Fleeing Shanghai, History of Opium, Albatross Spies, Jellyfish

Fleeing Shanghai, History of Opium, Albatross Spies, Jellyfish

Constant Wonder - Radio Archive, Episode 364

  • Feb 18, 2020 7:00 pm
  • 1:40:50 mins

The Last Boat Out of Shanghai Guest: Helen Zia, activist and author, "Last Boat Out of Shanghai: The Epic Story of the Chinese Who Fled Mao’s Revolution" After 50 years, Zia finally hears the story of her mother's flight from Shanghai as Chairman Mao’s Communist takeover began. Shanghai and Its Demons Guest: Paul French, author, “Midnight in Peking,” and “City of Devils: The Two Men Who Ruled the Underworld of Old Shanghai” Shanghai once was the only city in the world where you could live without a passport. In Shanghai in the 1930s, the rules were few and the opportunities many. The image of Shanghai as a city of jazz, crazy parties, and expatriate splendor is all true, but so is the story of Shanghai’s underworld. History of Opium Guest: David Blistein, co-author with John H. Halpern, "Opium: How an Ancient Flower Shaped and Poisoned our World" Our opioid epidemic is nothing new, as the Chinese could tell you--they fought for years to keep British opium out of their country, to no avail.  Good to Know: Albatross Spies Scientists are considering using the albatross to help monitor illegal activity on the high seas. Jellyfish Explorers Guest: Nicole Xu, PhD candidate, Bioengineering, Stanford University Cyborgs, animal-machine hybrids, used to exist only in science fiction. But they may soon become a reality: scientists have discovered how to mechanize jellyfish in order to explore deep reaches of the ocean.   An Antidote to One of the Deadliest Venoms on Earth Guest: Greg Neely, Associate Professor and Head, The Dr. John and Anne Chong Lab for Functional Genomics, University of Sydney Horror movies centered on the great white shark are missing out on the ocean’s real terror: the Australian box jellyfish. Ten-foot-long carnivores with 24 eyes and about 60 tentacles each, the box jellyfish is also one of the most venomous animals on the planet. Luckily, researchers from the University of Sydney are using CRISPR to close in on an antidote.