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Alan Alda in Scientific American Frontiers

Chimp Minds (#1504)

Visit an engaging & unruly bunch with whom we share almost all of our gene, but not much lifestyle. [26 minutes] Closed Captioning

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This episode has not aired in the past few months on Iowa Public Television.

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Series Description: Alan Alda brings his unique blend of curiosity and humor to the exploration of the latest trends in science, medicine, technology and the environment.

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  • Unearthing Secret America (#1301)

    The great arc of early American history is brought to life through three tremendous archeological finds: Jamestown fort reveals the struggles of the colonists; slave quarters at Monticello and Williamsburg introduce viewers to a secret world for the first time; and the recently discovered Confederate submarine, Hunley - which carried out the world's first successful submarine attack and then failed to return - brings the Civil War into vivid close up. [56 minutes]

  • Make Up Your Mind (#1302)

    SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN FRONTIERS discovers the "you" inside your head -the part of your mind, sitting right behind your forehead, that decides what you do every waking second of the day. The program reconstructs a 150-year-old accident that caused a railroad worker named Phineas Gage to lose his sense of self; sees children's reasoning powers gradually come online; and scans Alan Alda's brain as he struggles to make decisions while feeling cheated. [56 minutes]

  • The Intimate Machine (#1303)

    They're called personal computers, but human interactions with them are utterly impersonal, via keyboard and mouse. Alan Alda gets to communicate with computers that know who he is, where he is, what he' s doing and even how he's feeling. The ultimate such computer -actually a cute and cuddly robot - is being developed in a unique collaboration between Hollywood and MIT. [56 minutes]

  • Forever Wild? (#1304)

    What exactly does it take to make wild places work the way they must? How can you manage a South African game park so the rhinos inside behave as if the land is as wild as ever? How can bison help return an Oklahoma cattle ranch to the prairie it once was? This episode includes the first important results to emerge from research being conducted inside Biosphere 2 in Arizona. Now completely reorganized as a climate research institute, with facilities like no other in the world, Biosphere explores the reactions of miniature wild ecosystems like rainforests and coral reefs to the kinds of global atmospheres that we may experience 50 or 100 years from now. [56 minutes]

  • Mysteries of the Deep (#1305)

    This episode features stories of the submarines and their pioneering crews that explored earth's last frontier -- from the ill-fated Confederate secret weapon, Hunley, which carried out the world's first successful submarine attack, to the deep-diving Alvin, which found the Titanic and discovered life in the deep ocean. [56 minutes]

  • Deep Crisis (#1306)

    It's no accident that the ocean inhabitants we humans like to eat are the ones with the most uncertain futures. We follow efforts by biologists to figure out what's going on with salmon, once abundant on both East and West coasts of North America and now in catastrophic decline; and with the ocean-ranging giant bluefin tuna, which scientists have recently succeeded in tracking on its epic journeys between Europe and America. [56 minutes]

  • The Wonder Pill (#1307)

    The placebo effect - for years sneered at as a distraction from "real"medical treatment - now turns out to be a true phenomenon and a potential addition to modern medicine. [56 minutes]

  • Calls of the Wild (#1308)

    SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN FRONTIERS eavesdrops on creatures as diverse as elephants and spiders, warblers and bees, crickets and bats. What are they saying - and why? [56 minutes]

  • You Can Make It On Your Own (#1309)

    As digital technology gets smaller and less expensive, it is empowering people in unprecedented ways - from villagers in rural India who use computers to monitor the quality of their food and water to children who use PCs to write and play music. [56 minutes]

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  • Worried Sick (#1310)

    Stress is the curse of modern living - but is it really so new? What causes it? Does it affect people only? Can stress make people sick? And can relaxation make them better? [56 minutes]

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  • Losing It (#1401)

    This sequel to a popular FRONTIERS episode, "Fat and Happy?," tackles the basic problem that confronts those who are overweight - how to lose weight and keep it off over the long term. In a FRONTIERS-sponsored experiment, the cameras follow a dozen subjects for several months as they adopt different strategies for weight loss, ranging from online diet systems to gastric bypass surgery. The program also looks at research that attempts to get to the bottom of the body's complex weight-regulation system, and to explain, among other things, why dieting is so difficult. [56 minutes]

  • Don't Forget (#1402)

    Alan Alda investigates how people create memories - and how as they age, memories become slippery and elusive, sometimes vanishing forever. He visits two men who live entirely in the present or the distant past, unable to recall events that happened even a few minutes ago. Viewers peer inside Alda's own brain and find out what's at work as he memorizes names and faces. Alda discovers how ice water can boost memory (no, not drinking it) and how easy it is to have a false memory implanted. He also meets a volunteer in an experimental treatment for Alzheimer's disease, gets the latest on the search for an Alzheimer's vaccine and joins a group of baby boomers who are learning how to keep their brains young and their memories intact. [56 minutes]

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  • Future Car (#1403)

    Alan Alda visits the research labs and testing tracks of the Big Three auto makers to find out what people will be driving 10-20 years from now. Fuel efficiency and alternative fuels are the future, and Alda test-drives a gasoline-electric hybrid that's already on the road, as well as several hydrogen-fueled cars still in development. The search for a quiet, fast, safe, exciting and non-polluting fuel-cell car takes Alda from Germany to California to Iceland, which is attempting to become the first nation to entirely replace imported petroleum with domestically produced hydrogen. [56 minutes]

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  • Hot Times In Alaska (#1404)

    Alaska is warming up. It's now a few degrees warmer than it was a century and a half ago, and the trend seems to be accelerating. Already the landscape is changing dramatically - permafrost is thawing, glaciers are melting, forests are succumbing to drought and insect attack. Alan Alda meets Alaskan scientists who are working to find out if these are the first signs of global warming and what the future may hold. [56 minutes]

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  • The Dark Side of the Universe (#1405)

    Alan Alda joins some of the world's leading astronomers as they wrestle with the startling implications of their latest discoveries: that everything we can see, from the world around us to the most distant galaxies, is only a tiny fraction of the entire cosmos. Most of what's out there is dark - either dark matter or dark energy. And our universe is perhaps only one in an infinity of universes. [56 minutes]

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  • Coming to America (#1406)

    Who were the first Americans, and when did they arrive? Did they get here by land or sea? Did a single group populate the continent, or did many? Experts used to agree that the first Americans walked across the Bering land bridge from Asia about 12,000 years ago, then found their way south, eventually colonizing all of North and South America. But exciting recent finds at sites on both continents have triggered new theories. Alan Alda tries to find out who's saying what, and why. [56 minutes]

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  • Surgical Slimmers (#1501)

    In spite of the risks, people are lining up to solve their weight problems in the operating room. [26 minutes]

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  • Cars That Think (#1502)

    Explore cars that watch out for hazards, listen to you, read lips and know when you're distracted. [26 minutes]

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  • Going Deep (#1503)

    A look back at the decades of effort that culminated in the deep sub Alvin reaching the ocean floor. [26 minutes]

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  • Hot Planet - Cold Comfort (#1505)

    Learn how global warming affects Alaska and what will happen if the Atlantic Conveyor shuts down. [26 minutes]

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  • Hydrogen Hopes (#1506)

    Learn how hydrogen can be created from renewable sources like the sun & how it can be safely stored. [26 minutes]

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  • Hidden Motives (#1507)

    Explore how our unconscious determines our behavior, including why we buy things that are "cool." [26 minutes]

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  • The Secret Canyon (#1508)

    An entire canyon of perfectly preserved 1,000-year-old remains is revealed. Who were these people? [26 minutes]

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  • Cybersenses (#1509)

    Explore the reality of artificial hearing and the first trials of electronic retinas for the blind. [26 minutes]

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  • Robot Pals (#1510)

    Meet three robots, including a member of an astronaut team, that are trying to better understand us. [26 minutes]

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