Ginger Campbell Celebrates Five Years of Podcasting (BI 45)

Ginger Campbell and GretaIn December 2006 I launched 2 podcasts: Books and Ideas and the Brain Science Podcast. In Episode 45 of Books and Ideas I take a few minutes to look back on my five years in podcasting and to thank some of my many guests.

 

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Show Notes:

The focus of this episode was to thank each of the 33 people who have been featured on Books and Ideas so far. 

  • Historians: Matthew Cobb, Holly Tucker, and Jennifer Michael Hecht
  • Scientists: Lee Silver, Pamela Gay, Robert Schleip, Eugenie Scott, Les Johnson, Daniel George, Sheril Kirshenbaum, and Frank Wilczek
  • Philosophers: Massimo Pigliucci and Tom Clark
  • Physicians: Paul Offit, Robert Martenson, Neel Varshney, and Steven Novella
  • Fiction Writers: Mur Lafferty, Christiana Ellis, Scott Sigler, Tabitha Grace Smith, Skyler White, and Karen Traviss
  • Psychologists: Delany Dean, Eric Maisel, Bruce Hood and Carol Tavris
  • Other Writers: Dan Ariely, Sue Bailey, and Carmen Flowers 
  • Special Guests: Patrick Pricken, Kirk McElhearn and Kyla Duffy

Click here for a complete list of guests (in alphabetical order).

Click here for a complete list of episodes.

Announcements:

 

Brain Networks with Olaf Sporns (BSP 74)

Olaf Sporns, PhDNetworks of the Brain by Olaf Sporns is an excellent comprehensive introduction to the use of Network Theory to study both the brain and the nervous systems of invertebrates. In Episode 74 of the Brain Science Podcast I interviewed Dr. Sporns (Indiana University) about some of the key ideas in his book. Network Theory is becoming increasingly important as a tool for dealing with the massive amaounts of data being generated by current techniques, such as brain imaging. It is also a valuable tool with dealing with the fact that nervous systems consist of multiple scales (from the molecular level up to billions of neurons), which can not be reduced to a single scale.

While Networks of the Brain will be of greatest interest to those working in neuroscience and to those with a background in fields like engineering, mathematics, and computer science, this interview provides an introduction for listeners of all backgrounds.

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Click here for detailed show notes including a free episode transcript.

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Schedule for Dragon*Con 2010

Thursday I will be heading to Atlanta, Georgia for Dragon*Con 2010. I will be on several panels and I will be doing two live interviews that will be posted later as podcasts. Here is my official schedule: Please note that I did not write most of these descriptions! Title: Popular Psychology Myths Description: Pop Psychology is a confusing mixture of myth and science. Learn how to tell the difference and Why it Matters. Time: Fri 11:30 am Location: 207 / 206 / 205 - Hilton (Length: 1 Hour) ------------------- Title: Skepticism and Sexuality Description: When do we get skeptical about sex, the media? When alien cults want to save African clitorises, this panel is here to discuss the facts. Time: Fri 10:00 pm Location: 207 / 206 / 205 - Hilton (Length: 1 Hour) Fridays panels are in the Skeptic Track. Pop Psycology Myths is an interview with Dr. Scott Lillienfeld, co-author of 50 Great Myths of Popular Psychology: Shattering Widespread Misconceptions about Human Behavior. An edited version of this interview will be posted at http://brainsciencepodcast.com in mid-late September. ------------------- Title: Oil Disasters Description: Oil disasters, effects of spills on humans and environment, peak oil crisis, nothing is sacred on this topic! Time: Sat 02:30 pm Location: L508 - Marriott (Length: 1 Hour) ------------------- Title: Global Insurgency Open Discussion Description: Open discussion on the effects of terror strikes.  Medical, sociological, and financial effects on the military, the public and the infrastructure Time: Sat 05:30 pm Location: L508 - Marriott (Length: 1 Hour) Saturday's panels are in the Apocalypse Rising track. I have never been to this track, so it should be an interesting change of pace. ------------------- Title: Books and Ideas Podcast Description: Join host Dr. Ginger Campbell interviews author Skyler White about her book "and Falling, Fly." I will also be interviewing Christiana Ellis. Time: Sun 08:30 pm Location: 204 - Hilton (Length: 1 Hour) This interview will be conducted in the Podcasting Track and the edited version will appear in the Books and Ideas podcast feed in October.
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Philosophy of Science with Massimo Pigliucci (podcast 37)

Ginger and Massimo Nonsense on Stilts: How to Tell Science from Bunk by scientist-turned-philosopher, Massimo Pigliucci is an excellent discussion of the challenges faced by the average non-scientist in today's information-rich world. After explaining what distinguishes science from pseudoscience (a major source of "bunk"), his book gives practical advice about trusting experts. (hint: having a PhD doesn't make one an expert!) Pigliucci also discussed these themes during a talk he gave last month at The Amazing Meeting 8, which was held in Las Vegas, NV. That's where I recorded the interview that I am posting today as Books and Ideas Episode 37. The focus of the interview is the role of philosophy of science in today's complex world.

Listen to Episode 37 of Books and Ideas

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Episode 37 Show Notes:

Further Reading: Announcements:
  • The next episode of Books and Ideas will be recorded LIVE at 8:30 PM (Eastern Time) Sunday September 5 at Dragon*Con in Atlanta, Georgia. I will be interviewing novelists Skyler White and Christiana Ellis.
  • I am also scheduled to interview Dr. Scott Lilenfield co-author of 50 Great Myths of Popular Psychology: Shattering Widespread Misconceptions about Human Behavior. This interview will be posted in the Brain Science Podcast feed in late September.
  • For updates please subscribe to Ginger Campbell's newsletter.
  • You can now stream or download episodes and transcripts of this podcast directly to your iPhone®, Touch® or iPad® using the Books and Ideas application.
  • Please share Books and Ideas with your friends and don't forget to leave reviews in the iTunes® Store.

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Jaak Panksepp Explores Animal Emotions (BSP 65)

Episode 65 of the Brain Science Podcast is an interview with Jaak Panksepp, PhD, author of Affective Neuroscience: The Foundations of Human and Animal Emotions. Dr. Panksepp has done pioneering work on the neural origins of emotions. In this interview we discuss how his work challenges some of the common assumptions about emotions and some of the important implications of his discoveries. New listeners may want to go back and listen to Episode 11 for an introduction to the neuroscience of emotion. listen-to-audio Listen to Episode 65
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Dr. Robert Martensen Returns to Books and Ideas (B&I 29)

life-worth-living In Episode 29 of Books and Ideas Robert Martensen, MD returns to talk about his book A Life Worth Living: A Doctor's Reflections on Illness in a High-Tech Era. Last month we talked about Dr. Martensen's career as both an emergency physician and as an historian. This month we concentrate on the issues facing patients with life threatening illnesses, including making decisions about end of life care. Dr. Martensen and I agree that the American emphasis on high tech care tends to ignore the needs of people in these situations. We discuss the importance of better communication between physicians and patients as well as the need for fundamental changes in our system.

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ninakimberlythemerciless This episode includes a short promo for Nina Kimberly the Merciless by Christiana Ellis. You can learn more about Christiana's work at http://ninakimberly.com.

Send feedback to Dr. Campbell at gincampbell at mac dot com or join the Discussion Forum at http://brainscienceforum.com

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Neurophsychologist Chris Frith, PhD (BSP 57)

frith Episode 57 of the Brain Science Podcast is an interview with neuropsychologist Dr. Chris Frith, author of Making up the Mind: How the Brain Creates Our Mental World. Our brain processes information about the world outside us (via our senses) in the same way that it processes information from within our bodies and from our own mental world. In this interview Dr. Frith and I explore the implications from recent discoveries about how our brain generates our mental world.

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For detailed show notes and links go to http://brainsciencepodcast.com.

Send feedback to Dr. Campbell at gincampbell at mac.com or join the Discussion Forum at http://brainscienceforum.com.

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Pioneering Neuroscientist Eve Marder, PhD (BSP 56)

evemarder2 Episode 56 of the Brain Science Podcast is an interview with neuroscientist, Eve Marder, PhD. Dr. Marder has spent 35 years studying the somatogastric ganglion of the lobster. In this interview we talk about how she got into neuroscience during its early days, her recent tenure as president of the Society for Neuroscience, and how some of her key discoveries have implications for studying more complex nervous systems.

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Jennifer Michael Hecht: Historian & Poet (B&I 27)

jmhecht Episode 27 of Books and Ideas is an interview with Jennifer Michael Hecht, author of Doubt: A History: The Great Doubters and Their Legacy of Innovation from Socrates and Jesus to Thomas Jefferson and Emily Dickinson and The Happiness Myth. As a poet and historian Hecht brings a unique perspective to her examination of the role of science in modern society. She also shares how writing Doubt changed her attitude toward religion. I have wanted to interview Jennifer for several years so I was very grateful that my recent appearance on Point of Inquiry led to this conversation. Hecht earned her PhD in the History of Science and while Doubt was an examination of the history of belief (and non-belief), she said that The Happiness Myth shares  key ideas from the history of science. Hecht argues convincingly that the arrogance of modern science can not be justified,  because history shows how much science, despite its best efforts, is always influenced by the cultural fads of its time. She feels that this knowledge could free us from unnecessary guilt, but that it should also motivate us to question our priorities (such as placing so much emphasis on long life instead of the quality of life). You won't want to miss this thought-provoking conversation.

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Dr. Michael Merzenich on Brain Plasiticity (BSP 54)

bsp-300-hi Brain Science Podcast #54 is an interview with Dr. Michael Merzenich, one of the pioneers of neuroplasticity. We talk about how the success of the cochlear implant revealed unexpected plasticity in adult brains and about how brain plasticity can be tapped to improve a wide variety of problems including dyslexia, autism, damage from disease and injury. Healthy people of all ages can also tap the resource of brain plasticity to help maintain and improve their mental functions.

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Go to Brain Science Podcast website for show notes and links.

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Vaccines DO NOT cause Autism (B&I 25)

offit-1 Paul Offit, MD Episode 25 of Books and Ideas is an interview with Dr. Paul Offit, author of Autism's False Prophets: Bad Science, Risky Medicine, and the Search for a Cure. I consider this the most important episode that I have ever released because despite overwhelming scientific evidence that shows NO connection between vaccines and autism, vaccine opponents continue to discourage parents from having their children vaccinated against preventable and potentially fatal childhood diseases. Epidemics of measles and hemophilis influenza type B meningitis are beginning to emerge among unvaccinated children. In this interview we talk about the scientific evidence that vaccines DO NOT cause autism, but we also examine why the controversy continues despite the evidence. Most importantly we examine the growing threat posed by the increasing number of unvaccinated children in the US. As Dr. Offit observes "The threat is not theoretical anymore." It is very real.

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ADDITIONAL SHOW NOTES

I recommend Dr. Offit's book Autism's False Prophets to everyone because of its thorough examination of the vaccine-autism controversy. He examines the evidence from both sides, while showing compassion for why parents are easily confused and frightened by claims that physicians and scientists have dismissed. The book is unlikely to dissuade those who are convinced by the tactics of vaccine opponents, but it will be a valuable resource to parents who want a clear explanation that includes a sober account of the risks of not vaccinating their children. Physicians and scientists will also benefit from reading this book because it provides an important case study in how lack of scientific literacy can threaten public health.

Links:

References:

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Follow-up interview with Frank Wilczek (B&I 24)

wilczek Episode 24 of Books and Ideas is a follow-up interview with Nobel Prize winning physicist. Dr. Frank Wilczek. We discuss the questions that we didn't get around to in Episode 23, including the 2008 Nobel Prize in Physics, String Theory, and dark matter and dark energy. Dr. Wilczek also answers some questions from listeners and tells us a little about his current work.

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Click here if you missed Dr. Wilczek's first interview

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Main Topics from this Episode:

  • 2008 Nobel Prize in Physics
  • String Theory: a look at how it differs from the standard model and the question of whether it can be tested
  • Dark Matter and Dark Energy: 95% of the matter in the universe remains unexplained!
  • Anti-matter: where science meets science fiction
  • Dr. Wilczek's research: Could axions be dark matter? Using quantum mechanics to create new electronics.
  • Questions from listeners
Announcements: Episodes 23 and 24 are based on Dr. Wilczek's excellent book:

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Brain Science Podcast Celebrates its 2nd Anniversary (BSP 52)

gin-bud08-100 Brain Science Podcast #52 is our Second Annual Review Episode. We review some of the highlights from 2008. I also discuss the various other on-line resources that I have created for listeners. Then we look ahead to what I have planned for 2009. This episode is aimed at all listeners, including those who are new to the show.

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Synapse Evolution with Dr. Seth Grant (BSP 51)

Episode 51 of the Brain Science Podcast is an interview with Dr. Seth Grant from Cambridge University, UK.  Dr. Grant's work focuses on the proteins that make up the receptors within synapses. (Synapses are the key structures by which neurons send and receive signals.) By comparing the proteins that are present in the synapses in different species Dr. Grant has come to some surprising conclusions about the evolution of the synapse and the evolution of the brain. (Read more...)

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Why everyone should read "Dreams from My Father"

During the 2004 Democratic Convention Barack Obama burst onto the US national political scene with a speech that included this line: “I stand here knowing that my story is part of the larger American story, that I owe a debt to all of those who came before me, and that in no other country on Earth is my story even possible.” (Click here for full transcript.) Reading Dreams from My Father gives readers an important glimpse of part of that story. This autobiography was originally published in 1995, shortly after Obama became the first black editor of the prestigious Harvard Law Review. Because it was written before he entered politics, we are given an unusually candid account of his youth and young manhood, which included drugs, personal doubts, and a search for his identity as a black man in America. It is the unusual candor of his writing that leads me to recommend  Dreams From My Father to readers of all colors and political persuasions. In The Audacity of Hope, which was published to support Obama’s run for President, one gains an appreciation for his unique blend of idealism and pragmatism, but Dreams From My Father provides a glimpse into how he became the man who defied the odds to become the first Black President of the United States. As a white American I gained a new appreciation of the inner struggles of Black Americans, but I also got the impression that because Obama was raised by his white mother and grandparents, he has the ability to see past issues of race. This ability is one that our nation sorely needs to move forward in tackling the problems that face people of all races and backgrounds. Watching the crowds on election night I was struck by the joy and hope I saw on the faces of young people, both black and white. I think this book is the sort of book one should share with young people because it speaks to the search for identity that drives many young people. One does not get the sense one is reading the autobiography of a future president. Rather it could be any young man’s story. What about those who voted for McCain and who are afraid that Obama is some sort of left-wing radical? Instead of listening to Rush Limbaugh (and others) I would encourage them to read Obama’s words for themselves.
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Dr. Brenda Milner: Pioneer of Memory Research (BSP 49)

Brain Science Podcast #49 is an interview with pioneering neuroscientist, Brenda Milner, PhD. Dr. Milner is known for her contributions to understanding memory and her work with split-brain patients. Her work as an experimental psychologist has been fundamental to the emergence of the field of cognitive neuroscience. This interview is a follow-up of Dr. Milner's recent interview with Dr. Marc Pelletier on Futures in Biotech. I highly recommend listening to both interviews.

Listen to Episode 49 of the Brain Science Podcast

Listen to Dr. Milner on Futures in Biotech (Episode33)

Click here for detailed show notes and links.

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Interview with Nobel Physicist Frank Wilczek (B&I 23)

Episode 23 of Books and Ideas is an interview with Frank Wilczek, PhD from MIT. Dr. Wilczek won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 2004 and recently published an excellent book aimed at general readers: Lightness of Being: Mass, Ether, and the Unification of Forces. This book provides an excellent review of current ideas about the meaning of both matter and space. In his interview Dr. Wilczek helps us understand the current evidence that matter is actually made of particles that are massless. He says "I jokingly say that the more important law is Einstein's Second Law m=E/c² (which is of course just a rearrangement of E=mc²) but this suggests that what we really should be doing is not explaining energy in terms of mass, but explaining mass in terms of energy." The second surprisingly concept that Dr. Wilczek helps us tackle in this interview is the idea that space is not empty. "Space is a medium with a variety of properties that make it, not only an important component of reality, but really the primary component of reality." These ideas are supported by experimental evidence, but the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) near Geneva, Switzerland is expected to expand knowledge even further. The purpose of the LHC is a main focus of this interview. Dr. Wilczek has agreed to come back on Books and Ideas to answer questions about dark matter and string theory.

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Additional Show Notes and Links: Frank Wilczek, PhD Other podcasts mentioned in this episode Recommended Reading: Announcements:

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Our "Big Brain" with Dr. Gary Lynch (BSP 48)

Episode 48 of the Brain Science Podcast is an interview with Gary Lynch, PhD, co-author of Big Brain: The Origins and Future of Human Intelligence. While it is generally agreed that one of the most striking features of the human brain is its large size, not everyone agrees about how and why our brains came to be so large. In this interview Dr. Lynch presents some rather radical theories about how the human brain evolved. We discuss the pros and cons of his theories as well as the challenges faced by researchers trying to work in this field.

Listen to Episode 48

Visit the Brain Science Podcast website for detailed Show Notes and Links.

The next episode of the Brain Science Podcast will be an interview with Dr. Brenda Milner. This interview will is a follow-up to Marc Pelletier's excellent interview of Dr. Milner on Futures in Biotech: http://www.twit.tv/fib33.

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