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Science Wednesdays: Rise of the Drones

Tue, 01/22/2013 - 11:07am -- WCVE

Drones. These unmanned flying robots—some as large as jumbo jets, others as small as birds—do things straight out of science fiction. Much of what it takes to get these robotic airplanes to fly, sense, and kill has remained secret. But now, with rare access to drone engineers and those who fly them for the U.S. military, NOVA reveals the amazing technologies that make drones so powerful as we see how a remotely-piloted drone strike looks and feels from inside the command center.

DNA: A ‘New’ Crime-solving Molecule?

Anyone who has ever watched “Law and Order” or “CSI” knows: obtaining and analyzing DNA evidence features prominently in many of its fictional criminal cases. But leaving such TV dramatizations aside, over the last two decades, DNA evidence has come to play an increasingly routine and important role in the U.S. law enforcement and justice systems. Technological innovations within science and social policy have both played a role in this process. 

Science Wednesdays: Ice Age Death Trap

Tue, 01/15/2013 - 10:42am -- WCVE

In the Rocky Mountains, archeologists uncover a unique fossil site packed with astonishingly well-preserved bones of mammoths, mastodons, and other giant extinct beasts. The discovery opens a highly focused window on the vanished world of the Ice Age in North America.

One hundred thousand years ago, on planet Earth, huge sheets of ice surge and retreat. Now, a stunning find in an ancient lake promises a glimpse into this exotic Ice Age realm and at the fantastic creatures that ruled the land: ancient elephants like mammoths and mastodons; giant bison; sloths and camels.

Question Your World: Why Can’t We Stop Thinking?

Try to stop thinking for five seconds. Ready?…steady…GO! Okay, now you’re just reading this and not-stopping-your-thinking! So why can’t we stop thinking? Well, this is the handiwork of our old friend, evolution. A long time ago moment-to-moment readiness was necessary for survival. In those days people had to worry about things like lion attacks, leopard attacks, monkeys stealing berries, scorpions, falling rocks, drowning, giant snakes, and so on. This required a brain that was constantly working.

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