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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Peter Tomsen, former U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, talks about the many, many wars the Central Asian country has faced over the centuries and why great powers have often failed there. Then, a journalist describes his experience being embedded with Moroccan security forces. Glen Duncan tells us about his new novel, The Last Werewolf. And Google’s first director of marketing and brand management gives the first-ever insider’s account of the increasingly powerful Internet giant.

The Wars on Afghanistan

Peter Tomsen, an Ambassador and Special Envoy on the wars in Afghanistan from 1989 to 1992, discusses America’s involvement in the long and continuing war in Afghanistan. In The Wars on Afghanistan: Messianic Terrorism, Tribal Conflicts, and the Failures of Great Powers, he offers a deeply informed perspective on how Afghanistan’s history as a “shatter zone” for foreign invaders and its tribal society has shaped the country, and  he shows how the U.S. and the coalition can assist the region back to peace and stability.

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Friendship, Murder, and the Search for Truth in the Arab World

Joseph Braude discusses his time embedded with a hardened unit of detectives in Casablanca who handle everything from busting al-Qaeda cells to solving homicides. The Honored Dead: A Story of Friendship, Murder, and the Search for Truth in the Arab World tells the story of a seemingly commonplace murder of a young guard at a warehouse. Braude’s pursuit of the truth behind the murder takes him from cosmopolitan Marrakesh to the Berber heartland, from the homes of the wealthiest and most powerful people in the country to the backstreets of Casablanca.

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The Last Werewolf

Glen Duncan discusses his new novel, The Last Werewolf. It tells the story of Jake, a 201-year-old werewolf, who is the last of his species and has become deeply distraught and lonely.

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The Confessions of Google Employee 59

Doug Edwards, Google’s first director of marketing and brand management, offers the first inside view of the camaraderie and competition at Google. In I’m Feeling Lucky: The Confessions of Google Employee 59 he describes the first pioneering steps of Larry Page and Sergey Brin, the company’s idiosyncratic partners, the evolution of the company’s famously nonhierarchical structure, as well as the development of the company’s brand identity and culture.

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It's Hot Out There

It’s hot outside, hovering in the 90s, with the heat index reaching into the triple digits today.

Last summer we did a Please Explain on heat stroke, and Dr. Susi Vassallo, Clinical Associate Professor in the Department of Medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center, discussed the causes and symptoms of heat stroke and heat exhaustion and suggested ways to stay cool and healthy during the summer’s hottest days. Listen to that interview here.

Some facts we learned during that conversation:
The heat index takes heat and humidity into consideration. When the humidity’s high, it becomes impossible for sweat to evaporate, so the body has a hard time cooling itself.

When we’re hot our blood vessels dilate to bring blood closer to the surface of the skin, which is why we become flushed in the heat.

 The elderly are especially vulnerable. Their ability to cool is compromised because their heart, which needs to pump harder in order to move blood to the surface, is generally not as strong. Over the counter cold medications and prescription drugs such as blood pressure medication can aggravate the body’s ability to cool itself.

 Dr. Vassallo explained that heat stroke occurs when the core body temperature reaches 106º and mental capacity is altered—there’s often confusion. She also said that “heat exhaustion is basically anything less than that.” The body temperature is normal or close to normal, but the person may feel hot, may be sweating, may collapse, may have stomach upset, or may vomit.

Dehydration happens when the body doesn’t have enough circulating water, and we lose more fluid—through sweating, usually—than we replenish. If you’re sweating a lot, especially if you’re exercising, you should drink plenty of fluids.

The Mayo Clinic’s Web site stresses that you have any of the signs or symptoms of heatstroke, seek medical help immediately. Heatstroke is a medical emergency that you should not try to treat at home.

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