We try to ruin your July 4th picnics with a quick peak inside the human digestive system with science writer Mary Roach. Then we talk with comedian Brody Stevens about his mental breakdown and how it affected his career. The New Yorker’s Elizabeth Kolbert says the earth is currently going through an extinction period. And we find out why an attempt to save condors is actually making the birds stupid.
FROM THIS EPISODE
A lovingly sketched and thoroughly researched biography has just come out in paperback. It is a portrait of a dark highway, a story that starts with an aroma and also ends with an aroma. A journey through humanity, a trip through ourselves. “Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal,” is the latest scientific foray by Mary Roach. And it’s about the gut: what happens to our bodies when we eat and why.
The Earth has lived through 5 mass extinctions of animals and plants. The last one - 66 million years ago - took out the dinosaurs. That extinction is believed to have been caused by a giant asteroid smashing into the Earth. Now we are living through extinction number 6. And the cause is us. Human behavior. Elizabeth Kolbert is staff writer at the New Yorker, covering environmental issues. Her new book is ‘The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History.'
Brody Stevens is a comedian’s comedian who’s known for a routine that makes people very uncomfortable. So his friends - other well known comedians - didn’t realize at first that he was really going through a mental breakdown. He joined us to talk about the first season of his Comedy Central show and the mental issues he struggles with.
In 1987, condors were on the brink of extinction. There were only 22 of them left in California. Scientists captured those 22 birds and created a successful breeding program that has saved the species. The only problem is that the offspring are raised in captivity by zookepers and scientists using hand puppets. And that has created a generation of socially inept condors.