Cohen, Dr. Gene — The Mature Mind: The Positive Power of the Aging Brain

 Do people over a certain age necessarily loose mental acuity? According to Dr. Gene Cohen, the answer is “no.”  Dr. Cohen, a psychiatrist and gerontologist has determined that certain genes are activated by experience as we age, allowing our personalities to grow and change. The brain has reserves of strength and agility that compensate for the effects of aging on its other parts.

 Dr. Cohen has found that the information processing in the 60 to 80 year old brain achieves it’s greatest density and reach. He explains these and other developing concepts in brain research in his book, “The Mature Mind: The Positive Power of the Aging Brain.” I spoke with Dr. Cohen in March 2006 from his office on Aging, Health & Humanities, in Washington D.C., where he is the Director. We began our conversation with his description of the importance of the role of creativity on the mind.

 The book Dr. Gene Cohen recommends is “Tuesdays with Morrie: A Young Man, An Old Man, and Life’s Greatest Lesson,” by Mitch Albom. 

 This program was originally broadcast on April 18, 2006.

 Click here to listen or on the media player below.

Maestriprieri, 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 product 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 his description of the close relationship humans have with other primates.

 The book Professor Dario Maestripieri recommends is “Auto-da-Fe,” by Elias Canetti.

 Click here to listen or on the media player below.

Dr. Alondra Nelson – Race, Reparations, and Reconciliation After the Genome

 

Who we are and where we come from is a crucial question that now we are more able to answer than ever before. The examination and analysis of our individual DNA, in addition to answering a myriad of medical and forensic secrets also reveals the mix of our individual ancestors and the paths they took. This analysis provides significant and untold information about who we are, from where we came and how we may connect with our relatives.

Dr. Alondra Nelson, the Dean of Social Science and professor of sociology and gender studies at Columbia University, in New York City, is our guest in this edition of Radio Curious.

Professor Nelson is the author of The Social Life of DNA: Race, Reparations, and Reconciliation After the Genome. She s also the author of Body and Soul: The Black Panther Party and the Fight Against Medical Discrimination, which she and I have previously discussed on Radio Curious.

To discuss The Social Life of DNA, Professor Nelson and I visited by phone from her office n New York City, on February 19, 2016. We began by noting that although all human beings are members of the human race, people are grouped by skin color and/or facial features and characterized as being of a different race.

The book she recommends is “Come Out Swinging,” by Lucia Trimbur.

This program was recorded on February 19, 2016.

Click here to begin listening to this episode.

Vertosick, Dr. Frank — Evolutionary Intelligence

In this program we visit concepts of evolution and intelligence, some of which were raised after our series on near term human extinction.

What is intelligence?  What kind of intelligence do non human creatures have?  What are the different levels of intelligence that can be found in single cells, or invertebrates, up to human beings? 

Neurosurgeon Dr. Frank Vertosick, author of “The Genius Within: Discovering the Intelligence of Every Living Thing,” discusses these and other questions about learning among all species.   He talks about the learning that occurs through evolution or alteration of the genetic structure and about the learning, of the way we commonly think of it, by studying or by experience. 

When Dr. Frank Vertosick and I visited by phone from his office in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in early October 2002, we began when I asked him to describe the different levels of intelligence and the development of intelligence in invertebrates.

The book Dr. Frank Vertosick recommends is “Linked: How Everything is Connected to Everything Else and What it Means for Business, Science, and Everyday Life,” by Albert-Lasio Barabasi.

Click here to listen or on the media player below.

Ward, Peter — A World Without Ice Caps Part 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 the second of a two part conversation about 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 two or on the media player below.

Click here to listen to part one.

Ward, Peter — A World Without Ice Caps Part One

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 one or on the media player below.

Click here to listen to part two.

McPherson, Guy Ph.D. — Near Term Human Extinction Part Two

In this, part two of our series on near term human extinction, we continue our conversation with Dr. Guy R. McPherson, Professor Emeritus of Natural Resources, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Arizona. Professor McPherson is co-author with Carolyn Baker of “Extinction Dialogs:  How to Live With Death in Mind.” McPherson presents what appears to be overwhelming scientific evidence that our environment is headed for a swift apocalyptic collapse. This is the most disturbing conversation that I have had in past 25 years as host and producer of Radio Curious.

That said, imagine the human habitat in which we all live changing so rapidly that life as we know it is extinguished. Temperatures that are getting hotter than ever, decades long droughts, catastrophic fires, melting polar ice, rising sea levels, and unprecedented winter storms are expected to radically limit food production and availability of potable water.  Not only is this extinction likely, it is occurring every day. “How to live with death in mind” is the goal; living with urgency is the practice. 

In part one, Dr. Guy McPherson discusses the rise of global temperature by more than 1 degree centigrade, the likelihood of a continued global warming trend in the future and some of its affects on our planet.  In this, our second visit with Prof. McPherson he explains how this small rise in global temperature is leading to a large scale mass extinction on earth. Recorded on September 14, 2015, while he was traveling in New York state, we began I asked him what abrupt extinction will look like and what will occur that will end human life on earth.

The books Dr. Guy McPherson recommends are “Ms. Lady Bug and Mr. Honeybee: A Love Story at the End of Time,” by Pauline Panagiotou-Schneider and Guy McPherson.  He also recommends the books by Edward Abbey.

Click here to listen to the program or on the media player below.

Click here to listen to part one and here to listen to part three–a conversation with “Extinction Dialogues” coauthor Carolyn Baker.

McPherson, Guy Ph.D. — Near Term Human Extinction Part One

Imagine the human habitat in which we all live changing so rapidly that life as we know it is extinguished. Temperatures that are getting hotter than ever, decades long droughts, catastrophic fires, melting polar ice, rising sea levels, and unprecedented winter storms are expected to radically limit food production and availability of potable water. 

In this, the first of a series on near term extinction of the human species, we visit with Dr. Guy R. McPherson, Professor Emeritus of Natural Resources, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Arizona. Professor McPherson is co-author with Carolyn Baker of “Extinction Dialogs:  How to Live With Death in Mind.”  Together they present what appears to be overwhelming scientific evidence that our environment is headed for swift apocalyptic collapse.  Not only is this extinction likely, it is occurring every day. “How to live with death in mind” is the goal; living with urgency is the practice. 

The point from which average global temperature rise is measured dates back to 1750, the beginning of the industrial revolution–the time at which the ever increasing use of fossil fuels began. Since 1750, the planet has warmed by more than 1 degree centigrade.  McPherson’s book “Extinction Dialogs:  How to Live With Death in Mind,” explains how this small global rise in temperature is leading to a large scale mass extinction on the planet.

When Guy McPherson and I visited by phone on September 14, 2015, while he was traveling near New York, we began our conversation when I asked him to describe the indicators that reveal we’re in an era of unstoppable climate change.

Click here to listen to the program or on the media player below.

Click here to listen to part two and here to listen to part three–a conversation with “Extinction Dialogues” coauthor Carolyn Baker.

Shaywitz, Dr. Sally — Overcoming Dyslexia

Approximately one child in five suffers from dyslexia, a condition that makes learning to read difficult and in some cases seemingly impossible. In this archive edition of Radio Curious, originally broadcast in August of 2003, we visit with Dr. Sally Shaywitz, a Professor of Pediatrics at the Yale University Medical School and the co-director of the Yale Center for the Study of Learning and Attention. Dr. Shaywitz discusses early diagnosis of dyslexia in young children, older children, and adults, and what can be done to assist people who suffer from this disability.

In her book, “Overcoming Dyslexia: A New and Complete Science-Based Program for Reading Problems at Any Level,” Dr. Shaywitz describes the research, including brain imaging studies, and how they are able to uncover the mechanics underlying and overcoming what to some seems to be the insurmountable problem of learning to read. When I spoke with Sally Shaywitz from her home near Yale University in August 2003, we began when I asked her to describe dyslexia.

The books Dr. Sally Shaywitz recommends are “Emperor of Ocean Park,” by Stephen Carter and “Samaritan,” by Richard Price.

This program was originally broadcast August 5, 2003. 

Click here to listen to the program or on the media player below.

Wolbach, Dr. Dean — The Air We Breathe

We all know that there are various forms of air pollution that affect our health and the health of our environment, but what do we really breathe? What is in the air that we breathe?

In this archive edition of Radio Curious, recorded in the Radio Curious studios on January 9, 2009 we visit with Dr. Dean Wolbach, a former Air Pollution Control Officer for Mendocino County. Our conversation focused on the different types of air pollution and how they affect us both globally and at the local level.  We began by asking Dr. Wolbach to provide an overview of air quality issues across history, through to the present day, here, in Mendocino.


The books Dr. Dean Wolbach recommends are “Dreams Of My Father,” and “The Audacity Of Hope,” by President Barack Obama, “Samuel Adams: A Life,” by Ira Stoll and “Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln,” by Doris Kearns Goodwin.

Click here to listen or on the media player below.