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STUDENT NEWS

NRA Releases School Safety Plan; President Obama Calls for Brain Mapping Project

Aired April 3, 2013 - 04:00:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: They are doing everything they can to make all our progress collapse under the weight of fear and frustration or their assumption is that people will just forget about it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Any bill that doesn`t include a universal background check is a mistake.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This idea of private individuals transferring their weapons and having to go get through the background check makes no sense.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Each senator is going to have to make up his own or her own mind ad I respect that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

AZUZ: Very different ideas surrounding the issue of guns in the U.S. Today, we are starting by telling you about a school safety plan released by the National Rifle Association. The NRA is America`s biggest gun rights group. Its leader says the organization has more than 4.5 million members. It`s recommending several steps to make school safer: enforcing school visitor policies., making sure doors are always secured. It also wants to train armed adults in schools to protect students. The NRA says if an attack happens, response time is critical, and having an armed adult on campus would decrease that response time and save lives.

In recent polls, the American public has been divided on whether or not schools should have more armed guards.

Another idea involving guns, a proposal in Connecticut that could give the state the nation`s strongest gun laws. It would add more than 100 types of guns to a list of illegal weapons, it would limit the amount of ammunition that guns could have in them and it would require background checks for all gun sales. The thinking here is that more legal limits on guns and ammunition would mean less gun violence. Critics say criminals would ignore the new laws, and that they wouldn`t have stopped last year`s school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.

A third prospective on the issue from the town of Nelson, Georgia. It just passed the law that requires citizen to own a gun and ammunition. Felons and the mentally ill are exceptions, and anyone can opt out. There is only one police officer in Nelson, a town of 1300 people. And he says, having a gun would help folks protect themselves. One resident says the law is pointless, because there`s been no violent crime in Nelson in years, but all of this indicates how different the approaches are and how gun laws are largely determined by states and communities, not at the federal level.

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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: See if you can I.D. me. I`m a word that could describe someone with bad manners. A broader definition is simply undeveloped. In nature, I`m measured in barrels. I`m oil before it has been refined.

Crude is petroleum as it comes straight from the ground.

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AZUZ: A lot of folks wouldn`t mind striking crude in their backyards, but they sure don`t want a spill there by someone else.

A pipeline that transports unrefined oil from Canada towards the U.S. Gulf coast, ruptured last week. The gash was only two or three inches, but it spilled thousands of barrels of crude into a neighborhood in central Arkansas. Listen to this Youtube clip.

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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Look, only (inaudible) our house is here, which is seemingly unaffected, but the smell is unbelievable. I mean - look. Incredible. And that is oil.

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AZUZ: The damaged pipeline is more than 60 years old, it`s owned by the company ExxonMobil, who said they inspected it recently and found no problems. Exxon is promising to make things up to the community of Mayflower.

Meantime, Lisa Sylvester looks at the method of transporting oil that can be both a blessing and a curse.

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LISA SYLVESTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: There are 160,000 miles of pipeline, crisscrossing the United States. The Arkansas oil spill comes as President Obama is weighing whether to approve a new Keystone XL pipeline. 1700 miles of pipeline carrying 700,000 barrels of crude a day, stretching through the country`s heartland.

The Keystone pipeline carries a dense Canadian tar sands oil. Critics say this lower quality oil can corrode overtime.

MAURA COWLEY, ENERGY ACTION COALITION: Keystone Excel is a dirty and dangerous pipeline. It`s literally going to cut our country in half, carrying a very dangerous fuel. And it will cause runaway climate change.

SYLVESTER: Keystone`s proponents, however, say it would lessen U.S. dependence on oil from the middle east, and they argue transporting oil by pipeline is far safer than by road or rail.

NICK LORIS, HERITAGE FOUNDATION: It would be equipped with 16,000 sensors that would monitor the flow of the oil, so they knew if there`s any abnormal activity, it would shut down quickly. Not to mention, that they studied all of the other risks to wildlife and vegetation, and concluded this pipeline will be safe.

SYLVESTER: For the families in Arkansas, that debate might seem like a million miles away. The most immediate question on their mind, when can they return home?

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Today`s "Shoutout" goes out to Mr. Robertson`s marketing classes at Scotland High School in Laurinburg, North Carolina.

In which part of the human body would you find the pons, the hypothalamus and the fissure of Rolando? Here we go, is that the liver, heart, brain or foot? You`ve got three seconds, go.

I hope your brain came up with the brain. Because that`s your answer and that`s your "Shoutout."

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BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: As humans, we can identify galaxies light years away, we can study particles smaller than atom, but we still haven`t unlocked the mystery of the three pounds of matter that sits between our ears.

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AZUZ: The White House announced a plan yesterday to investigate that matter. It`s called BRAIN, it stands for Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neuro Technologies. The president wants to spend $100 million on the new research, but because it will be part of his proposed budget, it will have to be approved by Congress.

For the scientists who`d be involved, it`s not just about trying to wrap their brains around the brain. It`s about learning how to treat problems with it.

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ED BOYDEN, NEUROSCIENTIST, MASSACHUSETTS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY: It`s inner guards, you really need to be able to break things down into small parts so they understand how they work. And for the brain, we haven`t done that yet. We have not been able to - we don`t even know how many different kinds of cells are in the brain, much less how they are connected.

DR. CRAIG FOREST, ASSISTANT PROFESSOR, GEORGIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY: I want to know about the activity of all these thousands of millions or billions of neurons at the same time.

So, that`s the brain activity map.

It`s about -activity, it`s about when the animal does a certain task, like run, or has an anesthesia affecting their body, or has a disease. There`s a myriad of behaviors that we have no idea how the brain performs computations and makes decisions on those behaviors.

If we`re ever going to figure out how the brain works, we have to be able to understand the activity at the resolution of a single cell.

BOYDEN: We are even developing robots that could go into the brain and analyze single cells, in the living awake brain.

FOREST: We would position a mouse on this tray here, this parapet will lower to go to the region of interest. And then at that point, it has to start hunting for a neuron. Neuroscientists get very excited because you have the ability to hear the electrical activity of that single cell. To be able to hear that electrical activity of a single neuron in a living brain - that`s the basic building block of life, the basic building block of the brain.

BOYDEN: So if we think about kind of the brain disorders - Alzheimer`s and migraines and spinal cord injury and epilepsy, pretty much none of these are curable in the sense that we can cure, say, a bacterial infection. There are treatments for some, but the treatments often are partial and they have lots of side effects. So the dream here is we have very detailed maps of the brain, we should be able to enter information into those kinds of cells and not the other kinds, and then be able to fix a specific computation that needs to be repaired and not upset ones that are more or less normal.

FOREST: When you look at where we are today in terms of treating diseases of the brain, there is no question across all science that we are in our infancy. And something like the brain activity map by taking a quantum leap in that, could revolutionize the way we treat those conditions.

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AZUZ: If you suffer from allergies, you`re not going to like this. `Tis the season for some sneezin`, and the Asthma and Allergy Foundation says we`re in for a doozy thanks to an unusually wet winter. It says factors like higher pollen levels and more exposure to mold could cause stronger and longer lasting allergies. The foundation released a list of the 10 worst places for spring allergy sufferers, and here they are. Several states east of the Rockies are being called allergy capitals for 2013. Three of them are in Tennessee. These rankings are based on pollen levels, use of allergy medicines and the number of doctors in these areas who specialize in treating allergies.

We`re just going to go ahead and just dive into our last story today. This looks pretty sweet fish tank. Got fish in it. A guy can sit and check it all out, but here is the kicker. In order to clean it, someone`s got to jump in. It`s huge. 24 feet long, 10 feet high, 10 feet deep, get it. It`s in his living room, and reportedly the largest privately owned reef tank on the continent. Despite calling it a maintenance nightmare, the guy who owns it is planning an even bigger one. And though that could leave him with less living room, his head is swimming with ideas. New project to scub up his time. Designing this tank required some serious sinking. That should tide him over until the next one. Floods his mind, hopefully not his home.

Teachers, we`re fishing for feedback at cnnstudentnews.com. To all of you, tanks for watching.

END