Toxic Dust in the SW; Covering the Conflict in the Congo; Recovering from Amnesia; Shortcomings of Wall Street Regulators

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Wednesday, January 22, 2014

On today’s show New Yorker staff writer Dana Goodyear talks about a toxic soil-dwelling fungus that’s causing infections in the Southwestern United States. Anjan Sundaram tells what happened when he left his doctorate program in mathematics to work as a stringer for the AP covering the war in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2006. David MacLean describes waking up on a train platform in India with no idea of who he was or how he got there. Larry Doyle explains how—five years after the financial meltdown—Wall Street’s regulators are still failing to protect investors and taxpayers.

Toxic Dust Spreads Disease in the American Southwest

Every year, there are about 150,000 cases of Valley Fever, caused by the toxic soil-dwelling fungus Coccidioides immitis, which exists in the southwestern United States.  New Yorker staff writer Dana Goodyear talks about the fungus-caused illness and why there's been a remarkable increase in infections. Her article “Death Dust: The Valley-Fever Menace” appears in the January 20 issue of The New Yorker.

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Reporting in the Congo

Anjan Sundaram explains why he decided to take a break from working toward a doctorate in mathematics at Yale to uproot his life, move to the Congo, and become a freelance foreign correspondent. He ended up working for the AP to help cover the 2006 election campaign between Joseph Kabila, son of the assassinated rebel who deposed Mobutu in 1997, and his vice president, Jean-Pierre Bemba. In his memoir Stringer: A Reporter’s Journey in the Congo, Sundaram moves back and forth between his personal adventures and the Congo’s troubled history and politics.

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What It's Like to Forget Everything About Yourself and Your Life

On October 17, 2002, David Stuart MacLean came to on a train platform in India with no idea who he was or why he was there. He had no money, no passport, no identity. It turned out that the commonly prescribed malarial medication he had been taking caused him to develop a severe form of amnesia. When he returned to the United States, he struggled to piece together the fragments of his former life. He writes about his harrowing experience in The Answer to the Riddle Is Me: A Memoir of Amnesia.

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In Bed with Wall Street

The financial meltdown in 2008 triggered nationwide outcry over the lack of regulation and oversight on Wall Street. But how much has changed since then? Larry Doyle argues that Wall Street, politicians, and the regulators themselves have conspired for personal and industry-wide gains while failing to protect investors, consumers, and taxpayers. In In Bed with Wall Street discusses recent scandals, such as the multi-billion dollar trading losses at JP Morgan Chase, the manipulation of interest rates via the LIBOR scandal, and money laundering with North American drug cartels and rogue nations such as Iran.

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