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VP Debate; The Neuroscience of Time

Aired October 12, 2012 - 04:00:00   ET


CARL AZUZ, CNN ANCHOR: Fridays are awesome, and so are you, for spending part of yours with CNN STUDENT NEWS. We appreciate that. I`m Carl Azuz, and we are ready to go with ten minutes of commercial free headlines starting right now.

Count them all up -- there are three presidential debates this year. When it comes to a face off between the vice presidential nominees, it`s one night only, and that night was last night. For the Democratic Party, Vice President Joe Biden. For the Republican Party, Congressman Paul Ryan. They took the stage at Centre College in Danville, Kentucky. We compared this vice presidential candidates in yesterday`s show. They have a lot in common. But in last night`s debate, as you might expect, the V.P. nominees talked about differences, their own differences on the issues and the differences between their running mates, President Barack Obama and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney.


JOE BIDEN, U.S. VICE PRESIDENT: The fact is that we are in a situation where we inherited a God-awful circumstance, people are in real trouble. We acted to move to - bring relieve to the people who need the most help now. And in the process, we -- in case you haven`t noticed, we have strong disagreements, but you probably detected my frustration with their attitude about the American people. My friend says that 30 percent of the American people are takers, Romney points out 47 percent of the people are -- won`t take responsibilities. He is talking about my mother and father, he is talking about the places I grew up and my neighbors in Scranton and Claymont. He is talking about - he is talking about the people that built this country. All they are looking for, Martha, all they are looking for is an even shot. Whenever you give them the shot, they`ve done it.

REP. PAUL RYAN, (R ), VICE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: We face a very big choice. What kind of country are we going to be? What kind of country are we going to give our kids? President Obama, he had his chance. He made his choices. His economic agenda -- more spending, more borrowing, higher taxes, a government takeover of health care. It`s not working. It`s failed to trade the jobs we need. 23 million Americans are struggling for work today. 15 percent of Americans are in poverty. This is not what a real recovery looks like. You deserve better.


AZUZ: When they talk about issues out in the campaign trail, candidates are usually giving their stump speeches. We want to hear yours, your stump speech in an "I-Report" video. Now, we don`t want music, no props, just you in front of your camera telling us in 30 seconds or less what issue you picked, why you think it`s important and what you would do about it. Details - you can find them at

Lance Armstrong is famous for winning the Tour de France cycling race seven times in a row. The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, the USADA says that while Armstrong was winning those titles, he was involved in "the most sophisticated professionalized and successful doping program that sport has ever seen." On Wednesday, the agency released the report on its investigation into whether Armstrong used banned performance enhancing drugs. The USADA says 11 of Armstrong`s former teammates came forward to confess that their team had used banned substances. Armstrong has consistently denied doping, his lawyer called the investigation a witch hunt, the USADA is planning to send its report to international organizations which could lead to Armstrong being stripped of his Tour de France titles.


SUNITA WILLIAMS, NASA ASTRONAUT: Yeah, we had a special treat yesterday, not only did we get the Dragon, but we also got a whole bunch of ice cream, so desserts ready for us.

No, you know, it never crossed my mind that I would ever be an astronaut, I had never met an astronaut, never knew an astronaut, but, you know, after being a professional pilot and test pilot I finally met some people who were astronauts and understood, hey, you know, I thought to myself, hey, maybe I could do that, because it looks like it`s a whole lot of fun.


AZUZ: Sunita Williams mentioned the ice cream arrived on the Dragon. You are looking at it. The SpaceX Dragon capsule connected to the International Space Station. It arrived on Wednesday, the ISS crew cracked open the hatch and started unloading the supplies that came along. SpaceX is a private company that has a contract with NASA to make 12 of these supply runs. This is number one. The Dragon is scheduled to hang around up there for a couple of weeks, then it will head back to earth with some science experiments and equipment that needs repairs.

On this day, 520 years ago, Christopher Columbus landed on an island in the Bahamas. The date of his arrival in the new world is a national holiday in Spain, because Spain paid for the journey. In other parts of the world, October 12th is marked by celebrations and some controversy. It`s called Dia de la Raza, which means "Day of the Race." Parades and festivals honor the cultural development of Latin America, but some people argue that the day shouldn`t be celebrated, because the arrival of Europeans led to the deaths of Native people.

All right, we are going to change things up now and talk about science. Actually, we are going to let David Eagleman do the talking. When we was around eight years old, Eagleman fell of a roof. He distinctly remembers that the fall seemed to take a really long time. As he got older, he talked with some other people who had similar experiences. Now, Eagleman is a neuroscientist. And one of the things he studies is the connection between time and the brain.

DAVID EAGLEMAN, PH.D., ATTORNEY: We are trying to figure out how time is represented in the brain, and this is a critical piece of the puzzle. How does that happen that things seem to get stretched out, and does it actually run in slow motion for you? Can you actually see something tumbling through the air or is it just a retrospective illusion that you thought it was so clear.

There was no study on this, because you can imagine, how difficult it is to try to figure out how can you capture a subject right in the life- threatening moment, and measure something about them.

So, we had a home grew of our own innovation. And what we did is, we dropped people from 150 foot tall tower, and they are going in free fall, backwards and they are caught by a net below, going about 70 miles an hour. It goes against every Darwinian instinct that you have to fall backwards like that. And we built and patented a device that we strapped to their wrists that flashes information at them in such a way that we can measure how fast they are seeing the world. The idea is that as you are falling, if you actually see in slow motion, then you would be able to see things that were normally too fast. Now, they`d be slowed down so that you could see them just fine. What we discovered is that even though people think the fall took a much longer time than it actually did, they were not seeing in slow motion, they could not see the information flashed them any faster than in a normal situation. So what we learned was, this - it`s essentially a trick of time judgment, of duration judgment, and it`s tied into memory. So, when you have a very scary situation going on, you have other parts of your brain coming online that write down memories essentially to higher density.

The reason all this matters is because how the brain constructs time is something about which there is very little study. But what`s become clear is that this is so fundamental to how we perceive the world, that if those mechanisms go awry, one will have a very fragmented cognition.


AZUZ: Fascinating, if highbrow stuff. Now, the question: "Would you pay to promote your Facebook posts." We asked that at, and most of those who watch us and who are on Facebook said, they would not.

Joshua is one of them, but he could see an opportunity for small businesses as a reason to do this.

So Jenna. "It would be a great way to promote a small business or good cause, though, she thinks seven bucks is outrageous.

Haylee says, "I am guessing that about 70 percent of the time, no one will pay attention to it," and Audrey, "It seems like a rip-off. There are tons of ways to get people to take notice of your ad." Now, Amit says, "People use Facebook so much nowadays that promoting your post would be a . smart advertising technique." And Luke writes, "If it something you feel . strongly about and this will be shown to thousands, he`d do it, but not if it`s only going to be shown to a 100 people or so. If you are on Facebook, chime in,

Finally, your school might practice fire drills, tornado drills, I don`t know if there`s any drill to prepare for this: a mama bear and her cubs taking a little straw across campus. This happened to an elementary school in Washington State, it might not be a bear drill, but there was definitely a bear response. Locked down, the principal told everyone to stay in their classrooms until the coast was clear. It`s kind of thing might not happen very often, but just in case, the school may want to put up a post or sign "Warning."

We know some of you think our puns are grizzly, but that taxonomy one ursine -- you probably barely noticed it. We`ll be back for more pun fun next week, I hope you`d have a great weekend. Bye now.