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NEWSROOM for July 19, 2001

Aired July 19, 2001 - 04:30   ET


ANNOUNCER: Seen in classrooms the world over, this is CNN NEWSROOM.

SHELLEY WALCOTT, CO-HOST: Hello, everyone, it's time for your Thursday edition of CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Shelley Walcott.

News from the world of science dominates today's show. Let's take a look at what we have planned.

Is it safe to go into the water? Find out in today's "Top Story." We're giving you the lowdown on sharks. Out of the water and onto the asphalt, there may be some new tires hitting the road. We'll check them out in "Science Desk." We're back in the water for "Worldview." This time, we'll dialog with dolphins. And finally, NEWSROOM explores the idea of humans living on Mars.

Doctors treating 8-year-old shark attack victim Jessie Arbogast say his condition is improving. The young boy was severely wounded by a shark July 6 in knee-deep water off Pensacola, Florida. The shark severed Jessie's arm, but doctors were able to reattach it. Jessie's uncle helped save his life by wrestling the seven-foot bull shark to the shore.

Worldwide, there are an estimated 70 to 100 shark attacks each year. About 5 to 15 of those attacks are fatal. The great white shark, tiger shark and bull shark are the three species experts say are most likely to attack. Experts say there are steps you can take to reduce your risk of a shark attack.

David Mattingly has more on that and on one man who was attacked by a bull shark and survived to tell about it.


CHUCK ANDERSON, SHARK ATTACK VICTIM: We got down there about 6:30 in the morning. The water was a little bit choppy. It was a little bit overcast.

DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Training last year in the warm waters off Gulf Shores, Alabama, Chuck Anderson had a triathlon on his mind when suddenly, it happened.

ANDERSON: Felt like a linebacker running over a fullback. Turned me upside-down in the water, almost knocked me out of the water. And I knew immediately it was something bad.

MATTINGLY: He didn't know it at the time, but Anderson's early morning swim in murky waters was a near fatal mistake.

ANDERSON: Looked back down in the water and to my surprise, there was a shark coming straight up at me about two feet from me.

MATTINGLY: Bitten three times, dragged under by his arm for over a minute and a half, he was in the jaws of a 7 foot bull shark, just like the one that almost killed 8-year-old Jesse Arbogast. Like Jesse, Anderson struggled free, losing his arm.

ANDERSON: I was punching, trying to get away. Actually, when he was throwing me back and forth across the bottom, it was kind of like a rag doll. I really didn't have any -- he had control of the situation. There wasn't a whole lot I could do at the time.

MATTINGLY: Anderson's story today is a cautionary tale about sharing waters with sharks. Experts warn not to swim between dusk and dawn, prime feeding times for sharks.

Avoid waters that aren't clear. Sharks don't naturally prey on people, but have poor eyesight, making most attacks cases of mistaken identity. For the same reason, don't wear shiny bathing suits or jewelry. Sharks might see a flash and assume they see fish. And swim in large groups. Anderson was in the ocean with just two other people.

GEORGE BURGESS, UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA: Try your best to be calm and, although that's difficult to do, don't panic. Sharks, like other predators,, respond to irregular movements. In a sense, they sense fear.

MATTINGLY (on camera): There are typically 30 to 35 shark attacks in Florida every year. Relatively few, according to experts, considering the thousands of people in Florida waters every day. Two recent shark attacks near here, Pensacola Beach, less than 10 days and 10 miles apart, prompted only minor changes to beach security.

DAVE GREENWOOD, SANTA ROSA ISLAND AUTHORITY: If we do see an ocean creature in the water that's behaving predatory, we're going to clear the water for 30 minutes and we're going to notify the sheriff's office, and we're going to keep people out of the water for 30 minutes.

MATTINGLY: And beach goers today, more aware of the presence of sharks, appear unwilling to let a shark take a bite out of their vacation plans.

We heard people say as long as you don't go early in the morning or late in the evening when they're feeding, you'll probably be OK.

MATTINGLY: It's impossible to say if the attacks on Jesse Arbogast, surfer Michael Waters or Chuck Anderson could have been prevented. Anderson still trains, but swims now only in swimming pools. And he continues to compete, recently performing well in a local triathlon, hoping to raise public awareness of shark safety.

ANDERSON: We all know they're out there. This had to happen to me for us all to realize what exactly was out there, but we've all known in the back of our minds that they're out there.

MATTINGLY: David Mattingly, CNN, Pensacola Beach, Florida.


WALCOTT: Since 8-year-old Jessie Arbogast was attacked this month, authorities have started to enforce a largely ignored ban on shark fishing near Pensacola, Florida. Anglers who had been ignoring the rule attracted sharks by putting blood and chopped fish in the water. Officials say the ban won't prevent shark attacks but could minimize them. Some officials say a ban on shark diving could have a similar effect.

Mark Potter reports.


MARK POTTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): About a half-mile offshore near Pompano Beach, Florida, nurse sharks gather for their regular feeding. They are not in captivity.

Above them on the Coral Princess, SCUBA divers and snorkelers of all ages are getting ready to jump in, having signed on for a shark encounter.

They have been warned not to act in a threatening manner toward the sharks. As the divers gather nearly 20 feet below the surface, the dive master holds out a feeding tube filled with pieces of fish and brings the sharks close by. They swim all around the divers but do not harm then.

By feeding docile nurse sharks, the dive company hopes to convince its customers that not all sharks are bad.

JEFF TORODE, SOUTH FLORIDA DIVING HEADQUARTERS: We're trying to educate people about sharks, trying to break down some of the misconceptions and demystify these animals that Hollywood has produced over 25 years of film-making.

POTTER: Returning to the boat, divers said they enjoyed the close encounter.

LISA DAIBES, SCUBA DIVER: I think it's a good thing. I think because now these people, myself, will see that they're not man eaters. They're not killers, and they shouldn't be slaughtered.

POTTER (on camera): But back on land, there are concerns about whether this activity draws sharks close to shore and increases the likelihood of an attack.

(voice-over): A Florida advocacy group argues that swimmers and divers along the coast could be at risk. ROBERT DIMOND, MARINE SAFETY GROUP: What these people are doing is they are willfully and purposefully teaching sharks to lose their natural fear of humans and to approach humans, all humans, investigating to see if these humans have food.

POTTER: Opponents say they also don't buy the idea that shark feeding trips are instructional.

DIMOND: We don't believe there's any educational value whatsoever in changing the natural behavior of a wild animal.

POTTER: But dive operators in Broward County say there is no harm in feeding sharks offshore, particularly nurse sharks.

TORODE: We haven't had a shark attack in Broward County in 10 years. This, by the shark attack statistics, is the safest area there is in Florida. It's funny the shark dives take place here.

POTTER: Some local communities, though, have expressed concerns about the potential hazard. But after holding hearings, the state of Florida refused to ban shark feeding dive trips.

Mark Potter, CNN, Pompano Beach, Florida.


WALCOTT: Imagine tires that don't go flat, can't blow out and can never lose their tread. Sound too good to be true? Well, it's not. These tires are made of urethane, you know, the stuff they use to make your running shoe treads and in-line skate wheels. Few people know much about urethane tires, but one company is making some very bold claims.

Rick Lockridge has that story.



RICK LOCKRIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Trying to keep up with inventor Richard Steinke...

STEINKE: For the urethanes up to this top.

LOCKRIDGE: ... as he describes how his radically different rubber-free tires are made...

STEINKE: We use a basic polyol and an isocyanate. And that's the furthest I'll tell you.

LOCKRIDGE: ... will leave your head spinning like -- well, like a lawn tractor tire going three times as fast and carrying twice the load it should.

STEINKE: We are not testing it like Goodyear or a major company would test their tires. We're actually putting much more pressure on this tire.

This is why we feel that this chemistry is far superior then what we ever had before. And we feel it is now ready to come to the marketplace.

LOCKRIDGE: A patented urethane formula is what all of Steinke's many bold claims are riding on. Other tire makers use rubber not Amerityre.

STEINKE: Rubber is a polymer, urethane is a polymer, but ours is made of two basic ingredients. Rubber is made with about 30-plus ingredients. We make it in one piece.

Rubber tires are made in layers. This is why we believe our technology is far superior to rubber.

LOCKRIDGE: Because they're molded, urethane tires can't shed their treads. But perhaps the most remarkable property of the naturally spongy urethane tires is they don't need any air. Oh, a little air improves the ride but you don't have to have it.

STEINKE: Without any air it should be able to go approximately 1,000 to 1,500 miles. Everybody fears a flat tire.

LOCKRIDGE: But could an upstart like Steinke really outsmart the big tire companies with their multimillion-dollar R&D budgets?

Bob Ulrich, editor of a leading tire industry trade magazine says, quote: "For 30 years the industry has talked about such a tire and no one has made it work yet, but who's to say Amerityre won't be the company that takes the idea and rolls with it?"

STEINKE: And we believe this will be the future.

LOCKRIDGE: Amerityre is currently looking for a deep-pocketed partner. If it finds one, Steinke says urethane car and truck tires could hit the market within two years at prices comparable to today's. And he says the world will be better off since, unlike rubber, urethane contains no carcinogens and is 100 percent recyclable.

STEINKE: We want to be the first tire company that wants all of our tires back.

LOCKRIDGE: Not to mention you'll be able to order the color you want, and even the scent. So if your car's a lemon, just go with it!

Rick Lockridge, CNN, Las Vegas.


WALCOTT: For many people, summer is a favorite time of year, but for others, it can be a time to dread. That's because summer is hurricane season in the Northern Hemisphere. Hurricane season typically lasts from June 1 to November 30. The experts say there could be as many as 11 tropical storms this year alone, including 5 to 7 hurricanes threatening the Gulf and Atlantic coasts. CNN's Student Bureau's Caitlin McGarry reports on how some teens prepare for a disaster.


CAITLIN MCGARRY, CNN STUDENT BUREAU (voice-over): Students from all over the country will be relaxing in the sun and enjoying Florida's beaches. It is a place of fun in the sun. However, in just a few short weeks, our weather can change from this to that of high- speed winds and the ever monsoon-like rain. These are the devastating conditions of hurricane season.

Names like Donna, Hugo and Andrew are forever etched in our minds when we speak of bad weather. For example, Hurricane Andrew brought wind gusts of a breathtaking 170 miles per hour, nearly 17 feet of storm surge and approximately $25 billion of damage in Florida alone.

(on camera): When the winds begin to howl, where do we turn? What can we do as teens to prepare for such devastating disasters? Here in the state of Florida, we are a prime target for hurricanes. Do you know what to do when a hurricane approaches?

JAN-ERIK HUSTRUID, AGE 19: If a hurricane approached our area and our home, I might protect our home if it looks like I could protect it. And I would make sure that my family was safe and secure and I might even leave the area if the need arose.

JIM CLARKE, METEOROLOGIST: If your neighborhood is ordered to evacuate, evacuate, all right. Don't try and play it heroic or think that, you know, well, maybe we don't have to do what -- do what they advise because there's a good reason for it.

MCGARRY (voice-over): Service organizations like the American Red Cross are on the scene to aid those in need after the storm has passed. Local director Keith Denning gives us the facts about what you can expect.

KEITH DENNING, LOCAL DIRECTOR, AMERICAN RED CROSS: We help people prepare for and respond to disasters, then we help them recover from disasters. We provide emergency financial assistance, we provide food, make sure that they have temporary lodging and keep track of them in the few weeks afterwards, make sure that they get permanent lodging and that they're on their way to recovery.

MCGARRY: The hurricane season begins in June and lasts until the end of November. Discuss an emergency plan of action early -- don't wait until the last moment. What is important is that you, your family and your friends survive. Everything else can be replaced.

Caitlin McGarry, CNN Student Bureau, Estero, Florida.


WALCOTT: In "Worldview" we switch focus from sharks to gentler sea creatures: dolphins. Find out how scientists are learning about the animal's unique communication system. And today's calendar marks a historic anniversary in the women's rights movement. We'll touch on the progress and promise of that campaign.

RUDI BAKHTIAR, CO-HOST: The first Women's Rights Convention in the United States was held on July 19, 1948, more than a century and a half ago. It took place in Seneca Falls, New York, and was organized by social reformers Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Convention goers called for women to receive -- quote -- "all the rights and privileges which belong to them as citizens of the United States." From there, the women's rights movement grew around the world and now Women's Studies programs are popping up across the U.S. and they're not just for women. What are students learning and why are these classes so popular on college campuses?

Kathy Nellis takes a look.


KATHY NELLIS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Women's studies programs are growing on college campuses. There are over 700 such programs in the U.S. alone.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I took this class just to basically find out what women's studies is, and to, you know, learn more about, you know, the glass ceilings and stuff like that, and how it affects women in society, and if there's anything we can do to change it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I took this course, honestly, like to begin with, I just needed another elective. But when I got in it, I really understood that it was more of understanding how you don't -- you need to see the big picture.

NELLIS: The big picture: Women's studies is not just for women.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I wanted to see if, you know, the stereotypical woman wearing the shirts and man-hater was true, which apparently is not in this class.

NELLIS: At this class at the University of Georgia, instructors and students spotlight achievements and advances.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We talk about women's contributions to the world and the world -- the very positive contributions and with that knowledge women can see, as well as men, that, you know, women do have something to offer. Their ideas are important.

NELLIS: The class is a looking glass, reflecting women's progress and potential, but also their problems.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Women are -- face things that men don't have to deal with, both in education, job opportunities, choices that can be made, fears of violence, things like that that men don't have to worry about on a day-to-day basis that women, it is issues in their life that has to be considered.

NELLIS: There is so much to consider.

(on camera): Women are half the world's population, yet they bear a disproportionate amount of its woes. They're likely to be less healthy, less wealthy and less educated than men.

(voice-over): Yet education is one of the most important tools women can use, because knowledge is power.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, there used to be a thought that women should not be educated...


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: ... for a number of reasons. So why is it important that -- yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So they can expand into other fields that are -- were once dominated by men.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right, because, like, a long time ago, they thought that women had smaller brains and they couldn't -- they weren't able to be educated as well as men were. So they thought that it was pretty pointless. And, also, there was the belief that they thought education would strain women and endanger them from being able to bear children.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But now, of course, that's proven wrong.

NELLIS: Education is only one issue covered. The feminization of poverty is a major concern -- so is the gap between what women and men earn.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If you're doing the same job, I think it should be equal pay.

NELLIS: While things may not be equal, they are certainly better. And women's studies celebrates those changes.

TAMMY CORLEY, WOMEN'S STUDIES PROGRAM: The vote, I think, is probably a bright moment -- the legalization of contraception -- women entering politics certainly a bright moment. We're still catching up there -- women becoming educated. I look at it more on a personal level. And so I really, I guess, can't pinpoint a certain time. But when the flow of society was such that women felt that they could indeed impact their own lives, that is the brightest moment, I think, for women.

NELLIS: To sum it up, in the words of American novelist Louisa May Alcott: "I like to help women help themselves, as that is, in my opinion, the best way to settle the women question. Whatever we can do and do well, we have a right to. And I don't think anyone will deny us."

Now, as then, it's an idea marching on.

Kathy Nellis, CNN, Athens, Georgia.

(END VIDEOTAPE) TOM HAYNES, CO-HOST: We journey now to the wild kingdom to learn about dolphins. Did you know that dolphins are mammals? They feed their young with milk. They might look like big fish, but unlike fish, dolphins are warm-blooded and they also have lungs like humans. These sea creatures are related to whales and porpoises. They all belong to an animal group called cetaceans. Scientists say dolphins are among the most intelligent animals on Earth. In fact, dolphins have complex communication systems. Researchers want to know more about the ways dolphins communicate and that's the goal of a special project in Hawaii as Ann Kellan explains.


ANN KELLAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A bottle-nosed dolphin named Maui plays a computer game, helping scientists create a unique language they hope humans and dolphins will understand. It's not based on human words but on a specific dolphin sound. Guess which one?


KELLAN: Not its bark.


KELLAN: Or its clicks made famous by Flipper. Words in this new language are whistled. Dolphins typically whistle to each other underwater through a special structure just beneath their blowhole. Researchers say their whistles have meaning. For example, each dolphin learns from its moms its own signature whistle. So in human terms, when they greet each other it's not just hi; it's hi, my name is, in this case Maui.

Ken Marten and his team at EarthTrust and Sea Life Park Research Lab in Hawaii want to better understand how dolphins communicate so for the next 10 years, they will literally whistle while they work creating this special language.

KEN MARTEN, EARTHTRUST LAB SEA LIFE PARK: The rest of my career is dedicated to talking to these guys so I guess you could call me Dr. Dolittle now.

KELLAN: After studying dolphin whistles, Marten invented distinct whistles for various objects with which dolphins are familiar.

MARTEN: I'll hold up a ball and I'll play the word for ball. Come on, you've never given this one.

KELLAN: Then he waits and hopes the dolphin will repeat the whistle word for ball. It can take a while.

MARTEN: That was him.

KELLAN: He even has a little puppet dolphin, the teacher's pet, so to speak, to entice the dolphin to whistle back. MARTEN: The puppet dolphin is Little Mr. Know-It-All. He knows the right answer. So I hold up ball and then another sound source by the window that's over by the puppet gives the correct word for ball. And very often, they look at it and they'll give it after that themselves.

KELLAN: Dolphins, he says, never repeat the humans exact whistle word, but create their own variation that researchers quickly adopt.

MARTEN: I'm actually using Maui's pronunciation of barrel right now. We're working on a two-way communication system where the dolphins are equals and we both learn the words as we go.

KELLAN: To add some fun, researchers developed a special underwater touch screen, another way dolphins demonstrate they recognize the whistle. For example, Marten displays four objects on the screen, then sounds the whistle word for bucket. If the dolphin touches the bucket on the screen, the bucket comes up full screen and dances around. Dolphins apparently like that. Dolphins can also initiate the sequence.

MARTEN: So he whistled the ball word and that brought ball onto the screen. And once it's on the screen, he can drive it and play with it almost like a video game.

KELLAN: It's too early to say how much dolphins understand or if dolphins really know the whistle word for each object.

MARTEN: He is whistling back now.

KELLAN: Marten believes they're learning, but it's a slow process.

MARTEN: We already did ball, didn't we?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's do it again, though.

KELLAN: Researchers hope by creating a common language they'll gain insight to how these fun-loving mammals think.

Ann Kellan, CNN.


WALCOTT: A mission to Mars. What will it take to get there? And once we do, what will it take to survive?

CNN's space correspondent Miles O'Brien and producer Linda Sather (ph) are in Devon Island, Canada, looking for answers. NASA and other researchers are there studying an impact crater. The area is said to be similar to Mars and they give insights into the possibilities of living in the extreme environment of the Red Planet. Right now one of scientists' primary concerns is the length of time it would take astronauts to actually get to Mars. The affects of being weightless for such a long period could be extremely taxing on the body.

Here's Miles O'Brien with a closer look at NASA's concerns.


MILES O'BRIEN, CNN SPACE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A real mission to Mars might last 2 1/2 years: six months out, six months back, and 1 1/2 years on the ground. It's a long time and an awfully long way, and there is one thing certain: Somewhere, sometime, someone will be sick or injured.

DR. JOHN CHARLES, NASA PHYSICIAN: When you figure a six-person crew on a 2 1/2 year mission, there's about an even chance of one person per flight requiring an emergency-room-visit kind of treatment.

O'BRIEN: John Charles is a NASA physician who studies the human risks of such an audacious odyssey.

CHARLES: Right now, we have a list of about 55 risks that have been identified as the risks to resolve before one can move on to Mars and our exploration missions confidently.

O'BRIEN: Dr. Charles was the NASA physician assigned to help astronauts who visited the Russian Space Station Mir. That experience makes him most concerned about the ill effects of weightlessness, which weaken the bones and the heart. He is also worried about protecting a crew from exposure to radiation. And then there are the psychological issues: close quarters, a small crew, and a 40-minute round-trip lag time for all communication; the isolation could lead to trouble.

Given all this, should a physician be a mandatory member of a Mars expedition? NASA's astronauts held an informal poll on who they believe would be most essential.

CHARLES: The first choice of almost everybody was a fix-it man, handyman, or an auto mechanic, or somebody that knows how to fix things that break, because that may turn out to be the most important person on a long-duration mission.

Miles O'Brien, CNN, on Devon Island, Canada.



ANNOUNCER: A CNN viewer wants to know: Are there other elements on the moon or Mars which do not exist on earth?

MILES O'BRIEN, CNN SPACE CORRESPONDENT: We're not sure about Mars, but I can tell you this. On the moon there is an element that is very, very scarce here on earth that is actually relatively plentiful there. It's called helium 3. it's an unusual isotope of helium which many scientists, many physicists believe could be used to create an efficient form of nuclear fusion.

Nuclear fusion is the type of nuclear power generation that has sort of been the holy grail for nuclear scientists for many years because it doesn't generate any waste and creates a self-sustaining reaction. There's a lot of people who would tell you it's worthwhile going to the moon, if nothing else, to gather up and mine helium 3 and bring it back so that it will be possible to create these efficient fusion reactors. So maybe there's one good case for going back to the moon.


WALCOTT: Be sure to check out for a live Webcast from Devon Island. It will be offered today and tomorrow at 11:30 a.m. Eastern.

And you can catch us back here right on this planet, same time, same place, tomorrow. Have a good day.


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