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Study in China on Sound Pollution; Space Junk Damaging Space Crafts and Missions; Spy Satellites and the People Who Worked on Them; Robotic Musicianship

Aired August 29, 2018 - 04:00:00   ET


CARL AZUZ, CNN 10 ANCHOR: A very scientific theories of subjects sets off today`s show. I`m Carl Azuz. We are your objective source for world news.

And today begins with an international study that suggests ear pollution may be damaging the people`s ability to think. The study came out Tuesday

in the proceedings of the National Academy of Scientists. World researchers did was examine information for a survey conducted in China.

It contained verbal and math test scores given to 32,000 people between 2010 and 2014 and the study found that the more polluted their counties

were at the time of the test, the more their test scores went down.

Researchers say the biggest difference was found in older, less educated men. And as far as dangers go, the study suggests that air pollution could

increase people`s chances of developing diseases like Alzheimer`s and dementia. The study was specific to China, a nation with several cities

that have grappled with severe air pollution but researchers say the findings could be applied to countries around the world. One thing

scientists didn`t find out was how pollution could hurt the brain. And some folks not involved in the study are skeptical.

National Public Radio spoke to James Hendricks (ph), an official with the Alzheimer`s Association and he says he doesn`t think a direct cause between

air pollution and brain function can be proven. That part of the study`s findings are speculative. He adds that as far as Alzheimer`s goes, other

factors like diet, social interaction and exercise all play a role in people`s risk for developing the disease.

10 Second Trivia. According to NASA, what poses the greatest risk to space missions? Malfunction, debris, lack of funding or war. There are millions

of pieces of debris in orbit that are too small to be tracked. NASA says they`re the greatest threat to missions. NASA also says something as tiny

as a fleck of paint has damaged a number of space shuttle windows. So imagine what could happen if a satellite were hit by an object the size of

a marble. NASA estimates that there are 500,000 pieces of space junk that size traveling as fast as 17,500 miles per hour.

Defunct satellites, old rocket boosters, pieces of garbage from collisions, space debris is the result of 50 years of space travel and not a lot of

work to keep space clean. Government and private sector organizations are working to track space junk and potential solutions are popping up on

college campuses too.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Has tiny little microscopic flaps and it only sticks when you apply a load to it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Each of these flaps weighs down like this and get very close contact.


CARL AZUZ: Of course the reason there are so many manmade objects in space in the first place is because of the value they brought in looking down at

Earth. And it`s not just about weather, tides and population, it`s about spying. During the Cold War, a period of intense rivalry after World War

II between the Soviet Union and it`s allies and the United States and it`s allies, both major superpowers invested in spy satellites. And so the

engineers who worked on U.S. government programs didn`t even know for sure they were helping the U.S. spy. They were sworn to secrecy and they had

suspicions that their work was internationally important. The project was declassified in 2011 so now they can talk about it.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The program was conducted with a strict need to know basis. Over the life of the program about 100 miles of film was exposed

providing almost a half a million images of the Soviet Union. It was a masterful performance. We couldn`t tell anybody what we worked on,

friends, family, even our wives.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She was always fighting on somebody asking, what in the heck does your husband do? He`s never here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was kind of tough in the early years, particularly at parties and stuff when people were asking what do you do? Well, I`m an

engineer, you know, that`s about all you could say.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And I can remember quite well the feeling that we were contributing to something that we thought was important to the country and

fortunately were successful because I think it led to a more peaceful world.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am John Chaffer (ph). I worked at Eastman Kodak for 35 years. We worked in an area that we couldn`t talk about while we worked

there and we used to call it research and engineering. It was the government side of the business where we worked on spying (inaudible)

satellites. We didn`t have a need to know what the government was doing and we were drummed into it. We knew they weren`t taking a pictures of

amusement parks in the United States. We knew that it was foreign territory that they were looking at.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Gambit was able to have it`s best imagery. Identify objects that were smaller than one foot in size. It`s one thing to know

that an object is there. It`s another thing to know how quickly it`s advancing. So say we`re interested in the development of an

intercontinental ballistic missile, Gambit allowed us to not only identify it`s location but we could identify whether or not it was becoming a more

sophisticated weapon. So it was an effort really to safely observe what the Soviets and the Chinese and others were up too. Even to this day we

continue to classify the best resolution capability of the Gambit system.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a building that was owned by the Navy but Kodak had done a lot of work here. This is where it all started. My roll was in

the systems group. Image motion compensation was a very, very significant contributor to - - in these resolutions because a satellite is moving fast

over the surface of the Earth. You take high resolution photography, a very long focal like lenses, you`ve got to either move the camera or move

the film to avoid smear. We chose to move the film because you can`t ruby pan a camera.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We firmly believe that we helped the U.S. government and the U.S. Air Force understand what the threat to the United States was.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I feel that most of us were very proud of the work that we did.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It would save lives. So to the extent that we could contribute to this program. I felt good.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was a feeling of patriotism because what we were doing was over and above anything anyone could hope to work on.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A lot of the people that graduated from the school at the same time I did were drafted and went into the service in war areas.

We had deferments because of what we were doing. You knew there were people out there that were making biggest sacrifices and if there`s

anything we can do to stop that it was well worth working on.


CARL AZUZ: For 10 out of 10, a college course in robotic musicianship. What the program aims to accomplish is interaction between people and

machines, using the strength of both to create new kinds of music. Everything from prosthetic hands used by amputees to an improvising robotic

marimba player is part of it. You`ve got to love music and you`ve got to love technology to take part but students say what ever you do, don`t call

it musical robots. Because if you`ve got the drive and the center to effect your music with a motor and you`re able to get a handle on a whole

list of "egregious" tasks without hiding from a challenge. This could machine music and technology to "Dvorak-ing" new heights or bring it right

"Bach" down to a ton of Mozart classics. I`m Carl Azuz and that`s CNN 10.