Under a Microscope

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Monday, June 18, 2012

On today’s show: Peter Piot reflects on founding UNAIDS and his career chasing some of the world’s most dangerous viruses, like Ebola and HIV. The co-directors of the new documentary “Ikland,” about the Ik tribe in Northern Uganda, who have been called the most depraved people on earth. Jess Walter talks about his new novel, Beautiful Ruins. Plus, industrial safety expert Monona Rossol explains the hazards of fire retardants.

Peter Piot's Pursuit of Deadly Viruses

Peter Piot talks about his career in microbiology, from studying the Ebola virus to pioneering AIDS research and policy. As founder and director of UNAIDS, he negotiated policies with leaders from Fidel Castro to Thabo Mbeki and helped turn the tide of the AIDS epidemic. His book No Time to Lose: A Life in Pursuit of Deadly Viruses captures the urgency and excitement of being on the front lines in the fight against today’s deadliest diseases.

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Cevin Soling and David Hilbert, co-directors and creators of the award-winning non-fiction film “Ikland,” talk about the Ik tribe of Northern Uganda, once called the worst and most depraved beings on Earth. In 2006, Soling set out with a team of filmmakers to find and film the tribe in Uganda, and discovered that they were actually a community of compassionate people. “Ikland” is playing at the Quad Cinema.

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Jess Walter's Novel Beautiful Ruins

Jess Walter talks about his new novel, Beautiful Ruins. The story begins in Italy in 1962 and spans 50 years, delving into the tangled lives of a dozen characters: a dying actress, a starstruck Italian innkeeper, a movie producer and his idealistic young assistant, the army veteran turned fledgling novelist, and the actor Richard Burton.


Fire Retardants in Our Homes, Food, and Bodies

Fire retardants are everywhere. They are emitted by the plastics in our cars, computers, TVs, and radios. They are in our synthetic clothing and carpets, fluorescent light ballasts, and other electrical equipment. They are in caulks, paints, floor tiles, and linoleum. They’re leaking out of landfills, in the fish and meat we eat, and in our bodies. Our children have more fire retardants in their blood than we do, and each generation will have greater amounts. Our resident industrial hygienist and environmental health expert Monona Rossol explains how this has happened, how it affects our health, and what we can do about it.

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Tributes: Rodney King

Rodney King became famous when he was videotaped in 1991 being beaten by the Los Angeles police – and that incident spawned a week of race riots when the officers were acquitted.  He was joined by his fiancée, Cynthia Kelley, when he spoke with Leonard on April 25th, for his memoir, The Riot Within, about the twenty years since that difficult time.  He said during the interview how swimming and fishing helped him deal with some of the emotional scars.  He was found dead on June 16 in his home swimming pool.


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