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September 1, 2015


CNN drops space and science; Miles O'Brien looking for a job

by Bob Sassone, posted Dec 4th 2008 1:27PM
Miles O'BrienAfter 16 years, Miles O'Brien is leaving CNN.

The reason? CNN has decided to get rid of their science/tech/environment/space division, because nothing ever happens in science, technology, the environment, or space. The network says that they're getting rid of the division because the "Planet in Peril" series already covers all of that stuff, and they'll just integrate the rest of the science coverage into their regular news. Translation: more cost-cutting in the news business.

It's kind of sad to see O'Brien go. Just a couple of years ago he was the co-host of American Morning with Soledad O'Brien, and then he lost that gig and went back to covering space and technology, and now that coverage is gone. It was always good to have him around for space shuttle launches and for his expertise when their was a problem with a plane or a plane crash.

I'm sure they'll still cover space shuttle launches, but now they'll be hosted by D.L. Hughley and Nancy Grace. (Kidding)

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Sundance channel has two new eco-series

by Kristin Sample, posted May 21st 2008 9:05AM
sundance logoYesterday, the Sundance Channel unveiled two new summer eco-series additions to its reality block The Green. Outrageous Wasters, which begins July 1st at 9 p.m. ET, is a four-part series that follows a family as they get a crash course in living green. And the second season of It's Not Easy Being Green premieres July 29th at 9 p.m. ET. This show follows three experts as they travel around Britain helping people reach their eco-goals.

"International television networks have been ahead of the pack in creating upbeat and entertaining green programming. Sundance Channel's THE GREEN block is the perfect place to showcase these lively, fun and sometimes outrageous eco-reality shows from around the globe," so says Sundance Channel EVP and GM Programming and Creative Affairs, Laura Michalchyshyn.

Is this programming progressive? Does it focus on important issues? Yes, of course. Will it be entertaining? Well, that remains to be seen. Do these shows sound like something you'd watch this summer?

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Lenovo's lower power PC could make a great media center PC

by Brad Linder, posted Sep 12th 2007 7:00PM
Lenovo ThinkCentre A61e
If you've got a home theater PC, there's a good chance it's on all the time. Even if it hibernates or sleeps when you're not using it, the PC can run at all hours of the day and night as it records shows, downloads updates or runs video compression routines. That can be bad for your energy bill and the environment.

While Lenovo's new ThinkCentre A61e PC looks a bit like a VCR from 1987, it might be worth considering as the basis for a media center PC. The low-power machine reportedly runs pretty quiet and has extremely low power consumption. In fact, you can even get an optional solar panel to provide energy for your PC the natural way. The machine is also constructed using up to 90 percent recycled materials and shipped with up to 90 percent recycled packaging.

The A61e comes in low power AMD Athlon 64 X2 dual core processor and AMD single core Sempron varieties. Prices start at $399, but you'll need to slap a TV tuner in there, and perhaps beef up the hard drive in order to make a good PVR out of this PC.

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Robert Redford launches eco-community through Sundance Channel

by Anna Johns, posted Apr 17th 2007 3:20PM
the greenThere's a new series of environmental programming on Sundance Channel called The Green, and it's all about ways that people can reduce their impact on the earth. I caught a preview of one show, called Big Ideas for a Small Planet last weekend on Discovery Channel and found it to be interesting stuff. The episode I saw focused on modular homes that take fewer resources to build than on-site homes. They look pretty rad, too, and kind-of break the mold of the old trailer park home that is not sustainable.

The approach that the producers seem to be taking in this series is not at all preachy or meant to cause you to feel guilt. I was very impressed by the way it focused more on the innovative technology and out-of-the-box thinking by the designers of the eco-friendly modular homes, rather than hammering me with statistics about how many resources our homes consume.

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Independent Lens: A Fish Story - an early look

by Adam Finley, posted Jan 2nd 2007 2:36PM

a fish storyIn the 1980s, everyone was talking about the farm crisis. You heard about it on the news, celebrities came out to voice their support for farmers, and sometimes the topic would even make it into the scripts of some TV shows. It was the "Cause of the Week" so to speak.

Those of us who actually lived on a farm, however, had a perspective no one else had, no matter how many news specials they watched or magazine articles they read. It's one thing to know what's happening; it's another thing to experience it first hand.

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Living with Ed: Meet the Begleys

by Adam Finley, posted Jan 1st 2007 6:08PM

ed begley jr(S01E01) Ed Begley, Jr. loves the environment. In fact, his love for Mother Earth often overshadows his acting career, and after watching HGTV's sneak preview of the new reality series Living with Ed, you get the feeling he's just fine with that.

The new series, which slips into its regular timeslot of Sundays at 10pm starting January 7, follows Ed and his wife Rachelle, who suffers her husbands tenacity with light sarcasm and good humor. She sums up her predicament quite well when she says, "I married into a lifestyle."

The "lifestyle" is one in which her husband cooks on a solar grill, hoses "smog dust" off the solar panels on his roof, times her while she's in the shower, and drives an electric car to the Academy Awards. Rachelle is not always happy with Ed valuing environment over aesthetics, complaining that he always picks out the ugliest environmentally-friendly things he can find. Whether Begley's lifestyle is overkill or not, I can't help but admire a man who actually practices what he preaches.

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Leo DiCaprio developing a 'green' reality show

by Anna Johns, posted Oct 17th 2006 12:29PM
leonrado dicaprioMovie actor and political activist Leonardo DiCaprio is helping develop a reality show that is meant to raise awareness about the environment. The show, called E-topia, is about an American town that transforms into an environmentally friendly "utopia of tomorrow". It sounds like the conflict in the show is expected to come when construction workers try to build under the direction of some very passionate eco-idealists, planners and architects. The series is currently being shopped around to the networks.

While the message is undeniably important, it also may be a little too preachy to be called 'reality television'. Since when does reality television carry a positive message? The genre is forever aligned with shows like Laguna Beach, Big Brother, The Bachelor and Survivor. If anything, it sounds like a documentary series meant for Discovery Channel or HGTV.

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Project Runway: Waste Not, Want Not

by Annie Wu, posted Aug 17th 2006 7:34AM
Project Runway(S03E06) After Heidi told the designers that they've had it relatively easy all season, she sent them to Newark, New Jersey to learn about their new, tougher challenge. There, Tim presented them with several massive mounds of mylar and peanut bags and paper. The designers were challenged to create an outfit out of three bins' worth of this recyclable material. Plus, they had a budget of only $25 (limited to only art supplies) and had to finish it by midnight that night (instead of their normal two days). Crunch time!

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Brad Pitt's voice coming to PBS

by Anna Johns, posted Mar 29th 2006 9:36AM
brad pitt; pbsBrad Pitt will lend his voice to a PBS series about architecture. The series, called Design: e2, is about environmentally friendly architecture, which is a passion of his. The producers of the program are over the moon about Pitt coming on board, saying, "His involvement will allow us to educate more viewers than we had ever hoped about the importance of green building."

Brad's Fight Club buddy, Edward Norton, narrated and even appeared in a PBS series last year called National Geographic's Strange Days on Planet Earth. While it had nothing to do with architecture, it was along the same environmental awareness lines as Pitt's gig.

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I'm digging It's A Big, Big World

by Adam Finley, posted Jan 23rd 2006 12:03PM
it's a big big worldWay back in July and August I mentioned the new PBS series from Bear in the Big Blue House creator Mitchell Kriegman called It's a Big, Big World. At the time the show was still in production and facing a writers strike. I pretty much forgot all about the show when it finally aired, but I've since caught a few episodes, and I must say, it's quite impressive, at least visually. The show uses a technique called "shadowmation" which combines puppetry with animated backgrounds using what appears to be a blue screen effect. The result is a varicolored jungle world that jumps off the screen like a pop-up book. The environmental message of the show is a good one as well, even if it does get a little too "kumbaya" at times.

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