SciTech Now Episode 27

Episode twenty-seven of SciTech Now brings you the latest breakthroughs in science, technology and innovation. Find out how hibernating grizzly bears may hold the cure for diabetes and see how scientists are trying to bring species back from extinction.

TRANSCRIPT

COMING UP, BATTLING THE BULGE WITH THE HELP OF GRIZZLY BEARS...

WHAT WE SEE IN BEARS LOOK VERY SIMILAR TO WHAT HAPPENS I DIABETIC HUMANS.

...THE TECHNOLOGY OF MONEY..

BITCOIN, IT'S A CHEAPER FASTER, MORE EFFICIENT, DIGITA SYSTEM

...MAKING THE ARTS ACCESSIBL THROUGH VIRTUAL MAPPING...

THERE'S SO MUCH DETAIL IN THE 360-DEGREE VIRTUAL TOUR THAT YOU CAN ACTUALLY SEE THAT MAKE IT A LOT EASIER TO PLAN AHEAD OF TIME

...AND THE SCIENCE BEHIN DE-EXTINCTION.

SYNTHESIS INVOLVES MAKING U OUR OWN SEQUENCE JUST LIKE IN RECIPE

IT'S ALL AHEAD.

FUNDING FOR THIS PROGRAM IS MADE POSSIBLE BY CONTRIBUTIONS TO THIS STATION.

HELLO. I'M HARI SREENIVASAN WELCOME TO 'SciTech NOW,' OU WEEKLY PROGRAM BRINGING YOU TH LATEST BREAKTHROUGHS IN SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, AND INNOVATION LET'S GET STARTED.

GRIZZLY BEARS PILE ON THE FA EVERY AUTUMN, BUT IN THEIR OBESE STATE THROUGH HIBERNATION, THE DO NOT APPEAR TO SUFFER HEALTH CONSEQUENCES LIKE OVERWEIGHT HUMANS DO.

NOW SCIENTISTS I WASHINGTON STATE ARE TRYING TO FIGURE OUT WHY, IN HOPE THAT STUDYING BEARS WILL LEAD T POSSIBLE THERAPIES FOR HUMAN OBESITY AND DIABETES [ BEAR WHINES, BIRDS SINGING ]

PLUMP, PUDGY, PORTLY -- CAL THEM WHAT YOU WILL, BUT FO GRIZZLIES, BEING FAT IS BEIN HAPPY.

THEY'RE SORT OF OCD EATERS.

THEY WILL CONSUME SO MUCH THAT THEY'RE PUTTING ON NEARLY 10 POUNDS A DAY IF YOU TRANSLATE THAT TO PIZZAS, IT'S ABOUT 16 LARGE PEPPERON PIZZAS A DAY

FOR HUMANS, THIS KIND O WEIGHT GAIN COULD CAUSE SOME SERIOUS HEALTH PROBLEMS, LIK HEART DISEASE, STROKE, AND TYPE 2 DIABETES.

BUT GRIZZLIES HAVE TROUBLE SURVIVING WITHOUT IT

ALL THEIR FOCUS IS ON I EATING, WHICH, YOU KNOW, THAT' JUST BORN OUT OF NECESSITY [ CHUCKLES ] IF THEY DON'T HAVE ENOUGH FAT, THEY WON'T SURVIVE HIBERNATION... [ BEARS ROAR ] ...BRUTAL LESSON TO LEARN IF YOU'RE A BEAR.

GRIZZLY BEARS CAN EASIL DOUBLE THEIR BODY FAT IN THE LEAD-UP TO HIBERNATION SOME OF THE BROWN BEHEMOTHS HERE AT WASHINGTON STATE UNIVERSITY'S BEAR CENTER WILL REACH MORE THAN 700 POUNDS WILD BEARS DEVELOPED THE ABILITY TO HIBERNATE AS A WAY TO SURVIVE THE WINTER WHEN FOOD IS SCARE.

THE FAT THEY STORE UP OVER THE SUMMER AND FALL FUELS THEM THROUGH THEIR LONG SLUMBER AND DURING THAT TIME, THEI BODIES CHANGE IN SURPRISING AN INCREDIBLE WAYS.

THEY DON'T EAT OR DRINK O URINATE OR DEFECATE DURING THE HIBERNATING SEASON THE BEAR'S METABOLISM DECREASE DRASTICALLY.

THEIR HEART RATE DROPS FRO SOMEWHERE AROUND 60 BEATS PE MINUTE TO 10 BEATS PER MINUTE.

BUT PERHAPS THE MOS REMARKABLE ADAPTATION DURING HIBERNATION IS THAT THE BEAR BECOME DIABETIC -- OR SOMETHIN THAT LOOKS A LOT LIKE IT THEIR BODIES BECOME RESISTANT TO INSULIN, A HORMONE THA REGULATES BLOOD SUGAR.

WHAT WE SEE IN BEARS LOOK VERY SIMILAR TO WHAT HAPPENS I DIABETIC HUMANS.

THE BIG DIFFERENCE, THOUGH -- AS FAR AS WE CAN TELL, THE BEAR TRANSITION INTO AND OUT OF THA STATE EVERY YEAR SO THEY EXHIBIT A REVERSIBLE - IF YOU WANT TO CALL IT - DIABETIC STATE, WHICH IS NOT SOMETHING THAT'S VERY EASY TO DO FOR HUMANS

HEIKO JANSEN STUDIES SEASONAL CHANGES IN GRIZZLIES WITH HELP FROM THE BIOTECH GIANT AMGEN, HE'S TRYING TO SOLVE TH MYSTERY OF HOW THE BEARS MAK THIS SWITCH.

THE ANSWER COULD ONE DAY LEAD TO A TREATMENT FOR HUMAN DIABETES BUT TO STUDY THIS PHENOMENON YOU NEED ACCESS TO HIBERNATING BEARS, AND THE WSU BEAR CENTER IS THE ONLY PLACE IN THE WORLD WHERE CAPTIVE GRIZZLIE HIBERNATE.

[ GIGGLES ]

AW, DON'T SCRATCH U [Laughing] MY HOOD OF MY CAR

MANY OF THESE BEARS WER NUISANCE ANIMALS RESCUED FRO THE WILD, AND STUDYING A WILD, 700-POUND GRIZZLY IS NO PICNIC [ GIRL CRYING

NOW, THE BEARS ARE NO SOMETHING YOU CAN MESS WITH.

EVEN TRAINED BEARS WILL REAR THEIR UGLY HEADS AT TIMES, UNPREDICTABLY.

SO WE HAVE TO WORK WITH THEM I A PROTECTED ENVIRONMENT AN VERY, VERY CAREFULLY [ BEAR ROARS ]

COME ON, LUNA

COME ON, LUNA

COME ON, LITTLE BEAR.

THE BEAR CENTER HAS WORKED TO TRAIN BEARS BECAUSE, IF WE CAN WORK WITH TRAINED BEARS, WE CA AVOID THE NEED TO ANESTHETIZ THEM TO DO SIMPLE PROCEDURES LIKE BLOOD DRAWS

GOOD GIRL

WE FEED THE BEARS HONEY WHE WE'RE DOING VOLUNTARY BLOO DRAWS BECAUSE THEY LIKE IT, AN IT'S A WAY TO REWARD THEM FO WORKING WITH US, AND IT'S ALSO A WAY TO KEEP THEIR MOUT OCCUPIED AS SOON AS WE START FEEDING THEM HONEY, WE CAN ASK THEM TO SIT, AND THEN WE CAN ASK THEM TO LA DOWN, AND THEN WE CAN ASK THEM TO STICK OUT THEIR FOOT, AND THEY'LL STICK THEIR FOOT OUT THROUGH ONE OF THE SLATS IN TH CRATE.

AND WE'LL BE ABLE TO DO VOLUNTARY BLOOD DRAW THAT WAY.

THAT'S A GOOD GIRL.

[ LUNA ROARING ] THAT'S A GOOD GIRL GOOD GIRL, LUNA.

BUT NOT EVERY BEAR IS S ACCOMMODATING.

SOME HAVE TO BE TRANQUILIZED [ BEAR SNORTING

WE'LL LOAD UP A DARTING PISTOL WITH A DRUG THAT WE'L USE TO ANESTHETIZE THE ANIMAL.

AND THEN, A FEW MINUTES LATER, THE BEAR WILL BASICALLY FALL ASLEEP [ BEAR SNORING ]

YOU GUYS WILL HAVE TO LIF BACK AND PUSH.

RESEARCHERS DRAW BLOOD AN TAKE TISSUE SAMPLES.

WE KNOW SO LITTLE ABOUT BEA PHYSIOLOGY THAT, EVERY TIME WE GENERATE A HYPOTHESIS, IT' ALMOST INVARIABLY REJECTED BECAUSE WE JUST KNOW SO LITTLE AND DESPITE OUR BEST EFFORTS THE QUESTIONS WE ASK ARE ALMOS ALWAYS ANSWERED IN A VER DIFFERENT WAY THAN WE EXPECTED

THE KEY TO UNDERSTANDING HO BEARS SWITCH IN AND OUT OF A DIABETIC STATE MAY LIE IN TH BEAR'S FAT CELLS HERE IN JANSEN'S LAB, THEY'R GROWING GRIZZLY FAT CELLS, HOPING TO GET AN UP-CLOSE LOOK AT THE MECHANISM THAT ALLOWS GRIZZLIES TO GO FROM BEING DIABETIC TO NON-DIABETIC AND BACK AGAIN

SINCE OUR HYPOTHESIS IS THA IT'S OCCURRING AT THE FAT CELL WE WANTED TO WORK WITH THOSE CELLS DIRECTLY

THERE ARE ABOUT A MILLION GRIZZLY-BEAR FAT CELLS IN THIS PLATE I HAVE IN FRONT OF ME.

SOMEWHERE WITHIN THAT CELLULAR, MOLECULAR MACHINERY IS A MECHANISM THAT CAN EXPLAIN THIS SWITCH.

THE HOPE OF EVERYONE IS THAT W WOULD BE ABLE TO TREAT DIABETES.

WE ALL REALIZE THAT THAT'S A VERY LONG SHOT, BUT INSULI SEEMS TO DO SIMILAR THINGS I THE BEAR THAT IT DOES IN PEOPLE, AND THEREBY UNDERSTANDING THOS MECHANISMS COULD HELP DIABETIC OVERCOME THEIR DISEASE

AND AS LONG AS FOOD I INVOLVED, THE BEARS AT THE CENTER ARE HAPPY TO HELP [ BEAR WHINES

CRYPTOCURRENCY IS A NEW DIGITAL METHOD OF TRANSMITTING MONEY, THE MOST POPULAR FORM O WHICH IS CALLED BITCOIN.

TODAY THERE ARE MORE THAN 30 FORMS OF DIGITAL CURRENCY, AND IT APPEARS THAT THIS TECHNOLOGICAL FORM OF MONEY IS HERE TO STAY JOINING ME NOW IS PAUL VIGNA REPORTER AND AUTHOR O 'THE AGE OF CRYPTOCURRENCY.'

SO, PEOPLE HAVE KIND OF HEAR ABOUT BITCOIN, BUT 300 DIFFERENT CURRENCIES THAT SEEMS EVEN MORE CONFUSING

WELL, AND THERE'S EVEN MORE THAN THAT, ACTUALLY.

THE PROBLEM IS THAT, I WOULD SAY, IF THERE'S 300 OR 500 - WHATEVER THE NUMBER IS -- 295 OF THEM ARE USELESS AND I DON'T MEAN THAT -- N OFFENSE TO OTHER ALTCOINS -- BUT MOST OF THEM ARE NEVER GONNA ACHIEVE ANY KIND OF CRITICAL MASS BITCOIN IS FAR AND AWAY TH LARGEST, THEN YOU HAVE A COUPL OF OTHERS, AND YOU REALLY WILL PROBABLY END UP HAVING A WORLD OF MAYBE A HANDFUL -- MAYBE ONLY ONE.

BUT YOU WILL HAVE, YOU KNOW, COUPLE OF DIFFERENT DIGITA CURRENCIES MOST OF THEM ARE NEVER GONNA - LIKE I SAID, THEY'RE NEVER GONNA REALLY ACHIEVE ANYTHING.

THEY'RE KIND OF ALMOST LIK VANITY PROJECTS.

AND SO, JUST TO CLARIFY FOR OUR AUDIENCE, THIS ISN'T JUS THE SORT OF APPLE PAY OR THE SAMSUNG PAY.

I MEAN, THERE'S AN UNDERLYIN TECHNOLOGICAL DIFFERENCE HERE.

WE'RE NOT TALKING ABOUT A NE WAY TO USE YOUR CREDIT CARD.

WE'RE TALKING ABOUT NOT USIN CREDIT CARDS

THIS IS A COMPLETEL DIFFERENT SYSTEM APPLE PAY -- WHICH I HAVEN'T USED IT MYSELF, BUT EVERYTHING I HEAR, IT'S A VERY GOOD SYSTEM.

EVEN SOMETHING LIKE M-PESA DOW IN KENYA, CREDIT CARDS -- ANY OF THESE MOBILE PAYMENTS -- THE ARE BASICALLY ELECTRONIC PRODUCTS BUILT ON TOP OF THE OLD FINANCIAL SYSTEM, WHEREA BITCOIN IS A COMPLETE BREAK FROM THAT IT IS ITS OWN SYSTEM IT IS LITERALLY SOFTWARE IT'S LITERALLY A PROTOCOL, ALLOWS TWO PEOPLE -- YOU AND I SAY -- TO SEND VALUE BETWEEN EACH OTHER IT RUNS ON COMPUTERS SO IT'S A PEER-TO-PEER SYSTEM.

IT IS MAINTAINED BY THE NETWOR OF COMPUTERS, SO IT HAS NO CENTRAL PARTY RUNNING IT SO THERE'S NO BANK RUNNING IT.

THERE'S NO GOVERNMENT RUNNIN IT THAT IS SORT OF THE REAL KINK IN IT THAT MAKES IT VERY DIFFERENT.

SO, OKAY, LET'S JUST GO THROUGH A SIMPLE TRANSACTION LET'S SAY YOU'RE GONNA SELL ME A CUP OF COFFEE.

THE EXISTING SYSTEM THAT WE HAVE TODAY, WHEN I SWIPE MY CREDI CARD AND YOU GIVE ME THE COFFE AND I WALK WAY, WHAT'S HAPPENING, VERSUS IF I WAS TO DO A BITCOIN TRANSACTION?

ON THE SURFACE, THE TWO TRANSACTIONS SEEM ALMOST IDENTICAL.

OKAY, YOU WALK INTO A CORNER STORE, YOU GET YOUR COFFEE, YO SWIPE YOUR CARD, YOU SIGN TH SLIP -- IF YOU EVEN SIGN THE SLIP -- AND YOU WALK OUT SAY THE PLACE TOOK BITCOIN - YOU'D WALK IN, YOU WOULD HAV YOUR MOBILE APP -- YOU WOULD HAVE YOUR WALLET ON YOUR PHONE YOU KNOW, YOU WOULD READ THEIR QR CODE.

YOU WOULD SEND IT BETWEEN THEM ABOUT 10 SECONDS -- SAME THING -- YOU WALK OUT.

THE DIFFERENCE IS, WITH TH BITCOIN SYSTEM, THAT TRANSACTION IS GOING TO GO THROUGH THE PROTOCOL IT'S GONNA TAKE ABOUT 10 MINUTES TO BE CONFIRMED.

WITH THE CREDIT CARD, THAT I GONNA GO THROUGH MORE THAN HAL A DOZEN FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS IT IS GOING TO TAKE ABOUT THRE DAYS TO CLEAR.

YOU HAVE YOUR BANK INVOLVED, THE COFFEE SHOP'S BANK IS INVOLVED YOU HAVE CLEARINGHOUSES, YOU HAVE SECURITY ISSUES -- AL THOSE THINGS, ALL THOS COMPANIES, ALL THOSE INTERMEDIARIES TAKE A LITTLE PIECE OF THAT TRANSACTION, AND IT TAKES ABOUT THREE DAYS TO CLEAR BEFORE THE COFFEE SHOP GETS THE MONEY THAT YOU GAVE THEM

AND THE COFFEE SHOP I CHARGED FOR THAT

AND THE COFFEE SHOP I CHARGED FOR THAT SERVICE -- THAT SERVICE, RIGHT -- ABOUT A 3% FEE.

WITH BITCOIN RIGHT NOW, THAT FEE IS NEGLIGIBLE.

IT'S ALMOST NOTHING.

YOU KNOW, AND PEOPLE TALK ABOUT, IN THE FUTURE, THAT MIGHT BECOME HIGHER IF SOME OF THOSE BACK-END SERVICES GET PUT IN.

BUT IT'S A CHEAPER, FASTER MORE-EFFICIENT, DIGITAL SYSTEM

BUT SOMEONE'S SITTING AT HOME AND SAYING, 'I'M WILLING TO DEAL WITH THAT TWO- TO THREE-DAY WAIT IF I'M A VENDOR BECAUSE AT LEAST I KNOW THAT THERE'S A BANK LOOKING OUT FOR ME, AND I KNOW THAT SOMEONE'S CHECKING HARI'S CREDIT, MAKING SURE THAT HE CA PAY FOR THIS,' RIGHT SO WHAT ABOUT THAT LAYER O SECURITY

SURE.

IN TERMS OF WHETHER OR NOT YOU KNOW THE TRANSACTION I LEGITIMATE, WHAT HAPPENS IS, EVERY SINGLE TRANSACTION THAT IS DONE THROUGH BITCOIN IS PUT INTO WHAT'S CALLED THE 'BLOCK CHAIN.'

THE BLOCK CHAIN IS PROBABLY TH KEY FEATURE OF BITCOIN IT IS AN OPEN LEDGER IT IS IN THE PUBLIC REALM.

ANYBODY CAN LOOK AT IT EVERY SINGLE TRANSACTION I RECORDED IN THIS OPEN LEDGER S THAT EVERYBODY CAN SEE THAT THIS AMOUNT OF BITCOIN WAS SENT FRO THIS WALLET TO THIS WALLET, SO THAT THERE IS NO COUNTERFEITING, THERE'S NO DOUBLE SPENDING, SO THAT YOU KNOW THE TRANSACTION IS LEGITIMATE HAS TO BE CONFIRMED, AND ONC IT'S IN THERE, IT IS IN THERE.

THOSE BITCOIN CANNOT BE SPENT BY THE SAME PERSON AGAIN.

YOU CAN DO ANOTHER TRANSACTION OBVIOUSLY.

RIGHT, BUT DO THEY KNOW THA I BOUGHT A CUP OF COFFEE FRO YOU?

THEY KNOW THAT YOUR WALLE SPENT THE MONEY.

THEY DON'T KNOW WHO ARE.

YOUR ACCOUNT IS ENCRYPTED.

YOUR IDENTITY IS PROTECTED THAT'S -- YOU KNOW, IN A WORLD WHERE IDENTITY THEFT IS A BI ISSUE, THAT'S SOMETHING THAT I OBVIOUSLY ADVANTAGEOUS YOUR IS PROTECTED, IT IS ENCRYPTED, BUT TH IS IN THE PUBLIC REALM.

AND THAT MIGHT BE ONE OF TH REASONS THAT THIS IS ALSO TH CURRENCY OF CHOICE FOR PEOPL BUYING THINGS THAT THE SHOULDN'T BE BUYING IN THE DARK WEB, WHETHER IT'S DRUGS, ET CETERA, RIGHT?

MUCH LIKE PHYSICAL CASH I THE CURRENCY OF CHOICE FOR PEOPLE BUYING THINGS THAT THEY DON'T WANT TO BUY.

YES, THE ANONYMITY IS AN ATTRACTIVE FEATURE, BUT IT I NOT BLANKET ANONYMITY.

SO, WHERE IS THE GOVERNMENT IN DEALING WITH THIS REALITY THAT EXISTS TODAY, NOT JUS ABOUT REGULATING BITCOIN NOW BUT GOING FORWARD IN THE FUTURE?

ARE THERE THINGS THAT EXISTING TRANSACTION SYSTEMS, EXISTIN GOVERNMENTS, TREASUR DEPARTMENTS, CAN LEARN FROM SOME OF THE ADVANTAGES THAT YOU'R POINTING OUT ABOUT THESE CRYPTOCURRENCIES

THEY'RE ALL TRYING TO LEARN ABOUT IT AT EVERY LEVEL OF GOVERNMENT YOU SEE THAT THE REGULATORS AR VERY, VERY INTERESTED IN THIS.

THEY ARE TAKING IT SERIOUSLY YOU KNOW, WE'RE GONNA GO DOWN TO DC THERE ARE GROUPS DOWN THERE THAT ARE VERY INTERESTED THAT WANT TO TALK ABOUT IT.

THE REGULATORS ARE KEENLY, KEENLY AWARE OF IT UP HERE IN NEW YORK, YOU HAV BEN LAWSKY, WHO RUNS THE DEPARTMENT OF FINANCIA SERVICES -- THEY'RE COMING U WITH A BIT LICENSE THEY WANT TO REGULATE -- THE WANT ANY BITCOIN BUSINESS IN NEW YORK TO HAVE A LICENSE SO REGULATORS EVERYWHERE T DIFFERENT DEGREE -- THERE AR DIFFERENT POINTS OF IT, BUT THEY ARE ALL INTERESTED IN IT THEY WANT TO KNOW ABOUT IT THEY WANT TO BRING IT IN FRO THE WILD, IF YOU WANT TO PUT I THAT WAY, BECAUSE THERE IS A ACTUAL ADVANTAGE TO THIS THIS IS A VERY CLEAN, EFFICIEN SYSTEM AND IT'S WHAT WE SAY -- IT I DIGITAL MONEY FOR A DIGITAL AGE.

AND I THINK, ONCE PEOPLE GLEAN THAT, IT BECOMES A VERY SORT O CLEAN THING -- 'OH, YES, O COURSE, IT MAKES SENSE.'

I MEAN, YOU'RE GONNA SEE APPLE PAY TAKE OFF PEOPLE ARE GONNA SAY, 'OH, YES THIS MAKES SENSE IT IS AN EASIER WAY TO DO WHAT I'M ALREADY DOING, WHICH I RUNNING HALF MY LIFE ONLINE.

SO, YOU'RE GOING TO SE REGULATORS GET INTERESTED.

YOU'RE GOING TO SEE WALL STREE GET INTERESTED I THINK THAT'S ACTUALLY ONE OF THE BIGGEST CHANGES IN WALL STREET'S ATTITUDE TOWARDS THIS OVER THE LAST YEAR OR SO.

VERY DISMISSIVE IN THE BEGINNING.

YOU ARE NOW SEEING MORE AND MORE INSTITUTIONS TAKE A VERY ACTIV INTEREST IN THIS 'CAUSE, ULTIMATELY, THIS IS JUST A TRANSACTION SYSTEM AND IT'S A FASTER, CHEAPER MORE EFFICIENT ONE, AND PEOPLE ARE GONNA REALIZE THAT, AN THEY'RE GONNA FIGURE OUT WAY TO HARNESS IT.

ALL RIGHT, PAUL VIGNA FRO THANKS SO MUCH.

YEAH. HAPPY TO BE HERE, HARI.

MAKING ARTS ACCESSIBLE IS A ONGOING MISSION WITHIN THE THEATER COMMUNITY, BUT FOR PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES GETTING IN AND OUT OF A THEATE CAN OFTEN BE A CHALLENGE NOW THE CULTURAL ACCESS NETWOR PROJECT IN NEW JERSEY IS WORKING TO OVERCOME SOME OF THES HURDLES THROUGH VIRTUAL MAPPING.

REPORTER MADDIE ORTON HAS TH STORY.

HERE'S THE ELEVATOR HERE.

HERE'S WHERE YOU GO IN

CHARLES NEWMAN IS DIRECTOR OF UNION COUNTY'S OFFICE FOR TH DISABLED WHEN HE GOES TO A PLAY, HE NEEDS TO TAKE CERTAIN LOGISTICS INTO ACCOUNT.

NOW THE NEW JERSEY THEATRE ALLIANCE AND SEVERAL OF IT MEMBER THEATERS ARE USING GOOGLE TECHNOLOGY TO MAKE INFORMATION ABOUT ACCESSIBILITY EASILY ACCESSIBLE THROUGH VIRTUAL TOURS.

THERE'S SO MUCH DETAIL IN THE 360-DEGREE VIRTUAL TOUR THAT YOU CAN ACTUALLY SEE WHAT TH SURFACE IS GONNA LOOK LIKE, IF THERE'S ANY BUMPS OR THRESHOLDS, WHERE THE ELEVATOR MIGHT BE, WHERE THE RAMP MIGHT BE.

AND IT MAKES IT A LOT EASIER T PLAN AHEAD OF TIME

PATRONS CAN VISIT THE GOOGL MAPS WEBSITE, FIND A THEATER AND CLICK 'SEE INSIDE.

FROM THERE, THEY CAN MOV THROUGH THE SPACE AND VIEW I FROM FLOOR TO CEILING.

GOOGLE CONTRACTOR JIM HILKER CREATES THESE VIRTUAL TOURS.

HE SAYS IT'S LIKELY THE FIRST OF ITS KIND

THIS IS THE FIRST PROJECT THAT I'VE HEARD OF OR THAT I'M AWARE OF, AS WELL AS M COORDINATORS AT GOOGLE THAT WORK WITH -- THE FIRST TIME PROJECT OF THIS NATURE, WITH THIS INTENT, HAS BEEN DONE I THE UNITED STATES.

THIS ADAPTATION OF THE GOOGLE SERVICE WAS THE BRAINCHILD O TWO RIVER THEATER COMPANY' ALYCIA YERVES AND NEW JERSEY THEATRE ALLIANCE'S ROBERT CARR

TO BE HONEST, WHEN WE FIRST WERE CONSIDERING THE IDEA, W HADN'T THOUGHT OF THAT ASPEC INITIALLY.

IT WASN'T UNTIL ROBERT CAR REACHED OUT TO ME AND MENTIONE THAT

IT WAS LIKE -- IT WAS 'EUREKA!

I MEAN, IT WAS LIKE, THIS IS WHAT WE NEEDED TO DO

THE ALLIANCE HAD BEEN SEARCHING FOR A WAY TO SHOWCAS THEATER INTERIORS FOR YEARS, AND HILKER JUMPED AT THE CHANCE TO TAKE ON THE PROJECT.

NORMALLY, WE WOULD FOCUS ON JUST THE MAIN ENTRANCE, BUT THIS ON WE HAD TO SPECIFICALLY THINK ABOUT, 'OKAY, IF WE WERE IN WHEELCHAIR OR COULDN'T WAL WELL, WHAT WOULD WE NEED TO DO WHICH PATH WOULD WE NEED TO TAKE WHEN WE DO THE VIRTUAL TOUR?

MAKING ARTS ACCESSIBLE IS THE ONGOING MISSION OF THE THEATRE ALLIANCE'S CULTURA ACCESS NETWORK PROJECT THIS YEAR, CARR RECEIVED THE KENNEDY CENTER'S INAUGURAL COMMUNITY ASSET AWARD FOR HI WORK

AS ORGANIZATIONS IN THE AUDIENCE BUSINESS, TO NO ADDRESS THESE AUDIENCES MAKE LITTLE SENSE

HILKER SAYS HE HOPES OTHE BUSINESSES THAT USE TH VIRTUAL-TOUR TOOL FOLLOW SUIT.

I HAVE BROUGHT IT UP TO A FEW OTHERS JUST BY CHANCE BECAUSE THINK IT'S SO COOL AND THEY WERE LIKE, 'OH, YEAH, THAT'S A GREAT IDEA.

AND THEN YOU COULD SEE THE START THINKING A LITTL DIFFERENTLY, TOO

SOON, TWO MORE THEATERS ARE SCHEDULED TO JOIN THE RANKS AN OPEN THEIR DOORS FOR VIRTUAL TOURS.

MANY SCIENTISTS ARGUE THA WE'RE CURRENTLY IN THE MIDDLE OF THE SIXTH MASS EXTINCTION OF SPECIES ON THE PLANET, MEANING THAT NEARLY HALF OF ALL SPECIE COULD DISAPPEAR IN THE NEXT FE DECADES.

BUT WHAT IF WE COULD BRING SPECIES BACK FROM EXTINCTION WE SIT DOWN WITH AN EXPERT A THE AMERICAN MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY, WHO EXPLAINS HOW TH PHENOMENON OF DE-EXTINCTION IS POSSIBLE

THE IDEA OF DE-EXTINCTION I THAT WE CAN BRING BACK SPECIES THAT ARE NOW COMPLETELY GONE A MAJOR FLASH POINT OF INTERES IN WHAT HAS NOW LED TO DE-EXTINCTION TECHNOLOGY HAPPENED ABOUT 10 YEARS AGO, WHEN DOLLY THE SHEEP WAS CREATED.

IN MANY WAYS, DOLLY WAS TH HARBINGER OF THE KIND OF TECHNOLOGY THAT WILL PERMIT US TO DO EVEN MORE SOPHISTICATE KINDS OF CREATION OF SPECIES THAT USED TO EXIST, SPECIES THAT STILL EXIST, AND PERHAPS EVE SPECIES THAT NEVER EXISTED WE CAN GROUP RELEVANT METHOD INTO THREE LARGE CATEGORIES.

THERE'S BACK-BREEDING, WHICH HUMANS HAVE PRACTICED LITERALL FOR THOUSANDS AND THOUSANDS OF YEARS.

THIS IS BEING DONE RIGHT NOW I WESTERN EUROPE, TRYING T RECREATE WHAT'S KNOWN AS THE AUROCHS.

THE WAY COWS LOOK TODAY IS NOT THE WAY THE CATTLE FAMILY LOOKED 10,000 YEARS AGO SO, IF YOUR PROBLEM IS T RECREATE ONE OF THOSE PRIMITIV COWS, WHAT DO YOU DO WELL, YOU REACH BACK INTO TH GENETIC CODE BY SELECTING FO ANIMALS THAT HAVE SLIGHTLY LONGER HORNS OR A BIGGER BULK OR THE KIND OF HIDE COLORATION THAT YOU THINK IS APPROPRIATE IT IS A VERY VIABLE AND LOW-TECH WAY OF DE-EXTINCTION AND THE INVESTIGATORS TRYING T DO THIS BACK-BREEDING TO AUROCHS HAVE HAD SOME SUCCESS.

THE ANIMALS LOOK QUITE A BIT LIKE OLD REPRESENTATIONS THAT GO RIGHT BACK TO CAVE PAINTINGS BUT WHAT IS IT, REALLY WHAT IT IS, REALLY, IS A CONSTELLATION OF TRAITS THAT YOU SELECTED FOR AND YOU KNOW NOTHING, REALLY ABOUT HOW CLOSE IT IS, PHYSIOLOGICALLY, TO AN AUROCHS BECAUSE THERE'S NO WAY O EXAMINING A LIVING AUROCHS A PRESENT.

YOU ALSO DON'T KNOW ABOU BEHAVIOR BEHAVIOR TENDS NOT TO FOSSILIZ IN ANY REALISTIC MANNER.

AND THE DEGREE TO WHICH AN MODERN COW RESEMBLES AN AUROCH IN TERMS OF BEHAVIOR IS COMPLETE UNKNOWN A SECOND METHOD FO DE-EXTINCTION THAT HAS IMPROVE GREATLY IN THE LAST 10 YEARS I CLONING, PARTICULARLY THE KIND OF CLONING KNOWN AS SOMATIC CELL NUCLEAR TRANSFER YOU TAKE THE GENETIC MATERIAL -- THE NUCLEUS -- OF ONE CELL YOU PUT IT INTO ANOTHER -- A EGG.

AND THAT EGG IS THEN PLACED IN AN ANIMAL THAT WILL ACT AS SURROGATE MOTHER AND PRODUCE A OFFSPRING.

THERE'S ALSO BEEN MASSIV IMPROVEMENTS IN WHAT WE CAN CALL SYNTHESIS.

SYNTHESIS INVOLVES MAKING UP OUR OWN SEQUENCE JUST LIKE IN RECIPE IF YOU HAVE TWO SPECIES -- ONE EXTINCT, ONE LIVING -- YOU CAN GET THE GENETIC MATERIAL OF TH EXTINCT ONE AND COMPARE THAT T THE LIVING ONE PASSENGER PIGEONS DIED OUT FINALLY ALMOST EXACTLY 100 YEARS AGO.

PASSENGER PIGEONS HAVE SEVERAL VERY CLOSE RELATIVES AMONG PIGEONS, AND ONE IS TH BAND-TAILED PIGEON, WHICH IS VERY CLOSE, INDEED IN RECENT YEARS, SCIENTISTS HAVE BEEN ABLE TO ISOLATE THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THE GENOME OF EXTINCT PASSENGER PIGEONS AND LIVING BAND-TAILED PIGEONS THEY HAVE BEEN ABLE TO INJEC THESE NOVEL SEQUENCES INTO THE GERM LINE OF DEVELOPIN BAND-TAILED PIGEONS AND USIN SURROGATES WITH THE SEX CELLS OF PASSENGER PIGEONS.

IF YOU CROSSBREED THEM, ONE TO ANOTHER, YOU WILL, IN THE NEXT GENERATION, GET SOMETHING THAT SHOULD LOOK EXACTLY LIKE A PASSENGER PIGEON NOW COMES THE BASIC QUESTION HERE, WHICH IS, 'WHAT ARE YO GOING TO DO WITH PASSENGER PIGEONS?' ASSUMING THAT YOU GO AHEAD AND CREATE A WHOLE FLOCK OF THEM.

IT'S BEEN ESTIMATED THAT THERE WERE PROBABLY MORE PASSENGER PIGEONS THAN ANY OTHER KIND OF BIRD EVER.

I DON'T KNOW WHAT WE WOULD D WITH A BILLION PASSENGER PIGEONS.

WE DON'T LIKE PIGEONS TO BEGIN WITH IN THIS PLACE A VERY IMPORTANT THING T CONSIDER ABOUT EXTINCTIONS I GENERAL IN THE COURSE OF LIF ON THE PLANET IS THAT THE WATERS CLOSE VERY QUICKLY WHEN SPECIES DISAPPEARS WHAT TENDS TO HAPPEN IS THAT OTHER SPECIES MOVE IN.

THIS IS HOW EVOLUTION, IN FACT WORKS.

THE MAMMOTH BEHIND ME PERFECTL ILLUSTRATES SOME OF THE ISSUES THAT WE'RE GOING TO FACE WIT DE-EXTINCTION.

THERE IS NO PLACE FOR SEVERA MORE VERY LARGE HERBIVORES IN PLACE LIKE THE U.S., EXCEP UNDER VERY CONTROLLE CONDITIONS WHO'S GOING TO TAKE CARE O THEM HOW ARE YOU GOING TO PROVISION THEM ARE WE THINKING THAT WE'RE GOING TO BRING BACK THE PLEISTOCENE BY VIRTUE OF HAVING A FEW EXTINCT SPECIES?

WHAT WE'RE REALLY TALKING ABOU IS UNDERTAKING A WHOLE LOT O UNPLANNED EXPERIMENTS, THE CONSEQUENCES OF WHICH ARE VERY HARD TO PREDICT.

WE DON'T WANT A SITUATION IN WHICH WE DRIVE OUT SPECIES THA ARE PERHAPS ALREADY ENDANGERED THANKS TO US, WITH SOMETHING ELSE THAT WE DROVE TO EXTINCTION THOUSANDS OF YEARS AGO DE-EXTINCTION, TO THE DEGREE I WILL TAKE PLACE, SHOULD BE LIMITED IN ITS SCOPE, LIMITED IN ITS AMBITION, LIMITED IN THE KINDS OF SPECIES THAT WE BRING BACK BUT IF THERE WAS ONE ANIMAL COULD VOTE FOR TO BRING BACK, IT WOULD BE ONE OF THESE GIAN GROUND SLOTHS.

IF YOU WANT PEOPLE TO BE INTERESTED NOT ONLY IN WHAT TH PLANET STILL HAS AND HOW W MIGHT CONSERVE IT, BUT WHAT TH PLANET HAS RECENTLY LOST -- AND, PERHAPS, MOST PARTICULARLY, WHAT IT'S LOST BECAUSE OF HUMAN ACTIVITIES -- THEN TO SEE THES AGAIN, TO SEE MAMMOTHS AGAIN I THE FLESH, WOULD BE AN EXCITIN PROSPECT IT WOULD RAISE RATHER THAN DAMPEN INTEREST IN PRESERVIN WHAT WE HAVE AND WHAT WE USE TO HAVE.

FOR MORE FROM THE AMERICA MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY, CHECK OUT THE LINK ON OUR WEBSITE.

AND THAT WRAPS IT FOR THIS TIME.

FOR MORE ON SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, AND INNOVATION, VISIT OU WEBSITE.

YOU CAN ALSO CHECK US OUT ON FACEBOOK AND JOIN TH CONVERSATION ON TWITTER.

UNTIL NEXT TIME, I'M HARI SREENIVASAN THANKS FOR WATCHING.

FUNDING FOR THIS PROGRAM WA MADE POSSIBLE BY CONTRIBUTIONS TO THIS STATION.