00:00 / 00:00
CNN10 2019-12-02

CNN 10

Iraq's Prime Minister Resigns After Months of Protests; Online Sales Set a Black Friday Record; Music Helps Rehabilitate Inmates at a South Carolina Prison; Scientists Working On Giving the Sense of Touch to Robots

Aired December 2, 2019 - 04:00:00 聽 ET


CARL AZUZ, CNN 10 ANCHOR: Back from the Thanksgiving break and with two weeks until the Christmas break begins this is CNN 10. My name is Carl Azuz, welcome to the show. We're starting in the Middle Eastern country of Iraq today, partly because its prime minister resigned over the weekend.

Parliament accepted Adil Abdul-Mahdi decision on Sunday, what that means is that Iraq's current government is now a caretaker government. A sort of place holder until parliament can put together new leadership. Why is all this happening? It started with protests that began in early October.

Iraqis say they're frustrated by the corruption in the government, a lack of jobs, power outages and problems with other government services.

There's been fighting between protesters and police. There's been vandalism of government offices and last Thursday Iraqi security forces opened fire on demonstrators with live ammunition killing more than 40 people in the city of southern Iraq. It was the deadliest day in the ongoing protests and an Iraqi court gave a high ranking security officer a death sentence for his role in that.

In all, more than 430 people have been killed and 15,000 have been hurt since the protests started that includes both civilians and security forces, and despite Prime Minister Abdul-Mahdi's resignation protesters say it's not enough. Demonstrations continued this weekend. Police say Iran's consulate in the Iraqi city Najaf was burned. Protesters have been concerned about Iran's growing influence over what happens in Iraq.

10 Second Trivia. In the U.S., the term "Black Friday" was first used to describe what? Plunging gold prices, historic holiday spending, Stock Market collapse or retail profit surge. Back in 1869, the U.S. gold market collapsed on "Black Friday".


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: "Black Friday", sounds kind of scary and it was. "Black Friday" first referred to the collapse of the U.S. gold market in 1869. A century later Philadelphia police used "Black Friday" to describe chaos and congestion. Downtown streets were clogged with hoards of shoppers headed to the big department stores.

Retailers hated the term but then tried to reinvent it. It was the day their profits went from red to black so they said. "Black Friday" really started catching on in the 80s' and 90s' pushed by the growth of big box stores. Today, it's all about bargains. And "Black Friday's" dark roots are for the history books.


AZUZ: Now "Small Business Saturday", "Cyber Monday" and "Giving Tuesday" are all on the shopping season calendar but for "Black Friday" itself a new record was set this year with American's spending $7.4 billion in online sales alone. Adobe Analytics said almost 40 percent of those sales were made through smartphones, indicating that shoppers will getting comfortable buying Christmas and holiday gifts on smaller screens.

Nerf and Paw Patrol toys, video games and the Nintendo Switch, Apple products and Samsung TVs, these are some of the most popular items sold online. There were also a lot of online purchases that were picked up in brick and mortar stores so people could bypass checkout lines.

CNBC reports that this year's "Black Friday" was the second biggest online shopping day in history behind "Cyber Monday"of last year. But experts expect that today's "Cyber Monday" will set an all time online spending record.

Next story is a great big one. You've heard the truth will set you free. Can music help do that to even for people in prison? Lend us your ears for a report about how composing and playing music appears to help rehabilitate men at a South Carolina correctional facility.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As far as prisons go, if we have to be here we need something to reform us and music is a direct expression of what we feel we want to be and to let go of the things that we don't want anymore.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: At Lee Correctional Institution a maximum security prison in South Carolina, the New York based chamber orchestra "Dakota" (ph) spends a week a year working with inmates to write music. The inmates included in this program are chosen by merit. No prior musical experience is necessary.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All right. I want to learn this in chunks because you guys are teaching us this song now which is totally radical and awesome.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Before, I was never exposed to classical music or chamber music or - - or anything that was culture. Honestly I closed myself off to a world of expression that I never really knew existed. We have an opportunity in this program to put away the violence and all these other mediums of - - of expression that do nothing but hurt people and - - and we can channel those feelings and expressions into music.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Good and now you're going to have to lift up your arm a little bit more. Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're able to practice and actually get together and just for that moment just - - just for that little bit of time you're able to take your alarm off for once and just breathe. It's been a big tool to - - to help me change.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE : We have a phrase that we use. We have to act hard, you know, to act tough put on sort of a facade and - - and we can channel those feelings and expressions into music which is the most positive way to express yourself.


AZUZ: Uses for robots around the world are on the rise but one of the human senses they don't have is touch. They can't feel and respond to physical contact. So the more they work alongside people the greater the chances are of an accident. There are scientists working on solutions for this though some say they're not going to be in place anytime soon.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's hard not to want to hug "Wall-E" but cozying up to some of this real life counterparts - -

DR. GORDON CHENG: They can be very dangerous.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's why this professor wants to help man a machine interact better than ever before and he's creating robotic skin to help.

Robots today are often used in factories and on assembly lines. In 2017 manufacturers had roughly 85 industrial robots per 10,000 employees worldwide and the global supply of industrial robots is expected to grow 14 percent per year until 2021. But because robots have no awareness of themselves or their surroundings, they can be dangerous.

CHENG: When factory a factory buys a robot, they put a fence completely around it. So keeping humans away from where they work and we want to actually remove the fence.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: To do that, Dr. Gordon Cheng created the worlds first artificial skin for robots enabling them to feel and respond to physical contact. More than 13,000 sensors cover each one's body from shoulder to toe detecting temperature, proximity and pressure.

CHENG: These are some of the very fundamental sense in - - in humans and it makes interactions safe.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Several research teams have tried giving the gift of touch to robots according to Gordon and the sensors were never the problem, but the computing power needed to process this data proved overwhelming.

CHENG: It would require more than 600 computers. Why would I want to carry 600 computers with me? I'd need a truck to follow me.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The group turned to human skin to solve the problem. Each person has about 5 million skin receptors but your brain can't digest info from each one at the same time. Instead, the nervous system prioritizes new sensations for instance you feel gloves when you first put them on but eventually your body basically forgets they're there.

CHENG: Our brain and our body come up with a scheme that you don't send me information unless there is something that is significant for me to know about.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Inspired by this system, the team combined algorithms with sensors designed to transmit information only when their values change. The end result, a robot that can be guided by touch, detect uneven surfaces and respond to physical presence.

CHENG: The potential application of this is endless.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Those applications will enable a future of mechanical caregivers, health workers and even companions.


AZUZ: And finally this Monday, a feast with the beasts or at least a meal for the monkeys. Why should people have all the fun of a Thanksgiving dinner? The Phoenix Zoo treated its squirrel monkeys to one of their own. No, it wasn't turkey and giblets. Do people still eat giblets? This spread included their usual salad, papaya and bananas 'cuz monkeys and they seem to enjoy eating it in Thanksgiving style.

So in the kingdom of "animealia", we don't have to "taxonomy"ourselves to find "cordata" on an "orderly" meal for which monkeys will be giving thanks. We just whip up a "genus" or at least "fruitful" spread that we can file away for later to always know what to "primate". I'm Carl Azuz for CNN.