Secrets of the Forbidden City

NOVA | Secrets of the Forbidden City airs on WSKG TV October 18, 2017 at 9pm

The Forbidden City is the world’s biggest and most extravagant palace complex ever built. For five centuries, it was the power center of imperial China and survived wars, revolution, fires, and earthquakes. How did the Ming Emperor’s workforce construct its sprawling array of nearly 1,000 buildings and dozens of temples in a little over a decade? How were stupendous 250-ton marble blocks moved across many miles to reach the site? And how did fantastically intricate woodwork, all fastened without nails or glue, enable the palaces to survive hundreds of earthquakes, including recent ones that obliterated nearby modern structures? To find answers, NOVA joins a team of master craftsmen who build a scale model of a typical palace in a seismic lab, then subject it to simulated earthquakes to shake out the secrets of how the Forbidden City has withstood centuries of violent tremors.

Science Friday #NeatRock Challenge

Science Friday airs on WSQX Fridays 2-4pm

Are you a secret geology groupie? Do you have a rock collection on your window sill, in your garden or under your bed?  We won’t judge you, we have one too. We love rocks! WSKG has such an affinity for them, our Director of Science has a collection on her desk, in her house, and is known to ask her friends to add them to their suitcases when traveling due to her’s being overweight and full of ……wait for it…. rocks.

Ghosts of Stonehenge

NOVA | Ghosts of Stonehenge airs on WSKG TV October 11, 2017 at 9pm

Was Stonehenge an ancient cathedral? Or perhaps a Stone Age observatory? Over the last decade, fresh answers have come from an ambitious program of research, including the first scientific study of human remains buried at the site 5,000 years ago. Remnants of huge feasts at the site have come to light, and revelers traveled from across the British Isles to raise the stones and celebrate the winter solstice. Yet Stonehenge’s place as a centerpiece of an ancient culture did not last. NOVA reveals intimate details of the Stonehenge people and why their power began to fade soon after they raised the mighty stones.

Fox Tales

Nature | Fox Tales airs on WSKG TV October 11, 2017 at 8pm

Most people assume they need to head to more remote areas, like state and national parks, to see a Red fox, but according to several experts, many individuals need to look no further than their own neighborhoods. These adaptable and intelligent canids can make their home along the cliffs of Newfoundland and the Arctic tundra. Over the last century, they have also been slowly populating urban centers. According to Wildlife Specialist Dr. David Drake of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, “There’s not a lot of urban Red fox research going on in North America…But I would be very, very surprised if there are not Red fox in most, if not, all North American cities.”

The program follows scientists in Madison and Bristol, England, tracking the movement of Red foxes into cities; follows a Red fox family raising young pups along the Newfoundland coast; accompanies a biologist to the Arctic studying the movement of Red fox heading to a new habitat; and presents rare footage and behavior of newborns inside the den chronicling their attempts to become the dominant pup. Motion-sensitive, infrared cameras capture the never-before broadcast behavior of newborn pups and their mother in a natal den during the first weeks after birth. Animal Behaviorist Dr. Sandra Alvarez-Betancourt of the University of Bristol, who has analyzed thousands of hours of fox behavior underground, explains that as soon as Red fox pups can walk, they start fighting to establish their social hierarchy.

Smell That? It’s Forensic Entomology At The Body Farm

Science Friday airs weekly on WSQX Fridays 2-4pm

by Jennifer O’Brien, on September 29, 2017

Science Friday offers educational resources for your science classroom.   The following is sample of a lesson plan for 6-12th grade students. Find more information here. 

WARNING Graphic Content: The videos and images below contain graphic documentation of  real life, rotting human and animal corpses that may be disturbing to a younger audience. A forensic scientist enters a crime scene and sees some flies, maggots, and a few beetles on and around a dead body. She immediately begins collecting them.

Naledi: One Little Elephant

Naure | Naledi: One Little Elephant airs on WSKG TV October 4, 2017 at 8pm

Kiti, a gentle elephant in Botswana, was in her 661st day of pregnancy, a normal gestation period, when she finally gave birth to a baby girl. For nearly two weeks, the staff of Abu Camp, a halfway house for orphaned and former zoo and circus elephants, had been passing the time by coming up with a list of possible names for Kiti’s offspring. Perhaps because the calf was born at night, they called her Naledi, which means star in the local language. Naledi was an instant hit with the Abu Camp caretakers including elephant manager Wellington (“Wellie”) Jana who compared her arrival to getting a new daughter in the family. Wildlife biologist and Botswana native Dr. Mike Chase, who is also tasked with looking after Naledi’s herd, hopes she will have the option to be reunited with her extended family.

Climate Conversations: A Series for Middle & High School Educators

Climate Conversations will offer educators tools and resources to teach climate change concepts. PBS LearningMedia is hosting a 3-part virtual professional development series focused around climate change. This series of virtual PD will introduce educators to high-quality, media-based climate change educational materials and allow educators to engage in conversation with scientists, film producers, and other educators. One portion of the series will focus specifically on using the tools in PBS LearningMedia to build a lesson or unit using the materials introduced during the other two events. You must register for each part of the series separately.

What is a Fogbow?

Fogbows are rainbows’ cousins – made in much the same process – but with the small water droplets inside a fog instead of larger raindrops.

Irma Turns Caribbean Islands Brown

The British and U.S. Virgin Islands, before and after Hurricane Irma (The white spots are clouds.) Image via NASA Earth Observatory. By Kathryn Hansen/NASA Earth Observatory

Hurricane Irma churned across the Atlantic Ocean in September 2017, battering several Caribbean islands before moving on to the Florida Keys and the U.S. mainland. As the clouds cleared over places like the Virgin Islands, the destruction became obvious even from space. These natural-color images, captured by the Operational Land Imager (OLI) on the Landsat 8 satellite, show some of Irma’s effect on the British and U.S. Virgin Islands. The views were acquired on August 25 and September 10, 2017, before and after the storm passed.