Wednesday TV: The New Inventors
The New Inventors: Fighting fire Special ABC1, 8pm
An Ash Wednesday survivor once told me: “You just don’t realisehow incredibly loud a bushfire is until you’re in one.” That makesit pretty hard for fire fighters to talk to each other, especiallywhen using hand-held radio systems.
Fortunately, Mike Miranda has come up with a nifty alternative:a helmet that uses the speech vibrations in your skull to send andreceive audio messages, which means it doesn’t transmit anybackground noise. (And it works best if you wear ear plugs.) Theonly thing that hampers its operation, Miranda says, is the poordiction of some firies.
In this fire-themed season-opener, we also meet Simon Langdon,who has built a contraption featuring a solar-powered surveillancecamera for fire hot spots. It can be operated remotely, via theinternet, and zoom in on a fire from miles away, giving authoritiesa better chance of extinguishing the blaze before it gets out ofcontrol.
Then there’s something called a Light Concept Tanker, created byCFA engineer Robert Rankin. its joypad-controlled hoses allowfiries to put out fires from the inside, reducing the danger tothem. The vehicle is fireproof, which they prove by setting it onfire and letting it burn for 20 minutes.
Tonight’s episode features the usual three-judge panel but theydon’t award a winner, reasoning it would be unseemly to do so.Otherwise, it’s business as usual, with host James O’Loghlin asengaging and enthusiastic as ever. And kudos to the producers fortheir focus on inventions that actually help people, as opposed tonovelties such as that silly blanket-with-arms thing that getsflogged on late-night infomercials.
The Wild Horse Redemption ABC2, 9.30pm
To help preserve feral horses, US authorities regularly catchand tame them before adopting them out. Cleverly, they have createda voluntary rehabilitation program in a Colorado men’s jail inwhich prisoners do most of the hard work.
This is an astonishingly effective scheme. perhaps it’s becausethe mustangs are such powerful, unpredictable creatures. Cautionand patience are vital when working with them and theresponsibility and sense of achievement has an obvious, positiveeffect on the prisoners.
At one point, one of the horses kicks his unsuspecting prisoner- incredibly, he responds with equanimity and grace instead ofmarching the beast off to the glue factory. The men also learn howto read the mood of their mustangs and, according to one prisoner:”You can tell when the horses are like, ‘Screw you, I don’t feellike working today.”‘ Beautifully filmed and expertly edited, thisis well worth a look.
Nightmares and Dreamscapes Go!, 10.30pm
How could they stuff this up so badly? Having read StephenKing’s short-story collection upon which this series is based, Iwas looking forward to these one-hour television adaptations,filmed in Melbourne a few years ago.
Unfortunately, the strong storylines are ruined by the abundant,pointless gimmickry. The washed-out aesthetic is meant to bespooky, I’m guessing, but it just makes all the characters appearanaemic.
The background music is excessively bleak and depressing.Indeed, the only thing I felt was nausea from the shaky, hand-heldcamera work. Just awful.
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