EVERY FRIDAY Modern Marvels

Witness the innovation, inventions, and incredible feats of mankind. See how these ideas went from dream to reality and transformed our lives.


May 31, 2024

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Modern Marvels

Measure It

How do you weigh a whale? We go to Shamu's Tank at Sea World to find out. How does your speedometer work? Off to GM's test track for the answer. We'll look at the five most common areas of measurement in our everyday lives: distance, time, speed, weight, and temperature. We visit the National Institute of Standards and Technology to find out where common measurements come from and how standards for those measurements are set. Next, we'll go inside Stanley Tools where we'll see how they guarantee every measuring tape gives the right distance every time. And while we're measuring time, we'll learn why a $5 kid's watch is more accurate than a $10,000 luxury brand.




Modern Marvels


Vacuums aren't just for cleaning floors. There are giant vacuums that clean up after disasters like Hurricane Katrina and underwater vacuums that save coral reefs by suctioning up invasive algae. In the 19th century pneumatic vacuum tubes delivered mail speedily via miles of tubes. Visit the Hoover Vacuum Museum, see how the household sweeper was invented, and learn about some unusual applications. Finally, a trip to the world's largest vacuum chamber at NASA's Plum Brook Research Center reveals how NASA tests vehicles and equipment before their journey into the final frontier.




Modern Marvels


Since 200 BC, when the Greek Philosopher Archimedes created a device for lifting water, the pump has been synonymous with transporting Earth's most precious resource. That principle still holds true today. We'll visit the pumping stations of the Colorado Aqueduct and learn what kinds of pumps are used to quench the thirst of over 16 million residents of Southern California. Next we'll learn how electric and diesel power has transformed the simple squirt bottle into a power pump that can cut through steel. A visit to a dairy shows how a new robotic milking pump is pushing the envelope of pump technology. Finally, we'll examine one of the most sophisticated pumps in the world--the one designed to save the human heart.




Modern Marvels


From the beginning of time we've worked to protect ourselves against the very element that keeps us alive--water. We love it and hate it. With water covering 75% of the Earth's surface, it's no wonder we struggle to stay safe and dry. We fight against ferocious weather and floods with state-of-the-art roofing, wraps, tarps, tunnels, clothing, boats, and much more--devising extreme tests to probe the limits of our modern waterproof technology.




Modern Marvels


Sink your teeth into the razor sharp world of saws. Cut across the centuries to discover how the Egyptians arduously sawed stone as compared to modern saws that slice through limestone like butter. Saws have been used as instruments of torture and tools for surgery. They are imperative for construction, salvage, demolition, and they even make music. Whether they have teeth of steel, carbide or diamond, you will be on the cutting edge of successful sawing.




Modern Marvels

World's Sharpest

It's time to slice and dice! Take a cutting-edge look at the most amazing blades in the world, from the legendary sword of the samurai warrior with an edge sharp enough to sever a man's arm in a single swipe, to industrial shredder blades capable of gobbling anything from a sofa to a fridge, to the precision slicing power of lasers and plasma.




Modern Marvels

Power Tools

Adam Richman visits power tool manufacturing "mecca" Dewalt, where he discovers how they're using cutting edge technology to make cutting edge tools. Then, he goes back in time to uncover how one of America's oldest power tools is still cutting! Next, it's time to recharge as he finds out how power tools have changed the world, from the outer reaches of space to deep under the ocean, to pit crews racing cars and rescue teams racing time.




Modern Marvels


Spiraling deep into the ground...driving holes through solid rock...rotating, hammering, and scraping its way through whatever it may encounter...whether it's earth or ice, steel or stone, nothing can stand in its way! This episode penetrates the world of drilling and explores various types of drilling's colorful histories. From drilling for water in the New Mexico desert to searching for oil in the Gulf of Mexico, we'll show you how it's done. The program features the quest to drill the deepest hole ever and the scientific drill ship expected to perform the feat, and also looks at drills used to recover ice cores that will unearth thousands of years of climate history. We also examine the latest and greatest tunnel boring machines, robotic drills, and handheld power drills. Finally, we check out laser drills--both large and small--including a drill that can bore a hole a fraction of the diameter of a human hair.

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