In the first half, Professor Peter Ward discussed his studies of planetary science, Earth, and its turbulent changes, as well as alien worlds. As sea level rises, this creates higher temperatures as the oceans expand. If this continues, the next generations will be saddled with the costs of building massive sea walls in order to protect cities and infrastructure, he commented.
Life on Earth began about 3.7 billion years ago, and was probably initiated through panspermia, via bacteria on meteorites from Mars, he said. "We are Martians, as far I'm concerned," Ward said, citing the work of Joseph Kirschvink at Cal Tech who noted that ribose (the backbone of RNA) comes from a desert environment, which Earth did not have back then. Ward advocated for space exploration to Saturn's moon Titan, which would be easier to land on because it has an atmosphere. Titan might contain long-chain silicon life forms, he theorized.
He reported that biologist Craig Venter has produced an "alien," by tinkering with the genetic code of a bacterium. He believes Venter has entered into a dangerous arena, as such creations might eventually be weaponized.
In the latter half of the show, nurse Joyce Riley shared an update on the health problems of Gulf War vets. A lot of US soldiers in Iraq were exposed to emissions from a sulfur mine, and troops in both Afghanistan & Iraq lived near burn pits used to dispose of items like electronics and military equipment. Many of these soldiers are now suffering from respiratory ailments, she reported (related article).
Riley recommended detoxification through food and diet for vets exposed to a variety of chemicals and conditions. "Hundreds of thousands of our military have been experimented upon, compromised, made ill, and died. Then they tell them that it's PTSD-- whether it is or not, that's always what they're told, which is so unfair to the troops and their families," she declaimed.
At Cocoa Beach in Florida more than 1,600 people were stung by purplish jellyfish that washed up on shore. Scientists say that the 'mauve stingers' are uncommon in the US, but may have 'bloomed' in heavy numbers due to weather conditions. More at CNN and NY Times.
Bumper music from Wednesday June 01, 2011