Review: Nat Geo's 'Who Knew? with Marshall Brain' a cool field trip
By April MacIntyre Mar 12, 2008, 19:26 GMT
National Geographic Channel has snapped Marshall Brain up for a new series, "Who Knew? with Marshall Brain."
The show debuts at 9 p.m. March 13, Thursday on National Geographic Channel.
Brain, 46, an engineer, author and educator has the “How Stuff Works” Web site which evolved from a hobby to him penning books such as "The Teenager's Guide to the Real World."
If you are a curious person, this show will delight you with its well-produced and written segments that take you step-by-step inside manufacturers' secrets.
The man gets paid to take us on fascinating field trips to learn the how and whys of everything under the sun. The one-hour show gives us all a close look at the world of product design, manufacturing and testing.
Brain explains (in laymen’s terms) the design and engineering and the actual mechanics of how things are made, and why certain materials are used to create objects for successful product marketing and use.
Each "Who Knew?" show features three segments. The premiere has Brain visiting the Sea Ray boat factory in Vonore, Tenn where they crank out 10,000 boats a year. He shows us how the Sun Deck model is made from the outside in. The plant employs 630 people and a crew of robotic arms to make these sturdy boats.
The hull is built around a high quality mold filled with layers of fiberglass and liquid resin with foam beams for reinforcement. Workers prep the mold so the layered fiberglass can “pop” out and the guts of the boat and the deck can be bolted and attached.
Installation of electrical wires, speakers, sealing the top and bottom of the boat all lead up to Brain taking the boat out on a river to enjoy the finished product. The segment is a tutorial on the basic design of modern boats, and what makes them “lift” and go really fast.
The Titleist golf ball facility in Acushnet, Massachusetts hosts Brain, who peels open the golf ball to unlock its great mysteries. The ingredients in the golf ball core are the source of the energy of the ball, and Brain shows us just how they do it for the 2,000+ different kinds of golf balls manufactured.
Serious golfers need to watch this; you get real insight on the physics of golf ball trajectories to match your strength and weaknesses as a duffer. For me it was the best segment of the premiere.
The last of the three parts featured the Zambelli Fireworks Internationale of the outskirts of New Castle, Pa.
Bomb proof bunkers hold the centuries-old secrets (since 1893) of the family who makes some of the most intricate hand-made fireworks you can buy. The workers are separated by blast walls. They work with highly explosive stuff and can buy the farm easily by just a little unchecked static electricity, blowing up the plant making headline news.
Brain shows which chemicals make what colors, and how the family mixes the powders to create even more awe-inducing fireworks for big shows and events.
The explosive popularity of this kind of reality programming illuminates that many people are hungry for quality eye-opening edutainment.
This show will appeal to the grade-school student in you that always lived for the field trips.
Family friendly, make sure your kids watch his one