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tv   Tech Know  Al Jazeera  December 5, 2014 2:30pm-3:01pm EST

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that is you can also watch us by clicking on the watch live icon. it says 380,000 syrians are seeking new homes. can change lives. >> the science of fighting a wildfire. >> this is a show about science, by scientists. let's check out our team of hard core nerds. marita davison is a biologist specializing in evolution. tonight, fracking. >> i looked out my front door
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and i said, where did my front yard go? >> this station is right on top of the earthquakes. >> this is the epicenter? >> this is the epicenter. >> seismologists dig deep. >> do you think you can give the solutions you want? >> dr. crystal dilworth is a neuroscientist. fracking and waste water. >> it is money for some oily that'sity dirty. >> i'm phil torres, i'm an entomologist. dispatches from outer space. >> chocolate pudding cake. >> out of this world. my one 01. >> bigger ball of water. >> with the youtube astronauts. that's our team. let's do some science. >> so what is this? ♪
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♪ >> hey guys welcome to "techknow." i'm phil torres. joined by dr. crystal dilworth and marita davison. fraking. it's don -- fracking.doesn't come without controversy, potentially doesn't come without cost. >> yes, fracking is hugely controversial. humannics. >> s that range the gamut from environmental to health. and texas has been kind of at the center point of a lot of this issue. whether they're economic, environmental, political, texas is in the mix. >> when we think of texas we think big oil, not earthquakes like we're thinking of california. but they're experiencing seismic activity. >> so we got to see how one small town in texas is dealing with this big national issue. let's check it out.
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>> we were sitting in the living room one night watching tv and there was a tremendous explosion, it sounded like, and then the whole house shook. >> and the next day there was another one and then just kept coming. and that's whenever we realized we definitely have a problem. we should not be having earthquakes in texas. country. this is reno, texas. population 3200 and just 13 square miles long. if anyplace is small town america, reno is. residents know each other and they know something's changed in their town. >> see it's right here. look, actually let's kind of creep in here. right there see how my foot keeps -- >> yes. >> barbara brown is a community activist and a long time resident of reno, texas. >> yeah, this is definitely a concern. >> and reno is not alone. colorado, arkansas, oklahoma,
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ohio and the rest of ear eastern texas, not known for seismic activity are sunlt o surnld on e earthquake map. magnitude 3.0 and larger, compared to 20 quakes from 1970 to 2000. data that is beginning to show stories like barbara's are all too real. >> the earthquake came and went through the center of the house. everything shook. i went out my front yard and said, where did my yard go? >> she believes this is the cause of the quakes, hydraulic fracturing more commonly known as fracking, a process where water mixed with sand and
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chemicals are pumped underground to release gas fracking fluids are brought back out, identified as fracking waste water and is considered too contaminated to use. in texas and several other states, injection wells store the contaminated wells. injected deep into the ground come. it is this process that many suspect is increasing the seismic activity in the reno area. >> we met with the mayor of reno, texas, linda stokes. >> i'm very concerned when this is an area that has never had quakes. >> this one is actually the one that is the closest to, or is the epicenter of the earthquakes. >> wow! >> according to the texas railroad
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commission, xto energy a subsid ri subsidiary of exxon, owns this well. asked mayor stokes about the increased confident. >> no beating around the bush. they are causing this activity. the more horizontal fracking and drilling we have the more problems the more waste water the more injected into the ground we're doing and it's opening fault lines that aren't open at the moment. >> in a prepared statement xto the company that owns this disposal well told "techknow" based on an analysis of the data to date, xl does not believe its well caused any of the seismic events. it's a sensitive issue. when the mayor took us to the area, a driver began taking pictures of us on a cell phone.
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residents of reno and azel are taking action. >> the quake started recently and it woke me up. i thought a 747 landed on my roof. >> at a round of hearings at the texas state capital, citizens voiced their complaints, the railroad is a state agency that regulates the gas and oil industry including drilling and disposal wells located throughout the state. >> how would you like it where you would have your grand kids play over in your yard if they fall in a sinkhole, they'll break their leg. >> in response to pressure the rrc has imposed a regulation that would require the oil and gas companies to research in an area before drilling new injection wells. >> i live 1.6 miles from an injection well that the usgs, the epa, the texas railroad
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commission and their geologists as well all said is the epicenter of the earthquakes that were caused in the reno azel area. >> what are you hoping to achieve? >> lower the rate that they are injecting the fluids. let's have someone come out and map the area and check for fault lines. >> southern methodists university geophysicist, is checking at the u.s. geological survey's request. >> we are currently checking outside of fort worth and reno and azel, drilling to find out how the oil and gas activity relates or changes stress along these preexisting faults. >> on a personal level how concerned are you about these earthquakes that are happening in your backyard? >> my biggest concern is that
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something in the four and a half range will occur in a highly populated area like the dallas fort worth area where the built environment is not built up to standards for those considerations. >> coming up on "techknow": whose fault is it? scientists brought specialized equipment deep under this home to see if the epicenter of reno's quakes can be explained.. plus can this solve the problem, how to clean up this murky mess. >> we want to hear what you think about these stories. join the conversation by following us on twitter and at"techknow." >> i'm ali velshi, the news has become this thing where you talk to experts about people, and al jazeera has really tried to talk to people, about
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their stories. we are not meant to be your first choice for entertainment. we are ment to be your first choice for the news.
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>> reno, texas, a sleepy town where the livestock easily out number the people. a place of pastoral quiet. >> it was an incredibly loud boom. then we felt a joalt. >> it was an unexpected earthquake in november 2013 that rattled his reno home. >> half second, maybe a second, the whole tremor on the house, it wasn't usual. >> scary? >> uh-huh. >> david do you think the injector wells are the problem here? >> yes, i do. a complek question not one for a -- a complex question not one for a rancher to absence. >> david like many residents in
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this gas-rich area believes there's a connection between the initial cluster of 15 quakes and much smaller quakes. if practice of injecting waste water into deep wells. a practice the industry denies. >> is it that question mark that has made you open to letting the team set up here? >> come on guys, come on in. the down side of that was, i was chosen because we were right on top of the earthquake. >> planted on david's farm is measuring data. the goal is to find out if the long dormant falls are natural or man made. >> right underneath us from two down. this is acquisition system.
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and records the signals coming down, these wires which are buried out under the ground they are about six feet down. >> these are the wires that are >> right. there are two seismometers looked up to this place, one that senses vertical and others that are recording the other movements. if you jump up there it is, yes we're good to go. >> why can't you take the data that's connected from these stations and draw a correlation there. >> in this case, the injectors are over a mile away, it would take time for the injector to migrate into the fault which causes the earthquake. maybe a year or two years. >> would that mean these aren't really induced earthquakes? >> no, and the only way we can
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approach that now is with modeling. >> so we packed up the gear and headed to the lab at smu. >> some of the stations were getting the data. >> geophysicist heather de shaun is churching the data. >> it's incredibly important to understand, where the faults are occurring, what faults are being activated how long those faults are. each individual circle is an earthquake that we've recorded. there are a little over 300 events. >> normally an earthquake is followed by an expected frequency of earthquakes. the b value of 1. >> is that what we are seeing in these 300 points, the pattern of after-shock? >> the earthquake was in the 3 range and then a 3.6 and then a 3.2 and then a couple of mid 3s and then another 3.6. so we wouldn't consider that a tremendous main shock aftershock
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sequence because the first earthquake was not in fact the largest earthquake. on the other hand the sort of scaling that we're seeing where for every three we sees and for ever 2 we see 100-1s. that is scij consistent with tectonic patterns. >> injection of water you have alluded to, is potentially causing or one of the causes of activity. activity. can you walk me through it? >> you are putting a lot of fluids into a unit which might be faulted. >> would you be every able to see definitively if this is causing the increased incidence of earthquakes?
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>> it is incredibly difficult to see if a sequence of earthquakes is natural or not. >> a division of exxon , possible factors to be assessed, natural earth movements and disposal and production wells. >> do you think you'll get the answers you are hoping to get? >> i don't know if they can definitively apportion blame. these. i don't believe we can suddenly say we need to stop drilling for gas and oil here because what alternative do we have? >> one alternative to injecting frack water into wells: reusing it. dr. crystal dilworth has the story. >> 1400 miles from azel, this warehouse in los angeles could be the future of fracking. >> what is this? >> this
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we call g gen 2. it can process 2,000 gallons of water a day. >> that is a drop in the bucket. but it's already recycling frack waste in texas and colorado. i got a small scale demonstration. >> what are we processing? >> we have collected waste oil, nasty stuff. >> it has a distinct odor. people. >> can you walk me through it? >> first stage is long tubes that you see here and these tubes recess 98 with electricity to cause the oil and chemicals to coagulate, to cause clumps. the problem is to get the clumps out of the water. the second stage is where the material goes into the tub and these long tuks generate these micro-- tubes generate these microbubbles that push the material to the top.
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and there's a rake that gets it onto this beach where it gets pushed off. the material's gone off this conveyor belt and mine while you can see this clear water. >> and bubbles are can continuing to help the coagulant to come to the top. >> absolutely. >> how can you convince the company to use something like this? >> it makes it possible for us to reuse on site and get fresh water where you are generating it. that's ohuge benefit because water costs money to transport. you can reuse it right on the savings. >> this is the future of fracking? >> the future of fracking is totally about the water. if we are going to frack a lot and the world is moving towards lots of fracking we've got to conserve the water. >> crystal, what did you bring us? >> i brought us some samples from the water purification process.
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so what you have here, this lovely very edible looking mixture is the type of water process. this is what would be going into the disposal well, i.t. contains oil, it contains -- it contains oil, it contains sediment. this is after one round of purification, some of the oil and sediment hats been removed. it's a little cleaner, something like chocolate milk, not drink. this is the final stage of the process. you wouldn't want to drink this either, but it is pure enough to be reused for fracking and not have to be disposed of in a well. i use a similar process when i'm working in the lab, when i'm talking about microliters. but the challenge is to scale it up for millions of barrels of fracking. >> do you think it's doable?
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>> they have one step towards the solution. but every little bit helps. this is one drop in the buckets bucket of a bigger problem but at least we're moving forward. >> i think we need to sit down the industry the scientists the government put them into the room for a week and let them hash it out and figure this controversy out. >> at the end of the day, you don't want to sacrifice your daily conveniences right? you want those to stay intact so there has to be an alternative solution that meets all those requirements all of those standards and can exceed them. >> that speaks to the plevment of the issu complexityof the situation. >> from drilling into the earth and to rocketing into space, i got the chance to interview chris hadfield.
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truly one of the most incredible people i've ever been able to talk to. we'll check that out after the break. >> a conflict that started 100 year ago, some say, never ended... revealing... untold stories of the valor... >> they opened fire on the english officers... >> sacrifice... >> i order you to die... >> and ultimate betrayal... drawing lines in the sand that would shape the middle east and frame the conflict today >> world war one: through arab eyes only on al jazeera america
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on tech know, >> i landed head first at 120 mph >> a shocking new way to treat brain injuries >> transcranial direct stimulation... don't try this at home... >> but some people are... >> it's not too much that we'ed fry any important brain parts... >> before you flip the switch, get the facts... >> to say that passing a low level of current is automatically safe, is not true >> every saturday, go where technology meets humanity... >> sharks like affection >> tech know, only on al jazeera america ♪ ♪ >> hi guys welcome back to "techknow." i'm phil torres joined by
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davison. if you know the internet at all you've probably seen the face of commander chris hadfield. i got a chance to interview him. >> making space travel and this whole idea so cool again. it's fantastic. >> give us a with it into his world and a way for those of us that aren't living on the international space station to kind of have an understanding of what that experience is like and maybe imagine ourselves in space one day. >> and i had a chance to talk to him about all those amazing things. let's take a look. >> five four three two one and liftoff. tom and ivan and chris making their way to the international space station. >> international space station has long been a paragon of mystery, that is until one man brought it back down to earth. >> chocolate pudding cake, looks like it too. not bad.
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it is going to be hard to eat. going to be messy. >> chris hadfield the former commander of the international space station spent 166 days in space. but he didn't spend his time just doing experiments. instead he turned the space station into something really cool. he recorded videos that went crazy viral. while bringing space into america's living rooms once again. not exactly your usual astronaut. >> i got to say, some of those iedges you tooimages you took ae captions you put on them, are amazing on the internet. toothbrush. >> when you did the wringing out the towel video, my mind was blown. and i showed it to everyone. >> it's so provocative.
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if you grab a glass of water and i tip it over or i let go of it, everybody assumes what's going to happen. and if something unexpected happens, if the water doesn't spill out, or if it floats here in front of my hand, it's kind of startling. and the beauty of being startled is it changes your thoughts. it changes your perspective. >> it's the little things we take for granted on earth that hadfield highlights perfectly. like getting ready to sleep for example. >> in my super-comfy russian pajamas, you float next to your sleeping bag, after turning out the lights, and we sleep in little sleep stations. like a tiny little phonebooth. you pull the little door shut. and then shut off the light. and then relax. every muscle in your body. each muscle goes to its natural
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relaxed state like an infant, we basically. it is the most blissful comfortable sleep you could ever imagine. ♪ ♪ >> sleeping is not the only challenge, even trying to groom can get a little messy. >> i noticed recently that my finger nails are gil getting a little long. -- are getting a little long. time to cut your finger nails in zero g. we decided to go to an air deduct. my finger nails will all get pulled down into the vent but not float away. >> there's no crying in space either. to. >> if you keep crying you end up with a bigger and bigger ball of water in your eye. >> despite these lack of creature comforts, research opportunities aboard the space station are literally out of this world.
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commander hadfield learned as much as possible during his time on the iss. >> one more day of accomplishment on the space station. >> we need more of that, right? i mean we need more commander had flds ou fields out there. being candid and funny and goofing off, being serious about the science they do and the perspective they have, we need it. >> now that he has more twitter followers, what is he going to do with those tweets to excite the next generation of rocket scientists and astronauts? >> i would like to do that, i think i can do it. i think it's really great. >> really interesting. we dealt with the controversy and saw true scientific experimentation. i can't wait to do more. if you want more be sure to tune in to "techknow." >> go behind the
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scenes at join us on google plus and more. >> here is the thing about a place like kansas - things can hide in these wide open spaces - hopes, lie, secrets. the sky is like a huge lid, trapping everything inside. my name is steve and i was born in kansas. i was adopted by don and mary-jane lik teague who raised


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