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Alex Bezzerides: How evolution went wrong for humans

We humans have been evolving for millions of years, so why do we still have dodgy knees, crooked teeth and need glasses? Alex Bezzerides looks to answer those questions with his debut book. Audio

Saturday 12 June 2021

Available Audio (10)

This week’s show will be hosted by Julian Wilcox

8:12 Michael Imperiale: Rethinking lab safety practices amid Covid-19

The Wuhan lab-leak theory is back in the limelight, and US President Biden has ordered an investigation into the origins of Covid-19. Biden says the US Intelligence Community has “coalesced around two likely scenarios” but has not reached a definitive conclusion on the origin of the virus.

Professor Michael Imperiale, a virologist at the University of Michigan, says that while he believes the data still points toward a natural origin, the scientific community needs to rethink some basic research safety practices in light of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Professor Michael Imperiale

Professor Michael Imperiale Photo: Supplied


8:25 Farah Palmer: a breath of fresh air for Rugby NZ

Former Black Ferns captain Farah Palmer (Ngāti Maniapoto, Waikato Tainui) was appointed as the deputy chair of Rugby NZ last month, making history as the first person to ever hold such a role within the organisation.

Dr Palmer is also the chair of the New Zealand Māori Rugby Board, and a senior lecturer at Massey University’s School of Management, where her mahi focuses on race, gender and sports management leadership. She joins the show to discuss the Women’s World Cup next year, where the game is at for women, and Māori tikanga in business.

NZ Rugby board member and former Black Fern Dr Farah Palmer.

Dr Farah Palmer Photo: PHOTOSPORT


8:40 Tame Malcolm: using indigenous methods to fight pests

Tame Malcolm

Tame Malcolm Photo: Te Rawhitiroa Bosch

Tame Malcolm has always been captivated by te ngahere - the forest. As a kid, his whānau would share knowledge about the bush, and he would keenly soak it all up.

Now, Malcolm advocates using customary Māori methods to get rid of pests and is the operations manager at Te Tira Whakamātaki - a not-for-profit Māori biodiversity network.

Malcolm is also undertaking a PhD that investigates what pest management would look like if it’s designed and implemented from a te ao Māori perspective.

Part of his research is looking at what kawa and tikanga could govern pest management and, as we look to achieve Predator Free 2050, the need for new tech like gene editing and toxins.



9:05 Aaron Lammer: the big cryptocurrency Exit Scam

When Canadian blockchain whiz Gerald Cotten died under mysterious circumstances while on honeymoon in India, the $215 million on his cryptocurrency exchange, Quadriga, also disappeared. There was no way to retrieve the funds without a password, and Quadriga customers were told the money was lost forever.

For his new podcast, Exit Scam, cryptocurrency aficionado Aaron Lammer (Longform Podcast, CoinTalk) spent two years investigating the puzzling circumstances around Cotten’s death, and asking the question: was it really just a high-level Ponzi scheme after all?

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Photo: Provided


9:35 Larry Keating: investigating corruption in the Amazon

Larry Keating

Larry Keating Photo: supplied

Was there a link between the brutal attacks on Sir Peter Blake and Captain Pete Bethune in Brazil? 

In his new documentary, The Garden of Evil, Larry Keating investigates the possibility that the attacks, both of which happened in the Amazon but 16 years apart, might have been the work of powerful criminal organisations with involvement in illegal logging, drug trafficking, and the export of endangered animals. 

A passionate yachtsman, Keating’s experience in sports media has taken him to ten America’s Cup events, two Olympic Games and seen him interview everyone from sport and film stars to Nelson Mandela. He is also known for his book Exposed – The Dark Side of The America’s Cup.

The Garden of Evil premieres at the DocEdge Film Festival on 12 June at Auckland’s Civic Theatre, and screens at Wellington’s Roxy Cinema on 26 June and then online from 27 June.




10:05 Alex Bezzerides: How evolution went wrong for humans

We humans have been evolving for millions of years, so why do we still have dodgy knees, crooked teeth and need glasses?

Alex Bezzerides looks to answer those questions with his debut book, Evolution Gone Wrong: The Curious Reasons Why Our Bodies Work (or Don't). Bezzerides says that we experience these challenges not despite evolution, but because of it. And that going from tree-dwelling primates to walking around on the ground continues to affect how our bodies function, for better and for worse.

Bezzerides is professor of biology at Lewis-Clark State College specialising in anatomy and evolution. 

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Photo: Provided


10:35 Rachel Taulelei: Using trade as a tool to combat Covid-19

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Photo: Virginia Woolf Photography

Earlier this week officials from the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) released a statement saying they would “consider removing unnecessary barriers to trade in services, particularly those services that expedite and facilitate the flow of essential goods”.

The APEC statement follows a dialogue with Rachel Taulelei, the 2021 chair of the APEC Business Advisory Council. Taulelei is a strong advocate for the unrestricted trade of vaccines and essential medical supplies, as barriers around the import and export of vaccines has been a key issue preventing wide-spread immunisation in developing countries.

Taulelei, who is also the CEO of Māori-owned food and beverage company Kono, says it’s not a time for “business as usual”, and that the pandemic must remain the highest priority.


11:05  Anastasia Woolmer: tips from an Australian memory champ

Anastasia Woolmer is a two times Australian Memory Champion. But she wasn’t always blessed with a memory like a steel trap. In fact, a few years ago Woolmer had a pretty poor memory. She would receive and absorb information, but felt like she could never retain enough detail to share a story at a dinner party or in a group conversation. 

Then she read a book about memory competitions that made her realise she could strengthen her memory with a little hard work. After five months of self-training Woolmer became the first woman to win the memory championship title in Australia.

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Photo: Provided

11:40 Rob Thorne: transcending with taonga pūoro 

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Photo: Emma Allen del Castillo

Taonga pūoro practitioner Rob Thorne (Ngāti Tumutumu) is known for creating transcendent soundscapes by combining modern looping technology with traditional instruments made from stone, bone, shell and wood.

During his career as a sonic artist, Thorne has collaborated both academically and musically with taonga pūoro master Richard Nunns, who died this week at the age of 76. Nunns was central to the revival of interest in traditional Māori instruments and appeared on Thorne’s highly-acclaimed 2014 album Whāia Te Māramatanga.

Later this month, Thorne will be collaborating with musician and cinematic composer Karl Steven for a special one-off show called Unfencing The Commons, which will be taking place in Auckland’s Wine Cellar.



Books mentioned in this show:

Evolution Gone Wrong: The Curious Reasons Why Our Bodies Work (or Don't)
By Alex Bezzerides
ISBN: 1335690050
Published by Hanover Square Press