Brodie, Richard: How Ideas Travel

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The Virus of the Mind

The developing field of science called the science of memetics is based on evolution, studies memes: how they interact, replicate, and evolve. The biological definition of a meme is a basic unit of cultural transmission. The psychological definition of a meme is a unit of cultural heredity analogous to the gene, the internal representation of knowledge. A working definition of a meme is a unit of information in a mind whose existence influences events such that more copies of itself get created in other minds. “The Virus of the Mind” is a book devoted to the study of memetics and memes and was written by Richard Brodie, who also was a writer of the first version of Microsoft Word. He was our guest for this edition of Radio Curious that was originally broadcast in July of 1996. We began when I asked him what is the importance of studying memetics.

Richard Brodie recommends “The Lucifer Principle: A Scientific Expedition into the Forces of History” by Howard Bloom.

Originally Broadcast: July 31, 1996

Darnton, John: 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.

O’Brien, Dennis: Protecting Outer Space for Humanity

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The 2018 International Astronomical Conference held in Bremen, Germany, during the first week of October, 2018, was attended by approximately 2000 people from over 100 counties from the planet earth.

One of the attendees is Dennis O’Brien, a retired Ukiah California, attorney. He was presenter at the International Astronomical Conference and is our guest on this edition of Radio Curious.

The paper O’Brien presented focuses on the future of space law.  He addressed potential issues as humanity goes into outer space, and concepts on how to structure a new treaty to protect humanity, while at the same time allowing for the development of outer space commerce.  For on-line information contact spacetreaty.com, or spacetreaty.org for O’Brien’s work.

Dennis O’Brien is a retired Ukiah, California attorney.  O’Brien attended the 2018 International Astronomical Conference held in Bremen, Germany, where he presented a paper addressing the future of space law, and how to protect humanity’s interests, while at the same time allowing for the development of outer space commerce.  For on-line information contact spacetreaty.com, or spacetreaty.org for O’Brien’s work.

The books Dennis O’Brien recommends are: “Stranger in a Strange Land,” by Robert A. Heinlein, and “The Foundation Novels,” by Issac Azimov.

This program was recorded on October 20, 2018.

McPherson, Professor Guy: Abrupt Climate Change Part 2: How to deal with it

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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.
Additional information about abrupt climate change may be found in the following four links
President of Finland talking to Trump; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LDSrGfdjdxA,
President of Finland in north Russia https://finlandtoday.fi/president-niinisto-in-north-russia-if-we-lose-the-arctic-we-lose-the-world/,
Human extinction by 2026 http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/50050.htm
This program was recorded on August 12, 2018.

McPherson, Professor Guy: Abrupt Climate Change

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Drastic consequences to life as we know it, here on Mother Earth are the topics of this, the first of a two part series on abrupt climate change. Once again we visit with Guy McPherson, a Professor Emeritus of Natural Resources, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the University of Arizona.

McPherson discusses how global warming is affecting climate change. He explains the physics of what will occur when the polar ice cap has melted ending its ability to reflect the heat of the sun. Instead the heat of the sun will be absorbed by the world’s oceans. McPherson predicts that could well occur by 2022 or sooner, causing the temperature of the oceans to increase.  McPherson argues that this temperature will result in the loss of the “planetary air-conditioner” and the loss of habitat for human species.

Professor Guy McPherson and I visited by phone while he was on a speaking tour, on August 12, 2018.  We began our conversation when I asked his to describe the current state of climate change, now in 2018.

Professor Guy McPherson’s website is: https://guymcpherson.com/

Information about abrupt climate change may be found here, as explained by the President of Finland to the President of the United States: https://finlandtoday.fi/president-niinisto-in-north-russia-if-we-lose-the-arctic-we-lose-the-world/
Additional information can be found here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LDSrGfdjdxA, and here from the National Academies: https://nas-sites.org/arctic-interactive/images/Arctic_Matters-booklet.pdf

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.