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When Technology Goes Wrong/ Open Lines

Date Friday - September 20, 2019
Host Ian Punnett
Guests Mark AlpertOpen Lines

Author of numerous bestselling books, Mark Alpert is a contributing editor at Scientific American. His work has also appeared in Fortune Magazine, Popular Mechanics, and Playboy. He joined Ian Punnett (Twitter) to discuss possible outcomes for technology gone wrong, including genetic manipulation and climate change. Alpert spoke about CRISPR gene-editing technology, which can be used to cure diseases such as muscular dystrophy, but also can be harnessed to produce so-called "designer babies" and "super soldiers." As with many genetic manipulation efforts, Alpert said that "sometimes the molecular tools will make what they call 'off-target changes,' resulting in unintended, and sometimes catastrophic or horrific changes.

Alpert also addressed climate change and the possible consequences, such as desert countries in the Middle East which would become uninhabitable, and islands in the Pacific that could disappear under rising sea levels. He commented on the fact that there have been two "100-year storms" to hit the Houston area in the last two years, and that a warming atmosphere could turn "an ordinary thunderstorm into something potentially catastrophic." Ian read a tweet about Google and its claim that the company had recently achieved "quantum computing supremacy." Alpert remarked on the future of quantum computing, which he said is best suited for codebreaking, and would make current security structures obsolete, as passwords and other measures could be cracked in a matter of minutes.

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During Open Lines, the first three callers were from Ohio and addressed climate change issues. Charles asked how much cloud seeding was affecting the weather. Greg said that wind gusts were not taken into account by climate change advocates and stated that "the winds are causing these hurricanes and not rising sea levels." Vince believes that the Earth is naturally hot and the only thing that cools it down "every 10,000 years" are meteorite strikes, which he said caused "nuclear winters" as a natural cycle. Nathan (also from Ohio) called later to describe his abduction experiences and his theory that aliens come to the Earth because "they don't have a lot of individuality." He believes that "they are here because the Earth is a place to be an individual."

Lynn called from California to tell a story of a miraculous healing she witnessed when she worked in a hospital. A woman was dying of lung cancer when her family came in and prayed for her all night. The next day the doctors thought someone had switched her x-rays because the cancer had completely disappeared. In all of her years in health care, Lynn said it was the only time she witnessed " a full-blown miracle." Richard in Florida said he was born in the 1930s and has worked as a pilot and in the intelligence world. "Anything we do that creates CO2 is the problem," he commented, as he recalled looking at ice core samples from Alaska that showed so much CO2 in the 1970s that it looked like "a can of soda" with all the bubbles.

News segment guests: Joshua P. Warren, Tim Binnall

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