9 pm Wednesday, Sept. 25, on WILL-TV: While prospecting for dinosaur bones, a scientist stumbled across an ancient human cemetery. Who were these people?
SKELETONS OF THE SAHARA, airing Wednesday, Sept.r 25, 2013, at 9 pm on WILL-TV, reveals scientist Paul Sereno’s amazing discovery of a prehistoric human burial ground in the middle of a forbidding desert.
Like many great scientific discoveries, this one happens by accident. Sereno, an expert in locating dinosaur fossils, is on an expedition to Niger, in Saharan Africa. Six weeks into a three-month journey, his team makes an unexpected discovery: human bones, the remains of peoples who lived 10,000 and 5,000 years ago.
Sereno’s team counts dozens of skeletons within just a few minutes. SKELETONS OF THE SAHARA relates the story of this stunning find and what it reveals about two civilizations that once flourished in what is now the world’s largest desert.
SKELETONS OF THE SAHARA joins Sereno on a return trip to Niger. After years of waiting for conflict in West Africa to stabilize, he can finally return to the area called “Gobero.” Over 10 years and five expeditions, Sereno has found more than 200 burial plots, each more intriguing than the last: a man buried with his head in a pot; another buried sitting in a turtle shell; a girl with a bracelet carved from hippo bone; and most striking of all, a woman embracing two children, hands entwined in a triple burial.
Adding to the intrigue is the fact that the bones are from two separate civilizations, Kiffian and Tenerian, thousands of years apart, yet the dead are buried side by side. Scattered throughout the site, artifacts offer clues to the lives they led — arrowheads, intricate jewelry and, perhaps most surprising of all, harpoons carved from bone.
Who were the Kiffians and Tenerians? How did they live? How did they die?
Sereno and his team carefully address these questions in the lab at the University of Chicago, where the bones, transported from the heart of Africa, are sheltered from the desert’s relentless wind and destructive sand. Left to the elements, the bones would erode and disappear in a matter of years, taking with them clues to an ancient way of life in the Sahara.
Sereno brings the skeletons back to his lab intact in order to learn from their unique burial positions. But removing bones from the ground is something he has done only with dinosaur fossils. Collecting delicate human remains in shifting sand and transporting them thousands of miles is a risky procedure. Using their dinosaur excavating experience, his team digs around each of the skeletons, wraps them in jackets of plaster and sends them on their long journey to Chicago.
In the lab, a team of experts awaits the delivery, eager to crack open the jackets and examine what lies inside. They carefully study the bones, teeth and burial positions — each new find becoming a precious puzzle piece as the experts reconstruct a vanished culture and bring new insight to our shared human story.
5 pm Sat., Sept. 28: A look at how technology helps us see an atom, a gravity wave, or the bottom of the ocean. Plus, the U of I's May Barenbaum talks about honey bees.
You can’t see it, but it’s there, whether an atom, a gravity wave, or the bottom of the ocean … but we have technology that allows us to detect what eludes our sight. When we do, whole worlds open up.
Without telescopes, asteroids become visible only three seconds before they slam into the Earth. Find out how we track them long before that happens. Also, could pulsars help us detect the gravity waves that Einstein’s theory predicts?
Plus, why string theory and parallel universes may remain just interesting ideas … the story of the woman who mapped the ocean floor … and why the disappearance of honeybees may change what you eat.
• David Morrison – NASA space scientist and Director of the Carl Sagan Center at the SETI Institute
• May Berenbaum – Entomologist, University of Illinois
• Scott Ransom – Astronomer, National Radio Astronomy Observatory
• Lee Smolin – Theoretical physicist, Perimeter Institute of Theoretical Physics, Canada, author of Time Reborn: From the Crisis in Physics to the Future of the Universe
• Hali Felt – Author of Soundings: The Story of the Remarkable Woman Who Mapped the Ocean Floor
10 am Tuesday on Focus: “The more high tech we become, the more nature we need.” Do you agree?
Patients who can see outside from a hospital room often heal faster than those who can't, and even a little exposure to the natural world has been shown to decrease symptoms of ADD. If we all spent a little more time outside, what other benefits might we see? And, can you really credit those benefits solely to spending more time outside?
Host Jim Meadows talks with author and journalist Richard Louv about what he calls “the nature principle.” Louv argues many of us are plagued by “nature-deficit disorder,” but says there are seven basic concepts that can help. We'll talk with Louv this hour about nature deficit disorder, why he says its so problematic and what we can do about it.
Louv is the author of several books including “The Nature Principle” and “Last Child in the Woods,” where he investigates the connections between children and the natural world. Louv is speaking at 7 pm in the Alice Campbell Alumni Center on Thursday, Sept. 26, for “Take A Child Outside Week.” Find more information here.
Starts 8 pm Monday, Sept. 23: Investigating family history stories.
From Presidential progeny to felonious forebears, family secrets are uncovered this fall across the U.S. in PBS’ surprise-filled new series GENEALOGY ROADSHOW, which premieres on Monday, September 23 at 8 pm on WILL-TV. Part detective story, part emotional journey, the show uncovers fascinating stories of diverse Americans in Austin, San Francisco, Nashville and Detroit. Each individual’s past links to a larger community history, revealing the rich cultural tapestry of America. Watch a preview.
GENEALOGY ROADSHOW features participants who have unique claims and storylines: two Nashville participants have documents they believe make them distant cousins of a famous 19th Century frontiersman and folk hero. A woman in Detroit wanted to learn more about deceased members of her Polish family and found common bonds she never knew existed. A Hispanic woman in Austin wanted to learn whether or not she had a connection to the “Daughters of the Republic of Texas.” Over the course of the series, participants will be reunited with family members they never knew existed, and other story lines reveal surprising turns and dark secrets, including one participant’s lineage that is traced back to a gruesome murder.
GENEALOGY ROADSHOW’s premiere season will feature participants who want to explore unverified genealogical claims passed down through family history, which may (or may not) connect them to an event or a historical figure. These four first-season cities were chosen as American crossroads of culture, diversity, industry and history, with deep pools of potential participants and stories. After potential participants in Austin, Detroit, Nashville and San Francisco nominated themselves, experts chose the most compelling stories and used resources in genealogy, history and DNA as well as family heirlooms, letters, pictures, historical documents and other clues to hunt down the truth behind the familial myths. The most compelling answers were revealed on camera to the participants before a local audience, on location at an historic building relevant to the cities’ – and the participants’ – histories.
7 pm Wednesday, Oct. 2, on The Evening Concert, with the San Francisco Symphony.
Gil Shaham, who plays “with furious energy and an unflappable sense of delight” (San Francisco Chronicle), performs Brahms’s only violin concerto with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra.
C-U's innovative software developer and element collector talks to host David Inge.
10 am Thurs. on WILL-AM's Focus: Fifty years ago this month, George Harrison visited his sister in southern Illinois in the days before Beatlemania. We retrace his steps.
Fifty years ago this month, George Harrison visited his sister in southern Illinois. It was five months before Beatlemania hit America, and pretty much the last time Harrison could go anywhere as a normal person. What did the 20-year-old Harrison do on his vacation to America? We’ll retrace his steps on Thursday's Focus.
When she was 17 years old, Marcia Raubach got a phone call to come into the station in West Frankfort, Ill., where she hosted a weekend morning teen music show because there was a musician there who wanted to personally thank her for being one of the first to play his band’s record on the radio in America. That musician was none other than the late George Harrison, and 50 years later, when she looks back on it, Raubach kicks herself for not recording the interview she did with Harrison on WFRX in the fall of 1963.
It was the first interview with a member of the band that aired on American radio, and we’ll talk with Marcia about what she asked Harrison all those years ago. We’ll talk with her about meeting him and how the interview has remained a part of her life ever since.
We’ll also talk with Jim Kirkpatrick, author of the book “Before He Was Fab,” a book about Harrison’s visit to Illinois in 1963 and Bob Bartel, a Beatles memorabilia collector and the man responsible for the “Beatles house” in Benton, where George stayed when he first visited, being named an Illinois historical landmark.
9 pm Monday, Sept. 16, on WILL-TV: A tale of two Indias: In one, a small-town girl competes in the Miss India pageant. In another, a woman leads a fundamentalist Hindu camp for girls.
The World Before Her is a tale of two Indias. In one, Ruhi Singh is a small-town girl competing in Bombay to win the Miss India pageant—a ticket to stardom in a country wild about beauty contests.
In the other India, Prachi Trivedi is the young, militant leader of a fundamentalist Hindu camp for girls, where she preaches violent resistance to Western culture, Christianity and Islam.
Moving between these divergent realities, the film creates a lively, provocative portrait of the world's largest democracy at a critical transitional moment—and of two women who hope to shape its future. Winner, World Documentary Competition Award, 2012 Tribeca Film Festival. A co-presentation with the Center for Asian American Media (CAAM).
More info and a preview.
10 am TODAY on WILL-AM's Focus: As the state drafts its criteria for who can obtain a concealed carry permit, should vision be a consideration?
It violates the American with Disabilities Act to discriminate against the visually impaired, even when it comes to gun ownership. The state of Illinois issues FOID cards, the documentation you need to legally own a gun in Illinois, and hunting licenses to the blind. So, even if you can’t see, or don’t see well, you can own a gun in Illinois, but should you be able to carry it in public?
Tuesday, Sept. 17, on Focus, we’ll talk it over. Jeremy Holderfield joins us. He went blind about a decade ago because of glaucoma. Despite his vision impairment, he continues to deer hunt and says even though he doesn’t think it’s right for the state to discriminate who can have a gun based on vision, he still is unsure how he feels about the blind carrying weapons in public places. Ray Campbell, legislative chairman for the Illinois Council of the Blind, also joins us. He says it’s slippery slope to make rules that are discriminate based on physical ability but owning and carrying a weapon might be a special case.
In Iowa, a so called “shall carry” state, the blind and visually impaired are granted concealed carry permits, and while the practice is controversial and has been the subject of several recent media reports, Cedar County, Iowa Sheriff William Wethington doesn’t think there’s a problem. His daughter is blind, but he says that hasn’t stopped her from learning to handle a firearm.
5 pm Saturday, Sept. 21, on Big Picture Science: Interactions between species, known as co-evolution, happen all the time, even without deliberate intervention.
Imagine: Your pint-sized pup is descended from a line of predatory wolves. We have purposefully bred a new species – dogs – to live in harmony with us. But interactions between species, known as co-evolution, happen all the time, even without deliberate intervention. And it’s frequently a boon to survival: Without the symbiotic relationship we have with bugs in our gut, one that’s evolved with time, we wouldn’t exist.
Discover the Bogart-and-Bacall-like relationships between bacteria and humans, and what we learn by seeing genes mutate in the lab, real time. Also, the dog-eat-dog debate about when canines were first domesticated, and how agriculture, hip-hop music, and technology can alter our DNA (eventually).
Plus, why some of the fastest humans in history have hailed from one small area of a small Caribbean island. Is there a gene for that?
• Greger Larsen – Evolutionary biologist, department of archaeology, Durham University
• Peter Richerson – Professor emeritus, University of California, Davis, department of Environmental Science and Policy, author of Not by Genes Alone: How Culture Transformed Human Evolution
• Dave van Ditmarsch – Biologist, post-doctoral researcher, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
• David Epstein – Senior writer, Sports Illustrated, author of The Sports Gene: Inside the Science of Extraordinary Athletic Performance
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