Coming Up for Air

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Tuesday, July 10, 2012

On today’s show: Fred Guterl, executive editor of Scientific American, argues that the earth is experiencing another mass extinction event and discusses how we can survive it. We’ll look at ways you can help keep your brain in shape. Leanne Shapton discusses how her life-long love of swimming has helped influence her art. And John Dramani Mahama, Vice President of Ghana, talks about his life, career, country, and his new memoir, My First Coup d’Etat.

Fred Guterl on the Fate of the Species

Fred Guterl, executive editor of Scientific American, argues that the sixth "mass extinction event" in the planet’s history is currently under way, cause by our own inventions. In The Fate of the Species: Why the Human Race May Cause Its Own Extinction and How We Can Stop It he explores the scenarios of rising sea levels, extinction, and epidemic diseases, and then looks at how technology can help us survive.

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Maximum Brainpower

Cognitive psychologist Shlomo Breznitz explains why he thinks mental exercise is just as essential to our health and well-being as physical exercise. Maximum Brainpower: Challenging the Brain for Health and Wisdom, written with Collins Hemingway, looks at how the brain works and shares methods to increase its capabilities, defend against forgetfulness, memory loss, and maybe even dementia.

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Swimming Studies

Leanne Shapton, who trained for the Olympic swimming trials when she was a teenager, talks about what draws her to swimming—in pools and on beaches across the world. Swimming Studies explores what it's like to move from a world of competition and discipline to one of recreation and introspection.

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John Dramani Mahama on the Lost Decades of Africa

John Dramani Mahama, Vice President of Ghana, tells of coming-of-age in Ghana during the difficult post-independence years. In My First Coup d'Etat: And Other True Stories from the Lost Decades of Africa he shares personal stories that work as fables, history, cultural and political analyses, and as memoir of a young man who would grow up to be vice president of his nation.

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