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CNN10 2019-10-16

CNN 10

Technology Helps Scientists Track Typhoons; Concussion Study Yields New Info Concerning High School Sports; Three Billionaires Set Their Sights on Space

Aired October 16, 2019 - 04:00:00 聽 ET


CARL AZUZ, CNN 10 ANCHOR: At the midway point of the week and the month of October, we thank you for taking 10 minutes for CNN 10. I'm Carl Azuz.

Today's first report comes from Japan where it could be weeks before some victims of Typhoon Hagibis get back to a normal routine. Last Saturday Hagibis made landfall on the Izu Peninsula, southwest of Tokyo. It wasn't the most powerful storm to hit the Japanese mainland. Hagibis was about the equivalent of a Category 1 hurricane but it caused so much flooding and destruction that Japan's government was planning to label Hagibis a severe natural disaster. What that would do is make the communities that were hit eligible for government funding for reconstruction.

Nearly 10,000 houses were flooding across Japan. At one point, more than half a million homes had lost electricity though that number was down to 34,000 on Tuesday and at least 72 deaths have been blamed on the storm making Hagibis the deadliest typhoon to hit Japan in years. The country's government says 110,000 people have been deployed for the rescue effort including firefighters, police, and members of Japan's self-defense force.

Rescue efforts continue in flooded areas and the government estimates that 5,500 people are staying in shelters.

Typhoons, hurricanes and cyclones are pretty much the same kind of massive storm. They just have different names in different parts of the world.

This time of year is the tail end of typhoon season in the western Pacific Ocean. Technology has made tracking these storms much easier.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The power and fury of a super typhoon. In December 2018, Super Typhoon Mangkhut slammed into the city of Hong Kong with wind gusts of up to 223 kilometers or 138 miles per hour. The damage was staggering but fortunately this coastal city suffered no fatalities.

Powerful tropical storms are a fact of life here. You get a sense of the power of a storm like this coming through here, a city of some 7 million people. This radar station is Hong Kong's first line of defense against extreme weather. Perched on the cities tallest mountain, it sweeps the skies detecting precipitation of up to 500 kilometers away.

This is what the radar station looks like on the inside and normally if I wasn't here, this giant antenna dish would be spinning quickly completing a 360 degree rotation in under 40 seconds and the echo in this sphere is awesome. Every day meteorologists from the Hong Kong Observatory send up weather balloons. And when storms approach, they fly planes over typhoons, parachuting tubes full of weather sensors into the storm systems. The technology has come a long way since Hong Kong's former colonial rulers first established the observatory more than a century ago.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The observatory was set up in 1883.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sindi Song (ph) is a senior scientist here. She shows me satellite footage from last year of Super Typhoon Mangkhut. So you were actually nervous.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. Yes. Because that intensity (ph) is very strong. It's a super typhoon.


AZUZ: 10 Second Trivia. After football, which of these high school sports has the highest rate of concussions? Cheerleading, Boys Ice Hockey, Girl's Soccer, or Lacrosse. A number of studies have found that girl's soccer has the second highest concussion rate in high school sports.

And there's a new study that has some good news and bad news when it comes to concussions in U.S. high school sports. First the bad news. Concussion rates in football games have gone up. Researchers looked at something called athlete exposures, meaning practices or competitions, and they compared data from the 2017-2018 school year with data from four years before that. What they found was in the more recent games, there were about 39 concussions per every 10,000 athletes exposures. Four years before that, the number of concussions had been 33.

The good news is concussion rates had decreased during football practices and in the four year period they decreased in high school sports overall.

The study was limited. It only included info from high schools with athletic trainers and most of that info came from athletes who said they had concussion symptoms. So it's possible the data could have been underreported if athletes had symptoms but didn't say anything. Repeated shots to the head have been linked to memory loss, dementia or other health issues. So researchers, school officials and athletes are taking them more seriously.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A concussion is a traumatic brain injury and it happens either if force is applied directly to the brain or transmitted up from the body such as in a whiplash. Now what we believe happens is that the nerve cells in the brain, as a result of this force being applied, are stretched and there's then a release of chemicals that changes the way that the brain works. It may effect thinking, consciousness, remembering, mood, sleep.

So a very wide range of possible presentations depending on which nerve cells in the brain have been effected.


AZUZ: The day of the Spacecation when people who don't work for NASA could regularly travel into space is getting closer every minute. But it's likely to come at a cost that very few people can afford. The cheapest plan by Virgin Galactic is to offer a 90 minute flight into the upper atmosphere for $200,000 at least but for the billionaire financing what could become the future of space exploration, spacecations are only part of it.


RACHEL CRANE, CNN REPORTER: Bezos, Branson, Musk, the three billionaires racing towards space. With NASA focusing more on its moon and Mars missions, the opportunities for the three companies have never been better. So what exactly are their ambitions? Simply, it seems to be get humans to space for tourism, exploration and perhaps even colonization. Richard Branson's Virgin Galactics seems to the most tourism focused.

RICHARD BRANSON: I got frustrated with the fact that I couldn't go up with a NASA spaceship or a Russian spaceship, so decided to build a space line.

And - - and - - and obviously if you have your own space line you certainly want to make use of it and I've - - I've always wanted to be an astronaut and I've always wanted to - - yes - - look back at our beautiful Earth and marvel at it.

CRANE: The company had a successful test in February sending its crude spaceship 2, 88 kilometers above Earth. The company's second time to space. Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin also has tourism goals but has recently announced he's setting his sights on the moon.

JEFF BEZOS: It's time to go back to the moon, this time to stay. The price of admission to do interesting things in space right now is just too high because there's no infrastructure.

CRANE: The company has introduced a new lunar lander concept and already began testing an engine the lander would use. However, it's Elon Musk's Space X that's been getting the most lift off action. It's been handling cargo missions to the International Space Station since 2012 and it's Falcon 9 and Falcon heavy rockets have proven they have the muscle for space travel.

ELON MUSK: I think it's going to give the - - the government options. So its good to have options for advancement of human spaceflight and yes - -competition is a good thing.

CRANE: But it's Space X's Crew Dragon that has gained recent attention. It could be the first American spacecraft to carry NASA astronauts to space since 2011. While it had a successful mission in March, April brought major setbacks when the company confirmed the craft was destroyed during another test. Still where it stands, all three companies have yet to send people into orbit but its looking more promising every day.

BRANSON: I think the exciting thing for the world now is that you have Jeff, you have Elon and you have ourselves creating different approaches to take people into space, to colonize places like the moon in - - in future years. So an - - an - - an incredible new area of space exploration has arrived.

CRANE: Rachel Crane, CNN, New York.


AZUZ: Ships have been squeezing through Greece's Corinth Canal since 1893. It's rocky walls are about 82 feet apart. This cruise ship is about 74 feet wide. That means it had just four feet on each side to spare as it recently squeaked through the canal and reportedly set a new world record.

The boat is about 642 feet long. It's not huge for a cruise ship but it is for this canal and it recently made the passage with 929 passengers on board.

Of course if it had gotten stuck, all ships have bridges and if that didn't "boat" well and the passengers became "starboard" of waiting and wanted to "galeave" and there was no gangway to depart from the sides. There'd be no need to be "stern". You could just mustard your courage and start rock climbing. That will keep your "etinimerrry". I'm Carl Azuz for CNN 10.