Return Of A Killer: Tuberculosis
"Art of Science": Showcase
Tooth or Consequences: Howler Monkeys
The Cutting Veg: Smart Food
FLOWERS A fish story with no fish ... a secret underwater
weapon ... and a race to save a trapped whale -- on Scientific
American Frontiers. Also ... planning the attack on a killer
disease. Howler monkeys in Costa Rica put the bite on anthropologists.
Hot wheels designed by users take the lead in the Boston Marathon.
And a new concept in frozen food: taste. It's all coming up
-- on Scientific American FRONTIERS.
FLOWERS (in ticket booth) Good morning. That'll be 18 dollars
each for the adults, and 12 dollars for the kids.
IN LINE What time does the boat leave?
FLOWERS At 9:30, from the pier down there.
FLOWERS (TO CAMERA) Boy, just look at that line! People waiting
to buy tickets, boarding ship Woodie. These folks are happy
to pay, and spend six hours on a boat, all in hopes of catching
even a glimpse of a whale.
WOODIE FLOWERS (ON SHIP, TO CAMERA) Hi, I'm Woodie Flowers,
and welcome to Scientific American Frontiers. You know, people
here in New England are crazy about whales: a million people
a year take one of these whale watching cruises. But less
than a thousand miles from here, that way, are the Canadian
maritimes -- and up there, just about the last thing folks
want to see is another whale.
NARRATION The mournful cry of a humpback whale.
Racing to save its life -a team of Newfoundland scientists
led by Jon Lien. The whale is caught in a fishing net. If
it can't reach the surface to breathe, the whale will die.
When you're trying to rescue a thirty-ton animal, the most
important thing is to keep it calm. The work is cold, dangerous
and most of all -- frustrating. Lien knows these whales of
Newfoundland intimately. He's been face to face on over five
hundred rescues. With the water temperature just a few degrees
above freezing, Jon has to work from the surface. Still occupational
hazards are severe -- sinus problems, pneumonia, and the constant
fear of the powerful fluke. The struggle has gone on for almost
three hours .... Partially free, the whale is now dangerously
mobile ….Then with one final cut, freedom. But the rescue's
not complete until they haul in the valuable net. For Jon
Lien is saving two endangered species: the whales and the
JON LIEN Our fishermen do not earn a lot of money, they have a
big investment, they have a very short season and it's a real
tough job. So when a whale comes and hits their nets right
in the middle of fishing season they might lose enough time
that they might lose their whole year voyage. So it's a real
tough problem for the fishermen.
NARRATION Fishing is what keeps much of Newfoundland
alive. Just off shore is one of the world's most historic
fishing grounds-- the Grand Banks. When John Cabot discovered
these waters in 1497, he reported the cod fish were so plentiful
he didn't even need a net. Seeing catches from as late as
the 1950s, it's almost believable. But five centuries of constant
fishing by locals and foreigners have finally taken their
toll. Today the cod fishermen of Newfoundland still use traditional
techniques: They work from dories -- and haul their gear by
hand. But now their nets are empty. Roy Careen, the skipper,
is a fourth-generation fisherman struggling to stay afloat.
CAREEN The fish is not as near as plenty this year as it was
last year. Seems like every year it's slacking off all the
time, getting scarcer and scarcer every year. You got to use
more gear now to catch the same amount you did the year before.
With fewer fish, the only way to eke out a living is to use
more. nets -- but that brings tragic consequences for the
NARRATION By the time Jon's team arrived, this whale
was already dead. All they can do now is try to help the fishermen.
But the $5,000 net is so badly tangled, it may be a total
loss. For Lien, it's the worst accident of the season. But
the whale's death will not be in vain. Jon is determined to
find out why whales collide with nets. The first step is hauling
all 70,000 pounds a shore. No one's sure how these animals
detect objects like nets. Eyesight is unreliable in the murky
ocean. So Jon is studying the whale's hearing. Every cut releases
the foul smell of decomposition gases. It's a task for only
JON LIEN Well, I think for a scientist it's
just amazing how this huge animal works. We understand it
only very poorly. And it's a rare privilege to get inside
of it like this, even though it's kind of gross. To begin
to see how the parts fit together how they might make the
animal work. It is a little bloody and a little wet but it's
fascinating. After hours of delicate and not so delicate work,
they find what they're looking for: this is an ear of a humpback
NARRATION Jon thinks these ears are so sensitive
the animal uses them the way we use our eyes. But cod nets
are silent, and that means for the whale they're invisible.
To make the nets noisier, Lien is designing whale alarms.
About 50 fishermen got experimental models last year. Today
he's delivering a second set of alarms to Ken King. The alarms
make a simple clinking sound. It's at a frequency the whales
can hear -- but the cod fish can't.
KING Last year when I had a cod trap in the same area it was
tore up everyday, never missed a day. Had holes in the leader
holes in the trap. And then I contacted Jon and I got seven
of these alarms. I put four on the box and three on the leader
and from the sound that they made I thought it would frighten
the fish. But the best catch we had for the season for one
day, 22,000, was the day after we put these things on. I knew
it didn't frighten the fish. And for the six or seven days
after the fish got a little less because it was getting to
the end of the season. But no more whale holes, thank God.
In the latest trials, the alarms are a success -- so there's
hope of saving fishermen thousands of dollars and the whales
their lives. But as one problem may be solved, another gets
worse. The Grand Bank cod stocks have fallen to record lows.
Rumor has it the government is planning drastic action. The
fishermen gather for a press conference. Anticipating trouble,
the minister of fisheries makes his announcement from an adjacent
OF FISHERIES I have decided that effective at midnight tonight
there will be a moratorium on harvesting of northern cod until
the spring of 1994.
ANGRY FISHERMEN ...and if there are some men willing to go
with me, we should go down and knock on that door. Rage and
defiance, as the Grand Banks are closed for at least two years.
Would you sit back and watch your 4 year old kid starve? I'm
not going to. I'm going to keep fishing. What are you going
to do, oh Jesus, lot of young fellows involved. They talk
of retraining -- what are they going to retrain -- picking
apples cutting firewood? Not very much to look forward to
NARRATION A few days later, the fishermen bring
in the last nets. Some are angry; some, hopeless; but many
realize that the moratorium is a last ditch effort to save
their way of life.
ROY CAREEN Certainly got to be something done. If it keeps
going the way it's going there be just no fish. And if there's
no fish there's going to be no Newfoundland.
NARRATION It will take years for the stocks to recover
-- years of pain and hardship for the 20,000 Newfoundlanders
now out of work. Jon Lien will use the time to perfect his
alarms, with the hope that when fishing resumes, cod nets
will no longer pose a threat to the whales. For now, the whales
have these waters to themselves. But with patience and proper
management, the Grand Banks will again -some day -- support
whales, fish and fishermen.
OF A KILLER: TUBERCULOSIS
NARRATION This trailer park near Ft. Myers Florida
is in the grip of a public health crisis. The people who live
here may have been exposed to an ancient and deadly disease
called tuberculosis. Because TB is so contagious, a recent
outbreak here could become an epidemic. So the Health Department
has dispatched Bonnie Goyette and her TB control team...to
find out who's most at risk.
GOYETTE Someone who has infectious disease- coughs, sneezes,
laughs- can spray it into the air and you inhale it and that's
how it gets into your lungs. People who have been exposed
to tuberculosis, if they're healthy, maintain a healthy lifestyle,
their own immune system can keep this from progressing to
disease. This man's immune system did not protect him. Jay
Linares has advanced TB. He's lost a lot of weight, he's suffering
from severe chest pain and he can't even breathe without supplemental
oxygen. Jay is wasting away.
LINARES I was once a Marine. I could charge up a hill. Basically
I felt like I could lift a car...that strong...that well fit.
And now, if I walk two blocks...or when I was very ill...I
considered myself superman.
NARRATION Jay is being treated at National Jewish
Hospital in Denver, a hospital that thought it got out of
the TB business 30 years ago. At the turn of the century,
National Jewish was completely dedicated to curing tuberculosis.
The prescription was careful medical supervision, surgery,
sunshine and rest. Sanatoriums like this were also intended
to take infectious patients out of the community. That was
the only way to stop the spread of a disease that was killing
more than 150,000 Americans every year. Then research uncovered
antibiotics that could cure TB. Most everyone believed the
country would be rid of tuberculosis by the year 2000. But
for Jay the antibiotics aren't working. That's because he
has a new kind of TB, drug resistant TB. Suddenly tuberculosis
is on the rise again...and the irony is we've made it happen
by abusing the very miracle drugs that were supposed to save
LINARES I became drug resistant because I just kept throwing
the medicine away every time I felt better. OK, every time
I got better I used to like, just let go of the medicine.
And before you know it, about 2 or 3 months later, here I
go again with the same pain the same symptoms.
NARRATION Here's how drug resistance happens. Regularly,
a TB bacterium mutates so it can resist attack by one antibiotic.
Standard treatment uses more than one antibiotic- to ensure
that all bacteria, non-resistant and resistant are killed.
But now suppose that after taking the first drug, the patient
feels better and stops medication. The original TB bacteria
and the resistant type both continue growing...that's bad...so
eventually you start therapy again to cure yourself. The problem
is- that's not how it happens. Remember, mutations take place.
And so new resistant bacteria emerge...and even if you resume
therapy, the newest mutants survive and can be passed on to
the next victim. That's why Bonnie and the Ft. Myers health
department have to mobilize quickly.
When are we going to X-ray these people who turn out positive?
GOYETTE If they have any symptoms, we're going to make arrangements
to have those people x-rayed tomorrow. If they are asymptomatic...If
the TB in Ft. Myers is drug resistant, they could have a disaster
on their hands.
FLOWERS The crisis began a few weeks ago when this man from
the trailer park came to Bonnie with a persistent cough. Tests
showed that Miguel de la Madrid had infectious TB.
GOYETTE If you would have him explain to me about how he takes
his medicine, when he takes the red pills, when he takes the
white ones ... Confronted with the possibility of a drug resistant
case, the only safe thing Bonnie Goyette could do was to prescribe
a whole array of antibiotics. Now her job is to make sure
that Miguel is taking them.
GOYETTE Norma, would you ask him if he's...how he's feeling
generally. Better? No cough?
(Spanish translation of question)
NORMA He feels much better now that he's taking the medication.
GOYETTE Even though you're feeling better it's very important
that you continue to take the medicine, just like you've been
doing. Very important.
Si! Bonnie won't know for a while whether Miguel is drug resistant
or not...meanwhile she's watching his wife and children closely
because they're the most likely to be infected by him. Co-workers
and close friends are also at risk because they spend time
with Miguel in cramped quarters, sharing the air he breathes.
If he comes in contact with HIV infected people, they're almost
certain to get it. What makes Miguel's case so alarming is
that he was recently cooped up with hundreds of people from
all over Ft. Myers.
NARRATION About six weeks ago heavy rains caused
a flood in Miguel's trailer park. Over 500 people had to be
evacuated from their homes. Most of the flood victims were
sent to the local high school, where a Red Cross shelter was
set up in the gymnasium. Summer school was in session and
about 150 students were sharing. facilities with flood victims.
For 10 days the gym was packed with evacuees, relief workers,
policemen and firemen. Over 800 people were exposed to Miguel's
OK Shamika, you're going to have a TB test OK?
NARRATION So Bonnie and her staff have to test everyone
who spent time at the shelter.
Very still, it's not going to hurt, it's going to feel like
a little mosquito bite now. Hold still. That's it. That's
it. Hold still now, hold still. That is it. That's it. See
this here? Look at there. Now what I want you to do is don't
scratch it, don't pick at it or anything, OK?
GIRL That hurt a little bit. I almost started to cry!
GOYETTE Hi Carlos. Have a seat here. Let's see how your test
turned out. Two days later, Bonnie returns to the high school
to see who's been infected.
BONNIE GOYETTE You have a positive reaction to this test.
Are you kidding me?
GOYETTE No. If you'll take your finger and rub over it very
gently you can feel that there's a little lump under the site
Yeah, I can feel it.
GOYETTE Feel it? This lump looks a lot like a mosquito bite.
or more, If it measures 10 mm he's been infected.
GOYETTE Ok that's right out at 10 mm. That's what we would
consider a significant reaction.
GOYETTE The positive test that you have now simply means that
sometime during your life you have been exposed. It could
have been last year it could have been even twenty years ago.
DAN What is the next step involved?
GOYETTE The next step now is going to be for you to get a
chest X ray.
NARRATION At the trailer park, more bad news...positive
test results and negative attitudes. Did she take medicine?...
Ok they put her on the treatment but she did not take the
medication...Why? ...Because I didn't want to take it. Drug
resistant tuberculosis breeds on this kind of misunderstanding
and apathy. Even for dogged public health workers like Bonnie,
overcoming these problems is going to be tough. Jay's doctor,
Michael Iseman is one of the country's leading TB experts.
He's frustrated with trying to cure not just the patients,
but the system too.
The biggest problem with tuberculosis control today really
has to do with the social disorganization in many groups in
America today; minorities and immigrants whose lives are so
disrupted that it's very hard for them or the health providers
to sustain even a six month treatment program to cure their
TB. Related to that is the fact that many of America's major
cities, where TB is still dominant, that the public health
infrastructure, the programs that went out to treat and cure
tuberculosis patients, have been allowed to fall into a state
of decay that makes it very difficult for us to arrive at
successful treatments. No change in the health care system
is going to save Jay. It's too late. On August 4, 1992 at
the age of 34, Jay Linares died of tuberculosis.
FLOWERS (ON STEPS OF ELEMENTARY SCHOOL) If the new wave of
tuberculosis in the U.S. continues to grow, these kids may
one day have to wear badges to get into school. You see, a
crowded, enclosed space like this building is a perfect breeding
ground for airborne infection. If someone brings TB in here,
a lot of people are put at risk. And that's exactly what happened
a few months ago at the New York Commodities Exchange. A few
active TB cases were identified among traders on the packed
exchange floor. Today, you can't get anywhere near the trading
action unless you're wearing an ID like this --with a red
sticker that shows the date of your last TB test. Nobody wants
us or our kids to have to wear these, and we shouldn't have
to, because there is a way to beat TB -- but it means all
of us getting behind a major public health effort to educate,
test ... and follow up on every case.
OF SCIENCE: SPECIAL SHOWCASE
Hello. viewers. Welcome to Scientific American Frontiers.
My name is Decface ...
FLOWERS (NARATION) Decface is inviting us to visit a futuristic
gallery at this year's computer graphics convention -- featuring
some outstanding examples of the art of scientific visualization.
It's a head-on fusion of human imagination and powerful computers.
In this God's eye view, an earthquake creates a tidal wave
sweeping over the Sea of Japan. We can follow the towering
waves across the ocean surface -- and watch how they're changed
by the sea floor below. Here the simulated wave is ultrasound
-- destroying a kidney stone without surgery. Computer visualization
can even take scientists to the stars, to see what happens
when an enormous jet of gas erupts from a galaxy. Behind this
swirl of flowing gases are staggeringly complex computations
-- but the result is a masterpiece of the art of science.
PAUL WOODWARD As our calculations get better, as they get
more realistic and they resolve more detail, they become more
beautiful. Now maybe they become more beautiful just to us,
but I think also other people can appreciate that having more
detail, having more structure, brings out more of the true
beauty of nature. We've now entered a whole imaginary world
-- the CAVE -- the most popular attraction at the entire convention.
People are lining up for their first taste of the new graphics
technology called virtual reality ...where you get to step
inside moving three-dimensional images. It's hard to convey
the impact of a 3D flight through Chicago on two-dimensional
television -- but sailing into a galaxy brings you closer
to the full experience. The CAVE is a preview of the promise
of virtual reality -- a new realm for exploration, and for
the art of science.
TOOTH OR CONSEQUENCES: HOWLER MONKEYS
NARRATION You don't need a Ph.D. in zoology to figure
out why these monkeys are called howlers. But if you are an
expert on primates, beware -- this small monkey community
will upset one of your most confident assumptions. We're in
Costa Rica -- not the rain forest region that lures adventurous
eco-tourists, but in a dryer strip near the Pacific coast.
KEN GLANDER Have to move on the other side.
NARRATION Ken Glander is a primate expert, at Duke
University -- and for 20 years he's come from Durham, North
Carolina, to Costa Rica to hunt howlers.
GLANDER Got 'em.
NARRATION Of course, Ken's bullet is just a tranquilizer
dart. His aim is to find out exactly what these monkeys are
GLANDER OK -- heads up! You're all right -- all right-- to
your left -- your right. Back a little bit that way. Here
she comes! Good catch! Good catch. She's a nice young animal.
She's in excellent condition.
NARRATION She's still awake, but this monkey will
stay comfortably numb for about an hour -- more than long
enough for a complete medical examination in the field laboratory,
just a few dusty miles away.
KEN GLANDER This is the same way the police take fingerprints.
In fact I got this from the Cary, North Carolina, Police Department.
NARRATION Ken's adopted a foolproof method for keeping
track of his patients.
GLANDER OK. You've got a good one. Let me see what you got.
Now pull it off, from the heel first.
NARRATION Remember -- Ken really wants to find out
what monkeys eat. So he turns into a dentist.
KEN GLANDER His teeth are actually quite dirty. He hasn't
flossed between meals. We have never a found a cavity in 21
years, in some 800 monkeys. It's been shown that some of the
food that they eat contains natural anti-bacterial, and that
prevents the bacteria that cause tooth decay from growing
in the mouth. Now let's put the cast material in.
NARRATION These casts are helping Ken overturn a
long-standing idea in anthropology.
GLANDER OK. Here we go. Good cast ...very sharp points.
NARRATION Young howlers set out in life with nice
sharp teeth like this. But a steady menu of stems and buds
is tough on enamel. In fact, researchers have always used
tooth wear to estimate a primate's age: the more worn down
the teeth, the older the animal. It seemed like a reliable
method -- and Ken used it too -- until one day ...
GLANDER Ten years ago, I captured two females, and gave one
an age of 13 years, and the other an age of 23 years, based
on the wear on their teeth. And it was only when I got back
to Durham that, in looking at my records, I realized that
those animals were the same age, in fact -- I had captured
them as babies, and they were in fact 13 years of age. But
one had almost no teeth -- she had the teeth of a 23 or a
25 year-old animal.
NARRATION The mystery led Ken to this spot. Piercing
the dry forest range of the howler troupe is the Corobici
River, flowing lustily even in the winter dry season. Lined
with lush vegetation, this narrow green corridor is home to
another howler colony. Here, just yards from the dry forest,
monkeys feast on soft leaves and gentle flowers -- food that's
kinder to the teeth than the dry forest menu. As Ken tracked
down these diet differences more closely, he realized that
even the leaves in the dry forest are rough on a monkey's
KEN GLANDER If you look closely you can see that there's a
fine coating of dust on these leaves, from all the dust that's
in the air. And when howlers come and eat this, they're ingesting
the leaves as well as the dust. And this grit is very hard
on their teeth, because it causes rapid wear. It would be
the same thing as if I were to eat sandpaper.
NARRATION Anthropologist Mark Teaford is taking
an even closer look at diet and tooth wear. He's putting gold-plated
molds, made from Ken's howler casts, under an electron microscope
to magnify the surface two or three hundred times. Here, on
a river monkey's teeth, you can read the results of a soft-food
diet: the enamel is even, and there a just a few scratches.
Now the teeth of a dry forest monkey.
TEAFORD Initially, it might look like it's fairly similar
to one of the river ones, but as we come into higher and higher
magnification, you can see that the wear pattern is very different.
There's much more microwear, far more scratches, and a fair
number of pits -- these short wide features. So in the dry
region monkeys eat gritty leaves from hardy plants, while
in the river area just next door other monkeys eat soft food.
And under the microscope, it's this difference in diet, not
simply age, that shows up on their teeth.
NARRATION Meanwhile, the howlers in Costa Rica confronted
Ken Glander with another puzzle. Why do the dry forest monkeys
prowl the barren trees, in search of food that's hard to find
-- and tough to chew when they do find it? After all, the
leafy banks of the river are not far away -- a much more inviting
prospect than their own dusty precincts. But the river monkeys
don't look fondly on scroungers from the dry forest troupe
-- in fact, they guard their abundant greenery with a surprising
fierceness. And when you watch the feeding pattern closely,
as Ken does, you see that the river monkeys travel far between
bites -- passing up many branches, then stuffing their faces
on one judiciously selected bough.
GLANDER In one case I had 149 individual trees of the same
species in the range, and they ate mature leaves from only
12 of those 149 trees. And I was wondering why. So Ken collected
leaf samples to analyze in his lab. And he found out why the
howlers are so particular: most trees along the river are
poisonous. His conclusions: Life for the howlers is hard,
even where it looks sumptuous. And differences in diet show
up as dental data on monkeys' teeth. But that's not the end
of the story.
FLOWERS (IN MUSEUM, HOLDING SKULL) In fact, it's just the
beginning -- of a whole new story -- a story about ancient
animals, including our own ancestors. It's really tough to
make deductions about behavior and lifestyle from a fossil
bone like this. For instance, what about the wear on these
teeth? Is that telling us this two-and-a-half-million year
old human ate roots, or nuts ... or maybe just lived in a
dusty place? So far, we've only been able to guess. But now,
for the first time, thanks to the painstaking work of researchers
like Ken Glander and Mark Teaford, we're learning how to correlate
tooth wear and diet in a reliable way. Ken set out to discover
what howler monkey's eat, but he's come back with clues that
will help us to read our own prehistoric past.
NARRATION The starting gun of the Boston Marathon
-- one of the world's premier sporting events. Just to make
this field, you need legs of steel. But some competitors can't
use their legs at all. Paralyzed by injury or disease, these
racers will pull themselves through 26 miles in wheelchairs.
Like every runner here, they have to be in top physical form.
But to win in this division, they also need hot wheels. Fast
chairs are part of a design revolution -- a profound change
that's been engineered by wheelchair users themselves. One
of these user-designers is Rainer Kueschall. He didn't set
out to be an engineer -- but life left him no alternative.
KUESCHALL When you are very limited you only have 2 choice
to go forward or stay where you are and suddenly one day comes
and you say 'I have to do something with my life. Which way
shall I go? And I went a positive thinking way.
NARRATION Watching Rainer work out in his native
Switzerland today, it's hard to believe that a diving accident
26 years ago left him virtually paralyzed. His long recovery
was made even more difficult by the wheelchair he was given.
It's tough to push that conventional wheelchair, even up a
ramp, as Rainer's associate demonstrates. As for climbing
over curbs - forget it -- at fifty pounds, the chair's too
heavy. And the main wheels are so far back that steering and
maneuvering are really tricky. For FRONTIERS, Rainer reluctantly
agreed to get back into the old standard wheelchair. All the
discomfort and dissatisfaction he experienced years ago came
back as forcefully as ever.
KUESCHALL My seat position is not good enough. My legs are
much forward. The mobility is absolutely eliminated so I feel
real disabled. Rainer refused to endure these limitations.
decided there was only one thing to do: Ten years ago, he
design his own wheelchair. RAINER I feel free.., maneuverable..,
only like that am I able to be active. I think as you saw
me before I never have a chance to survive outside.
NARRATION The standard wheelchair is heavy and high
off the ground. Rainer's chair is lighter, lower to the ground,
and most important -- the back wheels are directly beneath
the seat. That makes it easier to maneuver the chair and to
get more power into each push. Today Rainer is a world leader
in wheelchair design, and he operates a factory in Basel.
The engineering changes he made are simple enough -- but they
make a big difference because they come from a personal understanding
of wheelchair riders' needs.
KUESCHALL We are wheelchair users and it is in our interest
to squeeze the maximum out of it. That's why I think we found
all these technical improvements in a short period of time
that nobody saw before.
NARRATION Thanks to Rainer, and a handful of other
user-designers, wheelchair riders can now tackle just about
any sport they choose. One athlete who's made the most of
the new mobility is Bob Hall. Like Rainer, Bob rejected the
limitations of the standard wheelchair.
HALL I found that the wheelchair was the most disabling aspect
of my being and that really held me back. It was made for
not really any other purpose than to sit there and I wanted
to move and move fast.
NARRATION In 1975 Bob became the first athlete to
complete the Boston Marathon in a wheelchair. That first ride
was in this conventional chair. But he too became a user-designer
-- and built this racing chair. The back wheels are angled
-- that puts the tops within reach for a power push, while
providing maximum stability at the bottom. Bob's latest is
this three-wheeler. A mere 17 pounds, it's been clocked at
40 miles per hour. Three weeks before the Marathon, Bob is
struggling to come up with the extra edge of speed that could
make him the winner. To give the chair sleeker lines, he's
considering an idea from auto racing: taper the squared off
back, so the whole frame becomes a streamlined diamond. And
to reduce the weight, Bob's got another trick. For the first
time ever, he's fashioning a wheelchair frame from titanium.
It's an idea he got from racing bikes, which use titanium
because it's light but extremely strong. With some delicate
finishing work, the diamond frame is completed. And to get
the most out of the new design, Bob's bringing in a top young
racer. He's Craig Blanchette -- featured in this Nike commercial.
The designers have opened new possibilities for disabled athletes.
Craig is a genuine sports star who's making it big. Three
days before the Marathon, Craig flies in from Oregon to take
on Bob's new machine.
BLANCHETTE How light is it?
HALL What do you think?
BLANCHETTE It's awesome. It's awesome.
HALL I think it's about 12 1/2 pounds.
BLANCHETTE Really...pretty amazing.
NARRATION Craig's usual event is sprinting -- and
he discovers he can really fly in this chair. Now he wants
to check out a key racing strategy -- drafting. With the old
three-wheeler up front, Craig gets close in -- then he can
ride the draft of reduced air resistance, and work less hard.
Bob's design is shaping up as a real contender. Back in Switzerland,
Rainer is also making final preparations for the coming race.
As a quadriplegic, he won't compete directly with Craig, or
with paraplegics who have full upper body strength. But just
being in the same race is a personal victory.
KUESCHALL I think it's natural when you are slow you want
to be fast. And when you see the big boys, the paraplegics,
and so on you saw the possibility they could move and so ...
I think it always a little dream of a quad, 'Wow, if I could
just do that'. Race day in Boston... the preparations are
over... time to warm up... for runners... and for wheelchair
NARRATION Craig's new chair is ready to roll. Now
the pressure's squarely on him: Can a sprint racer really
cut it over the marathon distance?
BLANCHETTE I'm feeling anxious and nervous actually. I'm …I
really don't know what I'm feeling actually.
NARRATION Fifteen minutes before the foot
racers, the wheelchair racers take off on a rolling start.
That's Craig in the blue helmet. The official whistle, and
they're off. After just a few minutes, the field thins out,
with Craig up front. Two miles later ... this trio makes a
break from the pack ... with Craig hanging onto third. Jim
Knaub, the 1982 and '83 winner, pulls ahead. Craig -already
a little winded -- remains behind to ride the draft. Then,
with a sprinter's spurt, Craig makes his bid for first place.
Soon it's just a two-man race, with Jim and Craig trading
first place. But behind the leaders ... ...the infamous Heartbreak
Hill takes its toll. And for Rainer it's especially grueling.
He's completely exhausted -- he can't push anymore -- but
the crowd keeps cheering him on, and he pulls himself up the
hill. Meanwhile, at the front, Jim Knaub begins to pull away
from Craig. In a distance event, you've got to know how to
pace yourself... Craig's fast chair can't make up for his
inexperience. And the veteran wins his third race. He's wheeled
26 miles in one hour, thirty minutes. Four minutes later,
Craig comes in second ... an outstanding finish for his first
shot at a major marathon.
BLANCHETTE Basically, all I did was try to hold onto second.
tried to dial 911. Rainer finishes in a respectable three
hours -- his bravery and persistence paid off.
KUESCHALL It's the hardest race I ever did. These hills take
everything out of you. It was unbelievable ... the crowds.
These people are absolutely crazy so I never could allow me
to give up.
NARRATION The new mobility has progressed so far
that a hundred-year-old foot race now has two winners. And
as user-designed technology becomes available to all disabled
people, everybody wins.
CUTTING VEG: SMART FOOD
FLOWERS These days most farmers do this with machines -- but
here at Old Sturbridge Village, they're dedicated to the faithful
re-creation of life in nineteenth-century America. Even the
vegetables are harvested and preserved just the way they were
in the early 1800s. Stringing the pumpkin this way dried it
out ... and hanging it kept it away from pests. There was
a proper technique for storing each kind of food -- maintaining
a good winter diet took a lot of work. Seeing what our ancestors
had to do really makes you appreciate freezing and vacuum
packing and all the other modern technology for preserving
food... OK, so canned vegetables aren't exactly mouth watering
-- but science is working on that. Snap beans -- fresh from
the harvest, now about to be canned. That way these vegetables
will be available in a convenient form year round. But their
snap won't. Malcolm Bourne, a food scientist at Cornell University,
can show you exactly how bad these beans become. His lab is
equipped with a machine that measures the curse of canned
vegetables -mushiness. A heavy-fisted robot arm is about to
make these beans history. This pathetic score -- point 3 --
ranks beans in the same mush league as stewed tomatoes ...
and mashed potatoes. Fresh beans are much snappier -- and
score 15 times better. What turns today's firm beans into
tomorrow's mush? Heat. The first step in preparing canned
beans is blanching -- a scalding shower in 200-degree water.
Why this ordeal? Because the chemical reaction that makes
beans ripen in the field just keeps on going even after they're
picked. Beans will merrily ripen 'til they rot. Heat stops
that reaction but causes mush. What Malcolm's discovered is
a way around this bind.
BOURNE You put a vegetable in a pot, it might be a carrot,
a green bean, a potato, or whatever, and you cook it and it
gets soft. Everybody knows about that. But what my research
showed is that there are two kinds of firmness in vegetables.
NARRATION The first kind of firmness is already
there, inside the bean. Gases that form between plant cells
keep the cell walls rigid. Heat makes these gases escape.
But a second kind of firmness can be activated -- if the bean
is processed the right way.
BOURNE We're still using a three and a half minute blanch
time, but we've lowered the temperature to 145 degrees Fahrenheit.
That's 55 degrees cooler than the standard blancher -- still
warm enough to prevent rotting in the can, but cool enough
to release the second type of firmness.
NARRATION Heat activates a protein called pectin,
which turns into a sort of edible cement. Pectin is what makes
jelly firm -- but it only forms at about 150 degrees -- just
the temperature Malcolm has selected for blanching. A few
hours later the pectin cement is set. Is it strong enough
to keep the beans firm? Malcolm's plunger is the ultimate
test. It's a success -- Malcolm's canned beans are ten times
firmer than the mushy ones. Lowering the temperature works
wonders for green beans. But for some cooked vegetables, it's
not how hot but how long. For instance, how long does corn
on the cob need to be boiled before it's frozen? That's an
issue because boiling time affects flavor. And the effects
get worse as the storage time gets longer. A lot of commercial
frozen corn is stored for as much as a year before you bring
it home. When you finally cook it, there's a problem. And
if you can't put your finger on it, some professional tasters
will help. First, corn boiled for 12 minutes before it was
#1 It's quite soft and mushy.
#2 Very bland.
#3 It really sticks to my teeth. I don't like it at all.
NARRATION All the symptoms of an overcooked vegetable.
But how about corn boiled for just six minutes before it goes
into the freezer?
#4 Crispier, but it tastes kind of like grass or hay.
#2 Doesn't taste like sweet corn at all.
NARRATION Professor C.Y. Lee knows that corn boiled
for just six minutes is crispier. But that's not long enough
to stop the ripening reaction. For corn, as for green beans,
the result is lousy taste. There's only one way to stop the
ripening: heat. It works in corn, just like in green beans.
But there's a catch -- to get the entire cob hot enough, it
has to be cooked for 12 minutes. And that's when the mush
starts. Or when it used to, until C.Y. Lee engineered a solution.
The hole lets heat reach inside and outside at the same time.
So, in just six minutes, the cob gets hot enough to halt the
ripening that spoils the flavor. Now, with a shorter boiling
time, frozen corn stays firmer and tastes better. Well, they're
making progress.., but if you really want the firmest, tastiest
corn you can get, this is still the place to look. Next time
on FRONTIERS, teams from England, Germany, the U.S. and Japan
will compete in a world series of engineering. We'll track
down foxes -- and fox people -- on the Channel Islands off
California. And we'll find out why some smart kids have such
a tough time with reading. So please, come on back and watch.