Modern Marvels

New Episodes Sunday, July 25 at 10/9c
Season 9 (15)

18 Seasons | 185 Episodes

Episode 59 Toys
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Aired on Dec 23, 2003

Super Soaker water gun; Lionel electric train; Erector Set; cap gun; Lincoln Logs; Matchbox Cars; G.I. Joe; LEGO bricks.

Episode 55 Failed Inventions
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Failed Inventions

Aired on Dec 10, 2003

Dreamers and schemers try an odd assortment of flawed ideas for inventions.

 52 Boys' Toys: Extreme Gadgets
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Boys' Toys: Extreme Gadgets

Aired on Dec 02, 2003

Join us for an exploration of the technological innovations that have made extreme sports a reality. The world’s best extreme athletes, designers, manufacturers, and engineers explain and demonstrate why the gadgets, gear, and technology of these sports have captured the public’s imagination and revolutionized the sporting industry. Sports covered include surfing, skateboarding, snowboarding, in-line skating, street luge, wakeboarding, sport climbing, BMX biking, and sky surfing. (1-hour version)

 46 Modern Marvels: Extreme Trucks
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Modern Marvels: Extreme Trucks

Aired on Nov 12, 2003

Hop into the cab for the ride of your life as we examine extreme trucks, including: a jet truck that can travel 300 mph; the Baltimore Technical Assistance Response Unit’s mobile command truck; a garbage truck with an articulated arm; a concrete pumper truck with telescoping boom and pumping mechanism; and a 4-wheel-drive truck that can convert from mower to street sweeper to backhoe to snow blower in mere minutes. Learn how SWAT, bomb squad, HAZMAT, and crime scene specialty trucks are built.

 44 Shipyards
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Aired on Nov 05, 2003

Shipyards are waterside construction sites where the extraordinary takes shape and where some of the largest tools built by humans help create the biggest machines on earth. But shipyards and ships of today bear little resemblance to those of antiquity. From ancient days to the 18th-century Industrial Revolution to the epic effort performed at Pearl Harbor, we examine the shipyard, and look to its future. Will the craftsmanship and practical knowledge of how to build ships disappear in the 21st century?

Episode 37 Lake Pontchartrain Causeway
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Lake Pontchartrain Causeway

Aired on Oct 15, 2003

Two ribbons of concrete span the largest inland body of water in Louisiana and serve as the world’s longest automobile bridge. Find out how this engineering marvel was conceived and completed.

 35 Machu Picchu
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Machu Picchu

Aired on Sep 24, 2003

The engineering marvel Machu Picchu sits perched on a ridge in the Peruvian Andes. Originally built by the Incas, this magnificent structure remains a mystery. Was it an observatory? Pleasure retreat? Fortress? This program presents the most current theories.

Episode 34 Overseas Highway
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Overseas Highway

Aired on Sep 03, 2003

A spectacular roadway nearly 120 miles long, the Overseas Highway links mainland Florida with the Florida Keys, and contains 51 bridges, including the Seven-Mile Bridge. A boat was the only mode of travel from Miami to Key West until oil tycoon Henry Flagler completed his railroad line in 1912. After a 1935 hurricane destroyed 40 miles of track, the scenic highway was built using Flagler’s bridges. A $175-million refurbishment that ended in 1982 resulted in today’s remarkable Overseas Highway.

Episode 31 Metal
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Aired on Aug 19, 2003

From soaring skyscrapers and sturdy bridges to jet planes and rockets, metals play a key role in every aspect of our world, and have done so ever since man first thrust copper into a fire to forge a tool.

Episode 29 Bullets
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Aired on Aug 13, 2003

From “safe” bullets that stop hijackers but leave aircraft unscathed to bullets that chain-saw through steel and “smart” bullets computer-programmed to hit a target, this explosive hour examines the evolution of bullets from origin in the 1300s–stones and round lead balls shot from iron and bamboo tubes. Lead balls ruled until 1841 when a conical-shaped bullet changed ammo forever. We learn how to construct a modern cartridge, and at pistol and rifle ranges view demonstrations of modern firepower.

Episode 28 Terror Tech: Defending The Highrise
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Terror Tech: Defending The Highrise

Aired on Aug 12, 2003
Titans that can rise more than 100 stories, they remain a symbol of corporate America--monuments to wealth, commerce, and capitalism. In the days following 9/11, corporate high-rise buildings emerged as a prime target for large-scale terrorist attacks. To defend these giants and those who work and live in them, an army of scientists, engineers, and security advisors set out on a vital mission--to develop a web of technologies to secure corporate America safe against terrorist attack.
Episode 27 Military Movers
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Military Movers

Aired on Aug 06, 2003

The challenge: Move millions of soldiers and tons of cargo halfway around the world and into the thick of action. How? Use the biggest ships, the widest planes, and the strongest trucks. Today, military planners move men and equipment further and faster than ever. The United States Transportation Command, answering to the Department of Defense, runs military transport like an efficient private shipping and travel agency. From the Civil War to US Transcom, we track the development of military logistics.

Episode 24 Terror Tech: Civilian
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Terror Tech: Civilian

Aired on Jul 29, 2003

Witness the construction of a terrorist-proof safe room. Discover how your windows might someday act as biological weapons detectors. Learn how scientists are protecting the food you eat and water you drink. In the biggest technological push since the space race, inventors are creating cutting-edge devices, gadgets, and gizmos to keep you and your family–and even your pets–safe. Find out what technology can do to protect you, and how you can use technology to protect yourself.

Episode 21 Breaking The Sound Barrier
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Breaking The Sound Barrier

Aired on Jul 16, 2003
For decades, the sound barrier loomed as an impenetrable wall against manned flight that buffeted planes with shock waves as they approached the speed of sound. Scientists thought the barrier couldn't be breached--until the development of jet technology and rocket fuel at the end of WWII. This is the dramatic story, told through the eyes of many who were there, of the work leading up to October 10, 1947, when 24-year-old test pilot Chuck Yeager smashed through the sound barrier in a Bell EM XS-1 /EM aircraft.
 20 Logging Tech
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Logging Tech

Aired on Jul 09, 2003

The controversial logging industry topples 4 billion trees annually in a world striving to protect nature while devouring it.

Episode 18 Dangerous Cargo
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Dangerous Cargo

Aired on Jun 25, 2003

Toxic traffic is everywhere! An average of 800,000 shipments of hazardous materials hit our highways and railways daily. From Wild West wooden crates filled with explosives to HAZMAT containers of nuclear waste, we shadow dangerous cargo. We ride shotgun on a hazardous material shipment that’s tracked by satellites; hunt down the hush-hush “ghost fleet”–trucks carrying classified government materials; and board a Con-Air flight moving another kind of nasty stuff–dangerous felons!

Episode 17 The Exterminator
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The Exterminator

Aired on Jun 03, 2003

The exterminator is man’s last defense against pesky critters and creepy crawlers. Trace the history of this noble occupation from its humble beginnings, to its importance during the Black Plague, all the way to today’s high-tech and ecologically sensitive pest-control experts.

 15 Torture Devices
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Torture Devices

Aired on May 22, 2003

For more than 3,000 years, emperors and generals, dictators and police, criminals, clerics, and even medical doctors have created and used a vast array of torture devices–everything from the ancient Greeks’ Brazen Bull, which slowly barbecued the victim, to the elaborate mechanical apparatuses of the Spanish Inquisition. A medical doctor who specializes in victims of torture reveals how the human body responds to their use–from the earliest excruciating contrivances to the more modern.

Episode 9 Army Corps Of Engineers
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Army Corps Of Engineers

Aired on Mar 18, 2003
Made up of soldiers and civilians, scientists and specialists in an enormous variety of fields, the US Army Corps of Engineers was created over 200 years ago by Congressional mandate to respond, in peace and war, to the nation's engineering needs.
Episode 8 Bullet Trains
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Bullet Trains

Aired on Mar 11, 2003

Traveling between 135 and 190 miles per hour with an astonishingly high safety record, bullet trains can be found throughout Europe, Japan, and on the US eastern seaboard. How high-speed trains are propelled is rooted in fundamentals that haven’t changed since the first electric trolleys appeared in the 19th century. We see how scientists are looking at new alternatives to electricity, including magnetic levitation that can move passenger trains 345 miles per hour and beyond!

Episode 7 Mackinac Bridge
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Mackinac Bridge

Aired on Mar 05, 2003

Until recently, the Mackinac Bridge was the longest suspension bridge in the world. One of the top engineering marvels of the 20th century, the bridge spans the 4-mile wide straits of Mackinac, where Lakes Huron and Michigan come together. The Mighty Mac connects the pastoral northern mainland of Michigan with the state’s heavily forested Upper Peninsula and stands as a testament to the dreams, determination, and hard work of a small few who created a true masterpiece of modern engineering.

 4 The Alcan Highway
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The Alcan Highway

Aired on Feb 11, 2003

Today, vacationers travel from British Columbia north through the Yukon Pass on their way to Fairbanks, Alaska, thanks to one 2-lane roadway, the 1,522-mile long Alaska Highway. A bit treacherous in spots and best driven in the few summer months the region provides, it’s an unrivaled engineering feat that took 11,000 soldiers, nearly 4,000 of them black, only eight months to build! Travel back to 1942 as they bulldoze their way into history while connecting the Lower 48 to the Alaskan Territory.

 3 Booby Traps
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Booby Traps

Aired on Feb 04, 2003

All it takes to set off a booby trap is an unsuspecting victim lifting, moving, or disturbing a harmless-looking object. Booby traps continue to worry law enforcement; made from easily acquired items, information detailing their construction and needed materials are accessible through the mail–anonymously! And unlike a land mine, they can be anywhere. We detail the history of booby traps–from the ancient Egyptians, Chinese, Greek, and Romans to the Middle Eastern crisis and the War on Terrorism.

 2 The Trans-Siberian Railroad
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The Trans-Siberian Railroad

Aired on Jan 28, 2003

It’s the longest, most expensive and complicated railroad ever built. Ordered by the Czar in an effort to save his empire and unify his country at the twilight of the 19th century, the Trans-Siberian Railroad nearly tore Russia apart. Intended in part for defense, the railroad provoked a war, crossed great lengths over treacherous terrain, and encountered logistical and economic failures. Ironically, enemies of the state built the railroad–men sentenced to hard labor in Siberian prisons.

 1 Castles and Dungeons
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Castles and Dungeons

Aired on Jan 07, 2003

Some of the most imposing structures ever built, medieval castles withstood both bloody assaults and the test of time. Designed like machines with nearly every architectural detail devoted to defense, castles represented the perfect fusion of form and function. Journey back to that unruly era as we examine the complexity of their construction and the multi-purpose they served–homes to kings and nobles, economic centers, courthouses, treasuries, prisons, and torture chambers.

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