Hollywood may have dreamt these things up, but regular guys are making them for real as we see in a 2-hour special combining clips of recent blockbusters and hilarious old movie serials, along with a look at real-life creations, including intelligence-gathering "insects" and undersea robots. Gadgets lovers beware your bank accounts!moreless
  • City Water
    City Water
    Episode 23
    When you tap your faucet does clean, pure water flow? Can your city supply enough water for industry, firefighting, and street cleaning? U.S. public water-supply systems serve nearly 99 percent of the population, yet few users know how the system of aqueducts, pipes, and pumps work. Learn the colorful history of the water systems in Chicago, New York City, and Los Angeles when we scour the past and look to the future, including desalination plants that turn seawater into drinking water.moreless
  • Rubber
    Episode 22
    The story of rubber is more than tires, toys, gloves, and gum--it's imbedded in modern life, from the controversial Challenger O-rings to seals on hydrogen fuel cells. A gigantic worldwide synthetic rubber industry creates exotic elastomers for high-tech applications, while China's rapid industrialization plays havoc with the world's natural rubber supply. From the ancient Olmecs of Yucatán, who knew the secret of vulcanization, to modern processing plants, we trace rubber's history and future.moreless
  • A-10 Tankbuster
    A-10 Tankbuster
    Episode 21
    The most feared aircraft in the Air Force arsenal, the A-10 Tankbuster was the first aircraft in U.S. aviation history designed specifically for Close Air Support. From its first taste of battle in Desert Storm to the recent assault on Baghdad, the A-10 carries enough weaponry into battle to disable 16 main battle tanks, and with its amazing 30 millimeter 7-barrelled cannon, the "Flying Gun" dominates the skies. Features interviews with A-10 pilots, many of whom flew in Operation Iraqi Freedom.moreless
  • D-Day Tech
    D-Day Tech
    Episode 20
    By the spring of 1942, Hitler had made a fortress of Europe, and the Allies began to plan the biggest invasion in military history. The history-altering success of the D-Day Invasion depended on innovative engineering and technological advances. This is the story of those scientific and mechanical breakthroughs--the overwhelming array of landing craft, specialized weapons, and ingenious electronics--used to breach Fortress Europe on June 6, 1944.moreless
  • Plane Crashes
    Plane Crashes
    Episode 19
    When the most sophisticated machines fail, they do so horrifically, plunging to earth with a terrifying loss of life. From the beginning of manned flight, plane crashes have plagued the aviation industry and terrorized the public. But the truth is, passengers have never been safer because of the brightest minds, best technology, and billions of dollars focused on preventing air disasters. Using famous crashes like TWA Flight 800, we examine safety improvement and what still needs to be done.moreless
  • Hydraulics
    Episode 17
    The machines that helped build our world have been powered by hydraulics, a compact system of valves, hoses, and pumps that transmits forces from point to point through fluid. This basic concept of powerful force transmission through fluid provides the drive for most machines today. From the ancient Roman mastery of the aqueduct to Universal Studios, a veritable hydraulic theme park, we see how hydraulics power industry, keep planes flying, and make that 3-point-turn a U-turn.moreless
  • F-18 Hornet
    F-18 Hornet
    Episode 16
    One aircraft in the US arsenal best typifies the will to win. Using the latest and most sophisticated computerized technology, the F-18 Hornet is now one of the foremost fighters of the 21st Century. Once a plane that nobody wanted, today it's the principal Navy and Marine fighter-attacker--with a flick of a switch, it transforms from bomber to fighter. Interviews with pilots and crews, combined with archive film and color reenactments, take you inside the cockpit of this multi-role aircraft.moreless
  • Engineering Disasters 6
    AV-8-Harrier jump jet; Ford Explorer-Firestone tire rollovers; offshore oil-rig fire; derailment of a high-speed train; computer errors almost set off nuclear war.
  • Bathroom Tech
    Bathroom Tech
    Episode 12
    From tub to toilet to toothpaste, here's everything you need to know about the most used, but least discussed, room in your house.
  • The Power Grid
    The Power Grid
    Episode 13
    The electronic power grid is comprised of a huge complex of power plants, sub-stations, and transmission lines.
  • Bible Tech
    Bible Tech
    Episode 12
    Arguably the most influential book ever written, the Bible provides a glimpse into the origins of ancient technology and its use to withstand the elements, build great structures, wage war, and conserve precious water. We examine the technological plausibility of biblical structures and machines--including the Tower of Babylon, the Temple of Jerusalem, ancient bronze and iron forging, and shipbuilding skills that might have been employed to build Noah's Ark.moreless
  • Nature's Engineers
    Episode 11
    Towering skyscrapers buzzing with life, intricate tunnels connecting entire communities, mighty dams that tame the wildest rivers--this is construction animal style! Take a walk on the wild side as we investigate common creatures seemingly designed to alter their habitat and remake the world. Our ability to learn and capacity for abstract thought may separate us from beavers, honeybees, birds, termites, and spiders, but these engineers of nature remind us that we're merely the latest in a long line.moreless
  • Front Line Reporting
    From Matthew Brady's chilling images of the Civil War to the scripted briefings in the first Gulf War and the "embedded" reporters of the second, we examine the uneasy nexus of war and journalism. Learn the stories of pioneers like William Russell, head to Vietnam with Walter Cronkite, and get an up-close look at the technology that lets audiences thousands of miles away see pivotal engagements as they unfold.moreless
  • Command Central
    Command Central
    Episode 9
    "Centcom" in Doha, Qatar represents everything a modern military command post can be with the most sophisticated military information systems--from video-conferencing to real-time frontline satellite communication. From this forward command in the heart of the Middle East, the U.S. ran the Iraq War. But command posts have not always been so technologically advanced as we see when we delve into the history of military communication--from tattooed messenger to satellite technology.moreless
  • Oil Fire Fighting
    Oil Fire Fighting
    Episode 8
    In this episode, we head into the flames to see how the conflagrations are contained and controlled. From the use of explosives to the exploits of pioneers like Myron Kinley, we explore every aspect of this extraordinary occupation. Whether in the blistering Iraqi desert or the surging waters of the North Sea, only a handful of people have the skill to snuff a burning gusher, and this riveting program shows how they do it.moreless
  • Racetrack Tech
    Racetrack Tech
    Episode 7
    A look at the "science of safety" as applied to Indy or NASCAR racing. From tires to roll-cages to hood flaps, we examine the incredible technology that's helping prevent crashes and enabling drivers to survive the inevitable ones. See how today's innovative minds digitally reconstruct crashes and design new technology that keeps pushing the limits of racing. The drivers may grab the glory, but they wouldn't dare get behind the wheel if it weren't for the guys in white lab coats.moreless
  • Gangster Guns
    Gangster Guns
    Episode 5
    During the 1920s and '30s in big cities and small towns alike, they earned a fierce reputation in a blaze of bullets. They were the best friends of criminals such as John Dillinger, Pretty Boy Floyd, Baby Face Nelson, Al Capone, and Bonnie and Clyde. Handle their Colt 45s and 38s, Tommy guns, Whippets, and Browning automatic rifles as we uncover the stories of gangster guns.moreless
  • Pacific Coast Highway
    For 25 years, construction crews dug, blasted, tunneled, and bridged their way up America's West Coast along the California, Oregon, and Washington shoreline to build the Pacific Coast Highway. Historians, road and bridge engineers, and experts relate this story of perseverance, primal machines, convict labor, and engineering brilliance as we tour its scenic route. And we look at the latest technologies used to keeping it running despite floods, earthquakes, tsunamis, and landslides.moreless
  • The F-15
    The F-15
    Episode 2
    The F-15 Eagle proves its superiority in Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom.
  • Guns of the Russian Military
    Forged in Europe's shadow, Russian small arms were once dismissed as crude copies. Often lacking the finish of Western counterparts, Russian guns have been battle-proven worldwide, with their emphasis on robustness and simplicity of design. Review the long history of Russian small arms--from Peter the Great to the Cold War.