Blaise, Clark: The Creation of Standard Time

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Not such a long time ago, time was an arbitrary measure decided by each community without consideration of other localities.

In this edition of Radio Curious, we visit with Clark Blaise, author of “Time Lord: Sir Sandford Fleming and the Creation of Standard Time.”

In the mid 19th century, with the advent of continent-spanning railroads and transatlantic steamers, the myriad of local times became a mind-boggling obstacle and the rational ordering of time to some became an urgent priority for transportation and commerce. Standard Time was established in 1884, leading to an international uniformity for telling time. Arguably, the uniformity of time was a “crowning achievement” of Victorian progressiveness, one of the few innovations of that time to have survived unchanged into the 21st century.

Under the leadership of Sir Sandford Fleming, amid political rancor of delegates from industrializing nations, an agreement was reached to establish the Greenwich Prime Meridian passing through Greenwich, England and the International Date Line that wanders it way through the Pacific Ocean. The 1884 agreement resulted in a uniform system of world-wide time zones that exists today.

I had a good time visiting with Clark Blaise in the spring of 2001 as we discussed how our current notion of time was established. We began when I asked him to explain what standard time is.

This interview with Clark Blaise, author of “Time Lord: Sir Sandford Fleming and the Creation of Standard Time,” was recorded in the spring of 2001 and first broadcast in the last week of 2011.

The book Clark Blaise recommends is “Time of Our Singing,” by Richard Powers.

Scott, Jack: Harvesting Redwood Trees, Without a Chain Saw

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The California coastal redwood trees are some of the oldest living things in the world. Other than cutting the tree down, the best way to determine their age, or the age of any tree is with an incremental borer. That’s a long narrow tube twisted into the tree from the bark to the pitch at the center of the tree.  A small finger-size “wooden rod” is removed revealing one line which represents one tree ring is then removed and counted.  Each tree ring represents one year of the tree’s life.

Though few old growth redwood forests exist now, some of the remaining redwoods are estimated to be close to 2000 years old.  Although that is easy to say, it is beyond my ken to fathom.
96 year old Jack Scott of Ukiah, California, is our guest on this edition of Radio Curious.  In 1936 before the era of the chain-saw, Scott harvested old growth redwoods beginning at 15 years old.  Part of the harvest process was to push and then pull one end of a two-person hand-saw. When Scott visited the Radio Curious studios on November 12, 2017, we began when I asked him to describe working in the woods at that time.

The books Jack Scott recommends are those written by Louis Lamore.

Leinen, George: A Mortician’s Philosophy

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Radio Curious discusses the funeral industry in the United States with the owner of a mortuary in a rural northern California town. As professionals describe their work and philosophy, George Leinen, owner of Empire Mortuary in Ukiah, California since 2000, joins us in this edition of Radio Curious to share his thoughts and experiences. We discuss funeral industry trade associations, business practices in some sectors of the industry, and how our guest’s philosophy evolved. In this program, recorded in the studios of Radio Curious on September 21, 2013 we began our visit when I asked George Leinen to describe embalming, what it is, and why it’s done.

The book George Leinen recommends is “The American Way of Death,” by Jessica Mitford.

Dr. Arthur Janov, Dr. France Janov: Remembering the Debunked “Primal Scream” Founder

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In this edition of Radio Curious we re-visit our December 2006 interview with Dr. Arthur Janov, author of The Primal Scream,  who died on October 1, 2017, at his home in Malibu, California.  A detailed obituary may be found in the October 4, 2017, on line edition of the New York Times. (https://mobile.nytimes.com/2017/10/02/obituaries/arthur-janov-dead-developed-primal-scream-therapy.html)

Together with his wife Dr. France Janov, they asserted that the best emotional healing is obtained by reaching back to the point of injury that formed an initial imprint of the pain, claiming that pain often originates in the womb or in early childhood. Their work centered on a belief that repeated piercing screams focused on early trauma would free a person of physical and psychological pain.

Their therapeutic method has been repeatedly debunked and discredited by colleagues and the psychiatric establishment, as described in the journal “Professional Psychology: Research and Practice,” and the American Psychiatric Association. The criticism focused on the lack of any independent, controlled studies demonstrating the Janov therapy’s effectiveness.  Janov also listed homosexuality among the ailments that primal therapy could “cure,” and continued to list it long after the American Psychiatric Association declassified it as a psychiatric disorder in 1973.Nonetheless, his patients included John Lennon, Yoko Ono, James Earl Jones and the pianist Roger Williams.

I spoke with Dr. Arthur Janov and Dr. France Janov, in December 2006, from their home in Santa Monica, California, and began when I asked them to explain how initial imprints in a person’s life can be the cause of lifelong pain.

The books Dr. Arthur Janov recommended are:  “Hostile Takeover: How Big Money and Corruption Conquered Our Government–And How We Take It Back,” by Davod Sirota, and “Overthrow: America’s Century of Regime Change from Hawaii to Iraq,” by Steven Kinzer.

The books Dr. France Janov recommended are: “Matisse,”  by Volkmar Essers, and “Puccini: A Biography” by Mary Jane Phillips-Matz and William Weaver.

This program was recorded on December 16, 2006.

Lacy, Dr. Betty: Alzheimer’s Disease: A Psychiatrist’s Personal Perspective — Part Two

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In our continuing series on dementia we present two interviews 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.

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.

Dr. Lacy 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.

The book Dr. 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.

Lacy, Dr. Betty: Alzheimer’s Disease: A Psychiatrist’s Personal Perspective — Part One

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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 about Alois Alheimers, a German psychiatrist and neuropathologist. He’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 also explains the benefits of being tested and identifies specific ways to retard and possibly prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s.

When Betty Lacy visited Radio Curious on July 7, 2017, we began 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.

Owen, Dr. Adrian: In a Coma and Conscious: Communicating with the Comatose

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Approximately twenty percent 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.

For more information about Dr. Adrian Owen visit his website: http://www.owenlab.uwo.ca/

Dvorak, John Ph.D.: Earthquakes: Why and When?

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To many of us who live along the coast of California, earthquakes are a living legend. Much of that legend is closely associated with the San Andreas Fault, a line that runs roughly 800 miles through California, forming the tectonic boundary between the Pacific and North American Plates.

As you might expect, this edition of Radio Curious is about earthquakes. Our guest is John Dvorak, Ph.D., a geophysicist and author of Earthquake Storms: The Fascinating History and Volatile Future of the San Andreas Fault. He is currently employed by the United States Geological Survey, working for the Institute for Astronomy in Hilo, Hawaii. He previously taught at the University of Hawaii, UCLA, Washington University in St. Louis, and at the Smithsonian Institute.

Barry visited with Dr. Dvorak on October 31st of 2014, from his office in Hilo, Hawaii. The book John Dvorak recommends is Daughters of Fire, by Tom Peek.

Slater, Linda: Death Valley: The Hottest Place on Earth, and the Driest and Lowest Place in North America

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Death Valley, the hottest place on earth and the driest and lowest place in North America is a spectacularly beautiful 3.4 million acre National Park.  91% of this outdoor “classroom,” has been designated as a Wilderness and protected by Congress.

Our guest in this edition of Radio Curious is Linda Slater, a National Park Ranger for the past 30 years and currently the Chief of Interpretation at Death Valley National Park.

In this wildly beautiful and dangerously hot place is the lowest point in North America– at 282 feet below sea level. Death Valley, replete with rolling sand dunes, deep winding smooth marble canyons, spring-fed oases, and crusted barren salt flats averages 2 inches of rain per year.

We visited with Linda Slater on March 15, 2017, in the Radio Curious mobile studio. While parked next to a rock strewn area, so white that it appeared to be covered in snow, yet the outside temperature was 100 degrees, our conversation began with Linda Slater’s description of that white material.

Tracy, Dr. Jessica: Pride: The Most Human Emotion

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The science of pride, authentic pride and hubristic pride is the topic of this edition of Radio Curious. Our guest, Dr. Jessica Tracy, (http://ubc-emotionlab.ca/people/dr-jessica-tracy/) is the author of Take Pride: Why the Deadliest Sin Holds the Secret to Human Success. She is a professor of psychology at the University of British Columbia, in Vancouver, Canada and directs the Emotion & Self Lab as part of her work.

In “Take Pride” Tracy explains her research, partially conducted in the most rural areas of the West African nation of Burkina Faso, in Athens, Greece among the athletes who participated in the 2004 Olympic Games, and at the with blind athletes at the Paralympic Games. Her findings substantiated that pride is an emotion experienced and similarly expressed by all human beings: Chest-expanded, shoulders-back and broad smile.

With pride as a cross cultural human emotion I became curious as to why pride is considered a sin by some. So when Jessica Tracy and I visited by phone from her office in Vancouver, British Columbia, on November 11, 2016, that’s where we began,

The book Jessica Tracy recommends is The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature, by Steven Pinker.

This program was recorded on November 11, 2016