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Richard Wiese on Exploration and Technology
Richard Wiese is a highly respected outdoorsmen and explorer. In 2002, he became the youngest president in the Explorers Club Clubs hundred-year history. The fabled society’s members have included Teddy Roosevelt, Neil Armstrong, Charles Lindberg, Bob Ballard, Jane Goodall, and Sir Edmund Hillary. He has hosted many nationally seen television shows, most recently Exploration with Richard Wiese. He has just completed filming a special series in Ethiopia with the BBC and Discovery called Hell on Earth about the hottest place on Earth.
Wiese has worked in the Yucatan jungle of Mexico putting satellite collars on jaguars; climbed and sampled the most geologically unique volcano in the world, Tanzania’s Oldonyo Lengai; and has been a member of two expeditions to Antarctica to core glaciers for the purpose of climatological studies. Expedition member of the 2004 Yeronisos Island Expedition, an archaeological dig in Cyprus to find the birth temple of Caesarion son of Cleopatra and Julius Caesar and in 2005 led an expedition to bio-prospect for extremophiles and new life forms in Mount Kilimanjaro’s crater, resulting in the discovery of 29 new life forms. He also trekked down the deepest canyon in the world and was involved in the first microbial survey of Central Park in NYC resulting in the discovery of 202 new and unique life forms.
Question: Who are you?
Richard Wiese: My name is Richard Weise and I’m an explorer.
Question: Is there any place left to explore?
Richard Wiese: I actually think we’re in a golden era of exploration. With the advent of DNA, you know, we’re suddenly finding a lot more, you know, in terms of archeology. With satellite imagery, we’re finding more dinosaur bones than we ever thought, you know, possible. So I think the game has changed. This [last phase is] associated with the outdoors or with exploration but the research is going on. And, in fact, probably the research is more relevant to the overall human population than it was before. You know, before it was sticking a flag and saying, okay, we’ve conquered Everest. But now it’s a microbiologist looking at a microbe that lives at altitude and, you know, using the properties that protect it from ultraviolet light, and saying, okay, I can apply this to house paint or car paint so it doesn’t fade. So I think it’s a very exciting period.
Question: How has technology changed exploration?
Wiese: I think technology has changed a lot of what we do because during the time of Shackleton, every one of these guys had to go through just a very long, drawn-out apprenticeship. I mean, they really knew the outdoors. And now with technology, you know, we have phones that work on Everest or out on the North Pole. You have clothing that’s better. You have communications that are better. I mean, just, you know, the ability to look at weather. So, for example, when you go on in an Abercrombie and Kent adventure trip, you know, you have a safety net around you that earlier explorers may not have had. And I think, you know, from a [person], I’m sort of a gadget guy. In one hand, I sort of like, you know, be able to light a fire without matches type things. But, you know, I have to admit, I really enjoy some of the new gadgets that are coming out from cameras to personal locators.
Question: What are some of the most exciting technologies?
Richard Wiese: Well, one of my favorite gadgets, and think I think it’s born out of that Mount Hood accident that happened about a year and a half ago where people are trying to use their cellphone to be located and there’s a company called SPOT and it’s a satellite personal tracker. And what this does be on sending out emergency signal of where you are. It has a neat little feature that says, “I’m okay.” And what you do is you determine who is on your “I’m okay” list. And, for example, I have my wife on it and it sends her a text message with my coordinates and it also sends her a Google map on the e-mail, so she could see exactly where I am. So I could be on Kilimanjaro or the North Pole or any of these things, and I’m just keeping her where I am. It doesn’t mean an expensive phone call. And, you know, I know even business travelers are using technology like this. So I think this is something kind of neat. Obviously, staying healthy on a trip is very important. And water-borne diseases are one of the biggest problems. And so, I use a product called the SteriPEN and this is really a spin-off from NASA technology. This probe actually emits ultraviolet light. I put it in water for about a minute, minute and a half, it depends whether it’s a liter or two liters and it kills almost all the microbes. And it has gotten to a point where if I’m in a hotel, say, in India and I don’t feel like calling room service for bottled water ‘cause I don’t feel like getting dressed and then, you know, I just go out of the tap, you know, put this in and it purifies the water. And knock on wood, I’ve been, you know, to Africa in the last 2 years at least a dozen times, in South America, and I’ve never gotten sick. So that’s something neat.
Question: Don’t explorers just need constellations to find their way?
Richard Wiese: There’s a great product called the Celestron SkyScout. And what this SkyScout does, it’s a star implanted finder or spotter is that if I see a star constellation that, you know, I’m unfamiliar, I point it up, press this button and it will tell me what I’m looking at. It has, you know, a GPS inside of it. Where if I’m looking for a star, say, I want to find Mars, I press the [button], punch in Mars, and there’s a little arrow that will direct me until I hit it and then it’ll blink that I found it. So even though I use to look at stars with my father, you know, I just found that there’s just a whole level of astronomy now that, you know, I wouldn’t have known, and it’s very hard to have those books when you’re outside and stuff like that, so this is a neat product.
Recorded on: 10/9/2008
Wiese, President of The Explorers Club, talks about and demonstrates some of the technologies that have advanced the ability of explorers to reach the far corners of the earth.
Are we genetically inclined for superstition or just fearful of the truth?
- From secret societies to faked moon landings, one thing that humanity seems to have an endless supply of is conspiracy theories. In this compilation, physicist Michio Kaku, science communicator Bill Nye, psychologist Sarah Rose Cavanagh, skeptic Michael Shermer, and actor and playwright John Cameron Mitchell consider the nature of truth and why some groups believe the things they do.
- "I think there's a gene for superstition, a gene for hearsay, a gene for magic, a gene for magical thinking," argues Kaku. The theoretical physicist says that science goes against "natural thinking," and that the superstition gene persists because, one out of ten times, it actually worked and saved us.
- Other theories shared include the idea of cognitive dissonance, the dangerous power of fear to inhibit critical thinking, and Hollywood's romanticization of conspiracies. Because conspiracy theories are so diverse and multifaceted, combating them has not been an easy task for science.
A growing body of research suggests COVID-19 can cause serious neurological problems.
- The new study seeks to track the health of 50,000 people who have tested positive for COVID-19.
- The study aims to explore whether the disease causes cognitive impairment and other conditions.
- Recent research suggests that COVID-19 can, directly or indirectly, cause brain dysfunction, strokes, nerve damage and other neurological problems.
Brain images of a patient with acute demyelinating encephalomyelitis.
COVID-19 and the brain<p>A growing body of research reveals alarming neurological complications among COVID-19 patients. On Wednesday, for example, researchers from University College London published a <a href="https://academic.oup.com/brain/article/doi/10.1093/brain/awaa240/5868408" target="_blank">study</a> in the journal Brain that describes how some patients have suffered temporary brain dysfunction, strokes, nerve damage, and other neurological problems concurrent with COVID-19.</p><p>Some patients suffered brain inflammation as a result of a rare disease called acute disseminated encephalomyelitis, which can cause numbness, seizures, and confusion. One patient in the study even hallucinated monkeys and lions in her home.</p>
Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images<p>A separate study published in the <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7198407/" target="_blank">Journal of Clinical Neuroscience</a> notes that some COVID-19 patients have also suffered neurological complications like impaired consciousness and acute cerebrovascular disease. The study notes that past viruses like MERS and SARS also seemed to cause neurological problems.</p><p>A troubling finding among this growing body of research is that some patients seem to suffer neurological damage even when respiratory symptoms aren't obvious. Additionally, scientists aren't sure whether damage from the disease will be permanent.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"Given that the disease has only been around for a matter of months, we might not yet know what long-term damage COVID-19 can cause," Dr. Ross Paterson, joint first author of the University College London study, said in a <a href="https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2020-07/ucl-iid070620.php" target="_blank">press release</a>. "Doctors needs to be aware of possible neurological effects, as early diagnosis can improve patient outcomes."</p><p>If you've been diagnosed with COVID-19 and want to enroll in the study, visit <a href="https://www.cambridgebrainsciences.com/studies/covid-brain-study" target="_blank">cambridgebrainsciences.com/studies/covid-brain-study</a>.</p>
Construction of the $500 billion dollar tech city-state of the future is moving ahead.
- The futuristic megacity Neom is being built in Saudi Arabia.
- The city will be fully automated, leading in health, education and quality of life.
- It will feature an artificial moon, cloud seeding, robotic gladiators and flying taxis.
The Red Sea area where Neom will be built:
Saudi Arabia Plans Futuristic City, "Neom" (Full Promotional Video)<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="c646d528d230c1bf66c75422bc4ccf6f"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/N53DzL3_BHA?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span>
Coronavirus layoffs are a glimpse into our automated future. We need to build better education opportunities now so Americans can find work in the economy of tomorrow.
- Outplacement is an underperforming $5 billion dollar industry. A new non-profit coalition by SkillUp intends to disrupt it.
- More and more Americans will be laid off in years to come due to automation. Those people need to reorient their career paths and reskill in a way that protects their long-term livelihood.
- SkillUp brings together technology and service providers, education and training providers, hiring employers, worker outreach, and philanthropies to help people land in-demand jobs in high-growth industries.
Source: McKinsey Global Institute analysis [PDF]<p>Work in understanding the skills at the heart of the new digital economy is leading to novel assessments that allow individuals to prove mastery to faithfully represent their abilities—but also to give weight and stackability to the emerging ecosystem of micro-credentials that make education more seamless across time and education providers. And we are seeing the beginnings of a renewal in the liberal arts, focused on building human skills in affordable ways that are accessible to many more individuals and far more effective.</p><p>Amidst these dark times, there is much opportunity to refresh the nation's education and training solutions to support the success of individuals and society writ large.</p>