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The week ahead


Thursday The Material World A billion years ago, a day lasted just 18 hours, but as the world turns ever more slowly, the days have been getting longer. Now, mankind is adding to this slowdown through global warming, building reservoirs and shifting water from the oceans to huge, artificial lakes. What does it all mean and what will the consequences be? For the world of television, there would be the opportunity to fill more hours with soap opera inertia and inside the navel of celebrities' garbage.

The end of the world is indeed nigh.

BBC Radio 4, 4.30pm Friday Savage Planet: Ice Cold Killers Dr John Reynolds emailed Foresight to alert us to this programme, which looks at the devastating effects of collapsing glaciers, particularly those in Bhutan in 1994. The programme features the managing director of Reynolds Geo-Sciences, Dr John Reynolds. I do believe they may be in some way related. Self promotion within these pages is always welcome, particularly when engineers get a well deserved slice of the limelight.

ITV1, 10.30pm Routes: The Kennet and Avon Canal Sit back and enjoy one of the most impressive civil engineering feats in the world. Perhaps add to your viewing pleasure a strong continental lager or single malt whisky and then bathe in the golden sunshine of engineering achievement.

Discovery Civilisation, 7pm Tuesday The Real Captain Bligh Some of you may feel you are working for a direct descendant of the man usually portrayed as a sadistic and authoritarian brute. Well think again, friends.

This programme suggests the selfmade Bligh was resented by a negligent naval establishment and was betrayed by his closest friend, Fletcher Christian. Well, there we are then, he was a misunderstood cuddly guy and a lovable rogue.

Channel 4, 9pm Wednesday Routes: Britain's Nuclear Past The first man to split the atom was not Einstein but Manchester based physicist Ernest Rutherford in 1919. Interesting, eh?

Discovery Channel, 7pm Thinking Allowed Laurie Taylor talks to professor Judith Butler, one of America's most important theorists on power, gender, sexuality and identity.

Wow, that sounds interesting and something many of us could relate to, I'm sure. Unfortunately, I'm due to take part in an experiment on the relationship between alchohol and social interaction with some colleagues at the Dog and Duck research centre, Raynes Park, that afternoon. If you're on a fifth re-reading of Edward Gibbons' Decline and Fall of The Roman Empire, it may well be worth breaking away for.

BBC Radio 4, 4pm

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