Tuesday, June 30, 2020

The Microbiome is Revolutionizing Medicine and Yes, Probiotics Matter

Beyond the virus we fear most, we are also surrounded by bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites. But wait, no need to reach for the Purell every time. In fact, these things represent what is called our microbiome. It accounts for as much as 90% of our cells, and its positive impact on our health is immeasurable.

However, as a result of antibiotics, the food we eat, urbanization and other wonders of modern world, we have done things in the name of “do no harm,” which just might be making us sicker.

Today, it’s as if this long-suffering field of research has suddenly been rediscovered. Back in 2016, when we had a White House that still believed in science, the office of science and technology announced a One Hundred and Twenty-One million dollar initiative for research into the microbiome.

Professor Rodney Dietert, has been doing this research and talking about this for a long time. He details it in The Human Superorganism: How The Microbiome is Revolutionizing The Pursuit of a Healthy Life.

My Conversation with Rodney Dietert:



Sunday, June 28, 2020

The Genetic Superiority of Women

In the current pandemic, we have seen men succumb to COVID 19 at far greater rates than women. A lot of theories have been expounded as to why. And many theories have to do with the disease itself and its inherent impact on the human body.

In fact, the reasons may be much more fundamental. They may be reasons that transcend the disease and may be directly related to deeper biological differences between men and women.

Differences that have applications in the treatment of virtually every disease, from colds to cancer. Clearly differences in chromosome may be the ultimate customization of medicine. Understanding this is the work of Dr. Sharon Moalem. He’s an award-winning scientist and physician whose latest book is The Better Half: On the Genetic Superiority of Women.

My conversation with Dr. Sharon Moalem:


Thursday, June 25, 2020

Lincoln Almost Never Made It To The White House

Early in his political career, before he ever became president, Lincoln said referring to America, that “a house divided against itself cannot stand.” Little did Lincoln know at the time that he would one day stand at the fulcrum of that division. And that he might become crushed by the weight of it. Not only metaphorically, or ultimately in Ford’s Theater, but before he ever became president.

With Americans so angry today, with tempers, and temperatures so high we admirer the great job that the secret service does
of protecting Presidents of both parties.

For Lincoln, the end could have come even before he took office. In a little know footnote of history, Lincoln had to sneak his way into Washington, to prevent an assassination attempt by pro-slavery excrements. That the backbone of historian Brad Meltzer’s new book The Lincoln Conspiracy: The Secret Plot to Kill America's 16th President--and Why It Failed

My conversation with Brad Meltzer:




Sunday, June 21, 2020

Maybe There Were Some Smart People in Oklahoma

Along with the ideological divisions that are part of our political and social life today there are also the geographical divisions that essentially, at least as far as conventional wisdom goes, mirror those same divisions.
Those of us on the East and West coast, have a kind of bond that would make you think that the Atlantic and Pacific are one. That the sun rises on one coast and sets on the other and nothing much else seems to matter.

After all, it’s just “flyover country.” It’s all the same, right? Flat, backward, disconnected from the global community and connected only to the drumbeat of Fox News.

But suppose that weren’t true. Suppose there was more vibrancy and wisdom and energy there than we thought. Could a better understanding of history and physical place, perhaps give us a better understating of the lives of the people that inhabit it? That the view of Professor Kristin Hoganson in her new work The Heartland: An American History

My conversation with Kristin Hoganson:



Monday, June 15, 2020

Accepting Science is Actually a Test of Character

It was George Orwell who said that “to see what is in front of one’s nose needs constant struggle.”

Sometimes we are all trapped in our inability to see what is in front of us. However in the realm of science sometimes the facts should simply speak for themselves...and yet there have been those through history that have denied science. Mostly because it didn’t comport with their agenda. Sometimes they were blinded by the obvious and sometimes it was antithetical to the false gods of religion for the expediency of politics.

Yet the ability to accept science, almost more than anything else, shows the character of the people and nations, as they either evolve or head back to the primordial stew of ignorance.

This has been an issue from Galileo right up to the onset of COVID 19. To explain how we’re still dealing with the same ignorance I’m joined by Mario Livio, the author of Galileo: And the Science Deniers

My conversation with Mario Livio:


Tuesday, June 9, 2020

It's Economic Dignity, Stupid

I’m sure you all remember when Bill Clinton ran for President in 1992, James Carville’s precinct slogan, “it’s the economy stupid” was a fundamental foundation of the campaign.

It was effective because it captured, in perhaps a more innocent time, the essence of the economy that personally impacted every single American.

Today, almost 30 years and a p
olitical chasm latter it seems there are many economies. The Wall Street economy, the economy of the one-percent, the middle class, those struggling to make ends meet, and those totally left behind. The “economy” is no longer a catchword that is a big tent for all.

Just look at the current situation as 35 million Americans are out of work, lines at food banks stretch for miles, and yet the stock markets are hitting new highs.

Today, the current pandemic and its resultant economic crises are an accelerant to further these divisions. So as we look out amidst massive unemployment and an even greater economic divide and we wonder if there might be a common goal that the economy should represent and strive for?

Former Clinton and Obama economic advisor Gene Sperling things so and he outlines it in Economic Dignity

My conversation with Gene Sperling:



Thursday, June 4, 2020

Not Your Father's CIA

When looking at the world of the CIA, spycraft, and espionage, it fair to say that the images of both WWII and particularly the Cold War, shape our vision.  Unfortunately, it does not always allow us to understand the reinvented world of 21st-century coverts action and government secrecy.

Joining me to explore this, as he has done in his nine previous books about the CIA, is Washington Post global affairs columnist David Ignatius. His new book The Paladin:  he takes us inside today's very different world of spycraft.

My conversation with David Ignatius: