Oct 25, 2013
Megastorm Aftermath airs Oct. 27 at 10 p.m. ET/PT
Project Nim: The Human Chimp airs Nov. 3 at 10 p.m. ET/PT
CBC News Network’s THE PASSIONATE EYE presents Megastorm Aftermath, a critical investigation into the causes of the historic storm, exploring what cities around the world can do to better prepare for the next one. While Project Nim: The Human Chimp is an unflinching and unsentimental biography of an animal we tried to make human, what we learn about his true nature - and indeed our own - is comic, revealing and profoundly unsettling.
Megastorm Aftermath
Sunday, Oct. 27 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on CBC News Network
In October 2012, Megastorm Sandy cut a path of devastation across the Caribbean and the East Coast of the United States, killing hundreds and doing tens of billions of dollars in damage. To many, it was a wake-up call. Now, one year after Sandy’s deadly strike, Megastorm Aftermath offers a fresh investigation of the critical questions raised by this historic storm: Was Megastorm Sandy a freak combination of weather systems? Or are hurricanes increasing in intensity due to a changing climate? What can we do to prepare ourselves for the next Sandy, and what progress has been made toward making our urban infrastructure more resilient?
Much of Sandy’s wrecking power was due to an extreme storm surge that left large swaths of New York and New Jersey underwater. And with seas levels on the rise, flooding will only become more frequent. Megastorm Aftermath examines the role of climate change in driving these rising seas and looks at some of the latest extraordinary engineering employed in other areas, as well as what it may take to make cities like New York more resilient in the future.
Megastorm Aftermath is written, produced and directed by Miles O’Brien for WGBH .
Project Nim: The Human Chimp
Sunday, Nov. 3 at 10 p.m. ET/PT CBC News Network
From the Oscar-winning team behind Man on Wire comes the compelling story of Nim, the chimpanzee who became the focus of a controversial experiment which aimed to show that a chimp could learn to communicate with language if raised and nurtured like a human child.
November 1973: A baby chimpanzee is born in a cage at a primate research center in Oklahoma. A few days later, his mother is knocked down by a tranquilizer dart, her screaming baby seized from her and placed into the waiting arms of his new human “mother,” a graduate student of psychology with three children of her own.
Thus begins “Project Nim,” arguably the most radical experiment of its kind, which aimed to show that a chimpanzee could learn to communicate with language if raised and nurtured like a human child. Under the auspices of a psychology professor at Columbia University, the chimp would be taught the sign language of the deaf and it was hoped he would soon acquire enough words and grammar to tell us what he was thinking and feeling. If successful, the consequences would be profound, forever breaking down the barrier between man and his closest animal relative and fundamentally redefining what it is to be human.
Sucking on his pacifier, baby Nim gazes into his new mother’s eyes just as her own babies had, and the bond between them is immediate. He is clothed and taken to his human family’s large house on the Upper West side of Manhattan, where he is breast fed and toilet trained as if he were one of the family. Within a few months, he is confidently communicating his desires in sign language, all the while wrecking the house and seemingly intent on wrecking the human relationships within it. The documentary also explores the human power struggles over the experiment and Nim’s future, struggles that often don’t serve Nim’s interests.
Combining the testimony of all the key participants, newly discovered archival film and dramatic imagery, PROJECT NIM: THE HUMAN CHIMP follows one chimpanzee’s extraordinary journey through human society and the enduring impact he makes on the human characters he meets along the way.
Project Nim’s director James Marsh won the Sundance Film Festival Award for Best Director. Marsh also won an Oscar for his previous documentary Man on Wire.
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