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.


March 31, 2023

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Modern Marvels

The Alcan Highway

Today, vacationers travel from British Columbia north through the Yukon Pass on their way to Fairbanks, Alaska, thanks to one 2-lane roadway, the 1,522-mile long Alaska Highway. A bit treacherous in spots and best driven in the few summer months the region provides, it's an unrivaled engineering feat that took 11,000 soldiers, nearly 4,000 of them black, only eight months to build! Travel back to 1942 as they bulldoze their way into history while connecting the Lower 48 to the Alaskan Territory.




Modern Marvels

Aqueducts: Man Made Rivers of Life

Many rivers quenched the thirst of millions in the American west and around the world. Without these aqueducts, some of the earth's largest cities would turn into gigantic ghost towns.




Modern Marvels

Lake Pontchartrain Causeway

In the land of Mardi Gras, jambalaya, and zydeco, exists an engineering marvel called the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway that seems to go on forever. Two ribbons of concrete span the largest inland body of water in Louisiana, and at nearly 23.87 and 23.88 miles long, these two spans form the world's longest automobile bridge. At midpoint--12 miles out--water surrounds travelers who are unable to see either shoreline. The bridge is so long, it actually transverses 1/1000th of the earth's circumference!




Modern Marvels

Then and Now: Aswan Dam

In 1954, Gamal Abdel Nasser, the Arab Republic of Egypt's first prime minister, had a plan to bring his poor country into the 20th century. To pull it off, he needed to harness the flow of the world's longest river--the Nile. The ambitious plan called for construction of a high dam in southern Egypt at Aswan. But the builders of the pyramids and the Suez Canal were no strangers to large undertakings. We'll see how the Aswan High Dam socially, politically, culturally, and agriculturally affected Egypt.




Modern Marvels

The Atlantic Wall

Join us for an exploration of the Nazi construction called the Atlantic Wall - 3,000 miles of shore fortifications along occupied European coastline. We'll highlight the logistics of construction, types of fortifications, weapons and obstacles in the walled used by the Germans. We also detail the Allied D-Day invasion.




Modern Marvels

The Tennessee Valley Authority

During the depths of the Depression, it was FDR's greatest triumph: A massive public works project that took a 40,000 square mile, disaster-prone river basin, and turned it into a model of industrial progress.




Modern Marvels


There is no more potent demonstration of man's resolve than the design and construction of tunnels--avenues that slice through a conspiracy of elements in the single-minded determination to connect two points. Whether underwater, blasted through solid rock, or negotiating the shifting strata of earth's unstable crust, we explore the design and engineering of famous tunnels...and the motivation behind them.




Modern Marvels

Tunnels of Vietnam

Here is the heroic story of a daring band of infantry soldiers, the "Tunnel Rats", charged with a daring mission--to search for, find, and destroy a secret subterranean network of enemy tunnels in Vietnam. Armed with only a flashlight, valor, and a .45, they faced a determined foe and overcame lethal odds, uncovering secret enemy arms and intelligence caches. Tragically, many of these volunteers died and others were seriously wounded on this terrifying suicide mission.