July 4, 2017: Fly your flag! 241st anniversary of public reading of the Declaration of Independence

July 3, 2017

At Four Mile Historic Park in Glendale, Colorado, Abraham Lincoln actor John Voehl pauses before delivering the Gettysburg Address at a 4th of July celebration (yes, Lincoln delivered the address on November 16; it's a great statement of the meaning and history of the Declaration of Independence, and probably appropriate for July 4, remembering that the actual independence resolution passed on July 2, 1776 . . .) Denver Post file photo

At Four Mile Historic Park in Glendale, Colorado, Abraham Lincoln actor John Voehl pauses before delivering the Gettysburg Address at a 4th of July celebration (yes, Lincoln delivered the address on November 16; it’s a great statement of the meaning and history of the Declaration of Independence, and probably appropriate for July 4, remembering that the actual independence resolution passed on July 2, 1776 . . .) Denver Post file photo

It’s a day of tradition — oddly enough, since we are in reality a very new nation, and Lee’s resolution to declare independence from Britain came on July 2.

A soak in Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub is nothing if not a steeping in tradition.  Fly your flag today, to celebrate the independence of the American colonies of Britain.

Fourth of July: NPR has already read the Declaration of Independence (or will soon, if you’re up early), PBS is ready to broadcast the Capitol Fourth concert  (maybe a rebroadcast is available, if you’re off at your own town’s fireworks — check your local listings), your town has a parade somewhere this weekend, or a neighboring community does, and fireworks are everywhere.

At the White House, traditionally, new citizens are sworn in — often people who joined our armed forces and fought for our nation, before even getting the privileges of citizenship.  Fireworks on the Capital Mall will be grand. President Obama’s White House would host a few thousand military people and their families from some of the best views.  Traditionally, five photographers, chosen by lottery, get to shoot photos of the fireworks from the windows of the Washington Monument; will that occur, with the Monument open again after repair from the earthquake?

There will be great fireworks also in Baltimore Harbor over Fort McHenry, the fort whose siege inspired Francis Scott Key to write the “Star-spangled Banner” from his boat in the harbor, in 1814. Fireworks will frighten the bluebirds nesting at Yorktown National Battlefield.  I suspect there will be a grand display at Gettysburg, on the 154th anniversary of the end of that battle. July 4, 1863, also marked the end of the Siege of Vicksburg; tradition holds that Vicksburg did not celebrate the 4th of July for 83 years after that. I’ll wager there will be fireworks there tonight.

In Provo, Utah, the city poobahs will have done all they can to try to live up to their self-proclaimed reputation as having the biggest Independence Day celebration in the nation.  Will the celebration in Prescott, Arizona, still be muted by the tragic deaths of 19 Hot Shot firefighters a few years ago; will drought halt the fireworks, too?  There will be fireworks around the Golden Gate Bridge, in Anchorage, Alaska, reflecting on the waters of Pearl Harbor, and probably in Guam, American Samoa, and the Northern Marianas Islands.

Fireworks on the Fourth is a long tradition — a tradition that kept John Adams and Thomas Jefferson alive, until they both died on the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, in 1826, the sounds of the fireworks letting Adams know the celebration had begun (Adams erroneously celebrated that Jefferson, the Declaration’s author, still lived, unable to know Jefferson had passed just hours earlier).

Remember to put your flag up today.

Astronaut Eugene Cernan and the U.S. Flag -- Apollo 17 on the Moon (NASA photo)

Last flag on the Moon: Astronaut Eugene Cernan and the U.S. Flag — Apollo 17 on the Moon (NASA photo)

If you’re not on the Moon, here are some tips on flag etiquette, how to appropriately fly our national standard.

Also:

Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter photo of the Apollo 17 landing site.

Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter photo of the Apollo 17 landing site. NASA caption: Apollo 17 Lunar Module Challenger descent stage comes into focus from the new lower 50 km mapping orbit, image width 102 meters. Credit: NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University

This is mostly an encore post, but I so love that photo of the flag with the Earth in the distance.

Happy birthday, Kathryn!

Fireworks in Duncanville, Texas, for July 4

Fireworks in Duncanville, Texas, for July 4 — Kathryn Knowles’s birthday. We’re always happy the town chimes in with the celebratory spirit.

Tip of the old scrub brush to Thomas Jefferson, Richard Henry Lee, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Roger Sherman, Robert Livingston, and the cast of thousands of patriots including George Washington.

Yes, this is mostly an encore post. Fighting ignorance requires patience.

Yes, this is mostly an encore post. Fighting ignorance requires patience.

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July 4, 2016: Fly your flag today! 240th anniversary of the public reading of the Declaration of Independence

July 3, 2016

It’s a day of tradition — oddly enough, since we are in reality a very new nation, and Lee’s resolution to declare independence from Britain came on July 2.

A soak in Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub is nothing if not a steeping in tradition.  Fly your flag today, to celebrate the independence of the American colonies of Britain.

Fourth of July: NPR has already read the Declaration of Independence (or will soon, if you’re up early), PBS is ready to broadcast the Capitol Fourth concert  (maybe a rebroadcast is available, if you’re off at your own town’s fireworks — check your local listings), your town has a parade somewhere this weekend, or a neighboring community does, and fireworks are everywhere.

At the White House, traditionally, new citizens are sworn in — often people who joined our armed forces and fought for our nation, before even getting the privileges of citizenship.  Fireworks on the Capital Mall will be grand, with the White House hosting a few thousand military people and their families from some of the best views.  Traditionally, five photographers, chosen by lottery, get to shoot photos of the fireworks from the windows of the Washington Monument; will that occur, with the Monument shut down from public view for repair from the earthquake?

There will be great fireworks also in Baltimore Harbor over Fort McHenry, the fort whose siege inspired Francis Scott Key to write the “Star-spangled Banner” from his boat in the harbor, in 1814. Firworks will frighten the bluebirds nesting at Yorktown National Battlefield.  I suspect there will be a grand display at Gettysburg, on the 150th anniversary of the end of that battle. July 4, 1863, also marked the end of the Siege of Vicksburg; tradition holds that Vicksburg did not celebrate the 4th of July for 83 years after that. I’ll wager there will be fireworks there tonight.  In Provo, Utah, the city poobahs will have done all they can to try to live up to their self-proclaimed reputation as having the biggest Independence Day celebration in the nation.  The celebration in Prescott, Arizona, is muted by the tragic deaths of 19 Hot Shot firefighters last week; will drought halt the fireworks, too?  There will be fireworks around the Golden Gate Bridge, in Anchorage, Alaska, reflecting on the waters of Pearl Harbor, and probably in Guam, American Samoa, and the Northern Marianas Islands.

Fireworks on the Fourth is a long tradition — a tradition that kept John Adams and Thomas Jefferson alive, until they both died on the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, in 1826, the sounds of the fireworks letting Adams know the celebration had begun (Adams erroneously celebrated that Jefferson, the Declaration’s author, still lived, unable to know Jefferson had passed just hours earlier).

Remember to put your flag up today.

Astronaut Eugene Cernan and the U.S. Flag -- Apollo 17 on the Moon (NASA photo)

Last flag on the Moon: Astronaut Eugene Cernan and the U.S. Flag — Apollo 17 on the Moon (NASA photo)

If you’re not on the Moon, here are some tips on flag etiquette, how to appropriately fly our national standard.

Also:

Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter photo of the Apollo 17 landing site.

Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter photo of the Apollo 17 landing site. NASA caption: Apollo 17 Lunar Module Challenger descent stage comes into focus from the new lower 50 km mapping orbit, image width 102 meters. Credit: NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University

This is mostly an encore post, but I so love that photo of the flag with the Earth in the distance.

Happy birthday, Kathryn!

Fireworks in Duncanville, Texas, for July 4

Fireworks in Duncanville, Texas, for July 4 — Kathryn Knowles’s birthday. We’re always happy the town chimes in with the celebratory spirit.

Tip of the old scrub brush to Thomas Jefferson, Richard Henry Lee, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Roger Sherman, Robert Livingston, and the cast of thousands of patriots including George Washington.

Yes, this is mostly an encore post. Fighting ignorance requires patience.

Yes, this is mostly an encore post. Fighting ignorance requires patience.


Fly your flag today! July 4, 2014, 238th anniversary of the public reading of the Declaration of Independence

July 4, 2014

It’s a day of tradition — oddly enough, since we are in reality a very new nation, and Lee’s resolution to declare independence from Britain came on July 2.

A soak in Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub is nothing if not a steeping in tradition.  Fly your flag today, to celebrate the independence of the American colonies of Britain.

Fourth of July: NPR has already read the Declaration of Independence (or will soon, if you’re up early), PBS is ready to broadcast the Capitol Fourth concert  (maybe a rebroadcast is available, if you’re off at your own town’s fireworks — check your local listings), your town has a parade somewhere this weekend, or a neighboring community does, and fireworks are everywhere.

At the White House, traditionally, new citizens are sworn in — often people who joined our armed forces and fought for our nation, before even getting the privileges of citizenship.  Fireworks on the Capital Mall will be grand, with the White House hosting a few thousand military people and their families from some of the best views.  Traditionally, five photographers, chosen by lottery, get to shoot photos of the fireworks from the windows of the Washington Monument; will that occur, with the Monument shut down from public view for repair from the earthquake?

There will be great fireworks also in Baltimore Harbor over Fort McHenry, the fort whose siege inspired Francis Scott Key to write the “Star-spangled Banner” from his boat in the harbor, in 1814. Firworks will frighten the bluebirds nesting at Yorktown National Battlefield.  I suspect there will be a grand display at Gettysburg, on the 150th anniversary of the end of that battle. July 4, 1863, also marked the end of the Siege of Vicksburg; tradition holds that Vicksburg did not celebrate the 4th of July for 83 years after that. I’ll wager there will be fireworks there tonight.  In Provo, Utah, the city poobahs will have done all they can to try to live up to their self-proclaimed reputation as having the biggest Independence Day celebration in the nation.  The celebration in Prescott, Arizona, is muted by the tragic deaths of 19 Hot Shot firefighters last week; will drought halt the fireworks, too?  There will be fireworks around the Golden Gate Bridge, in Anchorage, Alaska, reflecting on the waters of Pearl Harbor, and probably in Guam, American Samoa, and the Northern Marianas Islands.

Fireworks on the Fourth is a long tradition — a tradition that kept John Adams and Thomas Jefferson alive, until they both died on the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, in 1826, the sounds of the fireworks letting Adams know the celebration had begun (Adams erroneously celebrated that Jefferson, the Declaration’s author, still lived, unable to know Jefferson had passed just hours earlier).

Remember to put your flag up today.

Astronaut Eugene Cernan and the U.S. Flag -- Apollo 17 on the Moon (NASA photo)

Last flag on the Moon: Astronaut Eugene Cernan and the U.S. Flag — Apollo 17 on the Moon (NASA photo)

If you’re not on the Moon, here are some tips on flag etiquette, how to appropriately fly our national standard.

Also:

Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter photo of the Apollo 17 landing site.

Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter photo of the Apollo 17 landing site. NASA caption: Apollo 17 Lunar Module Challenger descent stage comes into focus from the new lower 50 km mapping orbit, image width 102 meters. Credit: NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University

This is mostly an encore post, but I so love that photo of the flag with the Earth in the distance.

Happy birthday, Kathryn!

Fireworks in Duncanville, Texas, for July 4

Fireworks in Duncanville, Texas, for July 4 — Kathryn Knowles’s birthday. We’re always happy the town chimes in with the celebratory spirit.

Tip of the old scrub brush to Thomas Jefferson, Richard Henry Lee, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Roger Sherman, Robert Livingston, and the cast of thousands of patriots including George Washington.


Typewriter of the moment: Bill Moyers

June 6, 2014

From Moyers's Facebook feed:  Happy 80th Birthday, Bill Moyers! Here he is at 16 years old as a cub reporter at the Marshall News Messenger newspaper in Marshall, Texas, the town (pop. 25,000) where he grew up

From Moyers’s Facebook feed: Happy 80th Birthday, Bill Moyers! Here he is at 16 years old as a cub reporter at the Marshall News Messenger newspaper in Marshall, Texas, the town (pop. 25,000) where he grew up

A newsroom Royal. A lot of good writers started out on those.

Moyers went astray after a while, and got a divinity degree and ordination in Dallas, at Southwest Theological Seminary — but Lyndon Johnson had been watching him before at the University of Texas and University of North Texas, and snatched him up as a press aide.

You probably know Moyers from Public Television.  Yesterday was his 80th birthday — he was born June 5, 1934, in Hugo, Oklahoma.

More:


Fly your flag today! July 4, 2013, 237 years since the Declaration of Independence

July 4, 2013

It’s a day of tradition — oddly enough, since we are in reality a very new nation, and Lee’s resolution to declare independence from Britain came on July 2.

A soak in Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub is nothing if not a steeping in tradition.  Fly your flag today, to celebrate the independence of the American colonies of Britain.

Fourth of July: NPR has already read the Declaration of Independence (or will soon, if you’re up early), PBS is ready to broadcast the Capitol Fourth concert  (maybe a rebroadcast is available, if you’re off at your own town’s fireworks — check your local listings), your town has a parade somewhere this weekend, or a neighboring community does, and fireworks are everywhere.

At the White House, traditionally, new citizens are sworn in — often people who joined our armed forces and fought for our nation, before even getting the privileges of citizenship.  Fireworks on the Capital Mall will be grand, with the White House hosting a few thousand military people and their families from some of the best views.  Traditionally, five photographers, chosen by lottery, get to shoot photos of the fireworks from the windows of the Washington Monument; will that occur, with the Monument shut down from public view for repair from the earthquake?

There will be great fireworks also in Baltimore Harbor over Fort McHenry, the fort whose siege inspired Francis Scott Key to write the “Star-spangled Banner” from his boat in the harbor, in 1814. Firworks will frighten the bluebirds nesting at Yorktown National Battlefield.  I suspect there will be a grand display at Gettysburg, on the 150th anniversary of the end of that battle. July 4, 1863, also marked the end of the Siege of Vicksburg; tradition holds that Vicksburg did not celebrate the 4th of July for 83 years after that. I’ll wager there will be fireworks there tonight.  In Provo, Utah, the city poobahs will have done all they can to try to live up to their self-proclaimed reputation as having the biggest Independence Day celebration in the nation.  The celebration in Prescott, Arizona, is muted by the tragic deaths of 19 Hot Shot firefighters last week; will drought halt the fireworks, too?  There will be fireworks around the Golden Gate Bridge, in Anchorage, Alaska, reflecting on the waters of Pearl Harbor, and probably in Guam, American Samoa, and the Northern Marianas Islands.

Fireworks on the Fourth is a long tradition — a tradition that kept John Adams and Thomas Jefferson alive, until they both died on the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, in 1826, the sounds of the fireworks letting Adams know the celebration had begun (Adams erroneously celebrated that Jefferson, the Declaration’s author, still lived, unable to know Jefferson had passed just hours earlier).

Remember to put your flag up today.

Astronaut Eugene Cernan and the U.S. Flag -- Apollo 17 on the Moon (NASA photo)

Last flag on the Moon: Astronaut Eugene Cernan and the U.S. Flag — Apollo 17 on the Moon (NASA photo)

If you’re not on the Moon, here are some tips on flag etiquette, how to appropriately fly our national standard.

Also:

Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter photo of Apollo 17 landing site

Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter photo of Apollo 17 landing site

This is mostly an encore post, but I so love that photo of the flag with the Earth in the distance.

Happy birthday, Kathryn!

Fireworks in Duncanville, Texas, for July 4

Fireworks in Duncanville, Texas, for July 4 — Kathryn Knowles’s birthday. We’re always happy the town chimes in with the celebratory spirit.

Tip of the old scrub brush to Thomas Jefferson, Richard Henry Lee, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Roger Sherman, Robert Livingston, and the cast of thousands of patriots including George Washington.


Animated Maurice Sendak: How do you keep from being eaten and mauled by a monster?

June 17, 2013

Maurice Sendak, to his death, held on to some of his childhood concerns; and he worried about how we teach our children to deal with the world, and those scary things.

From Blank on Blank, PBS Digital Studios.

How do kids make it?  “They want to survive,” Sendak said.  “They Want To Survive.”

More:

 


PBS resources for teachers . . . (history, especially)

October 10, 2012

Too often I fear the conservative War on Public Broadcasting is really just an extension of their War on Education and War on Science.

PBS and NPR have the facts, and tell ’em, straight.  Poll after poll, year after year, PBS comes up as the “most trusted” news source in America, with NPR right up there.

Why would conservatives want to go after such a fine, accurate and useful institution?  They know the history, and they tell that, too.

Comes an e-mail today:

Invite your students to explore the challenges and triumphs of the U.S. Presidents with a collection of digital resources from PBS LearningMedia! Choose from thousands of free classroom-ready tools including videos, lesson plans, interactive games, and primary source documents. For anytime/anywhere access to social studies content and more – sign up today – it’s free!

Digital Resources

Tap into the excitement and energy of election season with PBS LearningMedia! Use these targeted resources to punctuate your lesson plan, instigate dialogue in the classroom, and expand your students’ awareness of the U.S. presidents and the institution of the Presidency. Register today on PBS LearningMedia for instant- access to thousands of additional classroom-ready, contextualized resources.

President for a Day
Grades 3-8 | Interactive with Support Materials

This activity puts your students in the Oval Office and invites them to make decisions about meeting Cabinet members, making speeches to the public, and how to handle a foreign crisis.

Documenting the President
Grades 3-9, 11-13+ + | Video

A photographer can preserve a moment, and be a silent participant. Give your class a brief history of the power held and captured by presidential photographers from Lincoln to Kennedy and beyond.

Documenting Key Presidential Decisions
Grades 6-13+ | Interactive

Challenge your students to examine primary source documents and match them to key presidential decisions. Documents include a letter from the secretary of war (1945), remarks at Brandenberg Gate (1987), the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and annotated notes and letters from various moments in history.

FDR: New Deal Program
Grades 9-12 | Video + Support Materials

Give your students a view of the enormous hurdles faced by President Roosevelt during the Great Depression. See how the New Deal transformed the relationship between government and economy.

Abraham Lincoln, Attorney at Law
Grades 1-12 | Video + Support Materials

Invite your class to consider how an early career as a “prairie” lawyer prepared Lincoln for his presidential role as he developed his confidence, sense of fairness, and social skills.

LBJ and the Great Society
Grades 9-12

Using newsreel footage, archival photos, and interviews, offer our students the opportunity to explore the rich legacy of President Johnson’s “Great Society.”

They’ve got professional development courses for teachers:

Professional Development

Explore these timely professional development resources in PBS LearningMedia:

Effective Media-Rich Lessons
Grades 13+ | Video + Discussion Questions
Join Katelin Corbett and Evan Feldman, two physics teachers in New York City, as they discuss the benefits of using digital media in the classroom, model best practices, and share guidelines for effective use of media in the physics classroom.

Build a Bridge Between Disciplines
Grades 6-8, 13+ | Interactive
Build a bridge between two disciplines by identifying a connecting concept, or idea that has value in both disciplines. Complete the structure by adding instructional activities that build students’ understanding of the concept, within and across disciplines.

Close Reading of Text: MLK “Letter from Birmingham Jail”
Grades 13+ | Video + Support Materials
Join David Coleman, a contributing author to the Common Core State Standards, as he models a close reading of Martin Luther King’s Letter from Birmingham Jail.

This Week’s Featured Courses:

NEW Bridging World History: A Special Collection from the Annenberg Foundation (SOST502)
Grades 9-12 | Syllabus | Sign Up | Course Catalog

NEW America’s History in the Making: A Special Collection from the Annenberg Foundation (SOST507)
Grades 6-12 | Syllabus | Sign Up | Course Catalog

Fall Term II Begins October 24 – enroll today!
Visit pbsteacherline.org or call 800-572-6386 for more information.

And here’s what’s new:

New & Noteworthy

Common Core Support
Let PBS LearningMedia enhance your efforts to better-understand the CCSSI with professional development video clips, and classroom resources tied to the Standards. Register for full access – anytime, anywhere.

The Election Collection
The PBS LearningMedia Election 2012 Collection is an aggregation of curated and contextualized election-related resources for K-12 classrooms with a primary focus on middle and high school. Jump into the collection by clicking here – or search under the keyword, Election.

PBS Teacher Innovator Awards
PBS LearningMedia and The Henry Ford are proud to bring you the third annual Teacher Innovator Awards in recognition of innovative PreK-12 classroom educators, media specialists, technology coordinators, and homeschool educators who use digital media to enhance student learning. To enter, tell us how you have innovated with digital media to enhance student learning. Submissions are now being accepted – click here to enter!

 


Fly your flag today! July 4, 2012

July 4, 2012

Fourth of July: NPR has already read the Declaration of Independence, PBS is ready to broadcast the Capitol Fourth concert  (maybe a rebroadcast is available, if you’re off at your own town’s fireworks — check your local listings), your town has a parade somewhere this weekend, or a neighboring community does, and fireworks are everywhere.

Remember to put your flag up today.

Astronaut Eugene Cernan and the U.S. Flag -- Apollo 17 on the Moon (NASA photo)

Last flag on the Moon: Astronaut Eugene Cernan and the U.S. Flag — Apollo 17 on the Moon (NASA photo)

Also:

Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter photo of Apollo 17 landing site

Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter photo of Apollo 17 landing site

This is mostly an encore post, but I so love that photo of the flag with the Earth in the distance.

Happy birthday, Kathryn!

Tip of the old scrub brush to Thomas Jefferson, Richard Henry Lee, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Roger Sherman, Robert Livingston, and the cast of thousands of patriots including George Washington.


Elbow! One day like this . . .

February 25, 2010

Digital television brings us an additional channel with KERA, our local PBS station.   The second channel carries programming from PBS World.

Great stuff, lots of repeats of the science shows, convenient rebroadcasts of The Newshour.  And promos with interesting music.  One promo features a twisting camera with odd angles on two people doing twists on a trampoline.  It looks like they are bungee jumping at first.  It’s got good music that qualifies as earworm stuff, ending with the vocal line, “It’s looking like a beautiful day.”

Finally took the time to track it down.  Elbow is the band, “One Day Like This” is the song.  Live version with the BBC Concert Orchestra and a choir called Chantage, below.  Obviously I’m not the only one who likes the performance.

How did we ever do this stuff before the internet?


Darwin’s Darkest Hour, debuts on NOVA tonight

October 6, 2009

From the PBS press release:

BOSTON, MA—This fall, NOVA celebrates the 200th anniversary year of Darwin’s birth and the 150th anniversary of the publication of his famous book the Origin of Species with three evolution-themed programs.

Each film will approach the topic of evolution in a different way. To kick off NOVA’s fall season on October 6, Henry Ian Cusick (Lost) and Frances O’Connor (Mansfield Park) star in “Darwin’s Darkest Hour,” a two-hour scripted drama that presents the remarkable story behind the birth of Darwin’s radically controversial theory of evolution and reveals his deeply personal crisis: whether to publish his earthshaking ideas, or to keep quiet to avoid potential backlash from the Church. In November, NOVA premieres “Becoming Human,” a three-part special on human evolution. The series combines interviews with world renowned anthropologists and paleoanthropologists and the most recent, groundbreaking
discoveries with vivid images of our earliest ancestors to present a comprehensive picture of our human past. Then, on December 29, “What Darwin Never Knew” reveals answers to evolutionary questions that even Darwin couldn’t explain. Scientists are beginning to expose nature’s biggest secrets on the genetic level, with the hope of one day answering the crucial question: How does evolution really work?

Following are descriptions for NOVA films in fall 2009:

Darwin’s Darkest Hour (2 hrs) – Tuesday, October 6
NOVA and National Geographic Television present the extraordinary human drama that led to the birth of the most influential scientific theory of all time. Acclaimed screenwriter John Goldsmith (David Copperfield, Victoria and Albert) brings to life Charles Darwin’s greatest personal crisis: the anguishing decision over whether to “go public” with his theory of evolution. Darwin, portrayed by Henry Ian Cusick (Lost), spent years refining his ideas and penning his book the Origin of Species. Yet, daunted by looming conflict with the orthodox religious values of his day, he resisted publishing—until a letter from naturalist Alfred Wallace forced his hand. In 1858, Darwin learned that Wallace was ready to publish ideas very similar to his own. In a sickened panic, Darwin grasped his dilemma: To delay publishing any longer would be to condemn all of his work to obscurity—his voyage on the Beagle, his adventures in the Andes, the gauchos and bizarre fossils of Patagonia, the finches and giant tortoises of the Galapagos. But to come forward with his ideas risked the fury of the Church and perhaps a rift with his own devoted wife, Emma, portrayed by Frances O’Connor (Mansfield Park, The Importance of Being Earnest, Steven Spielberg’s “Artificial Intelligence”), who was a strong believer in the view of creation and honestly feared for her husband’s soul. Darwin’s Darkest Hour is a moving drama about the birth of a great idea seen through the inspiration and personal sufferings of its brilliant originator.

Hubble’s Amazing Rescue – Tuesday, October 13
In the spring of 2009, NASA sent a shuttle crew on a risky mission to service the Hubble Space Telescope for the last time. Hubble has enthralled scientists and the public by capturing deep views of the cosmos and a wealth of data from distant galaxies. It has helped lead the search for alien planets and is a key tool in cosmology’s quest to investigate and map the universe’s mysterious dark matter. The astronaut servicing team carried out the first-ever in-space repairs of Hubble’s defective instruments, a task that required ingenious engineering fixes and the most intensive NASA spacewalk ever. From training to launch, NOVA presents the inside story of the mission and the extraordinary challenges faced by the rescue crew.

Lizard Kings – Tuesday, October 20
Though they may look like dragons and inspire stories of man-eating, fire-spitting monsters with long claws, razor-sharp teeth and muscular, whip-like tails, these creatures are actually monitor lizards, the largest lizards to walk the planet. With their acute intelligence—including the ability to plan ahead— these lizards are a very different kind of reptile, blurring the line between reptiles and mammals. And even though these bizarre reptiles haven’t changed all that much since the dinosaurs, they are a very successful species, versatile at adapting to all kinds of settings. Lizard Kings will look at what makes these tongued reptiles so similar to mammals and what has allowed them to become such unique survivors. But while the creatures can find their way around many different habitats, finding them is no easy task. Natural loners, and always on guard, they sense anything or anyone from hundreds of feet away. NOVA will follow expert lizard hunter Dr. Eric Pianka as he tracks the elusive creatures through Australia’s heartland with cutting-edge “lizard cam” technology for an unparalleled close encounter with these amazingly versatile “living dragons.”

Becoming Human: Unearthing Our Earliest Ancestors – Tuesday, November 3, 10, 17
NOVA presents a three-part, three-hour special—investigating explosive new discoveries that are transforming the picture of how we became human. The first program explores fresh clues about our earliest ancestors in Africa, including the stunningly complete fossil nicknamed “Lucy’s Child.” These three-million-year-old bones from Ethiopia reveal humanity’s oldest and most telltale trait—upright walking rather than a big brain. The second program tackles the mysteries of how our ancestors managed to survive in a savannah teeming with vicious predators, and when and why we first left our African cradle to colonize every corner of the Earth. In the final program, NOVA probes a wave of dramatic new evidence, based partly on cutting-edge DNA analysis, that reveals new insights into how we became the creative and “behaviorally modern” humans of today, and what really happened to the enigmatic Neanderthals who faded into extinction. Shot “in the trenches” where discoveries were unearthed throughout Africa and Europe, each hour of Becoming Human unfolds with a forensic investigation into the life and death of a specific hominid ancestor, such as “Lucy’s Child.” Dry bones spring back to vivid life with stunning animation, the product of a unique NOVA collaboration between top anthropologists and a talented team of movie animators.

What Are Dreams? – Tuesday, November 24
What are dreams and why do we have them? NOVA joins the leading dream researchers as they embark on a variety of neurological and psychological experiments to investigate the world of sleep and dreams.  Delving deep into the thoughts and brains of a variety of dreamers, scientists are asking important questions about the purpose of this mysterious world we escape to at night. Do dreams allow us to get a good night’s sleep? Do they improve our memory? Do they allow us to be more creative? Can they solve our problems or even help us survive the hazards of everyday life? NOVA follows researchers like the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Matthew Wilson who is literally ‘eavesdropping’ on the dreams of rats and takes viewers into a sleep lab for a first-hand look at how scientists do their best to eavesdrop on human dreams. From those who violently act out their dreams to those who can’t stop their nightmares, from sleepwalking cats to people who can’t dream, each fascinating experiment contains a vital clue to the age-old question: What are dreams?

What Darwin Never Knew (2 hours) – Tuesday, December 29
Earth teems with a staggering variety of animals, including 9,000 kinds of birds, 28,000 types of fish, and more than 350,000 species of beetles. What explains this explosion of living creatures—1.4 million different species discovered so far, with perhaps another 50 million to go? The source of life’s endless forms was a profound mystery until Charles Darwin’s revolutionary idea of natural selection, which he showed could help explain the gradual development of life on Earth. But Darwin’s radical insights raised as many questions as they answered. What actually drives evolution and turns one species into another? And how did we evolve?

Now, on the 150th anniversary of Darwin’s the Origin of Species, NOVA reveals answers to the riddles that Darwin couldn’t explain. Stunning breakthroughs in a brand-new science—nicknamed “evo devo”— are linking the enigma of origins to another of nature’s great mysteries, the development of an embryo.  To explore this exciting new idea, NOVA takes viewers on a journey from the Galapagos Islands to the Arctic, and from the Cambrian explosion of animal forms half a billion years ago to the research labs of today. Here scientists are finally beginning to crack nature’s biggest secrets at the genetic level. And, as NOVA shows in this absorbing detective story, the results are confirming the brilliance of Darwin’s insights while exposing clues to life’s breathtaking diversity in ways the great naturalist could scarcely have imagined.


Newsbusters shows bias toward stupid

December 14, 2008

What’s the big deal here?  Newsbusters, appearing completely unfamiliar with the discussion format of real news organizations, reveals its Freudian slip:  Newsbusters has a bias, and that bias is toward stupid, and venal.

Jim Lehrer in no way defended the actions of Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich.  If Newsbusters can’t tell what’s going on in a basic television interview, they have no business claiming to be associated with news in any fashion.

Newsbusters owes Lehrer a retraction.

Resources:


“Judgment Day” censored in Memphis?

November 18, 2007

PBS’s ombudsman takes note of worries that Memphis did not get the NOVA program on the Dover, Pennsylvania trial of intelligent design. “Judgment Day” was not aired in the normal NOVA timeslot.

Station management pleads that they made no decision to censor, just a decision to run supporting program for Ken Burns’ massive film project, “The War,” instead. (HD viewers could see the NOVA program).

Let’s hope that’s accurate.

In the meantime, the letters to the ombudsman give a clear probe into the minds of viewers; favorable reactions were many; more numerous, unfavorable reactions seemed to come mostly from the reason-challenged side of humanity. It’s worth a read.

Sample of the unfavorable:

After tonight’s program on Intelligent Design it proves that PBS has a “design” of its own — it’s one that is driving the country to destruction — your bias is completely counter to history, to the very foundation of our nation and history of nations. Every part from beginning to end had its own objective; completely counter to the Truth which is proven in the rise and fall of nations.

Daryle Getting, Winter Park, FL
It doesn’t take a “Rocket Scientist” to figure out that if we, as humans, evolved from monkeys . . . THEN WHY? . . . Are there STILL Monkeys??? We were “Created” by God!!! Pull up AOL now and you’ll notice the Gov. of Georgia praying for rain, (No Doubt to GOD). When 9/11 happened what did every good neighbor do? PRAY. Not to monkeys . . . To our “Creator”!!! It shouldn’t take tragic and desperate circumstances for people to realize this fact!!! GOD BLESS AMERICA!!! In GOD We Trust!!!

Sonya L. Johnson, North Port, FL

Sample of the favorable:

I just watched your program “Judgment Day: Intelligent Design on Trial.” Fantastic! I don’t remember recently watching such an informative and well put together program. PBS deserves to be awarded for this stellar program. Thank you so much for actually airing a program that was intelligent, well put together, and fun to watch. Superb. Atlanta, GA

Am I unfair in labeling some “reason-challenged?” Certainly fact challenged. Read the rest of this entry »


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