Wells, Spencer — The Unforseen Cost of Civilization

In this edition of Radio Curious we revisit a conversation with Spencer Wells about his book, “Pandora’s Seed: The Unforeseen Cost of Civilization,” published in 2010.

Our interview is a follow-up to a 2003 conversation about his book, “The Journey of Man: A Genetic Odyssey,” in which Wells traces our routes as small bands of hunter-gatherers when our ancestors walked out of Africa approximately 60,000 years ago and began populating the world.

“Pandora’s Seed” tells the story of what we humans, with our hunter-gatherer biological construct have created in the past 10,000 years. These multiple life style changes have produced what we call “civilization,” with systems and mechanisms that will not allow us to continue the life-styles that are emulated by many people world-wide, and exploited by those who have access to them. In other words, we can’t last much longer doing what we are doing without radically reducing the way we all live, if not outright killing our species.

Spencer Well is an Explorer-in-Residence at the National Geographic Society in Washington, D.C., where he leads the Genographic Project, which is collecting and analyzing hundreds of thousands of DNA samples from people around the wold in order to decipher how our ancestors populated the world. He is also a professor a Cornell University in Ithaca, New York.

In this interview with Spencer Wells, recorded on July 19, 2010, we began by describing the changes necessary for our species survival.

The book Spencer Wells recommends is “The Histories,” by Herodotus, a 5th century B.C. Greek historian.

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Hong Fincher, Leta Ph.D. — Gender Inequality in China: Part Two Workplace Disparity

Welcome to part two of our conversations about the erosion of gender equality in China with our guest Leta Hong Fincher, the author of “Leftover Women: The Resurgence of Gender Inequality in China”. Her book is based in part on her research for the Ph.D. in sociology she received in 2014 from Tsinghua University in Beijing, China.

In this 2nd conversation we discuss the extent of what if anything is done about domestic violence in China, the difference in the retirement ages for women and men and the requirement that women submit to a gynecological examination before obtaining a civil service job.

When Leta Hong Fincher and I visited by phone on August 9, 2014 we began with a discussion of domestic violence in China.

The book Leta Hong Fincher recommends is “The Birth of Chinese Feminism: Essential Texts in Transnational Theory,” by Lydia H. Liu, Rebecca E. Karl and Dorothy Ko.

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

Click here to listen to part one.

Hong Fincher, Leta Ph.D. — Gender Inequality in China: Part One Leftover Women

The erosion of gender equality in China is the topic of this two part series with Leta Hong Fincher, the author of “Leftover Women: The Resurgence of Gender Inequality in China.” This book is based in part on her research for the Ph.D. in sociology she received in 2014 from Tsinghua University in Beijing, China.

In our first conversation we discuss governmental, social and family pressures on women to marry by age 27. Those who don’t are characterized in cartoons and posters as “leftover women.” We also discuss the why home ownership deeds are most often only recorded in the name of the husband, regardless of the fact the wife has made a significant if not great financial contribution.

In the second conversation, we discuss issues of domestic violence in China and treatment of women in the workplace.

When Leta Hong Fincher and I visited by phone on August 9, 2014 we began our conversation with her description of the term “leftover women.”

The book Leta Hong Fincher recommends is “The Birth of Chinese Feminism: Essential Texts in Transnational Theory,” by Lydia H. Liu, Rebecca E. Karl and Dorothy Ko.

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

Brown, Seyom — The International Responsibility to Protect

The “responsibility to protect,” established by the United Nations, is a governmental duty to respect and protect international human rights. This responsibility, its adoption, and how countries, especially the United States exercise it, is the topic of our second, 2014 conversation with Dr. Seyom Brown.

Dr. Brown is currently an adjunct senior fellow at the American Security Project, in Washington, D.C. He has previously held senior research and policy analysis positions at the RAND Corporation, the Brookings Institution, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and the Kennedy School of Government. He has also served as a Special Assistant in the Office of International Security Affairs at the Department of Defense, and to the Director of Policy Planning in the Department of State. Dr. Brown has taught at Harvard, Brandeis, John Hopkins, Columbia, University of Chicago, and UCLA. He is the author of twelve books on the United States’ foreign policy and international relations.

When Dr. Brown visited Radio Curious on July 4, 2014, we began this conversation with his description of “responsibility to protect” and the history of how it was established.

The book Dr. Seyom Brown recommends is “Five Myths About Nuclear Weapons,” by Ward Wilson.

You also may hear our first 2014 conversation about the contradictions of United States’ nuclear policy here and two 1995 Radio Curious interviews with Dr. Seyom Brown discussing then President Bill Clinton’s foreign policy here.

For full disclosure, Dr. Seyom Brown is the uncle to Radio Curious host and producer, Barry Vogel.

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

Rosenwasser, Penny — From Fear to Love: A Judaic Perspective

When Penny Rosenwasser, our guest in this edition of Radio Curious, was a child in the suburbs of Virginia, people sometimes said, “You don’t look Jewish.”  She replied, “Thank you.” 

Her book, “Hope into Practice: Jewish Women Choosing Justice Despite Our Fears,” delves into the Jewish experience and its rich yet tragic cultural history. She explores internalized oppression and ways to face fear with a positive outcome, and describes steps to embrace who we are as a means to create a world based on love, tolerance and justice.

I spoke with Penny Rosenwasser from her home near San Francisco, California on May 5, 2014.  She began our conversation by describing a major theme of her book.

Penny Rosenwasser will be speaking in Redwood Valley, on May 18, at 4pm at Kol-ha-Emek 8591 West Road. Call 707 468 4536 for details.

The book she recommends is “The Colors of Jews: Racial Politics and Radical Diasporism,” by Melanie Kaye/Kantrowitz.

Click here or on the media player below to listen.

Blevis, Marcianne — Jealousy

Are you jealous?  Have you ever been?  Do you know the origin of your jealousy? Jealousy often goes hand in hand with feelings of love, but where does this emotion come from, and how can we manage it?

In this edition of Radio Curious we visit with Marcianne Blevis, author of “Jealousy: True Stories of Love’s Favorite Decoy.”  In this book Marcianne Blevis,  a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst who lives and works in Paris, France, reveals different ways jealousy affects different people and suggests methods to understand and manage what can be a very destructive yet elusive emotion.

She examines the deeper consequences of jealousy and inquires if jealousy is useful to us, and is this ‘extraordinary passion’ in reality ‘a strategy for survival’.

I spoke with Marcianne Blevis from her home in Paris, France on February 2, 2009, and began by asking her to explain what jealousy is?

The book Marcianne Blevis recommends is “Aux confins de l’identité” (title translated by Marcianne Blevis as “At the Frontier of Identity”) by Michel De M’uzan. This book is currently published only in French.

Click here or on the media player below to listen.

Cochran, Gregory — The 10,000 Year Explosion – How Civilization Accelerated Human Evolution Part Two

In this, the second of two Radio Curious interviews, we continue our discussion of human evolution with Gregory Cochran an aerospace physicist and professor of anthropology at the University of Utah; his expertise is in genetic anthropology. Gregory Cochran along with Henry Harpending, also a Professor of Anthropology at the University of Utah, are the co-authors of the 2009 book “The 10,000 Year Explosion – How Civilization Accelerated Human Evolution.” This book explores how humans appear to have evolved over the last 10,000 years, largely driven by civilization-the place, culture and lifestyle of the time.

In this two part conversation, recorded by phone with Gregory Cochran from his home in Albuquerque, New Mexico on February 23rd, 2009, we discuss how humans have genetically evolved.

In part one we discussed the changes in human biology such as lactose tolerance and resistance to malaria that represent human evolution accelerated by civilization. We also discussed the intermixing of neanderthals and humans and the genetic benefits in our species that continue to this day.

In part two, Cochran discusses how gene mutations have allowed specific human advantages in different locations around the world.   We began with his discussion of the migration of the human species out of Africa, which resulted in some people living in the northern latitudes.  People born in these areas with a random genetic mutation resulting in skin of a lighter color allowed them to absorb more vitamin D from the sun, thus giving them better health and a greater opportunity to have off spring. We also discuss the genetic mutations that contribute to certain types of intelligence.

The book Gregory Cochran recommends is”Tthe Princeton Companion to Mathematics,” edited by Timothy Gowers.

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

Cochran, Gregory — The 10,000 Year Explosion – How Civilization Accelerated Human Evolution Part One

Have humans changed in the last 10,000 years?  Are we biologically the same as we have been for the past 60,000 years? Recent evidence suggests that so called civilization has promoted rapid evolutionary change in our species in the last 10,000 years.

In this edition of Radio Curious we visit with Gregory Cochran, a physicist and anthropologist, who is the co-author of the book “The 10,000 Year Explosion – How Civilization Accelerated Human Evolution”.  His book asserts that changes in human biology, lactose tolerance and resistance to malaria for example, represent human evolution accelerated by civilization.

In this, the first of two Radio Curious conversations with Gregory Cochran we discuss some of these evolutions.

In part two we discuss the evolution and genetic mutations of race and physiology.

I spoke with Gregory Cochran from his home in Albuquerque, New Mexico on February 23, 2009 and began by asking him what biological indications exist to show an increase in human evolution in the past 10,000 years and why they occurred.

The book Gregory Cochran recommends is “Twilight of the Mammoths: Ice Age Extinctions and the Re-Wilding of America” by Paul S. Martin

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

Binder, Mark & Freund, Hugo — Latkes & Turkey: A Holiday Special

The Jewish celebration of Hanukkah which means “dedication” in Hebrew, commemorates the rededication during the second century B.C. of the Second Temple in Jerusalem, where according to legend Jews had risen up against their Greek-Syrian oppressors in the Maccabean Revolt. It begins every year on the 25th day of Kislev and usually falls in November or December.  The Jewish calendar is based on lunar cycles, and Hanukkah, often called the Festival of LIghts always starts five days prior to the last new moon before the winter solstice.

Thanksgiving is a celebration common to cultures and religions world wide, often after harvest.  It is held in the United States on the fourth Thursday of November which. 

In this the Hebrew calendar year 5774 and the Gregorian calendar year 2013 these two holidays converge with Thanksgiving falling on the second day of Hannukah.  Thus some people will eat latkas, also known as potato pancakes, with turkey and/or stuffing. 

In this edition of Radio Curious we combine two archive editions and tell the story of two very fun holidays.  We start with our 2011 conversation with Mark Binder, author of “A Hanukkah Present!” followed by a 2002 conversation with Professor Hugo Freund about the history of Thanksgiving in the United States.

We begin with Mark Binder explaining the purpose of telling stories around Hanukkah.

We continue with a 2002 visit about the roots of Thanksgiving with Sociology Professor Hugo Freund recorded in a noise hotel lobby at the American Anthropology Association in New Orleans, Louisiana.  

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Organic Grapes, Wine & Charlie Barra

One might say that wine is the life blood of Charlie Barra, the founder of Barra of Mendocino Organic Wines.  He’s our guest on this edition of Radio Curious.

Barra was born in 1928, close to his winery, about five miles north of Ukiah, in Mendocino County, California.  His parents, both immigrants from the Piedmont region of Italy, had a long history in the vineyards and grew only organic grapes.  Barra continues that policy now in his vineyards and grows only certified-organic crops.

He says that for the past 67 years he never missed a harvest, claiming that pay day comes once a year, after the harvest is sold.

Charlie Barra and I visited in the kitchen of his home in Ukiah, California on November 1, 2013, and began our conversation with stories of his early memories.

Click here to listen or on the media player below.

Click here to download the podcast.