A doctor discovered a gene that could cure a deadly disease that has killed more than 90 percent of a population. But that gene also has the potential to kill even more.
A single bat dips and weaves over Chautauqua Lake.
It is a remarkable sight. The creature makes such tight turns that it seems ungoverned by inertia. It flies low over the water, leaving a thin wake behind it as it picks bugs out of the air, making tiny corrections in its flight path based on where its echolocation indicates there’s an insect. It may eat half of its body weight tonight.
High above the platform for world-renowned lecturers, resounding symphonies and graceful ballets, two men — armed with a device that looks like an old-fashioned transistor radio — investigate a dark, sweltering area of the Amphitheater few people aside from stagehands ever see.
A musty scent lingers in the dusty air, and the worn, wooden floor is wrought with holes that could send someone through with one miscalculated step. Light peeks in through the holes, revealing a small glimpse of the programs below, a stage for more than a century of Chautauqua tradition.
John Shedd, Chautauqua’s administrator of architecture and land use regulations and capital projects manager, is joined by John Hermanson, a professor of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell University.
They are on a hunt. Their target: bats.