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Sunday, Sept. 18, 2005

CHANNEL SURF

TBS's "Human Body Science Spectacle — The Limits" and more

One of nature's more sobering statistics is that only 0.008 percent of the earth's water is fit for human consumption. The preciousness of this most precious of resources is becoming more acute as the global environment changes. Some areas suffer from ongoing drought while others, like Bangladesh, are perennially plagued by flooding.

On TV Tokyo's "Ningen to Chikyu 45-oku Nen no Nazo (The Mystery of 4.5 Billion Years of Humans and the Earth) on Monday at 9 p.m., actor Masahiro Komoto attempts to get a grasp of both extremes. First, he travels to the Republic of Chad in Africa. On maps of the country, Lake Chad is a prominent feature, but Komoto discovers that Lake Chad barely exists. It has been drying up at an alarming rate. Once, fishing villages on the lake thrived, but now there are no jobs, and the young people in these villages have been forced to go to the cities to look for work.

Komoto then travels to an area of Niigata prefecture that was practically swept away by torrential rainstorms last year. Comparing the two situations, he realizes that humans will have to make great adjustments in the future just to survive.


The human body is amazingly resilient, almost as resilient as the human spirit. And together, they're almost invincible, as shown on TBS's "Human Body Science Spectacle -- The Limits" (Wed., 9 p.m.), which explores the body's capacity to fight off death.

This special program recreates in dramatic form true stories of people who hovered at the edge of death but miraculously recovered: a woman who was buried for 17 days under the rubble of a collapsed department store in Korea; a fisherman who survived 37 days adrift on the ocean with no food or water.

The program looks closely at the body's mechanism for survival, and how the organs and the various systems respond to physical crises, hunger, and shock.


The will to survive and thrive is probably even stronger in newborn babies. On "The Legacy of Life -- The Power of Life" (Nihon TV, Fri., 9 p.m.), actress Ryoko Hirosue explores the miracle of birth and how babies seem to possess a supernatural will to live.

The program presents several cases to prove this point. A woman who is brain dead gives birth. A boy is born with only the right side of his brain. Not only does the boy survive, but his left-only brain compensates for the functions that are normally carried out by the right hemisphere.

A team of 78 doctors separate conjoined twins in the United States with the help of technology developed in Japan for quite different purposes.



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