Modern Marvels

#1 - Packaging

Season 16 - Episode 1

It's all around us--so much a part of our lives that we forget it's there. But try to survive a single day without packaging. This episode reveals the astounding technology and ingenuity required to create our packaged world. At a Michigan company that designs water bottles, we'll show you how engineers find their inspiration from a bell pepper. In New Jersey, the makers of bubble Wrap clue you in on their manufacturing secrets. In Texas, workers conquer the challenge of packaging the world's largest crane. And you'll also see how America's military goods and supplies are packaged and shipped by the United States Transportation Command. Other stories include a new easy to open package that's the cure for "wrap rage"--and how NASA engineers packed a fragile humanoid robot for a trip into orbit.

#2 - More Ice (Dupe from Specials)

Season 18 - Episode 99

It traps a treasure of energy on the ocean floor, and confounds scientists still trying to solve why it’s so slippery. We’ll venture inside NASA’s Icing Research Tunnel in Ohio, and then it’s off to Salt Lake City’s Olympic Oval which boasts “the fastest ice on Earth.” Dive to the ocean floor to collect and analyze a unique form of ice called methane clathrates–cages of ice encasing pressurized natural gas. Scientists believe that if only one percent of the world’s ice-entrapped methane could be harvested, it would more than double our current supply of natural gas. Other highlights include the search for extraterrestrial ice and a trip inside the studio of a chainsaw-wielding artist as he sculpts a masterpiece.

#3 - Containers

Season 12 - Episode 1

They hold just about everything we need, from condiments to cargo. Made of steel, aluminum, paper and glass, they protect and preserve. They're underground and above ground, they journey around the world. They've revolutionized civilization.

#4 - Failed Inventions 7.00

Season 8 - Episode 1

Dreamers and schemers try an odd assortment of flawed ideas for inventions. Start with the cars--cars that fly, cars that float, cars with jet engines. That's just the tip of the iceberg. Here are homes that look like nothing you've ever seen and clothes too strange for even the most radical fashion runway, including rocket belts and radium-infused garments. Some of these creations were too far ahead of their time, and others were just plain bad ideas, but there's a fascinating tale behind each one, and FAILED INVENTIONS celebrates those occasions when necessity mothers a notion that only its creator could love.

#5 - Guns Of The Russian Military

Season 10 - Episode 1

Forged in Europe's shadow, Russian small arms were once dismissed as crude copies. Often lacking the finish of Western counterparts, Russian guns have been battle-proven worldwide, with their emphasis on robustness and simplicity of design. Review the long history of Russian small arms--from Peter the Great to the Cold War.

#6 - Tiny Weapons

Season 17 - Episode 1

"Tiny" weapons may not sound impressive...but small can kill, and it can also be easily concealed. From a pocket pistol used by the a submachine gun wielded by a a carbine in the hands of an Army Ranger, many of today's most effective weapons are smaller than ever. They can fit in your pocket, fly through the air, even break through walls--tiny weapons are an essential part of battle, self-defense, and spreading terror.

#7 - Balls

Season 13 - Episode 1

From professional sports to the playground, balls have been a way of life for generations. Explore the research, development, technology and performance of balls as they spin through our sporting lives, bouncing evenly, spiraling tightly, and careening off our feet, bats, racquets and clubs. Tour the Wilson Football Factory and the Rawling's Costa Rica Baseball Factory as well as visit the National Soccer Hall of Fame and the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y.

#8 - Mega Speed Countdown

Season 19 - Episode 1

Modern Marvels is going big, and counting down. We take the "best of" Modern Marvels and give you the MEGA Top 10 countdown. On this edition: Speed. It's a pure adrenaline rush as we race the top 10 fastest marvels we've featured down to the speediest of all.

#9 - Proving Grounds

Season 7 - Episode 1

Where can you fire a missile without scaring the neighbors? Or lift millions of pounds in pursuit of a couple of ounces of gold? On a proving ground, of course, where performance is the only thing that matters. Because in the heat of battle or head-to-head competition, no excuses can be given. We'll visit the US military's Cold Regions Testing Center in Alaska and desert proving grounds in Arizona, the Olympic Complex in Colorado, and the now-defunct Packard proving grounds in Michigan.

#10 - Trans-Siberian Railroad

Season 9 - Episode 1

It's the longest, most expensive and complicated railroad ever built. Ordered by the Tsar in an effort to save his empire and unify his country at the twilight of the 19th century, the Trans-Siberian Railroad nearly tore Russia apart. Intended in part for defense, the railroad provoked a war, crossed great lengths over treacherous terrain, and encountered logistical and economic failures. Ironically, "enemies of the state" built the railroad--men sentenced to hard labor in Siberian prisons.

#11 - Airships

Season 5 - Episode 2

They are among the most romantic machines ever built, enormous craft held aloft by lighter-than-air gas trapped beneath their vast skins. In the 20th century, they have played a vital role in war, transportation and commerce and been involved in one of the most famous tragedies of all time. This episode tells the story of the inventors and innovations behind these fascinating flyers. Discover what distinguishes a blimp from a balloon from a zeppelin, and watch the footage of the Hindenburg's fiery destruction in New Jersey. Find out how the lessons learned during the heyday of lighter-than-air travel are sewing the seeds for a renaissance today and go aboard the new breed of Zeppelin that is once again taking to the skies over Europe.

#12 - Commercial Jets

Season 7 - Episode 2

Fasten your seatbelts as we take off on a flight through the history of commercial aviation--from the first jet passenger plane, the de Havilland Comet, to today's wide-body jets and supersonic Concorde. It's a story of high-tech worldwide competition among a field of high-stakes players. Billion-dollar deals ride on cutting-edge designs. Pilots train for hours in ground-based simulators, while computers fly the planes. We also catch a glimpse of the double-decker flying hotels of the future.

#13 - The F-15

Season 10 - Episode 2

The F-15 Eagle proves its superiority in Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom.

#14 - Mount Rushmore

Season 2 - Episode 2

Towering over the Black Hills of South Dakota, Mount Rushmore was the vision of Gutzon Borglum, a combative and fiercely talented young sculptor. To elicit public support for his dream, Borglum whipped American patriotism into a frenzy, finally securing the financing he needed to embark on the creation of his awe-inspiring monument. Over the course of 15 years, 350 men poured their sweat into Borglum's vision, using drills and explosives to chisel Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln and Roosevelt into the massive granite cliff. Here is the controversial history of this unorthodox masterpiece, including the remarkable design specifications, the tragedies and setbacks that marred its construction, and the awe it inspires to this day.

#15 - Stealth Technology

Season 3 - Episode 2

The Pentagon denied its existence until the President blew the cover. One of the most expensive projects in military history, it was attacked as an extravagant waste. But the billions of dollars and long years of development paid off during the Gulf War. Night after night, F-117 Stealth Fighters performed their deadly missions undetected by Iraq's multi-billion dollar radar system.Modern Marvels takes to the skies with the most advanced planes ever built. Learn how the radical design and cutting-edge technology of the F-117 and its larger cousin, the B-2 Bomber, allow these planes to avoid detection by even the most sophisticated radar systems. In exclusive interviews, Air Force officials and company executives recall the long struggle to perfect an "invisible" airplane, and combat pilots reveal what it is like to pilot the most effective strike aircraft ever built.

#16 - Empire State Building

Season 1 - Episode 2

The Empire State building rose to become the world's tallest man-made structure at a time when dreams were in short supply. Planned during the 1920s, construction was almost grounded by the Depression until the "Cathedral of Dreams" came to symbolize the indomitable American spirit. "Two stories a day" became the mission. Up went the rivets, the steel and the fearless men. In just two years the miracle of engineering was finished, justifying a nation's belief in itself. Here is the colorful story of this beloved building, including the innovations it inspired, and its enduring popularity today. From the first plans to the final rivet, explore the incredible story of the EMPIRE STATE BUILDING.

#17 - Carbon

Season 14 - Episode 2

Carbon is the chemical basis of all known life and yet this simple element is also the foundation of modern technology. Carbon burns hotter, cuts deeper, insulates more thoroughly and absorbs more fully than any other material. See why carbon is the key both in heavy-duty industries, as well as in tools like the graphite pencil, the charcoal water filter, and the diamond saw blade.

#18 - Grease

Season 16 - Episode 2

In our lifelong battle to fight friction, Grease--in all its forms--is the unsung hero. Journey deep into places few people ever get to see, to discover the "hidden" uses of one of our most slippery products inside giant machines. We'll also investigate how it's made in a factory in New York, as well as what new advances some are working towards for grease of the future. But in the meantime, we'll witness how it is currently used inside a US Navy aircraft carrier, San Francisco's famous cable cars, elevators and escalators, assembly lines, huge excavators, amusement park rides, and even the Panama Canal. From pig fat to nano-particles... amazing Grease keeps everything rolling along--smooth and fast.

#19 - Built by Hand

Season 18 - Episode 2

We live in a highly mechanized world in which billions of products are made by machines--but there are some things that can be built only by using an even more sophisticated tool--the human hand.

#20 - The Transcontinental Railroad

Season 1 - Episode 3

On a somber day in Gettysburg, Abraham Lincoln ended his famous address with a promise that the war-torn nation would be reborn. The greatest symbol of that rebirth had already begun, hailed as an engineering feat to rival the pyramids the construction of the Transcontinental Railroad. Its construction was an engineering marvel and a technological nightmare. The Union Pacific built westward from Omaha, and the Central Pacific eastward from Sacramento, hoping they would someday meet. The work crept inch by grueling inch across the forbidding continent and the treacherous Sierras. Here is the epic tale of the struggle to forge an iron link across the untamed West, and the only engineering feat to spawn an American folk tale: the legend of John Henry. After a decade of work, on May 10, 1869 at Promontory, Utah, as the last symbolic spike linking the two railways was driven, a nation was united and forever transformed.

#21 - The NYC Subway

Season 5 - Episode 3

New York subway system's riders, workers and street performers make it a microcosm of city life.

#22 - Private Jets (1)

Season 8 - Episode 3

From today's ultra chic, state-of-the-art private jets to Lockheed's 1957 Jetstar, this 2-part special investigates the history, the luxury, and technology of America's corporate jets. We meet a few of the men and women who pioneered them--Bill Lear, Clyde Cessna and his nephews, Walter and Olive Beech.

#23 - Pacific Coast Highway

Season 10 - Episode 3

For 25 years, construction crews dug, blasted, tunneled, and bridged their way up America's West Coast along the California, Oregon, and Washington shoreline to build the Pacific Coast Highway. Historians, road and bridge engineers, and experts relate this story of perseverance, primal machines, convict labor, and engineering brilliance as we tour its scenic route. And we look at the latest technologies used to keeping it running despite floods, earthquakes, tsunamis, and landslides.

#24 - Tennessee Valley Authority

Season 2 - Episode 3

During the depths of the Great Depression, it was FDR's greatest triumph: A massive public works project that took a 40,000 square mile, disaster-prone river basin, and turned it into a model of industrial progress.

#25 - 90's Tech

Season 14 - Episode 3

The decade opened up the information superhighway and for the first time, people could shop, search, and surf online with the click of a mouse. Take a trip to the end of the 20th century and the beginning of today technologies.