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The Memorial Plaques | NOVA Online

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The names of the victims of September 11 are inscribed on 152 bronze panels that will line the 9/11 Memorial. In this video from NOVA Online, take a tour of the plant where the panels are fabricated with co-owner Jim Moretti to learn how these beautiful plaques are made.

Grass Bridge

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The ancient Inca were a textile society and thus skilled in working with natural fibers including alpaca and cotton. Still, it might surprise people today that their solution to crossing the canyons and gorges of their mountainous empire featured another fibrous material: grass. When you consider how they built a simple suspension bridge, you'll realize that not only was this a practical solution, it was also a safe one. In this video segment adapted from NOVA, watch residents of the Peruvian Andes as they build a traditional and functioning grass bridge—the likes of which enabled the ancient Inca people to flourish for several hundred years.

How the Ancient Egyptian Pyramids Were Built

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Explore how and why the pyramids were built in ancient Egypt and analyze the architectural breakthroughs necessary to build ever-larger pyramids and the religious purpose for building them in these two video segments from NOVA: This Old Pyramid. Pyramids were more than monuments for the people who built them; they were doorways to the afterlife for the pharaoh.

NOVA: Percy Julian: Forgotten Genius | Getting an Education

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Learn about the education of chemist Percy Julian. Julian's early educational years paralleled an educational movement that prepared African Americans for industrial jobs, the growing white supremacist movement, and the rise of the Ku Klux Klan. Julian would eventually move north, and finally to Europe to earn his Ph.D. Explore more about this topic, from the NOVA program Percy Julian: Forgotten Genius.

This video is available in both English and Spanish audio, along with corresponding closed captions.

NOVA: To The Moon | How Do You Get to the Moon?

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During the Apollo 11 mission, Neil Armstrong became the first human to set foot on the Moon. This video, adapted from NOVA, details the three competing mission plans considered for landing a manned spacecraft on the lunar surface and focuses on how the Moon's low-gravity conditions and lack of atmosphere influenced the design and manufacture of the landing craft.

The Secret Lives of Hackers

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Learn about different types of hackers with this video from the NOVA Cybersecurity Lab. Hacking is solving problems in creative or unexpected ways. Hacks have been used for everything from Galileo’s telescope to Apollo 13. Similarly, there are many reasons that people hack computers. Some are just curious about how systems work, others hack to find and fix security flaws before they are exploited by criminals. Some hackers have bad intentions fueled by greed, attention, or rebellion. There are some hackers who have good intentions, but use questionable methods of getting information. “Hacking” isn’t good or bad – it depends on how and why people hack.

Cyber Codes

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Learn how encryption keeps online information private in this video from the NOVA Cybersecurity Lab. Your messages are coded by email programs and websites to prevent others from reading them. Codes have been used in messages for centuries.  Caesar sent coded messages to his military in ancient Rome. In the 1940s, the Allied forces cracked the German Enigma Code, saving lives during World War II. Today, emails are protected through public-key cryptography, which uses numbers from both the sending and receiving email servers to create a key. However, not all online activity is encrypted and in some cases your browsing history, text messages, and data from apps can be intercepted.

NOVA Online | Reflections on the 9/11 Memorial

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Hear what visitors to the National September 11 Memorial have to say about their experience with the structure, and see some of the features they describe. After years of planning and construction, the 9/11 Memorial opened to the public on September 12, 2011. In this short video from NOVA Online, visitors describe the memorial as dignified, beautiful, and like the pyramids.

NOVA Online | Rebuilding 7 World Trade Center

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Learn about changes to the design of 7 World Trade Center, the first tower rebuilt at Ground Zero after the 9/11 terror attacks. In this video from NOVA Online, developer Larry Silverstein explains why he and architect David Childs made changes to the original design. The building opened in May, 2006. It is 1.7-million square feet and 52-stories high. Silverstein?s firm, Silverstein Properties, is on the 38th Floor.

Cybersecurity 101

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Learn why protecting your information online is crucial with this video from the NOVA Cybersecurity Lab. The Internet was originally designed to connect large computers at universities, businesses, and governments. It grew exponentially once personal computers became common in the 1980s. Connecting to the Internet leaves computers vulnerable. People can use computers to delete data, spread viruses, or even steal someone’s identity. The good news is that there are several ways to stay safe online. You can learn about protecting information by trying coding, password cracking, and spotting email scams in NOVA’s Cybersecurity Lab.

Note: Animation includes illustrated guns.

Energy Transfer in a Trebuchet

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In this video segment adapted from NOVA, a team of historians, engineers, and trade experts recreate a medieval throwing machine called a trebuchet. To launch a projectile, a trebuchet utilizes the transfer of gravitational potential energy into kinetic energy. A massive counterweight at one end of a lever falls because of gravity, causing the other end of the lever to rise and release a projectile from a sling. As part of their design process, the engineers use models to help evaluate how well their designs will work.

This video is available in both English and Spanish audio, along with corresponding closed captions.

Avalanche Town

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In 1995, an avalanche overran an unsuspecting fishing village in Iceland, killing 20 of its residents. Although avalanches are a common occurrence in the region, this was the first avalanche in this village's history to travel as far as the city center. In this video segment adapted from NOVA, learn more about the Iceland avalanche and how engineers plan to protect the village from future avalanches.

Oil Spill: Exxon Valdez, 1989

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Coastlines serve as both physical and biological frontiers between land and sea. They are highly vulnerable to pollution from contaminated rivers as well as from urban waste and industrial products that are discharged at sea and wash up on shore. This video segment adapted from NOVA features one of the largest oil spills in history: the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska's Prince William Sound, the costliest industrial accident to date.

NOVA Online | Shabbat Elevator

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Rabbi Manish Spitz, hotel manager Skip Kearney, and others explain how one hotel in Miami Beach accommodates Orthodox Jews, who are forbidden by ancient law from using electricity on the Sabbath. In this video from NOVA Online, they explain how the maintenance staff adjusts the elevator's mechanisms to run automatically so that people can get to their rooms on higher floors. They also impose a timer on the door so that no electricity is expended in detecting people who may be entering or exiting the elevator.

Raising an Obelisk: An Engineering Puzzle

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In this video segment adapted from NOVA, two teams test out two theories put forth by archaeologists to explain how ancient Egyptians might have raised massive obelisks to stable, upright positions. While only one plan works in practice, both attempts demonstrate that difficult challenges require careful planning.

This video is available in both English and Spanish audio, along with corresponding closed captions.

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