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Taiwan is Shaken By An Earthquake; Part of South Korea Shivers Under Plunging Temperatures; A Young Inventor Hopes His Work Can Lead to Lifesaving Drones
Aired February 8, 2018 - 04:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CARL AZUZ, CNN 10 ANCHOR: An earthquake in Taiwan, an unusually cold Olympics and the drone invention that could save lives are all ahead today
on CNN 10. I`m Carl Azuz at the CNN Center.
We`re starting at an island that borders the East China Sea, where a magnitude 6.4 earthquake struck late on Tuesday. One city in Taiwan that
was hit really hard was Hualien. It`s on the northeast coast of the island, and it`s where at least eight people were killed and 262 others
Many people are spending the night outside for fear their homes aren`t safe to sleep in. Dozens of aftershocks have hit the area and an estimated
35,000 people have no running water. This isn`t the deadliest earthquake to hit Taiwan. Forty people were killed in 2016 when a magnitude 6.4 quake
struck the island and 2,400 people died in 1999 after a magnitude 7.3 tremor.
Taiwan is on the Pacific Ring of Fire, a horseshoe shaped area that runs around the edge of the Pacific Ocean. Earthquakes and volcanoes are common
from Chile to Indonesia. Still, residents say their nerves are frayed. Dangerously tilting buildings have become symbols of how destructive
earthquake can be. Taiwan`s government says hundreds of military troops and firefighters are helping with the rescue effort.
KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Dramatic scenes and devastation from Taiwan after a major earthquake overnight. Now, the 6.4
magnitude quake struck late on Tuesday night, just off the east coast of Taiwan, near Hualien county. Rescue crews are racing to save lives. In
fact, 236 people have been rescued so far.
The president of Taiwan, Tsai Ing-wen, took to Twitter earlier to thank first responder, saying this, quote: Thank you to our first responders for
their tireless efforts in Hualien. Rescue operations have been continuing night and day. Right now, 145 people remain unaccounted for. We will not
rest until all are found.
Now, again, that tweet was sent a few hours ago. The number of accounted for now stands at 85. Now, at least four buildings in the quake zone are
tilting or already collapsed and we are keeping a close eye on the Marshal Hotel, the Beauty Inn and Yun Men Tsui Ti building all in downtown Hualien.
This is where rescue workers are scrambling to find any additional survivors. To save lives, rescue workers are racing against time. They`re
also racing against the danger of more aftershocks. In fact, a 5.4 magnitude aftershock hit near Hualien shortly after the larger quake.
Kristie Lu Stout, CNN, Hong Kong.
AZUZ: Moving north from Taiwan to where the 2018 Olympic Winter Games are just a day away. It`s cold. Pyeongchang, South Korea, is surrounded by
mountains. The forecast for the day of the opening ceremonies predicts high temperatures will be around 42 degrees Fahrenheit, but a plunge to the
20s during the day and the teens at night follows, before things warm up a little next week.
This could be one of the coldest Winter Olympics in history. The "Reuters" news agency says in training runs, extremely cold snow has warped some
athletes` skis, forcing coaches to throw them away. You`d think that this means there`d be plenty of natural snow on the ground, but February is a
very dry month at Pyeongchang.
PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Snowmaking started earlier in South Korea this season. October saw the first artificial snow
hit the ski slopes and it hasn`t stopped since.
Pyeongchang certainly doesn`t have the same problem that Sochi in Russia had four years ago. Any natural snow that falls here is going to say on
the ground. It is cold enough. But the issue is, there`s just simply not that much natural snow. After all, winter in Korea is the dry season.
Ian Honey is the project manager for SMI Snowmakers. His company has already made snow for five Winter Olympics. He started preparing for
Pyeongchang three years ago.
IAN HONEY, SMI SNOWMAKERS: Here, it`s all 100 percent manmade snow. And as I said, we`ve had great temperatures. We`ve been very lucky.
HANCOCKS: So, none of this is natural snow then.
HONEY: Yes, 98 percent of the -- manmade.
HANCOCKS: This has been the scene for months in Pyeongchang, mountainsides, rock and mist of manmade snow. So, how do you actually make
HONEY: We`re doing very similar to what Mother Nature does. We`re taking water and we`re forcing it into the atmosphere and we`re getting -- we`re
generating a crystallize structure. But the structure that we`ll generate is a more consistent structure. Basically, they`re all the same, where
natural snow is very flake is different.
HANCOCKS: Tourists don`t seem to mind the snow is manmade, enjoying the last peaceful day on the slopes before the games begin. As for which is
better, natural or artificial, these two ski instructors say there`s no contest.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Artificial snow is good for skiing more than because we can more -- speeding. They`re really good.
HANCOCKS: And speed is what Olympic athletes want. We`ll no doubt hear soon enough whether they approve of Pyeongchang`s snow.
There have been some heavy snowfalls in recent months. A few weeks ago, there was a rush to preserve the snow after it fell, carving it into
massive blocks. We now see why as the snow festival opens, massive sculptures towering over children who are more interested in the snow than
So, while it may not always look like the Winter Wonderland you`d expect from the Winter Olympics, the organizers say they`re ready. Let the games
Paula Hancocks, CNN, Pyeongchang, South Korea.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AZUZ (voice-over): Ten-second trivia.
Which of these scientists is famous for inventing a telegraph system?
Thomas Edison, Alexander Graham Bell, Samuel Morse, or Johannes Gutenberg?
Samuel Morse, the namesake of Morse code, invented an electric telegraph system in the early 1830s.
AZUZ: It`s hard to pinpoint exactly when the first drones were invented and put to use. Some say that unmanned balloons that were filled with
bombs and put in combat in the mid-1800s were the first types of drones. But they weren`t really remotely operated. They depended on the wind to
get them to their intended target and that didn`t always happen.
Of course, in this century, uses for drones go far beyond war, to include surveillance, exploration, photography, racing. And one young inventor is
hoping that smart drones will be able to navigate dangerous places, avoiding obstacles while searching for survivors.
MIHIR GARIMELLA, INVENTOR: I`m Mihir Garimella. I`m 18 years old and I`m a student at Stanford University in California. I`m building autonomous
drones that can navigate and carry out critical missions in indoors spaces and I hope one day these drones can help save lives.
I`ve always been curious about how things work and then sort of using that curiosity to actually build things to solve problems. When I was 14, I won
the Google Science Fair for building a fruit flies fire drone that can help first responders carry out certain rescues.
It all started with bananas. Four years ago, my family went to India on vacation and when we got back, we realize that we left some bananas on the
kitchen counter and by that point, they`re rotting so our house is filled with fruit flies. I kept trying to swat them, kept hitting really mad when
they kept escaping, but I also came curious how these tiny organisms, tiny brain, really bad eyesight, how could they possibly escape so effectively?
So, fruit flies can`t see in very much detail, but that means that they can process what they can`t see and respond to that really quickly. Fruit
flies actually have the fastest visual system on the planet. They can see ten times faster than humans can.
On the same time drones were just starting to become popular, I also realize that they could have tremendous potential to actually save lives.
So, the problem is that they aren`t really good at reacting to their environments. And so, I wanted to see whether we could draw this instinct
from the fruit fly that enables them to escape so effectively, to make drones good at responding to their environments. And this is something
called bio mimicry, so looking to biology for models on how to design these solutions to really complex engineering problems.
Birds actually see using the images from each eye separately, and so, that`s similar to how we want to do this with a single camera. Fruit fly
see in terms of edges. And so, I designed an algorithm that could sort of use both of those cues to process a stream from a single camera and make a
map of a 3D environment that it could then use to avoid obstacles.
So, what I`m trying to build now is this intelligence drone platform that can be used for a search and rescue construction, industrial inspection,
you know, inspecting power plants, all these applications, to sort of carry out these really critical lifesaving missions. So, the idea is that you
take this drone, plug in different sensors based on whatever tasks you`re trying to accomplish. And the drone would use the sensors to carry out
They can tell first responders the locations of trapped victims after an earthquake. They can detect rusts in bridges or other infrastructures to
prevent collapse. They could go on to nuclear power plant, pinpoint hot spots of radiation and say, you know, these things are going to leak or
these things are leaking because of these reasons.
My dream is build something that can improve the lives of a billion people. Success for me is these drones, you know, are really saving lives.
AZUZ: Getting back to winter sports. Not everyone can safely step in skis and sail down snowy slopes at more than 60 miles per hour. But dozens of
folks recently did take a seat on a shovel and hurdle down hill at about the same speed at the World Championship Shovel Race. It`s an annual event
at the Angel Fire Resort in New Mexico. It costs between $20 and $70 to enter, depending on your age and skill level. And whether or not they
finish seated upright, every competitor there got to shovel snow.
Hey, at least they had a handle on the challenge. They were on the cutting edge of racing. They competed at blinding speeds.
This is CNN 10 where you know we`ve got the scoop on shovel puns. I`m Carl Azuz.