Friday, 2 a.m. and 10 a.m. Science
For centuries, people have used fire to sustain life, to worship God, to annihilate enemies and to create technologies that run the world. Discover how both civilization and science were created from playing with fire.
Saturday, 5:30 p.m. WMPT
"The Root of It All." The nutria, a large South American animal introduced to the Eastern Shore of Maryland to bolster the fur trade, escaped years ago into the wild and ate thousands of acres of precious marsh grass. A recent report says that the nutria has been eradicated from Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge's fragile tidal ecosystem.
"Journey of the Longnecks." In years past, numbers of Canada geese in Maryland were down. Experts at the Maryland Department of Natural Resources blamed poor weather at the birds' northern nesting grounds and even overhunting. Now, new management programs are helping the population grow.
"Flying to Freedom." Volunteer Mary Graul flies her airplane on missions for the National Aquarium in Baltimore -- whether to release baby sea turtles that have been rescued and nursed back to health or to carry experts skyward to get a count of dolphin populations off Ocean City.
Saturday, 7 p.m. (Repeats Sunday, 3 a.m. and 11 a.m.) Science
"Engineering Against Earthquakes." Each new earthquake takes a fresh toll of life and buildings. Engineers sift through the wreckage for clues that may help improve construction techniques. Earthquake-resistant buildings may use computer-controlled materials in the future.
Breaking Down Back Pain
Sunday, 7 p.m. (Repeats Monday, 3 a.m. and 11 a.m.) Discovery Times
Backaches appear to be a modern epidemic. Sixty-five million Americans complain of suffering from back pain. More people seek a quick fix to end the pain and are going under the knife. Spinal fusion surgeries have tripled in the last decade alone.
Tuesday, 7:30 p.m. (Repeats Thursday, 5:30 a.m., and Dec. 18, 5:30 p.m.) WMPT
"Stompin' the Swamp." An ancient swamp in Calvert County brings out the curious and hearty as young and old alike stomp through the swamp to find the granddaddy cypress of them all.
"Buy a Landslide." Calvert Cliffs is the site of a classic environmental conflict. What's more important -- the federally endangered tiger beetle living in the cliffs, the people whose homes are in danger of falling into the Chesapeake Bay as the cliffs erode; or the rare fossils regularly found in the cliffs? Who goes and who stays?
"A Wild Dinner." A mountain man of Garrett County origin leads the Outdoors Maryland viewer through the woods and meadows as he collects ingredients for a wild dinner.
Thursday, 8:33 a.m., WYPR (88.1 public radio).
"Building a Telescope in Africa." Hosts are Jim O'Leary, senior director of technology, IMAX and Davis Planetarium at the Maryland Science Center, and Carol Christian, deputy head of the Community Missions Office of the Space Telescope Science Institute.
Read Sun science writer Frank Roylance's weather and astronomy blog, updated daily at marylandweather.com.