What ‘Call the Midwife’ Gets Right about Childbirth
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Many of us have been seduced by the charms and plot twists of a medical drama and binge watched the heck out of it. (Hoping that’s not just me, anyway.) Shows like that kind of make you want to go out and get a medical degree. But they also leave you feeling skeptical: “Is that really how

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The Surprisingly Humble Beginnings of the Music Business
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What’s your favorite album? “Lemonade” by Beyoncé? “The White Album” by the Beatles? “good kid, m.A.A.d. city” by Kendrick Lamar? “Plastic Beach” by Gorillaz? (All real responses to an informal Facebook survey on favorite albums—see below for everyone’s faves.) Recent PBS documentary series “Soundbreaking” took us in the booth for a look at the seemingly glamorous, highly creative

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U.S. Military Drone Operators Tell Their Stories in ‘National Bird’
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It’s no secret that drones are probably flying over as you read this. In fact, it’s estimated that 7 million drones will be sold in the United States by 2020. You might even own a drone yourself. But what do you know about military drone warfare? Lisa G. Ling joined the U.S. Army in 1991 at age

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What Was it Like to Live in a Victorian Slum?
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Here’s a premise: Victorian-era reality show. Does that intrigue you? New PBS reality miniseries “Victorian Slum House” follows a group of modern-day people living in a recreated slum in London’s East End and navigating Victorian slum life as it changed across five decades. For real. The show can’t reproduce the time period’s air pollution from gas works

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Giant Armadillos Are the Team Players of the Animal Kingdom
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What stealthy nocturnal animals are bigger than golden retrievers, can dig burrows up to 20 feet deep, and are found in the largest tropical wetland in the world? Giant armadillos. These unusual and rare creatures are the fascinating stars of “Hotel Armadillo” on PBS’s “Nature.” Meet the unlikely ‘ecosystem engineers’ Arnaud Desbiez is the founder of

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Can You Joke About Something as Horrible as the Holocaust?
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It was 1991. Art Spiegelman had just released his groundbreaking graphic novel “Maus.” And filmmaker Ferne Pearlstein was about to get an idea that would buzz around in her mind for 20 years before coming to fruition. Pearlstein was taking a group tour of Miami’s then-new Holocaust Memorial with a friend—led by an elderly Holocaust survivor—when

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Do Prison Policies Encourage Repeat Offenders?
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At the end of 2015, 1 in 37 U.S. adults was incarcerated or on probation or parole, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics. That’s more than 6.7 million people, and actually represents the lowest rate this country has seen since 1994, according to BJS data. The population that was under some form of “correctional supervision” was the

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Why Seed Diversity Matters and How to Preserve It
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“SEED: The Untold Story” begins with the same statistic that convinced filmmakers Taggart Siegel and Jon Betz that the documentary needed to be made: In the last century, 94 percent of our seed varieties have disappeared from commercial seed storage. “We thought, ‘Oh my word, how have never heard about this?’” Betz said. “We’ve been

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How Our Modern World Was Shaped by ‘The Great War’
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A controversial war. “Freedom” foods. Legislation curbing civil liberties in the name of national security. 2004? Try 1914. PBS’s “The Great War” shows how the first World War dramatically overturned the international order and brought about important changes in the United States—some that are still evident today. The first ‘total war’ World War I was

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In Yosemite Valley, Climate Change Threatens Giant Sequoias, Tiny Animals
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Have you ever seen a pic of a pika? They’re the adorable, hamster-sized relatives of rabbits that make their homes at elevations above 7,500 feet. It’s hard to look at these little guys without gushing over how cute they are, which makes them awesome stars for a new episode of “Nature” on PBS. But it also

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