San Francisco’s Oakland Bay Bridge stands as an incredible feat of engineering against the nearly impossible. Once chosen as one of the seven engineering wonders of the modern world, it features an unique double suspension structure in its west end. Join us as we cross this triumph of construction, while we visit its past and look to its future.
Archive for February, 2005
Come in from the cold while we explore some of Earth’s most frigid places and examine how man copes with sub-zero climates. With the advance of technology, our boundaries have expanded–from the North and South Poles, to the depths beneath the Arctic and Antarctic sea ice, to the Moon, Mars, and outward to Saturn. Enter these forbidding territories, guided by a special breed of experts as we inspect the new U.S. South Pole Station, try on the latest Polartec fashions with anti-microbial fibers, ride on the newest snowmobiles and Sno-Cats, sail through glacial waters on ice-breaking ships, and fly on an LC-130 transport plane. And we’ll see what NASA has on the planning board for deep-space exploration, including a beach-ball robot explorer, and learn from scientists studying fish in the waters off Antarctica to understand glycoproteins, which may keep frozen tissue healthy longer for transplantation.
It’s hot, dry, deadly, and hard to ignore with close to 40% of Earth classified as desert. But in this scorching hour, the desert turns from barren wasteland into an environment rich with hope. In the Middle East, desalination of seawater now fills water needs. Americans have created booming desert communities like Las Vegas, where the Hoover Dam produces hydroelectric power and manmade Lake Mead supplies water. Native Americans farmed the desert on a small scale, but 20th-century technology begot greater opportunity. Once desolate areas of California and Mexico now grow agriculture due to irrigation, and the desert’s abundant sunshine allows solar-energy and wind-power production. And in the future, desert technology may enable colonization of planets like Mars. We also take a look at how refrigeration and air conditioning have made life in desert communities tolerable, and examine the latest in survival gear and equipment.
A severely broken arm reveals a bizarre case of bone loss and ends the comeback plans of major league pitcher Hank Wiggen. House suspects Hank – with a history of drug abuse – is lying about using steroids, as his condition worsens. When Hank’s kidneys start to fail, his wife offers to donate hers, but she would have to abort her early pregnancy. Forced into an impossible solution, and admitting failure as an addict, Hank tries to take his own life. House and his team must isolate and fix the problem soon if this pitcher’s life, as well his career, can be saved. Meanwhile, Foreman dates a pharmaceutical representative and House is stuck with two tickets and ends up going on a “date” with Cameron…to a monster truck rally.
The supposed ability of some individuals to mentally transmit and receive thoughts is examined in this hour. Unsubstantiated claims are not proof, so several experiments are conducted to put the phenomenon to the test. This includes exploring the telepathic connection that some twins claim to experience through a series of tests on one twin and recording the other twin’s reaction, and a Ganzfeld test where a person in one room attempts to transmit mental pictures to another person in a different room.
One of the 20th century’s greatest scientists, George Washington Carver’s influence is still felt. Rising from slavery to become one of the world’s most respected and honored men, he devoted his life to understanding nature and the many uses for the simplest of plant life. His scientific research in the late 1800s produced agricultural innovations like crop rotation and composting. Part of the “chemurgist” movement that changed the rural economy, he found ingenious applications for the peanut, soybean, and sweet potato. At Tuskegee Institute, Dr. Carver invented more than 300 uses for the peanut, while convincing poor farmers to rotate cotton crops with things that would add nutrients to the soil. A visionary, Carver shared his knowledge free of charge, happy in his Tuskegee laboratory where he could use his gifts to help others.
While trying to figure out why a young patient won’t stop bleeding after a car wreck, House takes Cuddy’s challenge and goes off Vicodin for a week in exchange for no clinic duty for a month. If House and his team can’t determine the source of his patient’s blood loss, the 16-year-old car victim will die in a matter of days. As House’s withdrawal symptoms become more and more severe, his patient directives for his patient are more harsh and risky than usual, and Foreman and Cameron are afraid he may not be thinking clearly enough to save the patient’s life.
Dr. Foreman believes an uncooperative homeless woman is faking seizures to get a meal ticket at the teaching hospital. But her homelessness strikes a personal chord with Dr. Wilson and he grows determined to keep her from falling between the cracks. Her worsening symptoms prove to be a complex mystery for House and his team, but the mystery of her identity and medical history may hold the answers to saving her life. Just as the team suspects she has contagious meningitis, the woman goes missing, only to be tasered by the police, who bring her back. But House deduces the taser may have proven yet another diagnosis, with dire results. Meanwhile, House has an audience of two medical students who are learning how to do case studies.