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NOVA: Making Stuff: Safer

Airs Wednesday, December 18, 2013 at 8 p.m. on KPBS TV

Above: David Pogue in front of charred test pod.

Courtesy of WGBH

David Pogue (upper middle left) and firemen extinguish fire with Tetra KO.

Courtesy of WGBH

Collapsed wood frame soft story test building on the UCSD NEES shake table.

Courtesy of WGBH

David Pogue and Dr. June Medford discuss "bomb sniffing plants."

Host and New York Times technology columnist David Pogue returns to the acclaimed miniseries, MAKING STUFF, which this time explores how technology makes stuff faster (aired October 16), wilder (aired October 23), colder (aired October 30) and safer (repeats Dec. 18).

MAKING STUFF "Safer" airs Wednesday, Dec. 18 at 8 p.m. - Is it possible to engineer an absolutely safe world for ourselves?

Host David Pogue explores the extent to which science and technology can protect us from monumental forces of nature such as earthquakes and epidemics.

He challenges researchers to save us from dangers of our own making, such as traffic accidents and contact sports.

Our increasing reliance on the internet makes us vulnerable to new risks: Pogue delves into cyber security, where computer experts work to shield us from attacks from hackers and terrorists. Risk is all around us — but we can be smart about it.

Levitating high-speed trains. Batteries grown by viruses. Bomb-sniffing plants. Vaccines administered like a painless tattoo. Test your innovation smarts by taking our weekly quiz on ideas and materials that are wilder, faster, colder, and safer than anything we've seen before.

Past episodes of NOVA are available for online viewing. NOVA is on Facebook, and you can follow @novapbs on Twitter.

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NOVA: Making Stuff: Safer Preview

Above: The world has always been a dangerous place, so how do we increase our odds of survival? In "Making Stuff: Safer," David Pogue explores the cutting-edge research of scientists and engineers who want to keep us out of harm’s way. Some are countering the threat of natural disasters with new firefighting materials and safer buildings. Others are at work on technologies to thwart terrorist attacks.

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NOVA: Making Stuff: Faster Preview

Above: Host David Pogue tries to find out if there are physical limits to how fast we can go in this episode of MAKING STUFF.

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NOVA: Making Stuff: Wilder Preview

Above: In this episode, host David Pogue travels the globe to explore new technologies inspired by Nature.

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NOVA: Making Stuff: Colder Preview

Above: Cold is the new hot in this brave new world. For centuries we've fought it, shunned it, and huddled against it. Cold has always been the enemy of life, but now it may hold the key to a new generation of science and technology that will improve our lives. In "Making Stuff: Colder," David Pogue explores the frontiers of cold science from saving the lives of severe trauma patients to ultracold physics, where bizarre new properties of matter are the norm and the basis of new technologies like levitating trains and quantum computers.

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NOVA: Making More Stuff: Series Preview

Above: Host and New York Times technology columnist David Pogue returns to the acclaimed miniseries, MAKING STUFF, which this time explores how technology makes stuff faster (October 16), wilder (October 23), colder (October 30) and safer (November 6).

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Exploration Wednesdays on PBS

Above: Enjoy "Exploration Wednesdays" including new season of NATURE, NOVA Making Stuff…, and RAW To Ready, on KPBS-TV beginning at 8 p.m. October 16-Novemeber 27, 2013.