The huge earthquake and tsunami that struck northeastern Japan six years ago swept vast amounts of debris across the Pacific. Some objects reached the shore of Oregon, including the crossbeams from the gates of a Shinto shrine. Thanks to the efforts of people living there, those precious artifacts have made the long journey home. The film tells the story of how this homecoming formed bonds of friendships between people living an ocean apart.
Geoffrey Baer hosts this survey of 10 influential buildings in a cross-country journey of American architecture. Meet the daring architects who imagined them and learn the stories of how they came to change the way we live, work, worship, learn, shop and play.
Filmed in Panama, Costa Rica and Colombia, this is a story of friendship between a journalist and the sloth she named Velcro and a network of people working to learn more about sloths in order to protect them. Once largely ignored, sloths have become a hot topic of scientific researchers. New studies show that they’re not so “sloth-like” after all: despite their reputation, sloths in fact sleep only about as much as humans do and are much more active in the wild than they are in captivity. Other studies have shown sloths are not as solitary as we thought, that they have social structures and that males even keep small harems of females. New research into the gait of sloths has revealed another surprise. X-ray images and photographic analysis show that sloths actually move just like primates, only upside-down.
Toxic remnants from the Cold War remain in millions of gallons of highly radioactive sludge, thousands of acres of radioactive land and tens of thousands of unused hot buildings, some of which are slowly spreading deltas of contaminated ground water. Governments around the world, desperate to protect future generations, have begun imagining society 10,000 years from now in order to create warning monuments that will speak across time to mark waste repositories. Filmed in Fukushima, in weapons plants, and in a deep underground burial site, the film is part graphic novel and part observational essay, weaving between an uneasy present and an imaginative, troubled distant future, exploring the struggle to keep waste confined over millennia.
In Tampa, Florida, in February 2013, a giant hole opened up under the bedroom floor of Jeffrey Bush, swallowing the 36-year-old as he slept. His body was never found. Bush was a victim of a sinkhole – a growing worldwide hazard that lurks wherever limestone and other water-soluble rocks underpin the soil. When carbon dioxide in the air dissolves in rainwater, it forms a weak acid that attacks the soft rocks, riddling them with holes. Sinkholes can occur gradually when the surface subsides into bowl-shaped depressions or suddenly, when the ground gives way – often catastrophically.
Structural engineer Steve Burrows leads his team of laser-scanning experts to Jordan to scan the ancient desert city of Petra, where he wants to uncover its construction secrets and shed new light on this architectural wonderland lost to the West for more than 1,000 years.
Young people are entering the juvenile justice system in surprising numbers, and they seem to emerge worse than when they entered. In this film, a co-production of National Geographic and Pacific Islanders in Communications, we see how a group of innovators applies the restorative justice principles of the Maori people of New Zealand to the mean streets of Baltimore.
In Maori villages of the past, a crime would put the community out of balance. Traditional Maori justice turns on the idea of restoring that balance. This film crosses the globe to a culturally sacred marae (meeting ground) where Judge Heemi Taumanu has established an alternative youth court that draws on these principles. Viewers see how people come together to resolve conflict in their own communities and all of the drama that unfolds when everyone is given a chance and encouraged to let emotions out. Can a community-based approach to justice derived from a structure conceived centuries ago in New Zealand give hope to the mean streets of the United States?
Istanbul’s magnificent Hagia Sophia has survived on one of the world’s most active seismic faults, which has inflicted a dozen devastating earthquakes since Hagia Sophia was built in 537 AD. As Istanbul braces for the next big quake, a team of architects and engineers is investigating Hagia Sophia’s seismic survival secrets. NOVA follows the team’s discoveries as they examine the building’s unique structure and other ingenious design strategies that have insured the dome’s survival. The engineers build a massive eight-ton model of the building’s core structure, place it on a motorized shake table and hit it with a series of simulated quakes.