Rhode Island PBS presents three new NOVA episodes in January. NOVA airs on Mondays at 9 p.m. (with rebroadcast the following Thursdays at 4 a.m.)
January 14 - Doomsday Volcanoes
Now, an even more threatening Icelandic volcano, Katla, has begun to swell and grumble. Two more giants, Hekla and Laki, could erupt without warning. Iceland is a ticking time bomb: When it blows, the consequences could be global.
As CGI takes us inside these geological monsters, we meet atmospheric scientists who are working to understand just how devastating an eruption could be—not just for air travel but for the global food supply and for Earth's climate. Could we be plunged into years of cold and famine? What can we do to prepare for the disaster to come?
January 21 - Decoding Neanderthals
More than 60,000 years ago, the first modern humans—people physically identical to us today—left their African homeland and entered Europe, then a bleak and inhospitable continent in the grip of the Ice Age. But when they arrived, they were not alone: the stocky, powerfully built Neanderthals had already been living there for hundred of thousands of years.
So what happened when the first modern humans encountered the Neanderthals? Did we make love or war?
That question has tantalized generations of scholars and seized the popular imagination. Then, in 2010, a team led by geneticist Svante Paabo announced stunning news. Not only had they reconstructed much of the Neanderthal genome—an extraordinary technical feat that would have seemed impossible only a decade ago—but their analysis showed that "we" modern humans had interbred with Neanderthals, leaving a small but consistent signature of Neanderthal genes behind in everyone outside Africa today.
In Decoding Neanderthals, NOVA explores the implications of this exciting discovery. In the traditional view, Neanderthals differed from us in behavior and capabilities as well as anatomy. But were they really mentally inferior, as inexpressive and clumsy as the cartoon caveman they inspired?
NOVA explores a range of intriguing new evidence for Neanderthal self-expression and language, all pointing to the fact that we may have seriously underestimated our mysterious, long-vanished human cousins.
January 28 - Rise of the Drones
But now, with rare access to drone engineers and those who fly them for the U.S. military, NOVA reveals the amazing technologies that make drones so powerful as we see how a remotely-piloted drone strike looks and feels from inside the command center.
From cameras that can capture every detail of an entire city at a glance to swarming robots that can make decisions on their own, to giant air frames that can stay aloft for days on end, drones are changing our relationship to war, surveillance, and each other.
And it's just the beginning. Discover the cutting edge technologies that are propelling us toward a new chapter in aviation history as NOVA gets ready for Rise of the Drones.
WSBE Rhode Island PBS transmits standard-definition (SD) and high-definition (HD) programming over the air on digital 36.1; on Rhode Island cable services: Cox 08 / 1008HD, Verizon FiOS 08 / 508HD, Full Channel 08; on Massachusetts cable services: Comcast 819HD, Verizon 18 / 518HD; on satellite: DirecTV 36 / 3128HD, Dish Network 7776.
WSBE Learn transmits over the air on digital 36.2; on cable: Cox 808, Verizon 478, Full Channel 109, Comcast 294 or 312.