News & Information

Privacy and Pandemics, National Emergency Library, Tooth Rings

Top of Mind with Julie Rose
  • Apr 20, 2020 8:00 pm
  • 1:40:10

To End Pandemic Closures, Americans May Have to Give Up Privacy. (0:32) Guest: Leslie Francis, Professor of Law and Philosophy, University of Utah, Director of the Center for Law and Biomedical Sciences, Co-Author “Privacy: What Everyone Needs to Know” It’ll be at least a year before a vaccine for COVID-19 is widely available. Meantime, how do we resume normal life, if anywhere you turn, someone who doesn’t even have symptoms could be spreading the virus? Public health officials will have to get very good – very quickly – at something called “contact tracing” where they track down anyone who came into contact with someone that’s been diagnosed with COVID-19 and test those people for the virus, too. Dozens of countries are now monitoring the movement of their people and exposure to COVID-19 through their cell phones. Will the pandemic force Americans to give up their privacy? Is the Internet Archive’s National Emergency Library Legal? (19:52) Guest: Kevin Smith, Dean of Libraries, University of Kansas Across the country, libraries are closed and, I don’t know if you’ve checked your local library’s website, but the waiting lists to borrow an e-book can be very long. Which is why the nonprofit that runs the Internet Archive has launched the National Emergency Library and removed all borrowing restrictions from its vast collection of digital books through the end of June. So, no wait lists and anyone can set up a free account with the library.  Many readers and librarians are thrilled. Many authors and book publishers are not. They’re also struggling right now with bookstores closed and book tours cancelled. Authors would much prefer you buy their e-books, obviously. New Discovery Shows That Neanderthals Used Rope (37:11) Guest: Bruce Hardy, Professor of Anthropology, Kenyon College  From Barney Rubble to the dimwitted cavemen of The Far Side cartoons, neanderthals have a reputation for being not-so-smart. But that may simply be because the best evidence of their smarts hasn’t survived for us to inspect and appreciate. For example, an excavation of a famous Neanderthal encampment in France has turned up a tiny shred of rope. Making and using rope is pretty advanced. If cavemen could actually do that, we’ll have to rethink the stereotype of stupidity. Gospel, Soul and Classical Musical Savant Finds Strength in Faith (50:34) Guest: Damien Sneed, Pianist, Organist, Composer, Conductor, Vocalist and Creator of “We Shall Overcome” Damien Sneed was such a musical prodigy that at the age of 8 he was hired to be the music director for the senior choir at his church. So, here’s this 8-year-old piano whiz working with 80-year-olds. They put me with the senior choir because it was a good mentorship experience to learn the classic gospel hymns from the oldest members of the congregation, explains Sneed. Sneed has gone on to great acclaim recording and composing in a range of musical genres from jazz to classical to gospel opera. His current project is an album and concert series called We Shall Overcome. It’s a tribute to the legacy of Martin Luther King, Junior and features songs of struggle and freedom and faith. How Teeth Keep a Record of Our Lives (1:06:34) Guest: Paola Cerrito, Doctoral Candidate in New York University’s Department of Anthropology and College of Dentistry.  Just like a tree forms new rings each year, your teeth have lines that mark the passage of your life. Now, you might be thinking – “I’ve got all my adult teeth and they stopped growing a long time ago.” Thank goodness for that, right? There’d be no room in your mouth if your teeth grew a little more each year like a tree. But scientists recently found a part of the tooth that is still growing in adults and keeps a record of major life events, like pregnancy, serious illness and even time spent in prison. Will Apple Become Your “iDoctor”? (1:25:53) Guest: Jennifer Miller, Assistant Professor in Yale School of Medicine and Director of the Good Pharma Scorecard Initiative Big tech companies like Apple, Amazon, and Google have entered so many parts of our everyday lives: phones, smart speakers, streaming services, shopping, the list goes on. The next big thing they have their eye on? Healthcare. Some of these tech giants could already be using your electronic medical records. Their work could advance public health, but do the benefits outweigh the costs?