The Prism Podcast – Episode 77

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Dr. Jennifer Raff chats with Clay and Grant about Genetics, Evolution, the peopling of the Americas, and other interesting topics. We also get into the genetic basis of race, and how this construct can be used and abused.

Jennifer Raff is an Assistant Professor of Physical Anthropology at the University of Kansas, and director and Principal Investigator of the KU Laboratory of Human Population Genomics. She has a dual Ph.D. in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology and Anthropology from Indiana University, and has completed postdoctoral work at the University of Utah, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, and the University of Texas. Jennifer’s research focuses on the molecular genetics of evolution through the analysis of genomes from ancient and contemporary human populations, with a special emphasis on the initial colonization and subsequent population history of the American continents. In addition to her academic work, she is extensively involved in science literacy outreach efforts through social media, public talks, and writing for her blog, the Huffington Post, and the Social Evolution Forum.
violentmetaphors.com
@jenniferraff

The Prism Podcast – Episode 76

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Vance Crowe sits down for a chat with Clay and Grant about Science Communication, dispelling myths about Monsanto, bridging the gap between skepticism and other areas in science and culture, and how to honor our tribalism while respectfully engaging communities unlike our own.

Vance Crowe is the Director of Millennial Engagement at Monsanto in Saint Louis, Missouri. Vance is a former Communications Strategist for the World Bank Group, a returned U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer stationed in Kenya, a former communications coordinator at a National Public Radio (NPR) affiliate in Northern California and was a deckhand on an eco-tourism ship that traveled in the Western Hemisphere. Vance holds an undergraduate degree in communications from Marquette University and a Master’s Degree in Cross-Cultural Negotiations from the Seton Hall School of Diplomacy.

Connect with Vance on twitter @VanceCrowe

The Prism Podcast – Episode 75

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Dr. Carol Tavris’s work as a writer, teacher, and lecturer has been devoted to educating the public about psychological science. Her book with Elliot Aronson, “Mistakes Were Made (But Not by ME): Why we justify foolish beliefs, bad decisions, and hurtful acts” (updated, revised edition, Mariner Books, 2015), applies cognitive dissonance theory to a wide variety of topics, including politics, conflicts of interest, memory (everyday and “recovered”), the criminal justice system, police interrogation, the daycare sex-abuse epidemic, family quarrels, international conflicts, and business.

She has spoken to students, psychologists, mediators, lawyers, judges, physicians, business executives, and general audiences on, among other topics, self-justification; science and pseudoscience in psychology; gender and sexuality; critical thinking; and anger. In the legal arena, Dr. Tavris has given many addresses and workshops to attorneys and judges on the difference between testimony based on good psychological science and that based on pseudoscience and subjective clinical opinion.

Dr. Tavris is a Charter Fellow of the Association for Psychological Science. Her honors and awards include the 2014 Media Achievement Award from SPSP; an honorary doctorate from Simmons college in 2013; the Distinguished Media Contribution Award from the American Association of Applied and Preventive Psychology (for The Mismeasure of Woman), the Heritage Publications Award from Division 35 of the American Psychological Association (for The Mismeasure of Woman), the “Movers and Shakers” Award from Southern California Library for Social Studies and Research, the Distinguished Contribution to Women’s Health Award from the APA Conference on Women’s Health, and an award from the Center for Inquiry, Independent Investigations Group, for contributions to skepticism and science.

Also, follow up on Dr. Paul Offit’s interview.

Get well wishes for Harriet Hall. Get well soon Harriet!

The Prism Podcast – Episode 74

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Dr. Paul Offit chats with Clay and Grant about the “opioid epidemic”, vaccines, the post-Trump political landscape and what it means for science and medicine, a sneak peak at the new book he’s writing, and much more.

Paul A. Offit, MD is the Director of the Vaccine Education Center at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia as well as the Maurice R. Hilleman Professor of Vaccinology and a Professor of Pediatrics at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. He is a recipient of many awards including the J. Edmund Bradley Prize for Excellence in Pediatrics from the University of Maryland Medical School, the Young Investigator Award in Vaccine Development from the Infectious Disease Society of America, and a Research Career Development Award from the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Offit has published more than 160 papers in medical and scientific journals in the areas of rotavirus-specific immune responses and vaccine safety. He is also the co-inventor of the rotavirus vaccine, RotaTeq, recommended for universal use in infants by the CDC; for this achievement Dr. Offit received the Luigi Mastroianni and William Osler Awards from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, the Charles Mérieux Award from the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases; and was honored by Bill and Melinda Gates during the launch of their Foundation’s Living Proof Project for global health. In 2009, Dr. Offit received the President’s Certificate for Outstanding Service from the American Academy of Pediatrics. In 2011, Dr. Offit received the Humanitarian of the Year Award from the Biologics Industry Organization (BIO), the David E. Rogers Award from the American Association of Medical Colleges, the Odyssey Award from the Center for Medicine in the Public Interest, and was elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences. In 2012, Dr. Offit received the Distinguished Medical Achievement Award from the College of Physicians of Philadelphia and the Drexel Medicine Prize in Translational Medicine fro the Drexel University College of Medicine. In 2013, Dr. Offit received the Maxwell Finland award for Outstanding Scientific Achievement from the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases, the Distinguished Alumnus award from the University of Maryland School of Medicine, and the Innovators in Health Award from the Group Health Foundation. In 2015, Dr. Offit won the Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching from the University of Pennsylvania and was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2016, Dr. Offit won the Franklin Founder Award from the city of Philadelphia, The Porter Prize from the University of Pittsburgh School of Public Health, the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Philadelphia Business Journal, and the Jonathan E. Rhoads Medal for Distinguished Service to Medicine from the American Philosophical Society. Dr. Offit was a member of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and is a founding advisory board member of the Autism Science Foundation and the Foundation for Vaccine Research. He is also the author of six medical narratives: The Cutter Incident: How America’s First Polio Vaccine Led to Today’s Growing Vaccine Crisis (Yale University Press, 2005), Vaccinated: One Man’s Quest to Defeat the World’s Deadliest Diseases (HarperCollins, 2007), for which he won an award from the American Medical Writers Association, Autism’s False Prophets: Bad Science, Risky Medicine, and the Search for a Cure (Columbia University Press, 2008), Deadly Choices: How the Anti-Vaccine Movement Threatens Us All (Basic Books, 2011), which was selected by Kirkus Reviews and Booklist as one of the best non-fiction books of the year, Do You Believe in Magic?: The Sense and Nonsense of Alternative Medicine (HarperCollins, 2013), which won the Robert P. Balles Prize in Critical Thinking from the Center for Skeptical Inquiry and was selected by National Public Radio as one of the best books of 2013, and Bad Faith: When Religious Belief Undermines Modern Medicine (Basic Books, 2015), selected by the New York Times Book Review as an “Editor’s Choice” book in April 2015. Dr. Offit has also written Pandora’s Lab: Seven Stories of Science Gone Wrong (National Geographic Press/Random House, publication date April 2017) and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Science and Health: A Memoir (manuscript in preparation).

The Prism Podcast – Episode 73

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Benjamin Radford is deputy editor of Skeptical Inquirer science magazine and a Research Fellow with the non-profit educational organization the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry. He has written over a thousand articles on a wide variety of topics, including urban legends, the paranormal, critical thinking, and media literacy.

He is author of eight books: Hoaxes, Myths, and Manias: Why We Need Critical Thinking (with sociologist Robert E. Bartholomew); Media Mythmakers: How Journalists, Activists, and Advertisers Mislead Us, examining the ways in which deception is used in various media to influence decision making and public policy; Lake Monster Mysteries: Investigating the World’s Most Elusive Creatures (with Joe Nickell), a scientific examination of lake monsters around the world; Scientific Paranormal Investigation: How to Solve Unexplained Mysteries; Tracking the Chupacabra: The Vampire Beast in Fact, Fiction, and Folklore and The Martians Have Landed! A History of Media-Driven Panics and Hoaxes (with Bob Bartholomew, 2011); Mysterious New Mexico: Miracles, Magic, and Monsters in the Land of Enchantment; and his novel The Merchant of Dust.

He graduated magna cum laude with a bachelors degree in psychology from the University of New Mexico and completed a masters degree in education from the University of Buffalo. He is a member of the Phi Beta Kappa Society, the American Folklore Society, the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club and the American College of Forensic Examiners International, among other organizations.

Radford is a regular columnist for LiveScience.com, Discovery News, Skeptical Inquirer magazine, and the Skeptical Briefs newsletter. Radford created Playing Gods: The Board Game of Divine Domination, the world’s first satirical board game of religious warfare. He has also made two short films: Clicker Clatter (2007), and Sirens (2009).

Radford is one of the world’s few science-based paranormal investigators, and has done first-hand research into mysterious phenomena in sixteen countries on four continents including psychics, ghosts and haunted houses; exorcisms, miracles, Bigfoot, stigmata, lake monsters, UFO sightings, reincarnation, and crop circles, and many other topics. He is perhaps best known for solving the mysteries of the Santa Fe Courthouse Ghost in 2007, and the Hispanic vampire el chupacabra in 2010.

Radford has appeared on Good Morning America, the Discovery Channel, the History Channel, the National Geographic Channel, the Learning Channel, CBC, BBC, CNN, and other networks with three letters. He also served as a consultant for the MTV series The Big Urban Myth Show and an episode of the CBS crime drama CSI. Radford has appeared in many publications including the Wall Street Journal, Wired, The New York Times, Vanity Fair, Time, Outside, and Ladies’ Home Journal, and quoted by Parade columnist (and world’s smartest person) Marilyn vos Savant, Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters, biologist Richard Dawkins, and others.