Ira Flatow— “Science Changes”

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The chance to interview another interviewer is an opportunity I like to take. A chance came on September 4, 2007, when I was able to visit with Ira Flatow, the host of “Science Friday,” a part of Talk of the Nation, on NPR. We talked about some ideas and concepts he raises in his new book, “Present at the Future: From Evolution to Nanotechnology, Candid and Controversial Conversations on Science and Nature.”  I think that after thirty-five years as a science journalist, Ira Flatow has seen enough to know unexpected changes are in order. He refers to that at the close of the introduction to his book and writes,

“After watching science do its thing for a while, you realize knowledge is really a moving target. What we know today will probably be wrong tomorrow. And science is that tool for discovery. When science tells us something, chances are that it will tell us something different a few years from now.”

And that’s where Ira Flatow and I began our conversation, which was originally broadcast September 5, 2007.

His website is www.iraflatow.com and the book he recommends is “The World Without Us,” by Alan Weisman.

John Pinches — “All Politics are Local Including Marijuana”

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The concept that all politics are local is shown in this interview with Mendocino County Supervisor John Pinches in our August 7, 2007 interview on growing, use and “legalization” of marijuana.

 

 

Stephen Most – “The Klamath River”

Originally Broadcast: March 21, 2007

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River of Renewal, Myth & History in the Klamath Basin

Since the last Ice Age ended about 12,000 years ago, human beings have traveled along the Klamath River and it tributaries in the northwest corner of California and the coast of southern Oregon. Many people finding an abundance of food, have stayed. The main source of their food was salmon. The power of the myth of the salmon may derive from the fact that wild salmon spread out across the Pacific Northwest about the same time that human beings did, at the end of the last Ice Age. In this edition of Radio Curious we visit with Steve Most, author of “River of Renewal, Myth & History in the Klamath Basin,” a book that tells the story of the history of the Klamath River and the people who have continuously lived there for the past 12,000 years. Steve Most is a playwright and documentary storyteller. Among many other works, he wrote the texts of the audio voices and videos for the permanent exhibit of the Washington State History Museum. In this interview recorded in mid-March 2007, I spoke with Steve Most from his home in Berkeley, California. We began our conversation when I asked him to give a perspective of the geological and human aspects of the Klamath River and its place in history.

Stephen Most recommends the “Essays and Letters of Ralph Waldo Emerson.”

Martinez, Juan- “Shamanism in the Ecuadorian Jungle”

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Originally Broadcast: December 5, 2005.

Concepts of “reality” have many levels, some of which are gained by fasting, and/or the use of certain plants that allow a person to view the past, present or  and future.  This is especially true for cultures which cherish and practice the oral tradition and thrive among an abundance of flora and fauna, like those located in the Amazon basin of South America.  In Ecuador the knowledge of the effects of the various plants in the Amazon basin is held by Shamans.

Dr. Juan Martinez, our guest in this edition of Radio Curious, is a Professor of History and Anthropology at the University of Cuenca, in Cuenca, Ecuador.  He’s studied, written and lectured about Shamanic practices in the Ecuadorian jungle and the medicinal and spiritual effects of the plants native to the eastern portion of the Amazon basin.

Professor Juan Martinez and I visited in his office in Cuenca, Ecuador on November 17, 2005.  He began by describing the relationship of the people of Ecuadorian jungle to their worlds, the spiritual world, and the world in which they live on a daily basis.

The book Juan Martinez recommends is “Amazon Worlds,” a collected work published by Sinchi Sancha, an indigenous foundation based in Ecuador.

John Darnton – “Who is Charles Darwin”

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The Darwin Conspiracy

Who was Charles Darwin and what led him to describe what we now call “the theory of evolution?” These curious questions are ones that I have been following since I was about ten years old. In 1978 I had the good fortune of visiting the Galapagos Islands, 600 miles west of Ecuador in the Pacific Ocean. Charles Darwin visited the Galapagos Island in 1831 for month as part of a five-year voyage around the world. There he saw birds and animals that helped him formulate some of his ideas about evolution he published “The Origin of the Species,” 22 years later in 1853. And the world has not been the same since. Now, at a time when concepts of evolution and natural selection are attacked certain from theological and political perspectives, a novel called “The Darwin Conspiracy,” has been written by John Darnton, a writer and editor for the New York Times. “The Darwin Conspiracy,” although fiction, is said by John Darton to be 90% accurate, and covers Darwin’s life and thinking before and after the publication of “The Origin of the Species.” I spoke with John Darton from his home in New York City at the end of October 2005. He began by describing who Charles Darwin was, in his time and place.

John Darnton recommends “Snow,” by Orhan Pamuk.

Originally Broadcast: November 29, 2005

Fred Watson– “What a Telescope Reveals”

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Stargazer, the Life and Times of the Telescope

The history of the telescope is a rich story of human ingenuity and perseverance involving some of the most colorful figures in the scientific world. In this edition of Radio Curious we visit with Dr. Fred Watson, the Astronomer-in-Charge of the Anglo-Australian Observatory at Coonabarabran, New South Wales, Australia. Dr. Watson’s book, “Stargazer, the Life and Times of the Telescope,” reveals the science and technology behind the telescope and its impact in unveiling the mysteries of the universe, and concludes with a fictional epilogue in the year 2108. This epilogue looks back 48 years at the object, one kilometer in diameter, that had a 99.9% probability of impacting the earth in April 2060 and how it was diverted. Dr. Watson was in his office in New South Wales, Austrailia, when this interview was recorded and begins by explaining the importance of the epilogue.

www.aao.gov.au/local/www/fgw

Fred Watson recommends “The Transit of Venus,” by Peter Autin.

Originally Broadcast: July 19, 2005

Rodolfo Gomez – “A Walk in the Costa Rican Rain Forest”

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On the eastern slope of the Continental Divide, about an hour’s drive east of San Jose, Costa Rica, is the Rain Forest Aerial Tram, a tramway that travels through, above and below the rain forest canopy. The rain forest canopy is home to more diverse forms of flora and fauna than anywhere else in the known universe. Rodolfo Gomez, trained as an architect, has found his calling as a tour guide in Central America and specifically Costa Rica. My daughter Molly and I met with Rodolfo in the rain forest, near the aerial tram and recorded this program in April of 1995.

Originally Broadcast: June 20, 1995

Peter Ward— “A World Without Ice Caps” Part One & Two

When the polar ice caps melt, sea level will rise. That’s happened earlier in the history of the world, and it appears it will happen again.

In this edition of Radio Curious, we bring you a two part series on global warming and sea level rise, with Peter D. Ward, a paleontologist and professor of biology and earth and space sciences at the University of Washington in Seattle. He is the author of “The Flooded Earth: Our Future in a World Without Ice Caps,” in which he describes expected conditions in 2050, 2300 and 2500.

This series with Professor Peter D. Ward, was recorded on August 2, 2010, from his office in Seattle, Washington. In part 1, Ward begins with a description of what will happen when the level of the sea rises. In part 2, we begin with a discussion of why, in the face of rather clear evidence, there continues to be a denial of global warming.

The books Peter Ward recommends are, “An Inconvenient Truth,” by Al Gore and “Weather Makers,” and any other book by Tim Flannery.

Click here to listen to part 1. 

Click here to listen to part 2. 

Glenn McGourty – “The Slow Food Movement”

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How can we assure ourselves that the food we eat is safe, nutritious and energy-efficient? If we are what we eat, we ought to know what we will become. That may be the concept underlying what is coming to be known as the slow food movement. Glenn McGourty is the wine growing and plant science advisor for the University of California Cooperative Extension for Lake and Mendocino Counties in Northern California.

Glenn McGourty recommends “The Origins and Ancient History of Wine,” by Patrick McGovern.

Originally Broadcast: January 4, 2005

 

Deborah Koons Garcia– “The Future of Food”

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Director of, The Future of Food

“The Future of Food,” a film written and produced by Deborah Koons Garcia, discusses our food’s conflicting relationship with both mass agri-business and local agriculture. Our discussion was conducted in the context of the passage of Mendocino County’s Measure H, banning growth of GMOs in the county.

Deborah Koons Garcia recommends “Women’s Diaries fo the Westward Journey,” edited by Lillian Schlissel.

Originally Broadcast: April 25, 2004