Pushing the Limits: Survival

This public program leads your community on an exploration of the theme of survival. As humans, we’re driven to find a way to survive, whether trapped in a life threatening situation or competing in a sport. Our instincts urge us to push our limits to make it through,
one way or another.
Scenes from “Pushing the Limits: Survival”


Interview with Clive Cussler
Fans know Clive Cussler’s character Dirk Pitt as a seagoing engineer and adventurer, but not all of them know that Cussler himself is a real-life marine archeologist. Cussler’s works often depict his hero in extreme conditions, such as stranded on an arctic ice flow, adrift in a raft, or even trapped in a sunken wreck. The author’s attention to seamlessly weaving the scientific detail of cutting edge marine technologies into speculative fiction keeps readers transfixed until the triumphant end.

You can watch Clive Cussler’s interview below. Note that the button on the bottom right of the video will make the video go to “full screen” mode. In full screen mode you will have the control at the bottom of the screen to advance and rewind. After viewing, you can select the esc key to escape full screen.

Alternatively, you can select the video icon at the bottom of the page to download the video to your own computer, which is a better option if you have limited bandwidth. We recommend downloading (now or later) all of the videos and resources to use during your library programs. Downloaded videos are .mp4 files. If your computer does not open and play them automatically, you may need to download a free video player, such as Quicktime or VLC.

Clive Cussler
Author Interview
Science in Everyday Life
Cory and Julie Shrum work hard on their family farm, but they also play hard when they get the chance. Farming is in their blood. Believe it or not, so are combine demolition derbies – which provide an opportunity to engineer, decorate, and compete with massive combines that are cobbled together from discarded parts, rusted scrap, and a lot of hard work.

On the farm they rise to the challenge of surviving with their multi-generational family enterprise, in the face of ever-decreasing water supplies. In the derby competitions, they try to survive through last-standing play-offs in an effort to bring home the trophy for their team.

They push their own personal limits as well as the limits of physics, material science, and engineering not only to win competitions, but to survive through the never-ending need to maintain their farm’s expensive machinery.

Watch Cory and Julie’s story here, or select the video icon at the bottom of the page to download it to your computer.

Cory and Julie Shrum
Science in Everyday Life



To support your implementation of Pushing the Limits: Survival, you can download this document, which contains: arrows

  • A list of additional suggested books download icondownload MS Word icon
  • A set of discussion questions that can be customized to your community’s interests


Marketing your Program
We recommend starting your planning and marketing at least 2-3 months before your program date. Please note that instructions for appropriate credit are included in the Marketing and Communications Plan Template. At minimum, the following program credit line must appear in all published materials relating to Pushing the Limits:

Pushing the Limits is a reading, viewing, and discussion program for adults in communities served by rural libraries, made possible by a grant from the National Science Foundation.”

Program Resources

Download the Interview with Clive Cussler. Depending on your bandwidth, this file may take several minutes to download. It is approximately four minutes of video.

Download Cory and Julie’s story here. This video is approximately twelve minutes long and may take several minutes to download. We recommend that you download all the files for your public program, rather than stream them from this website.

Download a one-minute video that you can use to promote the program through your own website.

Download a list of short readings related to this topic. You and your science partner may want to use these as additional examples in your program, or they may lead to ideas for customizing the programs for your own community.

* Videos are to be viewed only as part of the Pushing the Limits program,
and copies may be distributed outside of the library only if accompanied by a copy of
this document.


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