San Francisco, the island within an island

Rebecca Solnit, a writer and native of the Bay Area, provides a brief history of San Francisco’s transformation from a working class port city to a center of technology after the dot com boom. We discuss foodies, Silicon Valley tech culture, the spike in real estate prices, and the gentrification of the city. Rebecca explains her work with historic maps that depict California as an island, and how that metaphor applies today beyond cartography as California moves from the edge to the center of the world.


Download Episode (Right-click and and select Save Link As…) Continue reading

The Largest Mass Poisoning in History

In the mid-1980s, a small problem began to surface in a relatively obscure corner of the world.  In 1994, just about a decade later, the World Health Organization published a statement that this little problem had developed into “the largest mass poisoning of a population in history.”  On today’s show, we speak to the doctors, epidemiologists, and geologists who helped hunt down the origin of this tragic event.  Join us as we venture through the human body and through geologic time to uncover the twists and turns and remarkable coincidences responsible for this ongoing epidemic.


Download Episode (Right-click and select Save Link As…) Continue reading

The human cost of climate change

Expert on international law Andrew Guzman takes a step back from analyzing climate change in terms of degrees and meters of sea level rise and breaks down all the ways climate change will affect humanity.  Dr. Guzman offers this perspective through his new book, Overheated: The Human Cost of Climate Change.  From environmental refugees to changing disease vectors to social conflict, Guzman illustrates how nearly all of our human systems interact with climate and therefore will feel the effects of even +2C.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Download Episode (Right-click and select Save Link As…) Continue reading

Anthropocene Borders

Geographer Reece Jones discusses his recent book “Border Walls,” examining the history of how and why societies have chosen to literally wall themselves apart.  He gives a brief history of political maps, how international lines reshape landscapes, and how the trend towards increased border wall construction contrasts with the view of a “borderless” world under globalization.  Jones also reveals which border wall is actually visible from space.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Download Episode (Right-click and select Save Link As…) Continue reading