‘NOVA: Beyond The Elements’ Goes Beyond The Enjoyment Of Its Predecessor

Courtesy: PBS/PBS Distribution/WGBH

Science, like math, is at the heart of everything.  Science can be and is also cooler than most people realize.  Just ask David Pogue, the host of PBS’ NOVA: Hunting the Elements and its recent follow-up, NOVA: Beyond The Elements. Released on DVD April 6 following its nationwide airing in February, NOVA: Beyond the Elements is a presentation that proves just how prevalent and fun science really is.  That is proven through the episode’s main feature.  This will be discussed shortly.  The three-part episode’s presentation style ensures viewers’ engagement and entertainment in its own way.  It will be discussed a little later.  The episode’s packaging rounds out its most important elements and will also be discussed later.  Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of the episode’s presentation in its new home release.  All things considered, they make this episode of NOVA an unquestionably positive addition to this year’s field of new documentaries.

PBS and PBS Distribution’s recently released home presentation of NOVA: Beyond the Elements is a presentation that fans of the popular, long-running, science-based series will enjoy.  That is proven in part through its main content.  The content here refers to host David Pogue’s experiences showing how the elements play into our everyday lives.  From partaking in a chili eating contest (no, not chili as in the stuff with beans and meat, but actually chilis), to watching stuff explode (who doesn’t love a good explosion?) to examining how glass can actually be unbreakable (truth is stranger than fiction), Pogue puts in layman’s terms how the elements work together play into our everyday lives in so many ways.  In the case of the chili eating contest (which will have audiences laugh uproariously), it is used to show how molecules in chilis actually act as a “defense mechanism” for the vegetables.  Pogue discovers in his discussion with a scientist that the molecules in question actually trick the human brain into thinking chilis are spicy when in fact they really are not.  It makes for a really interesting exploration and discussion in itself.  In regards to the explosions, the discussion turns to talks on how molecules in certain elements come together to make explosives, such as ammonium nitrate and C4.  The discussions are presented in an effort to show how construction resources are obtained at their base from quarries.   It is yet another clear, accessible discussion on how the elements play into our daily lives, and is certain to keep viewers engaged and entertained in its own right.  The noted exploration of how glass can possibly be unbreakable is used to show how elements and their molecules play together to create glass, another item which we use daily.  Audiences will be surprised here to watch as a super hot piece of molten glass is cooled quickly in water and made virtually unbreakable.   Throughout the experiments noted here and so many others, Pogue maintains a certain humility.  He never tries to be more than he is, making for even more  enjoyment.  His everyman presence makes him more relatable to audiences, sort of like fellow media personality Mo Rocca.

While the experiments featured throughout NOVA: Beyond The Elements go a long way towards making science so enjoyable and accessible, they are just a portion of what makes this episode’s primary feature so entertaining and engaging. The discussions about the ecological effects of products created by the elements make for their own interest.  What’s more, the discussions on the efforts that are being made to counter the noted effects makes for even more interest.  All things considered here, the primary feature of NOVA: Beyond the Elements makes for a strong starting point for the episode.   Building on the foundation formed by the main feature is the episode’s presentation style.

NOVA: Beyond the Elements runs just shy of the three-hour mark (two hours, 50 minutes to be exact).  Being that this episode is so long, it is divided into three separate segments in its DVD presentation, just as was done in the episode’s original broadcast early this year.  The segmentation seems minimal on the surface, but taking into account all of the information delivered through each segment, it is necessary.  It allows audiences to watch the episode at their pace.  In watching at their own pace, audiences will find themselves that much more inclined to remain engaged.  That increased engagement means that viewers will in turn more easily comprehend and remember the topics discussed in each segment.  Keeping all of this in mind, the way in which this episode of NOVA was presented proves important in its own right.

Moving from the matter of the episode’s presentation, the packaging of the episode in its home release proves important in its own right.  The packaging stands out primarily in that a brief but concise summary of each segment is provided on the back of the episode’s box.  What’s more, it lets audiences know before they even put the DVD in their DVD/BD player, that it is separated into each segment.  This is an aesthetic element, but is important in its own way.  It allows viewers to decide for themselves which segment to watch before they even start watching.  The decision might take a moment, but that moment will take less time than having to learn the topic of each episode one at a time by playing out the start of each episode.  The positive mindset that will result from the use of   the segment summaries will play greatly into the overall engagement and enjoyment in its own right.  When that impact is considered along with the impact of the episode’s main feature and its presentation style, the whole of that content completely rounds out the episode and makes it completely enjoyable.

NOVA: Beyond the Elements is a welcome follow-up/companion presentation or NOVA: Hunting the Elements.  As a matter of fact, one could argue that it is in fact an improvement from its predecessor.  That is due in part to the episode’s main feature.  The main feature is accessible because it presents so much heavy science content in a fashion that is accessible to the most average viewer.  That in itself will hopefully help viewers see the fun in and importance of science.  The fact that the episode is separated into its three segments here just as it was in the episode’s initial airing makes the episode even more appealing.  That is because the separation will encourage viewers to remain engaged and appreciate the whole even more.  The episode’s packaging in its new DVD presentation puts the finishing touch to the episode.  It does so through the brief but concise segment descriptions on the box’s rear artwork.  The summaries allow viewers to decide which segment to watch before they even place the disc into their DVD/BD players.  This in itself will give viewers a positive mindset, too.  When the positive mindset ensured by the packaging is considered along with the positive mindset generated by the episode’s content and its segmentation, that whole makes this episode of NOVA one more of this year’s top new documentaries.  NOVA: Beyond the Elements is available now.

More information on this and other episodes of NOVA is available online now at:

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‘NOVA: Looking For Life On Mars’ Will Leave Viewers Looking Excitedly To The Future Of Space Travel

Courtesy: PBS/PBS Distribution/WGBH

NASA has made a lot of headlines in recent weeks thanks to its latest mission to Mars.  The agency’s Perseverance rover and its companion “helicopter,” Ingenuity have kept the agency in the news as they search for any signs of past life on the “Red Planet.”  While the machines’ main goal is to find any evidence of ancient life, that search is just part of their mission.  As is pointed out in PBS’ brand new DVD, NOVA: Looking for Life on Mars, NASA officials are hoping to eventually return that evidence to Earth with yet another mission to Mars when and if it is discovered.  The new DVD in question was released Tuesday, less than three months after the then latest episode of NOVA made its initial airing is another interesting episode of PBS’ long-running science-based series.  The noted story of Perseverance’s mission is at the heart of the episode, and it is a good   starting point for the program.  It will be discussed shortly.  The interviews that are featured within the bigger story add their own interest to the presentation.  They will be discussed a little later.  The program’s collective editing and pacing round out its most important elements.  They will also be discussed later.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the presentation of NOVA: Looking for Life on Mars.  All things considered, they make this latest episode of NOVA another engaging and entertaining edition of PBS’ hit science-based series.

PBS’ newly released DVD presentation of NOVA: Looking for Life on Mars will appeal widely to NOVA’s longtime science-based series and to anyone with any interest in space science and even science fiction.  The episode’s appeal comes primarily through the episode’s central story.  Audiences will be interested to learn that the episode’s story is about more than just finding signs of ancient life on Mars, but about looking for ways in which life on Earth can survive on Mars.  The story opens with Perseverance’s landing on Mars back in February following months and years of preparation.  From there, the story turns to Perseverance’s mission, which is to find any traces of ancient microbial life on Mars.  It is pointed out (thankfully) that there is no expectation of finding any signs of more humanoid (*intelligent*) life.  That keeps the episode’s story fully grounded.  Audiences will be interested to learn as the episode progresses, that Mars did in fact once have water.  What’s more it is also revealed that the main components needed for life (CHNOPS – Carbon, Hydrogen, Nitrogen, Oxygen, Phosphorus, and Sulfur) were all eventually found in Mars’ soil by Pereverance’s equipment, too.  As the program continues, it is revealed that gathering samples from Mars’ surface is only part of NASA’s latest mission to Earth’s “sister planet.”  One interviewee reveals that NASA also plans to send a rocket to Mars to retrieve the samples collected by Perseverance and then return them to Earth.  That is certain to be an interesting mission in itself.  This and other interviews incorporated into the program will be addressed shortly.  Getting back onto the topic at hand, along with finding evidence of life on Mars, NASA is also researching how to sustain human life on Mars.  This leads to the discussion on ways to convert Mars’ carbon dioxide rich atmosphere into breathable oxygen.  Filtration company Lydall is working with NASA on that project, and even placed a filter on Perseverance.  That discussion in itself adds even more engagement and entertainment to the story.  The whole story rounds out with a discussion on how the Perseverance program started and where it is going today.  All things considered, the story ensures viewers’ engagement and entertainment, in turn creating a solid foundation for the episode’s presentation.

The story featured in NOVA: Looking for Life on Mars makes for a positive starting point for the episode.  Building on the foundation that it forms are the collective interviews that accompany the story.  One of the most notable of the interviews comes in the discussion on Perseverance’s “companion,” the Ingenuity.  A couple of people on the Ingenuity team come right out during this discussion and openly talk about how the very idea was laughed down.  That is because the atmosphere on Mars is so thin that no one thought there would be enough air to get the Ingenuity off the planet’s surface.  Of course as news outlets nationwide reported recently, those doubts were silenced when the mini-“helicopter” did in fact go airborne.


This examination already noted that one of the interviewees featured in this documentary noted early on that Perseverance and Ingenuity were looking for signs of ancient microbial life.  This is important to note because the woman in question stresses that they are not looking for any signs of “alien” life.  This provides for far more credibility and ensures any conspiracy theory types will be silenced early on.  It is a brief statement from  one of the many interviews featured throughout the hour-long program, but is so important because it means officials involved in the project did not want anyone misconstruing what was going on.

Another interesting discussion featured through the episode’s interviews is that of the one-time existence of water on Mars.  The interviewees talk about the reality that at one point, a flowing river once made its way into the crater in which Perseverance landed.  The group talks about smooth rocks in the channel in question prove water once flowed through and into the crater.  Along with that discussion, there is also the discussion on what may or may not have happened to cause the water to evaporate, though no definitive   answer is provided.  Between these discussions, the others noted here and so many others provided through the episode’s interviews, the whole enhances the episode’s presentation even more.  The result is that the interviews prove just as important to the episode as the story.  The interviews and story are just part of what makes this new episode of NOVA so engaging and entertaining.  The episode’s collective pacing and editing round out its most important elements.

The pacing and editing of this NOVA episode are important to note because the episode’s topic is so specific.  It means the show’s creative heads had to make sure that it flowed fluidly and kept everything together solidly.  Viewers will note that it does just that.  The episode opens with the Perseverance’s landing, moves to the search for that ancient microbial life, and closes with the story of the Perseverance’s creation, launch, and landing.  Throughout all three of those segments, the discussions on the related topics and the video are solid in their connections.  Each segment ensures through that editing that viewers are never left feeling left behind or even that the episode drags at any point.  It   brings everything together, completing the episode’s presentation.  When it is considered along with the interest ensured by the episode’s story and its interviews, the whole makes this episode another enjoyable offering from PBS.

PBS’s recently premiered episode of NOVA, Looking for Life on Mars is an enjoyable addition to the long-running series.  The episode’s interest comes in part through its story which follows NASA’s work on its Perseverance rover project.  The story is so interesting in that it is straight forward.  It is the next step in NASA’s exploration of our solar system.  The interviews that are presented throughout the story add their own interest.  That is because of the extra insight that they give into everything that went into and is still ongoing in the project.  The collective editing and pacing that went into the episode rounds out its most important elements.  It ensures viewers’ maintained engagement and entertainment as it brings everything together and keeps the episode moving fluidly.  Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of the episode.  All things considered, they make NOVA: Looking for Life on Mars a presentation that will appeal to a wide range of audiences.  It is available now.

More information on this and other episodes of NOVA is available online now at:

Websitehttps://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova

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To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to https://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

‘NOVA: Secrets In Our DNA’ Sheds Interesting New Light On Consumer DNA Testing

Courtesy: PBS/PBS Distribution

Genealogy is big business around the world today.  People everywhere use companies, such as 23and Me, Ancestry, and even Myheritage every year to find their roots.  For all that the tests do to enlighten consumers about their families’ connections and histories, there are still some concerns raised through their use.  That balance of pro and con in what is known as direct-to-consumer (DTC) genetic testing is at the center of another new episode of PBS’ hit science-based series NOVA.  Released Tuesday on DVD, the nearly hour-long examination of DTC genetic testing proves an interesting presentation that is worth watching at least once.  That is again due in part to the noted topic at the episode’s center.  It will be discussed shortly.  The editing that is used to help tell the story adds its own interest to the presentation.  It will be discussed a little later.  The DVD’s pricing is worth examining, too.  It will also be discussed later.  When it is considered along with the DVD’s overall content, the whole makes this episode of NOVA worth the purchase and watch.

PBS Distribution’s home release of NOVA: Secrets in Our DNA is a presentation that audiences will agree is worth the purchase and watch.  That is due in large part to the episode’s story.  The story in question examines the popularity of what is known as direct-to-consumer (DTC) genetic testing.  The nearly hour-long feature is an unbiased look at the positives and negatives of the now multi-million (if not billion) dollar industry.  Audiences learn through the program that while DTC genetic testing can and does help people find family that they otherwise might not have known about, it can also lead to some unexpected consequences.  That is evidenced through a variety of interesting stories.  One of the stories that explains the unexpected consequences is a real crime story that opens the program.  It tells how a woman who used DTC testing ended up playing an unexpected role in a decades-old double homicide in Washington State.  The woman was not the murderer, but her DNA profile that she sent to a DTC testing company led police to the killer.  The whole story will be left for audiences to discover for themselves.  In another interesting case, viewers learn from another woman that the man she thought was her father was in fact not.  These and other stories featured in the program lead to discussions on the privacy of the DNA kits that people use for what they believe is their personal genealogical research.  As it turns out, the crime story is linked to this matter because as it turns out, much of the results from those tests goes into a database that law enforcement uses to solve cold cases.  Previously it was not known by consumers that this was happening.  The stories also lead to discussions on the efficacy of the tests in being able to determine whether consumers might be at risk for specific genetic concerns, such as cancer and whether companies might be in relation, selling the genetic information to drug companies for the purpose of patenting drugs.  The late, great author Michael Crichton touched on this topic in his 2006 novel Next.  Representatives from various genetic testing companies responded to the concerns, alleging consumers’ information is not being sold, one even stressing (justifiably) that the companies are not forcing consumers to take the tests.  Overall, both sides of the discussion are presented here.  The result of the non-biased presentation will hopefully encourage audiences to do their own additional research into DTC testing and make their own decisions on whether to use them in their own family history research.

The main feature presented in NOVA: Secrets in Our DNA is certain to keep viewers engaged from beginning to end what with its news story type presentation that delves into the business of DTC genetic testing.  It is just one part of what makes the episode worth watching.  The editing that went into the episode plays its own part in the presentation, too.  That is exemplified through the way in which the interviews and visuals were incorporated throughout the program.  Their placement helps to keep viewers engaged throughout.  The coordination between the narration and footage is its own tribute to the editing.  It all makes the program’s pacing steady and solid from start to end.  That fluid pacing works with the story itself to further engage and entertain viewers.  Keeping that in mind, the general presentation ensures viewers’ engagement and entertainment.

Considering the unbiased story featured in NOVA: Secrets in Our DNA and its editing, the program proves unquestionably that it is worth watching at least once.  These elements are just a pair of items that make the program as appealing as it is.  The DVD’s pricing adds at least slightly more appeal to the program’s home presentation.  The program’s average price point is $22.01.  That price was reached by averaging prices listed at Amazon, Walmart, Best Buy, Barnes & Noble Booksellers, and PBS.  It was not listed through Target and Books-A-Million at the time of this review’s posting.  Barnes & Noble Booksellers and PBS have the most expensive listing at $24.99 each while Amazon and Best Buy each list the DVD at $17.99, the least expensive of the listings.  Meanwhile, Walmart’s third party seller, DeepDiscount lists the DVD at $24.09, again, well above the average price point.  Yes, only two of the major listed retailers have prices for the DVD.  However, that is two more than could otherwise have listed.  What’s more, the Walmart listing is, again, through a third party seller, not the retailer itself.  Keeping that in mind and that Walmart typically lists PBS’ product among the least expensive retail prices, the pricing even at this point should not be viewed too harshly.  All things considered, those noted inexpensive listings will not break viewers’ budgets, even with shipping and handling in mind.  Keeping this in mind along with the DVD’s content and editing, the whole makes this episode of NOVA worth watching at least once.

PBS and PBS Distribution’s home presentation of NOVA: Secrets in Our DNA is an interesting work that deserves at least some attention.  That is due in part to the story at the episode’s center.  Presented in the style of a broadcast news piece, the story shows in unbiased fashion, the pros and cons of direct-to-consumer genetic testing.  Viewers will find themselves interested in the “secrets” that testing can reveal, both good and bad.  Additionally, they will be interested in the discussion on privacy concerns raised in connection to the business’ popularity.  The editing that went into the program does its own share to keep viewers engaged, and together with the story, ensures viewers’ engagement and entertainment even more.  The program’s price in its DVD presentation rounds out its most important element.  While the average price point exceeds the $20 mark, two of its listings are well below that mark, making for at least some appeal.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of the program in its DVD presentation.  All things considered, they make the DVD a presentation that proves worth purchasing and watching at least once.  NOVA: Secrets in Our DNA is available now.

More information on this and other episodes of NOVA is available online now at:

Websitehttps://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/NOVApbs

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/novapbs

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to https://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

‘NOVA: Saving Notre Dame’ Boasts Several Saving Graces

Courtesy: PBS/PBS Distribution

More than a year after it suffered extensive damage to its structure, work to restore damage caused to the famed Notre Dame Cathedral by a 2019 fire is well underway.  According to multiple media outlets, the scaffolding that burned in the fire has allegedly been successfully removed from the church as part of the restoration efforts, though there is still much work to do.  Media outlets state that most of the work that is taking place now is focused on the cathedral’s interior structure, including statues that surround the high altar in the sanctuary’s choir section.  What’s more, officials working on the restoration have been quoted as saying that more than 1,000 oak trees will be needed to replace the catheral’s spire.  That is not even counting the trees damaged in the cathedral’s “attic” and roof.  All of this work and more will take time.  Some of that work and other efforts are discussed at length in t he story at the center of PBS’ NOVA documentary Saving Notre Dame.  That story forms the foundation for the episode, which was released Feb. 16 on DVD.  It will be discussed shortly.  The footage that is incorporated into the story adds to the program’s appeal.  It will be discussed a little later.  Considering all of the noted content, the DVD’s average price point generates its own appeal.  It will also be addressed later.  When that affordable price point is considered along with the fully engaging content featured in the episode, the program in whole proves itself to be another of this year’s top new documentaries.

NOVA: Saving Notre Dame is a presentation that will appeal to a wide range of audiences.  From those with an interest in engineering and construction, to the most devout Christians, to general fans of NOVA, the DVD ensures audiences will remain engaged and entertained, just as much as any other episode of PBS’ hit science-based series.  The most notable way in which it ensures viewers’ engagement and entertainment is its central story.  As the episode’s title notes, the story centers on the efforts to restore the centuries-old cathedral following the 2019 fire that destroyed so much of the structure.  The approximately hour-long presentation follows the efforts to restore the cathedral’s roof and preserve the structure in the ongoing efforts to restore the cathedral in whole.  The transitions from one focus to the next are smooth, as is the pacing.  Audiences will be interested to watch the painstaking efforts to restore the cathedral’s stained glass and the extreme measures to which workers had to go through during and even after working in the structure.  What’s more, the equally intense lengths to which those involved in the restorations are going, just to make sure the replacement stone matches with the original stone is incredible to watch.  It serves to show just how dedicated everyone is to restoring the cathedral to its original glory.  The story’s pacing through all of its transitions and discussions is smooth in its own right.  All things considered, the story featured in NOVA: Saving Notre Dame is itself reason enough for audiences to watch this episode.  It is just one part of what makes the program so engaging and entertaining.  The footage that is used to help tell the story adds to the episode’s appeal even more.

The footage that is used to help tell NOVA: Saving Notre Dame’s story is important to examine because of how much it adds to the story’s engagement and entertainment.  The first half of the program reminds viewers of what happened at the cathedral in April 2019 not just through an interview with one of the priests who works at the facility, but also by showing news and amateur footage of the fire.  Viewers will see time and again, the towering spire that stood atop the cathedral fall into the flames, itself ablaze.  Also, viewers see through the professional recordings, the firefighters on the ground who worked so hard to put out the fire inside the building as the narration points out the difficulty that they faced in achieving their goal.  Along with that, the program also incorporates computer generated visuals to help viewers understand the fragility of the cathedral and how easily it could have collapsed in the efforts to save it.  The (seeming) drone footage taken high above the cathedral gives viewers a rarely seen view of the fire’s aftermath and the efforts taking place to restore the cathedral.  It’s just one more visual that so powerful.  When it and all of the other footage that is presented here combines, the overall visual aspect of the episode builds (no pun intended) on the foundation formed by the episode’s story.  When all of this combined content is considered together, it makes the DVD’s average price point such that viewers will find this aspect appealing, too.

The average price point of NOVA: Saving Notre Dame is $19.62.  That number was obtained by averaging listings at Amazon, Walmart, Target, Best Buy, Barnes & Noble Booksellers, and PBS’ online store.  The listings at Barnes & Noble Booksellers and PBS’ online store are the only ones that exceed that price, each listing the DVD at $24.99.  Amazon, Walmart, and Target each list the DVD at $16.59, well below the listed average.  Best Buy’s listing of $17.99 is not the best buy, but is still a good middle ground that is itself still below the listed average.  Simply put, the majority of the listings and even the average are below the $20 mark.  That means that none of the listed prices will break any viewer’s budget, even with shipping & handling taken into account.  That relatively affordable overall pricing puts the finishing touch to the DVD’s presentation.  Considering the amount and depth of the featured content, audiences will agree that they are getting their money’s worth here.  Keeping all of this in mind, the DVD overall makes clear that it deserves a spot among this year’s top new documentaries.

PBS/PBS Distribution’s presentation of NOVA: Saving Notre Dame is another enjoyable edition of the hit long-running science-based series.  Its central story makes that obvious through its content and pacing.  The footage that is used to help tell that story adds its own touch to the program’s presentation.  The story featured in this episode of NOVA and its content (including its footage) gives audiences plenty to appreciate.  Keeping that in mind, its average price point and separate listings of mostly less than $20 (save for a pair of listings) proves to be its own positive.  All things considered, the DVD in whole proves itself to be just as enjoyable as most every other episode of NOVANOVA: Saving Notre Dame is available now.

More information on this and other episodes of NOVA is available online now at:

Websitehttps://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/NOVApbs

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/novapbs

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to https://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

New ‘NOVA’ Episode Will “Heat Up” Discussions On Climate Change

Courtesy: PBS/PBS Distribution

Climate change is real.  As much as some parties might want to continue denying that truth, the fact is that it is real.  What’s more humans are having an impact on the natural process.  More than two years ago, PBS tackled the topic in an episode of its hit science-based series NOVA in the form of the episode Decoding the Weather Machine.  Late last month, the network, along with its distribution wing – PBS Distribution — followed up that episode when it released another episode of NOVA titled simply Can We Cool The Planet?  The nearly hour-long episode of NOVA continues the discussion started in the prior episode by discussing the varied efforts to help reduce carbon dioxide levels in the Earth’s atmosphere.  That central story forms the foundation of this episode and makes it quite engaging.  It will be addressed shortly.  The discussions that will stem from the concepts make for their own important factor here.  This will be discussed a little later.  The pacing of the overall discussion rounds out the program’s most important elements.  It will also be discussed later.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of this episode of NOVA.  All things considered they make this episode of NOVA a presentation that is sure to make discussions “heat up” on climate change.

NOVA’s latest episode focusing on the topic of climate change is a good companion piece to the series’ previously released climate change-focused episode Decoding the Weather Machine.  This is proven in part through its central story.  The story in question focuses on the topic of the varied efforts being taken to reduce carbon dioxide emissions in Earth’s atmosphere.  Saying that those methods are varied is an understatement. Viewers will be quite interested for instance to learn about the machines that are already in use to collect carbon dioxide from the air.  It is just one of the many methods that are being used and tested.  Another method being proposed and tested is the use of water, laden with carbon dioxide that is then placed back in the ground, effectively putting the carbon back into the ground that has been removed.  There are also scientists who are investigating and testing the possibility of recycling the carbon collected from carbon dioxide to help in the creation of everyday household items.  The varied methods continue from here.  There is what is known as “carbon neutral” fuel and even using carbon to help with composting and agriculture in general, as well as a process called “cloud lightening,” which is exactly what it sounds like; an attempt to use aerosols to lighten clouds, and in turn using that lightness to  reflect more sunlight.  Simply put, a lot of different methods are presented here, and the ultimate takeaway is that it is encouraging that so many people are working to reduce the planet’s temperature, which is increasing in distinct part because of carbon dioxide levels in the air.  What’s more, it may take every method featured in this episode to finally cool the planet.  Staying on that matter, the discussions on whether one proposed method, all of them, or even one not yet discovered, adds to the appeal of this episode of NOVA.

The discussions that are sure to rise from Can We Cool the Planet? will be in-depth.  Going back to the varied methods proposed and tested, audiences will note the there is no bias toward one or another.  Even in the discussion on the impact of mass tree planting, it is noted that the method in question had (and has) detractors.  That in itself will certainly generate discussion.  That is because there has been a mantra for ages that trees are so important.  This critic is not denying their importance in addressing the planet’s carbon dioxide levels.  The methodology here, though is interesting.  The revelation of how much effort it would take to build enough carbon dioxide scrubbers in order to really make an impact on the planet’s carbon dioxide levels is eye-opening.  It is sure to generate discussions about the usefulness (or lack thereof) of the devices.  On yet   another level, the pros of carbon neutral fuels versus their very high cost, which have been hotly debated among politicians and ecologists the world over for cars and planes, will come up among viewers here, too.  Yet again, there is no bias one way or another in this topic’s discussion in the program, but supporters and opponents of the topic are sure to have their own discussions after watching this episode.  This is another way in which the episode stands out.  The pacing of all of the discussions overall puts the finishing touch to this presentation.

There are a lot of topics approached in NOVA: Can We Cool the Planet?  Considering all of those topics, it would have been so easy for the program to get bogged down in itself.  That is especially the case considering that the topics are handled in the standard run time of 53 minutes.  That standard time for NOVA’s episodes does not leave a lot of time to cover each proposed and method of carbon reduction.  Yet, the episode’s creative team makes the most of that time, allowing just enough discussion on each.  The result is that audiences will never feel lost within the episode or left behind.  That is a testament to the work put in to the episode’s creation.  It paid off fully. Keeping that in mind, this aspect joins with the episode’s content and its resultant discussions, the program in whole proves to be another unforgettable and necessary episodes of NOVA.  To that end, this episode becomes unquestionably one of this year’s top new documentaries. 

NOVA: Can We Cool the Planet? is a wonderful companion piece to PBS’ previous climate  change-based NOVA episode Decoding the Weather Machine.  That is proven in large part through its central story.  The story focuses on the myriad ways in which people and companies around the world are working to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere.  The discussions that the presentation will definitely generate build on the foundation formed by the episode’s story.  The episode’s pacing puts the final touch to the program, ensuring in its own way, viewers’ maintained engagement and entertainment.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of this episode of NOVA.  All things considered, they make the episode a presentation that will make talks on climate change really “heat up.”  NOVA: Can We Cool the Planet? is available now.

More information on this and other episodes of NOVA is available online now at:

Websitehttps://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova

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To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to https://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Space, Geological Science Aficionados Will Enjoy PBS’ Latest Voyage To The Stars

Courtesy: WGHB/PBS/PBS Distribution

Two years from now, NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft will complete a years-long mission when it returns to Earth with samples of material from the surface of the asteroid Bennu that it collected late last year.  The mission, which was itself years in the making, was important because it, like Japan’s Hyabusa missions, was aimed at better understanding the composition of asteroids and how their compositions may have played into the creation of our solar system’s planets.  Additionally, that understanding will help in efforts to protect Earth from potential future threats.  Now thanks to a new episode of PBS’ hit science-based series NOVA, audiences get to see first hand, the journey that the project took, from beginning to hopes for its end.  Released to DVD on Jan. 12, the nearly hour-long program is a presentation that will appeal widely to anyone who has any interest in space science as well as the geological sciences.  This is proven in part through the noted central story, which will be discussed in more length shortly.  The episode’s pacing adds its own appeal to its presentation and will be discussed a little later.  Keeping everything noted here in mind, the average price point for this DVD proves to be its own positive.  It will also be addressed later.  All three items noted here are important in their own way to the whole of NOVA: Touching the Asteroid.  All things considered, they make this episode one more example of what makes NOVA such a beloved series.  Additionally, they make the episode a presentation that will appeal equally to lovers and students of the space and geological sciences.

NOVA: Touching the Asteroid is a presentation that will appeal widely to anyone who has any interest in the realms of space and geological sciences.  That is proven in part through its central story.  As has already been noted, the story in question focuses on NASA’s ongoing OSIRIS-REx spacecraft mission.  The mission in question started years ago after NASA staffers located a near-Earth asteroid called Bennu that really caught their attention.  Audiences are taken through the story of the agency’s project, which resulted in the spacecraft touching down on the asteroid in October 2020.  A visual timeline is presented throughout the story that follows each step of the project, all the way from 2016 right up to the touchdown of OSIRIS-REx spacecraft in October 2020.  This will help audiences keep track of everything happening.  The project members who are interviewed help to tell the story as they explain the significance and purpose of the mission.  From the very discovery of the asteroid, to the development of the spacecraft, to the surprise discovery of water and carbon contained within the asteroid, to its makeup, which they realized would potentially make it far less of a threat to the Earth than originally thought (apparently it might actually be on track to collide with Earth in a couple of centuries from now), to the stresses of making sure OSIRIS-REx would be able to touch down on Bennu due to its rocky surface, the whole story of the spacecraft’s   voyage to Bennu is presented here.  All of the discussions presented throughout will themselves keep viewers engaged and entertained.

Staying on topic of the featured discussions, the pacing of all of those discussions remains steady throughout the course of the program.  That is due in part to the aforementioned presentation of the visual timeline that is used to help track the project.  It is a simple element, but goes a long way to keep viewers engaged in its own right, too.  As long as audiences know the point at which the story sits throughout each segment, the discussions are that much more certain to keep viewers watching.  Getting to the discussions, none of the noted discussions allow themselves to get too in-depth.  That is not to say that the discussions are just point to point to point.  Rather, they give audiences just enough of a picture of where the project stood at each point in the timeline and what everyone was thinking as the OSIRIS-REx finally touched down on Bennu.  That means that the discussions themselves kept the program moving steadily from beginning to end.  The addition of the noted time line visual aid played alongside the discussions to help put the final touch to the program’s positive pacing.  Between the positive pacing and the story itself, the two elements collectively give viewers plenty to appreciate as they take in this episode of NOVA.  Keeping all that in mind, the program’s average price point on DVD will appeal even more for viewers.

The average price point of NOVA: Touching the Asteroid is approximately $22.00 when rounded up.  The price is reached by averaging prices from Amazon, Walmart, Best Buy, Barnes & Noble Booksellers, and PBS’ shop.  Amazon’s listing of $17.96 is the least expensive while PBS’ listing and that of Barnes & Noble Booksellers is the most expensive, at $24.99 each.  The DVD was not listed through Target and Books-A-Million at the time of this review’s posting.  This DVD is the rare case when even Walmart proved to exceed the average, listing the DVD at $23.94.  Best Buy offers the second lowest of the listed prices at $17.99.  Between that listing and that of Amazon, audiences can be assured that the cost will not break their budgets.  Even buying the DVD through those outlets, a portion of the sales will still go back to support PBS, so PBS still benefits in the end.  Audiences win because they will get an entertaining and engaging program for less than $20 through the noted retailers.  The engagement and entertainment is offered through the content already noted, and its pacing, also noted.  When all of this is considered collectively, the result is a presentation that will appeal to a wide range of viewers.

PBS’ NOVA: Touching the Asteroid is yet another example of why the network’s hit science-based series remains one of the network’s most respected program’s to date.  That is proven in part through the story at the center of the documentary.  The story centers on the creation of the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft and the spacecraft’s interstellar journey to the asteroid Bennu.  Along the way, audiences learn about the discoveries that were made about the asteroid before and during the spacecraft’s mission goal.  The story’s pacing makes for even more appeal.  For all of the information provided throughout the documentary, that mass never causes the story to get bogged down in itself. Considering this and everything discussed throughout the program, the program’s average price point proves to be not too bad.  The noted price listings at Amazon and Best Buy ensure that the purchase of the DVD will not break any viewer’s budget.  Each item noted here is critical in its own way to the whole of the DVD.  All things considered, they make the DVD another positive presentation from PBS and another enjoyable episode of NOVA.

More information on this and other episodes of NOVA is available at:

Websitehttps://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova

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Twitterhttps://twitter.com/novapbs

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to https://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https:///philspicks.wordpress.com.

PBS Distribution To Release New ‘NOVA’ Episode On DVD Next Month

Courtesy: PBS Distribution/PBS

PBS Distribution will bring another episode of its hit science-based series NOVA to DVD next month.

NOVA: Saving Notre Dame is scheduled for release Feb. 16. The program profiles the efforts made to restore the Notre Dame Cathedral following the fire that nearly destroyed the historic landmark. The cathedral caught fire in 2019, nearly losing more than 800 years of history in the process. The program follows the examinations and technology used in the efforts to restore the centuries-old structure and prevent another such incident in the future over the course of its 57-minute run time.

NOVA: Saving Notre Dame will retail for MSRP of $24.99. Pre-orders are open now.

More information on this and other episodes of NOVA is available at:

Websitehttp://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/NOVApbs

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/novapbs

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http:///philspicks.wordpress.com.

‘NOVA: Human Nature’ Succeeds In Its Gene Editing, Bioethics Discussions

Courtesy: PBS/PBS Distribution/WGBH

Technology can be a very good thing.  It can also be very bad.  It all depends on who uses it and how.  That is the central discussion of the recently debuted episode of PBS’ hit science-based series NOVA, Human Nature.  The episode, which debuted in September, was released Dec. 1 on DVD.  The 90-minute documentary is a presentation that is certain to engage and entertain viewers from start to end.  That is due in no small part to the program’s central discussion topic.  This will be discussed shortly.  The way in which the program is presented adds to the program’s appeal even more and will be discussed a little later.  Considering these aspects collectively, they make the DVD’s average price point a positive in its own right.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of this DVD.  All things considered, they make the DVD’s a presentation overall that many audiences will find a must in their personal documentary libraries.

NOVA: Human Nature is a powerful new episode of PBS’ hit science-based series that stands as one of the best of the series’ episodes this year.  That is proven in part through its central discussion topic.  The topic in question is that of the use of what is known as clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats, or “CRISPR” for short.  As is revealed through the discussion, “CRISPR” as something genetic has been happening for eons.  If what is discussed is understood correctly, it has played a big part in the evolution of many if not most biological creatures.  It has helped protect biological beings safe from viruses, allowing them to survive.  From there, the discussion turns to the use of “CRISPR” as a technological tool for humans.  Some of America’s top scientific minds discuss the possibility of using “CRISPR” to potentially eliminate diseases, such as cancer and sickle cell anemia, and to even alter genes of embryos so that couples can have potentially disease-free babies.  The topics of whether even doing that is ethical and the long term impact – whether humans would even remain disease free throughout life – branch out from the central theme along the way.  No bias is shown one way or the other, as supporters are interviewed along with opponents to the use of “CRISPR.”  One of the noted scientists who comes across as a supporter of “CRISPR” points out that despite popular belief, scientists are not looking to use “CRISPR” to bring back dinosaurs and wooly mammoths.  Another points out that at this point, the military is not working to use
”CRISPR” to make “super soldiers” and other military technology.  Yet another even points out that “CRISPR” is in fact being used to potentially create plants that are able to adapt to the world’s changing climate conditions.  To its defense, this aspect of “CRISPR’s” potential positives is rather interesting.  Humans need agriculture in order to produce food, and with climate change’s impact on the planet (and the human impact on the naturally occurring process) so clear, creating plants that are adaptable (or resistant to) the impacts of climate change could proof beneficial for humans.  As one of the interviewed scientists points out in the program’s end (not to give away too much), hopefully the day won’t come anytime soon that humans would decide to use this clearly divisive tool that is “CRISPR” for anything bad.  Regardless of which side one takes on the ongoing discussion over the use of “CRISPR” it is clear in watching this episode of NOVA that the discussions likely will not end anytime soon.  That is not a bad thing, either, considering all of the issues raised through the program.  To that end, the central topic featured in this in-depth documentary creates a solid foundation for the program.  It is just one of the aspects that makes NOVA: Human Nature a success.  The way in which the program is presented adds to its appeal.

A lot of ground is covered over the course of NOVA: Human Nature’s 90-minute run.  It is all presented in one continuous program, too.  Keeping that in mind, the manner in which the episode is presented is key in its own right in order to keep viewers watching.  In order to keep viewers engaged, those behind the episode divided the episode into “chapters.”  The “chapters” are clearly pointed out on screen as the documentary progresses.  This leaves no doubt that the overall discussion is changing direction.  What’s more, the transitions between chapters are solid in their own right.  There is just enough space between the “chapters” to let viewers know that the program’s discussion is changing.  That and the visual presentation of each “chapter’s” title collectively makes for a wonderful presentation for the episode.  It breaks things up just enough to keep viewers from getting bored with the topic and its discussion.  That and the central topic collectively make NOVA: Human Nature even more successful, especially in the way it plays into the program’s pacing.  Keeping all of this in mind, there is one more aspect of the episode to discuss, the program’s average price point.

The average price point for NOVA: Human Nature is $21.52.  That price is reached by averaging prices listed through Amazon, Walmart, Best Buy, Barnes & Noble Booksellers, and PBS’ online store.  At the time of this review’s posting, the DVD was not listed through Target or Books-A-Million.  Amazon and Best Buy offer the least expensive of the noted retailers, at $17.99.  PBS’ listing once again is the most expensive at $24.99 while Walmart’s listing of $24.13 is just below PBS’ price.  Barnes & Noble Booksellers’ listing of $22.49 also exceeds the average price point.  So in the bigger picture of the DVD’s price, its average price point barely tops the $20 mark along with the majority of its single listings.  Two of the noted listings are well below that mark.  Now given the breadth and depth of the content featured in the DVD and its pacing (which works so well because of the episode’s construction) those less expensive listings prove to be money well spent.  They are prices that will not break any viewer’s budget.  The same can be said of the more expensive listings, even being that they exceed the DVD’s average price point.  Regardless of which retailer one chooses, at least some of the money spent on this fully engaging program will go back to PBS.  So it is a win for everyone.  Audiences get a documentary that they are sure to watch time and again, and PBS receives financial support that allows it to continue providing such top notch programming.  Keeping all of this in mind, NOVA: Human Nature proves itself to be a presentation that is one of this year’s best new documentaries.

NOVA: Human Nature is a powerful addition to the series.  Now that it is available on DVD, it is a presentation that so many audiences will want to watch time and again.  That is proven in part through its central discussion topic, that of the use of “CRISPR” and the ethics related to its use.  The unbiased discussions are sure to keep viewers engaged and entertained in their own right.  The episode’s construction works directly with the overall discussion to keep viewers engaged and entertained, too.  It keeps the whole from becoming monotonous.  That is especially important considering the amount of content covered in the discussions and the program’s overall 90-minute run time.  Keeping in mind the content featured in this episode and its delivery, the DVD’s average price point proves to be money well-spent, as audiences will, again, find themselves watching it more than once.  Each item examined here is important in its own way to the whole of the DVD’s presentation.  All things considered, they make the episode a welcome addition to most audiences’ home libraries and one of the year’s top new documentaries.  NOVA: Human Nature is available now.

More information on this and other episodes of NOVA is available at:

Websitehttp://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/NOVApbs

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/novapbs

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http:///philspicks.wordpress.com.

‘NOVA: Secret Mind Of Slime’ Is An Intriguing Study On Evolutionary Science

Courtesy: PBS/PBS Distribution

Defining intelligence is not an easy task.  The common belief among scientists and people in general is that in order for a being to have “intelligence” it has to have a brain, central nervous system, etc.  But what if that criteria might not necessarily be accurate?  That is the discussion at the base of NOVA: Secret Mind of Slime.  The hour-long NOVA episode was released on DVD Dec. 8.  This recently premiered episode is a presentation that will appeal just as much to those with any interest in the biological sciences as evolutionary sciences.  Its foundation is formed through its main feature, which will be discussed shortly.  Considering how much is discussed in this episode in terms of theory and science, the program’s pacing turns out to be stable throughout.  This aspect will be discussed a little later.  The average price point of NOVA: Secret Mind of Slime proves to be its own positive for this presentation, considering the episode’s content and pacing.  It will also be discussed later.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of the documentary.  All things considered, they make NOVA: Secret Mind of Slime a presentation that should be anything but a secret.

PBS and PBS Distribution’s recently released DVD presentation of NOVA: Secret Mind of Slime is a surprisingly engaging and entertaining program that will appeal to students and lovers of the biological sciences just as much as those of the evolutionary sciences.  That is proven in part through the program’s main feature.  The feature in question examines how a slime mold called Physarum polycephalumdoes what it does.  Audiences will be amazed as they watch the literally brainless organism find its way through mazes, make its way across salt bridges, and even “deciding” which sources of nutrients it “prefers.”  Again, this is all done without a brain.  What is ultimately discovered is that what is going on is that the slime mold is using what is known as bioelectricity and even a form of adaptation in order to accomplish everything.  Bioelectricity is exactly what it sounds like.  They are electric currents produced within living organisms that regulate organisms’ behaviors.  The revelation is made through examinations of how plants react to their surroundings, which is itself also documented in this episode.  Observing this ability of organisms that lack nervous systems or even brains to “make decisions” and react “intelligently” to given situations will leave many viewers’ minds blown.  As is noted in the narration, it is collectively an example of the earliest form of sentience in Earth’s biological organisms.  It is certain to generate plenty of discussion among audiences in itself.

While the content featured in NOVA: Secret Mind of Slime goes a long way toward making the program appealing, it is just one aspect of the episode that audiences will appreciate.  The program’s pacing adds its own touch to the show’s interest.  As noted, a lot of ground is covered in this hour-long program.  There is the examination of the slime mold’s ability to navigate mazes and to adapt to different situations (E.g. changing so as to deal with salt as it makes its way to a “food source” and even its ability to connect with other slime molds from other parts of the world in order to survive).  There is also the examination of how plants spread out their roots in much the same way that the Physarum polycephalum spreads out its “veins” as well as that of how ants use pheromone trails in equally similar fashion to find food sources.  Again, this is a lot of information.  Considering how much ground is covered through all of this, it would have been easy for the program to get bogged down in itself.  Thankfully, those behind the episode’s creation and assembly did not let that happen.  From start to end, the discussions ensure viewers’ engagement and entertainment, presenting topics rarely if ever considered by audiences.  The discussions remain mostly in layman’s terms, ensuring even more that noted engagement and entertainment.  That presentation style plays a big role in the program’s pacing if not the episode’s biggest role.  Between that aspect and the ability of the topics to move so fluidly from one to the next, audiences will never feel lost within the program or even bogged down.  The result is that that the program moves easily from one point to the next, never losing viewers along the way.  Keeping this in mind with the very content in the program’s main feature, the two elements collectively show even more why the documentary is such an appealing new presentation from PBS and PBS Distribution.  It also plays its own collective importance in considering the DVD’s average price point.

The average price point of NOVA: Secret Mind of Slime barely tops the $20 mark.  This is determined by averaging prices listed through PBS’ online store, Amazon, Walmart, Best Buy, and Barnes & Noble Booksellers.  Walmart presents the least expensive listing, at $16.61 while Amazon and Best Buy are the mid-point price, at $17.99.  PBS’ listing of $24.99 is actually the most expensive while Barnes & Noble Booksellers is just a step below that at $22.49.   Looking at these listings, viewers have at least three retailers from which to choose that are below the noted average price point.  The noted listings will not break audiences’ bank accounts.  The more expensive listings will not hurt viewers’ checkbooks either, even being a bit more pricey.  Regardless of which outlet consumers choose, audiences will still get their money’s worth while also bringing in more money for PBS, the last bastion of truly worthwhile programming.  When this is considered along with the pacing of this program and the content presented in its main feature, the whole of the program proves itself well worth the watch among students and lovers of the biological and evolutionary sciences.  NOVA: Secret Mind of Slime is available now.

More information on this and other episodes of NOVA is available at:

Websitehttp://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/NOVApbs

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/novapbs

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http:///philspicks.wordpress.com.

New PBS Doc Is A Solid Starting Point For Lessons On One Of Humanity’s Most Important Aspects

Courtesy: PBS/PBS Distribution

Writing is one of the fundamental things that a society does.  That is because letters and words are at the center of everything that humans do.  From books, to speeches, to general documents, to even printing out receipts or purchases, writing and words control everything.  Words, letters, and writing even have their own courses of study from elementary school through college and post-college.  Next week, PBS will present a new episode of NOVA on DVD that focuses on the history of words and language in the form of A to ZThe First Alphabet and How Writing Changed The World.  The DVD, set for release on Dec. 22, succeeds as a starting point for any lesson on the topics in part because of its two separate main features.  This will be discussed shortly.  The fact that those features are separated out in the single disc adds to the presentation’s appeal.  This element will be discussed a little later.  The pacing of the two programs rounds out the most important of the noted elements.  It will also be discussed later.  When it is considered along with the DVD’s overall content and its division, the presentation in whole makes itself a widely appealing presentation.

PBS and PBS Distribution’s forthcoming home release of A to ZThe First Alphabet and How Writing Changed The World is a widely appealing presentation that students of linguistics will enjoy just as much as those of history, anthropology and basically every science.  That is proven in part through the overall program’s two separate main features.  The first feature takes audiences through a history of the evolution of writing.  It starts out in ancient Egypt, explaining how specific symbols actually stood for certain sounds.  From there, the story expands, explaining how early cuneiform followed a similar model to that of the figures used by the Egyptians before moving to China to examine the similarity in the use of Chinese writing figures and how they are used to the way in which Middle Eastern writing systems were used early in human history.  As the program progresses, audiences learn that from the early symbols used by the Egyptians and Sumerians, the Romans took the Egyptians’ symbols and altered those original designs, using them for what is now our modern alphabet.  It is interesting to learn about that history.

The second half of the program moves away from the writing, albeit slightly, to the aspect of how the delivery of writing evolved.  From the early use of papyrus to the use of a specific kind of paper in Asia to the advent of the printing press, audiences learn about how each delivery platform played into the evolution of the alphabet and writing in general.  On the surface, this might not seem all that interesting, but in the bigger picture, understanding how slow writing started out with calligraphy and other methods to the use of the printing press makes for more appreciation for how much the very process of creating and preserving writing evolved over thousands of years, and in turn, how much easier it become.  From carving figures into stone and clay to having to write everything slowly and monotonously, to finally developing moveable type, the evolution of writing letters and words is shown in large part here.  It’s just too bad that the story felt so short.  Of course that is not necessarily a bad thing, since it really is just a starting point for those more in-depth lessons about the evolution of writing and its delivery systems.

While the story presenting the evolution of our modern alphabet and its delivery methods does plenty to appeal to audiences, it is just one part of what makes this program a success.  The division of the two-hour program into two separate segments adds to the presentation’s appeal in its own way.  Each segment is its own standalone “episode” so basically, audiences are getting two episodes for the price of one here.  What’s more, having the episodes divided into their own settings ensures even more that audiences will remain engaged and entertained.  Had they been joined as one full episode, audiences might have felt difficulty in deciding where to stop if they needed to do so for whatever reason.  Luckily though, that is not the case here.  That division allows audiences to watch each segment at their own pace, thus, again, increasing enjoyment and engagement that much more.

Speaking of pacing, that element rounds out the most important aspects of this presentation.  The pacing of each of the program’s hour-long “episodes” stays largely stable throughout.  It would be so easy for each segment to run slowly, considering how much information is shared, but luckily, those behind the program’s editing and composition mad sure to hit the most important points of each topic.  The result is that viewers will never feel lost or even left behind at any point in the program.  Rather, they will feel that much more encouraged to remain engaged.  After watching each segment, viewers will find themselves potentially wanting to do their own research and learn more on their own thanks to that attention to detail.  Keeping this in mind along with the positive impact of the content featured in A to ZThe First Alphabet and How Writing Changed The World and the division of the program’s segments, the whole becomes a program that those who enjoy the social and historical sciences alike will enjoy.

PBS and PBS Distribution’s home release of A to ZThe First Alphabet and How Writing Changed The World is a presentation that plenty of audiences will find appealing.  That is proven in part through the content shown in the program’s two separate main features.  First audiences get a brief but in-depth history of the evolution of what is now our modern alphabet.  From there, audiences get an equally brief — but still in-depth in its own right – look at how the actual presentation and delivery of our now modern alphabet evolved.  The episodes are segmented out rather than combined into one whole, making for more appeal.  The separation will allow audiences to view the segments at their own pace rather than feel that they have to watch the whole program in one sitting.  The segments’ pacing in itself puts the finishing touch to this presentation.  The pacing is solid because each segment points out the most important aspects of each story rather than trying to push in everything possible.  This leaves viewers wanting more in the best way possible.  In turn, it will likely lead viewers to in fact do their own research and learn even more.  To that end, this element and the other two noted collectively make A to ZThe First Alphabet and How Writing Changed The World a wonderful introduction to one of the most important aspects of human history.

More information on this and other episodes of NOVA is available at:

Websitehttp://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/NOVApbs

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/novapbs

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http:///philspicks.wordpress.com.