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tv   Tech Know  Al Jazeera  October 1, 2014 5:30pm-6:01pm EDT

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of high security breaches. plus new details about the first diagnosed case of ebola here in the u.s. the patient's family said that he was sent home from the hospital lace before he was admitted and diagnosed. we have more coming from hong kong. that and more coming up at 6:00. this is tech know, a show about innovations that can save lives. we are going to explore the intersection of hardware and humanity and we are doing it through unique ways. this is a show about science by scientists. let's check out our team of hardcore nerds. i am phil torres, an entymologist. from base can camp, we are on the scene after raging wildfire. the scientists who go directly in the path of a firestorm.
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their kairmz camera's actually consumed by flames. what they are learning could save lives. then dr. shimmy somara is a mechanical engineer. her undersea interview with david grandfather. >> marina davidson is a biologist specializing in e coming and evolution. >> that's our team. now, let's do some science. welcome to techknow. guys, i've got some stats for you. california is currently having the driest year in 90 years. over 60% of the west is in a drought. now, when it's that dry, there is one danger that really comes to mind. >> that's: wildfires.
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as common as these are, it has not with been until recent years that scientists understood how they move and how to save fight them. . >> california's governor declared a state of emergency wildfire. >> i want to make sure that the researchers are deployed. >> summer, 2014, in america's west is under fire. making national t.v. headlines for both the size and ferocity of the burns. >> fire world emerging from the parched hillside. >> the end of fire season is nowhere in sight. >> we are seeing near unprecedented drought. so what that means is we have seen the beginning of fire season much earlier. some even say that last fire season truly never ended. and we are going to probably see this fire season extend much longer than normal. >> this is the first day that we are on the scene.
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the crews are six days into the battle. fire command at the july conflicts post. this is fire camp where tactical decisions are made and fire fighters rest before returning to the fire line. when i arrive, new resources are being called in to fight four major wildfires in the area. >> what's at stake here? >> numerous homes as the fire comes down into the front country. there is approximately 360 homes out there. there is also the infrastructure of power lines. there is agricultural land with livestock and so, there is numerous things. at the northwest edge of the fire, most residents are trying to get away from the flames. but a team of wildfire researchers here are actually trying to get ahead of its path. dan jimenez is the team leader. he and his crew have been chasing fires as new blazes
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break out. >> the team has been to six or scenario fires. how many have you gotten data from? >> we have gathered data on three incidents. >> so not every one you go to is a win? >> absolutely not. >> on this deployment, dan's team is gathering field data to help improve fire fighters' safety zones. it's an area where personnel can safely position themselves and environment. >> how important is a fire safety zone? >> critical. >> in 2013, 19 fire fighters died battling an arizona wildfire. investigators think when the fire made a quick run towards them, the hotshot team was cut off from an escape route making it impossible to get to the safety
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zone. >> to set a safety zone, the general rule of thumb is, find the highest flame height and four. >> that's the minimum distance a fire fighter needs to be from the flames to be in a save zone. veteran fire fighters are quick to attest, there are more environmental factors than need to be considered. >> that's why command posts have a meteorologist and a fire analyst on site working side-by-side to predict the unpredictable, what a fire is about to do. >> so when you are out there on the line, how does it all work? is there any actual calculation done, or is it looking at these various variables and kind of eyeballing it? >> they don't really necessarily do a calculation. they are just going off of gut instinct. there are a few other variables that are at play. this footage from the
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texas wildlife shows. up to 100 miles per hour. good progress. pretty solid. >> day 2 of our mission begins with the daily 6:00 a.m. briefing. this includes the important weather forecast. the winds are going to remain relatively light. >> so as crews lead camp setting out for the fire line, all of this information will have to remain at the forefront of the mines as they fight to contain burning lands while keeping themselves and each other safe. do you think the creation of fire safety zones is good enough right now? >> i think there is room for improvement. any time we are talking about safety. there is never enough that can be done. we can always try to create a safer environment for fire fighters to work. it's inherently a dangerous activity. anything we can do to minimize
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. >> coming up on it. echknow, we are following the research team into the log fire. what happens when the research team gets their gear exactly where they want it? in the path of a raging wildfire. we want to hear what you think about these stories. join the conversation by following us on twitter and at aljazeera.com.
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welcome back to "techs know." wildfire? dynamics. i he read somewhere fires can travel ferociously faster in one hour. what surprised me is we are
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watching these guys fighting the fire with little to know intel and seems like that's about to change. decades. it's always been kind of word-of-mouth, figuring outweighs to look at a fire and analyze the situation. but you can't always trust what your brain is going to say under those types of conditions. >> that's why these guys are so motivated at the lab to come up with the right equation, the right way to figure out the fire safety zone, and that's what we will see now. california fire fighters are making gains on the nearby log fire, one of five wildfires burning in the region. >> right now, we are following the research team into the log fire. meantime, this research team suits up actually seeking the biggest, fastest moving flames they can find.
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i was allowed to join them. yellow. >> get on yellerred up. >> all yellerred up. >> dan and his crew, which includes two members of the elite smoke jumpers' team will scout unburned areas. they are trying to predict a path where dynamic fire will burn through. >> it's obvious by looking at the interior that they had some pretty dynamic fire behavior. they had some big runs, but the last couple of days, since we have been here, we have had an inversion set over us and this fire is just doing its thing. it's doing a great job of backing down, skunking around, but we are not getting really big runs or big torching. >> that's what we need. >> still, we give it a shot. each haul what they call a package. >> that's a series of sensors to collect data coupled with a dark room record fire behavior. all of it housed in a specially designed burn-proof metal box.
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>> it's actually in this box at the fire. >> we try to. it doesn't mean if it comes from the flank it won't trip. but most of the time, we are trying to get heading fire. >> how does this area look? >> it looks good. this is a perfect spot for us. we can probably go ahead and start setting up. >> it's got good slope. what do you see when you look around here? >> lots of fuel. >> once a package is laid out, the research team hopes the fire conditions cooperate and flames will actually burn through this box. when it does, the results are dramatic. this has been in a fire. it's been in a fire. it. >> that's right. >> we try to measure how much energy is released from the fire and core late that with burn injury levels. >> brett butler is the lead researcher on the fire safety zone project. he's based at the rocky mountain
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research center in missoula a, montana. this is the hard data that you guys bring in from the field. >> yes. >> what is the end goal of this? >> the end goal of this is to help us to design simulations but we didn't know until we set this parameter. how hot does the fire need to be? these measurements help us so we are accurately simulating what's happening in real conditions. >> led by the u.s. forest service, they are committed to understanding fire behavior through countless controlled burns and deployments, new safety models and tools are constantly being created. >> so in theory, that little circuit board on the front of on. >> this test is to improve the sensors on the fireproof cameras that recorded these dramatic images the burn. >> we need more measure in the meantime, slope and wind. >> that's difficult because there are safety issues. we have to get out in front of the fire, put this equipment out and
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then walk away, but naturally, it's dangerous >>. >> the ultimate goal is to come up with better information that can make fire fighters safe. . >> in this actual condition, dan jimenez's team has found the fires aren't ideal for a package burn. the fire fighters' success at reducing fire speed and ferocity is not conducive to collecting their data. >> you need big flames. >> that's certainly part of the equation, but we need access. we need the green light from the team alignment with we think and winds but that factors into big flames, yes. >> the team is breaking camp, having gotten new information about possible fires in oregon. they are hitting the road again hoping to get in front of the next blaze. >> sounds challenging. >> yeah. >> frustrating at times. >> absolutely. forward? >> we feel like we are doing a great job. we feel like there is a need. we are extremely capable of getting this data.
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research often has many failures before it has successes. lives? >> i hope so. i mean we certainly are putting our efforts toward guidelines. safety is the driver. >> from the front line of a fire to a lab in montana. >> i am blown away with the amount of research work they have got cut out for them because, are they trying to specifically identify safety zones, or are they trying to understand how fire spreads? >> one of their key questions is that safety zone. so, it's not just looking at how big they need to be but, yeah, how fire spreads. that's why they did the simulations of saying, okay. if there is a little valley, a fire is going to spread fast up there. so clearly, not a good place to put a zaift safety zone. >> how important is it to be able to simulate a fire in a lab setting when fires out in the
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field are unpredictable. >> yeah, really hard to deal with. >> the lab does help them answer some questions. it can very hell them kind of break it down, simplify it and predict what they will see when they go out in the field. >> it's one giant experiment. isn't it? they must get so excited when an actual natural fire happens when the rest of us are actually quite terrified. >> you know, its a mixed back but safety is the priority. research? >> one thing i am dying to know is how on earth do you design a device, an instrument that can withstand that kind of heat? >> they showed me examples much things that didn't quite make the cut they had melted i hope instruments. they had aluminum tripods that melted and they had to go with steel. tried and true at the end of the fire, can withstand 3,000 degrees. what they have apparently can. >> they seem like the black box
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of fire fighting. >> an interesting analogy. they can see what's happening on basis. >> on "techknow" we did a show on the yosemite fires and i saw how difficult it is to study a fire and what drove home to me was with the potentially life-threatening setting, it's imports to have these remote eyes on the situation. no case, they had eyes in the sky through drones. i am wondering: how important is it to have those eyes on the ground for these scientists? >> that's a great point because asked what the ideal way? you would love to have eyes on in the sky, on the ground, and a coordinated network of sensors and decision makers that can help figure out where that safety zone needs to be, what areas they should focus on all in the palm defendant hand. these are the guides at the top
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of the wildfire research coming up, you get to talk to a ledge water? >> from drought to land, the latest in research under water, we get to interview the grandfather, jack costeau. he tells us about the latest in aquanautics next. >> the world's best. i am thomas drayton.
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>> if you want free press in the new democracy, let the journalists live. >> on techknow. we're heading to cutting edge cal tech campus >> here's a look at just a few of the students shaping the future of science >> see the latest research, discoveries and breakthroughs inside some of the worlds most advanced labs. >> how do you scale somethig you learned from a jelly fish? >> techknow every saturday go where science meets humanity. this is some of the best driving i've ever done, even though i can't see. techknow. we're here in the vortex. only on al jazeera america. ♪. >> guys, welcome back to "techs know." you are going -- you got to do an interesting interview under the sea? >> yeah. i got to interview the grandson
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of jack costeau 60 feet underneath water. let's take a look. >> jack costeau, the legendary master of see exploration gave the world a glimpse into human possibilities under water. he once said the best way to observe a fish is to become a fish. his grandson took that advice to heart. he and a small team of divers called the undersea laboratory home for 31 days. i got a chance to talk to him about his latest research in a cuellar ius. the location in florida keys, is that crucial to the scientific research you are collecting? >> crucial for several reasonses. first of all the sub tropical environment conducive to working long hours but also, it's in the
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cross hairs of some of the major issues both on the level that we are only nine nautical miles offshore where there is a lot of human. >> that is incredible. what is the focus of the aquarous? >> looking at both climate change and pollution-related issues. so climate issues. having a good time out there? >> what are they doing? >> looking at sponges and corral and sending up some of our high-end equipment to monitor in both micro scopic and macro scopic fashion some of the science and data we are collecting from the sponges and corral to be able to bring back a better image of what's happening on the mroouks run-off issues that we are having all around the world especially
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here the problems among occurs that are affecting our corral reef as far as other critters with by 0 diversity in these undersea cities full. >> what is the major obstacles of studying the deep sea are short dive times. in a cuellar ius, fabbien has the luxury of living on the resurface. >> out there diving as much as you can in a day t allows us to the ability to dive six, eight, 10, 12 hours a day: we are at three atmospheres, subject to three tons of pressure that you are on land and that gives us the ability to go out into the water as long as we need to. >> the research opportunities at this depth are fantastic. the actual living facilities on aquarous are a little craft, as fabian showed united states.
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ryan and mark, our habitat technicians. behind mark is our bunk room. >> that's where the six of us sleep with the world's best view at the end. we generate our own air supply from the surface that comes down here. we have three days of air supply as well as battery power. right here, we've got our galley, which is where we cook. hot water and microwave only. as partial pressure of oxygen down here would exacerbate any kind of fire. this is the kind of food that we eat. it's in these freeze-dried packets. basically, they pre-prepared foods that you add hot water to and have a immediately. here is a lab full of equipment right now and the wet porch is the place where we get in and out of the has been at that time. basically, our front door to the ocean world.
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>> the opportunity to learn on aquarous still harkin back to jack costeau's callipso. >> the days of callipso, my grandfather's ship was the staging ground and the character, i guess, for 50 years of ocean exploration and a lot of the vision that he had of things to come has come to fruition, and we are using those things today. >> fab yen stresses the fact there is an urgent need for more ocean research insisting less explored. >> as a matter of fact, aquaro aquarous's has been at that time is the station that the nasa astronauts use to train before they go into outer space because it's so similar to the conditions that they are going to be subject to. space exploration and inner space exploration are of paramount importance to be able to further our knowledge of all
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of those acknowledges and those things that ail us. >> it adjusting back to a land atmosphere setting a new record for the longest stationary research mission understand water. fabbien continues his calling to bring more awareness to the importance of ocean research. assumptions. >> people have a passion for the occasions. again, i hate to default back to my grandfather but since we have been talking about him a lot, he used to say protect what you love and how can they protect what they don't understand? hopefully we let a few more understand why this is magical. so mysterious and so fragile and lives.
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>> i love seeing this ledge endsary family name is carrying on such an inspiring way. >> it is amazing how this curiosity for deep sea is just ingrained in their dna. everyone in the family seems to be involved in under water exploration. with that many family members. it has been max did out really. >>s it's really important. the sea, the ocean is pretty much the final frontier in terms of understanding how the planet works from at least from an eke logical perspective. it's important and difficult work. but i am glad they are doing it. >> why i find it so important where fab yen actually does throw himself into the he is permanent and become almost like a guinea pig. i think it adds weight to the research that he is doing. >> you worked a lot in conservation,
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a big e co system analyses. how important are theosis? >> think about it. the occasions cover two-thirds of our planet. they are important in terms of regulating ebb vinement, sources of protein for people to eat. i mean the list goes on and on. so doing this research is important. >> it's a bit similar to space research. a lot of people don't often appreciate just how much science we get from doing research in space. it's the same as with aquanautics. >> there are so many final front ears here on earth that we have yet to explore. i feel like we covered both ends of science today from fighting fires above to discovering the oceans below. it was a fun episode. tune in next time here on "techs know." dive deep into these stories and
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go behind the scenes at aljazeera.com/techs know. for the us on twitter, facebook, google+ and more. >> pro democracy protesters in hong kong threatening to take over the territory

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