If you’re reading this you must be using some sort of computer. Most of us have an idea about the origins of our modern computer units, but sometimes explaining the lineage of these machines leads only up to the first design. The big question is - how did we get all the way to a computing machine? We could not have gone from fire or the wheel straight to iTunes, right? What’s responsible for the giant leaps and bounds in technology that make our life what it is today?
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.
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.
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.
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.
Virginia State University is ready to begin construction on a unique Aquaponics research lab in a downtown Petersburg warehouse. Aquaponics is the combination of aquaculture, or fish-farming, and hydroponics, growing plants without dirt in nutrient rich water. It’s an ancient concept but a comparatively new scientific field and Virginia State University is on the cutting edge.
Over 60,000 years ago, the first modern humans—people physically identical to us today—left their African homeland and entered Europe, then a bleak and inhospitable continent in the grip of the Ice Age. But when they arrived, they were not alone: the stocky, powerfully built Neanderthals had already been living there for hundreds of thousands of years.
So what happened when the first modern humans encountered the Neanderthals? Did we make love or war? That question has tantalized generations of scholars and seized the popular imagination.