On the Radio

Week of March 13, 2016

Mosquitoes Must Die

March 27, 2016

As the Zika virus continues to make headlines, consensus is slowly growing among scientists that it’s showdown time for the mosquito.  Time to marshal the technology to wipe them off the face of the earth.  Which seems pretty extreme.  Doesn’t it?

So, should we bio-engineer mosquitoes out of existence?   Remember, it’s not just about making picnics more pleasant… it’s about Zika, malaria, dengue – human lives.

Mosquitoes.  Should they live, or die?

  1. Kill 'em All!

    Nobody  likes mosquitos – and with good reason.  They’re pests. But worse than that – they kill people.  Hundreds of thousands of people died from malaria last year.  More from dengue and yellow fever.  If you add it up, mosquitos kill more people than war!   And now Zika’s in the headlines.  So it’s a pretty good bet that if all the mosquitoes on the planet suddenly dropped dead tomorrow,we might actually rejoice.

    But here’s the question – should we kill them off ourselves?   Because for the first time, it seems like that’s actually a choice.  That the technology exists to deliberately wipe out all the mosquitoes.   Exterminate them.  Forever.   But should we?

    Here’s Charles Monroe-Kane with journalist Daniel Engber –he’s in favor of mosquito-cide.

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  2. E.O. Wilson Argues for Certain Mosquito Species Destruction

    I dunno, but it seems kind of extreme, not to mention risky, to bio-engineer a mass mosquito die-off.  So Steve Paulson tracked down the world’s greatest living entomologist to see what he has to say.  E. O Wilson is sometimes called “the ant man” – that’s the insect he studied most – but he’s best known as the evolutionary biologist and a champion of biodiversity.  He’s 86 years old now, and has just finished what is probably his last book – called “Half Earth”.  It’s a passionate plea to save humanity by dedicating half the planet to nature.  You’d assume that Wilson would be happy to let mosquitos live in that half… but that’s not what he told Steve.

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  3. Playing Music with Mosquitoes

    David Rothenberg has played music with birds and even whales. But his latest music project is much less, well, melodious…

     . . . like playing music with insects. He’s recorded songs with a lot of them -- crickets and cicadas and yes, even mosquitoes.

    Producer Craig Eley sat down with David Rothenberg to talk “bug music.”

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  4. Mosquitoes and Poverty

    So, there’s a serious proposal on the table. Should we genetically engineer disease-carrying species of mosquitoes out of existence? The technology exists and some pretty prominent scientists think we should.

    Let’s check in with Sonia Shah.  She’s a science journalist who writes about pandemics and pathogens and the social history of disease.  She wrote one of the best histories of malaria – a book called “The Fever”, and she has a pretty different perspective on the kill or be killed debate.

     

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  5. Fear and Loathing in Mosquito-Land

    We hate mosquitoes.

    But why?  I mean, yes --- West Nile, dengue, malaria, Zika…not to mention ruined picnics, sleepless nights, and bites you scratch until they bleed … Those are logical reasons to dislike mosquitoes.  But admit it – they also just creep you out.

    Jeffrey Lockwood gets at the psychology in his book “The Infested Mind.” He’s an entomologist who once had a truly horrific encounter with a swarm of grasshoppers.   He was left traumatized. Afterwards he wondered why we all fear and loathe insects so much.

    Lockwood told Rehman Tungekar the answer is deep deep in our psyches.

     

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Independent Women

March 13, 2016

For the first time in American history, young women are choosing independence over marriage.  Single women today outnumber married women and have more political power than ever before.  It's what Susan B. Anthony, Margaret Sanger and other feminist icons fought for. What would they make of where women are today? 

  1. All the Single Ladies: Rebecca Traister on the Rise of Independent Women

    Single women are the most potent political force in America today. Rebecca Traister explains why young millenial women are delaying marriage -- just as Susan B. Anthony predicted.

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  2. Susan B. Anthony Invites Frederick Douglass To Tea

    It was a snowy day. Susan B. Anthony invited Frederick Douglass to tea.  Author Dean Robbins reads from "Two Friends," his new picture for kids.

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  3. Planned Parenthood Founder Gets Novel Treatment

    As Planned Parenthood looks ahead to its centennial in October 2016, Ellen Feldman's "Terrible Virtue" gives us a captivating portrait of the organization's resolute founder, Margaret Sanger. 

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  4. The Real Louisa May Alcott

    Louisa May Alcott was no "little woman".  Biographer Harriet Reisen uncovers the fierce feminist behind "Little Women".

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  5. Dangerous Idea: Men Are Also Victims of Sexual Discrimination

    Philosopher David Benatar argues that its time we paid more attention to gender discrimination against men.  He's the author of "The Second Sexism."

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  6. The Rediscovery of Nina Simone

    Nina Simone's powerful voice and turbulent life are the subjects of an Oscar-nominated documentary, a new biography and a forthcoming Hollywood biopic.  But it's her politics that speaks most forcefully to a new generation of African American activists.  Biographer Alan Light talks about the incandescent soul singer and Black Power icon.

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