Jane Goodall, Coronavirus Update, Science Diction. March 20, 2020, Part 1


this is science Friday. I'm John Dan cocky sitting in for IRA flato end. I just WanNa start by telling you IRA is fine. He's just spending a week at home instead of his planned trip to watch baseball. Spring Training. Don't worry he will be back next week. And hopefully hopefully baseball will be back soon to later this hour. We'll be talking with Jane Goodall. This year marks the sixtieth anniversary of chimp research and the Gumby. But First Americans are being told that we're living in a new normal social distancing vigilant hygiene restrictions placed on schools and businesses. That will be part of our lives for quite a while. We're also hearing that. The world will be different after Corona virus that the fabric of our society will forever be changed and we may be starting to see some of those changes. Play out right now here to bring us some of the stories of this new reality Sophie. Bushwick she's tech editor for scientific American Sophie. Welcome back to the show. Thanks for joining us. Thank you First of all. Let's address the news coming out this week that people with mild or a symptomatic cases of this novel Corona virus or doing more to spread the disease than scientists. I thought so. Explain this to us so as early as earlier this month. The health officials were saying that they thought the majority of the spread of current viruses coming from people who were already shown visible symptoms. They were maybe coughing and the spraying Spit that had a virus in it on their surroundings and other issues like that but more and more studies have been coming out that suggests actually people with no symptoms at all could be spreading virus fact some people who were infected with the virus and not yet showing symptoms had what's called a higher viral load that means there's more They they produce for example is if someone were to to to cough and to have the droplets of saliva go to droplets of saliva from somebody. Who's not showing symptoms would have more viruses in it than a droplet saliva from someone who is showing symptoms So this is pretty scary. Do these people go on to have more serious symptoms later on though some of them do some of them. Don't some of them so for what we do know? Is that a lot of people who get infected. When they're first Can Be tested for the virus. They might not necessarily be showing any symptoms of it. Some of them later. Go On to develop mild worse severe symptoms and in other cases somebody might not realize that they could advocates so mild. They wouldn't even realize that they had been infected. But they do know that. There's at least One outbreak that they trace to people who were infected but didn't have any visible symptoms. So so this is a lot more evidence that seems for social distancing. Even if you're not sick and You don't know if someone is sick when you're when you're near them you know this is really something that we have to take seriously even more so than we thought before. Absolutely I think that somebody wants one thing that officials have said. It's the way to think about social. Distancing is not that you're trying to avoid getting sick yourself but assume that you have it and then you're trying to keep other people say okay so there's one scary story. I promise we're going to get to at least one story. That's not incredibly frightening today so but let's go to another scary news story here. Hospital respirators are in short supply. In Italy we know about that but we may soon be seeing the same problem here in the US. Tell me more right. So hospitals in the United States have limited number of intensive care unit beds. Icu beds that are used to treat severely sick patient and they have a limited number of ventilators so one thing that can happen in severe cases of Cove nineteen pneumonia. Is that the people who are sick. Need to be put on a ventilator that will breathe for them because their own lungs can't do the job The problem is New York and other states across the country how they limited number of ventilators currently being used and the worry is that we're going to have more patients than ventilators soon which is going to make force healthcare workers to make these awful life and death decisions about who gets lifesaving technology and of course those are decisions nobody wants to have to make the numbers here are really staggering. Eighteen thousand ventilators could be needed in a place like New York City. And how many are available now? Well there are fewer than ten thousand Currently in New York and the problem is many of them are actually in use. So they're not necessarily even though that count is you know there are thousands of them. Many of them are actually being used right now. And so you can't just take a patient off of one of those ventilators to give it to a cove in nineteen patient. They think they could be short by Sixteen thousand ventilators which is very scary. So whenever we're talking about flattening the curve right. This is how we keep a shortage like this from happening. Exactly this is exactly what people are talking about with flattening curve. The idea is you WANNA have fewer people at any given time needing these machines needing a bed in an ICU and leading professional care from doctors and nurses and other workers who are relying on personal protective equipment. Like masks and gowns. That may soon be in short supply. Okay so there's also news this week that the government is in talks to US anonymous cell phone location data to help better understand how corona viruses spreading. Tell us more about what they're trying to do here. So what they're talking about is that there's two different kinds of things people think about when they're talking about tracking the location of your smartphone. So this is a case where they would use the location data from people smartphones to just build up a picture of how people move around. Certain areas of a city were a region of the country. So this isn't the case of Big Brother following you individually around to see you've interacted with instead when researchers are building models of how viruses spread and trying to figure out how quickly they spread it helps to know what the foot traffic might be like in Times Square on a given day. So they could say. Let's assume that people follow these walking pattern. What would happen if one of the people walking through here was carrying What was infected with Corona virus and potentially spreading it? How would that simulation look? How would that same simulation? Look if you assume you've got ten people or hundred people on a given day so this is just helping researchers Better track how quickly cases are going to increase in how quickly this virus is going to spread. That's the specific application. They're looking at now on the other hand. Other countries are using more individual data. And they what they're trying to do is for example some companies even here have talked about potentially developing an APP. That could tell you. Hey you were in proximity to someone who is known to be infected with crooner virus on X. Today here's what you should do Do about it. Maybe they should tell the person that they need to quarantine themselves or that. They need to warn their own contacts to get tested. So this is something that China's strong right now. I've been reading that. Israel is doing something like this. I I assume the privacy experts are pretty scared about this idea though crack so the idea of using anonymous data. Privacy experts are more on board for that. Because you're not tracking the individual person. The idea of this other APP is it really opens up. Some scary implications. Because what if the government decided to prosecute you for walking for going on a walk if you if you were infected it just opens up the door to even more privacy invasions and it also opens up the door to in application that maybe people could keep using after the corona virus crisis passes Okay One more scary story here. Reports of a lot of bad actors out there using the fear of corona virus now to spread malware in performed phishing attacks on people's like spreading another type type of virus. What's happening right so in this case it's a digital virus that you want to avoid being infected with so the idea. There's a couple of different things going on. One is some bad actor sending out emails that claim to be maybe with health alerts they might say the. May include a link that looks like it goes to the CDC website but in fact redirects you to a website. That's going to try to steal your information or download. Software other cases are phishing attacks where it might direct you to a website where it says. Here's some important health information sign in using certain credentials using. Maybe your email password. You want to avoid those websites as well and then another thing. That's going on is There John Hopkins says developed a map that maps the spread of corona virus in real time really helpful tool however what hackers have done. Is they've taken the that Mac and they're using it to lur people to other websites so they might say here's a link to the map and you click the link and then that website might tell you before you view the math. You need to download the software and that software would infect your computer. So if you're looking for a map please only go to the one on the John Hopkins website. That one is safe And in general. Just be cautious about downloading software from unknown websites and about entering your credentials in unknown websites. Be careful about clicking links in your emails even if those emails claim to be about health information okay so something else. We're hearing a lot about is deep cleaning up planes. Getting deep cleaned cruise ships are being deep cleaned. Even offices are right now. What I don't know if he what does deep cleaning really mean right now okay. So deep cleaning is one of those terms that can mean different things depending on. Who's saying when people say there are what organization say they're doing deep cleaning? They mean they're doing very thorough cleaning. But there's not a Specific formula that that refers to some of the things that they're doing are pretty cool for example. Some airplanes have started using Misting Cabins. Were certain specific. High traffic areas with this deeper of disinfectant To try to cover as many services as they can In other cases deep cleaning means super things like cloth and saucer carpets and soft surfaces. You can't clean that with disinfectant. The way you can wipe off a harder surface so in some cases what that means is washing Clothing and bedding in hotter water than would normally be you in an attempt to kill pathogens. I mean we've all had the experience that planes are pretty gross places to be. Why weren't they doing this in the first place right? I mean if you if you ride a plane and whether now or later if you're on a plane trip I highly recommend that you bring disinfecting wipes and wipe down the area around two in anything you might touch because yes so things on a typically do not get cleaned as often simply because there's just not time so a lot of times. The plane lands at an airport the passengers disembark and they need to load the plane right back up. So they've got a limited amount of time and they're going to focus their cleaning efforts on high traffic areas. They're going to try cleaning restrooms. They're going to try cleaning. Things get touched a lot like Handles and knobs. And they're not necessarily going to have time to clean the trae on your seat back. I guess not. Hey Sophie before I let you go a little bit less than a minute. Left people are trying to escape from this terrible thing that we're all stuck in right now and they're escaping by actually watching movies and playing games about pandemics. What's going on right? So there's been a surge in popularity for things like the movie contagion which is about a fictional pandemic and for Games in which you're trying to your you play a member of public health team fighting against a pandemic one game called Plague Inc. People crashed the website trying to download it. And so what could be going on? Here is psychologically feels good to think that you are taking action and doing something instead of being helpless and these Games and media. Help people do that? Sophie Bushwick Tech Editor for Scientific American Sophie. Thanks so much for the update and stay safe out there. If you would please I. Will you too when we come back? Jane Goodall joins us to talk about her work with the chimps and her work today encouraging hope and conservation around the world. Stay with us. This is science Friday from WNYC studios this signs Friday. I'm John Dean cocky sixty years ago this year. Researchers began a project observing the behavior of wild chimpanzees. Gumby what are these? Researchers was young Jane Goodall. Who would go onto document tool use among the chimps and change our perceptions of the Animal World Sixty years on now Dr? Jane Goodall is a global conservationist. She's founder of Jane Goodall Institute and U. N. Messenger of Peace Dr Jane Goodall. Thanks so much joining us in his good to speak with you once again. Walk into science Friday good to speak with you too but by the way when I went out to gump wasn't concluded research with me alone. Your I guess that's right so a group of researchers versus you alone. Tell us about that. Take take us back to the time if you would well. Yeah it's actually you know it's it's very easy for me to remember going along the lake shore looking up the hill. It's very steep. It's a series of valleys running down into Lake Tanganyika and looking there. I'm thinking how am I going to find fees but then having dreamed about being in the wild with animals since I was ten once we got the ten top? I climbed up a little way getting towards evening and I sat then. We'll but boone's balking and bud singing and looking out the lake and it was just the most incredible you know. My dream has actually come true. It must be an amazing feeling when your dream as young girl comes true. What what do you remember about about that time when you actually realized my goodness? I'm going to have chimpanzees surrounding me. I it wasn't like that at first they would take one. Look and run away. It took come with. I would say six months before I could sit calmly with chimps around me but luckily after four months one of them David Greybeard. I named him. He was the one who began to lose his fear and he was the one who showed me to using and making told something that when it was thought that only humans did the initial observation of tool use. Is that still the most important thing that you think we learn from your research? No I don't actually. I think the most important thing is you know when I went to Cambridge to two years. I hadn't been to college before but I'd be the chimps two years and I was nervous and the professors told me that I shouldn't have named the chimpanzees. They should have had numbers. I couldn't talk about personality. Mind or emotion because those were unique to us but I had this wonderful teacher as a child who told me that wasn't true and that was my dog and Because Kim Pansies so biologically like us on because by this time my to be husband had been taking photographs and filming science. Have to change this reductionist way of thinking and realize we're part of a not separated from the rest of the Animal Kingdom. What do you think researchers have learned from watching these chimp families in all these lineages in all these years after you? I spent time there alley just into the fourth generation and you know to be an A. Analysis. We know the fathers are so one of the things that fascinates me. Is those good and bad? Tim Others just as in human society. I was lucky in having a good supportive mother. She supported this crazy dream. Everybody else laughed at me and so we find that looking back over sixty years typically the offspring the good supportive mothers do better males reach a higher position. The hierarchy probably saw more infants and the females are better mothers. What's a good cheap mother likening? What's the behavior that characterizes a good mother from a bad mother in that world human? I think we can all assume what we know a bit about humans but tell us about in the world. It's exactly the same as in the human world you see That is a good. Mother will be protected but not overprotective. She will be playful to be attentive. She'll always run the support child even if a child has gotten squabble. With the infant of a high-ranking female on the mother knows that she's GonNa get beaten up. She will still go to the support of a child and you know learned from chimps that what is really important for us is for the child have to be surrounded by up to three adults who consistently that the child and make the child feel secure and even if it's not the biological parents as long as they've is that small group of Support. Look around the child that gives them a really good start and it's the same for chimps. We're talking with Dr Jane Goodall and you can tweet at us at Sei fry. If you have some thoughts or ideas for her do do you ever think about the fact that someone else may have done this. If you hadn't have gone out to the gumby sixty years ago that someone else may have seen this behavior. Do you think they would have had the same experiences. Learned the same things I presume. I mean. They'd gone to Gumby but we know that chimpanzees in different parts of Africa. Behave in different ways. They actually have cultures which the young ones learn by observing the adults and chimps like us have along childhood and I think that's important because they have an awful lot to learn do. Do you ever think the world would have been different or the world in this. Research would have been different if you would've looked at some other form of of African Wildlife Giraffes for instance I mean. Is there something very specific that we learned because we studied chimpanzees? Because they're so close to us or do you ever think about the the idea that you could have gone off in quest to to. I Dunno search for elephants. I would have studied any animal. Louis Leakey who wanted me to study the chimpanzees. I think the the importance of that I had not been university. I hadn't been taught you know that there was a difference in kind between US an other animals if I had been to university and scientists had tried to indoctrinate me in that way. I don't know if I would have been the same or different but Louis Leakey punched on this mind as he called it. Uncut did with reductionist scientific thinking. So you know. I went and watched the chimpanzees. I came to recognize them. I could see that different personalities like you can see their emotions of happiness sadness via dispatch in more or less the same as and because of that because science began to change it had to then we our relationship with the rest of the animal world has changed and we know CNN's study emotion and intelligence and creatures take the oktoberfest. So much of your work now is is about conservation. I guess I ask. What do you think the world has learned about conservation from some of your African research? I learned that I'd been in the field for about up until from sixty to eighty six. But you know it's a conference where different people by then were studying. Tim's and it was very clear. Tim Numbers with decreasing for. It's disappearing and I'd Gumby. It's very tiny national park. It was surrounded by twelve villages and they were literally struggling struggling to survive extreme poverty overused soil terrible soil erosion where they cut down the trees on the steep slopes which they had to do to try and survive. And so that's when it hit me if we don't do something to improve that they're alive. Help them find ways of living without destroying the environment? We can't possibly begin to to save the chimps to conserve the gym. So go on studying with James. So the Jane Goodall Institute began our program. The car I take care in those twelve inches. It's now in a hundred four religious the whole range in Tanzania and in six other African countries where we're studying chimpanzees so You know the the the villagers have now become our partners in conservation. How much do you think the world though by and large has changed in their views of conservation? All this time it feels sometimes as though we take a step forward and then a big step back. What are your thoughts about sixty years of conservation in the world? Sixty is because when I began. It wasn't really this need for conservation equatorial forest belt right across Africa. The Amazon still wild unknown. And so it's sort of hit. Suddenly this sudden need the sudden realization that habitats being destroyed as human populations grew the Western world got more greedy and wanted more and more stuff as they economy works on businesses creating material materials goods. That are going to be self-destructed in so many years that people go and buying and buying wasting and wasting in a vicious circle and you can't. It's absurd to think you can have unlimited economic development and the planet with Finite Natural Resources so the battle of those of us who want to conserve. The environment is huge. Because we're up against the big companies corrupt government corrupt business. And you know sometimes you think well how on Earth we ever gain to make. Change the change. We must make because we apart of the natural environment. We not separated from it. We depend on for is clean and clean water for his oceans absorbing carbon dioxide for example but my biggest hope lies in the fact that we in Nineteen Ninety. One started our roots and shoots program and it began with twelve high school students in cans. India who are concerned about different things. It's now in It's in sixty five countries. It's got hundreds and thousands of young people from kindergarten to university. And they all choose between them three projects. They choose one to help. People want to help animals one help the environment so these projects differ depending on their age kind of environment in ritual poor the country the religion sometimes. So it's my greatest hope because everywhere I go. There are young people wanting to tell Dr Jane what they doing to make the world. A better place enthusiasm excitement determination. I I love that idea though of of doing something for the animals doing something for people and doing something for the environment. So many activists to seems pick one of those three and focus all their efforts there as opposed to saying we need to take care of all three of these things doing or I learned about the interconnectedness of everything out in the rainforest. Where you you love. Every species no matter how small has a role to play and all of it is important if you want to maintain the biodiversity of the area and that's what keeps the habitat healthy we're talking with. Dr Jane Goodall Global Global Conservationist. Of course she's the founder of the Jane Goodall Institute and we're taking some of your tweets at Sei fry I'm John Kaczynski and this is science Friday from WNYC studios at the Davos Forum on climate. Change this year. You through your support behind. An effort called one trillion trees. It's aimed at widespread nature restoration. Can you tell us more about that? And why I think it's important. Yes that was Benny of salesforce. That got behind that and made it prominent and the thing is that it's it. It's been apparently worked out that one trillion trees would be sufficient to absorb the excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and sutton planting trees is important. protecting the existing forest is even more important but planting trees hoping to restore degraded forest land Planting trees in other areas too because that regulate the temperature of the city. It's provide shade but perhaps most important of all it it. It raises the comfort level of people having green around them. There are a few of your comments at Davos that were a bit controversial. You said that the environmental problems we're dealing with wouldn't really be a problem. If we had the global population we did five hundred years ago. What did you mean by that statement? Well what timing is that today it said that we have seven point two billion people on the planet and already in many places where using natural resources faster than nature can replenish them and obviously as poor countries get richer. They want the same standard of living as we have in the West. So you know on the one hand we have our unsustainable lifestyles and you have extreme poverty destroying the environment because you have to survive but then it's predicted that the in twenty fifty will be nine point seven billion of us all wanting that's a lifestyles. So how can the Planet Cope? So what I mean by it. Is You know as I'll numbers grow. And as we make a real change in in our mind to and learn to live with much much less and alleviate poverty at the puck and also look after the environment. So I think you get the picture. It's just been fact and one comment that I heard With you know. Jane's blaming the Southern World India Africa Because they have many children but in fact one child from a wealthy society will use up by two. No numbers differ but ten times more maybe slightly more natural resources than a child and a poor poor community in Africa. So so as you said before. It's about that inbalance. That the that the world of big businesses in corporations and the wealthiest used so many more resources than than the poorest people in in the southern part of the globe absolutely it's really affordable this climate change and yet the people who suffer the people who really haven't contributed to it a tool. It's extremely on fat and hopefully our roots and shoots young people. They've all got the same attitude. They all know that things have to change the oil getting ideas as to what to do about it and they're very passionate about things like palm oil plantations and plastic and older sorts of things and planting trees. We've guaranteed that all you want. Five million threes this year. And that's a pretty. That's a pretty enormous number. We actually have some tweets coming in from some young people and we'll get to some of those just a moment. You can join our conversation at Scifi with Jane Goodall. In just a moment please stay with us. This is science. Friday from WNYC studios. This is science Friday. I'm John Cocky. We're talking this hour about global connectedness conservation and hope. My guest is Dr Jane Goodall founder of the Jane Goodall Institute and U. N. Messenger of peace. We have some tweets coming in John says Thanks Dr Goodall for all her conservation. Work I use her advocacy. For planting trees along farms adjacent to Gumby to help explain landscape corridors and conservation teaching ecology principles and James has a tweet us as our nine year. Old has been so inspired by your work. His dream is to work with and Save Orangutans. So what advice? Jane Goodall. Do you have for him and his hopes? Maybe he is part of roots and shoots but if he doesn't find out how to become involved because then he's with other young people who he'll find other others who want to help rung attends and they desperately need it so my advice is to learn all the can about them not to give up his dream and in with roots into taken find ways to help come now. Jingle. You've lived through a lot of areas in the world in which things have been scary and times have changed. It seems very scary right now. I'm wondering if you can talk about How you feel about this particular moment in history as were all huddled in our homes and unable to go outside and socialize. Well it is a very scary time. I'm not in a position to not socialist. 'cause it was quite a large family of us in this. House the house where where I grew up. It's a family home But I think I think the if you will you always look for some kind of silver lining in these situations. I remember the time when I felt initially as horrified as now was with nine eleven when I was in New York and that was a shocking time. And you know it. Sort of had a paralysing effect not only in America but around the world. This is actually affecting everyone. So the the Little Silver Lining is not reopen the discussion about the interaction with wild animals trafficking of them selling them selling them from meet people blaming China for this virus and yes it did start with what they call a wet market and in China And so did so did saws another wet market in China but HIV virus That started in Africa with people eating chimpanzees and monkeys and there was a terrible pandemics started with from contact with Catalina Slaughterhouse in the United States. So we just have to rethink as we get closer and closer particularly to wild animals. The viruses in them can do what they could cross the species berry jump into us and it's usually from handling them from the blood eating slightly uncooked meat and that sort of thing. There was another pandemic from getting from camels in the Middle East. So it is raining making us rethink of relationship with with other animals it is but even with the signals. Do you have hope that that we that we get the message this time around. Well China immediately banned or Import and selling of wild animals in China and close down all the old meat markets Hopefully because this pandemic seems to be worse than the others having more effect economically But this ban will be made permanent and extended to extended to the animals used in traditional Chinese medicine but then we come to Africa well until we eradicate poverty. It's going to be very hard to stop people handling wild animals in Africa because a lot of them depend on them for food So you know these these are. This is how all this connectedness of everything is really sometimes very very challenging and clearly. I don't have the answers what we should do. But I don't know how to get that you've spent so much time studying the behavior of chimpanzees. I'm wondering as we consider just the boundaries of society. What what it means to be a society when we can't interact in the way we once have I. Do you think that there's any wisdom that we can draw from the chimps and the societies that they have Well that's so like ours but I think what it does is help suspend to understand ourselves. I mean you know they show emotions. Happiness sadness fear Anger grief. They definitely grieve a have. Just just the same as US kissing embracing holding hands touching one another begging for food they also and I was horrified to find out a very dark brutal side and they can have they killed can kill each other kill individuals from a neighboring social group and of course these are the kinds of things that humans have done for as far back as we know the. It's you know Louis. Leakey sent me to study the Tim's because he reckon there was a common ancestor a like human like about Six million years ago. That's what most people believe now. So he thought well it's James. He's behavior similar the same in chimps today and humans today. Maybe that was in that coming in. And he was fascinated in that because he was he was a paleontologist. He was searching for the remains of stone-age people until he's an odd. This will help me to imagine how these people living so long ago. My two behaved. I want to read one more tweet. In this comes from Brooklyn and goes back to the beginning of our conversation. We were talking about how you know a good chimp mother from a poor chimp mother and she wants to know. Do Chimp mothers disciplined. They're young they do they when they're very young. And you know this is something I. I noticed and practiced with my own child a lot. No punishment and I've seen human mothers you know in a little little tiny child Spills miracle feeding trained pokes around in their finger. Well actually the child is exploring how they love them and their mother will slap it. Well it's okay to slap an older child who knows that you shouldn't spill milk. Livio table but for a little child of one and a half so tim. Mothers are really good at distracting the infants when they're doing something irritating like trying to steal the mothers to the same mother. Tim. And she's fishing for termites with one hand and tickling her infant with the other and so but if the infant goes push how beyond her patience they punished with a little bite on the hand. It doesn't break skin but it makes the child scream. I I'm thinking that might resonate with a lot of parents men and women who are stuck working at home with children running around the house these days. Lots of Lots of new things to do until the way into put out post about that. These children who are stuck at home. We'll actually somebody else tweets a man the tweets. Have you ever considered doing fireside chats on the podcast or during this young today? Tell tell us more. What are you going to do with making a list of people who might agree to to do such a fuss side job on a put cost? What would that sound like? I mean if you had a regular podcast or a regular message to get out to people what would you want to communicate to people who who would seek out your podcast? Well I think You know I was thinking of the found site chat. It would be me and one other person and you'd pick people who had interest in the different things that I'm interested in. You know whether it's what we do about the wild animal trafficking or whether it's About Child Kit trial kids comparing chimps and humans Climate. Change those kinds of things. And if you've got interesting people the conversation would be interesting points if you would quickly to to another environmental or conservation leaders. Somebody who you might sit down for one of those chats who we should know about well one person that I try and sit down and chat with is skiing out of the caprio because he really has passionately about the environment and I know him quite well and I think it would attract a lot of people if he is down and chattered. I don't know if he'd agree but you know he might David attenborough might agree Unless other people. They haven't made the list scared. I'm hoping that some of them are listening right now. And somebody's going. Maybe Leo will call you right after this because I think that I can. I can imagine that millions of people would download the podcast. Jane Goodall. Thank you so much once again for spending time with us. I really do appreciate it. Thank you to. Please stay safe. All right Oh yes. I'll stay safe as I possibly can wash my hands a lot. Keep my distance. No no hugging elbow bumping and all the rest. We'll elbow bump when we see you next time. Thanks again Jane Goodall. She's a global conservation founder of the Jane Goodall Institute and U. N. Messenger of peace. Okay think of the word cobalt. It's a striking shade of blue and element on the periodic table and at one point a tricky Goblin from German folklore. Over the centuries science has given birth to words that are now part of our everyday life. Dinosaur meam vaccine will say more about vaccine in just a minute. That's on your mind and when it comes to tracing back the story of where those words come from who better than scifis resident were dirty Ohana mayor. She's host of the new science fiction podcast. She's here to tell us. The details of words like cobalt. Welcome back Johanna. Hey John How are you? I'm doing quite well. So cobalt there's there's a good story behind this word there is an it starts in the fifteen hundreds with a bunch of minors in Germany and this one particularly Peski or that was giving them a ton of trouble. Okay so the thing that was going on is that first of all this or when they dug it up it looked kinda like silver. It had this sort of metallic sheen on it so they thought they had great luck there but when melted it down it was not silver at all it turned out to be just a lumpy rock of whatever and so the second thing that was happening was that something in the order was making these miners sick and they just cannot figure out what was going on so the miners came up with their own explanation. Which was as good as any other. Which was it had to be a Goblin. Of course naturally of course but the thing was it wasn't just any Goblin. They the minor said that it was a particular kind of Goblin from German folklore and the Scotland was called a cobalt. That's with a K. And with a d. and the cobalt Goblin had a reputation for being particularly troublesome and mischievous. So they were saying that it was as Cobol Goblin that was like stealing the silver out of the war and make them sick. And it wasn't until two hundred years later when chemist came along and had a hunch that walked inside this Pesky or there could be valuable element isolated in it so when he when he finally succeeded in. Isolating the element. He's stuck with the miners name. And he called this new element cobalt with the US. Just have to ask the what was actually making them sick if it wasn't a Goblin so it turns out that when cobalt is found in nature it's combined with arsenic often so that'll do it. Oh so we'll do it. I'm John Dan Kaczynski. This is science Friday from WNYC studios all right so tell us about this new podcast science fiction. Very exciting yeah. Science fiction is a very nerdy new. Show all about words and science history. Yeah so each episode looks at one particular word or phrase like cobalt and Kinda digs into the science story behind it excellent. So so what are some of these other words that you're looking at so on the docket for the first season we've got cobalt meam dinosaur and like you mentioned earlier vaccine off very timely okay? So we've been hearing a lot about vaccines tells. The story of this word. Sifford that one. You have to look back to the time of smallpox which actually is a really ancient disease. I didn't know this before. I started researching it. But there's evidence at Pharaoh's got it and it was totally devastating disease that people just couldn't figure out how to get rid of it. They tried everything from like herbal remedies to. There's one record of a seventeenth century. Doctor Prescribing twelve small bottles of beer in a day to try to get rid of smallpox hold. It actually sounds like an okay treatment. I know maybe we should all try and get back to you anyway. So they couldn't figure out what was going on until in the eighteenth century this doctor named Edward Jenner came. Along and Edward Jenner formally tested and documented this sort of hypothesis that have been floating around and so the deal was. There's this kind of Apocryphal Story. That Edward Jenner overheard a milkmaid bragging about how she would never get pockmarked face from smallpox because she had had this other disease called cowpox. So yeah here. We go talking about another animal borne disease. Cowpox and smallpox are both part of the same viral family. The just manifest differently so smallpox obviously super serious but cowpox when it manifests in humans. Not so bad you just got some kind of like mild but kind of nasty source and so for quick biology recap. The idea was that cowpox and smallpox were from the same family is so once you get infected with relatively mild. Cowpox your body. Defendant develops the defenses to kick it and then once smallpox shows up those same defenses are able to kick in and say. Oh Yeah we recognize this and nip it in the bud. So Edward Jenner finally tested out this theory and he published his findings in a report called an inquiry into the causes and effects of Very Ola vaccine any and so here's the very nerdy etymology part of the story and in Latin Varia let means pustules and vaccine means essentially something that comes from a cow so variable avec Sahni basically means CAL pustules or cowpox the basis of the word vaccine. Yes Super Fun lovely. How did we start to use more? Broadly than just about cowpox right. So Louis Pasture actually can take credit for that. He was the one who stretched the meaning beyond using cowpox. Do not against smallpox haw once again. Thanks TO LOUIS POST DOOR. This is going to be a fascinating podcast. Where can people find out more information you WANNA? You can subscribe to science-fiction. Wherever you get your podcasts. And we also want you to take a survey if you can at science Friday dot com slash diction survey. Tell us if you like the show. Excellent Johanna mayor is host of science. Fiction subscribe wherever you get your podcast. Thanks so much on thanks John Charles. Bergquist is our director in our producers are Alexa limb Christy Taylor Katie Feather and Kathleen Davis. We had technical and engineering help today from Paul Rest. Bj Liederman composed our theme music. If you missed any part of this program or you'd like to hear it again. Subscribe to our podcast or ask. If you're smart speaker to play science Friday we want to assure listeners that we hear your concerns about corona virus. We've put together a handy page in our website. You can find it at science Friday dot com slash corona virus facts and on the science Friday. Vox Pop up. There's a lot more about corona viruses. Well I'm John Kaczynski in New York.

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