The Galapagos Islands and Charles Darwin

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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 Islands 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. Since then the world, science and religion has not been the same.

Now, at a time when concepts of evolution and natural selection are attacked from certain theological and political perspectives, “The Darwin Conspiracy,” a novel has been written by John Darnton, a writer and editor for the New York Times. “The Darwin Conspiracy,” although fiction, is said by John Darnton to be 90% accurate. It covers Darwin’s life and thinking before and after his publication of “The Origin of the Species.”

I spoke with John Darnton 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.

The book John Darnton recommends is “Snow,” by Orhan Pamuk.

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McPherson, Guy — How to Deal With Abrupt Climate Change

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Guy R. McPherson, Professor Emeritus of Natural Resources, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the University of Arizona, is our guest in this second of a two part series about abrupt climate change.  In part one, podcasted at radiocurious.org, we considered the existing circumstances likely to bring about abrupt climate change, in particular, the total melt of the polar ice caps.  This would result in the polar sea water absorbing heat from the sun rather than reflecting it, raising ocean temperatures and shutting off our “planetary air-conditioner.”

These consequences could make Mother Earth grossly inhospitable to human habitation potentially shut down our ability to grow grain and other crops we depend on for food.  Without food readily available, well, I’ll leave that to your imagination.

Here in part two of our conversation with Professor McPherson we further discuss this pending potential catastrophe and how we may each personally be able to relate to it.

Guy McPherson and I visited by phone on August 12, 2018, and began with his comments of what could occur after the global temperatures preclude the ability to grow grains, the other foods upon which we rely and the resulting reduction of industrial activity.  Finally in this visit we discuss how, in the wake of grimness, joy may be created, along with other options.

The reading the Guy McPherson recommends “My Life and Death,” an essay by Martin Manley. Manley’s essay discusses his suicide on his 60th birthday may found at at the bottom of Guy McPherson website.

Additional information about abrupt climate change may be found in the following three links: President of Finland talking to Trump; President of Finland in north Russia; and Human extinction by 2026.

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Miller, Geoffrey — Does What You Buy Make You Happier?

Why do you buy what you buy? What do you hope to gain from it and will it make you a happier, sexier and more successful person? In these days of economic downturn many of us may be questioning whether we really need all this “stuff” and how it impacts our lives?

In this edition of Radio Curious we meet Geoffrey Miller, a tenured professor of evolutionary psychology at the University of New Mexico, and the author of “Spent: Sex, Evolution and Consumer Behaviour.” During our visit we discuss how our purchasing choices are driven by thousands of years of evolution, how marketers can take advantage of this and how we might try to better understand our consumer instincts.

I spoke with Geoffrey Miller from his home in Australia on May 29, 2009 and began by asking him to define his field of evolutionary psychology.

The book Geoffrey Miller recommends is “The Life You Can Save: Acting Now To End World Poverty,” by Peter Singer. 

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Malamud Smith, Jana — Why Mothers Worry About Their Children

Is the concept of “mother blame” a method to control women? Is motherhood a really a fearsome job?  Will a mother’s mistake or inattention damage a child?  Is this different from the fear that fathers have about the safety of their children?

These questions are answered by guest Jana Malamud Smith in her book “A Potent Spell:  Mother Love and the Power of Fear.”  She is a clinical psychotherapist and daughter of writer Bernard Malamud.

Smith argues that the fear of losing a child is central to motherhood, and mostly overlooked as a historical force that has induced mothers throughout time to shape their own lives to better shelter their young, at the expense of their own future.

I spoke with Dr. Janna Malamud Smith from her home in Massachusetts, and asked her to begin by discussing the different level of feat that fathers and mothers have toward their children.

The book Janna Malamud Smith recommends is “Biography of Samuel Pepys” by Clair Tomilin.  

Originally broadcast: February 18, 2003.

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Rossi, Ernest Dr. — 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. His website is www.ernestrossi.com.

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Alzheimer’s Disease: A Psychiatrist’s Personal Perspective — Part Two

In our continuing series on dementia we present two interviews with Dr. Betty G. Lacy, clinical psychiatrist, based in Ukiah, California, whose focus is the prevention, care and treatment of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease. This chronic neurodegenerative disease that usually starts slowly and worsens over time, is the cause of 60% to 70% of cases of dementia.  

In part one, Dr. Lacy tells the story of Alois Alheimers, a German psychiatrist and neuropathologist, who’s credited with identifying the first published case of “presenile dementia”, which would later be identified as Alzheimer’s disease.  She shares the emotional impact of the personal experiences of her parents, both of whom suffer from Alzheimer’s disease. She and her two siblings each carry the gene called APOE4, which increases a person’s susceptibility to this disease. She explains the benefits of being tested and identifies specific ways to retard and possibly prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s.

In this program, part two, Dr. Lacy shares her personal experiences of caring for her parents with Alzheimer’s. She suggests ways to deal with the changing personality that comes with this disease and how to deal with the stress it brings to family members. 

Dr. Betty Lacy visited the studio of Radio Curious on July 7, 2017, and began part two of our conversation with her description of the changes Alzheimer’s presents to family relationships and dynamics.

The book Betty Lacy recommends is “He Wanted the Moon:  The Madness and Medical Genius of Dr. Perry Baird, and His Daughter’s Quest to Know Him,” by Mimi Baird and Eve Claxton. 

Click here to listen to part two or on the media player below.

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Alzheimer’s Disease: A Psychiatrist’s Personal Perspective — Part One

In our continuing series on dementia we visit with Dr. Betty J. Lacy, clinical psychiatrist, based in Ukiah, California, whose focus is the prevention, care and treatment of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease.This chronic neurodegenerative disease that usually starts slowly and worsens over time, is the cause of 60% to 70% of cases of dementia.

Dr. Lacy tells the story of Alois Alheimers, a German psychiatrist and neuropathologist, who’s credited with identifying the first published case of “presenile dementia”, which would later be identified as Alzheimer’s disease.  

In this, the first of two visits with Dr. Lacy, she shares the emotional impact of the personal experiences of her parents, both of whom suffer from Alzheimer’s disease. She and her two siblings each carry the gene called APOE4, which increases a person’s susceptibility to this disease. She explains the benefits of being tested and identifies specific ways to retard and possibly prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s.

When Betty Lacy visited the studio of Radio Curious on July 7, 2017, we began our conversation with her description of her parents’ conditions and their states of mind.

In part two, Dr. Lacy discusses how to deal with this disease, and provides suggestions for family and friends of a person who suffers from Alzheimer’s.

The book Betty Lacy recommends is “He Wanted the Moon:  The Madness and Medical Genius of Dr. Perry Baird, and His Daughter’s Quest to Know Him,” by Mimi Baird and Eve Claxton.  

Click here to listen to part one or on the media player below. 

 

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Owen, Adrian Ph.D. — In a Coma and Conscious: Communicating with the Comatose

Approximately 20% of the people who are motionless and locked into a deep coma, wholly unable to move or respond, have a conscious awareness.  This conscious awareness may be determined with the use of functional magnetic resonance imaging, commonly called fMRI.  This imaging reveals the increased blood flow to specific areas of the brain when a person focuses on a certain idea or image.

In this program we visit with Adrian Owen, Ph.D., author of Into the Gray Zone: A Neuroscientist Explores the Border Between Life and Death. Dr. Owen who thoroughly enjoys neurobiology and his rock and roll band began to develop imaging techniques allowing a conscious person locked in a coma to respond yes or no, to a given question.  Owen is currently the Canada Excellence Research Chair in Cognitive Neuroscience and Imaging at the Brain and Mind Institute, of Western University in London, Ontario, Canada.

As part of our continuing series on dementia, we visited with Dr. Owen from his office in London, Ontario Canada, June 28, 2017.  We began when I asked him to explain the difference between magnetic resonance imaging and functional magnetic resonance imaging.

The book Adrian Owen recommends is The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins.

 

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

From the Radio Curious archives we visit with Eric Herm 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, in October, 2011, and ended in front of the White House in Washington D.C. to oppose the use of genetically modified organisms, GMO’s. When we visited with Eric Herm from his farm in Ackerly, Texas on October 24th, 2011 began when I 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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Marianchild, Kate: The Unique Oak Woodlands of California

To many of us who live in California, oak woodlands may seem rather ordinary. In reality, that is not the case. Oak woodlands are home to more species of plants, fungi, birds, reptiles, amphibians, insects and mammals than any other terrestrial ecosystem in the California.

In this edition of Radio Curious, we visit with Kate Marianchild, author of Secrets of the Oak Woodlands: Plants & Animals Among California’s Oaks. Her book, now in its 4th printing, was a finalist in the Science, Nature and Environment Section of the Indie Next Generation Book Award.

Secrets of the Oak Woodlands describes many of the flora, fauna and fungi that inhabit the plentiful oak woodlands in California, and explains their intertwined connections and mutual support systems. More details are available on her website.

In this program, Marianchild describes how acorn woodpeckers, manzanita, newts, the western fence lizard, and woodrats, among others, live and survive together in a symbiotic ecosystem.

You may listen to the full interview here.

The book she recommends is The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating, by Elisabeth Tova Baily.

This program was recorded on June 5, 2017.