Albert Alexander, Oxford, Lex Orion discussed on TED Radio Hour

TED Radio Hour


I'm a big fan of organic farming methods that tend to hold more moisture in the soil getting rid of lawns getting rid of things that kind of wastewater really conspicuously. Let's tighten up our infrastructure. Let's cover canals. So they don't have operated. Let's get the pipes leaks fixed. And there are lots and lots of things like that. We can do. Now when I talk about this people often, tell me, well isn't black the answer or Ganic food local food. She M O's new trade subsidies, new farm bills. And yeah, we we have a lot of good ideas here, but not any one of these is a silver bullet. In fact, what I think they are more like silver buckshot, and I love silver buckshot, you put it together. And you've got something really powerful, but we need to put them together. So what we have to do. I think is invent a new kind of culture that plans. The best ideas of commercial agriculture in the green revolution. With the best ideas of organic farming and local food and the best ideas of environmental conservation, not to have them fighting each other, but they have them collaborating together. But this is hard, right. I mean, take Gad people to focus on a problem. That's that's like not in their face. It doesn't seem so urgent. Well, I think a lot of folks would argue that you know, we're fighting millions of years of evolution. Homo sapiens, thousands of years of history as civilized humans that tells us that we should be out there exploiting resources. So we could survive to the next day Dow, but if it meant using a little more soil or a little more land or grabbing a few extra animals to eat that was her job. I mean, we went from all of human history, we were basically insignificant compared to the size of the earth. And now suddenly in one generation or so we've flipped it around. Now, humans are bigger than the earth are appetite for resources is bigger than what the earth can actually provide. That's never happened before. So we're trying to get as smart as possible in a generation or two to undo millions of years of evolution thousands of years of history. That's really hard. But we're getting smarter. Justice were also getting dumber about planet, and I'd like to tip the scales to see how we can make the smarter went out. That's John fully he's in college issed and the executive director of the California academy of sciences. You could see his entire talk at Ted dot NPR dot org. So on the show today. We're talking about finite resources. And here's a story about something. We don't normally think of as a resource at all we heard about it from Ramadan, lex Orion. He's an economist who studies the patterns of disease and the story begins in late December nineteen forty in Oxford England, and this this police Manute shows up at info Marie in Oxford and on his day off from work he'd been scratched by Reuss thown. Apparently, the policeman was a guy named Albert Alexander. And that little scratch had turned into a nasty infection is anti aside of his cheek is infected and swollen. His eyes was so badly infected that they had to take his eyes out. There's a giant abscess on his face. Remember back in nineteen forty infections were a leading cause of death. Most of the soldiers in major wars didn't die from being shot. They died from infected wounds if someone had an infection from simple scratch, they could just weeded out. There was a good chance of dying. But it just so happened that at alab not too far from this particular hospital in Oxford where Albert Alexander wound up researchers working on an experimental new drug which was capable of killing bacteria. It had been discovered purely by accident a couple of years earlier, and it was made from a type of mold. But the researchers didn't know if the drug was safe enough to use a human being had never been tested in by chance. They found out about Albert Alexander. And they figured this was going to die anyway. And so why not try out the drug and give them the drug the first day already? He starts looking a little better as appetite returns. Secondly, he looks a whole lot better day three even better day four much better..

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