Race and Self-Defense, Immigration, Antibiotics, and Creativity
Top of Mind with Julie Rose - Radio Archive, Episode 77
- Jun 4, 2015 9:00 pm
- 1:44:41 mins
Race and Self-Defense Killings (1:05) Guest: Addie Rolnick, Ph. D., Professor of Criminal Law and Race Theory at University of Nevada, Las Vegas Boyd School of Law Self Defense Laws are Top of Mind today. Across the nation, states are reviewing – and in many cases expanding – laws that allow people to use deadly force to protect themselves and their property. Sometimes known as “Stand Your Ground” laws – they’re at issue in recent high-profile cases in Nevada, Montana and Utah where people have killed trespassers and would-be attackers. At the heart of these laws lies is the question of whether or not the person doing the killing was reasonable to feel threatened. That question is also wrapped up in the national debate over police shootings of civilians. “The only time we want to say ‘killing is right’ is when there is no other option,” says Rolnick. “Stand your Ground” laws allow someone to claim self-defense even when retreat was an option. Rolnick argues that race is always a factor, no matter how much someone may claim it wasn’t. “None of this requires intentional targeting of someone because of their race… it’s just something that operates on a subconscious level.” Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia (25:56) Guest: Gabrielle Kardon, Ph. D., Associate Professor of Human Genetics at the University of Utah Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia occurs in 1 out of every 2,500 births. Which puts it up there with muscular dystrophy and cystic fibrosis by prevalence – but CDH, as it’s called, is less-well known. Its causes are also more mysterious to doctors. Geneticist Gabrielle Kardon at the University of Utah has recently uncovered some answers about the condition An infant born with CDH has a weakness in the diaphragm, that can no longer act as a barrier for the stomach and impedes the development of the lungs. The mortality rate of babies born with the condition is about 50%. Cultivate Creativity (37:55) Guest: Arthur B. Markman, Ph. D., Professor of Psychology at the University of Texas at Austin Mozart, Shakespeare, Picasso. . . such creative genius is surely innate on some level . . so seemingly effortless to those of us who are not born prodigies. But psychologist Art Markman says the ability to create is something people can develop, regardless of their natural gifts. Dr. Markman has made the quest for creativity his life’s work. He works at the University of Texas, where he’s a professor of psychology and marketing. He’s also editor of the journal Cognitive Science. “The problem of practicing creativity is most of us don’t know what that means,” says Markman. Yet you can develop knowledge, skills, and habits to learn how to be more creative. According to Markman, creativity isn’t a “talent,” but something “anyone can nurture, anyone can improve.” "You need to unlearn the unwillingness to make mistakes," says Markman. The American school system punishes us for mistakes, especially—but true creativity cannot be achieved without doing so. “You’re finding new ways for old knowledge.” Immigration (52:11) Guest: Ted Curry, Ph. D., Associate Professor of Criminal Justice at the University of Texas at El Paso This week, Congress voted to block the Obama Administration from defending the president’s executive action on immigration in court. President Obama’s order would protect some immigrants in the country illegally from being deported. That order has so angered Republicans that it is motivating much of their opposition to other Obama efforts on trade and international relations. When the debate over immigration gets rolling, one of the main arguments pundits and politicians turn to is crime. Illegal immigration fuels crime, they say. It makes neighborhoods unsafe. But years of research culled from a variety of neighborhoods in El Paso, Texas paint a different picture. Immigrant communities tend to be close-knit, which helps keep such neighborhoods low-crime, even if they may be poor. El Paso is one of the safest big cities in the country, and one of the reasons it may be, says Curry, is that it’s an “immigrant destination city.” “Immigrant neighborhoods have higher levels of poverty, but don’t have higher levels of crime.” NASA Radiation Competition (1:13:05) Guest: Kerry Lee, technical lead NASA wants your help figuring out how to keep astronauts safe from dangerous radiation on the long trip to Mars. The best ideas submitted before June 29 could win up to $30,000. Why would NASA—which has some of the world’s best and brightest—need citizen help? They’re hoping to engage the public and get good ideas, says Kerry Lee, the technical lead for NASA’s Johnson Space Center. Antibiotic Resistance (1:24:09) Guest: Miriam Barlow, Ph. D., Associate Professor at UC Merced, School of Natural Sciences This final conversation today comes from the “Math Rocks” file. A mathematician at American University has teamed up with biologist at the University of California-Merced to tackle what the World Health Organization calls a global threat: the increase in drug-resistant strains of bacteria. Some 2 million people fall ill to such infections in the US each year, according to the CDC. Bacteria are able to quickly mutate and evolve themselves to resist antibiotics they encounter. So, this mathematician and biologist have developed some software they call “Time Machine,” because it spits out a computation that could be used by doctors to force bacteria to mutate back into a form that can be killed by antibiotics. Miriam Barlow of UC-Merced’s School of Natural Sciences is the biologist part of the duo and joined us to discuss her research. Barlow collaborated with mathematicians to figure out how a model on how to best combat the bacteria. It's like a dog chasing its own tail—cycling through antibiotics until the disease reverts to being vulnerable to the first antibiotic.