Explore the hidden history and super science of the computer, the Frisbee and silverware.
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We explore the hidden history and super science of the wrist watch, the digital watch and the prosthetic leg.
2017 • Technology
Explore the hidden history and super science of hot air balloons, synthetic rubber and metal detectors.
2017 • Technology
The Sun is our star. Its energy enables life on the Earth to thrive yet we know so little about the solar weather and the 11-year solar cycle. Modern technology can be adversely affected by giant coronal mass ejections and there appears to be a link between sunspot activity and climatic conditions.
Like human arteries, motorways, roads and train-lines are the lifeblood of any healthy megacity. Whether smoothly flowing or clogged, a city's transport routes affect its inhabitants' quality of life. Andrew Marr finds out how the monstrous megacities stay fed. He also finds out just how hard it is to ride a rickshaw taxi in Dhaka, and discovers how the London tube, once the most ground-breaking transport system in the world, has been usurped by modern transport like Shanghai's 400km/hour magnetic railway. Andrew joins Mexico City's traffic cops in the air, then finds out who is in charge of unblocking Mexico's most filthy canals. He looks into Dhaka's waste management problems, and sees what Britain's fast food obsession is doing to London's sewers.
Dirty water has killed more humans than all the wars of history combined, but in the last 150 years, a series of radical ideas, extraordinary innovations and unsung heroes have changed our world. Steven Johnson plunges into a sewer to understand what made a maverick engineer decide to lift the city of Chicago with jackscrews in order to build America’s first sewer system. He talks about John Leal, who deliberately “poisoned” the water supply of 200,000 people when, without authorization, he added chlorine, considered lethal in 1908, into Jersey City’s water and made it safe to drink. This isn’t only about the world becoming a cleaner place — the iPhone, the subway, flat screen TVs and even the two piece swimsuit are the result of the valiant efforts of the unsung heroes of clean.