SciTech Now Episode 225

We go behind the scenes at the famed (and sustainable) Biltmore Estate; Dr. Rudolph Tanzi discusses changing our gene activity; new technology is changing our communication capabilities; aircraft simulation is employed to encourage critical thinking among high school students; and the University of Washington School of Oceanography is expanding our knowledge of the ocean floor.

TRANSCRIPT

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COMING UP... THE TECHNOLOGY BEHIND THE LARGEST PRIVATE HOME IN AMERICA.

THEY ARE AT AN ANGLE THAT WILL GIVE YOU THE MOST SUNLIGHT.

WHEN THERE'S SUN, WE GET ALL OF IT.

THE POWER TO CHANGE YOUR BIOLOGICAL FATE...

HOW YOUR GENES RESPOND TO YOUR LIFESTYLE AUTOMATICALLY AT EVERY MOMENT ARE DETERMINING YOUR HEALTH AND DETERMINING YOUR OVERALL RISK FOR DISEASE.

LIGHTING OUR STREETS WITH TECHNOLOGY...

THE CONNECTION OR THE LINKAGE OR THE SYNERGY BETWEEN OPTICAL NETWORKS AND WIRELESS NETWORKS.

WHEN YOU THINK ABOUT SMART CITIES, YOU'RE IMMEDIATELY THINKING ABOUT SENSORS.

AND FINALLY, MAPPING THE OCEAN FLOOR THROUGH SOUND.

USING THE EQUIPMENT IS A LOT BETTER LEARNING TOOL THAN JUST DOING, LIKE, LAB TESTS AND IN THE CLASSROOM.

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.

IT IS THE LARGEST AND PERHAPS MOST FAMOUS PRIVATE RESIDENCE IN THE NATION, AND WHEN IT WAS COMPLETED BACK IN THE 1890s BY THE VANDERBILT FAMILY, BILTMORE ESTATE IN ASHEVILLE, NORTH CAROLINA, INCORPORATED THE LATEST TECHNOLOGY OF THE TIME.

TODAY, THE VANDERBILT FAMILY CONTINUES THAT LEGACY.

HERE'S THE STORY.

GEORGE VANDERBILT INCLUDED THE LATEST TECHNOLOGY WHEN HE BUILT HIS ICONIC HOUSE IN ASHEVILLE.

IN BETWEEN THOSE 250 ROOMS AND FOUR ACRES OF FLOOR SPACE, THE NATION'S LARGEST HOME WAS WIRED FOR ELECTRICITY.

PRETTY AMAZING CONSIDERING ELECTRICITY WAS PRETTY RARE IN 1895.

OH, AND ONE OTHER THING.

VANDERBILT DESIGNED HIS ESTATE TO BE SUSTAINABLE.

HE WAS BUILDING A SELF-SUFFICIENT ESTATE, SO IF YOU THINK ABOUT ALL THE EMPLOYEES THAT WERE HERE, EVERYTHING THAT WAS HAPPENING, HE NEEDED TO FEED EVERYBODY, SO HE HAD A BIG PRODUCTION GARDEN TO FEED THE HOUSE, TO FEED THE EMPLOYEES.

HE NEEDED TO BE ABLE TO POWER THE HOUSE, SO HE HAD A GENERATOR IN THE BASEMENT TO BE ABLE TO POWER IT.

HE NEEDED TO PRODUCE AN INCOME, SO HE DID SUSTAINABLE FORESTRY MANAGEMENT ON THE ESTATE.

SO, IT'S NOT SURPRISING THAT ON NINE ACRES OF ESTATE LAND, OUT OF VIEW OF THE MAIN HOUSE BUT WITHIN EYESIGHT OF THE CATTLE GRAZING, YOU FIND THE LATEST IN BILTMORE'S SUSTAINABILITY DRIVE.

7,000 SOLAR PANELS GENERATING 1.7 MEGAWATTS OF ELECTRICITY COVER THE HILLSIDE.

BUT THEY ARE AT AN ANGLE THAT WILL GIVE YOU THE MOST SUNLIGHT.

WE'RE ALSO IN AN AREA THAT THERE'S NO SHADE COVERAGE, SO WE TEND TO GET -- WHEN THERE'S SUN, WE GET ALL OF IT.

THE PANELS GENERATE ENOUGH POWER TO OFFSET ABOUT 20% OF THE ESTATE'S NEEDS, INCLUDING BILTMORE HOUSE, HOTELS, AND RESTAURANTS.

PUT ANOTHER WAY -- IT'S ENOUGH POWER FOR ROUGHLY 200 HOMES.

HAD SOLAR POWER BEEN AROUND WHEN GEORGE VANDERBILT BUILT HIS HOUSE, IT IS LIKELY HE WOULD HAVE INSTALLED THEM.

AFTER ALL, HE PUSHED THE TECHNOLOGY ON EVERYTHING ELSE.

BUT THIS WORKED SO WELL, BILTMORE DECIDED TO CONTINUE ITS SUSTAINABILITY PUSH ON THE WEST SIDE OF THE PROPERTY.

THIS IS CANOLA SEED.

THIS IS WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE AFTER IT'S HARVESTED WITH A COMBINE, THE SAME KIND OF MACHINE THAT YOU HARVEST ANY CROP WITH.

YOU CAN SEE IT'S VERY TINY AND IT'S VERY OILY.

CANOLA IS A MUSTARD, AND VERY, VERY SMALL SEEDS.

BUT THEY'RE VERY RICH IN OIL.

IN FACT, ABOUT HALF OF THAT TINY CANOLA SEED IS OIL.

THAT MIGHT NOT SEEM LIKE MUCH.

THE SEED IS REALLY LITTLE.

BUT THE ESTATE GROWS ABOUT 50 ACRES OF CANOLA BUSHES.

PLANTED IN THE FALL, HARVESTED IN THE SPRING, AND IT PRODUCES ROUGHLY 2,500 BUSHELS OF CANOLA SEEDS.

THE CANOLA MEAL COMES OUT OF THE BIN.

AND IT GOES UPSTAIRS THROUGH A CLEANER, THEN COMES DOWN THROUGH THAT PIPE THAT'S GOING INTO THIS BIN RIGHT HERE IN FRONT OF US.

THAT IS THE CRUSHER.

YOU SEE THOSE ROUND GRINDERS ON THE BOTTOM.

THOSE ROTATE AS THE SEED IS COMING THROUGH, AND CANOLA MEAL, THE BY-PRODUCT, IS EXPELLED, AND THE OIL GOES DOWN THE TROUGH AND THEN THROUGH OUR TUBES INTO OUR STORAGE TANK.

THE CRUSHED SEEDS ARE MADE INTO CANOLA MEAL FOR LIVESTOCK.

THE OIL IS PUT INTO A WASH.

BASICALLY YOU PUT YOUR OIL IN, YOU ADD WATER, METHOXIDE, METHANOL, AND IT GOES THROUGH SEVERAL STAGES, AND AT THE END OF THE PROCESS, YOU HAVE YOUR BIODIESEL THAT IS READY TO GO.

THE ENTIRE PROCESS FITS INTO THIS 100-YEAR-OLD BARN, AND IT PRODUCES ABOUT 25,000 GALLONS OF BIODIESEL.

THAT'S ENOUGH TO POWER THE ESTATE'S 60 PIECES OF FARM EQUIPMENT AND HAVE SOME EXTRA OIL TO SPARE.

I'M LOOKING AT THESE TWO.

THIS IS JUST A BIT DARKER.

A BIT MORE GOLDEN.

THAT DARKER LIQUID IS CANOLA OIL.

THE LIGHTER OIL IS BIODIESEL, AND AS YOU'LL LOOK AT THIS LATEST EFFORT IN BILTMORE'S SUSTAINABILITY, YOU GET THE FEELING GEORGE VANDERBILT WOULD BE PROUD.

FROM THE CANOLA PLANT, YOU'RE GONNA GET A BEAUTIFUL, BLOOMING FIELD IN THE SPRING, MADE INTO BIOFUEL, MEAL FOR YOUR LIVESTOCK, YOUR CANOLA OIL, WHICH CAN BE USED IN YOUR FRYERS OR FOR SALADS, AND THEN GLYCERIN FOR SOAP.

IT'S PRETTY NEAT.

IT'S PRETTY EFFICIENT.

IN HIS LATEST BOOK, 'SUPER GENES,' NEUROLOGIST RUDOLPH TANZI TAKES US ON A JOURNEY OF DISCOVERY, SHATTERING THE LONG-BELIEVED NOTION THAT GENES DETERMINE OUR BIOLOGICAL FATE.

THE BOOK EXPLORES FINDINGS IN THE FIELD OF EPIGENETICS THAT SUGGEST WE CAN BOOST OUR GENETIC ACTIVITY THROUGH CONSCIOUS CHOICES.

DR. RUDOLPH TANZI, WHO SERVES ON A VARIETY OF SCIENTIFIC ADVISORY BOARDS ACROSS THE COUNTRY AND WHO'S ALSO APPEARED ON A NUMBER OF PUBLIC TELEVISION PROGRAMS, JOINS US NOW.

SO, EXPLAIN THIS IDEA BECAUSE FROM HIGH SCHOOL BIOLOGY ONWARD, I'VE BEEN SAID -- 'OKAY, YOUR GENES, YOUR GENES, THIS IS NATURE, THIS IS NURTURE.

KIND OF THERE'S THIS INTERPLAY, BUT YOU CAN'T CHANGE YOUR GENES.'

RIGHT.

SO, THE GENES YOU INHERIT FROM MOM AND DAD ARE GOING TO PROVIDE YOU WITH VARIATIONS IN THE DNA THAT WE ALL HAVE.

THERE ARE 3 MILLION VARIATIONS BETWEEN YOU AND ME.

AND SOME OF THOSE MEAN NOTHING AND SOME OF THEM MAY PREDISPOSE ME TO ALZHEIMER'S DISEASE OR A CERTAIN TYPE OF CANCER.

SOME VARIANTS MAY AFFECT HOW YOU RESPOND TO CERTAIN DRUGS AND WHETHER DRUGS WILL WORK FOR YOU.

MOST OF MY CAREER I'VE BEEN IN THIS PRECISION MEDICINE, PHARMACOGENOMICS BASE, TRYING TO DEAL WITH THE DNA YOUR MOM AND DAD GAVE YOU.

BUT NOW, WHAT WE'VE LEARNED OVER THE PAST FEW YEARS IS THAT GENE ACTIVITY, HOW YOUR GENES RESPOND TO YOUR LIFESTYLE AUTOMATICALLY AT EVERY MOMENT ARE DETERMINING YOUR HEALTH AND DETERMINING YOUR OVERALL RISK FOR DISEASE.

YOU CAN MITIGATE RISK THAT YOU INHERIT WITH LIFESTYLE CHOICES, CONSCIOUS CHOICES.

MY DOCTOR WILL SAY, 'LAY OFF THE SUGAR, EXERCISE MORE.'

BUT YOU'RE SAYING THAT THIS ACTUALLY HAS -- KIND OF THERE'S A FEEDBACK LOOP, THAT IT'S CHANGING ME.

DIET, EXERCISE, STRESS LEVEL, AND SLEEP.

THEY WILL AFFECT YOUR RISK FOR EVERYTHING THAT IS GOING TO CHALLENGE YOUR HEALTHY AGENT -- ALZHEIMER'S, CANCER, DIABETES, STROKE, HEART DISEASE.

AND THE WAY IT WORKS IS THAT EVERYTHING YOU DO, GENE ACTIVITY'S CHANGING.

YOU HAVE 23,000 GENES, AND THEY CHANGE TOGETHER IN NETWORKS.

BUT IF YOU DO SOMETHING REPETITIVELY, ANYTHING YOU DO REPETITIVELY, NOW, WITH WHAT'S CALLED EPIGENETICS -- 'EPI' MEANS 'ONTO' -- THE DNA GETS CHEMICALLY MODIFIED BY YOUR ACTIVITIES SO THAT IN A MORE OR LESS SEMIPERMANENT WAY THOSE GENES WILL CHANGE THE ACTIVITY FOREVER.

SO NOW YOU AUTOMATICALLY HAVE GENE ACTIVITIES GOING 'CAUSE YOUR GENES HAVE BEEN TRAINED BY YOUR HABITS.

SO THE CRUX IS GOOD HABITS LEAD TO COORDINATED, HEALTHY GENE ACTIVITY.

BAD HABITS DO THE OPPOSITE.

HOW MUCH TIME DOES IT TAKE TO MAKE UP FOR BAD BEHAVIOR OR BAD HABITS?

SO, ANYONE AT ANY TIME CAN UNDO OLD HABITS WITH NEW ONES.

AND THIS IS REFLECTED IN YOUR GENES.

JUST LIKE YOU CAN CHEMICALLY MODIFY GENES THROUGH THE BAD HABITS -- WE TALK ABOUT IN 'SUPER GENES' THAT YOU CAN METHYLATE OR DE-METHYLATE -- YOU CAN ALSO UNDO THE CHEMICAL MODIFICATIONS AND REDO THEM ON NEW GENES BASED ON YOUR HABITS.

AND IF YOU DO IT REPETITIVELY, THEN YOUR GENES WILL EVENTUALLY BECOME PROGRAMMED TO HELP YOU AUTOMATICALLY.

SO, AFTER TWO WEEKS YOU'LL WANT THAT EIGHT HOURS OF SLEEP.

THERE'S BEEN KIND OF A RECENT SURGE ABOUT TRANSCENDENTAL MEDITATION AND REALLY, I MEAN, WHEN YOU LOOK AT THE CORE OF GIVING YOURSELF 20 MINUTES A DAY, HOW DOES THAT FACTOR INTO GIVING YOUR GENES TIME TO HEAL -- TO HEAL THE REST OF YOUR BODY?

WE JUST DID THE FIRST CLINICAL TRIAL ON MEDITATION, AND WHAT WE SAW WAS THAT, WITH REPETITIVE MEDITATION AMONG EXPERTS AND AMONG NOVICES WHO ARE LEARNING, DRAMATIC CHANGES IN GENE ACTIVITY OVER A ONE-WEEK PERIOD.

SO, GENES THAT CAUSE INFLAMMATION, GENES THAT ARE INVOLVED WITH YOUR WOUND HEALING OR VIRAL INFECTION, MANY OF THESE GENES, IF THEY'RE AT HIGH LEVELS, EVEN THOUGH THEY'RE MEANT TO HELP YOU, WILL HURT YOU.

AND ALL OF THESE GENES RELAXED.

IT WAS KIND OF LIKE THE BODY, AT THE GENETIC LEVEL, GENE ACTIVITY WAS CHILLING OUT, SAYING, 'WE'RE OKAY.

HOMELAND SECURITY WENT FROM ORANGE DOWN TO GREEN.'

AND THAT'S VERY GOOD FOR YOUR BODY BECAUSE, YOU KNOW, EVEN THOUGH INFLAMMATION IS MEANT TO BE AN IMMUNE RESPONSE AND HELP YOU, TOO MUCH CHRONIC INFLAMMATION IS AT THE VERY CORE OF ALZHEIMER'S, CANCER, HEART DISEASE, MOST OF THE AGE-RELATED ILLNESSES THAT THREATEN US FROM YOUR HAVING A HEALTH SPAN THAT KEEPS UP WITH OUR LIFE-SPAN.

IF YOU HAD TO PUT A PERCENTAGE ON IT, HOW MUCH CONTROL DOES SOMEONE HAVE OVER THEIR GENE ACTIVITY?

WE TRY TO AVOID THE WORD 'CONTROL,' ACTUALLY, BECAUSE IT'S MORE LIKE INFLUENCE.

WE HAVE A VERY STRONG INFLUENCE BECAUSE EPIGENETICS SAYS THAT EVERYTHING WE DO IS CHANGING GENE ACTIVITY.

AND THEN THE REAL CRUX OF THE 'SUPER GENES' BOOK IS THAT, WITH REPETITION NEW HABITS, NEW ROUTINES -- I DON'T WANT TO SAY 'PERMANENTLY' 'CAUSE YOU CAN ALWAYS REVERSE IT -- BUT SEMIPERMANENTLY CHANGED GENE ACTIVITY SO IT'S COORDINATED IN A CERTAIN WAY, NOW FOR GOOD.

THERE ARE EVEN STUDIES THAT SHOW THOSE COORDINATED CHANGES IN GENE ACTIVITY CAN BE INHERITED BY THE NEXT GENERATION.

THIS HAS BEEN SHOWN IN MICE.

SO, MICE THAT ARE TRAINED TO BE AFRAID OF THE SMELL OF CHERRY, THEY'RE CONDITIONED.

AND THEN THE BABY MICE, YOU LET THEM SMELL CHERRIES, AND THEY QUIVER IN THE CORNER, AND THEY ACTUALLY INHERIT THE SAME MODIFICATIONS TO THEIR GENES, WHICH IS CRAZY.

DARWIN WOULD NEVER HAVE DREAMED OF THIS, YOU KNOW.

LAMARCK WOULD HAVE, BUT DARWIN WOULDN'T HAVE.

WHAT WOULD YOU SUGGEST FOR PEOPLE, YOU KNOW, THAT THEY CAN SUSTAINABLY DO?

THE BIG CHOICES COME TO DIET.

ARE YOU MOVING AROUND AND EXERCISING?

ARE YOU LETTING PEOPLE STRESS YOU OUT?

AND ARE YOU GETTING ENOUGH SLEEP?

THOSE FOUR ALONE CAN JUST COMPLETELY CHANGE YOUR LIFE, SO WE REALLY FOCUS ON, AFTER WE TALK ABOUT THE SCIENCE, WE FOCUS ON THOSE IN THE SECOND PART OF THE BOOK, WHICH IS MORE SELF-HELP.

DO YOU EXPECT LONGER LIFE EXPECTANCY IF YOU'VE BEEN ABLE TO STAVE OFF ALZHEIMER'S AND CANCER AND THESE OTHER DISEASES?

WE TALK ABOUT LIFE-SPAN AND HEALTH SPAN.

SO, RIGHT NOW WE'RE LIVING TILL 80 YEARS OLD.

BUT AT 85, IT'S 40% TO 50% OF THE POPULATION HAVE ALZHEIMER'S DISEASE.

AND LIFE-SPAN WILL BE 85 PROBABLY BY -- AT LEAST BY THE END OF THE CENTURY, WHICH MEANS IF WE DON'T DO ANYTHING ABOUT THE DISEASE, EVERYBODY BORN WILL HAVE A 50% CHANCE OF HAVING IT, THE DISEASE, WHICH IS CRAZY.

WHEN YOU LOOK AT THE MEDITATION STUDY, WE LOOKED AT THESE PEOPLE AFTER THE MEDITATION TRIAL 30 DAYS OUT, AND THEY STILL HAD BENEFITS.

NOW, THOSE WILL WEAR OFF.

BUT THERE IS A PRETTY LONG -- IT'S A PRETTY LONG HALF-LIFE OF BENEFIT THAT COMES WITH DE-STRESSING, EATING A GOOD DIET, CHOOSING TO EXERCISE, MEDITATE.

IT'S JUST TELLING YOURSELF EVERY MORNING YOU WAKE UP, 'I'M GONNA MAKE THE CHOICE TO DO IT, AND EVERY MOMENT OF EVERY DAY I'M MAKING CHOICES AND I HAVE TO BE CONSCIOUS OF THAT.'

ALL RIGHT, RUDOLPH TANZI, THANKS SO MUCH.

THANK YOU.

FROM MAIN STREET TO THE INTERSTATE, TECHNOLOGY IS ILLUMINATING OUR ROADWAYS, AND A COMPANY FROM NEW YORK IS ON THE FOREFRONT OF MANUFACTURING L.E.D. STREET LIGHTS THAT CAN CHANGE THE WAY A TOWN FEELS AFTER DARK.

HERE'S A LOOK.

SMART CITIES IS JUST ANOTHER PIECE THAT OUR SOCIETY IS LIVING THROUGH RIGHT NOW, IN TERMS OF THE IMPORTANCE OF DATA AND THE IMPORTANCE OF CONNECTIVITY.

IT'S NOT ONLY THE DATA, THE INFORMATION, BUT IT'S ALSO THE CONNECTIVITY.

SO, SMF-28 IS A FIBER THAT ACTUALLY IS VERY -- ITS APPLICATIONS ARE VERY BROAD.

BECAUSE WE COMBINE, AGAIN, THE LOW LOSS WITH THE BAND ABILITY OR THE CAPABILITY TO BEND IN A TINY RADIUS, YOU CAN ACTUALLY USE THAT EVERYWHERE YOU WANT.

IT'S MOSTLY USED IN ACCESS NATURAL NETWORKS.

CAN BE USED IN LONG-DISTANCE NETWORKS, AS WELL.

WHEN YOU GO TO VERY, VERY EXTREME DISTANCES, LIKE SUBMARINE NETWORKS, THEN WE HAVE OTHER FIBERS THAT ARE EVEN MORE OPTIMIZED FOR THAT.

BUT IF YOU GO FROM INSIDE YOUR HOUSE, ACCESS NETWORKS, ALL THE WAY TO METRO -- METROPOLITAN AND EVEN CONNECTING CITIES.

THAT FIBER CAN BE USED FOR ALL THOSE APPLICATIONS.

SO, WHAT WE HAVE HERE IS A LITTLE DEMO THAT SHOWS THE IMPORTANCE OF NEOFIBERS THAT ARE BENDING SENSITIVE OR THAT YOU CAN BEND.

BASICALLY, THIS VIDEO SIGNAL THAT YOU SEE RIGHT HERE IS COMING THROUGH THIS LENGTH, AND THIS YELLOW CABLE HERE IS A REGULAR, STANDARD SINGLE-MODE FIBER, AS WE CALL IT.

AND WHAT WE HAVE AT THE END IS EQUIPMENT THAT MEASURES THE LOSS OF HOW MUCH OF THE SIGNAL THAT WE ARE LOSING, DEPENDING ON HOW WE PLAY WITH THIS CABLE.

SO I'M GONNA SHOW YOU THAT, AS I CREATE A BENDING ON THIS OPTICAL FIBER CABLE, TWO THINGS ARE GONNA HAPPEN.

FIRST, THE VIDEO QUALITY IS GONNA START SHOWING THE NOISE THERE.

SO YOU DON'T HAVE ENOUGH LIGHT, SO YOU DON'T GET THE GOOD-QUALITY VIDEO.

AND YOU CAN SEE, AT THE SAME TIME, THE ATTENUATION IS GOING UP, SO THE LOSS IN dBs, YOU SEE 10 OR EVEN MORE.

AS I BEND IT, IT'S MORE AND MORE.

I GOT 10, 30... 13, 15, 20, 25 dBs OF LOSS.

NOW, THE SAME SIGNAL IS GOING THROUGH, AND NOW IT'S CONNECTING TO THIS NEW OPTICAL FIBER HERE, INSIDE THIS WHITE CABLE.

AND IT'S A DIFFERENT GLASS.

IT WAS A GLASS THAT WAS DESIGNED TO AVOID THIS ISSUE.

SO NOW I CAN BEND THE SAME WAY THAT I WAS BENDING THE YELLOW ONE, AND YOU SEE THAT THE SIGNAL IS STILL THERE AND THERE IS NO LOSS.

AND IF I CAN, I CAN EVEN DO, LIKE, NOT JUST ONE, BUT I CAN DO SEVERAL TURNS ON THIS -- ON THIS PEN.

AND YOU CAN SEE THAT I STILL DON'T HAVE ALMOST NO LOSS THERE, AND THE SIGNAL'S STILL GOING THROUGH.

YOU'RE GONNA HAVE TO HAVE CONNECTIVITY COMING TO PLACES WHERE IT'S NOT COMING TODAY.

YOU'RE GONNA HAVE TO HAVE THAT CONNECTIVITY COMING TO A PLACE WHERE YOU'RE GONNA HAVE TO HAVE SENSORS AND PIPELINES, IN STATIONS, IN TRANSPORTATION HUBS, IN ALL THOSE THINGS.

AT SOME POINT, YOU'RE GONNA HAVE TO HAVE TO BRING THAT FIBER INTO LOCATIONS THAT ARE VERY DIFFICULT TO GET INTO.

YOU'RE GONNA HAVE TO HAVE THAT CABLE INSTALLED QUICKLY AND MAKING 90-DEGREE TURNS.

SO WE HAVE SEVERAL PRODUCTS IN THAT AREA.

SMF-28 ULTRA IS ONE OF THE NEWEST LAUNCHES THAT WE HAVE THAT COMBINES THOSE TWO THINGS -- THE MATERIAL, SO THE ATTENUATION, THE LOSS, THE VERY LOW LOSS IN THE MATERIAL, WITH THE CAPABILITY OF BENDING THAT IN A VERY TINY RADIUS AND ALLOWING FAST AND QUICK DEPLOYMENT OF OPTICAL FIBER.

IN THE SMART CITIES, ONE OF THE CHALLENGES AND ONE OF THE OPPORTUNITIES, AT THE SAME TIME, THAT WE HAVE SEEN IS THE CONNECTION OR THE LIGATURE OF THE SYNERGY BETWEEN OPTICAL NETWORKS AND WIRELESS NETWORKS.

WHEN YOU THINK ABOUT SMART CITIES, YOU'RE IMMEDIATELY THINKING ABOUT SENSORS.

WHEN YOU'RE THINKING ABOUT SENSORS, YOU'RE THINKING ABOUT SENSORS THAT ARE MOVING, THAT ARE IN DIFFERENT LOCATIONS OR DIFFERENT TIMES, SENSORS THAT ARE VERY SMALL, THAT ARE IN -- FOR THAT, IT'S VERY DIFFICULT TO IMAGINE A NETWORK OF SENSORS WHERE 100% OF THE SENSORS ARE CONNECTED THROUGH AN OPTICAL FIBER.

THAT'S NOT GONNA HAPPEN, SO YOU'RE GONNA HAVE THE BIG MAJORITY OF THOSE SENSORS WILL BE CONNECTED THROUGH THE WIRELESS NETWORK.

SO WHAT WE NEED TO DO NOW IS TO COMBINE THE BANDWIDTH OF AN OPTICAL NETWORK WITH THE MOBILITY AND COVERAGE OF A WIRELESS NETWORK.

SO SMF-28 ULTRA ALLOWS YOU TO PUT MORE FIBER INSIDE THE SAME-SIZE CABLE OR THE SAME DUCT.

SO, BASICALLY, YOU HAVE MORE CONNECTIONS IN THE SAME CROSS-SECTION ARE THAT YOU HAD BEFORE.

AGAIN, THIS IS GOING TO THAT -- THAT LINE OF HIGHER DENSITIES, EVEN MORE BANDWIDTH.

LOOKING TO OUR WORLD TODAY, OUR SOCIETY, EVERYTHING'S AROUND COMMUNICATION, AND EVERYTHING IS ABOUT BEING CONNECTED ALL THE TIME EVERYWHERE.

AND WITHOUT OPTICAL FIBER, THAT WOULD NOT BE POSSIBLE.

THE INTERNET WOULD NOT BE POSSIBLE WITHOUT OPTICAL FIBER.

SO THAT'S -- IT'S VERY CRITICAL FOR US AND FOR OUR HISTORY.

THE FIRST-YEAR PROGRAM THAT I TEACH IS THE SIMULATION.

THE SECOND-YEAR PROGRAM, WE START GETTING THEM ONTO RADIO-CONTROLLED AIRPLANES.

IN MY THIRD YEAR, THE STUDENT WILL ACTUALLY COME IN AND BUILD THEIR OWN AIRCRAFT AND DETERMINE WAS THE CONSTRUCTION WORTHWHILE, DOES THE PLANE WORK FOR WHAT I WANT IT TO DO.

WHAT WE WERE DOING WAS TAXI'ing THE PLANE, WHICH IS JUST LEARNING HOW TO MANEUVER YOUR PLANE ON THE GROUND.

I WANT TO BE A MECHANICAL ENGINEER.

I WANT TO BE BUILD AIRCRAFT.

BUT I'M NOT SO MUCH OF A FLIER, SO I LIKE TO BE IN CLASS, MAKING A DECISION AND MEASUREMENTS OF AIRCRAFT.

WE ARE INSPECTING AN OIL RIG, AND AS WE WERE LANDING, THERE WAS AN EXPLOSION.

WE HAD THE OPTION OF RESCUING THE THREE PEOPLE THAT WERE IN THE RIG OR LETTING THE COAST GUARD TAKE CARE OF IT.

YOU CAN'T LAND THERE.

IT'S TEACHING ME HOW TO THINK CRITICALLY.

STUFF THAT HAPPENS IN REAL LIFE.

DID YOU KNOW WE KNOW MORE ABOUT THE TOPOGRAPHY OF MARS, VENUS, AND THE MOON THAN WE DO ABOUT OUR OWN OCEAN FLOOR?

THE UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON SCHOOL OF OCEANOGRAPHY IS EMBARKING ON A NEW, HIGH-TECH WAY TO SOLVE THIS PROBLEM.

THEY'VE TEAMED UP WITH GOVERNMENT AGENCIES AND OTHER INSTITUTIONS TO MAP THE DEEP WATERS OF PUGET SOUND USING HIGH-TECH SONAR EQUIPMENT, AND THEY MADE SOME IMPORTANT DISCOVERIES ALONG THE WAY.

OH, LOOK!

HEY!

WE FOUND THE SEAFLOOR.

WE FOUND THE SEAFLOOR.

IT'S WHERE WE THOUGHT IT WAS GONNA BE.

THE MOUSE IS UP.

THE UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON'S SCHOOL OF OCEANOGRAPHY IS ON A RESEARCH VESSEL TRAVELING THROUGH WASHINGTON STATE'S PUGET SOUND.

THE GOAL -- MAPPING THE OCEAN FLOOR.

MILES LOGSDON IS THE LEAD INSTRUCTOR ON THE CRUISE.

SO, PUGET SOUND IS -- OH, IT'S ONE OF THE MOST INTERESTING -- OH, COME ON.

I'LL JUST BE ON IT.

IT IS THE MOST INTERESTING PLACE TO DO COASTAL OCEANOGRAPHY.

PUGET SOUND IS A BUSTLING URBAN INLET.

PARTS OF THE SOUND HAVEN'T BEEN MAPPED SINCE THE 1800s, AND MUCH OF IT HASN'T BEEN MAPPED AT ALL.

SO, WHEN WE START THINKING ABOUT HOW TO USE MARINE RESOURCES WISELY AND START GOING, 'LET'S PLAN AHEAD,' PEOPLE NEED DATA.

THEY NEED TO KNOW WHAT'S THERE, HOW MUCH VARIATION IS THERE.

MAPPING DATA'S NOT ONLY IMPORTANT FOR ECOLOGICAL REASONS BUT NAVIGATION, AS WELL.

THING IS, YOU CAN SEE FROM THOSE MAPS, WE'RE FOCUSING ON ABOUT THREE GENERAL SURVEY LOCATIONS, RIGHT?

WE'RE STILL IN THIS KIND OF TRAINING MODE, EVERYONE IS...

EMILY ROLAND IS A MARINE GEOPHYSICIST.

SHE'S HELPING LOGSDON TEACH STUDENTS HOW TO PERFORM HIGH-TECH MAPPING.

AND THEY ARE JUST DIVING IN.

THEY'RE ASKING LOTS OF QUESTIONS, AND THEY ARE REALLY RESPONSIBLE FOR RUNNING THE SHOW, AND THEY'RE DOING THAT.

THIS IS OUR FIRST DAY.

YEAH, I'VE GOT THE NIGHT SHIFT, SO WE'RE FROM MIDNIGHT TO 8:00 IN THE MORNING.

THIS IS MY FIRST, LIKE, ACTUAL RESEARCH-VESSEL EXPERIENCE.

USING THE EQUIPMENT IS A LOT BETTER LEARNING TOOL THAN JUST DOING, LIKE, LAB TESTS AND IN THE CLASSROOM.

SO, HOW DOES ONE MAP THE OCEAN FLOOR?

THROUGH SONAR TECHNOLOGY.

WE'RE LITERALLY PUTTING SOUND THROUGH THE WATER COLUMN, REFLECTING OFF THE SEAFLOOR, BACK UP TO OUR REMOTE SENSING DEVICE, WHICH IS OUR SHIP'S TRANSDUCER.

THAT'S WHAT WE CALL IT -- A MULTI-BEAM TRANSDUCER.

SINGLE-BEAM SONAR WORKS BY EMITTING A SOUND WAVE AND LISTENING FOR HOW LONG IT TAKES TO RETURN, LIKE AN ECHO.

IF YOU KNOW THE SPEED OF SOUND AND THE TIME IT TAKES, YOU CAN FIND THE DISTANCE THE SOUND WAVE TRAVELED.

HIGH-TECH MULTI-BEAM SONAR SYSTEMS WORK SIMILARLY, EXCEPT, INSTEAD OF LISTENING FOR JUST ONE ECHO, MICROPHONES PICK UP ECHOES FROM 426 DIFFERENT LOCATIONS EVERY SECOND.

THIS REACHES OUT TO 500 METERS ON BOTH SIDES OF THE SHIP.

COMPUTERS THEN STITCH ALL THOSE ECHOES TOGETHER, AND THE END RESULT IS A HIGH-REST 3-D MAP THAT GIVES US DETAILED DATA OF WHAT'S HAPPENING ON THE OCEAN FLOOR.

SO, YOU CAN IMAGINE HOW RAPIDLY WE CAN MAP THINGS.

THEY'RE HOPING TO ADD THIS DATA TO THE NATIONAL OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION, OR NOAA'S, NAUTICAL CHARTS.

BUT THEY HAVE TO GET IT RIGHT.

TODAY, THEY'RE MAPPING THE MOUTH OF THE ELWHA RIVER, THE SITE OF THE NATION'S LARGEST DAM-REMOVAL PROJECT.

WE'RE ON THE NORTHERN KIND OF FLANK OF THE ELWHA DELTA HERE, AND WE'VE, OVERNIGHT, HAVE OBSERVED SOME PRETTY INTERESTING BED FORM FEATURES.

ROLAND AND THE STUDENTS HAVE DISCOVERED UNDERWATER SAND DUNES THAT RISE UP TO 125 METERS.

THAT SHOWS THAT THERE'S A LOT OF ENERGY COMING THROUGH THIS AREA.

SOMETHING IS CARVING AWAY OR REMOVING THE SEDIMENT THAT'S BEING DEPOSITED, AND WE THINK WE HAVE EXPOSED BED FORMS ALONG HERE, EXPOSED ROCK.

THE DATA COULD BE USED TO STUDY THE CHANGING GEOLOGY OF THE AREA, BUT DOES IT PASS NOAA'S STRICT STANDARDS?

SCIENTIST TOSHI WOZUMI IS ON BOARD ASSESSING THE DATA.

THE DATA THAT'S COMING IN IS LOOKING GOOD.

WE HAVE FULL BOTTOM COVERAGE WITH VERY GOOD OVERLAP AND VERY GOOD SOUNDING DENSITY.

WE'LL BE ABLE TO USE THIS DATA TO UPDATE OUR CHART.

STUDENTS ALSO FOUND SOMETHING UNEXPECTED.

SO, LAST NIGHT, WE WERE TRANSITING BETWEEN OUR SURVEY STATION AND LEARNING HOW TO PROCESS THE DATA, AND I FOUND THIS REALLY COOL SHIPWRECK RIGHT OFF OF POINT NO POINT.

AND WE CAN TELL THAT IT HAS A BOW HERE AND A HOUSE HERE.

THIS NEWLY DISCOVERED SHIPWRECK WILL BE ADDED TO NOAA'S PUBLIC NAUTICAL CHARTS, ALONG WITH THE MAPPING DATA.

THE TEAM ALSO COLLECTED SEDIMENT SAMPLES TO HELP MAKE THE CONNECTION BETWEEN COMPUTER DATA AND WHAT'S ACTUALLY ON THE SEAFLOOR.

ONE OF THE BIGGEST DATA NEEDS THAT'S HAPPENING RIGHT NOW IS HOW CAN WE BETTER MANAGE OUR WATERS.

AND BY MANAGE IT, IT MEANS, LIKE, FROM RECREATIONAL USE, FISHERIES USE, MARINE-TRANSPORTATION USE, CARGO VESSELS.

SO WHEN WE CAN HELP DECISION-MAKERS SEE CRITICAL AREAS, IT MAKES ME FEEL PRETTY GOOD ABOUT WHAT WE'RE DOING, RIGHT?

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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