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NEWSROOM for July 31, 2001

Aired July 31, 2001 - 04:30   ET


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

RUDI BAKHTIAR, CO-HOST: Hello and welcome to CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Rudi Bakhtiar.

We have a lot on today's agenda. Here's a look at what's ahead.

First up, Mount Etna erupts. We'll bring you the science behind it all. Then in "Health Desk," teens and ecstasy.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I didn't care about anything but doing ecstasy. I didn't want to wake up in the morning unless I knew I had a pill waiting there next to me to take.


BAKHTIAR: We'll also find out if your genes are affecting your diet. Our health kick continues in "Worldview." Check out the changing face of physical education. And finally, when you're online, do you ever wonder who's watching you? The answer may surprise you.

We begin in Italy where troops are working to direct streams of lava down Sicily's Mount Etna. Dramatic pictures of lava spewing from the mountain have had us in awe since the current eruption began July 18, reminding us of this stunningly beautiful, yet terrible force of nature.

Mount Etna, Europe's largest active volcano, towers nearly 11,000 feet above Sicily. No towns have been severely damaged by the eruption but the main airport in eastern Sicily has been forced to close several times, causing tourism to suffer. The course of the eruption and lava flow has been hard to predict. Scientists have been analyzing Mount Etna's lava and gases, hoping it will help them predict the volcano's behavior.

Ann Kellan takes a closer look at Mount Etna and other volcanoes to see what makes them tick.


ANN KELLAN, CNN SCIENCE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): When will a volcano like Mount Etna blow?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is this the dome itself here?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, this is lava dome we're flying around right now.

KELLAN: That's what brings scientists to the center of active volcanoes, like this group inside Mount St. Helen. Tilt meters measure surface movements. Crack meters measure fissures in the mountain wall. Seismic sensors monitor for earthquakes. Thermal and infrared sensors on board satellites look for hot spots. All this helps vulcanologists get better at predicting when, but not enough to be precise.

TERRY KEITH, U.S. GEOLOGICAL SURVEY: We can get to the order of days to hours very well. But if we don't have those instruments in -- and, as I said, a lot of volcanoes don't have instruments -- there will be surprise eruptions.

KELLAN: All those measurements taken inside and above the mountain are trying to gauge the pressure building up inside the mountain. Volcanoes typically form where the earth's tectonic plates collide, an area of intense heat, which melts water and rock together into a super-hot slime, called magma. That magma slowly rises through veins in the middle of a mountain.

As it gets close to the surface, that pressure builds. In some cases, the magma violently explodes out the top of the mountain, like Mayon in the Philippines, still erupting now. This more explosive type of volcano typically takes longer to build, like Mount St. Helen's, which blows every 100 years.

In other volcanoes, like Etna, magma bursts through cracks in the mountain.

KEITH: Etna is a volcano that does not have these big explosive eruptions that send ash way up into the atmosphere and the stratosphere.

KELLAN: Less forceful, more spectacular. And, like Etna, usually much more frequent.

KEITH: Etna's erupted every couple of years for the last 10,000 years. And it's almost always got some visible activity going on.

KELLAN: Magma at the surface is called lava. Still scalding, as hot as 3,000 degrees.

But most people who die from volcanoes don't die from the lava flow, but suffocate from inhaling the thick ash, or drown in mud flows. As challenging as the science is, scientists say the hardest part of their job is deciding when to recommend evacuations. Evacuate too early, and people might return before it erupts. Evacuate too late, and people can't escape the mud flows or choking ash.

Ann Kellan, CNN, Atlanta. (END VIDEOTAPE)

BAKHTIAR: Scientists aren't the only ones interested in learning more about volcanoes, people around the world of all occupations and ethnicities are intrigued by the site of red hot lava oozing down a mountainside. Volcanic activity has had an enormous impact on humankind and the environment. Since the late 1700s, volcanoes have claimed more than 250,000 lives.

Thomas Nybo now on the world's fascination with volcanoes.


THOMAS NYBO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As long as nobody gets hurt, the world loves a good volcano. There's something about hot lava that latches onto the imagination and doesn't let up. It looks like something you'd want to touch, maybe toss around the backyard like a baseball.

But that would be as ridiculous as, I don't know, petting a shark.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Harry, are you an idiot or what?

NYBO: Few things in nature have the raw power of a volcano. A river of lava is like an 800-pound gorilla, only this gorilla is on fire and really, really angry. Lava is stubborn and cute like a baby rhino. Kids would love to play with it, but that's not such a good idea. Lava does what it wants and scoffs at bulldozers and helicopters loaded with water. Live near a volcano? Tough luck if your house is in the way. Lava is not sensitive.

That's why you hear ancient stories of virgins tossed into the fiery mountain to quiet the angry gods. Countries with volcanoes are beginning to embrace the idea of lava in moderation. Forget lemons and lemonade. When life gives you volcanoes, make money. Just ask the tourist boards in Costa Rica and Hawaii. Lava can be your friend.

(on camera): But in the end, maybe lava's appeal is nothing but linguistic. Volcano words are fun. And once you start saying them, it's tough to stop. Hot lava, hot lava, hot lava.

Thomas Nybo, CNN, Atlanta.


BAKHTIAR: To learn more about volcanoes, check out the interactive volcano lab on our Web site:

Also making headlines, Code Red. Just the sound of it lets us know danger is involved. And for anyone who has an Internet Web site that was affected earlier this month, you know we're talking about a danger to computers. Now that danger is back. The Code Red we're talking about is the computer worm that first surfaced July 19 and eventually forced the Pentagon to take its Web site offline temporarily. Now experts warn the program is ready to begin scanning the Internet again, preparing to strike beginning at 8:00 p.m. Eastern on August 19.


KEN WATSON, CRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE SECURITY: This worm is vicious in intent. The Code Red worm has infected hundreds of thousands of systems worldwide. The worm scans the Internet, identifies vulnerable systems and infects these systems by installing itself.


BAKHTIAR: Kind of like a virus but a little more hostile. The problem for us everyday users is that once the worm activates, it can drastically slow down the entire Internet and even cause sporadic outages, which means even visiting your favorite Web sites could take much longer to connect and forget about downloading. If you want to know if you're vulnerable and what you can do to protect yourself, go to www.digitalisland -- that's one word -- .net/codered -- all one word.

More on the Internet coming up. When you're online, do you ever wonder who's watching you? Ann Kellan returns with an answer that may surprise you in "Chronicle."

The increasingly popular street drug ecstasy is the focus of a U.S. Senate hearing this week. Statistics provided by the Senate indicate that during the past year, use of the drug among eighth graders jumped by 82 percent. Experts say the drug damages parts of the brain involved in learning, memory and moods.

Eileen O'Connor has the story.



EILEEN O'CONNOR, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: So I see a lot less yellow down here. What does that mean?

LESHNER: This is telling you that three weeks after this individual last used ecstasy, they have a significant decrease in the brain's ability to use this important chemical called serotonin that's involved in mood, in cognitive function, in pain and sleep.

O'CONNOR (voice-over): Dr. Alan Leshner says new government- sponsored studies show long-lasting effects on memory and mood.

DR. CHARLES GROB, HARBOR-UCLA MEDICAL CENTER: Clearly the case is not closed on -- to what degree MDMA affects the brain.

O'CONNOR: Dr. Charles Grob says safety tests that has done on MDMA, or ecstasy, show it isn't necessarily harmful. Still, Grob says children should not take it.

GROB: One of the most compelling arguments you can make to young people is to alert them to the rampant and rising degree of drug substitution.

O'CONNOR: That, says a group called DanceSafe, is why they test ecstasy pills teens have bought at raves to see if they are pure -- here, training on an over-the counter remedy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is less harmful than a lot of legal substances that are out there, especially if it's used in therapeutic settings or in recreational settings where people know what they have taken.

O'CONNOR: But Leshner says the notion that the drug is safe is driving up use.

LESHNER: The myth is that even pure ecstasy is fine. And the truth is, even pure ecstasy is not fine. We have known for over a decade that this is a neuro-toxic substance. It destroys brain cells.

O'CONNOR (on camera): While some scientists argue that doesn't necessarily mean long-term cognitive damage from ecstasy, Congress still wants to determine what to do about the rising use of this drug among teens.

Eileen O'Connor, CNN, Washington.



REA BLAKEY, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): When it comes to fighting flab, genetics make a big difference.

DR. PAMELA PEEKE, AUTHOR, "FIGHT FAT AFTER 40": There are three basic body types for men and for women. There are ectomorph, mesomorph and an endomorph.

BLAKEY: Dr. Peeke says it's important to know which one you are. Are you the small-boned, slender ectomorph with a high metabolism and lots of energy?

PEEKE: One of the things that would be really good for you to do is to build up a little bit more muscle mass.

BLAKEY: Consistent strength training builds muscle and strengthens bones. Or maybe you're more muscular with limited flexibility, medium to large bone structure, a mesomorph.

PEEKE: Those people have to be careful. They really need to concentrate on aerobic because just because they look muscular, doesn't mean necessarily that they're fit.

BLAKEY: Thirty to 60 minutes of running, biking or aerobics three to five times a week is the best prescription for this body type. If you're an endomorph, large boned with a high percentage of body fat and a slow metabolism, you gain weight easily.

PEEKE: Here's where you really want to be able to both build up some good old lean-body mass, and that's muscle mass with your weight lifting, but also to really get into your aerobic training.

BLAKEY: Stick to low-impact aerobics, brisk walking, biking or skating. Dr. Peeke recommends strength training three days a week focusing on upper body with light weights, 15 to 20 repetitions each. You can't control your body type. You can control your fitness level.

I'm Rea Blakey.


BAKHTIAR: More on health as we head into our "Worldview" segment. Now you just learned about body types and in a moment, you'll learn about a new kind of PE in schools. We'll also take you to an island off the coast of Georgia in the United States, a tranquil setting now at the heart of a controversy. But first, get ready to sweat.

TOM HAYNES, CO-HOST: OK, time to check out something you're probably very familiar with: physical education or PE for short. PE is pretty basic at most schools. You might play basketball or volleyball or do some laps around a track. In the United States, only one state requires PE at school everyday. You know which one?

Kathy Slobogin has the answer coming up in this report on the changing focus of PE. One school, these kids are learning fitness skills they can use for everyday life.


KATHY SLOBOGIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): At Madison Junior High, they call it the health club, not the gym. No one here gets left off a team. No slow-moving child becomes an easy target for a dodge ball.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hey, you guys, you can switch now.

SLOBOGIN: It's the new PE, and it's not just for jocks anymore.

PHIL LAWLER, NAPERVILLE PE COORDINATOR: Our old focus was on the skill of athletes and focusing on about 30 percent of the population, and we finally decided we need a broader base of information for our kids.

SLOBOGIN: Phil Lawler, an instructor in this school in Naperville, Illinois, says the old model PE that most baby boomers grew up with left children with scars.

LAWLER: They have nightmares about their experiences of being picked last, being selected to step out in front of a class and perform a skill they weren't very skilled in, and they were embarrassed.

SLOBOGIN: So embarrassed, says Lawler, that many less-fit children withdrew from physical activity and were essentially sidelined for life. The new PE, Lawler and others have been pushing for nearly a decade, emphasizes fitness skills that will last a lifetime.

LAWLER: That printout will show exactly what your heart rate was doing during the full 12 minutes that you were on that treadmill.

SLOBOGIN: At Madison, the students get a PE transcript that follows them through graduation. Only instead of grades, it measures things like body fat, cholesterol and heart rate. Lawler says the school district has actually detected heart disease in six students through its monitoring.

LAWLER: One thirty-four. OK, let's one step -- if you get above 150, why don't you stop back?


SLOBOGIN: Although there are traditional team sports here like basketball and baseball, the emphasis is on movement. Students here get more points for keeping their heart rates in the right zone than for the number of baskets they shoot. Teachers, not kids, pick the teams.

LAWLER: We'll never embarrass a child and label them that they're good or bad based on an athletic skill. I now, literally, can have a child run a 6-minute mile at this age, and a 14-minute mile and each child will get the same grade based on the number of minutes they put in their zone.

SLOBOGIN: Lawler says the new PE is catching on. Visitors have come to Madison from over 100 schools around the country. But it's a small movement in a national PE decline.

(on camera): Despite the fact that more and more children are overweight, physical education classes are actually disappearing. Ten years ago, 42 percent of high school students had daily PE. Today, it's only 25 percent.

(voice-over) According to a 1997 survey, a quarter of U.S, students get no PE at all. Illinois is the only state that requires daily PE.


LAWLER: Oh, that's all right. You can shut your beeper off.

SLOBOGIN: At Madison, we heard a few grumbles from kids about how much running they had to do, but most seemed enthusiastic.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because it stays with you, like, the rest of your life because it's got information. We learn, like, what to eat, like, how to keep ourselves, like, healthy and fit and stuff. And how to stay active, like, in our daily lives.

LAWLER: I think our students are working harder today than we did 20 years ago, and I mean all students.

SLOBOGIN: The new PE isn't cheap. The set-up here cost about $75,000. But Lawler says the payoff for children goes way beyond what happens in a school.

LAWLER: I can't grade you on if you're healthy or not. Life is going to have a way of grading you when you go to the doctor when you're 30 and 40 -- we're going to find out if you passed or failed.

SLOBOGIN: Kathy Slobogin, CNN, Naperville, Illinois.


SHELLEY WALCOTT, CO-HOST: Next stop, an idyllic island rich in history but not well known to its neighbors in the U.S. state of Georgia. Ossabaw Island has been home to humans since 2000 B.C. It was used as hunting grounds for Native Americans, as farmland for colonial plantations and more recently, as the private home of a wealthy woman with a dream. Today, the island of lush greenery and extraordinary creatures is at the heart of a debate between the woman and the island's current owner, the state of Georgia.

Bruce Burkhardt has the story.


BRUCE BURKHARDT, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It is one of the last of the unspoiled Barrier Islands. About 10 miles off the coast of Savannah, Georgia, Ossabaw Island is nearly 30,000 acres of highlands, marshes, tidal basins and beaches.

Its residents include all manner of birds and water fowl, alligators, pigs, snakes and one 87-year-old woman who lives here.

SANDY WEST, OSSABAW ISLAND RESIDENT: That is my mother, who's name was Nell Ford Torrey.

BURKHARDT: Sandy West is the daughter of the wealthy Gross Point, Michigan, businessman that bought Ossabaw Island in 1924, and then built this huge Spanish revival mansion.

WEST: I'd be such a different person if I hadn't had Ossabaw. I'd be the most boring of Grosse Pointe people.

BURKHARDT: There is nothing boring about Sandy West. Aside from living alone on the island in this crumbling mansion with her beloved pigs, she has exhausted the family fortune in her effort to preserve the island and have it used the way she and her family envisioned.

WEST: And the idea of Ralph Ellison, or Samuel Barber, or Margaret Atwood or Annie Dillard -- the people that came here -- they intermingled with businessmen, and psychoanalysts, and educators and biologists. And that was the magical thing that happened.

BURKHARDT: She's talking about the Ossabaw Island Project, a unique program she funded largely with her own money.

Throughout the 60's and into the 80's, the Ossabaw Project allowed leading intellectuals from all fields to come to this magical place to think, to recharge, to create. Finally, by the late 70's, with her funds dwindling and taxes rising, Sandy West was forced to sell the island, but wanted to make sure she found the right buyer.

Her friend, Jimmy Carter, helped broker a deal.

WEST: The state of Georgia agreed to accept the island at a bargain price, and also agreed to the very strict conditions and restrictions upon which the family insisted.

BURKHARDT: Specifically, those strict conditions mandated Ossabaw Island shall only be used for natural, scientific and cultural study. In other words, West says, something like the earlier Ossabaw Project.

JIM SIMMONS, GEORGIA DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES: The challenge for the state is to have an island like this that is public property but with such restricted access.

BURKHARDT: So the state has developed a new management plan for Ossabaw, a plan allowing greater but still limited public access to the island. Sandy West is not happy about it.

WEST: A 10-year management plan that is totally illegal, and they are involved in a breach of contract.

SIMMONS: I can't speak for what Ms. West has a problem with or her definitions of education.

BURKHARDT: At issue is the educational use of the island, one of the conditions of the original sale. West says the island was never to be used for public recreation.

WEST: They said that if the duck hunters who's come the night before, on a Friday night, and had an hour's lecture from the DNR, that they then could count it education, not public recreation.

SIMMONS: The Department of Natural Resources, the game management section, in particular, has a history of providing education. We have places like the Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center very close to Atlanta.

WEST: The idea of Annie Dillard or Ralph Ellison coming down here to have a lecture from the DNR about whatever they are going to lecture about. It's just a belly laugh. And they wouldn't come.

BURKHARDT: Though the differences are deep, the argument has not yet become a legal battle, but Sandy West says it might. She knows when she is gone, it's unlikely there'll be anyone to take over the fight for her vision for an island she so desperately loves.

Bruce Burkhardt, CNN, Ossabaw Island, Georgia.


ANNOUNCER: Teachers, make the most of CNN NEWSROOM with our free daily classroom guide to the program. There you'll find a rundown of each day's show so you choose just the program segment that fits your lesson plan. Plus, there are discussion questions and activities and the guide highlights key people, places and news terms. Each day, find hot links to other online resources and previews of upcoming "Desk" segments.

It's all at this Web address where you can also sign up to have the guide automatically e-mailed directly to you each day. It's easy. It's free. It's your curriculum connection to the news. After all, the news never stops and neither does learning.

BAKHTIAR: What would you do if you found out your folks or your boss were spying on you, reading your e-mail and monitoring the Web sites you visit? Well, there is software out there that can do that. It's inexpensive, easy to use and raises a lot of questions about privacy online.

Once again, here's technology correspondent Ann Kellan.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was actually getting concerned, because he was talking with women on the phone, and I really wanted to know, you know, what was going on.

KELLAN (voice-over): She's hiding her identity, because her live-in boyfriend doesn't know she's spying on him. They met on the Internet. Now, she's afraid he's gone back to the Web to flirt with other women.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I would check the history files and see that he had been to singles Web sites, looking at profiles of other women. In some instances going to porn sites, chatting, instant- messaging with other women. I can never see what exactly he was typing, all I could see is that this is where he was, and this is what he looked at.

KELLAN: That's when she installed software called Spector on her computer. The software can be installed so it's difficult to detect, and takes snapshots of the computer screen, as many as one a second. She monitors his Web surfing, his e-mail, online chats.

(on camera): Would you want him to be doing that with you?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I noticed that employees were closing windows on computers when I walked into the room.

KELLAN (voice-over): This store owner also installed Spector on his company computer, and caught some employees surfing instead of working.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The time they were supposed to be working in the store, they were actually trying to hack into our accounting system to see what our revenues were, see what we were making.

KELLAN: And what he's finding out about some of his employees.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's scary in what you find out sometimes, it's things you probably don't want to know, wish you didn't know.

KELLAN: Like bank account statements and passwords, he says he purposely ignores.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The program does record e-mail addresses and passwords.

KELLAN (on camera): So, you would know their e-mail password with this software?


KELLAN (voice-over): Does this software violate privacy laws? In this case, attorney Mark Rasch says probably not, because he told his employees they were going to be monitored when they were hired.

MARK RASCH, INTERNET LAWYER: That's why most companies have a policy that say if you use our computers, you consent to our monitoring.

KELLAN: But what about spying on your boyfriend?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You know, I feel like this is my computer, I purchased it, and it's my right to know what goes on. I told him I watch him, I just didn't tell him how or how detailed.

KELLAN: According to Rasch, even if it's your computer, if another person using it doesn't know he's being watched, you could be breaking the law.

RASCH: The federal law doesn't say that you have a right to monitor anybody's communication, if they happen to be using your telephone or your computer. Basically, you need to have the consent of one of the parties to the communication.

KELLAN: And in some cases, state laws could be even more restrictive, for example, requiring both parties to consent. SpectorSoft owner Doug Fowler says his company's licensing policy is clear.

DOUG FOWLER, CEO, SPECTORSOFT: According to our licensing agreement, they should inform anybody who's going to use that computer.

KELLAN: But he admits people have used the software to catch a cheating spouse, or to monitor their children without them knowing.

FOWLER: We believe that you have the right to monitor what your children are doing, what your spouse is doing, what your employees are doing in order to protect your company. But you do not have the right, in any way, shape or form, to monitor your next door neighbor, or your enemy, or anybody that you happen to be having a chat conversation with on the Internet.

KELLAN: This store owner is also using Spector to secretly monitor his son. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Turns out my 16-year-old stepson was looking at porn, talking to people he shouldn't talk to. And we nipped that in the bud and cut off his computer privileges.

KELLAN: But is it illegal for parents to use Spector to spy on their kids?

RASCH: Now what I would as a parent argue is that I can consent to my kid's monitoring. Hey, it's my kid, I can read their mail. But the federal law doesn't make any distinction. If I'm reading anybody's communications without their consent or without a consent of one party, I'm violating federal law.

KELLAN: For one Spector user, the peace of mind is worth the risk.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So it's actually been a good thing to help me build my trust for him.


BAKHTIAR: The Spector software, by the way, costs about $70. And there is also software called eBlaster that will send you e-mail reports of what someone you're spying on does online. But in using any of the software, be sure to comply with all the regulations. We're hoping that none of you will need it, it's just good to know it's out there.

And that's a wrap for us here on NEWSROOM. We'll see you back here tomorrow. Have a great rest of the day.


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