Saturday Morning for Saturday 25 March 2017
This Saturday, Kim talks first to Dr Nafeez Ahmed, a British investigative journalist and security scholar on the connection between this week's terror attack in London and a world beset by political violence; for Brain Day, Auckland University's Professor Russell Snell drops by to discuss his work collecting and sequencing the DNA of families of people on the autistic spectrum; the UK's chief scientific advisor Professor Robin Grimes puts up a spirited defence of nuclear power; award-winning satarist, Armando Iannucci, on a 20-year creating some of pop culture's most complex - and profane - characters; 94-year-old author and activist Harry Leslie Smith warns against returning to a world without proper social safety nets; David Vann on his book Bright Air Black - a feminist retelling of the story of Medea, Jason, and the Argonauts; and Kate De Goldi joins us to look at her latest best finds for young adults.
8.12 Dr Nafeez Ahmed - Failing states, collapsing systems
Dr. Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed is an award-winning 15-year investigative journalist, international security scholar, author and film-maker. He's the creator of INSURGEintelligence, a crowdfunded public interest investigative journalism project. Previously, Ahmed wrote The Guardian's 'Earth insight' blog and was Global Editor at The Canary, the British journalism start-up which is now in the Top 100 UK websites.
In 2015, Ahmed won the Project Censored Award for Outstanding Investigative Journalism for his Guardian story on the energy politics of the Ukraine crisis. He holds a PhD in International Relations from the University of Sussex. His latest book Failing States, Collapsing Systems: BioPhysical Triggers of Political Violence (2016) explains why the number of the world's collapsed states is growing. Ahmed will be appearing by Skype at the Living Economies Expo to be held in Lyttleton next week, where he'll discuss the necessity for the emergence of a new post-carbon, post- materialist system. Dr. Nafeez Ahmed is a founding member of perennial vision.
9.05 Professor Russell Snell - The hunt for autism genes
To mark Brain Day 2017* (and part of international Brain Awareness Week), Kim talks to Professor Russell Snell, a world-renowned geneticist based at the University of Auckland who has long studied human disease genes and variations in genes in general with a focus on the molecular genetics of disease, in particular neuro-degenerative diseases like Parkinson's and Alzheimer's. His latest venture has seen him co-found the Minds for Minds Research Network, which is looking into variations in DNA that cause autism. Minds for Minds is collecting a cohort of people with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and their families to investigate using large- scale gene sequencing.
* Brain Day, March 25th 2017, is marked a free public event held between 9.30 - 3pm at the University of Auckland Business School.
9.30 Professor Robin Grimes - The nuclear option
Professor Robin Grimes, Chief Scientific Adviser to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), has visited New Zealand recently to meet with scientists and ministers to discuss the connection between science and foreign policy. In his role as the FCO's Chief Scientific Adviser, Grimes is responsible for providing advice to the Foreign Secretary, ministers and officials on science, technology and innovation, and for strengthening the scientific and engineering capacity within the Foreign Office. He advises the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee's inquiry into nuclear research requirements, and was part of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) that provided official advice on the 2011 Fukushima disaster.
10.05 Armando Iannucci - Satirising political spin
Armando Iannucci is one of the most critically acclaimed British comedy writers and producers of the past 20 years. He is best known in the UK as creator and show-runner for The Thick of It, about a beleaguered minister trying to cope with the pressure imposed by his army of spin doctors. Iannucci started as a radio producer, creating On the Hour, which in turn spawned numerous BAFTA-winning Alan Partridge shows, which were co-written with Steve Coogan. He also created American political satire Veep. Iannucci's latest work, a film in production called The Death of Stalin, is a comedic take on the events that transpired after the brutal strongman died in 1953. Armando Iannucci will appear at an early event (Saturday April 29th) as part of the Auckland Writers Festival.
10.35 Harry Leslie Smith - Don't let the mean streets of my past be our future
Harry Leslie Smith is a survivor of the Great Depression and a Second World War RAF veteran. As a 92-year old, the writer and campaigner became a viral sensation with his moving speech at a UK Labour Party conference about his impoverished childhood and the lack of healthcare. At 94 he continues to write books and agitate for the preservation of Britain's National Health Service, an end to austerity and the preservation of democracy. His Guardian articles have been shared over 60,000 times on Facebook and he's authored numerous books, including Harry's Last Stand (2014) and Love Among the Ruins (2015). He divides his time between Toronto, Canada and Yorkshire.
11.05 David Vann - Bright Air Black
Author David Vann's work has been published in 21 languages. His books include Caribou Island, Legend of a Suicide, and Goat Mountain. David Vann is a professor at the University of Warwick and honorary professor at the University of Franche-Comte in France - but he calls Aotearoa home. His latest book is called Bright Air Black which he says is a feminist retelling of the story of Medea, Jason, and the Argonauts.
11.40 Kate De Goldi - Snow White and the two other books
Kate De Goldi is a fiction writer and book reviewer. Her most recent novel, From the Cutting Room of Barney Kettle, won the Esther Glen Medal at the 2016 NZ Children’s and Young Adult Book Awards. She is co-editor, with Susan Paris, of ANNUAL, a miscellany for 9-12 year olds, which was published in October 2016. ANNUAL 2 is due out in September 2017. She'll talk about picture book Du Iz Tak? by Carson Ellis; a graphic novel retelling of Snow White by Matt Phelan, and the novel Makoons by Louise Erdrich.
Books mentioned in this episode
Failing States, Collapsing Systems: BioPhysical Triggers of Political Violence
by Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed
Harry's Last Stand
by Harry Leslie Smith
Allen & Unwin (NZ)
Bright Air Black
by David Vann
Du Iz Tak?
by Carson Ellis (picture book)
by Matt Phelan (graphic novel)
by Louise Erdrich (novel)