Monitor Picks: Five things we think you'll really like

PBS goes in search of the origins of the flower, Google takes on 411 phone service, and Emily Barton's Brookland is a bridge worth crossing.

Budding discovery

NOVA's First Flower isn't a garden variety nature show. The PBS documentary, airing April 17 at 8 p.m., delves into the mysterious origins of flowers. Follow a group of botanists to a remote region in China where the earliest fossil of a flower was discovered.

Google on the go

Google has lashed its tentacles around another search market: telephone 411 service. 1-800-GOOG-411 is a free, voice-recognition engine that digs up addresses and phone numbers for shops nationwide. The quick and competent system sniffed out even tongue-twisting restaurant names (Oishii sushi, anyone?). So far, the "experimental" phone service only lists businesses, but at least it's ad-free (for now).

A bridge worth crossing

Emily Barton's Brookland – newly out in paperback – is ideal company for unexpected cold snaps. The tale of an 18th-century woman determined to build a bridge from Brooklyn to Manhattan is meticulously researched and written so precisely that it submerges readers in its world. And at 496 pages, it's long enough that by the time you lift your head up, the sun should be shining again.

Just like the real thing, but better

NewsStand, a Texas-based company, has one solution for those paper-cut fingers – read your magazines online. And no, this doesn't mean parsing the Web version of the NewScientist. At, you can buy a subscription to your favorite mag or rag, and use the site's innovative "reader" to see the articles exactly as they'd appear in dead-tree format. Like the good ol' days, but without the inkstains.

USO was never like this

We love a woman in uniform. Especially when it's Christina Aguilera in her Candyland video, looking fetching and Vargas-like as a Navy Wave and Rosie the Riveter. And what pipes! To think there was ever a Britney vs. Christina debate.

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