Higher channels

November 27, 1998

John Davies selects programmes likely to be of interest to THES readers. (All times pm unless stated.)

Pick of the week

Lost Treasures of the Yangtze Valley (Sunday 11.0 Discovery Channel). The Yangtze's Three Gorges Dam, due to be completed in 2004, is China's biggest engineering project since the Great Wall. But this documentary is about the valley's past. Offering glimpses of some of the monuments and archaeological sites that will be drowned when the dam is completed, it focuses on the race to discover more about the Baa civilisation before its ancient homeland is destroyed.

Also this week

SATURDAY November 28

Riotous Assemblies (2.30 R4). Series about British street protest begins with a 1795 Carlisle housewives' revolt over food shortages.

Correspondent: The Unfinished War (7.10 BBC2). Report from Kashmir on the unresolved dispute between India and Pakistan over the region's fate.

Booked (8.0 C4). Mario Vargas Llosa interviewed.

Troy (8.30 R3, also Sunday 7.30 and 9.30). Andrew Rissik's trilogy of plays based on the myths of Troy. Stars include Paul Scofield and Lindsay Duncan.

Storyville: Waco - The Rules of Engagement (10.0 BBC2) US-made documentary investigates the attack by the FBI on David Koresh's sect.

Sunday November 29

Sunday Feature: Inside the Wardrobe (5.45 R3). Exploration of C. S. Lewis's early years.

The South Bank Show: Harold Pinter (10.55 ITV). We are promised a "frank interview".

Lost Treasures of the Yangtze Valley. See above.

Monday November 30

George Stevens - D-Day to Berlin (4.0 History Channel). Another chance to see the Hollywood director's striking wartime colour footage.

The Music Machine (4.45 R3) "The Inner Ear". Daily (except Wednesday) slot considers how the ear and brain determine perception of music, with Lord Winston, music psychologist Ian Cross and others.

The Essential Guide to Rocks (8.0 BBC2). Practical geology. This week: Welsh slate, Midlands sandstone, the Lake District and the Old Man of Hoy.

Analysis (8.30 R4). What do the social democrats in power across much of Europe actually stand for?

On Air: the Truth about TV (11.15 BBC2). First of three programmes looks at fly-on-wall docs.

Tuesday December 1

The 1998 Turner Prize (8.0 C4). Prize ceremony shown live. Preceded by profiles of shortlisted artists.

These Little Piggies (8.0 R4). Marina Warner on the cultural interface between pigs and humans.

University Challenge (8.0 BBC2). Downing College, Cambridge v Glasgow.

The House of Fear (8.25 R3). First of four concert-interval readings of stories by the Lancashire-born surrealist writer and painter Leonora Carrington.

QED - The Bionic Woman (9.30 BBC1, 10.0 Wales, 11.10 N Ireland; Wednesday 10.30 Scotland). Follow-up to a 1996 documentary about Julie Hill's fight to recover from an accident that severed her spine. Thanks to an electronic implant at Salisbury Hospital and the expertise of Tim Perkins of University College London she can now ride a specially designed bike.

Case Notes (9.0 R4). Update on the latest Aids research, for World Aids Day.

Wednesday DEcember 2

Behind Closed Doors (7.30 BBC2). The University Women's Club (London W1) lets the cameras in.

A Life Worth Living (8.0 R4). Will genetic research lead us to devalue the lives of disabled people? Leeds University's Tom Shakespeare is worried that it will; geneticist John Burn thinks not. Debate follows.

The Richard Dimbleby Lecture (10.55 BBC1). George Mitchell, who chaired the Northern Ireland peace talks, talks on "Principles of Peace".

Thursday December 3

Ground Control (9.0 R4). Cardiff Bay is the subject of the first in a series on big civil engineering projects.

Body Story (9.0 C4). How the body reacts to a broken bone. More endoscopic camerawork.

Science at War (9.25 BBC2). Rocket men - from the Nazis' V2 to today's long-range nuclear missiles.

(Davieses@aol.com) Visions of a web future

Several standards that W3C is working on will be crucial to the changing use of the web.

*The first is the use of metadata. "This is data about data. On the web this means information about information - its ownership, authorship, distribution rights, privacy policy and so on. Web pages are designed to be read by humans. In the future, some pages will be in a format to be read only by computer," says Berners-Lee. When this is in common use, it should be possible for computers to compare prices online - just one example of how it could revolutionise business practice.

* Another important development is the Platform for Internet Content Selection. This set of standards will allow organisations to rate the content of web pages. It avoids the need for government intervention and so keeps the web open.

* Other innovations will be necessary to complete his vision of many "personal webs", which he distinguishes from personal home pages. The second part of his web dream depends on "the web being used so generally that it becomes the primary embodiment of how we work, play or socialise.

"Once the state of our interactions is online we can use computers to analyse it, to make sense of what we are doing", he says intriguingly.

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