"The New Fire" explores the importance of nuclear power and follows a few startups racing to develop the next generation of nuclear reactors. One of those startups is Oklo, operating out of Sunnyvale under co-founders Caroline Cochran and Jacob DeWitte.
Nuclear power gets a bad rap but as the scientists in "The New Fire" point out, it is relatively safe and getting safer, not to mention absolutely essential to meet the planet's clean energy needs (wind and solar can help, yes, but they aren't enough). By doing the math on nuclear and looking at innovation in the field, "The New Fire" makes for a fascinating and vital documentary. The film screens Oct. 23 at 7:30 p.m.
"From Baghdad to the Bay" profiles local chef Ghazwan Alsharif, with footage covering his eight years living in the United States after fleeing persecution in his native Iraq. Highly valued as one of the best interpreters recruited by the U.S. military after its invasion of Iraq, Ghazwan found himself jailed without warning by the Iraqi military police and tortured under accusations of being a traitorous double agent or even a terrorist. Upon confessing under duress to being gay, matters didn't get any better, until a former colleague got him released, and Alsharif started over in America, enjoying new freedoms and dreams to make it in the food industry. Alsharif's story of refugee to U.S. citizen underlines the at-times forgotten contributions of military translators and of today's immigrants. You can see "From Baghdad to the Bay" Oct. 21 at 4:30 p.m.
"Generation Zapped," executive produced by Palo Altan Peter Sullivan, gets into the increasingly documented health harms (and need for more study) of cellphones, other screen-based devices and wireless routers. The long-overdue documentary features interviews with numerous experts and testimonials by doctors and patients linking cellphones to tumors. When her husband developed a brain tumor likely caused by his cellphone use, Ellen Marks became an activist, founding with her son Zack the California Brain Tumor Association, which has scored wins with the San Francisco and Berkeley city governments regarding regulatory warnings and consumer protections. "Generation Zapped," expertly assembled, will likely change how you think about your phone and your home Wi-Fi. It plays Oct. 26 at 4:45 p.m.
"Silicon Valley: The Untold Story" is actually Episode One ("Secret Sauce") of a three-part Science Channel documentary on that subject of endless fascination: the innovation and industry of this place we call Silicon Valley. Chasing breadth over depth, the doc covers a lot of ground and makes some interesting connections across time about the history and current development of the place, and for starters, it gives an overview of the breakthroughs that put Silicon Valley on the map in the first place. Check it out Oct. 23 at 4:40 p.m.
For a complete schedule, go to unaff.org.
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