Most famous for her seminal novel The Color Purple, writer/activist Alice Walker celebrates her 70th birthday. Born February 9, 1944, into a family of sharecroppers in rural Georgia, she came of age during the violent racism and seismic social changes of mid-20th-century America. Her mother, poverty and participation in the civil rights movement were the formative influences on her consciousness, becoming the inherent themes in her writing. The first African-American woman to win a Pulitzer Prize for Literature, Walker continues to shine a light on global human rights issues.
One World Trade Center, the tallest building in the western hemisphere and a famous modern landmark, is engineered to be the safest and strongest skyscraper ever built. This episode follows the final year of exterior construction, culminating with the milestone of reaching the symbolic height of 1,776 feet. For head of construction Steve Plate, as well as scientists, engineers, ironworkers and curtain wall installers, this is a construction job suffused with the history of the site and a sense of duty to rebuild from the ashes of Ground Zero.
Beneath the streets of Rome lies an ancient city of the dead known as the catacombs — a labyrinth of tunnels, hundreds of miles long — a cemetery for the citizens of ancient Rome. In 2002, maintenance workers stumbled through an opening in one of the tunnel walls and discovered a previously unknown complex of six small rooms, each stacked floor to ceiling with skeletons. It was a mass grave, locked away for nearly 2,000 years. Who were these people? Why were so many interred in one place, piled atop each other? And most important, what killed them?
Ducks fly through the air on short stubby wings — traveling in large, energy-efficient formations over thousands of miles. There are some 120 species of them, representing a wide variety of shapes, sizes and behaviors. Some are noisy and gregarious, others shy and elusive. They are familiar animals we think we know. But most of us don’t really know these phenomenal, sophisticated creatures at all.