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NOVA
Mystery of Easter Island

 

A remote, bleak speck of rock in the Pacific, Easter Island, or Rapa Nui, has mystified the world ever since the first Europeans arrived in 1722. How and why did the ancient islanders build and move nearly 900 giant statues, or moai, weighing as much as 86 tons each? And how did they transform a presumed paradise into a treeless wasteland, bringing ruin upon their island and themselves? NOVA explores controversial recent claims that challenge decades of previous thinking about the islanders, who have been accused of everything from ecocide to cannibalism. Among the radical new theories is that the islanders used ropes to “walk” the statues upright, like moving a fridge. With the help of an accurate 15-ton replica statue, a NOVA team sets out to test this high-risk, seemingly unlikely theory – serving up plenty of action and surprises in this fresh investigation of one of the ancient world’s most intriguing enigmas.

 

NATURE
The Last Orangutan Eden

 

Ecologist Chris Morgan travels to the jungles of Northern Sumatra to document the efforts to save its wild orangutan population, which is quickly dwindling due to deforestation. Morgan spends time with orphaned orangs at rehabilitation centers observing the process of teaching them the survival skills they’ll need to be released back into the wild. He also travels to a peat swamp forest known as Suaq Balimbing to work with a team of experienced researchers. Morgan is immersed in a unique social band of wild orangs that uses tools, shares food, forages together and creates their own distinct culture. Advanced cameras follow the orangs throughout the canopy to provide an intimate, clear picture of how these arboreal apes spend their days and nights and interact with one another.

 

NOVA
Vaccines: Calling the Shots

 

Diseases that were largely eradicated in the United States a generation ago – including whooping cough, measles and mumps – are returning, in part because nervous parents are skipping their children’s shots. Go around the world to track epidemics, explore the science behind vaccinations and discover the risks of opting out.

 

NOVA
Inside Animal Minds: Bird Genius

NOVA Inside Animal Minds: Bird Genius

 

Today, researchers are discovering that some creatures have mastered skills purportedly restricted to humans. Many are bird brains. Meet a cockatoo with a talent for picking locks; a wild crow on a mission to solve an eight-step puzzle; and a tame raven who can solve a puzzle box so quickly that his performance has to be captured with high-speed photography. Are these skills really evidence of high intelligence or just parlor tricks, the result of training and instinct?‌ To find out, NOVA tests the limits of some of the planet’s brainiest animals, searching for the secrets of a problem-solving mind.

 

 

ART IN THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY
Investigation

 

Providing unique access to some of the most compelling artists of our time, Season 7 of ART IN THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY features a dozen artists from the United States, Europe and Latin America, and transports viewers to artistic projects across the country and around the world. In locations as diverse as a Bronx public housing project, a military testing facility in the Nevada desert, a jazz festival in Sweden and an activist neighborhood in Mexico, the artists reveal intimate and personal insights into their lives and creative processes.


Investigation
Can acts of engagement and exploration be works of art in themselves‌ Leonardo Drew, Thomas Hirschhorn and Graciela Iturbide use their practices as tools for personal and intellectual discovery, simultaneously documenting and producing new realities in the process.