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tv   60 Minutes  CBS  April 29, 2018 7:00pm-8:00pm PDT

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captioning funded by cbs and ford. we go further, so you can. >> i think crispr it's fair to say is perhaps the most surprising discovery and maybe most consequential discovery in this century so far. >> whitaker: if you have never heard of something called "crispr" before now, that's likely to change. crispr is a tool for editing our d.n.a., reprogramming the genetic code, and it has scientists excited about tackling genetic diseases like alzheimer's and cancer. how many diseases are we talking about that this could be used to treat? >> there are about 6,000 or more. the hope is that we'll be able to help all of them. >> pelley: there is a new kind of affirmative action happening on college campus, and students
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from low-income families of all races are the ones who are benefiting. >> i feel like a lot of our peers knew from the jump how to navigate college. their parents were like, you need to do this, you need to do this, and a lot of us did not have that privilege. >> i was having this discussion, and it's like, oh, we're going to go to new york for the weekend. let's all go to new york. i can't go to new york. i have to stay here. i have to do my job. this is literally my job. >> welcome aboard. >> thank you. >> stahl: it's not often you get a ride to visit a farm on a boat, but former fisherman bren smith, the nation's leading advocate for a whole new type of farming, ocean farm, asked us to join him as he headed out the his version of fields to planted his staple crop, a type of seaweed called sugar kelp. so are you a fisherman, or are you a farmer? >> i'm a farmer now. what else are the pieces of what it is to be a fishman, own your
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own boat, succeed and fail on your own term, and have the pride of feeding our country. >> i'm steve kroft. >> i'm lesley stahl. >> i'm scott pelley. >> i'm anderson cooper. >> i'm bill whittaker. those stories tonight on "60 minutes." >> cbs money watch sponsored by lincoln financial. no matter who you're responsible for, lincoln can help. >> reporter: good evening. t-mobile announced plans today to merge with sprint. the deal will need approval of regulators and shareholders. mcdonald's, apple, and tesla report earnings. and friday the labor department is expected to report 195,000 jobs this month. i'm demarco morgan morgan, cbs news.
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i'm back. aleve pm for a better am. >> whitaker: it's challenging to tell a story about something that's invisible to the naked eye, and tricky to explain. but it's one we undertook, because rarely does a discovery come along that could revolutionize medicine. it's called crispr and it stands
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for clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats. crispr sounds more like a refrigerator compartment than a gene editing tool, but it's giving scientists power they could only imagine before-- to easily edit d.n.a.-- allowing them to reprogram the genetic code of living things. that's opening up the possibility of curing genetic diseases. some researchers are even using it to try to prevent disease entirely, by correcting defective genes in human embryos. we wanted to see for ourselves, so we went to meet a scientist at the center of the crispr craze. this is crispr? >> feng zhang: this has crispr in it. >> whitaker: so, this is what's revolutionizing science and biomedicine? >> feng zhang: this is what many people are using, in research, and trying to develop treatments. >> whitaker: that's wild. >> feng zhang: yeah. >> whitaker: that little vial is
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igniting a big revolution that is likely to change the way doctors treat disease in the future. one of the brains behind it is baby-faced feng zhang. >> feng zhang: how about the scaled-up r.p.a.? >> whitaker: at 36, he's already a tenured professor at m.i.t. and a scientific celebrity, because he figured out a way to override human genetic instructions using crispr. so, the crispr is not the liquid, the crispr is in the- >> feng zhang: it's dissolved in the liquid. there are probably billions of molecules of crispr. >> whitaker: billions? >> both: in here. >> feng zhang: that's right. and the way we use it is, we take the liquid and apply it to cells. >> whitaker: for the last seven years, zhang has been working on crispr at the broad institute in cambridge, massachusetts. it's a research mecca brimming with some of the brightest scientific minds from harvard and m.i.t., on a mission to fight disease. crispr is making medical
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research faster, cheaper, easier. zhang's colleagues predict it will help them tackle diseases like cancer and alzheimer's. how many diseaseses are we talkg about that this could be used to treat? >> feng zhang: there are about 6,000 or more diseases that are caused by faulty genes. the hope is that we will be able to address most if not all of them. >> whitaker: most if not all of them? >> feng zhang: that's the long term hope. >> whitaker: so we're talking diseases like huntington's-- >> feng zhang: uh-huh. >> whitaker: sickle cell. >> feng zhang: yup. a.l.s.-hemophilia. >> eric lander: i think crispr, it's fair to say, is perhaps the most surprising discovery and maybe most consequential discovery in this century so far. how that code is read out... >> whitaker: to understand exactly what crispr is, we went to eric lander for a quick science lesson. he's director of the broad, and zhang's mentor.
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he's best known for being a leader of the human genome project that mapped out all of our d.n.a., which is like a recurring sequence of letters. >> lander: during the human genome project, we could read out all the human d.n.a., and then, in the years afterwards, find the misspellings that caused human diseases. but we had no way to think about how to fix them. and then, pretty much on schedule, this mind-blowing discovery that bacteria have a way to fix those misspellings appears. >> whitaker: this comes from bacteria? >> lander: this comes from bacteria. bacteria, you know, they have a problem, and they came up with a real clever solution. when they get infected by viruses, they keep a little bit of d.n.a., and they use it as a reminder. and they have this system called crispr that grabs those reminders and searches around and says, "if i ever see that again, i am going to cut it." >> whitaker: zhang used that same bacterial system to edit d.n.a. in human cells.
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our d.n.a. is made up of chemical bases, abbreviated by the letters: a, t, c, and g. as you can see in this animation from zhang's lab at m.i.t., a mutation that causes disease reads like a typo in those genetic instructions. if scientists can identify the typo, they can program crispr to find it and try to correct it. you program it? you say-- >> feng zhang: that's right. >> whitaker: --"i'm looking for this string of letters." >> feng zhang: uh-huh. >> whitaker: and the crispr will go in, and out of all of the billions and billions and billions of letters on your d.n.a., find the exact ones that you have programmed? >> feng zhang: that's right. crispr will allow you to do many different things. you can cut it, to edit it. >> whitaker: so you can snip out the bad part, and you can add something that you want as well? >> feng zhang: that's right. you can give the cell a new piece of d.n.a. that carries the sequence you want to incorporate into the genome. >> whitaker: you say this so
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matter-of-factly. this is amazing. >> feng zhang: it is pretty cool. >> whitaker: how many other labs around the world are working with crispr like this? >> feng zhang: many. one of the things that we have been doing is to make the tool available to researchers. to date, i think we have gotten it out over 45,000 times, to 2,200 labs, in 61 countries. >> whitaker: what are they doing with it? >> feng zhang: they are using it to do everything. a lot of applications of crispr. it's really a swiss army knife. >> whitaker: cue the worldwide crispr frenzy. at the university of california, scientists used a form of crispr to edit mosquitoes so they can't transmit malaria. their colleagues are modifying rice to better withstand floods and drought. in china, scientists tweaked a gene in beagles to make them more muscular. a crispr vial from zhang's lab made its way to dr. kang zhang. he is an ophthalmologist and a
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professor at the university of california-san diego and wanted to see what all the hype was about. what did you think when you first heard of crispr? >> kang zhang: i was a little bit skeptical. >> whitaker: why skeptical? >> kang zhang: it worked so well. too well to be believable. >> whitaker: he decided to experiment on mice with retinitis pigmentosa, a genetic form of blindness. he conducted a vision test using a mouse with the disease. this is the blind mouse? >> kang zhang: this is the blind mouse. and-- obviously, you can see that he is ignoring the rotating stripes. >> whitaker: his researchers injected crispr into the eye of another blind mouse. the crispr was programmed to find the main gene associated with the disease and turn it off. it takes three months to see the results. >> kang zhang: now, let's see how he's responding to the light. >> whitaker: he's following it around. >> kang zhang: yes. >> whitaker: look at that. you're sure that he is seeing
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these lights? >> kang zhang: this is actually a very commonly used test for vision. >> whitaker: how much of their sight do they recover? >> kang zhang: about 30%, sometimes even 50% of the sight for mice. we will have very strong research programs. >> whitaker: the next phase of dr. zhang's research is to see how crispr works on one of our closer relatives. he sent us this video from his lab in china, where he's studying monkeys with retinitis pigmentosa. the blind monkey ignores the food. he says this monkey was treated with crispr, and it's easy to see the difference. dr. zhang hopes to try this on humans soon. if crispr is used to treat disease or make a drug, it could mean big bucks. the broad and feng zhang hold a primary patent for crispr's use in human cells in the u.s., but no technology is developed in a vacuum. biochemist jennifer doudna at the university of california-
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berkeley and her team made landmark crispr discoveries. >> jennifer doudna: this is no longer science fiction. >> whitaker: this week, they are challenging zhang and the broad in court for the rights, arguing in part that zhang's advance was derived from her team's breakthrough. it's a high-stakes battle. crispr is projected to be a multi-billion dollar market in a decade. does that mean big business for you? >> feng zhang: i think we're-- we're still quite a ways away from developing crispr into a real therapeutic. >> whitaker: i think you're being a little bit modest. i mean, this is sparking an incredible boom in biomedicine, and you're in the center of it. >> feng zhang: i think there is still really a lot of work that still needs to be done-- developing the systems so that they are efficient enough, making sure that they are safe enough-- but these are things that we're working hard to make possible. >> whitaker: but, what if it were possible to stop disease from even occurring?
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that sounds like science fiction, but a team of researchers in portland, oregon say with crispr, it's now a reality. you correct it at the very, very earliest stages of life. >> shoukhrat mitalipov: right. >> whitaker: in the womb. >> mitalipov: even before the womb. >> whitaker: manipulating embryos has been the focus of shoukhrat mitalipov's career. he runs the center for embryonic cell and gene therapy at oregon health and science university. mitalipov is a maverick. he regularly makes headlines with his innovative, sometimes controversial methods to prevent genetic disease. >> mitalipov: preventing is always more effective, so there would be no recurrence of new disease. particularly when we're talking about inheritable diseases, that parents pass to children. >> whitaker: so mitalipov and an international team of scientists decided to use crispr on human
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embryos, to correct a single genetic mutation that causes a deadly heart disease called hypertropic cardiomyopathy. >> paula amato: we got lots of eggs, so that was great. >> whitaker: they got healthy eggs from donors, and sperm from a man who carries the disease. at the same time the eggs are fertilized, they also get an injection of crispr. mitalipov enlarged the microscopic procedure over 300 times, so we could see it. >> mitalipov: here we have our pipette with sperm inside, which has been already exposed to crispr. and this is a egg. and so what we need to do is pierce through, and then we break membrane. and now-- >> whitaker: release the sperm into the egg. >> mitalipov: yeah. and now this is the sperm coming in. >> whitaker: wow. >> mitalipov: now it's inside there. >> whitaker: just like that, that egg has been crispred? >> mitalipov: crispred, fertilized. >> whitaker: and you have changed the genetic destiny of
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that embryo. >> mitalipov: yes, we believe so. >> whitaker: these embryos will never be implanted, but they are grown in an incubator for three days, and then checked to see if they carry the disease mutation. >> mitalipov: the embryo work... >> whitaker: normally, 50% would. mitalipov says with crispr, 72% were free of the mutation that would cause the heart disease. this is a huge advance in science and medicine. >> mitalipov: we hope so. i think, we're still kind of in the early stages. i wouldn't say that we are ready to go to clinics now. >> whitaker: he knows his results have to be replicated by an outside lab before they're accepted by the scientific community, but if they hold up, one day crispr could be used to help families that have been plagued by inherited disease for generations. is that what drives you? >> mitalipov: yes. of course, it's a suffering of children, but also the guilt the
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parents have at saying, "i passed it to my child." so it's like, "i caused this disease. and i think now, we have a tool where we could help these families. >> whitaker: mitalipov wants to use crispr to eliminate disease, but the concern is his research has created a blueprint for less scrupulous doctors to design human beings- to edit embryos, to make babies that are smarter, taller, stronger. mitalipov says that's not even possible right now. your critics say that you're playing god. >> mitalipov: i think you could say, to every treatment that they-- humans and doctors develop, that we, we're playing god. god gave us brains so we could find a way to eliminate suffering of human beings. and if that's-- you know, playing god, i guess that's the way it is. >> whitaker: so what do you think about editing an embryo to prevent disease? >> feng zhang: we don't really
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understand how complicated biology is. there's a gene called pcsk9. if you remove pcsk9, you can reduce cardiovascular disease, heart attack risks, significantly. but it also has been shown recently to increase risk for diabetes. so how do you make the judgment call between these tradeoffs? and there will likely be other impacts we haven't yet identified. so i think we need to wait and be more cautious. >> lander: i don't think we're close to ready to use it to go edit the human population. i think we've got to use it for medicine for a while. i think those are the urgent questions. that's what people want right now, is they want cures for disease. >> whitaker: those urgent questions might soon be answered. a small clinical trial, the first in the u.s. using crispr to target certain types of cancer, is now enrolling patients. >> lander: i want to always balance hope versus hype here. while it's not going to affect
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somebody who might be dying of a disease today, this is going to have a real effect over the course of the next decade and couple of decades. and for the next generation, i think it'll be transformative. >> scientists using crispr can change the world, but should they? go to i saw the change in rich when we moved into the new house. but having his parents over was enlightening. ♪ you don't like my lasagna? no, it's good. -hmm. -oh. huh. [ both laugh ] here, blow. blow on it. you see it, right? is there a draft in here? i'm telling you, it's so easy to get home insurance on progressive can't save you from becoming your parents. but we can save you money when you bundle home and auto.
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>> pelley: america, built on the dream of upward mobility, has become a country of deepening divide between rich and poor. the surest way to narrow the wealth gap is to earn a college degree. now, major universities like princeton are working to lower the price of admission through a new kind of affirmative action, not based on race, but on low- income status. it began with two of america's wealthiest parents, bill and melinda gates. they spent more than a billion dollars putting low-income minority students through college. before they tell you what they learned, come meet some of the gates millennium scholars. imagine having a couple of billionaires walk into your life and make the seemingly impossible, possible. that's what bill and melinda
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gates did for these students at the university of central florida. they're among 20,000 nationwide whose tuition and expenses were paid in full. when you were notified that you'd received the scholarship, was that a letter, an email, a phone call? how did that come to you? >> all: a letter. >> pelley: came as a letter? snail mail? ( laughs ) really? >> daisha: yeah. i think it was priority. >> pelley: the founder of microsoft, and you got a snail mail acceptance letter? when you got that letter, what did you think? >> daisha: my mom, she opened my mail. ( laughs ) and then that's when she broke the news to me that i got the scholarship. ( crying ) i'm sorry. >> pelley: nearly 70% of americans don't have a degree, and kaira kelly was destined to be one of them. she grew up in poverty, and even today, she wastes nothing,
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because as a child she often had only one meal a day, the free lunch at school. >> kaira kelly: i guess i never really dreamed of going to college. i just knew i just had to do what i could do to make sure that my family and i could survive. >> pelley: when you started the scholarship, what were the big questions that you wanted to answer? >> bill gates: well, one was whether a group of minority students could have very high achievement, go to the toughest universities, if there was no financial constraint. >> pelley: you assumed that minority students would do as da glon higher e ab nearly 90% of the gates scholars
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have earned a degree, and that's life-changing because, on average, graduates earn a million dollars more in their lifetimes. now it's kaira kelly who's doing the teaching, after earning a bachelor's and master's degree in education with her gates scholarship. as college becomes more expensive and student debt rises, what's at stake for america? >> bill gates: well, it's a huge problem. we'll have a two-class society, where the richer families are able to support the scholarship, and you'll have an inner-city, mostly minority group that's no longer going to those elite colleges. and therefore, a lot of the high-paying professions are out of their reach. so that's really bad at an individual level. it's also very bad for the country and our basic founding credo of equal opportunity and our economic strength. >> pelley: bill gates' warning echoes on the quad of princeton university.
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>> christopher eisgruber: we have to be a place where people can come together from lots of different backgrounds. >> pelley: president christopher eisgruber is leading the nearly 300-year-old school through a radical transformation. you know, the 20th century activist, upton sinclair, described princeton as "the most perfect school for snobbery in america." >> eisgruber: we look back and we see those kind of quotations about us, and we have been working to produce a very different princeton. and this commitment we have to be a real leader on socioeconomic diversity is a big part of taking the next step for us, and making the right kind of difference in the world. >> pelley: to make his point, eisgruber showed us yearbooks going back 100 years. >> eisgruber: this one's from way back in 1915, and you can see, obviously, we're all male and we're all white. >> pelley: 68 years later, eisgruber graduated from princeton. >> eisgruber: so, we've run the clock forward pretty rapidly. >> pelley: now we have women. >> eisgruber: now we have women. >> pelley: and here's an
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african-american student. but only occasionally, in 1983. over the next 30 years, minority representation more than doubled, to 40%. but it wasn't enough. 60% of its students were still from the top 10% income bracket. so princeton decided to start recruiting students based on socio-economic status. >> eisgruber: we realized we had to train our readers in the admissions office to look for different things in these applications. a kid who's working two jobs to help bring money home, and achieving great grades isn't going to have the same kind of extra-curriculars as a kid from an elite private school in new york. >> pelley: but if two applicants with the same test scores, the same g.p.a. apply, are you going to prefer the first-generation, low-income student? >> eisgruber: we do think those students supply something special on this campus. so yes, we're looking for that. >> pelley: it's a new kind of affirmative action, it sounds like? >> eisgruber: yes. it's a new way of making sure that we have the diversity on
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our campus to deliver on the kind of education that we care about, and that the world needs. >> pelley: last fall we met some of princeton's chosen ones: toyin, mason, kelton, jackson and jaylin are first in their family to go to college. with chris and tylor, they're considered low-income. at princeton, that means household income of less than $65,000 a year. be honest, how many of you stepped onto the princeton campus for the first time and thought to yourselves, "i may not make it?" >> jaylin: almost immediately. like two seconds in, there it was. >> pelley: what intimidated you? >> jaylin: the school looked like hogwarts. >> toyin: hmm, it's true. >> tylor: true. >> jaylin: and i had never been in an institution that looked so expensive and old in my life. it just seemed like everyone was so much more capable. and it made me feel very small. >> pelley: but jaylin figures she's part of a new community, the "flis"-- that's short for
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first-generation, low income. you're sitting here wearing a "fli is fly" t-shirt. what does the shirt mean? >> jaylin: so, "fli is fly" is a campaign educating princeton students on the resources available to first-generation, low-income students, and also working to destigmatize the sort of first-generation, low-income, low-socioeconomic status. >> pelley: princeton helps these students succeed with summer programs, and seminars on public speaking, resume writing and networking. >> networking seminar leader: we really want to develop your fluency, in what's essentially relationship building, right? >> toyin: i feel like a lot of our peers knew from the jump how to navigate college. their parents were like, "you need to do this. you need to do this." and a lot of us did not have that privilege. and then it felt like they already had a leg up, and that we're struggling to catch up. >> kelton: i was having this discussion, and it's like, "oh, we're going to go to new york for the weekend. let's all go to new york." it's like, "i can't go to new york. i've got to stay here. i have to do my job.
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this is literally my job." >> pelley: this year, 28% of princeton's freshmen are first generation or low-income. 60% of the student body receives financial aid. your student body isn't infinite. by accepting some of these first-generation, low-income students, you must be turning down some highly qualified kids, maybe kids who have princeton in their family history? >> eisgruber: yeah, scott, one of the things that is so tough about our admissions situation right now is we're turning down 93.5% of the kids who apply. so as we've taken up our low- income students, who are still underrepresented in our population, we've had to make other tough choices about other students. >> pelley: is this idea, of bringing up the lower socioeconomic class into higher education, a movement in this country? >> eisgruber: i think it is a movement right now, at least among college and university presidents.
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i think there's a recognition that in this country right now, some of the divisions that we need to heal are around economic class, and we need to be paying attention to that. >> pelley: among those paying attention are the presidents of some of the largest public universities. in 2013, backed by the gates foundation, they formed the university innovation alliance, headed by michael crow, president of arizona state university. >> michael crow: within each school, what's worked and what hasn't worked? >> pelley: in four years, alliance schools have increased low income student graduation by nearly 30%. how'd you do it? >> crow: we did it basically by innovating our culture. we changed our culture from faculty centrism-- that is, we're there for the faculty, to student centrism, we're there for the success of the students. now, that might sound like we should have been doing that all along, but the academic culture is often built around the academic as opposed to being built around the student. >> pelley: they've lowered tuition costs by making it easier for students to transfer
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from community college, and by increasing online learning, so students can both work and stay in school. bill, we've talked a lot about the needs of the students. but what are the country's needs going forward, in terms of a workforce and education? >> bill gates: well, the economy is constantly changing, and automation is taking away a lot of the jobs that you could do with only a high school degree. and so, if you look at the current trajectory of how many kids are going to college, we're going to fall over 10 million jobs short of being able to fulfill the demand. also, as we're competing with countries, china and many others. they will get ahead if their education level gets beyond ours. and so, it's great for the individual, but it's also important for the strength of this country. >> pelley: a country that, if their dreams come true, can expect from these low-income
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students a future lawyer, entrepreneur, president and professor. what do you think the class of 1970 would think of this group? >> tyler: diverse. ( laughter ) >> pelley: they wouldn't be able to believe that you were at princeton, their princeton. >> toyin: i hope they wouldn't think it's their princeton. it's kind of like our princeton now. like, that's the good thing about it, is like, we're so diverse and, like, that's the best thing about this whole change that's happening. it's our princeton. and like, 20 years from now, it's going to be someone else's princeton, that may look a whole lot different than this. and i think that's the beautiful thing about it. finally. hey ron! they're finally taking down that schwab billboard. oh, not so fast, carl. ♪ oh no. schwab, again? index investing for that low? that's three times less than fidelity... ...and four times less than vanguard. what's next, no minimums? minimums.
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>> stahl: many of us think of seaweed as a nuisance-- the slimy, sometimes smelly stuff that clogs fishermen's nets, gets tangled in our ankles in the ocean, and washes up unwanted on the beach. even its name, sea-weed, implies something undesirable. and yet increasing numbers of fishermen, scientists, and foodies in this country are starting to look at seaweed very differently, as a promising source of food, jobs, and help cleaning ocean waters. with rising global populations and limited space to expand agriculture on land, they are turning to the sea-- and its "weeds"-- as a new frontier. >> bren smith: welcome aboard. >> stahl: thank you. it's not often you get a ride to visit a farm, on a boat. but we were on-board with bren smith, the nation's leading
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advocate for a whole new type of farming-- ocean farming. we joined him on a cold day in december, the time of year he heads out to his version of fields to plant his staple crop, a type of seaweed called sugar kelp. >> smith: here it is. >> stahl: this is the farm? i can't see anything. ( laughs ) >> smith: the whole idea is it's down under the water. so, see the white buoys? >> stahl: yes. >> smith: that's the edges of the farm. >> stahl: and the black ones? >> smith: black buoys are holding up a horizontal rope below the surface. so it's rows-- kind of rows of crops. so, this is the seed. >> stahl: he showed us what looked like a tube covered in fuzz. is that kelp? >> smith: yeah, these are the baby plants. they're about two millimeters. and these are going to grow to 15, 18 feet by the spring. it's one of the fastest growing plants on earth. >> stahl: and unlike all those plants that grow in earth, seaweed doesn't need fertilizer, or fresh water. it's what's called a zero-input crop. >> smith: so now we're just going to unravel it.
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>> stahl: just attach the string it grows on to rope, and suspend it eight feet under water. and that's it, huh? >> smith: that's it. >> stahl: in five or six months, that fuzz will look like this. this was some of his crop last year. smith began leasing the right to farm this 20-acre plot of water in 2011 from the state of connecticut. his was the first commercial seaweed farm in the state. now there are nine, with a half dozen more in the works. >> smith: we hope, you know, in 10, 20 years, there are thousands of farmers doing this. we think it's the future, the time to move out in the ocean, and luckily, we can do it the right way. >> stahl: smith spent most of his life working the oceans in what he now considers the wrong way-- on industrial fishing boats, going after lobster, tuna, and cod. >> smith: we were tearing up whole ecosystems with our trawls, fishing in illegal waters, and just really chasing fewer and fewer fish, further and further out to sea. >> stahl: and you didn't think
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about the idea that you were depleting the population of fish? >> smith: no, the oceans just seemed boundless. >> stahl: boundless, and bountiful. >> smith: the sense of meaning, of helping feed my country. you know, fishermen-- there's some jobs, you know, coal-- coal workers, farmers, i think steelworkers, and fishermen, where, you know, they're jobs that are soul-filling. you know, they're jobs that we write and sing songs about. and i just, i wanted that life. and it's-- i still do. >> stahl: but that life was increasingly in peril. cod stocks crashed due to overfishing, and after smith reinvented himself cultivating oysters in long island sound, hurricanes irene and sandy hit, destroying his crop two years in a row. >> charlie yarish: bren was really on the verge of bankruptcy. >> stahl: searching for a new career on the water, he sought advice from charlie yarish, a professor of marine biology whose lab at the university of connecticut studies some of the
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thousands of different types of seaweeds. >> yarish: but there's only 20 globally that are actually farmed. >> stahl: they're not all edible? >> yarish: no, they're not all edible. some of them actually are quite toxic. we have now all these strains... >> stahl: it was yarish who suggested smith consider sugar kelp, a local seaweed that gets planted after hurricane season is over, has a mild taste, and can also be used as animal feed and fertilizer. seaweed for you was the lightbulb? >> smith: yeah, yeah. >> stahl: the eureka moment. >> smith: we can create jobs here. we can protect and improve the environment. we don't have to make this choice. >> stahl: smith now operates one of the largest seaweed hatcheries in the country, with tanks full of developing kelp spores, and a processing room that comes alive in spring when he and his team bring in the harvest and get it ready for sale. blanched in 170-degree water,
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kelp turns a vivid green and can then be sold fresh or frozen, sometimes in the form of noodles. smith's customers include google for their cafeteria, yale university, and several restaurants and wholesalers. he has sold out the last four years. but at this kelp farm across the country in the waters outside seattle, producing food is almost beside the point. this is a test farm, where betsy peabody of the puget sound restoration fund and a team of scientists are doing an experiment to see whether seaweed can help fight the growing problem of ocean acidification, caused mainly by increasing carbon dioxide levels in the seas. >> betsy peabody: roughly 25% of co2 in the atmosphere is being absorbed into oceans. >> stahl: and that is what we're getting from fossil fuels? >> peabody: from both carbon emissions, from deforestation,
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and i think initially people thought, "well, thank goodness the oceans are taking up some of that carbon dioxide." but then, scientists started to document that, in fact, when that carbon dioxide goes into the ocean, it causes chemical changes. >> stahl: changes like increasing the water's acidity, as documented in the u.s. government's 2017 climate science special report. the excess co2 causes "a decrease of carbonate ions, which many marine species use to build their shells and skeletons." worldwide, "ocean surface waters have become 30% more acidic over the last 150 years." and in the pacific northwest, the problem is compounded by currents that bring more carbon- rich waters to the surface. and that's where seaweed comes in. >> yarish: kelp take up carbon dioxide, like any plant does, and it just so happens it lives in the water.
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there are winners and losers in ocean acidification. organisms that produce carbonate shells like shellfish, they're a loser. they can't handle the lower ph. they can't deposit as much calcium in their shells. on the other hand, seaweeds like kelp, they actually pick up that carbon dioxide because now it's easier for them to do photosynthesis. >> peabody: imagine trees on land, pulling co2 out of the atmosphere. well, seaweeds and kelp are really good at pulling co2 out of the water. >> stahl: so basically what you're doing is the equivalent of planting trees in the ocean? >> peabody: exactly. >> stahl: and then testing to see how much of a difference it makes. >> peabody: we've got scientific mooring buoys anchored at both sides. >> stahl: the yellow. >> peabody: the yellow buoys. >> stahl: they're measuring how water changes as it flows through the kelp field, and seeing if baby shellfish grown
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with the kelp do better at building their shells. results won't be in for more than a year, and bren smith is eager to see them. he's been growing shellfish on his kelp farm, too, but not, he admits, because of the science. he says it's good business. in november, he and his team loaded thousands of baby mussels into netting that looked like massive sausages, then suspended them from ropes that hang down below the kelp. he calls it 3d ocean farming. >> stahl: why 3d? >> smith: we call it that because we're using the entire water column, and if you can stack crops on top of each other, it's just really efficient. you don't use large, you know, plots of ocean. but you get so much food. >> stahl: so you've got your seaweed. >> smith: yup. you've got the kelp here. and then we have the mussels. >> stahl: underwater, each row looks something like this. >> smith: off those same lines, we have scallops. and then below the whole system,
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we have cages with oysters in them. >> stahl: he brought up one of those oyster cages from the bottom to show us. what kind are these? >> smith: we call these thimble island salts. let's haul some mussels. >> stahl: and he hauled up a mussel line so we could see their progress, too. they're in bunches. >> smith: these are about mid- size. so, they'll double in size and we'll harvest these just about the same time we harvest our kelp. so this is going to be a big harvest. >> stahl: so are you a fisherman, or are you a farmer? >> smith: i'm a farmer now. whether i like it or not, i'm an ocean farmer. and i talk to fishermen about this. i say, "listen. we have to make this transition, that heartbreaking move from being a hunter to a farmer. but what else are the pieces of what it is, sort of, to be a fisherman? it's to own your own boat, succeed and fail on your own terms, and have the pride of feeding our country. we get to keep those things. >> stahl: he's so convinced, he's launched a non-profit called greenwave to encourage others to follow his lead.
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>> smith: how are you? good to see you. >> stahl: husband and wife jay douglass and suzie flores are among his seaweed-farming disciples. a former marine who served in afghanistan and iraq, douglass learned the ropes, literally, on smith's farm last spring, spent a year getting a permit for his own plot of ocean in connecticut, and built 36 anchors from scratch. the day he and flores went out to plant their first crop, smith was along for guidance. >> smith: we want to set this at an angle downwards. >> stahl: his non-profit provides free seed, and guarantees to buy 80% of their harvest for the first two years. he estimates that with a $10,000 to $20,000 investment and a boat, new farmers can turn a small profit the first year, rising to well over $100,000 later on. has anyone actually said, you know, "you guys are a little nuts?"
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>> both: yeah. >> jay douglass: people just, you know, kind of scratch their heads and say, "what do-- what are you making all these anchors for?" and it's just, like, "i'm starting a kelp farm," you know. ( laughs ) >> stahl: "what the hell is kelp?" >> douglass: yeah, right. ( laughter ) >> suzie flores: "why?" >> douglass: yeah, "why," yeah. ( laughter ) >> stahl: which raises a question for this whole endeavor-- will americans in large numbers start eating seaweed? >> barton seaver: just toss some in there, a little kelp. >> stahl: chef and author barton seaver thinks so. he's written a whole cookbook of seaweed recipes. when i hear the word "seaweed," the last thing in my head is, "i want to eat that." ( laughs ) you think they'll buy it out there? >> seaver: i do. ( laughs ) i think, you know, ten years ago, kale wasn't on the shelf. >> stahl: he says first off, the name "seaweed's" got to go. he prefers "sea greens." so, is this one of the dishes you created? >> seaver: this is an italian dish that typically uses spinach. >> stahl: he suggests integrating seaweed-- pardon, sea greens-- into things we already know and like. are you nervous that i might not like it?
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>> seaver: in front of all of america? no! not at all. >> stahl: ( laughs ) surprisingly, it didn't taste fishy or seaweed-y, and he says kelp is rich in calcium, fiber, iron, and anti-oxidants. it's really good. it is really good. >> smith: i mean, this is what's exciting about this space. the oceans are a blank slate. for my generation, this is a really exciting moment. i can farm and grow food, but also i can soak up carbon and nitrogen while creating jobs, while giving people the opportunity to create small businesses. >> stahl: and while fulfilling his dream of living his life, on the water. >> smith: yeah. i want to die on my boat one day. that's sort of the goal. and i think if i look over my life, my goal is just always, "how do i keep working at sea?"
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>> this sports update is brought you by the lincoln motor company. hell low pressure everyone. i'm bill macatee. today in new orleans, billy horschel and scott piercy won the unique team event, the zurich classic at 22 under par. in the nhl playoff, the caps defeated the penguins the tie their series at one. in the nba playoffs, lebron had 45 to lead the cavaliers in their game seven win over the pacers. for 24/7news and highlights, visit ♪ this is what getting your car serviced at lincoln looks like. complementary pickup and delivery servicing now comes with every new lincoln. i won. giving you, the luxury of time. that's the lincoln way. jeff and market volatility into retirement. isn't top of mind.
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we can now use a blood sample toh care, target lung cancer more precisely. if we can do that, imagine what we can do for asthma. and if we can stop seizures in epilepsy patients with a small pacemaker for the brain, imagine what we can do for multiple sclerosis, even migraines. if we can use patients' genes
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to predict heart disease in their families, imagine what we can do for the conditions that affect us all. imagine what we can do for you. >> stahl: 50 seasons of "60 minutes." tonight, from ten years ago, when we interviewed the late supreme court justice antonin scalia. he was a polarizing figure,
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with a sharp wit and piercing intellect. he was a constitutional originalist, a philosophy he laid out for us. >> antonin scalia: it's, what did the words mean to the people who ratified the bill of rights, or who ratified the constitution? >> stahl: as opposed to what people today think it means? >> scalia: as opposed to what people today would like. >> stahl: but you do admit that values change. we do adapt. we move. >> scalia: that's fine. and so do laws change, because values change. legislatures abolish the death penalty, permit same-sex marriage if they want, abolish laws against homosexual conduct. that's how the change in a society occurs. >> stahl: i'm lesley stahl. we'll be back next week, with another edition of "60 minutes."
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captioning funded by cbs and ford. we go further, so you can. captioned by media access group at wgbh
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my name is dylan reinhart. not too long ago, i was an operative in the cia known as agent reinhart. when i left the agency and started teaching, i became professor reinhart. i wrote a book about abnormal behavior and criminals, which was so successful a serial killer used it as clues for his murders. that's when the new york police department reached out to me to help catch him. which i did, so they hired me, and i became consultant reinhart. so now i'm working with this woman, detective lizzie needham of the homicide division, catching killers. looks like i need a new name. don't they call you professor psychopath? ♪ (indistinct police radio communication) officer, our murder suspect is theodore burton. last seen leaving the residence of his mortgage broker,