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Secrets of the Samurai Sword

Nova travels deep into Japan's ancient foundries, following the craft of the traditional sword-smiths and attending Samurai fighting school to reveal the art and science behind making what many call the perfect sword.
2008; 2007
Clemons (Stacks)

The Devil We Know [electronic resource]: An Objective Look at the Prince of Darkness

Where does the familiar image of Satan come from? Does it predate the writing of the Bible? Or did the Devil's persona develop after the New Testament and organized Christianity appeared? This absorbing documentary sheds new light on the Prince of Darkness by examining his manifestations in various religious traditions, in literature and the arts, and in our collective psychology. Experts in theology, history, and culture share their knowledge of Satan's evolution through the centuries, discussing ancient Hebrew scriptures and apocryphal narratives, the influence of pagan imagery (such as horns and a pitchfork) on medieval concepts of the Devil, and the development of the Catholic rites of exorcism. Other topics include cinematic portrayals of demons and devils, the interplay between [...]

The Amazon River [electronic resource]: Pristine and Unprotected

Stretching over 4,000 miles across South America, the Amazon River has long defied human efforts to tame it. Not a single bridge crosses it, and not one dam halts its flow. This program visits urban centers on the banks of the Amazon and examines new attempts to harness-or exploit-the river's energy and natural abundance. The journey begins at Iquitos-a Peruvian city blighted by poverty and inaccessible by road. Next is Manaus, a hub of tourism and industry in Brazil-and an effective springboard to discussions of controversial dam proposals. At the mouth of the Amazon, viewers find Belem, where the river is both agriculturally productive and highly vulnerable to development.
2009; 2008

The Ganges River [electronic resource]: Sacred and Sullied

Rising from a Himalayan ice cave and emptying into the bay of Bengal, the Ganges River is sacred to Hindus as a purifying spirit-yet it currently suffers from pollution and neglect. This program follows the Ganges through various Indian cities, studying their relationship with the river and assessing its uncertain future. Beginning in Gangotri, the program profiles a photographer who has documented disturbing changes on the surrounding ice fields. Next comes Haridwar, situated on fertile flood plains-the breadbasket of India-and then Kanpur, a megacity of four million blanketed by industrial smog. The final stop is Varanasi, the most revered city in the Hindu world.
2009; 2008

The Mississippi River [electronic resource]: Triumphant and Tragic

Its name conjures images of America's mythical past, encoded in the stories and novels of Mark Twain. But today's Mississippi River is rife with challenges no 19th-century storyteller could have imagined. From issues of basic survival to triumphs of creativity and profit, this program follows the day-to-day lives of those who dwell on the Mississippi. Starting in the town of Cairo, Illinois-where America's north and south intermingle-the program moves on to Memphis, home of the once-glorious Stax Records and a mecca of blues, soul, and rock 'n' roll music. Moving through the Delta, viewers meet struggling shrimp fishermen, a Cajun community, survivors of the 1927 floods, and survivors of Katrina.
2009; 2008

The Nile River [electronic resource]: Shared or Monopolized?

Were it not for the elemental forces of the Nile River, the great architecture of ancient Egypt and Ethiopia might never have been built. But in today's water-starved world, the river could lead both countries down a destructive path. This program examines lives and livelihoods that depend on the Nile, from the humble to the hugely ambitious. In Egypt, viewers encounter a struggling Cairo fishing family, a father-and-son farming team, and the nation's irrigation minister, who discusses diverting part of the river into a new valley. Moving to the source of the Nile, the program depicts Ethiopia's efforts to exploit the river-a series of hydroelectric projects that have created tension with Egypt.
2009; 2008

The Rhine [electronic resource]: River of Unity and Diversity

Rich in history, the Rhine feeds Europe's collective identity-as well as its divisions. Flowing from Switzerland through Austria, Germany, France, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands, the river intersects a multitude of towns and cities in the process. This program follows the Rhine on its multifaceted journey and examines economic, political, environmental, and historical issues surrounding it. Viewers travel from Rotterdam, where vessels laden with goods leave Europe, to Hinterrhein, a Swiss town beneath the Rhinewaldhorn glacier. Along the way, the program examines invasive species, the threat of chemical spills, the horror of Kristallnacht, and the immigrant experience in Europe.
2009; 2008

The Yangtze River [electronic resource]: China's Wild Lifeline

Among the most utilized waterways in the world, the Yangtze River is also one of the most volatile. This program sheds light on humanity's battle to tame and profit from the river-specifically, a project initiated by Chiang Kai-shek in the 1930s. The program also studies corresponding ecological problems. Viewers are introduced to the Three Gorges Dam, a concrete mega-structure visible from space, which has created huge economic benefits but also displaced thousands from their homes and irrevocably altered silt flow, geological formations, and fish stock levels. Citizens who have relocated and adapted offer commentary, along with scientists and engineers familiar with "China's New Great Wall.
2009; 2008

Helmut Kohl [electronic resource]: German Giant

A crystal-clear window into European politics during and following the Cold War, this program presents an intimate portrait of Helmut Kohl-Germany's longest-serving chancellor and the leader largely responsible for reuniting that country. Candidly discussing his extraordinary career, Kohl offers his perspective on many of his decisions, political alliances, and objectives as chancellor, as well as his painful family experiences. Additional on-screen commentary is provided by former President George H. W. Bush, former Soviet Union President Mikhail Gorbachev, and several German political experts and insiders-including Chancellor Angela Merkel and former MP Norbert Blum. Rarely seen archival footage is featured as well.
2009; 2007

China or Bust! [electronic resource]: Chasing Success in the World's Fastest-Growing Economy

There are fortunes to be made in China today-but fortune-seekers from overseas face immense challenges. This program offers three engaging business case studies, each following a Western entrepreneur who grapples with Chinese business practices and culture. Tony Caldera's cushion business has been ruined by Chinese imports, but he hopes for a turnaround by building a factory here. Peter Williams is about to embark on the toughest challenge of his life: selling an energy-saving device to the Chinese. Finally, there's Vance Miller, who gained notoriety for selling cheap Chinese kitchens in Britain. Now he's in China, determined to overcome setbacks. All three studies are ideal for sparking discussion and analysis in international business courses.

Kimono [electronic resource]: Symbol of a Nation

Elegant, flowing, and steeped in mythology, the kimono has survived for fifteen hundred years as a symbol of Japanese tradition and a mirror of Japan's evolving culture. From medieval courtesans adorned in sensual finery to samurai warriors whose clothing signified their military allegiance, anyone donning a kimono accepted and perpetuated its meanings. Today, knowledge of its traditions and observance of the elaborate rules surrounding it have declined. Nevertheless, thanks to the small number of modern Japanese women who honor and study their past, the multifaceted gown lives on. This program examines the kimono's continuing importance in Japanese culture and society-from the tea ceremony to the fashion runway.

The Future of Communication [electronic resource]

Our lives have become full of gadgets: smart phones, PCs, e-readers, and tablets have changed how humans communicate. Will the technology of the future allow these devices to "understand" each other? Someday, you may be able to have your cell phone turn on your oven, or have your empty refrigerator call and order food from the supermarket. A new world awaits thanks to audiovisual data transmission?

The Future of Our Body: 1 [electronic resource]

As scientific discoveries continue, will we one day produce a flawless human specimen? We already have breast implants from body tissue and facial surgery using organic materials to make us look younger or correct deficiencies resulting from diseases or accidents. Paraplegic patients learn how to walk assisted by a robot and prosthesis that react like a healthy arm are already available. The dream of human perfection may soon become a reality?

The Future of Crime Prevention [electronic resource]

Modern criminal investigations rely heavily on technology. Fingerprint databases, crime scene reenactments, and DNA testing are all part of almost every investigation. This film looks at how scientists reconstruct the whole life of an unknown corpse; how computers can solve deaths that happened thousands of years ago; and how genetic fingerprints can become a faulty source in murder trials?

The Future of Modern Living [electronic resource]

The world we live in is becoming ever faster and more complex. This film explores how technology and digital data processing are providing us with luxury features that would have been unthinkable a few years ago. Millions of people all over the world now let a computer pick out the perfect partner for life, and virtual creatures are becoming more and more humanlike. Modern living is supposed to make our life easier than ever before, but does it really?

The Future of Lifestyle [electronic resource]

We seem to be living more and more of our lives online these days. We socialize and communicate with each other without seeing or speaking in person. This film explores the technology that allows humans to design bodies and create feelings as required. We also see how some people even allow computers to pick their perfect partner?

The Pope and the People [electronic resource]

Two of the longest reigning popes held the office during a period of enormous upheaval throughout the world. This film examines the papacies of Pope Pius IX, and Pope Leo XIII, both of whom had to accept new secular, liberal states in favor of a pluralist society. One denounced these secular values, while the other tried to lead the Church into the 20th century in a spirit of progress, realistic diplomacy, and conciliation?

The Future of Our Body: 2 [electronic resource]

Real or imagined, we all see physical defects in ourselves. This film shows how scientists work to correct these flaws, including virtual therapy for people with eating disorders. The Future Of... (Series 2).

Cutting-Edge Cars [electronic resource]

Technology has already drastically changed the design of the automobile with increased gas mileage and seatbelts. With continued innovation, what will the cars of the future look like? What will they be able to do? This film looks at the massive advances in all areas of car design focusing on safety systems that now have new adaptable airbags, run-flat tires, and extra protection for pedestrians?

Eye of the Camel [electronic resource]

The Rub' al Khalii, or Empty Quarter, is the immense sand desert in Southern Arabia. This film follows a Bedouin family on their winter migration into this desolate landscape and examines the desert animals and plants. Camels, gazelle, oryx, desert shrimp, plants, and insects have all adapted to cope with a life of extreme heat and no water. The wildlife at the ancient al-Hasa oasis offers a glimpse at life forms few even know exist. The impacts of the modern age on the ecology of the central Arabian deserts are also discussed?