SciTech Now Episode 224

In this episode, we learn why beluga whales are a reflection of the health of a watershed; author and scientist Ainissa Ramirez discusses how bubbles might help NASA catch comets; we explore the importance of studying the physiological changes that occur in traders during financial bubbles and crises; and a collaborative workspace reveals how it serves as a catalyst for new startups and apps.

TRANSCRIPT

♪♪

COMING UP, ENVIRONMENTAL WHALE WATCH.

BELUGAS ARE CALLED THE CANARIES OF THE SEA BECAUSE OF THEIR REALLY COOL VOCALIZATIONS.

BUT IN A LOT OF WAYS FOR THE GREAT LAKES AND ST. LAWRENCE WATERSHED, THEY'RE KIND OF THE CANARY IN THE COAL MINE.

HOW BUBBLES CATCH COMETS.

THE COMET PARTICLE HITS THE FOAM, AND THE LITTLE BITS OF THE FOAM BREAKS APART, SLOWS DOWN THE COMET, SO THAT WE CAN CATCH IT.

AND FINALLY, INSIDE THE WORLD OF GEEKDOM.

ENTREPRENEURS FROM ALL OVER THE WORLD WILL COME TO THIS PROGRAM TO GET ACCESS TO THE MENTORSHIP THAT WE HAVE HERE AND THE RESOURCES FOR CLOUD TECHNOLOGIES.

IT'S ALL AHEAD.

FUNDING FOR THIS PROGRAM IS MADE POSSIBLE BY...

HELLO. I'M HARI SREENIVASAN.

WELCOME TO 'SciTech NOW,' OUR WEEKLY PROGRAM BRINGING YOU THE LATEST BREAKTHROUGHS IN SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, AND INNOVATION.

LET'S GET STARTED.

GREAT LAKES BASIN IS THE LARGEST FRESHWATER ENVIRONMENT IN THE WORLD, WITH A SURFACE COVERING ALMOST 95 MILLION SQUARE MILES.

THE WATERS OF THE GREAT LAKES FACE MANY ENVIRONMENTAL THREATS, THE GREATEST OF WHICH IS POLLUTION FROM CHEMICAL PRODUCTION, AGRICULTURAL RUNOFF, AND INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT.

THE HEALTH OF THE GREAT LAKES CAN BE MEASURED IN MANY WAYS, BUT ONE OF THE MOST UNUSUAL AND TELLING IS BY OBSERVING THE SMALL, ISOLATED POPULATION OF BELUGA WHALES THAT LIVE IN THE ESTUARY OF THE ST. LAWRENCE RIVER IN CANADA.

HERE'S THE STORY.

AT THE SHEDD AQUARIUM, A CROWD GATHERS TO WATCH TRAINERS INTERACT WITH A GROUP OF RARE AND UNIQUE MARINE MAMMALS -- BELUGA WHALES.

[ SQUEAKING ]

BELUGAS ARE CALLED THE CANARIES OF THE SEA BECAUSE OF THEIR REALLY COOL VOCALIZATIONS.

BUT IN A LOT OF WAYS FOR THE GREAT LAKES AND ST. LAWRENCE WATERSHED, THEY'RE KIND OF THE CANARY IN THE COAL MINE IN THE FACT THAT THEY'RE A REALLY, REALLY GREAT REFLECTION OF THE HEALTH OF THE SYSTEM ITSELF.

BELUGAS DO NOT LIVE WITHIN THE FIVE GREAT LAKES THEMSELVES BUT WITHIN THE GREAT LAKES WATERSHED IN THE ESTUARY NEAR THE MOUTH OF THE ST. LAWRENCE RIVER.

THE BELUGA'S NATURAL HABITAT IS CONNECTED TO THE WATERS OF THE GREAT LAKES THROUGH THE RIVER, AND A SMALL, ISOLATED POPULATION OF BELUGA WHALES HAS EXISTED IN THE ESTUARY SINCE THE END OF THE ICE AGE.

BECAUSE THEY ARE A LONG-LIVED ANIMAL, THEIR STORY IS VERY RICH AND FULL OF LEARNING FOR US.

BELUGAS IN THE ST. LAWRENCE WERE ONCE HUNTED TO THE BRINK OF EXTINCTION.

LOCAL FISHERMEN THOUGHT THE WHALES WERE A THREAT TO THEIR LIVELIHOOD, AND THEIR DISTINCTIVE WHITE SKIN WAS PRIZED AS A SOURCE OF LEATHER FOR SHOELACES.

COMMERCIAL HUNTING OF BELUGAS ENDED IN 1979, AND FOR SEVERAL DECADES, THE POPULATION OF BELUGAS IN THE ST. LAWRENCE WAS ON THE RISE.

BUT THE POPULATION DECLINED AGAIN AS BELUGAS FACED A NEW SET OF THREATS.

TODAY, THERE ARE ONLY ABOUT 900 BELUGAS LEFT IN THE ST. LAWRENCE RIVER.

IN ORDER TO BE ABLE TO PROTECT BELUGA, WE NEED FIRST TO UNDERSTAND BELUGA WHALES, AND THIS IS NOT A TRIVIAL TASK.

WHILE WE'RE TRYING TO UNDERSTAND BELUGA WHALE, WE ARE UNDERSTANDING THE ECOSYSTEM AS A WHOLE.

[ WHALE CALLING ]

BELUGAS ARE A BIOINDICATOR.

THE HEALTH OF THEIR POPULATION TELLS US A LOT ABOUT THE HEALTH OF THE WATER THEY LIVE IN AND SERVES AS A REMINDER THAT HUMAN ACTIONS IN ONE PART OF THE GREAT LAKES WATERSHED CAN HAVE SEVERE CONSEQUENCES IN ANOTHER PART.

WHATEVER HAVE BEEN DUMPED IN THE GREAT LAKES OVER THE PAST DECADES EVENTUALLY WILL GET IN THE ST. LAWRENCE ESTUARY, IN THE FOOD CHAIN THERE, AND THE BELUGA WHALES.

A LOT OF TIMES, WE HAVE THIS 'OUT OF SIGHT, OUT OF MIND' ATTITUDE, WHERE HOUSEHOLD CLEANING PRODUCTS OR PESTICIDES OR OTHER THINGS THAT WE'RE USING AS INDIVIDUAL CONSUMERS -- WE THINK ABOUT THEIR APPLICATION BUT NOT THE END OF THEIR LIFE.

AND EVERYTHING COLLECTS DOWNSTREAM, AND THE BELUGAS THAT LIVE IN THE ST. LAWRENCE ARE LITERALLY DOWNSTREAM FROM US IN THE GREAT LAKES.

THE ENTIRE SYSTEM IS CONNECTED.

THERE'S A LOT OF GUNK THAT THEY'RE INGESTING, AND ALL THAT IS PUT INTO THE WATER SUPPLY FROM ALL OVER THE GREAT LAKES BASIN.

IT IS BELIEVED THAT A BUILDUP OF TOXIC CHEMICALS IN THE BELUGA'S SYSTEM IS CAUSING INCREASED INCIDENCES OF CANCER AND CALF MORTALITY.

BELUGAS IN THE WILD CAN BE ELUSIVE, AND EXAMINING THE WHALES TO FIND OUT WHAT IS CAUSING THEM TO DISAPPEAR IS VERY DIFFICULT.

THAT'S WHERE THE TRAINING AT THE SHEDD AQUARIUM COMES IN.

THE BELUGAS AT THE AQUARIUM ARE TRAINED TO ASSIST HUMANS IN GATHERING VITAL INFORMATION ABOUT THEM.

THEY'RE TRAINED TO PUT THEIR TAIL IN THE TRAINER'S LAP SO WE CAN TAKE VOLUNTARY BLOOD SAMPLES.

THEY'RE TRAINED TO ALLOW US TO PASS A TUBE INTO THEIR STOMACH TO TAKE GASTRIC SAMPLES.

SO WE CAN TAKE THE INFORMATION THAT WE LEARN HERE AND MAKE THAT AVAILABLE TO PEOPLE LIKE OTHER FIELD BIOLOGISTS.

BIOLOGISTS WHO WILL USE THE INFORMATION GATHERED AT THE SHEDD TO HELP RESTORE THE BELUGA POPULATION IN THE ST. LAWRENCE RIVER.

THE BELUGAS AT THE SHEDD AQUARIUM SERVE AS A REMINDER THAT ALL LIFE IN THE GREAT LAKES IS CONNECTED AND HUMAN ACTIONS CAN HAVE GRAVE CONSEQUENCES.

THE WORST WOULD BE THAT THEY DISAPPEAR WITHOUT US UNDERSTANDING WHAT WENT ON.

MY HOPE FOR THE FUTURE IS THAT WE UNDERSTAND AND WE TAKE LESSONS FROM BELUGA WHALES.

I DON'T KNOW IF WE WILL BE ABLE TO SAVE BELUGA WHALES.

I HOPE WE WILL.

[ WHALE CALLING ] ♪♪

AINISSA RAMIREZ IS A SCIENTIST, AUTHOR, AND A SELF-PROCLAIMED SCIENCE EVANGELIST.

SHE IS CALLING FOR BIG CHANGES IN SCIENCE EDUCATION AND JUST LAUNCHED A NEW PODCAST SERIES CALLED 'SCIENCE UNDERGROUND.'

HERE TO DISCUSS ONE OF HER LATEST PODCAST EPISODES, 'HOW BUBBLES CATCH COMETS,' IS AINISSA RAMIREZ.

SO, FIRST, WHAT ARE THE PROPS?

WHAT ARE WE DRINKING HERE?

WELL, FIRST I WANT TO TALK ABOUT HOW KIDS USUALLY THINK BUBBLES ARE GREAT, BUT BUBBLES ACT MAKE OUR LIFE ENJOYABLE, TOO.

ONE OF THE THINGS I LEARNED IS THAT BUBBLES ACTUALLY STOP YOUR DRINK FROM SPILLING.

OKAY.

IF YOU HAVE A DRINK AND YOU HAVE SOME FOAM ON THE TOP, IF YOU WERE TO SLOSH IT AROUND, IT WOULD SLOSH AROUND LESS THAN IF YOU HAD ONE WITH LESS BUBBLES ON IT OR NO BUBBLES AT ALL.

WHY IS THAT?

THAT'S BECAUSE THE BUBBLES PUSH AGAINST EACH OTHER, AND THAT EATS UP THE ENERGY OF THE SLOSHING.

SO IF YOU HAVE TO TRAVEL A FAR DISTANCE AND YOU HAVE COFFEE, PUT FOAM ON IT.

FOAM WILL STOP IT FROM SLOSHING, AND YOU WON'T GET THAT SECOND-DEGREE BURN.

[ CHUCKLES ] DID NOT KNOW THAT. ALL RIGHT.

SO, WHAT'S THE CONNECTION BETWEEN BUBBLES AND FOAM?

SO, THESE ARE BUBBLES, BUT BUBBLES CAN ALSO HAVE A SOLID FORM, AND THAT'S CALLED A FOAM.

A SPONGE IS A FOAM.

BREAD IS A FOAM.

THAT'S WHERE YOU HAVE HOLES IN A SOLID.

PUDDING IS A FOAM.

ICE CREAM IS A FOAM.

THESE ARE ALL WONDERFUL AND YUMMY FOAMS.

AND ACTUALLY, IT'S THE AIR BUBBLES THAT GIVES THE FOOD A WONDERFUL MOUTHFEEL.

SO IT'S A MIX OF THE AIR THAT MAKES SOMETHING A FOAM.

IT MAKES IT A FOAM.

IT ALSO CHANGES --

IT'S VERY STRANGE FOR ME TO THINK OF BREAD AS A FOAM, BUT OBVIOUSLY, NOW THAT I'M THINKING ABOUT BREAD, IT'S LIKE, OF COURSE, IT'S GOT TONS OF AIR BUBBLES.

AND ICE CREAM -- I MEAN, THERE'S --

THAT'S RIGHT.

IT'S GOT AIR POCKETS, LITTLE BITS OF AIR IN IT, AND THAT'S ACTUALLY WHAT MAKES IT TASTE SO GOOD, THESE LITTLE POCKETS OF FLAVOR.

BUT THE THING THAT I WANTED TO SHARE WITH PEOPLE IS THAT SCIENTISTS ARE EXCITED BY FOAMS.

THERE IS A FOAM CALLED AN AEROGEL, WHICH IS ALSO KNOWN AS FROZEN SMOKE.

IT'S KIND OF HARD TO SEE.

I'VE BURNED THE BOTTOM SO YOU CAN SEE IT.

AND YOU CAN SEE THAT IT'S EXTREMELY LIGHT.

IT'S 98% AIR.

98% AIR, SO I'M REALLY HOLDING 2% OF SOMETHING.

THAT'S RIGHT.

AND THE 2% THAT YOU'RE HOLDING IS SILICA.

AND SILICA IS SAND.

WOW. SO THIS IS AIR AND SAND,

THAT'S RIGHT.

AND YOU'VE BURNED IT SPECIFICALLY JUST SO WE CAN SEE IT -- OTHERWISE, IT COULD BE CLEAR.

WELL, I BURNED IT BECAUSE THE GREAT THING ABOUT THAT IS IF I HAD MY HAND ON TOP OF IT AND A BLOWTORCH UNDERNEATH, MY HAND WON'T FEEL THE HEAT.

IT DOESN'T CONDUCT HEAT VERY WELL.

SO IT'S LIKE AN INVISIBLE CLOAK-SHIELD THING OUT OF SCI-FI MOVIES AND COMIC BOOKS.

BUT IT'S SCIENCE FACT.

NOW, THIS THING CALLED AN AEROGEL IS HOW WE CATCH COMETS.

COMETS ARE FLYING AROUND AT 40 TIMES THE SPEED OF THE BULLET.

AND IT'S HARD TO CATCH THEM BECAUSE, WELL, THE COMET PARTICLE WILL DISINTEGRATE OR THE THING THAT YOU'RE TRYING TO CATCH IT WITH WILL DISINTEGRATE.

SO WHAT WE USED IS THIS FOAM.

THE COMET PARTICLE HITS THE FOAM, AND THE LITTLE BITS OF THE FOAM BREAKS APART, SLOWS DOWN THE COMET, SO THAT WE CAN CATCH IT.

THAT CAN SLOW DOWN A COMET?

THAT SLOWED DOWN A COMET.

THAT'S RIGHT.

SOMETHING THAT'S TRAVELING SO FAST, WOULDN'T IT HAVE A TREMENDOUS AMOUNT OF ENERGY AND FORCE AND SHATTER OR --

SURE. IT'S A BIGGER PIECE THAN THIS, BUT THE LITTLE FIBERS JUST START TO BREAK, AND THAT TAKES UP ENERGY UNTIL IT JUST SLOWS DOWN THE PARTICLE UNTIL WE'RE ABLE TO CATCH IT.

OKAY. AND WHERE ARE WE CATCHING THIS?

IS THIS ON A TELESCOPE SOMEWHERE?

THIS IS IN NASA.

THIS IS OUT IN SPACE.

YEAH. AND WITH THAT INFORMATION, WE GET MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE CREATION OF THE SOLAR SYSTEM 'CAUSE COMETS WERE CREATED AROUND THAT SAME TIME.

WHEN DOES ALL THIS INFORMATION GET BACK TO US?

I MEAN, NOW --

WELL, THEY'RE ANALYZING IT RIGHT NOW.

YEAH. SO THEY HAVE THE COMET PIECES, AND THEY'RE ANALYZING IT NOW, AND FROM THAT, WE'LL BE ABLE TO GET SOME INFORMATION ABOUT HOW WE GOT HERE.

ARE THERE ANY OTHER USES FOR THIS BESIDES COMET CATCHING?

OR PREVENTING YOUR HAND FROM BURNING NEXT TO A BLOWTORCH?

I MEAN, THAT'S PRETTY IMPRESSIVE.

WHAT DO YOU NEED?

[ LAUGHTER ] THE THING IS THAT IT'S ALSO VERY STRONG.

I CAN PUT A BRICK ON TOP OF THAT, AND IT WOULDN'T CRUSH.

SO IT'S ONE OF THESE WEIRD MATERIALS, BUT IT'S GOT A USE THAT WE CAN CATCH COMETS WITH IT.

WE ALSO USE IT FOR INSULATION.

IT DOESN'T -- LIKE I SAID, IT DOESN'T PASS HEAT THROUGH IT.

SO THERE'S A COUPLE OF MORE HIGH-TECH USES FOR IT BECAUSE IT IS VERY EXPENSIVE, BUT THAT'S AN AEROGEL.

I WAS GONNA SAY IT'S PROBABLY NOT AVAILABLE ON AMAZON FOR STOCKING STUFFERS.

NO, BUT IT'S AMAZING WHAT YOU CAN GET ON eBAY, THOUGH.

ALL RIGHT.

AINISSA RAMIREZ, THANKS SO MUCH FOR JOINING US.

THANK YOU.

♪♪

UP NEXT, REPORTER ANDREA VASQUEZ HAS AN INTERVIEW VIA GOOGLE HANGOUT.

SO, JOHN COATES, THANK YOU FOR JOINING US.

YOU'RE A SENIOR RESEARCH FELLOW AT THE UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE BUT FORMERLY A WALL STREET TRADER.

HOW DID YOU MAKE THE CROSSOVER FROM BEING ONE TO STUDYING THEM?

YOU KNOW, MY FINAL YEARS ON WALL STREET, I WAS RUNNING A DESK, SO I HAD A LOT OF FREEDOM.

A FRIEND OF MINE WAS DOING A PhD IN NEUROSCIENCE AT ROCKEFELLER UNIVERSITY, ON THE UPPER EAST SIDE OF MANHATTAN.

AND I USED TO GO UP WHEN TIMES WERE SLOW ON THE MARKETS AND HELP WITH THE EXPERIMENTS AND LISTEN TO LECTURES.

AND I GOT COMPLETELY CAUGHT BY THE BUG.

AND AT THAT TIME, THEY WERE JUST TWO SEPARATE STREAMS OF MY LIFE -- THE TRADING AND THE PHYSIOLOGY, NEUROSCIENCE.

BUT IN TIME, I BEGAN TO SUSPECT THAT THE TWO FIELDS SHOULD BE BROUGHT TOGETHER, THAT, IN FACT, PHYSIOLOGY AND NEUROSCIENCE COULD EXPLAIN A LOT OF THE PATHOLOGIES AND RISK-TAKING THAT WE SEE ON THE MARKETS.

IN A REAL APPLICATION, HOW DOES THE MARKET AND THE ACT OF TRADING AFFECT A PERSON'S PHYSIOLOGY?

HOW DOES A TRADER FEEL WHEN THEY'RE MAKING MONEY?

WELL, YOU KNOW, THAT'S WHAT STARTED IT, BECAUSE I WAS ON THE TRADING FLOOR, TAKING BIG POSITIONS, MAKING A LOT OF MONEY, LOSING A LOT OF MONEY, FEELING THE STRESS DURING FINANCIAL CRISES AND THE EUPHORIA WHEN I WAS ON A WINNING STREAK.

AND, YOU KNOW, ANY TRADER KNOWS THAT THESE SORT OF ROLLER COASTERS IN YOUR P-AND-L, OR YOUR PROFIT-AND-LOSS, STATEMENTS TRANSLATE INTO YOUR BODY BEING ON A ROLLER COASTER.

YOUR HEART RATE SPEEDS UP.

YOUR BREATHING SPEEDS UP.

YOUR BLOOD PRESSURE CHANGES.

YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM IS PUT ON HIGH ALERT.

I MEAN, YOU'RE SITTING IN A SEAT, BUT YOUR BODY IS GOING THROUGH THE SAME SUITE OF BEHAVIORS AS IT WOULD IF YOU WERE PLAYING SPORTS OR GOING INTO BATTLE.

AND IT OCCURRED TO ME, YOU KNOW, WHEN I BECAME AWARE OF THIS PHYSICAL COUNTERPART TO TRADING, THAT NOBODY HAD EVER LOOKED AT IT BEFORE BECAUSE THERE'S THIS ASSUMPTION, IN ECONOMICS AND IN FINANCE AND LIKE IN SO MANY SUBJECTS THAT WE STUDY AT UNIVERSITIES, THAT WHAT WE DO IN AN OFFICE IS A PURELY COGNITIVE ACTIVITY -- IT'S A QUESTION OF PURE MIND.

AND I BEGAN TO SUSPECT THAT THAT WAS JUST WRONG.

I BEGAN TO SUSPECT THAT, FOR HUMANS, THERE'S NO SUCH THING AS PURE THOUGHT OF THE KIND STUDIED BY ECONOMICS AND FINANCE, THAT ALL OUR THOUGHTS COMES COUPLED WITH PHYSICAL CHANGES AND THAT OUR BODY AND OUR BRAIN ARE IN THIS DIALOGUE AFFECTING EACH OTHER, THAT THEY OPERATE LIKE A SINGLE FUNCTIONING UNIT.

AND THAT'S WHAT WE'VE BEEN TESTING EVER SINCE I WENT BACK TO CAMBRIDGE AND STARTED RUNNING THESE EXPERIMENTS WITH TRADERS ON THE FLOORS OF HEDGE-FUND TRADING FLOORS.

IS THERE MORE OR LESS OF AN IMPACT AND INTERACTION, DIALOGUE BETWEEN THE PHYSICAL AND THE COGNITIVE, DEPENDING ON HOW EXTREME THE EMOTIONS ARE AND THE INTENSITY OF THE SITUATION?

DEFINITELY.

AND IT'S A REALLY GOOD POINT.

YOU KNOW, WHEN NOTHING MUCH IS GOING ON IN THE MARKET, WHEN WE'RE JUST SORT OF A NORMAL MARKET ENVIRONMENT, YOU CAN BECOME COMPLETELY UNAWARE OF THIS PHYSICAL ASPECT.

IT BECOMES MUCH MORE NOTICEABLE WHEN WE GET INTO BUBBLES, YOU KNOW, WHEN EVERYONE'S MAKING A LOT OF MONEY.

AND THEN, YOU KNOW, PEOPLE JUST GO THROUGH A PHYSICAL TRANSFORMATION.

YOU KNOW, WHEN I WOULD SEE THESE COLLEAGUES ON WALL STREET GET ON THESE BIG WINNING STREAKS -- YOU KNOW, THESE ARE KIDS RIGHT OUT OF COLLEGE WITH A STUDENT LOAN TO PAY OFF, AND THEY'RE HOPING TO GET, YOU KNOW, A ONE-BEDROOM APARTMENT.

AND, ALL OF A SUDDEN, THEIR PROFITABILITY IS UP IN THE HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS AND THEY'RE CONTEMPLATING THE POSSIBILITY OF A BONUS THAT MIGHT BE IN THE TENS OF MILLIONS, THEY CHANGE.

YOU KNOW, THE WAY THEY WALK CHANGES, THE WAY THEY TALK.

EVERYTHING CHANGES.

SO, YOU'RE RIGHT THAT THE PHYSICAL CHANGES ARE MUCH MORE NOTICEABLE AT THE EXTREMES, EITHER IN A BUBBLE, OR A BIG WINNING STREAK, OR DURING A FINANCIAL CRISIS.

AND MUCH OF THIS IS TIED TO TESTOSTERONE LEVELS.

DO MEN AND WOMEN EXPERIENCE THESE CHANGES IN DIFFERENT WAYS?

NO, THEY DON'T.

IT'S A GOOD QUESTION.

I MEAN, WE WERE LOOKING AT TESTOSTERONE AND ITS EFFECTS ON BUBBLES.

SO NOT SO MUCH ON FINANCIAL CRISES.

BUT WHEN ATHLETES AND TRADERS ARE ON WINNING STREAKS, THEY GET THIS REAL ELEVATION IN THEIR TESTOSTERONE LEVELS, AND, YOU KNOW, THAT HAS REMARKABLE PROPERTIES IN THE BODY.

IT INCREASES YOUR LEAN-MUSCLE MASS, THE HEMOGLOBIN IN YOUR BLOOD, THE BLOOD'S CAPACITY TO CARRY OXYGEN.

IT INCREASES CONFIDENCE AND APPETITE FOR RISK.

SO IT'S REALLY A MOLECULE THAT HELPS YOU COMPETE.

THE TROUBLE IS -- YOU KNOW, IF THESE LEVELS GET TOO HIGH, YOU CAN SORT OF GO CRAZY AND START TAKING TOO MUCH RISK.

AND SO EFFECTIVE RISK-TAKING TURNS INTO RISKY BEHAVIOR.

AND, AS I SAID, I'VE SEEN THAT TRANSFORMATION TAKE PLACE IN A LOT OF MY MALE COLLEAGUES.

I'VE NEVER SEEN IT HAPPEN IN A WOMAN.

WOMEN HAVE SOMEWHERE BETWEEN 5% OR 10% OF THE CIRCULATING TESTOSTERONE LEVELS AS MEN DO.

THIS TESTOSTERONE-INDUCED EXPANSION OF RISK-TAKING DOESN'T SEEM TO OCCUR IN THEM.

AND MEN -- IF THEY'RE AWARE OF THIS, CAN THAT HELP COUNTERACT THE EFFECT OR ARE THERE THINGS THAT THEY CAN DO -- MEN AND WOMEN -- TO MINIMIZE THE EFFECTS?

JUST LEARNING THE BIOLOGY AND RECOGNIZING THE SIGNS, BOTH IN YOURSELF AND IN OTHERS, ALLOWS YOU TO CONTROL IT SO MUCH BETTER.

YOU CAN SORT OF AUGMENT ALL THE PHYSIOLOGICAL CHANGES THAT YOU WANT, THAT ARE GOOD FOR YOU, AND DAMPEN THE ONES THAT ARE BAD.

THAT'S EXCITING AND THAT'S VERY HOPEFUL, BUT FOR THE PEOPLE WHO ARE NOT AWARE AND WHO ARE PLAYING INTO THESE EMOTIONS, WHAT DOES THAT SAY ABOUT THINGS LIKE OUR GLOBAL ECONOMY OR OUR POLITICAL SYSTEM WHEN THERE ARE THESE MAJOR HIGHS AND LOWS?

A COLLEAGUE OF MINE OVER HERE, WHO SITS IN THE HOUSE OF LORDS -- HE'S A TRAINED NEUROLOGIST, BUT HE'S BEEN, ALSO, A CAREER POLITICIAN, AND HE'S SEEN, YOU KNOW, THIS ROGUE BEHAVIOR IN HIGHLY SUCCESSFUL LEADERS, YOU KNOW, WHO ARE ON THEIR SECOND OR THIRD TERM, WHEN THERE'S REALLY NO RESTRAINTS ON THEIR POWER.

THEY CAN'T CHANGE AND, YOU KNOW, THEY BASICALLY HOLD A COUNTRY TO HOSTAGE.

HE'S BEEN SUGGESTING THAT THERE SHOULD BE WAYS OF, LIKE, DEALING WITH A POLITICAL LEADER WHO SUCCUMBS TO THAT.

AT THE MOMENT, ALL THERE IS ARE MEDICAL CHECKS.

YOU KNOW, IF A LEADER BECOMES MEDICALLY INCAPACITATED, HE CAN BE REMOVED OR SHE CAN BE REMOVED FROM OFFICE.

IN THE FINANCIAL MARKETS, THERE'S ALMOST A TOTAL UNAWARENESS THAT THIS IS TAKING PLACE.

RISK MANAGERS REALLY SHOULD BE AWARE OF WHAT IS CAUSING THE CHANGE IN BEHAVIOR OF THE TRADERS.

AND THAT GOT REPLACED, YOU KNOW, HALFWAY RUNNING UP TO THE CREDIT CRISIS BY WHAT THEY CALL STATISTICAL METRICS, WHERE THEY WERE NO LONGER LOOKING AT THE BEHAVIOR.

THEY WERE JUST LOOKING AT THE POSITIONS IN THE BANKS AND THEN STRESSING THEM UP AND DOWN FIVE STANDARD DEVIATIONS TO SEE WHETHER, YOU KNOW, THE BANK WOULD BE IN TROUBLE IF THE MARKET MOVED A LOT.

THE TROUBLE WITH THOSE RISK METRICS IS THAT THEY DON'T CAPTURE CHANGES IN BEHAVIOR.

THAT WAS THE PROBLEM DURING THE HOUSING BUBBLE AND THE CREDIT CRISIS.

SO, RISK MANAGERS HAVE GOT TO GO BACK TO BEING ABLE TO READ HUMAN BEINGS AND TO UNDERSTAND THE CHANGES IN BEHAVIOR, AND I THINK THAT MEANS LEARNING THE PHYSIOLOGY THAT'S CAUSING THIS CHANGE IN RISK APPETITE.

YEAH, AS WE'RE MECHANIZING THINGS, WE'RE TAKING THE HUMAN ELEMENT OUT.

BUT IT'S CLEARLY IMPORTANT TO ACKNOWLEDGE HOW MUCH OF A FACTOR THAT PLAYS IN THE WHOLE PROCESS.

ABSOLUTELY.

JOHN COATES, THANK YOU FOR JOINING US.

WE REALLY APPRECIATE IT.

OKAY. WELL, MY PLEASURE.

THE NATIONAL STEM INITIATIVE, THE PUSH TO GET KIDS TO STUDY SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, ENGINEERING, AND MATH, HAS TAKEN OFF.

BUT SOME EDUCATORS THINK ART HAS BEEN LEFT BEHIND, TO STUDENTS'S DETRIMENT.

WE SAT DOWN WITH UCF PROFESSOR RYAN BUYSSENS TO DISCUSS WHAT ARE CALLING THE STEAM INITIATIVE.

SO, JUST FIRST OF ALL, TELL ME A LITTLE BIT ABOUT THE CONCEPT OF STEAM.

WHAT IS IT?

STEM STANDS FOR 'SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, ENGINEERING, AND MATH.'

AND THE 'A' IN STEAM STANDS FOR 'ART.'

SO IT'S THE ADDITION OF THE ARTS INTO THE MATHEMATICAL AND TECHNOLOGICAL FIELDS.

I THOUGHT THAT STEM WAS CREATED -- THE CONCEPT OF STEM WAS CREATED BECAUSE THERE WAS A FEELING THAT NOT ENOUGH STUDENTS WERE GOING INTO THE SCIENCE FIELDS.

WHY ARE WE INTRODUCING ART INTO THE EQUATION NOW?

ARTS HAS BEEN LINKED INTO THE SCIENCES SINCE THE AGE OF ENLIGHTENMENT, AND BOTH HAVE A SIMILAR-YET-MAYBE-A LITTLE-BIT-DIFFERENT APPROACH.

BUT AN ARTIST IS VERY EXPLORATIVE TO WHATEVER CONCEPT OR IDEAS THAT THEY'RE EXPLORING, AND A SCIENTIST IS THE SAME WAY.

AND WHAT ABOUT FOR THE ARTIST?

WHAT DOES THE ARTIST GAIN OUT OF GETTING THAT GROUNDING IN SCIENCE?

THE BOOM IN TECHNOLOGY AND ALL THE NEW TOOLS AND ADVANCEMENT IN COMPUTERS AND THINGS LIKE 3-D PRINTING AND THE TANGIBILITY OF MEDIA IS REALLY STARTING TO TRANSCEND THE FIELDS, AND TO BE INSPIRED OR CONNECTED TO THESE DIFFERENT TECHNOLOGIES OR IDEAS WILL HELP INFORM THE ARTIST'S WORK.

RYAN BUYSSENS, THANKS SO MUCH FOR EXPLAINING THE CONCEPT OF STEAM TO US.

THANK YOU.

IT'S THE LARGEST SINGLE-LOCATION COLLABORATIVE WORKSPACE IN THE COUNTRY FOR TECH GEEKS.

ITS NAME IS PERFECT -- GEEKDOM.

NOW IN ITS FIFTH YEAR, THIS SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS, INCUBATOR IS EDUCATING AND ATTRACTING YOUNG TALENT WHILE SERVING AS A CATALYST FOR NEW STARTUPS AND APPS.

WE TAKE YOU INSIDE GEEKDOM.

THEY'RE THROWING A PARTY IN SAN ANTONIO.

FIESTAS ARE COMMON HERE, BUT THIS ONE IS DIFFERENT.

IT'S FOR THE TECH COMMUNITY, AFFECTIONATELY KNOWN AS GEEKS.

♪ HEY, HEY, HEY!

TODAY, AT THE FOURTH ANNIVERSARY OF GEEKDOM, WE'RE AT THIS INCREDIBLE PARTY WITH 1,000 PEOPLE HERE.

THIS IS JUST AMAZING.

IT'S A DREAM COME TRUE.

IT'S A CARNIVAL.

LIKE, SO, WHAT MATCHES GEEKS MORE THAN A SIDESHOW?

'CAUSE IF YOU TAKE CARNIES... AND GEEKS... AND SOME PEOPLE WALKING OFF THE STREET, IT'S ABOUT THE SAME THING, EXCEPT, LIKE, MAYBE THEY DON'T HAVE A LAPTOP.

BUT IT'S ABOUT THE SAME CHARACTERS.

NICK AND I WERE HOPING THAT GEEKDOM WOULD SPARK THE TECH COMMUNITY, AND IT REALLY HAS.

GEEKDOM IS A NEW KIND OF COLLABORATIVE CO-WORKING SPACE, WHERE ENTREPRENEURS, TECHNOLOGISTS, CREATIVES CAN GET TOGETHER AND BUILD AWESOME THINGS TOGETHER.

GEEKDOM IS HOME TO HUNDREDS OF TECHIES, ENTREPRENEURS, AND STARTUP COMPANIES, INCLUDING THE TECHSTARS CLOUD.

TECHSTARS IS ESSENTIALLY A GLOBAL ECOSYSTEM THAT HELPS ENTREPRENEURS BRING NEW TECHNOLOGIES TO MARKET.

ENTREPRENEURS FROM ALL OVER THE WORLD WILL COME TO THIS PROGRAM TO GET ACCESS TO THE MENTORSHIP THAT WE HAVE HERE AND THE RESOURCES FOR CLOUD TECHNOLOGIES.

IN ADDITION TO THE COMPANIES THAT COME TO SAN ANTONIO TO PARTICIPATE IN THE PROGRAM, WE'VE ALSO GOT A WORLDWIDE NETWORK OF INVESTORS AND MENTORS THAT ARE EXPERTS OR INTERESTED IN THE CLOUD FIELD, AND THEY COME TO SAN ANTONIO TO MENTOR THE TEAMS, TO LOOK AT POTENTIAL INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITIES, AND TO HELP THESE COMPANIES GET STARTED.

YOU DON'T HAVE TO BE JUST A COMPANY TO GET AN OFFICE.

YOU CAN BE ONE PERSON AND SAY, 'I WANT TO GET AN OFFICE AT GEEKDOM.'

WELL, WHAT WE DO IS -- WE TEAM YOU UP WITH THREE OTHER PEOPLE IN THAT OFFICE.

AND WHAT WE DO OUR BEST AT, I THINK, IS TO MAKE SURE THEY'RE NOT THE SAME AS YOU.

SO IF YOU'RE A DEVELOPER, WE WANT TO PUT YOU IN WITH A CREATIVE -- OKAY? -- AND THEN MAYBE SOME TYPE OF 'NUMBERS-TYPE PERSON.'

BY THE TIME YOU'RE DONE TALKING, IN THREE OR FOUR DAYS, YOU MIGHT COME UP WITH A NEW IDEA.

AND THEN, ALL OF A SUDDEN, THEY'RE LAUNCHING ANOTHER COMPANY.

IT WAS KIND OF ALMOST AN ARRANGED BLIND DATE, IF YOU WILL, FROM THE GEEKDOM COMMUNITY, PUTTING US TOGETHER.

GEEKDOM PAIRED ENTREPRENEUR ANDREW TRICKETT WITH TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPER FRANKLIN LYONS, AND THE TWO LAUNCHED A STARTUP CALLED MERGE VR, WHICH NOW MANUFACTURES VIRTUAL-REALITY GOGGLES AND SOFTWARE FOR THE CONSUMER MARKET.

I FEEL LIKE I'M A PART OF THIS ARTIFICIAL WORLD, LIKE I'M ACTUALLY INSIDE OF THE SCENE, AND AS I LOOK AROUND, YOU KNOW, I FEEL LIKE I'M ACTUALLY INSIDE OF THIS WORLD.

OKAY.

ALL RIGHT, HERE WE GO.

WE CAN USE IT AS WHAT'S CALLED AN EMPATHY MACHINE, 'CAUSE IT REALLY EXTRACTS EMOTIONS.

IT ISN'T JUST SOMETHING THAT'S FOR FUN.

IT'S THAT YOU CAN ACTUALLY ALMOST LITERALLY STEP INSIDE OF SOMEONE ELSE'S SHOES AND BE THEM FOR A LITTLE WHILE.

IT'S LIKE, WHAT'S IT REALLY LIKE TO BE SOMEONE IN A DIFFERENT PART OF THE WORLD AND A DIFFERENT CULTURE, LIVING IN A DIFFERENT ENVIRONMENT?

MAYBE MAKE THE WORLD A LITTLE BIT BETTER PLACE TO LIVE AS A RESULT.

THEY DON'T KNOW THAT THEIR TRIBE IS THAT CLOSE TO THEM.

[ LAUGHS ] SO CREATING A HUB WHERE EVERYONE CAN GET TOGETHER -- THAT'S WHERE THE MAGIC HAPPENS, RIGHT?

AND, AT THE END OF THE DAY, I THINK OF IT AS WHERE WE ALL NEEDED AND WANTED TO BE FROM THE BEGINNING, AND JUST OPENING IT UP TO EVERYONE -- IT JUST MADE IT PERFECT FOR US.

I THINK THAT WE'VE SEEN SUCH AN EVOLUTION OF THE TECH COMMUNITY.

THERE'S SO MANY MORE STARTUPS, SO MANY MORE DEVELOPERS PARTICIPATING, SO MANY ENTREPRENEURS COMING OUT OF THE WOODWORK.

I THINK, YOU KNOW, THE SKY'S THE LIMIT.

AND THAT WRAPS IT UP FOR THIS TIME.

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UNTIL NEXT TIME, I'M HARI SREENIVASAN.

THANKS FOR WATCHING.

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