New PBS streaming documentary videos

Links to the following PBS streaming documentary videos are now available in Voyager:

America revealed, Pts. 1-4:  (4 episodes, 1 hour each.)   Based upon the BBC’s award-winning “Britain >From Above,”   shows viewers how a violent lightning storm can wreak havoc on a regional power grid, sending high-voltage surges across miles of transmission lines — even into a typical American living room — and threatening the stability of the whole grid. Archival footage and aerial images document the meteoric rise of urban centers, suburban neighborhoods and America’s interstate highway system. GPS information reveals the invisible “tracks” commercial aircraft leave as they streak across the sky, while data from the retail industry’s Radio Frequency Identification tags show how goods from a single container ship are quickly transported across the nation.  AMERICA REVEALED is not only about the country’s physical infrastructure, however. The series also introduces the men and women whose work involves observing America from above: a crop duster who struggles to maintain pinpoint accuracy while dodging power lines and facing high winds; a power station supervisor who fights the danger of a multi-state blackout; an air traffic controller who directs planes in crowded skies; a bridge worker who braves dizzying heights to repair a failing suspension cable.   The four titles are:“The Great American Breadbasket”–How America keeps pace with its insatiable appetite; who decides what food is produced; and how pastures and prairies turned into the biggest food machine in the world. “The American Dynamo”–How America propels itself through energy, including the extraction of valuable ore and oil; the creation of electricity through water, wind and nuclear power; and the intricacies of energy distribution.  “America in Motion”–How America moves, whether the transportation mode is a bicycle on a neighborhood sidewalk, a family car on the mammoth interstate highway system or air traffic moving above the clouds. “Made in America”–How American industry creates, whether it’s a simple cardboard box, a sleek new car, a jumbo jet or a tiny silicon chip, and how supply and demand, manufacturing and assembly are interconnected.

Jesse Owens (American Experience): (1 hour) The most famous athlete of his time, his stunning triumph at the 1936 Olympic Games captivated the world even as it infuriated the Nazis. Despite the racial slurs he endured, Jesse Owens’ grace and athleticism rallied crowds across the globe. But when the four-time Olympic gold medalist returned home, he could not even ride in the front of a bus. The story of the 22-year-old son of a sharecropper who triumphed over adversity to become a hero and world champion, Jesse Owens is also about the elusive, fleeting quality of fame and the way Americans idolize athletes when they suit our purpose, and forget them once they don’t.

Money, Power, and Wall Street (Frontline): (4 episodes, 1 hour each) An epic 4-part series on the global financial crisis from  Frontline.

The Real CSI (Frontline): (1 hour)  Evidence collected at crime scenes — everything from fingerprints to bite marks — is routinely called upon in the courtroom to prosecute the most difficult crimes and put the accused behind bars. And though glamorized on commercial television, in the real world it’s not so cut-and-dried. FRONTLINE investigates the serious flaws in some of the best-known tools of forensic science.

Why Ships Sink (Nova):  Twenty million passengers embark on cruises each year, vacationing in deluxe “floating cities” that offer everything from swimming pools to shopping malls to ice skating rinks. And the ships just keep getting bigger: The average cruise ship has doubled in size in just the last ten years. Some engineers fear that these towering behemoths are dangerously unstable, and the recent tragedy of the Costa Concordia has raised new questions about their safety. Now, NOVA brings together marine engineering and safety experts to reconstruct the events that led up to famous cruise disasters, including the ill-fated Concordia, the Sea Diamond, and the Oceanos.

River of No Return (Nature): Deep in the heart of Idaho lies the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness, part of the largest roadless area left in the lower 48 states. At 2.5 million acres, it is larger than Yellowstone, yet most people have never even heard of it. Designated a federally-protected wilderness in 1980 by Congress, the region is full of deep canyons and mountain forests, rivers and abundant wildlife. Otters and elk, deer and coyotes, blue birds and bighorn sheep, and newly-restored wolf populations all thrive there. Today, nine packs of wolves roam freely through the park, each pack dependent on family – raising their young and hunting together. Working with the Nez Perce Tribe in Central Idaho, wolf biologist Isaac Babcock spent 13 years participating in the wolf reintroduction program organized in the area. Wanting to share the raw beauty of the land and the wolves with his new wife, Bjornen, Isaac proposes spending a year there as an unconventional honeymoon, documenting their days as they go along. River of No Return tells their story, the story of a couple that took on the wilderness and all its challenges. The two have come to treasure their experience in an untamed place that, for a period of time, they called home.

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