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NOVA scienceNOW Season 4 #401 1x53

A blindfolded Tyson is led to a top-secret “diamond farm” to investigate breakthroughs in the engineering of artificial diamonds. Indistinguishable from the real thing, these glittering creations may one day adorn more than ring fingers. They could replace silicon transistors in everything from super-computers to high-speed electric trains.

Using an ingenious technique that highlights key mutations in a strain of anthrax, researchers can use genetic “fingerprinting” to trace the source of the strain. This revolutionary technique also has the potential to find the source microbe responsible for anything from food-borne poisonings to deadly health epidemics.

NOVA scienceNOW talks to the engineers behind Auto-Tune, the pitch correction software that turns sour notes into sweet ones — and which is used by everyone from Madonna to Snoop Dogg. But can Auto-Tune turn host Neil deGrasse Tyson into a singing star?

From growing up in Guatemala, where his family owned a candy factory, human computation expert Luis von Ahn, 30, went on to become a professor of computer science at Carnegie Mellon University, where he works to combine the best skills of both humans and computers, capitalizing on the countless hours that humans waste at computers, furthering the intelligence of computers, and hopefully benefiting humankind.