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tv   Tech Know  Al Jazeera  September 29, 2013 7:30pm-8:01pm EDT

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>> hello and welcome, i'm phil torres, talking about innovations that can save live. we'll do it in a unique way. this is a show about scientists. let's check out the team. kyle hill is an engineer. he's on the trail of something decimating bee population. >> crystal dilworth is a molecular neuroscientist. she shows us california's hi tech grapes - how science can achieve perfection in a glass. i'm phil torres. i'm an entermologist and i'll show you the spiders i found in peru. and how scent affects jaguars.
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that's the team, let's do some science. hey, guys, welcome to a fun week of science in the field. kyle, what is happening to the bee, how can we save them? >> bee populations are diminishing around the country. i wanted to find out why. i travelled to the heartland of america to find innovative ways to find technology to save the bees. late summer in barrett minnesota it is usually buzzing with activity. i think we are ready to walk down to the beehives. >> the midwest is known for the commercial bee industry. we have empty boxes not filled
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with honey. >> a big stack of empties with nothing. >> bee kooepers are witnessing an alarming problem. how many bees are we losing? >> the losses are avt ron omic am. i lost 65% of my operation last winter. we look in the ground to see if there's dead bees on the ground. most people in the u.s. would be happy staying away from the honey bee. >> they are critically important to the u.s. food supply. they provide $15 billion in revenue, and one-third relies on the industrious pollinators. the demand for pollinator crops, the fruit and vegetables, is increasing. the supply of bees is decreasing. the general term is colony collapse disorder, a phenomenon seen before, but this time it is
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different say the bee keepers. >> seeing a number of things that we have never seen before. bees just disappearing. >> not only disappearing, they are dying in large numbers. >> something like this, like i picked up. what happened to the bee. why can't it stand. why is the mouth out? what is going on. >> if the probiscus is extended out, it's an indication that they are trying to remove something poisonous from their stomach, and it is a symptom seen on a chemically poisoned bee. >> scientists haven't reached consensus, but the disorder has everyone anxious. we headed north to seattle washington into the remote pugid sound where cutting-edge research is underway.
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>> in whitby island on washington state scientists are looking at a way. they are doing it by building a healthier bee with artificial insemination. >> this is where it happens. >> i'll show you my insemination lab. i can do what doesn't happen in nation. i can take hundreds of drones, mix them and inseminate the queen. i'm trying to enhance what mother nature does. >> first we need a male drone, then what else? >> you need a lot of males. takes a lot of males to inseminate a queen. >> koby is working at the forefront of technology to diversi diversify bee populations. across the u.s. bees are dying in massive numbers. tell us about that. >> there's a lot of different factors, you have to look at the
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environment, malnutritions, pesticides. >> from her farm koby gathers male sperm from drones that can survive harsh conditions and will inseminate queens showing resistance to pests. >> the more drones, the better fitness. >> the process is quick. it does take a lot of squeezing to get enough sperm for insemination. >> i'll role the fingers. >> that's the semen. >> you can see the creamy >> it placed in a tube. >> how much will you give her. >> one turn, 10 microlitres. basically 10 drones worth. the goal is to have - i want gentle productive bee, but bees resistent to pests and problems we have, which is a tall order. i'll spend the rest of my life
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trying to do that. >> koby is not alone. in paulman washington, members of her team are breeding the semen of drones. ed. >> >> what are these? >> voucher specimens. this is egypt collected in 1998, and bees from australia. >> for years they've gathered diverse stocks of bee sperm from italy, turkey and the kauk cos mountains to build diversity. >> this is the isolated mating station. we use it to control the mating of the bees. the colonies that have the males that we want for the mating. we have virgin queens that have been produced from crosses that we made during the frozen semen. >> a remarkable aspect fence on chyrogenetical lrk y storing the
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smn. >> before we needed this to work. >> this is the first sperm bank. it has to be frozen for future use. >> it's an extreme environment for the cells to be put through. >> after it's gathered in the storing tubes, the temperatures is lowered very slowly. these scientists in washington are hoping to change the health of bee colonies in the u.s. >> put it in this one. jam is in there. >> it's unknown whether it will be soon enough to help bee keepers like steve ellis. we have reached the disaster point from bee keeping industry standpoint. it needs to be understood by the keep in the country that we have a deepwater horizon occurring with pollinators, and we need to
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deal with it. >> when you talk about scientists trying to influence evolution, how effective can we really be? >> you can look around you. you see how effective we can be when we artificially inseminate something. we did it with dogs. we are looking at the traits that make successful bees successful and select those and bring them into a muddled population in america. >> worse case scenario all the bees disappear. >> mayby tiny robotic drones. >> i like the robotic bee idea. some researchers at harvard are working on this. humans are messing with the environment. >> science is not all like that. you always have to attack scientific topics from multiple fronts. >> speaking of insects you've
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been doing fun stuff in the amazon. what will we see. >> a trick we played on jaguars, and a neat spider we found. >> we want to hear what you think about the stories. join the conversation. follow us on twitter. anaconda
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>> your coffee is ready. >> hey, guy, welcome back to
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"techknow." i'm phil torres with kyle and crystal. >> i know you lead a double life, phil. you are drinking coffee, talking about technology and science, but you do research in the amazon. tell me about that. >> i have way too much fun down there. the reason why is there's so many things left to be discovered. what i'm about to show you is two things i've been working on - one with jaguars and one with a spider. check it out. >> it is breath taking. and at the same time mysterious. the amazon jungle covers on area of over 2.7 million square miles and stretches across the borders of nine nations. this green wonderland has more than a million insect species, tens of thousands of plants, birds and fish. i've been exploring the amazon for the past few years. my specialty is butterflies, but
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on this trip i'm looking for this magnificent cat. the jaguar is a specie, it needs a lot of habitat and prefers areas with less and dense cover. >> the jaguar is considered endangered, there's around 15,000 jaguars left in the wild. >> miguel is a wildlife biologist conducting jaguar research. >> we want to know how big an impact is fragmentation and unsustainable agriculture having on the species that is sensitive to human disturbance. >> what is the best way to tell if a jaguar is in an area. >> a method we use are camera traps, triggered by a motion. once triggered they'll take a picture - and three if they are programmed to do so. pictures of a jaguar will allow
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you to look at its marking. each marking is like a fingerprint. if you get a good shot of a section, you can get an idea of what areas he is using. >> how do you get an animal to approach a box of human technology deep in the jungle? >> we are heading up to the research center deep in the peruvian amazon, we want to get a picture of a jaguar. be brought along a special ingredient. researchers at the zoo years ago tested a bump of scents to see -- bunch of scents to see what attracted the jaguars. and it's this. calvin cline cologne. >> what is it about the cologne? >> it's the response from a jaguar that makes it feel like another jaguar has been there. >> we'll take it out of the
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context of the zoo and put it into the wild and see if we can attract them to our cameras using the scent. we'll show you how that can be used for research. smells good. i can see why the jaguars like it. let's see if it works. with camera and cologne in hand i set off to set up a perfumed enhanced trap. the concept was simply. douse ration with cologne. >> an animal walking by will trigger the camera to take a picture or video. it's got an infrared light. it something passes by, we'll get video of it. let's see what we get. . >> cologne is like a low-tech solution to a high-tech problem. >> definitely, they are elusive
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animals. any help you get, even a low-tech tool like col own, that allows you to get a picture or fur sample or give you information if the camera is set to video. >> my experiment was running for a month. it didn't work. the truth is working with animals like jaguars is not an exact science like i would hope it would be. scientists at jvi were able to pull it off. here is the night vision. jaguars marking, leaving behind skin and fur subjected to dna
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analysis in the lab. . >> i'm a chanel scent. why are you using commercially produced perfumes - why is it the optimal approach? >> it's a cost issue, i was at the duty free and thought i'd pick it up. i still use it now for me. i need col own, may as well use this. i want to show you guys a spider i was telling you about. this is the moment of discovery. we happened to be filming. this is what happened. a favourite thing to do in the amma zone is hike at night. >> -- amazon is hike at night. >> what happened? >> i don't know, it's like they evaporated. >> this night we walked, and gordon calls and says what's bumping that. >> is this a dead spider on the web. i checked it out. a thing that looked dead started
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to move back and forth. >> they may have made a fake spider out of debris. >> coming closer we realised there was a small spider making a big fake spider in the web. >> it's a tiny spider disguised as a big spider. the real spider is small, long abdomen, short webs, it's not a bigger version of itself, but a spider that's nearby. he's vibrating the web to make it look like he is a big spider. it was so cool, something we had no idea existed and the world had no idea existed. we were stoked. >> one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight - correct legs on the fake. >> the spider is not just different. it's different from another animal, there's no other app malls besides humans that can
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make a bigger version of itself. >> it wasn't a spider in the web, it was something else. >> yes, it blew my mind. eight legs. >> you don't think about spiders being able to think about making a decoy. that's what he has done. >> that's what i love. people say, "how does a spider know what it looks like?" it's not like it took a step back, "i'm missing legs", it shows how interesting evolution can be and how far it can push behaviour. to us it looks intelligence. it's a good set of rules that the spiders can follow to make this intricate form. >> while you trampled through the jungles of amazon, i was in napa valley looking at how technolo technology was innovative to the
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wine industry. >> we'll check it out next.
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>> hey, guys, welcome to "techknow," i'm phil here with crystal and coyle. we've looked at jaguars, bees and spiders. we are about to get classy, crystal, you went to napa valley.
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>> i looked at the wine making. they have been making wine since 7,000 bc. they are applying new techniques, solar panels and a bump of -- bunch of cool innovations. take a look. here on the hillside pickers are harvesting grapes the same way it's been done for thousands of years - by hand. but at this vineyard 21st century technology has a hand in almost every step of the process - from vine to wine. >> i'm an innovator when it comes to making the best wine possible - whatever it takes. >> doug is the president of schaeffer vineyards and has been working here since 1973 when his father bout the estate.
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>> grape growing and wine making in the val eye changed tremendously in the -- valley changed tremendously in the last 40 years, technology, computerisation, able to get more, better information to make better decisions with. >> for the last 29 years his partner in making the decision is elias fernandez, the wine maker, and he gave me a tour of the high tech tools fine tuning his craft. >> this is the weather station, our own weatherman on the hillside. >> this weather station is one of two wireless systems gathering detailed data in the field and transmitting it via a computer or cell phone. >> what analysis is done? >> it gives us temperatures, wind speeds, humidity and allows us to have a feel for what is going on here with the vines. >> the second system called frewition gives elias a
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real-time view of what is happening inside the vine. >> we have a thermocoupler in this area here, and with the solar producing energy, it will heat up the plant. >> the thermocoupler measures the change in heat, telling the grower how much water is in the vine. >> it tells us if the vine is in deficit or if it's doing fine. we can save water. >> especially in california, which seems to have been in drought ever since i can remember. >> by eliminating water at the right times, and giving water at the right times. we have have the berry small. the smaller the berry the bigger the juice ratio, meaning more robust juicy wines. >> innovative technology fine tunes the work at the crush
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pack. elias tunes to pick the colour grapes and only the right ones make it into the firmenters. >> we noticed the change. the wines in the fermentor, five or six days old, the aroma was fresher, cleaner, more focused. it was phenomenal. >> we'll check out the red wine fermentation. >> can you do the grapes sorted earlier. >> yes. >> the fermentation tanks communicate with elias via wi-fi. if it's to hot i get an alarm. >> you get a phone call from the fermentation tank. >> yes, a phone call, text or email. i've had them two in the morning. >> the ageing process in okay barrels as it has for the last two millennium is protected by
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space-anal technology. >> this was invented by nasa as part of their space station. so what it does is it actually purifies the air using photo catalytic oxidation technology. >> it's using light. >> yes. >> it's blown anything alive in the air. >> basically it will destroy mould, yeast, anything that can be damaged to barrels and so forth. >> some of the most innovative technology is being used not just to make wine, but to study wine. this is home it the world's first wireless fermentation system. >> rather than make great wine, we are doing great experiments. >> professor has been doing experiments for years. it's taking the sugar content,
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turning it into ethan ol. how is it an advance in technology that was available before the system was developed. >> no commercial fermentors are running density. >> commercial fermentors are not able to measure sugar in real-time. >> typically no. >> what can you tell me about the impact these technologies will have on wine making. >> all of those things are aimed at providing more information which then leads to better interpretation, which leads to better decision making. >> so this is our release in 2009. >> is this the quality of the wine, does it have to do with the instinct of the winemaker. it seems the new technologies is
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taking a bit away, from the instinct and putting it in the hands of data analysis. >> i've been on the property for over 29 years. i use a lot of instinct. i use the technology to back up what i feel. it adds to the picture so that i can make better wine. >> amazing. that whole piece really begs the question about art versus technology. >> i think what schaeffer vineyards are trying to do is bring new ideas, technology and focus on what scientifically we react to. >> all the stock of wine, i kind of want a class of wine. >> me too. >> we'll be back next week with innovative stories on how science is affecting us on "techknow." >> "techknow" never stops, go behind the scenes.
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