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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Wednesday, Sept. 17, 2014

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In Movies & TV Commentary

"NOVA" producers discuss the technologies that make drones so powerful. The show airs tonight at 9 p.m. on MPTV Ch. 10. Photo Courtesy of Rahoul Ghose/PBS

"NOVA" covers robots that wage war


Sometimes the storylines from science fiction become reality. For our Department of Defense, every mission using a remote-controlled plane is the ultimate testament of that fact.

In tonight's episode of "NOVA" on PBS, producers will present "Rise of the Drones," a look at the technologies that have come together to make drones so powerful. These machines, some small as birds and others as large as jumbo jets, are leading us into the future of aviation and have made it possible for someone to kill someone else with precision without ever getting into the line of fire themselves.

When the show airs on MPTV Ch. 10 tonight at 9, we will be able to see what the show producers learned from interviews with the creative minds that produced the machines, as well the U.S. military personnel that use them. Chances are when these were conceived by fiction writers in the past, they may have seen the real airspace these machines occupy. However, I doubt they envisioned the other end where the pilots are sitting in a warehouse in the New Mexico desert in front of a bank of computer monitors.

The move to more remote-controlled devices in war is unavoidable, but from the reports I've seen from writers given an advance glimpse of this program, few of us really know how wide-spread this practice is. Truth is the Air Force is training more drone pilots than pilots that will sit in the cockpits of regular aircraft.

GLOBAL VIEW: Fox Business Network's Liz Claman will report from Switzerland the rest of this week, providing a view of what is taking place at the World Economic Forum. There are plenty of top global economic leaders on tap for interviews and panel discussions including Aetna Chairman President and CEO Mark Bertolini, Russian Chairman of Supervisory Board of Basic Element company Oleg Deripaska, President of Iceland Olafur Grimsson and NASDAQ CEO Bob Greifeld. New York Stock Exchange CEO Duncan Niederauer;, JPMorgan Chase Chairman and CEO Jamie Dimon, Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates, Coca-Cola Chairman and CEO Muhtar Kent, Novartis CEO Joseph Jimenez and Renault Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn are also scheduled to attend the forum.

For Claman, she won't let the trip stifle her fitness routine. She recently shared her plans with fitness blogger George Guerin here.

IN THE HALL: Former WTMJ-TV news director and current Journal Broadcast Group Vice President and General Manager Jim Prather will be inducted into the Bill Miller Public Affairs Reporting Hall of Fame at the University of Illinois-Springfield. Prather was named news director at Ch. 4 in 1991 and was promoted to the station's general manager post in 1995.

OFF BUT NOT OUT: ABC has pulled the struggling "Don't Trust The B---- In Apt. 23," but hasn't outright cancelled the Tuesday night comedy. But usually a move like this means a show won't last much longer. There were 13 episodes shot for this season and eight haven't aired yet. ABC may decide to air them in the summer just to fill the schedule and run out the inventory.

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