Much of the U.S. and international space program in the early years looked at the biomedical consequences of space travel on the human body. Bone loss, muscular atrophy and the impact on the cardiovascular system were of special concern as astronauts came and went from outer space. Then researchers began to make connections between the impact of extreme conditions and natural aging here on Earth.
Losing your balance and feeling dizzy? It happens as we grow older, and astronauts are trying to help us figure out why. Producer Judith Kampfner takes a look at how health researchers use the experience of weightlessness to better understand the bodies' equilibrium. The effects of motion sickness —disorientation, maladjustment to environment, and human flexibility to adapt — are the same effects experienced by astronauts in outer space.
Anyone sending a space shuttle into orbit, building a skyscraper, or even studying bone density owes a debt of gratitude to Isaac Newton and his theory of gravitation and laws of motion. Yet, the role of gravity in life’s processes, from cell structure to the human cardiovascular system remains unclear.
Anyone sending a space shuttle into orbit, building a skyscraper, or even studying bone density owes a debt of gratitude to Isaac Newton and his theory of gravitation and laws of motion. Yet, the role of gravity in life’s processes, from cell structure to the human cardiovascular system remains unclear. Judith Kampfner explores the enigma force by starting in an eight grade science class, following a high school physics class as they perform some experiments on NASA’s vomit comet.
"Truth is a pathless land" said the Indian spiritual leader and iconoclast J. Krishnamurti. He taught pacifism and harmony; he sought freedom through a transformation of the human psyche. People flocked to follow him as he moved across continents and through much of the twentieth century, spreading his word. He never wanted to be called a guru and yet his followers (who included Hollywood film stars) insisted on it.
Producer Judith Kampfner is on her own journey to be, if not the perfect mother-in-law, then at least one that breaks stereotypes and avoids common pitfalls. In the process, she interviews other mother-in-laws, many from different backgrounds and asks them what mistakes they made and how they work to establish a comfortable relationship with their offspring’s spouse. And is it important or even possible to become friends?
Talk about taxis as a guilty pleasure! Producer Judith Kampfner gives us a metropolitan comparison: whether it's riding in style on the streets of New York (avoiding the hustle, bustle, and pain of the subway), or zipping across London's spiraling maze of cross-streets (never doubting your intrepid guide's sense of direction). Join us for a tour of taxi drivers -- the rough-edged New York City cabbies, and the traditional, vintage hacks of London. It’s never predictable – who might be the next stranger to inhabit your space?
Two writers in Chicago foretold their own deaths. Guy Izzi wrote thrillers but his own end was stranger than anything he had described in his fiction. It seemed to be a continuation of one of his stories. Was he being followed by a cult that he had depicted in his last novel? The Chicago Police find it a mystery. Equally as puzzling is the case of Professor Ioan Culianu at the University of Chicago Divinity School. He also was found dead at his place of work.
Everybody lies. Lying is pervasive in everyday life. But just how good are you at spotting lies? Producer Judith Kampfner talks to researchers who are learning how and why humans practice deception and why lies can be hard to detect. Pioneering psychologist Paul Ekman, whose research is the basis for the television series Lie to Me, tells us about detecting lying in facial and body language. Oxford researcher Paul Harris discusses his work with children, trying to understand why and at what point do children learn to tell deceive.
Between the mid-seventies and the early nineteen-nineties, Paul Erasmus was a secret police official in South Africa. His unit was responsible for what he calls dirty tricks, which included arson, sabotage, theft, discrediting people, illegal phone tapping, and firebombing. Then, before apartheid ended, he went in front of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, to confess to 500 offenses and 80 serious crimes and was granted partial amnesty in 2000.
Around the world there is topless bathing but it is rare in this country. Yet one in four Americans admit to having skinny dipped. Is it hypocritical, a holdover from Puritan beginnings, or something more deep-seated? At the end of summer, before the chill winds blow, Producer Judith Kampfner visits a public nude beach in Miami, Florida and a private naturist camp not far outside New York and yes, complies with the no clothes rule. Baring all may mean feeling vulnerable and stupid.
When you lower a bucket into the ocean, you expect to pull-up - water. Perhaps some seaweed or a fish or two. It‘s what you can’t see in that bucket that’s the most intriguing to scientists. Every teaspoonful of that water can contain a hundred-million tiny viruses. Producer Judith Kampfner travels from the coast of Plymouth in England to California to meet with some of the intrepid pioneers who are on the trail of these new natural marvels.
Gone are the days of the simple cup of coffee. Now, you can choose among lattes, cappuccino or macchiato while filling up at the local coffee bar. And as the complexity of the drink grows, so grows the culture around it. Looked at from the perspective of a cultural anthropologist, the hot elixir may be less important to the consumer than the atmosphere of the café, the friendliness of the staff, the sense of home, or the like-mindedness of fellow drinkers.
At a Maine Youth Center, MIT professor, Seymour Papert inaugurated an experiment to radically change an education curriculum. Rooted in his ideas such as those in his book Mindstorms, Children, Computers and Powerful Ideas, Pappert collaborated with Lego and instituted a learning-by-doing program where young pupils spend their day using Legos to build programmable robots - clocks, vehicles and moving fantasy figures. Mindstorm projects are now ubiquitous.
FMD (Foot and Mouth Disease) is feared among farmers. It decimates herds and severely impacts beef and milk production. Award winning producer Judith Kampfner looks at FMD control measures around the world. In Britain, she revisits an outbreak in 2001, which led to mass cattle killings. Virologist Jef Hammond, head of the FMD Reference Laboratory at the U.K.’s Institute for Animal Health lays out the risks.
The story of Judith slicing off the head of Holofernes has struck the imagination of countless artists, musicians and writers. It is hard not to see why. Judith is a strong woman, who stood up to her town council, colluded with another woman (her maid), used deception for a higher purpose and slew the enemy.
Divorce has an immediate impact on family and friends beyond the couple and their children. It is not the quick paper solution of a society which discards and moves on all to easily. Producer Judith Kampfner looks at the ripple effects of divorce — how it has an impact far beyond the immediate family. We hear from women who have managed their experiences with humor and insights. In part, though, Who’s Got the Dog? is a personal reflection about the producer's own divorce.
Long cherished as a vital American folk art, quilting is fast becoming a contemporary form of documentation. For instance, "The Names Project," the mile-long quilt designed to memorialize victims of AIDS, often includes bits of photographs, handwriting, personal mementos and even artifacts like hair and teeth. Quilts were also used to send messages on the Underground Railroad. We look at the tapestry of quilting stories as we make a patchwork of audio stories celebrating the joys and history of quilts.
In 2010, President Barack Obama returned to Indonesia, where he lived for four years as a child, and noted how much it had changed. His first experience of that country was when he relocated there with his mother, Ann Dunham, and her second husband. Dunham was an anthropologist, a micro-financier, and an advocate for improving women's lives in developing nations, especially Indonesia. She did this with incredible charm and charisma, qualities some see in the president.
In 1958, the United States made its initial steps towards the goal of manned space flight with Project Mercury. Seven men were selected to be the first American astronauts to test the limits of human endurance in space. Behind the scenes, there was a steep learning curve in the new science of astronautics. In fact, the project was a biomedical challenge.