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Foresight The week ahead

Film The yards: Story of ex-con Leo, played by Mark Wahlberg, attempting to redeem himself, but whose efforts to go straight are hijacked. The drama is played out against the backdrop of New York's railway yards. Directed by James Gray. Cast includes James Caan, Ellen Burstyn and Faye Dunaway. Critics either love or hate it.

General release

Book Manual of bridge engineering: Guide to state of the art bridge engineering, including analysis, design, construction and maintenance.

Edited by MJ Ryall, GAR Parke and JE Harding Published by Thomas Telford, £150. ISBN 0 7277 2774 5

26-30 December Royal Institution Christmas lectures - rise of the robots: Reading University department of cybernetics professor Kevin Warwick investigates attempts to build androids, looking at the development of robots' 'senses' and the computing power that is enabling them to translate sensory input and form basic cognitive responses. He looks at advances in prosthetics and at robots being used in hostile environments and for arduous or anti-social work. 12.00pm, Channel 4

31 December Heaven and HAL: Entering 2001, year in which the cult sci-fi film Space Odyssy was set, presenter Nick Baker asks: are hyperintelligent computers like HAL fantasy or a real possibility? 4.00pm, Radio 4

3 January Das boot: Tense WWII drama following the fortunes of a German U-boat as it slips from its pen into the Atlantic to hunt and be hunted by Allied convoys. Any engineer who has watched tensely to see if a structure can bear up under extreme forces will sympathise with the crew's deep sea anxiety. Directed by Wolfgang Petersen, 1982. 8.00pm, Channel 4

4 January Material world: There are more than 50 science museums in the UK and competition between them is fierce. Presenter Quentin Cooper visits the Manchester Museum of Science & Industry to find out how museums are re-defining themselves in the digital age. 4.30pm, Radio 4

11 January Six sigma - breakthrough management for the process and engineering construction industries: All day workshop looking at performance measurement and improvement strategies taken up widely by blue chip businesses but so far little used in the construction sector. Motorola claims to have reduced the cost of poor quality by 84% and eliminated 99.7% of inprocess defects in the last decade. DTI Conference Centre, 1 Victoria Street, London SW1 Details, tel (01509) 223526. E-mail

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