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#31: A World in Crisis (and what to do about it) – with Jared Diamond

What can we learn from the tribes in the rainforest of New Guinea? What are the greatest dangers facing humanity and the earth today, and how can they be overcome? These are some of the many questions we address in this conversation with a leading scientist that has been voted one of the world's top ten intellectuals by various British and American magazines and who researches and writes on just about everything that makes up human existence – think "universal genius": Jared Diamond.

He studied physiology at Harvard and Cambridge and became a leading expert on the gallbladder. He is also an ornithologist, anthropologist, sociologist, evolutionary biologist, ecologist, and environmental historian with expertise in archaeology, genetics, and human disease epidemiology. He is also a professor of geography in Los Angeles.

And then he is also one of the most successful authors of popular science nonfiction. His works have been translated into some forty languages, and for the world bestseller "Guns, Germs, and Steel. The Fates of Human Societies" he was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1998. His other books include "Collapse. How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed", "The World until Yesterday" and his most recent work "Upheaval – How Nations Cope with Crisis and Change".

For all that, Jared Diamond is not only a master of lab work and literature research, but he is and has been on the road himself all over the world (over thirty times in New Guinea alone), he is fluent in over a dozen languages ... So: more than enough material for a wide-ranging conversation about a unique scientific career – and about the world we live in.

More Episodes

11/10/2021

#28: Euphoria and Terror – Crossing Antarctica with Felicity Aston MBE

“I just think back to that first time I got a proper look at Antarctica: There was something about the simplicity and the beauty and the perfectness of it all that made me want to scoop it all up and somehow contain it in me.”That's a quote from our guest, Polar explorer, Antarctic scientist, author, speaker and expedition leader Felicity Aston MBE. And that is exactly what she did: She preserved Antarctica (and the polar regions) within herself. She spent a continuous period of two and a half years (including two consecutive winters) at Rothera Research Station on the Antarctic Peninsula. These first experiences in Antarctica then led to numerous expeditions to remote places around the world (but particularly to the Polar Regions): She led record-breaking international teams to the North and South Poles, worked on a nuclear-powered icebreaker at the North Pole, led the first British Women’s crossing of Greenland, skied along a frozen river in Siberia, traversed the winter ice of Lake Baikal, raced in the Canadian Arctic, drove 35,000km across Eurasia to the coldest inhabited place in the world … and in 2012 she became the first woman to ski alone across Antarctica. It was a journey of 1744 km that took her 59 days to complete. With this, she set a world record. And she was not only the first woman to master this tour, but also the first person – male or female – to do so alone and with her own muscle power.Felicity reports on her experiences in four books and regularly produces articles for various publications in the UK and abroad. She has been elected Fellow of both the Royal Geographical Society in London and The Explorers Club in New York, and received many more awards.In this episode, she talks about the challenges she had to face during her Antarctic crossing – and the beauty of it all!
7/17/2021

#27: Extreme Adventures, extreme Life – with Mike Horn

"One of the most amazing things about Mike Horn's life is that it still hasn't come to an end." This sentence sums up the life of this episode’s guest quite well: Mike Horn is introduced again and again as one of the world's most important explorers and adventurers of our time. What he has achieved and demonstrated in terms of endurance, determination and courage is pretty much unparalleled.He was the first person to swim solo and unsupported across the Amazon River from its source to its river mouth – six and a half thousand kilometers that he covered on a hydrospeed. He circumnavigated the globe at the equator without any motorized assistance. He was the first person ever to cross Antarctica at its widest point and undertook the very first winter trek to the North Pole – weeks in the eternal ice, in permanent darkness. He also sailed around the world more than a dozen times and climbed some of the highest peaks on Earth without artificial oxygen. Since 2015, Mike has taken on the role of survival expert for three French TV channels, where he shares his knowledge of survival with the participants of the shows.A single interview is not nearly enough to do justice to even a fraction of his world-renowned endeavors. Nor do we attempt to do so. Instead, we dig into some of the lessons he's learned from his expeditions, discussing, for example, what he sees as the power of inspiration and where he finds the value in failure.