FULL SHOW: April 28, 2019

Apr 28, 2019

Preparing for the next pandemic means more than technology and training. It requires questioning what we do and don't know.
Credit DoD photo by Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr.

"Scientists - not just scientists, anyone - can fall into the trap of thinking that once we have a certain amount of knowledge, we really understand how things work, we don't need to question it anymore. But the lessons of these epidemics is that as much as we've learned and as much as we know there were always these unknowns out there, or these partial understandings, and we only learned what we're missing when the next epidemic comes along." - Mark Honigsbaum

This week on Living Lab Radio:

  • Social scientist Beth Humberd lays out a new framework for thinking about which jobs are most likely to go to robots in the near future. The key is in considering the total value of the job, and the roles that both workers' skills and the mode of delivery play in creating that value.
  • Medical historian Mark Honigsbaum shares lessons we have - and haven't - learned from a century of pandemics, from Spanish flu to Ebola. Spoiler alert: we may not be as ready for the next one as we'd like to think.
  • Noah Greenwald of the Center for Biological Diversity runs the numbers on the Endangered Species Act and concludes that it has succeeded more often than failed, and has likely prevented nearly 300 species from going extinct.
  • Cancer epidemiologist Yin Cao presents new evidence that Americans are spending more time sitting than we did a decade ago. It's a troublesome trend, since prolonged sitting is linked to heart disease, diabetes, even some cancers.