250 - Dave Williams - Lessons from the Edge of the Universe

I had dreamt about becoming an astronaut from the time I watched Alan Shepard launch on the first American sub-orbital flight on May 5, 1961. Eleven days before my seventh birthday, I committed to a new goal: one day, I would fly in outer space.

We talk to Dave Williams, a Canadian astronaut, neuroscientist, physician, and author of the new book Defying Limits: Lessons from the Edge of the Universe.

Links:

Dave Williams on his life of exploration for the CBC

Profile in the Houston Chronicle

249 - Robert Greene - The Laws of Human Nature

We are social animals. Our very lives depend on our relationships with people. Knowing why people do what they do is the most important tool we can possess, without which our other talents can only take us so far. Drawing from the ideas and examples of Pericles, Queen Elizabeth I, Martin Luther King Jr, and many others, Greene teaches us how to detach ourselves from our own emotions and master self-control, how to develop the empathy that leads to insight, how to look behind people's masks, and how to resist conformity to develop your singular sense of purpose.

We talk to author Robert Greene, most known for the bestselling The 48 Laws of Power, about his new book The Laws of Human Nature.

Links:

Robert Greene oh Human Nature

Robert’s Medium Blog

248 - Concetta Tomaino - Music as Medicine

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Dr. Concetta Tomaino is a pioneer in the field of music therapy and the executive director and co-founder of the Institute for Music and Neurologic Function. On the show this week we talk to Dr. Tomaino about her work treating individuals suffering the effects of brain trauma or neurological diseases as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.

Links:

Music and Alzheimer’s

Institute for Music and Neurologic Function

246 - Rowan Hooper - Life at the Extremes of Our Capacity

What does it feel like to be exceptional? And what does it take to get there? Why can some people achieve greatness when others can’t, no matter how hard they try? Just how much potential does our species have?

We talk to evolutionary biologist and managing editor at New Scientist Rowan Hooper about his new book Superhuman: Life at the Extremes of Our Capacity.

Links:

Rowan’s Writing

Rowan on Twitter

245 - Betsy Mason - The Beauty and Utility of Maps: A Cartographic Odyssey

We talk to journalist, geologist, and author Betsy Mason about her latest book, co-authored with Greg Miller, All Over the Map: A Cartographic Odyssey.

In this visually stunning book, they explore the intriguing stories behind maps from a wide variety of cultures, civilizations, and time periods. It is based on interviews with scores of leading cartographers, curators, historians, and scholars, this is a remarkable selection of fascinating and unusual maps.

Links:

Betsy’s Nat Geo Map Blog

CartoNerd’s Review of the Book

244 - Matt Simon - What Real-Life Zombies Reveal About Our World

Zombieism isn’t just the stuff of movies and TV shows like The Walking Dead. It’s real, and it’s happening in the world around us, from wasps and worms to dogs and moose—and even humans.

We talk to science writer at Wired magazine Matt Simon about his new book Plight of the Living Dead: What Real-Life Zombies Reveal About Our World—and Ourselves, where he documents his journey through the bizarre evolutionary history of mind control.

Links:

Matt on KQED Forum

Matt’s articles in Wired

243 - Arnold Van de Laar - The Remarkable History of Surgery

Arnold van de Laar, a surgeon in the Slotervaart Hospital in Amsterdam. uses his own experience and expertise to tell this engrossing history of surgery through 28 famous operations―from Louis XIV and Einstein to JFK and Houdini. We talk to him about his new book Under the Knife: A History of Surgery in 28 Remarkable Operations.

Links:

The Times UK Book Review

Gizmodo illustrated article on the book