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 Extreme Geology

ENCORE We think of major geologic events as taking place a long time ago –“ but the Earth is just as active as it ever was. We´re a planet in motion. Discover why earthquakes might be increasing worldwide... descend into daring cave exploration... and take a trip to Hawaii where new volcanoes are gurgling up right now.

Plus –“ the supervolcano under Yellowstone Park… when might it erupt again?


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 Humans Need Not Apply

You are one-of-a-kind, unique, indispensible... oh, wait, never mind! It seems that computer over there can do what you do ... faster and with greater accuracy.

Yes, it´s silicon vs. carbon as intelligent, interactive machines out-perform humans in tasks beyond data-crunching. We´re not only building our successors, we´re developing emotional relationships with them. Find out why humans are hard-wired to be attached to androids.

Also, the handful of areas where humans still rule... as pilots, doctors and journalists. Scratch that! Journalism is automated too –“ tune in for a news story written solely by a machine.


  • Clifford Nass –“ Social psychologist at Stanford University and Director of the Communication Between Humans and Interactive Media Lab
  • Tom Jones –“ United States astronaut, space consultant, and veteran of four Space Shuttle flights
  • Chris Ford –“ Business director at Pixar Animation Studios
  • Eric Van De Graaff -Cardiologist at Alegent Health
  • James Bennighof –“ Vice Provost for Academic Affairs, and professor of music theory at Baylor University in Texas
  • Kathy Abbott –“ Chief Scientific and Technical Advisor for Flight Deck Human Factors at the Federal Aviation Administration
  • Kristian Hammond –“ Co-founder, Narrative Science

 Skeptic Check: Saucer's Apprentice

They´re here! About one-third of all Americans believe we´re being visited by extraterrestrial spacecraft. But wait, you want evidence?

UFO sighting are as prevalent as flies at a picnic. But proof of visitation –“ well, that´s really alien.

Hear why belief in extraterrestrial UFOs persists ... and why military sightings that "can´t be explained" don´t warrant rolling out a welcome mat for ET.

Plus, the most fab UFOs in the movies!

It´s Skeptic Check... but don´t take our word for it!


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 Found in Space

If someone asks where you get off, you can now respond with precision. Satellites and computers spit out coordinates accurate to a few paces. And digital maps stand the Copernican principle on its head –“ putting you at the center of everything (how does it feel?).

Find out how today´s maps are shuffling our world view. Also, how does a rat navigate a maze without GPS? Hear of the plotting that goes on in that tiny rodent brain.

Plus, mapping the universe and pinpointing just where we are in cosmic time –“ lucky for us, human evolution is right on schedule.



 Aware Am I?

Humans are pleasure-seekers –“ from food to sex to fine art. But do we know why we crave what we do? Discover the surprising motivation behind our desires. Also, why our hedonistic cousins, the bonobos, may hold the secret to world peace.

Plus, self-awareness in monkeys: can they really pass the mirror test? Can bacteria, for that matter? Nope! But since you are, cell for cell, more microbe than human, you´ll want to know just how cognitively aware these critters are.


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 Off to the Traces

If a tree feel on another planet, would we be able to detect it? Not quite yet –“ but we might be able to tell if the planet was habitable. A living-planet is the promise of newly-discovered Gliese 581g. But does the planet exist at all?

Discover how we learn a planet´s geology and chemistry from afar. Also, what we learn about a civilization from what it discards, beginning with our own sloppy habits.

Plus, the hunt for derelict alien spaceships... and a man who sketches alien creatures for a living –“ based on real science.


  • Lisa Kaltenegger –“ Astronomer, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
  • Brad Bebout –“ Biologist, NASA Ames Research Center
  • Robin Nagle –“ Anthropologist, New York University
  • Robin Hanson –“ Economist, George Mason University
  • Joel Hagen –“ Computer graphics instructor, Modesto Junior College

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 Aloha Astronomy

ENCORE From Mauna Kea in Hawaii, the view of the cosmos is spectacular. Giant black holes, distant galaxies, and extrasolar planets have all been uncovered by the massive telescopes that perch on this volcanic cone.

Join the astronomers who use the Keck Telescopes to peer at objects so far away, their light started out before Earth was born.

Also discover how the new Thirty Meter Telescope will dwarf even the massive glass eyes now in place, and why some of the world´s most important astronomical discoveries are being made in the Aloha State.

Plus, why the building of telescopes on the volcano is controversial to some native Hawaiians.


  • Charles Blue –“ Science writer, Thirty Meter Telescope Project
  • Richard Ellis –“ Astronomer, California Institute of Technology
  • Koa Rice –“ Hawaiian culture consultant
  • Julian Christou –“ Adaptive optics scientist, Gemini North Telescope
  • Ashley Yeager –“ Outreach manager, Keck Telescope
  • Taft Armandroff –“ Director of the W. M. Keck Telescope

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 Earth: A Millennium Hence

ENCORE Humans have not gone unnoticed on this planet. We´ve left our mark with technology, agriculture, architecture, and a growing carbon footprint. But where is this trajectory headed?

In the second of a two-part series: what we´ll lose and what will last in 1000 years or more.

Discover what the planet might look like to geologists of the far-off-future... the stubborn longevity of plastic and radioactive waste… human civilization in space... and postcards from the galactic edge; crafting interstellar messages to E.T.


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 Earth: A Century Hence

ENCORE Humans have not gone unnoticed on this planet. We´ve left our mark with technology, agriculture, architecture, and a growing carbon footprint. But where is this trajectory headed?

In the first of a two-part series: what will be lost and what will still be around 100 years from now? James Lovelock says a hotter planet will prompt mass migrations. And Cary Fowler urges us to save our seeds –“ the health of future farms may depend on it.

Plus, from antibiotics to sewage systems: why human ingenuity ultimately saves the day.

And, sure, humans will be around in a century, but –“ with bionic limbs and silicon neurons –“ would we recognize them?


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 Skeptic Check: Sheer Lunacy

ENCORE Watch out, the moon is full... of intrigue. Our lovely satellite is blamed for all sorts of Earth-bound mischief –“ from robberies to shape-shifting to general nutty behavior. It´s also the setting for more than one loony tale. In this hour, as NASA spacecraft return to the moon, a look at the mythology it inspires.

Discover the true correlation between crime and a full moon... the 1835 reports of unicorns and man-bats living on moon... and, our favorite hair-raising howler: the werewolf! Also, why some still insist the Apollo moon landing is a hoax.

Plus, space travel –“ boxed and bundled.


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