Conspiracy Theories; Voyage in the South Pacific; Jane Gardam's Last Friends; Trash into Energy; Doctors without Borders

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Thursday, August 29, 2013

We’ll start today’s show with a history of conspiracy theories from colonial America to the current War on Terror. J. Maarten Troost describes leaving rehab and gradually reawakening to life as he retraced the journey that Robert Louis Stevenson made through the South Pacific. Novelist Jane Gardam talks about Last Friends, the final installment in the Old Filth trilogy. We’ll talk to the inventor of a new technology that turns our trash into energy. Plus, find out why Doctors Without Borders is pulling out of Somalia and what its staff is seeing in Syria after the alleged chemical attack over the weekend.

Conspiracy Theories and Paranoia

Conspiracy theories don’t just exist on the fringes of society—they’ve has always been part of our national identity, argues Jesse Walker. He presents a history of conspiracy theories in American culture and politics, from the colonial era to the War on Terror.

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Adventures in the South Pacific

J. Maarten Troost recounts his adventures in the South Pacific, following in the footsteps of Robert Louis Stevenson to the Marquesas, the Tuamotus, Tahiti, the Gilberts, and Samoa. His book Headhunters on My Doorstep: A True Treasure Island Ghost Story  chronicles his journey and his recovery from alcoholism.


Jane Gardam's Novel Last Friends

Jane Gardam discusses her latest novel, Last Friends. It’s the third book in the Old Filth trilogy, and tells the story of the marriage of Edward Feathers and Betty as seen through the eyes of Edwards friend and Betty's lover Terry Veneering.

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Turning Trash into Energy

Mike Hart, President and CEO of Sierra Energy, will talk about their FastOx Pathfinder, a machine that turns common trash into useable energy. While still in its infant stages of development, this waste-to-energy system was recently bought by the U.S. Department of Defense in the hopes of reducing oil consumption. He’ll also discuss the ongoing national hunt to make alternative fuels like Ethanol from trash in an environmentally and economically sound way.

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Doctors Without Borders Leaves Somalia

Humanitarian aid group Doctors Without Borders announced earlier this month that it will withdraw from operations in Somalia. And last week, it revealed that medical centers were flooded with patients showing signs of exposure to toxic nerve agents around the time of the alleged chemical weapons attack in Syria. Sophie Delaunay, Executive Director of Doctors Without Borders in the United States, talks about these recent developments, as well as the challenges and ethics of providing medical care in war-torn countries.


Guest Picks: Ira Berkow

Former New York Times columnist Ira Berkow was on the Leonard Lopate Show recently to talk about following the New York Mets for the last 50 years. He also told us that he's a fan of Little Richard. Find out what else he's a fan of!


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