Examines some of the most notorious engineering failures of recent years and asks what went wrong and what we learned from them. We take viewers to the southern coast of Louisiana, where a misplaced oilrig caused an entire lake to be sucked into an underground salt mine; review the 1972 Buffalo Creek dam disaster; revisit the Exxon Valdez oil spill; see how radio and TV antenna towers collapse with alarming regularity; and look at the collision of two California icons–freeways and earthquakes!
Archive for December, 2003
All aboard the nostalgia express as we take a trip through the past to enjoy toys of our youth–the ones we can’t forget and those that some of use never gave up! This is the real toy story! We take a look at five categories of boys’ toys and see what relationship they have had on the development of young minds; talk with collectors of antique and specialty toys; and visit companies that make electric trains, Matchbox Cars, GI Joe action figures, and LEGO Bricks, among others.
During the Cold War, the Berlin Wall stood as a forbidding barrier in an embattled world. Erected in August 1961, the Wall system stretched 103 miles through and around Berlin, locking in 1.3-million people. 261 died trying to get over, under, around, and through it. We review the daunting devices within the Death Strip–one of the deadliest obstacle courses ever–and the ingenious ways people ran it. When the Wall fell with a thud in 1989, its pieces became souvenirs or were recycled for new roads.
Constructed as tombs for the ancient pharaohs, over 100 pyramids remain in Egypt. Built during a span of well over 1,000 years, they stand as cultural and engineering marvels of staggering proportions. But many things about these monuments, including the exact methods used to construct them, remain tantalizingly obscure. Travel back in time as we investigate their evolution–from the earlier mastaba to the Step Pyramid, Bent Pyramid, and of course, the magnificent necropolis at Giza.
Two brainy bicycle makers…a remote North Carolina moonscape…and an impossible dream. On December 17, 1903, Wilbur and Orville Wright took wing at Kitty Hawk and flew–as none before had–unraveling a complex problem that had defied history’s most inventive minds, from Leonard da Vinci to Edison. How did these high-school dropouts from Dayton, Ohio do it? Experts at the controls of full-scale replicas explain how they worked–or didn’t–and historians recount the brothers’ heated arguments.