Bernstein, Paula & Schein, Elyse — Identical Twins Meet

In our unsatisfied curiosity about the difference between nature and nurture we visit with Elyse Schein and Paula Bernstein.  These women are identical twins separated as infants and reunited in 2003 when they were 35 years old.  They are the authors of “Identical Strangers:  A Memoir of Twins Separated and Reunited.” 

Their mother, as we will hear was unable to care for them and as babies they were placed for adoption.

When we visited by phone on November 10, 2007, we discussed their separate childhoods, how they learned that they had a twin, their similarities and differences, and their attempt to learn about a study of twins in which they unknowingly participated.

We began when I asked them to describe aspects of their twin-ship which they still find strange.

The book that Elyse Schein recommends is “Later, At The Bar:  A Novel in Stories” by Rebecca Barry. The book that Paula Bernstein recommends is “Borrowed Finery:  A Memoir” by Paula Fox.

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Smith, Janna Malamud — Why Mothers Worry About Their Children

Is the concept of  “mother blame” a method to control women?  Is motherhood really a fearsome job?  Will a mother’s mistake or inattention damage a child?  Radio Curious discusses these questions and more with Janna Malamud Smith, clinical psychotherapist and author of “A Potent Spell:  Mother Love and the Power of Fear.”

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Maestripieri, Dario — The Primate Within Us

We humans are a lot like the other primates on earth, but because we don’t associate with them, we often assume that our interpersonal behavior, how we make friends, work together, interact with strangers, relate to our spouse is the produce of our unique personalities and environment.

In this edition of Radio Curious we visit with Dario Maestripieri, author of “Games Primate Play: An Undercover Investigation of the Evolution and Economics of Human Relationships.”  He’s a professor Comparative Human Development, Evolutionary Biology, Neurobiology and Psychiatry, and Behavior Neuroscience at the University of Chicago.

Professor Maestripieri and I visited by phone from his office in Chicago, Illinois on April 16, 2012 and began with a description of the close relationship human have with other primates.

The book he recommends is “Auto-Da-Fe,” by Elias Canetti.

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Nelson, Alondra — Health Care & The Black Panthers

The exodus of approximately six million black people from the American South between 1915 and 1970 had a significant role in setting the stage of the civil rights movement of the early 1960s. Many of the children of those who left the south participated in desegregation efforts which included the Freedom Rides and lunch counter sit-ins. The Civil Rights Acts of 1964 and 1965 which attempted to resolve employment discrimination and define voting rights, only changed the law. Many young blacks however did not see changes in their everyday life.

The Black Panther Party for Self-Defense was born out of this disillusionment. Although infiltrated and feared by the F.B.I., the Black Panther Party pioneered social and community programs, including free medical clinics, free meals, and educational programs.

Our guest in this edition of Radio Curious is Columbia University Sociology and Gender Studies Professor Alondra Nelson, author of “Body and Soul: The Black Panther Party and the Fight Against Medical Discrimination.”

We visited by phone from her Office in New York City, on February 13, 2012 and began our conversation when I asked her to describe the Black Panther Party.

The book she recommends is “Crave Radiance: New and Selected Poems,” by Elizabeth Alexander.

Professor Nelson’s website is http://www.alondranelson.com.

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Rossi, Dr. Ernest — How to Turn On Genes and Reconstruct Your Brain

Gene expression:  Psychosocial and cultural genomics–a healing process that connects the mind-body to emotional and physical healing is our topic.  Our guest is Dr. Ernest Rossi, a practicing psychologist, hypnotherapist and an expert in dreams. Dr. Rossi describes how we humans can activate a specific gene within us to advance our abilities, or recover from an injury.

He suffered a major stroke in the early 2000s that impaired his speech and movement.  Dr. Rossi managed his own recovery using psychosocial and cultural genomics.  He and I visited at the 11th Milton Erickson Psychotherapy Congress in Phoenix, Arizona in December 2011.  I turned on the recorder and asked Dr. Rossi to explain how gene expression works.

Dr. Ernest Rossi recommends your choice of the 36 books he has authored or edited.  For more information visit his website: www.ernestrossi.com.

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Herm, Eric — Son of a Farmer, Child of the Earth

Eric Herm is a 4th generation farmer from Ackerly Texas and author of, “Son of a Farmer, Child of the Earth: A Path to Agriculture’s Higher Consciousness.” Herm is transitioning his family farm into an organic farm. He recently returned from a march that began in Baltimore, Maryland and ended in front of the White House in Washington D.C. to oppose the use of genetically modified organisms, GMO’s. We spoke with Eric Herm from his farm in Ackerly, Texas on October 24th, 2011 and asked him to describe his experience in Washington D.C.

The book that Eric Herm recommends is, “The Unsettling of America: Culture and Agriculture,” by Wendell Berry.

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Patrick, William — Loneliness and How It Affects Us

How many of us are lonely?  What is loneliness and how does it affect us?  Approximately 25 years ago, when asked the number of friends in whom we could confide, most people in the United States said “three.”  When that question was asked recently most people said “none.”

Inquires reveal that 20% of people, — 60 million in the Untied States alone – are feeling lonely at any given moment.  And, it appears that chronic loneliness may well compete with smoking, obesity and lack of exercise as a significant health risk.

In this edition of Radio Curious we visit with William Patrick, the founding editor of The Journal of Life Sciences and co-author of “Loneliness: Human Nature and the Need for Social Connection,” along with University of Chicago psychology professor John Cacioppo.

My conversation with William Patrick, recorded on October 13, 2008, began when I asked him to define loneliness as used in their book.

The book William Patrick recommends is “The Lost Gospel: The Book of Q and Christian Origins,” by Burton Mack.

Originally Broadcast: October 18th, 2008.

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Caldicott, Dr. Helen — A Nuclear Catastrophe Never Seen Before

Dr. Helen Caldicott describes how the nuclear disasters that began in Japan on March 11, 2011, with the massive 9.0 point earthquake and resulting tsunami, present catastrophes the likes of which human kind has never seen before.  We discuss what happened, the medical and health consequences around the world, why public information has not been forthcoming, and what can be done to protect ourselves.  In response to the question, what can be done to prevent similar disasters in the future, Dr. Caldicott’s suggested action is somewhat reminiscent of the 1960s civil right’s movement in the United States.

Born in Melbourne, Australia in 1938, Dr. Caldicott received her medical degree from the University of Adelaide Medical School in 1961, she was a co-founder of Physicians for Social Responsibility, and has devoted the last 35 years to an international campaign to educate the public about the medical hazards of the nuclear age and what she believes are necessary changes in human behavior.

Our conversation, recorded by phone from her home in southeast Australia on June 26, 2011, begins with her explanation of what occurred at the Fukushima Nuclear Power plants in Japan after the March, 2011 earthquake.

The books Helen Caldicott recommends are “On The Beach,” by Nevil Shute, and her book, “Nuclear Power Is Not the Answer.”

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Brizendine, Dr. Louann — The Male Brain, the Female Brain-There is a Difference

Have you ever been curious about the difference between the male brain and the female brain?  Well I have, for a long time.  This week Radio Curious speaks with neuropsychiatrist, Dr. Louann Brizendine, founder of the Women’s Mood and Hormone Clinic at the University of California at San Francisco.  In 2006 she wrote a book called, “The Female Brain,” and in 2010 she wrote “The Male Brain,”–very different books about very different genders of our human species.

The interview with Dr. Louann Brizendine was recorded March 21st, 2011.

The book she recommends is “The Emperor of All Maladies,” by Siddhartha Mukherjee.

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Vedantam, Shankar — Have You Found Your Hidden Brain?

Part One

How do we make the big decisions in our lives?  Who to vote for—or who to choose as a life mate or form an opinion about politics or war?  Most of us are certain we consciously evaluate these decisions.  But, we may be fooling ourselves, if not being fooled by others.  Shankar Vedantam, author of “The Hidden Brain: How Our Unconscious Minds Elect Presidents, Control Markets, Wage Wars, and Save Our Lives,” encourages us to be aware of how our unconscious mind is capable of controlling our decision making capabilities.  In this, the first of two conversations with Shankar Vedantam, we explore the unconscious mind, how we rely upon it and how it is can be manipulated by advertising  and our anecdotal experiences.  These interviews with Shankar Vedantam were recorded on May 17, 2010 by phone from his home in Massachusetts.  We began with his description of the “hidden brain.”  Shankar Vedantam is a national correspondent and columnist for The Washington Post and 2009-10 Nieman Fellow at Harvard University.

The book Shankar Vedantam recommends is “A House For Mr. Biswas” by V.S.Naipaul.

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Part Two

Not too long before the pseudo religious organization known as “The People’s Temple moved to the remote jungles of Guyana in the northeast corner of South America where over 900 people killed themselves at the direction of Jim Jones in 1978, they were based in Redwood Valley, California, about 10 miles from Ukiah, the home of Radio Curious.   In this, the second Radio Curious conversation with Shankar Vedantam author of “The Hidden Brain: How Our Unconscious Minds Elect Presidents, Control Markets, Wage Wars, and Save Our Lives,” we explore what compelled these people to kill themselves. We’ll examine what compels suicide bombers of the early 21st century to take their own lives and those of others? And are we, in fact, all susceptible to these ideas? The conversation with Shankar Vedamtam, recorded from his home in Massachusetts on May 17, 2010, began when I asked him to explain the attraction of cults, who are drawn to them, and why.  Shankar Vedantam is a national correspondent and columnist for The Washington Post and 2009-10 Nieman Fellow at Harvard University. This interview was recorded on May 17th, 2010.

The book Shankar Vedantam recommends is “Heart Of Darkness” by Joseph Conrad.

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