Astounding TV featuresBy Nestor Torre
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Much of what we see on TV is bland, predictably shrill. Recently, however, we were delighted to catch some features on TV programs that amazed us.
A science feature (on BBC’s “Horizon”) bowled us over with its report about a decade-long research study that seeks to use a newly infused protein in goat’s milk to produce—spider silk!
Sounds like something straight of a sci-fi yarn (no pun intended) like “Spider-Man,” but it’s actually being done in a science fact lab.
Why would scientists want to “artificially” produce a large supply of spider silk? Because it’s been proven to be the strongest material around, even stronger than steel or Kevlar, and there are many uses for the new product, once it is further refined and mass-produced.
From goat’s milk to spider silk? It turns out that some scientists more than a decade ago were able to extract a gene from a spider’s DNA, implant it in a recipient goat fetus, and it added a new protein to the animal’s milk that lab technicians then dried into powder, which other scientists were then able to turn into threads of spider silk! The silk was then subjected to stress tests that showed its superior strength.
Sooner than we think, the new material will find all sorts of important use, opening a brave, new chapter in futuristic fiction made science fact!
Another amazing feature on TV was Anderson Cooper’s interview on his self-titled talk show with a woman and mother who had a most unusual story to tell: Years ago, her son was accused of and sent to prison for a murder that he swore he didn’t commit. Instead of just crying over her son’s terribly unjust fate, she decided to do something about it:
She changed her looks and identity and befriended a former member of the jury that had convicted her son. Eventually, he opened up to her and shared details about her son’s case and his bias against him, which in effect tainted the entire jury’s verdict with intimations of religious
The mother hopes that her “research” will lead to a reopening of her son’s case, possibly resulting in a retrial that could prove his innocence.
She has been criticized for befriending the jury member under false pretenses, but she said it was the only way she could get to the truth, or at least a significant part of it.
Whatever happens, she has amazed many viewers with the depth of her passion to help her son in his greatest time of need!
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