250: As We Make Our Way Forward

Welcome to episode 250 of the show~. This returns to the style of me speaking by myself, doing some impressions, telling some story, and updating on recent content.

There is great material to cover in March, and we look towards continued growth and improvement.

Show notes:

  • the interconnection between guests and episodes
  • using Zoom for recordings, and how it has been
  • the Kobe memorial, and what he represents as related to what I do
  • the fun of getting books in the mail
  • made up stories
  • impressions of various podcast types

249: Azra Raza | Myelodysplastic Syndromes And Current Oncology In “The First Cell”

When it comes to cancer treatment, Dr. Azra Raza of the MDS Center at Columbia University has been working with patients for decades. She is an expert on myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS), which are disorders caused by poorly formed or otherwise nonfunctional blood cells, and acute myeloid leukemia (AML), which affects 1/3 of MDS patients. This type of cancer, along with the stories of many patients and the progressions of their treatment, is detailed in Dr. Raza’s book The First Cell: And the Human Costs of Pursuing Cancer to the Last.

Dr. Azra Raza is the Chan Soon-Shiong Professor of Medicine and Director of Myelodysplastic Syndrome Center at Columbia University. She has previously held positions at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute, University of Cincinnati, Rush University, and the University of Massachusetts, and has been published in numerous notable journals like The New England Journal of Medicine, Nature, Blood, and Cancer.

One of the items I found most interesting was that Dr. Raza has collected a repository of over 50000 tissue samples from MDS and acute leukemia patients, beginning in the early 1980s. We talk about this in the episode, but I find a lot of value in being the firsthand resource in some specific category or field.

Show notes:

  • how Dr. Raza got into her career in the first place, and specifically into the field of MDS treatment
  • the 50000+ patient tissue samples that Dr. Raza has collected, and what they mean to potential research that can be done today
  • why mouse models do not provide a good representation of how a treatment will work in people
  • how Dr. Raza’s tissue sample data compare with the collection of samples presented in a Nature article/study of many types of cancer
  • the search for valid biomarkers that represent an issue or non-issue
  • how being the individual who does the most in one specific category makes you the prime source
  • what the reductionist philosophy can do if it is taken too far in responding to a health-disturbing pathogen
  • cancer not being of one type, but instead quickly altering generation by generation, leads to a variety of cancer cells showing up
  • why the first cell is the most important one in the production of cancer
  • the likelihood of treating an average cancer patient in 2020, and the associated mortality
  • how there is much value in early testing for cancers
  • the difference between something working in spite of something or because of something
  • some of the experience shared with fellow lab mate Siddhartha Mukherjee, and a message from his research insight
  • a great closing poem by Dr. Raza

It was wonderful to have Dr. Raza on the show. You can check out The First Cell on Amazon, Dr. Azra’s Columbia University page, or a talk she gave with fellow lab mate researcher Siddartha Mukherjee.

248: Nicholas P. Money | The Mycologist Leads Us Through The Potential Path For Humans

In the Department of Biology at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, Dr. Nicholas P. Money brings his expertise to teaching about the world of fungi/mushrooms, as well as related organisms like yeast and microbes.

In his book, The Selfish Ape: Human Nature and Our Path to Extinction, Dr. Money leads us through some of what has led humans to where they currently are, and as well, to our potential positive or negative paths down the line.

Show notes:

  • how Dr. Money got into mycology in the first place, and what kind of work he has done with fungi and mushrooms in recent decades
  • the way that fungi and mushrooms relate with the lives of humans, and what kinds of takeaways we can take from their evolution
  • what it means that food comes from entropy and ends with sugar
  • some of the evolution that has occurred in a non-linear fashion, along with features passed on for different future functions than original
  • information about some of the high-speed camera work Dr. Money worked on early on to see fungi releasing spores in slow detail
  • how we are more closely related to fungi than we are to plants or other animals
  • whether we have a potential good path out of upcoming extinction, due to global warming and related industrial pollution
  • what population growth means to the potential of human success on Earth
  • some of the scientists that Dr. Money liked or worth with

Glad to have Dr. Money on the show. You can check out his faculty page, personal page at The Mycologist, or The Selfish Ape on Amazon.

247: Lydia Denworth | How Life’s Fundamental Bond Develops And Matters For Well-Being In “Friendship”

Episode 247 is on the scene with science journal Lydia Denworth, author of Friendship: The Evolution, Biology, and Extraordinary Power of Life’s Fundamental Bond. It covers the basis behind why we as people become friends, and how it can be so powerful. Some of the greatest things done by people came from strong friendships.

Lydia Denworth has contributed to Scientific American, and writes the ‘Brain Waves’ blog for Psychology Today. Her work is regularly across such publications as Scientific American Mind, Parents, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and Bloomberg News. Regarding Friendship, Dr. Nicholas Christakis of episode 232 said “If you care about what really matters in life, read this fantastic natural history of human friendship.”

Show notes:

  • what led to Lydia getting into the field of science journalism
  • analyzing and discussing the concept of friendship
  • how science benefits from reaching out to other work in related fields
  • why friendship is the piece of the relationship story that was left out for a long time
  • where long-running research in field sites is done on animals like macaques to see their social patterns
  • how neuroscientists can see differences in brain activity in early years of a person’s life, representing rapid growth/adjustment
  • how empathy and theory-of-mind is developed at a certain age range
  • what macaques do to subjugate other ones, and how stress responses are a part of the social win/loss paradigm
  • the way that public speaking or math can be used to examine stress level
  • what loneliness represents about the person in that position, regarding their mental health
  • the lunch time that exists in middle school, and what it represents for socialization and internal battles
  • some of the illumination on women in science in the book, as well as one way that expanded a direction of research
  • the types of friendships that are more valuable in the long-term, and how many close friends the average person has
  • how there needs to be back-and-forth in a successful long-term friendship
  • what face-to-face interaction means for friendship and its growth

Having Lydia on the show was a nice opportunity to learn about friendship and its value. You can check out her TED Talk “The Science of Friendship”, her home page and updates, or look at Friendship on Amazon.

246: Larry Rogero | Building Sustainable Wind Power And Renewable Energy Solutions For Corporations

When it comes to sustainable energy solutions, Larry Rogero has been implementing them for corporations for decades. I first met Larry through his wife Christel, who is my friend and mother of episode 208 guest nutritionist Erika Madison. Larry brings a focus and deliberation to what he does that is necessary for long-lasting results.

Larry is Chief Operating and Strategy Officer at Summit Inspection Services, and has worked in environmental affairs for decades. He got his Masters in Environment Management at Yale University, and his Bachelors in Biological Sciences from my institution of higher learning, UC Santa Barbara.

Show notes:

  • a superb intro by Christel
  • what led Larry into the field of environmental concern in the first place
  • how wind power has been used in recent years, and where it is going in coming years
  • the ways that Larry has contributed to his organization, and what it takes to get a wind power project in place and going
  • some of the issues with installing wind turbines in new places
  • environmental concerns in coming years, and the amount of renewable energy we currently have in place
  • a reverse interview with Larry asking me many questions about the show and my ideas behind it
  • books read by both of us, and people we both look to as representative people to check out or follow
  • and much more

It was great to have Larry on the show, and it was neat to explore his methodical nature that he has displayed in his field for decades.

245: Sarah Rose Cavanagh | Psychologist On Emotions, Collective Consciousness, And Emotional Regulation In “Hivemind”

We dive into the collective consciousness of humans on episode 245 with Dr. Sarah Rose Cavanagh, author of “Hivemind”. The book takes us through how group elements and stories spread among people, the ways that people can build each other up or tear each other down via the internet, vulnerabilities of certain groups of people, and lessons for people to take through their days.

Dr. Cavanagh is Associate Professor of Psychology at Assumption College, and got her PhD in Experimental Psychology from Tufts University. Her research is on how patterns of emotional reactivity illuminates trajectories of risk and resilience in individuals.

Show notes:

  • how Dr. Cavanagh got into psychology in the first place
  • the way that elements can spread from group to group
  • what the hivemind represents, and how we operate as a collective consciousness
  • the way that stories can propel a fiction or nonfiction from a small form to a societal belief
  • the impact that online frameworks have had on people, whether to build them up or tear them down
  • who is most vulnerable to manipulation due to their current life condition and physiology
  • how many are walking through life in the form of a constant form of minor fight-or-flight response
  • a lesson about how serendipity can be built or supported in one’s existence

Glad to have Dr. Cavanagh on the show, and you can check out her faculty page, Hivemind on Amazon, or follow her on Twitter.

244: Scott Grafton | Neuroscientist And Brain Imaging Center Director On Mind/Body Connection In “Physical Intelligence”

Our first guest of 2020 is Dr. Scott Grafton, Bedrosian Coyne Presidential Chair in Neuroscience at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He is author of the book Physical Intelligence: The Science of How the Body and the Mind Guide Each Other Through Life.

It was great to talk with Dr. Grafton because his book connected with some concepts from some authors/researchers in past episodes, and described a way of thinking about the physical element of intelligence, and how our motor function is connected with our layers of brain processing. I also went to UCSB, and that is a nice point of similarity.

Dr. Grafton is director of the UCSB Brain Imaging Center and codirector of the Institute for Collaborative Biotechnologies. He received BA’s in Mathematics and Psychobiology from the University of California at Santa Cruz and his MD degree from the University of Southern California.

Show notes:

  • brain scans and positron emission tomography (PET) for understanding of brain function
  • Dr. Grafton’s career, and what led him to brain and motor function research
  • running the brain imaging center, and how imaging has developed in recent years
  • where all the action in the brain is located
  • visual perception, and how the percentage of vision someone gives to an object relates to its importance in a broad perspective
  • how it is difficult to maneuver over rocks, and to create robots that would walk across rough rocks
  • body schema, as it compares with attention schema theory, for physical sensation
  • the way that practicing something in your mind connects with ability to do the motor action
  • how the brain creates synergies of muscle movements
  • how babies have plasticity, and take risks in order to understand their physical environment from scratch
  • how nature serves as a medicine to people and their well-being
  • the way that entropy is key to a healthy life, and how one does not benefit from distancing from entropic conditions

You can check out Dr. Grafton’s faculty page, or check out Physical Intelligence on Amazon.

243: Welcome To 2020

Hello my fellow podcast listeners, associates, colleagues, individuals, audience members, and personnel. We here at The Armen Show Podcast (known for its consistency, variety, depth, and goal-oriented nature) are glad to walk right into the new year of 2020.

The show starts on a noticeably different footing as compared with its presence at the same time last year, and this is a springboard into the forward progression at hand.

Show notes:

  • where we are at in the great year of 2020
  • how TikTok is the place where a lot of energy is currently going
  • some of the plans or ideas for 2020
  • speaking or some form of speech-providing
  • ways I can improve my end of the show throughout the year
  • emotional awareness and better blending with guests
  • telling more stories, and including more of my own experiences, along with mentions of past guests
  • how I will be including more elements without thinking if X or Y or Z is the right thing to add in
  • how I will be looking at other podcasters/creators to see what I can add in or improve upon
  • what the podcast represents and is meant to express

Keep up with the show and you are keeping up with the movement. Let’s roll onward.

242: Closing Out The 2010s With A Recap

Long live the year, the decade, and the dynamics that have progressed over time. This episode is me closing out the decade with some descriptions of my content creation over time, what I have noticed of the internet as it shifted over the years, and what changes I have seen in the planet in the past decade.

I like to do recaps and compilations to get a broader sense of what has happened. We can only see so much from a smaller view, but I don’t like to stick with that view. The bigger picture is the world I like to inhabit, and at times, I share that with you.

Show notes:

  • progression of my social media content over the years
  • my blog Timeless Information and its various contents
  • YouTube videos with strangers in public
  • SnapChat themes across different messages
  • Podcast audios and shared insights
  • TikTok clips of insights, or shared with strangers
  • the development of the internet over the past 10 years
  • what people have used and shifted toward
  • some global dynamics I have noticed
  • what cultures have more recently gone online in big numbers
  • what I have liked to do

Glad to have you all on the show in these times. We progress to the next decade in smooth fashion, and there is a world of opportunity for those who seek it out. To more great things~

241: Brian Sweis | Decision-Making Brain Processes, Neuromodulation, And Disorder-Based Research

Image result for brian sweis

The year of 2019 is shortly coming to a close, and we start to bring it home with episode 241, featuring guest Dr. Brian Sweis of the University of Minnesota. He was listed as one of the recipients of the Forbes 30-under-30 description in the category of Science for 2019, and his focus is neuroscience.

He completed the PhD part of his MD/PhD program in 2018, and continues through his MD at this time. His research exists “…at the intersection of affective, behavioral, and cognitive neuroscience and clinical psychiatry and neurology, particularly focused on neuromodulation interventions.” The work he does “… aims to understand how the brain processes information during decision-making and how lasting changes in the synaptic mechanisms of plasticity, particularly in the context of addiction and other psychiatric disorders, give rise to maladaptive behaviors.”

Show notes:

  • how Dr. Sweis got to where he is in the MD/PhD neuroscience program at the University of Minnesota
  • why is it relevant that one study the intersection of multiple fields like affective, cognitive, and behavioral science, along with neurology and neuroeconomics
  • what some of Dr. Sweis’ work on neuromodulation efforts looks like in terms of description and example
  • how there are biomarkers that are more or less reliable than others to inform researchers of an attribute in place
  • why decisions are multi-faceted, and can arise from distinct circuit-specific neural computations
  • the difference between decisions made from an emotional standpoint, versus from a logical basis, and how each can be beneficial in different scenarios
  • the kinds of animal and human trials that are done to research how the brain is impacted, and what kinds Dr. Sweis performs
  • what it means to look at decision-making in a neuroeconomic way, assessing comparative values to choices
  • how disorders can alter how stored information is processed
  • some of the scientists and advisors along the way that have guided or informed Dr. Sweis, along with the reasons why

I can see why Dr. Sweis was selected for the Forbes designation, and enjoyed discussing with him while he currently is in a study program. He has long-term goals for research, teaching, and medical work, which is a full-throttle set of items. Some of his research application qualities remind me of Dr. Daniel Z. Lieberman from episode 201, who discussed his research on dopamine. Dr. Sweis also mentioned my interview with Dr. Robert Sapolsky in this episode, and I have always liked Dr. Sapolsky’s book Behave.

You can check out Dr. Sweis’ material on his University of Minnesota page, follow him on Twitter, or look at some of his publications.

240: Overview Of “The Armen Show” Podcast In 2019

2019 has been a fabulous year for the podcast. There will be a couple episodes after this one, but this episode serves to describe and summarize the episodes that were covered this year, along with how they link to one another progressing through them.

This year took the show into a different bracket, as far as guests, video, and messages being provided. There was more of authors, researchers, notable individuals, speakers, and stories that resonate. I was glad it went in this direction, and the show is in a good space to start out 2020.

There are no show notes in this description, because the episode itself is a review of the past episodes.

The podcast went to many different sources this year, including Spotify, iTunes, and Google Play, and was then added to YouTube with the selection of episodes that have the guest on video, either from in-person, or on Skype.

May there continue to be more wonderful guests, things learned, and connection. Subscribe, let people know, like on iTunes or other services, leave a review, or do whatever you would like to help the show become more known, reach a larger audience, and lead to greater guest opportunities.

239: Michael Graziano | Attention Schema Theory And Subjective Awareness In “Rethinking Consciousness”

How does our focused attention relate to what we call “consciousness”? What types of attention are out there, and what are the functions of each type? Professor Michael Graziano explores this and more in his book Rethinking Consciousness: A Scientific Theory of Subjective Experience.

Author Michael Graziano is Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience at Princeton University, and he has written multiple books on neuroscience, evolution, and human nature. The Graziano Lab at Princeton focuses on the brain basis of consciousness, based on attention schema theory, which was formulated by Professor Graziano.

I talked with Professor Graziano about his book and concepts related to consciousness. The mechanistic approach he brings to the topic is something that I am able to relate with.

Show notes:

  • what Professor Graziano works on with students in the Graziano lab
  • how the brain basis of consciousness is studied, and ways that we accept consciousness as defined
  • what the attention schema theory is, and how the model has two functions for daily living
  • the way that signals compete with each other in the computational process of attention
  • how a frog’s form of attention differs from that of a person, and the types of awareness that exist
  • what “biased competition” is, and and the battle for incoming stimuli to the cortex
  • why covert and overt attention are both needed, and how they differ
  • consciousness only being present in a few types of organisms/mammals
  • the concept of affordance, and how the brain works tirelessly as a prediction machine
  • why consciousness is defined as a hard problem, and if that difficulty can be usurped with some research method

It was swell to have Professor Graziano on episode 239 of the show. You can check out his lab page at Princeton, see his research publications, or check out his book Rethinking Consciousness on Amazon.

238: Cameron Porter | Major League Soccer Striker Transitions To Founding And Funding Of Companies

I like people who put their thoughts out there, and furthermore, when they have a “Principles” page on their website that describes the thoughts that guide them. Cameron Porter joins on episode 238 of the show, not only as a former Major League Soccer striker on various teams, but as a current founder and funder for AlleyCorp, an organization that builds transformative companies in New York City.

At AlleyCorp, Cameron “…is responsible for new company R&D, due diligence on seed investments, as well the development of internal tools/initiatives.” Regarding his academic experience, he “… studied computer science at Princeton University where he was recognized as an Academic All-American and William Winston Roper Trophy finalist for high scholastic rank and outstanding qualities of sportsmanship.”

Before the episode, I had checked out his speaking with David Perell on The North Star Podcast, and enjoyed their discussion. My discussion with Cameron ranged from his mindset, to his soccer experiences, to his founding and funding practice.

Show notes:

  • how Cameron ended up in the founding/funding category at AlleyCorp, transitioning away from his professional soccer career [2:20]
  • the concept of how greatness is not able to be planned, and the way this message has attached to Cameron’s path [3:40]
  • what a long-term perspective can provide, and an example of a project that took this perspective into account [5:20]
  • some of the takeaways that Cameron got from his time at Princeton, including those related to people [6:55]
  • the way that Cameron sees the soccer portion of his career in relation to what he currently does [10:20]
  • some differences that may have existed between Cameron and some of his fellow soccer players [12:00]
  • what led Cameron to playing in the position of striker on the field [14:00]
  • examples of a fork in life that Cameron had other than the knee injury that impacted his career [14:00]
  • the concept of whether something will matter in 5 years [18:20]
  • creation versus consumption, and Cameron’s principle of looking at output instead of input, personally or in the workplace [22:45]
  • incompetence over malice, and how to look at the feedback or commentary that others send to you [26:45]
  • perspective on fear, alternatively looked at as uncertainty [30:00]
  • whether Cameron thought he might have some sort of large injury before it happened on the field [32:10]
  • entropy in socialization and life, and the way that Cameron would want entropy to be represented in his outputs/projects [34:00]
  • how podcasts are not as constrained in direction as some other mediums that exist [37:30]
  • if Cameron would make a podcast, and what it would be about [39:00]
  • whether audio, video, or text input/output is most preferred by Cameron for content purposes [42:45]

I sure enjoyed having Cameron on the episode. His thoughts are clear, and on point, and he has a warm nature. To the potential of a follow-up episode in a year, to compare the deltas from where he and I were at during the time of this episode. To more good things. You can check out his website at incremental.nyc

237: Bob Varo | Belgian Music Producer With Sights on Los Angeles

Here we are on episode 237 with music producer Bob Varo. He originates out of the European nation of Belgium, and makes music of the rock or metal variation, or it may be alternative.

We talked about a lot of his musical experiences, what he aims to do in music production in the future, and how his experience has been coming to Los Angeles a few times from Belgium.

Show notes:

  • the country of Belgium that Bob originates from, and places he has been in or around there
  • what some of the differences are between his experiences in the music production field in Belgium versus Los Angeles
  • where Bob has performed or done musical work over the years
  • how Bob looks to add value to artists he works with, whether it be songwriting, recording, or mixing/mastering
  • why it is important to flow with the current methods of sound and music generation, with more technological possibilities
  • challenges that can come up when working with a certain artist
  • how I met Bob at a house party in the first place
  • some bands that Bob has known of, or identifies with, or would be glad to work with if given the opportunity
  • why taking classes can create a small-world scenario that leads to memories for your select grouping
  • one of Bob’s studio/travel experiences through parts of northern Europe
  • the difference between those who release music as albums versus “big-hit” singles one after another

Glad to have Bob on the show.

236: Nick Chater | Perceptual Limitations And Mental Depth Illusion In “The Mind Is Flat”

Does the mind have less depth to it than is readily assumed? Are we able to multitask at all? Professor Nick Chater joins on episode 236 to discuss the qualities of the brain that give it depth or the illusion of mental depth.

Professor Chater is Professor of Behavioral Science at Warwick Business School, has over 200 publications, and has been editor for Cognitive Science and Psychological Review journals.

His research focuses on the cognitive and behavioral sciences, including reasoning, decision-making, and language. He has done experimental, computational, and mathematical studies of basic mental processes.

Show notes:

  • Professor Chater’s research and past content, as well as his educational history
  • how the myth of unconscious thought is not applicable
  • why multitasking is not the way that the brain is built to handle projects and tasks
  • the way that the material in Professor Chater’s book connects with the interpreter concept from past episodes
  • how little we can see with our eyes at any one time
  • risk-seeking qualities versus risk-averse nature in decision-making
  • how feelings are invented in response to physiological base responses and other processes underneath
  • the way that some are able to have a sense of other’s feelings, like Gary from a past episode
  • if it is reasonable to look at what we do in a stimulus-response form of maneuvering

I was glad to have Professor Chater on the show. You can check out his faculty page to see his breadth of publications.

235: Kai Boyer | Master Trainer And Fitness Coach Specializing In Women’s Physique

Episode 235 comes into the forefront with master trainer and fitness coach Kai Boyer. Her coaching style comes with a great sense of the physiology behind movements. She has solutions for how workouts should be adjusted, in order to make up for gaps in muscular fitness building.

Kai provides a lot of services through her coaching, including a weight loss program, strength training, high performance sports training, interval training, post-surgical rehabilitation, and mean plan building. The main philosophy of her training is the concept of Kaizen, which is about little improvements over time.

I like that concept because we can deconstruct most things in life into little battles to work through, and then the large thing is no longer large. It’s like one of those physics activation energy graphs having a lower required activation energy for the goal you want. Kai uses it for fitness (and her name is in the word Kaizen), but it is able to be applied to various life hurdles.

Show notes:

  • how Kai got into the fitness category in the first place
  • the way that Kai built her current client base, and the types of individuals she has worked with in recent times
  • why nutrition is so important to fitness, even though it doesn’t fit the intuitive thought that the workout is the main component
  • what Kai eats during a normal week, and what a person would want to include in their diet to be able to build fitness
  • what workouts to add in to example workout programs to fill in gaps that may exist
  • how most people don’t like to stretch, and what that can lead to
  • where certain sports players usually get injured
  • how many days of strength and workout training one should have as part of a healthy week
  • whether a person should be more focused on calorie reduction or workout increases, based on their current plan

Having Kai on the show was neat, and she is a straightforward individual. You can check out her site and what she brings to the table at Kai Boyer Fitness.

234: Dean Hallett | Starting Hallett Leadership After Impacting Organization And Culture At Fox And Disney

Episode 234 gets into the swing of things with guest Dean Hallett, Founder & CEO of Hallett Leadership. During his 17-year tenure at Fox Studios, where he served as CFO, Dean developed a unique and highly effective 9-month leadership training program for early and mid-career managers. The program’s success at breaking down silos across Fox, and fostering a culture of collaboration, led to Dean’s promotion to Senior Executive VP of Operations & Management. Today, the program Dean pioneered at Fox is called the Accelerated Leadership Program (ALP), which “develops tomorrow’s leaders today.”

Decades of experience in a space is something that gives refinement we highly desire when we are looking for a person of quality. Dean has some baseline rules for leadership, as well as understanding of how to facilitate levels of leadership underneath him.

I spoke with Dean about a variety of topics related to leadership, his experience at Fox and Disney, personality traits that matter in organizational leadership, and more.

Show notes:

  • how Dean deviated from his earlier public accounting track to his positions as CFO of large corporations
  • why being somewhat introverted can bring value to an organization, and how introverts sometimes have the most to offer
  • what some examples of Dean providing leadership consisted of
  • how the reward structure of a corporation affects what people target their efforts toward, and how shifting this reward structure is important for improved culture
  • what some of the qualities are that Dean looks for in people working around and under him, to have a highly-effective organization
  • why letting people work their own way and be creative leads to positive and potentially surprisingly positive results
  • how Dean feels about feeling comfort in life, versus expanding one’s zone
  • what books have been read by Dean for understanding, including Collaboration Begins With You by Ken Blanchard, and The Tao to High-Performance Leadership by Jack Zwissig
  • why storytelling has a compelling force to it
  • how being fearful of training and developing your people sends them away, as opposed to the alternative

It was a pleasure to speak with Dean during this episode, and hear some other stories about his life experiences. He is a full person, as I would describe it, and is on the way in his new path. I always connect more with individuals building their own name and entities. You can check out his coaching material at Hallett Leadership.

233: Richard Wrangham | Domestication, Aggression, And Human Evolution In “The Goodness Paradox”

Humans have evolved to become more domesticated, and there are multiple variables at work causing this shift. It wasn’t always this way, and human species have had a two-sided relationship with virtue and violence a long period of time. Dr. Richard Wrangham, author of The Goodness Paradox, joins on episode 233 to discuss this shift and relationship.

Professor Wrangham (PhD, Cambridge University, 1975) is Ruth B. Moore Professor of Biological Anthropology at Harvard University and founded the Kibale Chimpanzee Project in 1987. He has conducted extensive research on primate ecology, nutrition, and social behavior. He is best known for his work on the evolution of human warfare, described in the book Demonic Males, and on the role of cooking in human evolution, described in the book Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human. Together with Elizabeth Ross, he co-founded the Kasiisi Project in 1997, and serves as a patron of the Great Apes Survival Partnership (GRASP).

It was neat to talk with Professor Wrangham about the ways that evolution has impacted humans as they have progressed. We also included some material on his understanding of cooking and its impacts.

Show notes:

  • how proactive and reactive aggression differ, and why that is important
  • some of the ways that Professor Wrangham has done research on chimpanzees to understand more about humans
  • where humans stand on the threshold of reactive and proactive aggression
  • the elements that separated Homo sapiens from the other species of humans
  • how intra and inter group cooperation without expectation of future returns works in principle but struggles in person
  • the impact of capital punishment as a way to reduce societal reactive aggression via conformity
  • the window of socialization that exists early in life
  • how the leaders of alpha males of a group impact the rest of the group, and what happens when they die off or are vanquished

Glad to have Dr. Wrangham on the show~ You can check out The Goodness Paradox on Amazon, look at his faculty page, or check out his chimpanzee project website.

232: Nicholas A. Christakis | Social Networks, Biosocial Science, And The Evolution Of Good In “Blueprint”

As a sociologist and physician, Dr. Nicholas A. Christakis has done research on social networks and the socioeconomic, biosocial, and evolutionary determinants of behavior, health, and longevity. His most recent book Blueprint: The Evolutionary Origins of a Good Society shows how evolution has united humanity and put us on a fitting path of progression.

Dr. Christakis is the Sterling Professor of Social and Natural Science at Yale University. He received an M.D. from Harvard Medical School, and an M.P.H. from the Harvard School of Public Health. His Ph. D. in sociology is from the University of Pennsylvania. He was voted one of Time’s 100 most influential people in the world in 2009.

His book Blueprint was recently mentioned by Bill Gates in a tweet, as well as on his Gates Notes website. He mentions that Robert Sapolsky of my past reading (Behave) gives “…you a framework down to the biological and hormonal level, while Christakis focuses more on person-to-person interactions.”

Show notes:

  • what it means for society to have developed into a way of being that is good, and why evolution may have directed that way
  • how relationship dynamics like monogamy or social structure would develop in similar environments given enough time
  • why a fixed social environment creates one type of winning people, and a fluid social environment creates a different set
  • the impact that removing a leader of a group has on the group
  • what repeats in society from millions of years ago to now
  • how pair-bonding can be impacted by certain neurotransmitters, and what this represents about us
  • the kind of research that Dr. Christakis has done, and his views on the current social networks that are popular in society
  • the way that some past recurring events were responses to human needs, though those civilizations may have not known the “why”
  • what unintentional, intentional, and artificial communities can tell us about the way people function as a group

It was great to have Dr. Christakis on the show. You can check out Blueprint on Amazon, his Wikipedia, or his Yale faculty page.

231: David A. Sinclair | Anti-Aging Research And Understanding In “Lifespan”

When it comes to anti-aging research, Dr. David A. Sinclair of Harvard Medical School is on the forefront of research and innovation. He joins on episode 231 to discuss his new book Lifespan: Why We Age – and Why We Don’t Have To.

Dr. Sinclair, Ph.D., A.O. is a Professor in the Department of Genetics and co-Director of the Paul F. Glenn Center for the Biology of Aging at Harvard Medical School. He is best known for his work on understanding why we age and how to slow its effects. He obtained his Ph.D. in Molecular Genetics at the University of New South Wales, Sydney in 1995.

He worked as a postdoctoral researcher at M.I.T. with Dr. Leonard Guarente where he co discovered a cause of aging for yeast as well as the role of Sir2 in epigenetic changes driven by genome instability. In 1999 he was recruited to Harvard Medical School where he has been teaching aging biology and translational medicine for aging for the past 16 years. He was also on TIME magazine’s 2014 list of the “100 most influential people in the world”.

Show notes:

  • Dr. Sinclair’s background, and what led him into the field of anti-aging research
  • what it is about adversity that leads to a chemical response in the body, across sirtuins and more
  • how aging is not yet thought of as a disease, and how that can change through communication efforts
  • why society and people can seem stuck in a slowed form of evolution as compared with where we are headed
  • why studying organisms fighting adversity, similar to how Dr. Cockell studied extremophiles, is the way to find most answers
  • how stress at a cellular level is different from psychological stress that releases cortisol in the bloodstream
  • what it means to have senescent cells accumulate in the body as one ages over time
  • how an optic nerve was regrown in a mouse, and what that means for our potential nerve-based regrowth
  • what kinds of demands Dr. Sinclair has on his time with regards to the research he does
  • how the Horvath Clock represents true age of a person beyond external appearance and other metrics

This was an enjoyable episode, and book, that is right on the forefront of aging research and technology. Dr. Sinclair is very active in this space, and it shows. You can check out his website, the book on Amazon, or some of his research.