Shining a Light

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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Harriet Washington looks at the moral and medical implications of gene patenting, and whether corporate ownership of the human genome might save lives. Tony award-winner Jennifer Tipton talks about the magic of theatrical lighting design and her two upcoming works at Lincoln Center’s White Light Festival. Amitav Ghosh discusses his new novel, River of Smoke. On Underreported we’ll examine the U.S. intervention in Uganda and in Somalia.

Patenting the Human Body

Harriet Washington explains the “life patent” gold rush and why she thinks it will have harmful, and even lethal, consequences for public health. The United States Patent Office has granted at least 40,000 patents so far on genes controlling the most basic processes of human life. In Deadly Monopolies: The Shocking Corporate Takeover of Life Itself—and the Consequences for Your Health and Our Medical Future she examines the legal, ethical, and social bases for pharmaceutical companies’ position that such patents are necessary.

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Jennifer Tipton on the Art of Lighting Design

Tony Award-winning lighting designer Jennifer Tipton talks about her work and her two pieces in Lincoln Center’s upcoming White Light Festival: “Necessary Weather” and “Spectral Scriabin.” The collaborative works explore the interplay be light and movement and light and sound.

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Amitav Ghosh on River of Smoke

Amitav Ghosh talks about his new novel, River of Smoke, the second volume of his Ibis trilogy, about the opium trade. 


Underreported: Intervention in Uganda

Earlier this month President Obama deployed 100 U.S. troops to Uganda in an advisory role to aid the fight against the Lords Resistance Army. Nate Haken, who works on conflict assessment issues in Uganda, and Patricia Taft, who served an adviser to the government of Uganda on war crimes prosecution and its case against the LRA, look at why this action was taken and the controversy surrounding it. Haken and Taft both work for The Fund for Peace.

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Underreported: Intervention in Somalia

Recently Kenyan forces invaded Somalia in a bid to fight the militant group Al-Shaabab. The United States has also been heavily involved in the country in recent years— allegedly establishing CIA bases, carrying out drone strikes, and providing funding for militants. The Nation’s Jeremy Scahill looks at the political situation in Somalia and the history of recent interventions in the war-torn and famine wracked country.

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Guest Picks: Jennifer Tipton

Tony Award-winning lighting designer Jennifer Tipton spoke to Leonard Lopate recently, and she's been reading recently.


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