Thursday, April 5, 2012

"Hunting the Elements"...lots of flash and a glowing error

A two-hour special was aired yesterday on NOVA hosted by David Pogue.

Program Description

Where do nature’s building blocks, called the elements, come from? They’re the hidden ingredients of everything in our world, from the carbon in our bodies to the metals in our smartphones. To unlock their secrets, David Pogue, the lively host of NOVA’s popular "Making Stuff" series and technology correspondent of The New York Times, spins viewers through the world of weird, extreme chemistry: the strongest acids, the deadliest poisons, the universe’s most abundant elements, and the rarest of the rare—substances cooked up in atom smashers that flicker into existence for only fractions of a second.

Why are some elements like platinum or gold inert while others like phosphorus or potassium violently explosive? Why are some vital to every breath we take while others are lethal toxins that killed off their discoverers such as Marie Curie? As he digs for answers, Pogue reveals the story of the elements to be a rich stew simmering with passion, madness, and obsessive scientific rivalry. Punctuated by surprising and often alarming experiments, this program takes NOVA on a roller-coaster ride through nature’s hidden lab and the compelling stories of discovery that revealed its secrets.

Frankly, this program was all flash [literally] and worthless drama with an over abundance of one liner comedic[?] jokes. Lots of big trucks hauling dirt, industrial refining machinery, salted popcorn, and one glowing error. It was claimed that the noble elements are non-reactive. Not true for one. As far back as 1963 a chemical, xenon tetraflouride, was formed. [I also noticed that sodium metal was not stored properly. And there was a political slam towards China in regards to rare earth elements.]

See the website

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