EVERY FRIDAY Modern Marvels

Witness the innovation, inventions, and incredible feats of mankind. See how these ideas went from dream to reality and transformed our lives.


October 6, 2023

All times Eastern
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Modern Marvels


It is the bane of every suburban parent and the joy to every school kid. The characteristics of snow flakes are threatened by pollution trapped in the clouds.




Modern Marvels


Our 49th state is one tough terrain. In the air, on the ground--and deep beneath it--survival here requires an amazing array of technological innovations. From buildings to highways, brutal winters to bug-infested summers, this unforgiving landscape demands creative work-arounds. And then there's the constant threat of natural disasters...tsunami, anyone?




Modern Marvels

The Alaskan Oil Pipeline

In 1973, a desperate America, starved by an OPEC embargo, began construction on a 800-mile lifeline for its insatiable oil hunger. We'll study the technological triumph of the Alaskan oil pipeline built over impenetrable mountains and tundra, where temperatures drop to 75 below zero, and its impact on a fragile ecological system.




Modern Marvels

The Alcan Highway

Today, vacationers travel from British Columbia north through the Yukon Pass on their way to Fairbanks, Alaska, thanks to one 2-lane roadway, the 1,522-mile long Alaska Highway. A bit treacherous in spots and best driven in the few summer months the region provides, it's an unrivaled engineering feat that took 11,000 soldiers, nearly 4,000 of them black, only eight months to build! Travel back to 1942 as they bulldoze their way into history while connecting the Lower 48 to the Alaskan Territory.




Modern Marvels

Alaskan Fishing

The Alaska Ocean is the largest factory-fishing boat in the US fleet. The crew's mission: hunt down, catch and process 0:30:000 tons of Alaskan Pollock each day on the unforgiving waters of the Bering Sea. We travel with them on the last voyage of a long and grueling season. The crew reveals the inner workings of one of the most sophisticated and complex vessels afloat. It is half fishing boat, half floating factory, processing and flash freezing Alaskan Pollock as fast as its crew can catch it. To meet their seasonal quota of Pollock, the crew must overcome obstacles of weather, mechanical dangers aboard the sea-tossed ship and the wiliness of the fish themselves. Captain Scott Symonds takes us inside the amazing ultra-modern world of high stakes commercial fishing where a wrong decision on his part can cost not just the season's catch, but also the lives of his crew.




Modern Marvels

Commercial Fishing

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 STRONG /STRONG 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!




Modern Marvels


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.




Modern Marvels

Logging Tech

When Paul Bunyan cried "Timber!", he never foresaw today's cutting-edge, controversial industry that feeds a ravenous, lumber-crazy world--a world striving to protect nature while devouring it. Come into the woods to see how he-men and hi-tech combine forces to topple 4-billion trees annually; journey to 19th-century America, when lumberjacks cut a legend as large as the timber they felled; and travel with a tree from stump to sawmill and learn its non-wood uses--from aspirin to film to toothpaste!