Explorations With Dr. Michio Kaku - December 4, 2001

Program Title:
Explorations With Dr. Michio Kaku - December 4, 2001
Series Title:
PRA Archive #: 

Explorations with Dr. Michio Kaku, professor of theoretical physics at the City University of New York, science program. Content: Human cloning ; stem cells (cure for Parkinsons, Cycle cell animia, etc.?) ; solar systems in outer space like ours? ; global warming could be worse than we think. GUEST: ARTHUR KAPLAN, Director of Center for Bioethics at U.of Pennsylvania (discusses human cloning). [Center for Bioethics on web is http://www.uphs.upenn.edu/bioethic/center/] Discussion is about human cloning and how the term is interpreted differently by various business, religious, and political groups. Specific topics and biographical figures addressed in the interview are: 1) The medical industry and cloning of cells and tissues versus the Hollywood scenario of cloning people 2) Techniques that have succeeded in cloning sheep, mice, cows, and goats have thus far failed to clone primates, dogs, or cats 3) Genetics versus stimuli and environmental influences on the development of who people are 4) Telomeres and "pre-aged" clones 5) An analysis of announcements made by Advanced Cell Technology of Worcester, Massachusetts 6) Human cloning and its contextual roots in the abortion debate 7) The 6 stages of cloning and delivery of organs to ailing patients 8 ) The advantages of using embryonic stem cells versus older, adult stem cells 9) An outlook for stem cell research and application 5-10 years, and 10-20 or more years into the future 10) An opinion that cloning people may be relegated to nothing more than a side show that will not be of much consequence to the human race Other topics covered: Human embryonic stem cells implanted into the brains of mice by researchers at the University of Wisconsin began to take root and become fully functional brain cells. Experiments have shown that stem cells hold great promise as a way to cure debilitating diseases and regenerate organ tissues. Keone Penn, 15, of Chicago battled sickle cell anemia and the prognosis that left him with only 5 years to live. Doctors at the University of Pittsburgh injected blood stem cells harvested from umbilical cords into his system, and cured him of the often fatal and excruciating disease. The historic procedure actually changed his blood type from O to B as the cells began to produce healthy blood on their own. The Hubble Space Telescope has detected an atmosphere on a planet revolving around another star system 150 light years away in the Pegasus constellation. Astronomers have recognized they can analyze the light of planets that pass in front of their stars, and determine their chemical composition through spectroscopy. With greater instrument sensitivity scientists may be able to discern different types of planetary gases and whether or not it may be able to sustain life. Recent estimates indicate Mars had oceans much larger than previously expected, enough to cover the entire planet with water 1 mile deep. Scientists are uncertain about what happened to the oceans but theories suggest some of it may have vaporized into space, or that an asteroid or comet impact boiled it off. The recession of the waters may be the very reason why the surface of Mars is coloured red. Oxidized iron (ferric-oxide) left behind coated the planet in rust. A calibration problem was cited as the reason behind misinterpretation of satellite data measuring the temperature of the atmosphere. However scientists at the Livermore National Laboratory have shown that volcanic ash spewed forth by Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines in 1991 suppressed some of the worst effects of global warming. This masking effect leads scientists to believe that global warming is even more profound than they previously thought. Michio comments on the passing of musician George Harrison, known widely as the "quiet" Beatle. Harrison helped bridge the gap between Eastern and Western cultures and preached for religious tolerance. In light of escalating tension between proponents of various belief systems the question of whether one religion is "better" than another is addressed. An historical and anthropological perspective covering the Christian, Muslim, and Chinese empires is presented including topics such as: 1) The Inquisition 2) An overview of the past 1000 years and the fact Christian society lagged behind the Muslims and Chinese in medicine, mathematics, optics, and inventions 3) The coming of science with the Reformation and the Renaissance 4) Democracy and the weakening of monarchies and the church 5) The Qin dynasty and burning of books 6) The stagnation and fall of the Ottoman Empire 7) The formation of artificial boundaries by the British and French Foreign Office, and emergence of Pan-Arab Socialism under Nasser 8) Oil and its distortion of U.S. foreign Policy A tribute to George Harrison and the tune "Here Comes the Sun" closes the program.

Date Recorded on: 
December 4, 2001
Date Broadcast on: 
December 4, 2001
Item duration: 
60 min.
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Los Angeles, Pacifica Radio Archive, 2001
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