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Documentaries I Like: Frontline

Frontline screenshotFrontline is a PBS documentary series that has consistently offered the best reporting on a huge range of topics for over 25 years. Since 1983, Frontline has produced more than 480 documentaries on everything from politics to religion to personal finance. I can enthusiastically say Frontline produces documentaries I like, though I will caution that their war coverage in recent years has been so grim that it's often hard to watch.

Starting in 1995, Frontline took much of its programming online, producing in-depth websites as companion pieces to the televised documentaries. You can watch tons of Frontline programs in high-quality streaming video online -- for free! (Go PBS.) Go check out the Frontline archives, or pick one of my favorites:

A Class Divided (1985)

One day in 1968, Jane Elliott, a teacher in a small, all-white Iowa town, divided her third-grade class into blue-eyed and brown-eyed groups and gave them a daring lesson in discrimination. This is the story of that lesson, its lasting impact on the children, and its enduring power thirty years later.

Read more about A Class Divided or just dive in and watch it.

HEAT (2008)

A global investigation into one of the greatest crises that mankind has ever faced -- Can we roll back global warming?

Melting glaciers, rising sea levels, fires, floods and droughts. On the eve of a historic election, award-winning producer and correspondent Martin Smith investigates how the world's largest corporations and governments are responding to Earth's looming environmental disaster.

"I have reported on the Cold War, the breakup of the Soviet Union, the rise of Al Qaeda, and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan," says Smith. "But nothing matches climate change in scope and severity."

Read more about HEAT or watch it.

Secret History of the Credit Card (2004)

In "Secret History of the Credit Card," FRONTLINE and The New York Times join forces to investigate an industry few Americans fully understand. In this one-hour report, correspondent Lowell Bergman uncovers the techniques used by the industry to earn record profits and get consumers to take on more debt.

"The almost magical convenience of plastic money is critical to our famously compulsive consumer economy," Bergman says. "With more than 641 million credit cards in circulation and accounting for an estimated $1.5 trillion of consumer spending, the U.S. economy has clearly gone plastic."

Read more about Secret History of the Credit Card or watch it.

Do you have a favorite (or least favorite) Frontline program? Share it in the comments!

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Animals
Watch a Rogue Pet Dog Interrupt a Russian News Anchor on Air
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iStock

Last week, a Russian news broadcast briefly went to the dogs after its host was startled by a surprise co-anchor: a friendly black canine that wandered on set, announced its presence with a loud bark, and climbed onto her desk.

 

As TODAY reports, Mir24 TV anchor Ilona Linarte went off script for a few minutes, telling viewers "I've got a dog here. What is this dog doing in the studio?" After the initial shock wore off, she gave her furry guest a tepid welcome, patting its head as she gently pushed it off the desk. ("I actually prefer cats,'' Linarte remarked. "I'm a cat lady.")

Linarte’s query was answered when the TV station announced that the dog had accompanied another show’s guest on set, and somehow got loose. That said, rogue animals have a proud tradition of crashing live news broadcasts around the world, so we’re assuming this won’t be the last time a news anchor is upstaged by an adorable guest star (some of which have better hair than them).

[h/t TODAY]

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Falcon Heavy and Dragon. Image credit: SpaceX via Wikimedia Commons // CC0 1.0
SpaceX Is Sending Two Private Citizens Around the Moon
Falcon Heavy and Dragon. Image credit: SpaceX via Wikimedia Commons // CC0 1.0
Falcon Heavy and Dragon. Image credit: SpaceX via Wikimedia Commons // CC0 1.0

Two members of the public are set to take an historic trip around the Moon, according to an announcement from SpaceX CEO Elon Musk. As The Verge reports, the anonymous private citizens have already placed substantial deposits on the commercial space flight.

The private spacecraft company SpaceX revealed on Monday that the Falcon Heavy rocket will be launching with its Crew Dragon spacecraft in late 2018. The mission will consist of a circumnavigation of the Moon, passing over the body’s surface before traveling farther into space and returning to Earth. In total, the trip will cover 300,000 to 400,000 miles and take a week to complete.

A noteworthy part of the plan is the human cargo that will be on board. Instead of professional astronauts, the craft will carry two paying customers into space. The passengers, who’ve yet to be named, will both need to pass several fitness tests before they're permitted to make the journey. According to The Verge, Musk said the customers are “very serious” and that the cost of the trip is “comparable” to that of a crewed mission to the International Space Station. The goal for SpaceX is to eventually send one or two commercial flights into space each year, which could account for 10 to 20 percent of the company’s earnings.

[h/t The Verge]

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