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tv   2016 Brooklyn Book Festival  CSPAN  September 18, 2016 4:00pm-6:01pm EDT

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larry and molly. two more panels left after this. our live coverage of the brooklyn book festival in new york city continues and this is ralph nater, thomas frank and gloria brown marshall, they're all signing books of audience members who just attended their conversation. [inaudible conversations] the festival has been all day. got a full -- full set of tents,
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authors and publishers. lots of attendees today. .. nadir watching ralph nadir sign books right now. [inaudible conversation] >> mr. nadir discussing selfies.
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all three of these authors just c concluded their author discussions live on booktv at the brooklyn book festival. the sun is peaking through. looks like we are in the clear. lots of people in attendance today. the festival has several author discussions. if you are here today go ahead and post videos, pictures from
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this event using the #bkbf for brooklyn book festival. i am going to go ahead and leave this signing and wonder around. -- peeking through -- we are outside the brooklyn law school. in the courtyard there a few tents setup. brooklyn law school. the line for signing. we are more panels after the one that is currently airing that will be covered live on c-span2 booktv. >> booktv is live from new york city. this is an author panel from the
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brooklyn book festival on immigration and it begins now. >> good afternoon, everyone. thank you have coming. we have an exciting panel about the real authentic and future of the united states, i think, sitting here right now with us today. this is called the panel "we the people". it will be looking at first and second generation immigrants and refuges and documented or not through their memoirs of immigration these authors have illustrated the complexities of our world and nation today bringing up interesting and necessary questions we should be asking especially every four years in the countries knows
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through a massive definition and certainly that is happening this year. so i am hoping that by the end of this panel we will have a lot more clarity as the complexity, richness and color of our country. to start us off, let me introduce our authors sitting here. they are farther from me is carlos from vera cruz who immigrated with his family. in july of 2011, jose was sworn in as a u.s. citizen. he is a graduate of the non-fiction writing program at the university of iowa, he is active in latin paern solidarity and he is the assistant professor of creative writing t university of new mexico.
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this first book, the wake of shadows, was published by beacon press. here is what the book looks like. beside jose, we have daniel. he came from the u.s. to the dominican republic at the age of four also with his family. he and his family crew up undocumented in new york city and experienced periods of homelessness. he studied at princeton, university of oxford and standard university. it was wasn't just good fortune but his talent. he had now the recipient of the allison award. his memoir, undocumented, a dominican child journey from
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homelessness to ivy league. and beside me is cal yang a teacher, public speaker and writer. she is the author of the award winning book the late homecomer, a family memoir. she is a graduate of carlton college and columbia school of the arts and lives in minneapolis with her family. she was born in thailand at a refuge camp and is now a u.s. citizen. please welcome the panel. [applause] >> i want to start off with getting something out of the way first and quickly. donald trump. i know. i would really not like to talk about donald trump but this
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election is not and never has been about donald trump but i think it really is actually about the success of donald trump and the people who are following him. but all of us on this stage today represent another kind of united states that is different than the one trump and his supporters are pushing. so, jose, your book is such a ridge reflection on u.s. immigration history and on your own personal immigration to the country. you even talk about an encounter you had with a biker in dallas who somewhat threatened and asked you if you were a muslim or a mexican? muslim and mexicans with two of donald trump's favorite people. i wanted to know and i know some muslim-mexicans, yeah. what does trumpism mean to you?
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>> thank you. so, trumpism is obviously incredibly frightening in terms of a political ethos that is present and alive in this country. i think the scariest thing is what donald trump and what trumpism allows to fly under the radar for what is harmful for immigran immigrants. i think across the political spectrum, immigrants politically don't have a lot of strong allies that really do much beyond offer sort of rhetorical acknowledgment. in terms of policy, while it may
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be obvious different sides of the aisle have obvious differences, i think when we are talking about real, sort of political concrete policies they are not as different as i would want. trumpism allows us not to pay attention and that is scariest. >> i think you are saying we need to pay attention to reality for immigrants even under obama who as you point out is deporter and chief as well. if you can talk about what obama means to immigration and life in the united states. >> everything jose just said i support vigorously.
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the nickname deporter and chief is given with cause. obama has overseen more deportation during his presidency than the past 19 u.s. presidencies combined. that is a staggering poll and invites us to take into consideration the degree to which the immigration policies even in a democratic administration have been actively engineered that the structure of immigrant families. this thundering and tearing apart of immigrant households. what trumpism means to me is two different discourses rolled up into one. the first dimension of trumpism that instruct me is how insistently ahistorical it is. this demand for making america great again, right? i see it as ahistorical and need
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to underline what i see a parallelism of trumpism is it is actually the outgrowth of a long-term conversation about immigration and immigrant policy. i think of the no-nothings, i think of the first few generations of immigration policy and their highly specific targeting of specific groups, specific groups whose descendants are the most enth enthusiastic trump supporters. i say look back and there is not this loom coming over me because i begin to think of this book co-authored by david martin and
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david fitzgerald on whether there is a mode of democracy that can escape anti-immigration sentiment. >> making that comparison between europe and the united states i think one could easily consider the question of refuge flows right now. contemporary refuge flows with the dramatic and tragic situation of syria and the refuge flow there. germany has taken over a million people in the span of a year. the united states has received its 10,000 syria refuge which as a huge difference between a million and 10,000. i wonder if you could reflect on the refuge resettlement
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considering the questions of the political context of today where chris christie wouldn't even accept a refuge child under the age of five. i don't know if you remember that statement chris christie made and how that relates to this beautiful memoir you have of refuge resettlement in the united states. >> i came to america as a 6-year-old girl from camps in thailand that was 400 acres and 40-50,000 of us. that was where i was born. it was what i knew. i asked the adult around me is that my home and they used to tell me no. this is not home. the world is something else. home is a story in laos or imagined future in america. my father used to look at nowhere little girls like me people traded fish for us. my father used to tell me i was the captain of a more beautiful
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feature and won day i would work on horizons he had never seen. in the housing project people used to drive bay and lick their fingers. that was the first american thing i learned. they used to throw bottles. they didn't want to hit me but the bottles shattered around me. i remember being a kid and picking up the shards of glass and asking what do i do with this? i found diamonds. my mom used to ask me what do i want to do with those diamonds and i said bury them so others can find them. not so different than what is happening today. people ask me all the time have me made progress and i can say my mom, dad, all of the elders who love me don't have the english words to bring understanding to the lives they lived, to the reasons they are
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here. at a gas station in minnesota my father had coins and leaned down to pick them up and he has carpal tunnel and it took a while and the man behind him was tapping his fingers. and he said you are doing nothing but slowing us down. it is hard to talk about progress. my husband, we have identical twin boys who are one and sleep a precious quantity. he wakes up and i notice he is crying. he said in america we don't allow refuges i would never meet you. these babies would not be here. i think about that. that is the one thing that nobody is talking about. if we don't let people like you come in where are babies like
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ours? it is the story of how i come to be. today i sit before you a proud american. an american writer who i believe is con contributing to our literature. >> i think the tail end of your beautiful, eloquent answer makes me think something. it is about american literature and the literature of immigrants in the united states is a long storied tradition and built into our own national mythology that there is a notion of american literature that is deeply connected to the idea of immigration to this country. that literature typically has a sensibility where you leave the old country at one point in those narratives you leave the
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old country behind and become an american somehow. through various trials. what struck me about reading all three books is there is some different kind of narrative there than the typical immigrant narrative. in many ways i think these books -- these are not immigrant narratives but exile narratives you could say in a while. it was written once that exile is strangely compelling to think about but terrible to appearance. i wonder if you could talk about your narratives fitting into the american narrative and the traditional immigrant literature and how you are writing inside and out side of that tradition. >> when i was little i would go
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to the library. there was a book truck that would come and the librarian gave me books about the koreans and chinese. and she remembers and said a girl is going to find her story on the bookshelves of the bigger world. i never thought i would be that writer. when i told my dad i wanted to write a book about him he said nobody want to read a book like me. my dad loves barack obama and he said when there are books written by barack obama about him nobody want to read about a man like me. but my dad said i am stubborn and if i smell the scent of bones i never let go. the city is built on the backs
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of my father. not just in minnesota factories but where i went to school in new york city. i remember the men in the basements who had hand like my father. i have a clear memory of a restaurant manager who had been polite to me and i saw hands like my father's picking up the bills. in 1982 my dad came up with a set of music call poetry and he maim $5,000. his goal was to come up with a second album but i said i needed new boots and new backpack so my father went to that $5,000. then the younger kids came along and they wanted and needed things and translated into drum sticks in our hands and rise on -- rice on our plate. people tell me i like look all of asia.
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we are new to what was brand new until the 1950's. this a new medium for us. for me, in a world where history has neglected so much of the malt story and reality it is my responsibility to my people. for every one two others died so i could be here. it is a story bigger than myself. it is very much an american story and a neglected american story. that is why i do what i do. obviously public speaking is not natural to me. i prefer to be in an office writing my words to the world. but my daddy said i write in papers but when i speak i get a chance to write on the fabric of the human being and that is why i am here and do the work i do. outside of america people still look at me and say you are an american writer. i only get that outside of
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america. >> interesting. your book is like the narrative of assesuccess and achievement also you are resisting that. what do you think? >> as i describe in the book i found myself confronting narratives of triumph and exception exception exceptionalism and bordering denial. i talk about my sources to the greek and roman classics but the other books i was reading too. i kept being captivated by the story of the immigrants'
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experience. but there was a wrinkle to the presentation and the arc of the stories that i found at times pretty difficult to grapple with. this desire and i will say you can speak to this, this burning desire for the happy ending. happy ending would be sat down in terms of medical to sort of positive description. a happy ending is assimilating into one's country. or picking off the boxes of success. went to ivy league schools. good that good stuff. part of the reason became at an early age unwilling to accept this has to do with an excellent james baldwin essay i
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encountered thanks to one of my high school teacher. it was price of a ticket and baldwin goes in hard against people who would use individual's stories of success to characterize the american dream as somehow unavailable and perfect; right? and he really wanted to critique and devotes a mafair amount of time in the essay any effort to take the individual experience as a validation of the experience of the american dream. with that in hand, i repeatedly over the course of the next few years reevaluated my life and the lives of those around me. i talk a fair bit in the book about what i seem to be the pernicio pernicious effects of structural inequality and one of the big
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ones is it brings a mystification and if some people are succeeding this is enough to divert from the oppression of large numbers of people. i could not tolerate that. i found myself fortunate to be in the company of others who could not tolerate that. like the folks on this panel. so i will stop right there. >> yes, well, funny you should mention baldwin and sort of the american dream. baldwin was an author who, you know, was really instrumental for me as a young reader. that anger and urgency i read in baldwin was something i attempted to carry with me and not let it be dulled down. when i was nationalized in west branch, iowa, i remember receiving in my packet in addition to a small american flag made of vinyl j received a
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letter, like a form letter, from president obama and in it, i am paraphrasing but he said something like you are proof that the american dream is alive and well. when i read that, you know, i was like oh snap. you know? and i sort of had a notion and understanding that that sentence was -- that my ability to move through the naturalization process and many other processes in my life and my own story was being utilized. i wanted to work against being used as a narrative and symbol. i think immigrants over and over at different points in our lives are treated as narratives, symbols, whenever it is, you know, politically useful and i
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think that treatment has dire consequences. in terms of mexican immigration to the united states you know first we were grafted on to one narrative, then another and another. most recently, before the newest narrative, most recently specifically mexican immigration was grafted on to the war on drugs narrative. and the war on drugs, like the war on terror, is this abstract war that is not fought against a territory or length of time so it needs to be fuelled by the farce into the future.
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i sensed those things acting upon me and that allowed me to decide what i wanted to and needed to do in the book. i try to work against those sort of ideas. i try to work against the idea both that i am a serial murdering rapist but i also try to work against the idea i am an angel who is morally unassailable and be a real person. >> one of the things that is checking the common ality in th books is there is a relationship to the tactile and physical realities of relationships. you write about the passport and what a pass poport actually mea to you at one point. and dan-el you have e-mails you get when your application is
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approved and your status can be changed. e-mail is not tangible but it sort of it. and jose you have not just the ceremony. i naturalized in 2011 also and i have my own weird stories about that, too. but this is about you guys. you also have a comment on the green card as well and the tactile nature of the green card which is not green by the way. tiny strip of green on the back and tiny heads when you look closely and each president is on the card. but there is this way in which it is those elements of nationalism that we carry around in our pockets and are holding on to as physical properties. there is much more as well. they are metaphorical and mean
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something about our attachment to the country. i think nationalism is a complicated thing to under. naturalism is in many ways something we are trying to get away from and at the same time trying to embrace and especially in the narrative we are talking about at this table. you know we can see all of the destructive nature of nationalism but also the other elements. that is a long way to ask you to reflect on what nationalism means to you. maybe begin with jose. >> that is a really interesting question. i think if we talk about nationalism on abstract terms it is easier for people to see nationalism as an ethos and relate that to bigotry and say
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that is a bad thing. but when it comes right down to it, i think at the sort of essence of the quagmire of immigration is this central contribution in liberal democracies. it is this contribution of we want to be ethically good people but we want to restrict entrance to our country and we also want to define ourselves as americans by restricting others and saying you are not american. i think that becomes especially contentious and problematic when you examine the foreign policy of the united states and specifically the foreign policy of the united states in countries that are sending migrants to the united states. that becomes even more problematic to say we are going to restrict your entry into our country even though we exerted a
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form of military, economic or combination of coherscion. i think it is easier to say that is bad but see what nationalism boils down to and examine the fundamental question that is more difficult to grapple with and more difficult to contend and correct and address in terms of politics, policy, law and society. >> now the question of how the u.s.' relationship with that country and then coming here to this country is very complicated. what do you think? >> so my fellow authors are more country with academic and political jargon than i so i will tell you a story. my mom and dad are not educates. their schools were bombed.
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they and their families fled in the jungles in the hope they may live. there was an effort to re-educate but it was necessary to exterminate. my mom and dad were chased to thailand and people were only getting food three days out of the week. we lived there for eight years and came to america july, 27th, 1987 as residential aliens. we have photos of our ears and i carried this card around and wasn't until 2000, september 11th, that i wanted to go to a study abroad and became a naturalized citizen and i could stand in line with everybody else. president obama was the first
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president my mom and dad voted for. when we talk about the past, in the book it was my father and his pastor going back to thailand because my might say -- my sister was living there. i asked him how he felt going back to the land of his father. my grandpa died when my father was two and my father said he is the father he imagined for himself. my dad, going back to laos, they allowed my mom, brother and little sister through and they stopped by dad saying you cannot go through. they said we kicked you out of our country once how many more times do you want to be kicked out? my dad told my mom to go because
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her family was waiting for them and she had not seen them since 1978. her brothers were crying with their arms open. he said go ahead and i will return. they said for you i will hike up the fair. my sister, born in america, raised in this country said can i talk to your country and the woman put her hand to her gun and my dad pulled my sister back and my mom walked toward my father and they turned away. i have one photo of my father in laos. my brother on the airplane said dad, i am happy you are going to america with me because america wouldn't be home without you. when i think about nationalism i think about the moment on the plane and my mother and father with nowhere else to turn. here in america people like to say go back to your homeland but
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the only home i know of is a future in america. when i think about nationalism i think about the girl in auditorium 850 who raised their hand and asked me why didn't you write your book -- [speaking foreinative tongue] >> this group stood up said and if you want to speak your language go home. i found myself standing on the stage telling the teachers to back up. time for me to be an american. i fight each and every single day to belong. in minnesota, people asking why are you asking for [inaudible] >> in the places and spaces i go i am often the first and their
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introduction to how we fit in the bigger framework of america. nationalism is the reason i am here with you all when i could be home with my boys. i speak maybe the word and work of donald trump could be seen in a different light and we could build a better world. i don't care about arguments of the head. i am just looking to deepen a more profound understanding for the human conditioning. we are good at being critical but many have not learned how to be compassionate leaders and people. that is the brand of nationalism i'm coming from. [applause] >> sorry, man, you are next. >> i will not be able to hold a
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candle to that. that is what you all came here for. you can all leave. so, i -- in thinking about nationalism, i think about documentation which is an illusion baked into the title of my book. other panelists have talking about the texture and the feeling of the letter and the handing over of the documentation that certifies someone. when i think of the operation of the nation state i think of an e entity that creates a bureaucracies that offers documentation to some and not others. this weighs on me because the
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withholding of documentation can be catastrophic to lives. i think about this in my experience to relationships in the united states but also in the context of dealings with the country i was born and to which i remain on some registers loyal and that is the dominican republic. in the dominican republic as many of you you know the dominican government has over the past few years borrowed a page from the u.s.' playbook to enforce an immigration policy that targets dominicans of haitian decent and this is crucial for the purposes of what i am about to elaborate dominicans who can be glossed as haitians meaning they have dark skin and look like me. this has had implications for my life because even though to the best of my knowledge i have no ancestors who crossed over from
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the haitian side of the border to the dominican side of the border in the first half of the 20th century when i went to review my passport at the dominican counsel general in the city i was asked after explaining i didn't have this dominican id card that certifies you as having been in the dominican republic i was asked are you haitian? this question is loaded. if i were to answer, no, i am not haitian and give my explanation as to why the immigration officer could say well you don't have this documentation that you need. we will not review your pass port. here is where my story parts from the stories of the two panelists because i am not yet a u.s. citizen or a permanent residence of the u.s. so to be
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denied a renewal of my dominican passport would have left me stateless. i had to explain i don't have a civil because i haven't lived in the dominican relpublic for a long time but i am not haitian. here is where one that is confro confronted with the democracies that is highly forced in code this is where documentation comes as something that is i implicated in nationalism. in america i think about the 11 million undock -- undocumented are denied a path to citizenship and those with dhaka are provided only with a temporary form.
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documentation is one of the corner stones of thinking about nationalism in the nation state. if we are not sensitive to the ways in which the play with docume documents, the selective withholding, the arbitration leaves the direct, intangible imprints on lives and causes suffering it would be beneficial to notice the project. it is all about paper. >> excellent answer. we have a few minutes left about ten minutes left for some questions. so if people want to ask questions there are two mic microphones so line up for questions. as people are contemplating their own questions i have one i would like to ask the three of you.
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the u.s. is an expanding place but at the same time remains stubbornly monolingual. each of you have a deep relationship with a non-english language. so i wonder what non-english word would you like to introduce into the american vocabulary? maybe we can go down the line. >> there is a wonderful word meaning the bigness of heart. it isn't the same as generosity. if you a big heart people hurt your feelings but you can still there beside them. my father's favorite word to his children means make your heart fly really big, my dear one.
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as a country if we could make our hearts bigger i think that would be great. [applause] >> oh, man, there is so many words. i will tell you about a word i am thinking about today. the word is a spanish verb with complicated and somebody opaque history. the word means to praise. it turns out that [native word] is very difficult to track. it may have a latin precursor and be related to a phrase in latin that appears in a first century latin novel. it may appear in the phrase [speaking native tongue] which no one can make sense. it may mean to be under treatment for an incubus. it may mean being the recipient
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of a strike to the head. i am thinking about this word a lot not only because -- we could translate it as praise but one of the enduring fascinations i have with how we might move beyond the monolingual textured community and i see doing this by conditioning other languages and experiences. so that is my case study for that because it is so beautif beautifulbeautifu beautifully opaque and suggestive of possibilities. i have been thinking about that the entire day. i woke up thinking about it. >> i think i would -- you know i
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just moved to new mexico and the history of alburquerqe made be realize spanish is as foreign. if i picked one word i think it would be [native word] which is a favorite word of mine and my mothers aspeciespecially. one of the central characters in the book is a friend of mine who is undocumented and we had a lot of high hopes for president obama and when we came to understand our hopes would be let down he exclaimed [foreign word] obama. and that is a useful word in spanish. i think everybody should use pinche more.
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>> there is something there. i need to figure it out. >> it is kind of a curse word. if you are a child, don't use it. >> prerogative of the moderator in arabic there is a word called [foreign word] used to express the specific kind of ecstasy you get from listening to music. you know? and like we need words that can expre express differences. we have so much misery around us let us enjoy the fabulous ways. if we all spoke a little of each of the word i feel like in making the english language a real american language full of all kinds of different experiences. but really there is no questions? no questions? >> we don't buy it.
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yes? [inaudible question] >> actually, because we have the broadcast could you use the microphone? >> i think the big elephant in the room is we talk about immigrant and not race. i am an immigrant, too and i think my story has been very different from yours and unfairly different. would you advise that? >> i guess i didn't perceive that elephant because i understand when we talk about immigrant or undocumented or any of the bad words we use to describe immigrants we are talking about a certain immigrant, certain kind of immigrant story. so you, i think from the restrictive immigration policy has been a racialized policy.
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there are scholars who are doing a lot of interesting work and sort of connecting the dots between our current immigration system, policy, and the sort of legal jurisprudence of deportation and run away slave laws. that is the sort of historical reality that immigration sort of fits into. >> that scholarship has been remarkable for how it opened the window on the history of the racialization immigrants bodies. at this point i will simply add that there is -- as i see it it, as we would all see it or many of us would see it, clear intersections between the enforcement of immigration policy and race. we should also bear in mind that race itself in so far as intersecting with immigrants is a historical phenomenon. for an illustration of this, one only need to go back and read
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newspaper reports and editorials about irish and italian immigrants at the turn of the 20th century. you get into a period where you have different intersecting modes of describing race and one of the elements of these discourses that comes out in a strikingly clear view is the degree to which you have efforts to categorize the italians and irish as having negro features. so you have the negro type of blackness as the worst of the worst but you have some not describing to the monolithic
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whiteness. these histories have to be undertaken with the few of the immigration policy again in the u.s. and other parts of the world, too. >> i am going to comment this with another story. i was teaching at north community college and i have a lot of kid of color in my class. there was a lone boy who told me a story. when he was in 4th grade his mom and dad was living in the suburbs and he thought thee was like everybody but his teacher gave him a black marker. he drew his hair with the style it was in at the time which was straight up. when he showed his teacher she said i want you to draw yourself. and he looked at his hair and said that is me. when we talk about race it is
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often black and white. growing up i learned about race through the african-american experience. my mom and said always said it would be the men and women in the classroom who would teach you where you belonged and i believed them. my teacher taught me about martin luther king and rosa parks. but when i go with my white husband in a bowling alley in a progressive neighborhood and i go to the bathroom and come out and the woman looked me up and down and they walk out of the bathroom. i am washing my hands at the sink and looking at myself and i don't want to see myself. i don't want to see the tears fall. but i go back and they are still talking about me and looking at me and i have to leave the space. black lives matter and i would never want to jeopardize that movement in any way in the life that i live. but my little brother, 12 years
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old, hears the word nigga at school and tries to say that is wrong but doesn't know where to situate himself. race in this country is incredibly challenging especially if you are not black or white and your sympathy is with the black lives matter movement but you want to say he needs a different color pen or paper to see himself reflected. but when you talk about immigrant, refuge, language and america you cannot talk without a found agational understanding race. it is an important question but as jose said these are realities that for us are every day.
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>> i want to thank you all for coming to this panel. thank you. [applause] i would also like to remind you the authors will be signing books and they will be available for purchase downstairs in front of the building where barnes and noble is selling books. please buy their books. >> yeah! buy them all. [inaudible conversation]
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>> and booktv on c-span2 has been live all day from the brooklyn book festival. you have heard from authors discu discussing politics and military and more. in ten minutes we are live with the last panel of the day with a discussion on viruses and pandemics. here is a look at books being published this week. h hero of the empire looks at the young winston churchill.
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we profile founder in a truck full of money. san francisco chronicle reporter guthrie reports on the privateization of space flight. and in red is the new black, kathy lynn taylor, criticizes the democratic party's core values on women and lists the issues she thinks should be at the top of every woman's list. and lauren, the co-founder and ceo of all in together, explores in what makes people american in crossing the thinnest line. in the fix, jonathan teper provides solutions to a myriad of issues. and patrick phillips looks at racial violence in a georgia town in the early 1900s.
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and a report on the karzai family and impact they had on the afghan war in a kingdom of their own. look for these titles in bookstores in the coming week and watch for the authors in the near future on booktv on c-span2. >> so science as i said a moment ago is really the great equalizer. it is the one thing that stands between, say two brothers with as much power as these two brothers, charles and dave coke, and two brothers who have as much as these two. my nephews in chicago. in theory, these two sets of brothers should have the same access to justice, the same access to potentially education, or to employment, or at least to voting. and science is the one equalizer
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that neutralizes that size of the megaphone of the brothers on the left side of the screen and provides an opportunity to the brothers on the right. this is based in some core ideas that really date back to the very founding of the united states. thomas jefferson wherever the people are well informed they can be trusted with their own government. and there is really the crux of some of the problems we are running into. if you have ever been to the library of congress you will have seen probably thomas jefferson's library that is re-created there. it is round bookcases which contained virtually the entirety of human knowledge at the time. he read the books and contained in his mind he was a scientist and attorney like francis bacon and that was a possible idea;
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the well informed voter. but nearly a quarter mill plate how do we have well-informed voters that can govern themselves successfully in an age dominated by technology. that is the rug we are bumping up against. in order to come up with this idea for democracy, to convince other enlightened nations at a not intercede in the revolutionary war, jefferson reached for the greatest thinking of what he called the trinity of three greatest men to come up with an argument to get them to stay out. ...
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viruses and pandemics. this is booktv on c-span2. [inaudible conversations]
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>> your in a panel called microbes and viruses, discussion in which we'll reveal how mine croaked or our secret pupetmasters. viruses are microbes as well but makes sense to call this pie -- this is a science writer for the atlantic, author of a new book called "i contain multitudes." the microbes of 0 payment. and this is carl zimmer, author of many books including "a planet of virus. "i'm an author of a book called" pandemic "which is how microbes
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cause pap dems and we'll be signing the books after this session at signing table h. so come join us for more discussion there. so, first, before we start, i'd like to ask if anyone here actually in microbiologist. we have four. so, can't make anything up. you guys can correct us we get anything wrong. that will just be me. a it's really interesting time to talk about microbuyol because there's been a bare -- paradigm shift in recent years. sense the late 19th century, we thought about microbes mostly as these mall live rent bruters and i call that approach,
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microbial seen -- xenophobia. and it made because the first microscope we could detect would grow in a dish in a lab, and those are often the ones we're responsible for, fairly dramatic diseases, but whaty we you know is that microbes are everywhere. they're all around us. it's really their planet. four billion years. they were here before with got here. so all of our interactions have evolved in the context of a microbial world now. we knock from our immind processes and dietary prefer reps are linked to the interaction between microbes need. a new we of think about the microbial world and our place it in which i why the work that they do is so important right
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now to get all of to us understand the science and what it means. and i think there's a real urgency to that question. because i think we can all agree that microbe ya xenophobia as a paradigm has failed. we have seen increasing emergence of highly resistant bacterial pathogens, including some that can resist every single class of antibiotics, so that chemical onslaught is creating a worse problem in many ways. and then over the last 50 years we have had over 300 knew pathogens emerge. like ebola and zika, and these microbes ebola comes out of bats and a couple years ago it killed 11,000 people in west africa. so we'll talk a little bit up
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here for maybe half an hour and then have a conversation with you guys. want to start with carl. every time we have a new microbe on the scene i feel like our responses range from either -- both expressions of powerlessness and it's either panic and hysteria or denial and dismissal. so sell us about zika virus and where should we fall on that continuum? >> yeah. so, zika virus is one of these emerging diseases that has gone from being sort of completely unknown to something that we just talk about at the water cooler. within just a matter of months. the familiar routine we're going through are that there's viruses
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like mers that no one now about and it's interesting when you're work agoen a book about viruses, so the first edition of my book came out in 2011, and when you write a book you try to get up to date as much as you and can then kind of hope it can stand the test of time. and then in 2014, my editor dropped me an e-mail and said, barely say anything about ebola in this book itch think people are going to want to know about ebola. so i had the opportunity to write about ebola and sort of update the book in general. so the second edition came out in 2015 and there i made sure i -- oh, there's going to be ebola. because of the ebola outbreak was something like we had never seen before. ebola had first emerged in 1976 but relatively small outbreaks.
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affecting a few hundred people in various parts of central africa, and then it looks like in december of 2013, there was a begin -- the first person to get sick was in west africa and it really didn't sort of become something people were aware of until spring of 2014, and then by october 2014 it had peaked and wasn't until june 2016 that the last case was recorded. just a few months without a case of ebola in west africa. so this has been years of an outbreak, way bigger than anything before. there will over 28,000 cases, over 11,000 people died. so like 40% mortality rate. that terrifying. and i mean issue don't know what
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your thoughts are but i think that this was kind of -- this is an opportunity to see how modern public health could handle something we have been anticipating for a while and i don't think we did very well at all. the monitoring was terrible. the vaccine development was particularly show there had been a vaccine that was in the works for years but nobody want to pay to do mow research because like, who gets sick with ebola. and so actually, there was a great spurring to go on and actually put the experiments into humans and try to get a vaccine for humans ready. and they actually started really doing serious testing on until spring 2015. way after the peak of the epidemic. a lot of people died. and many of those deaths would have been avoided with a vaccine.
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so now just in these last few flareups, people are getting what is called ring vaccination where you are vices nateed in the area around -- vaccinate an you're around the outbreak to keep it from spreading further. that's great. why didn't we have that three years ago? so, i tried to get as much as i could of that into the second edition but could i do a third edition because we're looking at zika virus, and the story of zika virus is eerily similar too ebola weapon knew about zika virus in the '40s. identified in a monkey in uganda, and then it turned out that people in the area had antibodies to zika which suggested they were being exposed to it. but people didn't pay attention. one of many, many, many obscure viruses that are just -- you've go into thunder textbooks and find them and that's it. it gradually emerged,
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transplantation milted by mosquitoes as opposed to ebola, and then only in 2007 there was someone actually really registered an outbreak, and this was in polynesia. not ugoonda. -- uganda. so it had gotten around the world. a couple more outbreaks, relatively small, involving a few hundred people layear when it showed up in brazil, and then things just exploded. so, as of now, 2515 outbreak that started has year, 55 countries now that have zika, that didn't have it before. we have it in puerto rico, miami, and throughout the new world, except for chile, uruguay and canada, probably because anywhere not good for mosquitoes that carry it. and it's -- i don't think people
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are aware enough of how bad things are already. in this outbreak. even in the united states. so in port reek cove it's special -- port reek cove especially about. over 14,000 cases. not sure how many of those cases of birth defected that come with zika have been caused. probably in hundreds. we now realize zika causes the babies to develop very, very small brains. and in the united states the latest count is 43 locally acquired cases, and this just happened recently. so they're trying to stop it in miami bus there's no reason to think it's going to work very well. this thing -- how have we done with zika? not terribly well. here it is in the united states. there's been animal research on vaccines. this is the kind of thing you
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can vaccinate for but we're probably going to start testing veeps maybe in january. -- vaccines maybe in january. here in the united states we're not -- we can't even put out the money to control it. there are things we can do, like mosquito control and research on vaccines. congress is stuck in political games and is not giving out the money. bear in mine it's been estimated that taking -- lifetime cost tore faking care of keyed with microcephaly, $10 million. so we're being incredibly penny wise and pound foolish, not even penny wise, just foolish. that what we're looking at again. and i think the other parallel that i fine really striking here is that this just shows yet again just how remarkable viruses are. ed may give us a reason to feel happy and warm and cuddly being
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the microbial world. aisle here to frequent you out. the zika has ten genes, ebola had seven genes and they're running rings around us. we have immune systems we have evolved for billions of years. they find a way around it. they're thriving, spreading all over the world. and what is happening is that there are all these viruses in the animal kingdom and spill ought as we are basically moving further and further into the zika system, and disturbing the homes of bats, monkeys, and other wildlife, and they are finding a very nice new abundant host and it's us, and i'm not totally fatalistic about this. just a couple weeks ago, a great man named d.a. hen doorson -- dep her down side.
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he led the erat indication of smallpox can which i is way worse. it killed billions of people. and we wiped it out from the blame. so, if we have a dedication, we can actually fight these things, but we can't just ignore them and pretend they'll take care of themselves. >> so you were going to do kind of a good cop/bad cop thing. he's the bad cop. ed is going to tell us the good side of this. what is interesting is that we're seeing these knew microbes and the beginning is really horrible, right? zika virus comes into a human population totally susceptible and you see all this sickness. what happens over time? over time, we get used to certain virus. we start to live with them they become part of our eecology and that's the research you have been covering is focusing on.
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>> yes. think i am def lift any the good cop. i don't want to contradict any of the concerns that carl has raised but the book i wrote is about the more beneficial side of the microbial world, and talk about how microbes have been with us for the longest time. we evolved in an microbial world and to this date we depend on my microbes for health, immunities, development. every human body contains trillions of -- tens of trillions of bacteria, and they help to build and calibrate our immune system. they die just ore food and protect us from disease and infection that i may even help to shape our behavior. and even viruses contain many order of magnitude, more virus
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than bacterial cells and most of those actually infect and kill bacteria. they're part of the teaming echo system win it. we are in fact three large teaming, thriving worlds. and i talk about how these microbes aren't just passengers. they do important things in our lives. i talk below the roles they play in humans. but if you look broader in the animal kingdom you see all kind of incredible super powers they convey. they allow worms, flatworms to regenerate their entire bodies. there are birds call -- which paints their eggs in antibacterial paste. and microbe rich fluids that help to protect the chicked win from infection. there are even very wasps that
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use viruses encoded within their own dna to kill, to diffuse the immune system of the pathogens. one thing i want to talk about now is a case where humans have actually engineered a relationship between an animal and a microbe, to help us, to improve our health. this actually ties into one of the stories carl was talking about. the story begins in 1924, when a couple of microbiologists discovered a new type of bacteria that lived in the cells of infants. they found it in a mosquito, a brown mosquito, which they checked near boston. and for ages no one knew what this thing was. they didn't know whether it was common or what it was. and it took the scientists 12
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years to give it a name and one named it after his friend and called it -- and it took many decade for nip anyone to work out what it did but in '60s and '0s, scientists realited this thing was everywhere. it is in ants, beetles, in something like 40% of species of insects and other are throw pods and given those are the most diverse and numerous planet's the plane. that makes it one of the most successful bacteria in the world. you can think of it as one of the greatest pandemics in the history of life. and what it does veries from host to host. sometimes it's a parasite and is harmful. it doesn't like males because it passes from the mother to daughter. sometimes kills them outright. imsometimes transforms the females. sometime allows the female to reproduce a sexually by cloning.
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thes so have no need for males but sometimes it is an ally. it is a mutual -- it benefits its host in bedbugs, for example, it provides -- something missing from the blood. acteds like a living -- some caterpillars use it to stop leaves from turning red in the autumn so they can sit within the leaves and continue to eat, even as the world yellows and dies around them. but humans have a use for the bacteria as well. for 25 years, australian scientists have been trying to introduce this bak tear'a should a species of -- bacteria into a species of mosquitoes, which spread deng be fever, yellow fever and zika, and the reason is two-fold. one, when the tiger mosquito
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contains this bacteria it becomes really bad at spreading the viruses behind these diseases. so, a infected tiger mosquito is effectively a dengue proof one or perhaps a zika-proof one, too. it also, because it is so good at manipulating its hosts in the way i talked about is really, really got at spreading through a wild population. so the idea is if you release a small number of these wobakia carrying mosquitoes in see some wild, after a few generations, which is a few months in our time thing entire local wild population should carry this microbe and thus be unable to transmit these important human diseases. this has been tested in the lab laboratory and simulated and tests in the 2011 for the first anytime automatic consecutive
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australian suburbs where the wobakia infected mosquitoes were released into they would while very quickly in span of months you saw the previous lens of me microbe weapon from see roar to 1200% in the mosquitoes in that area. so now the organization that pioneers this process has been testing it. they're scaling up and going global. they are testing the approach in brazil. colombia, indonesia and vietnam. they're gearing up to releasing themakes over mega cities that house millions of people 0 see if the same approach can indeed work at the larger scales, whether those mosquitoes will spread, whether wobakia will dominate, and crucially, whether that can then drive down the transmission and instance of these things that cause harm. i think the approach has a lot of advantages. it has got the backing of the world health organization,
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thegates foundation, and it is interesting because it is cheap, and probably quite safe. unlike, say, insecticides which are toxic and need to be continuously redisplayed. wobakia containing mosquitoes should be released once. there is no modification here so it's an easier sell to perhaps reject those approaches. and it seems that wobakia stopped the spread of these viruses through many different routes. competing with -- stimulating the immune system and that is reassuring because as carl said, viruses have a habit of running rings around us and to the biologist, assuming evolution will not get the better of us.
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but if the bacterium allows the insect to resist the virus' are be back for the viruses in many different ways, you would need to evolve which would be hard. so, here we have a really interesting approach that is currently being tried. but the point i want to make is that all of this started with basically curiosity about the microbial world in 1924 the people who covered wobakia could not possibly have predicted this is where their science would go. in fact all of them me. man who leapt his name to this bacteria and guide in the '50s before nip realized how con it was, he could not possibly have foreseen where this branch would be now, and in many ways that is the study of the animal microbe in a nut s-h-h-h.
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ignored and neglected microbes, thinking them to bev irrelevant to us and then we went through a period of scariness and now we're reaching an era of explore asia again and of appreciation, realize thing crucial roles they play in our lives and those of the entire animal kingdom. and we are starting to manipulate those partnerships for our own defense. and our attempts at doing some are still at fumbling in this economy, but there's tremendous potential here. and i think that is where the science of microbiology will go into the future and excites me so much and why i felt compelled to rite a back bit it. to instill that sense of curiosity that led to the discovery of wobakia that is in everybody. >> so, it'sing interesting to ty to -- we want to think of microbes in terms or good or bad. we have this dichotomy we're
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trying to push them into, and what you're talking about is the same microbes can behave differently in different cop texts. >> absolutely. there's no such thing as a good or bad microbes. microbes are germs we need to destroy. i think is wrong but also wrong is the idea that those that live within i within a friendly back tieral, good microbes, really we're just another habitat for them. they've been around for billions of years and we're another world for. the inhabit. much like a lump of soil or drop of water. so wobakia comes in my strains, some argue species, some are beneficial to hosts some are harmful, some are both at the same time i talked about the wasps that use viruses to -- those viruses are bad for the castle, good for the wasp. so the relationships that microbes have are dynamic. they can change on a dime and we all need ways of containing our
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multitude of keeping those relationships happy. >> so then the question is, when there's a conflict of interest, between the microbes we're encountering like zika virus, smallpox, plebe, and what they want to do and what we want to do and you can define that as disease. that's what happens in the mid of that? >> sure. for any parasite -- well, reality say this way. for anything living inside something else, if it activities kill off its host, too soon, that bad news. this sim bionic -- this is going become extinct because it burned down it's own house. but if you can raid a big family and say, it's time we leave the house, go fine another another one then burn it down, that's okay. so, t actually the viruses and
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other path generals evolved at different live of levels of deadliness and sometimes you can see this when -- in the wild. so, for example, some fool decided that it would be a good idea to introduce rabbits to australia. they took off and said how are we going to control them. ...
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it's hard for us -- we think about things of being good and bad just in a very sort of ego centric way, but these things are evolving and not evolving just in the course of a few years, they're evolving in millions of years and language suited so, you know, viruses can be good for us. literally none of us would have been born without viruses. used them to make proteins in the placenta, crucial proteins in the placenta if you knock out that gene, they can't have kids. it just doesn't work.
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just recently viruses were also har necessaried for mustle, basically appear to be generated from a virus gene. that's good. there was then finally immunity over them, harness a couple of the gene and went on from there. our good and bad doesn't capture the strangeness of the little things. >> some scientists that think that some viruses might play a role in the immune system.
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we have loads of them in our bodies and some along the lining and the mucus, there are millions, trillions perhaps of the viruses stuck in the mucus waiting to infect bacteria and helps keep the population of microbes that live within us under check and help to collect for the species within us. you know, i think it also highlights another aspect to this work that we need to keep these populations and the balance of those communities matter. many of the diseases about zika and ebola, one microbe and one disease, you can also get illness when communities of
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microbes shift and no particular member is responsible for the disease, it's just the entire community has gone out of whack. maybe you have new invading species that you don't have anymore. you see this all over the place. many illnesses that have become more common in the 21st century have been linked to changes in the microbes whether it's diabetes or allergies and asthma or heart disease. it's still unclear in many of the cases to whether it's changes that lead into the disease or consequence, but that principle that it's not one infectious organism but a shift in the community, that, i think,
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is important and we will learn more about that in the decades to come. >> i mean, that's interesting, your point that it's the cause and effect and we still don't know, right, probiotics has become a huge industry. if you take the good bacteria and line with gut with all of that that somehow that's going to improve your health, but we still don't know if these disease are associated with changes and do that cause it or does that happen afterwards. what are the limits of how much we can eliminate through probiotics, for example. >> probiotics has health plans attach today them but they don't live up to all of them. they seem to be good for infectious diarrhea.
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it's kind of weak or inconsistent and i think that's because these are very difficult problems. we are trying to engineer entire ego system that's complicated of grasslands or coral reefs. that's a tough thing to do. we are trying to solve the problem by gives products that pertain small qawnts of bacteria, thousands of times lower than exist in our body, strains that are not well suit today live in the gut that were chosen often for historical reasons. it's almost like releasing in a small number of captive-bred animals into the jungle and hoping that they thrive. in many cases they don't. you can try giving large
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communities of microbes that are suited to the body and that's the logic of an who are that docks treatment which is fectal transplant, school -- stool from a healthy donor, often involving a blender and tubing. and they get better. [laughter] >> i should have brought props. correlated -- >> yeah. >> i'm not volunteering. >> thisthis has proven to be treat clostridia, very hard case offense diarrhea and while antibiotics can kill quarter of cases, fectal transplants have
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had 90% success rates, very effective but even treatments when you're doing an ecosystem transplant you're taking a massive community of microbes and putting them in a person with disease community. even that doesn't work consistently for lots of these other conditions that i told you about that have been been linked, inflammatory disease. the results are less consistent because even here there's a hard to reset the worlds within us and we are still at the early stages of understanding how the ecosystems work. who is that, what determines what, you know, who -- why microbes is different to yours and yours and yours, how can we manipulate. how do we get them to establish themselves, do we need to feed
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them with certain foods to give them advantage. there's still so much fine-tuning we have to do despite the early successes in this field. >> and yet at the same time you're talking about the very subtle shifts and the delicate hand and fragile kind of balance with microbes and yet what we do is pound them, actually. >> our use of antibiotics, 08% of the antibiotics are for farm animals, that's just out in the environment all over the place and then we have a lot of medically unnecessary use of antibiotics and manipulating the context, right, and i wonder -- well, you mentioned, carol that we could do more with vaccination, what does it mean when we are attacking microbes in the grand scale as a background level? how does that sorlt of actually provoke some of the more
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behaviors? >> yeah. when antibiotics came out in the 1940's it became widespread, people just fell like, game over, we've done it and, yet, even the people who had discovered antibiotics said, whoa, whoa, these things could stop working of evolution because bacteria are evolving really fast and unfortunately we -- nothing really happened to -- there was no big resistance stopping crusade back then and now finally we are coming to terms with more and more resist resistance and it's a real struggle because we don't have a lot of new drugs in the pipeline so we are starting to get --
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you're starting to see over the horizon a situation where you're going to have bacteria that are resistant to everything we've got. if you get infected with it and figure out that you have one of the strains that combine all of the resistance genes, there's going to be nothing people can do for you and already it's been estimated 700,000 people around the world die of antibiotic resistant bacterial infections and that can go up unless we do stuff. again, i don't mean to be the dark cloud in your day, but it's like the same story with smallpox. we can do something about this. if people were smart and dedication to it, we can solve the problem. we got rid of smallpox, we can solve problems. this is a problem that is solvable, there are clear-cut things we can do if we can overcome political resistance, for example, stop using antibiotics in farms, done. huge resistance to that because
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farmers like to give the antibiotics to animals, they get bigger, no one is quite sure why, they get bigger, more meat, more money, you know, you have to set that against the cost of sharing and treating all of the illness from antibiotic resistant bacteria which is being bred in part in farms and we need to be more creative and one possibility is actually the viruses, so ed mentioned that there are viruses that infect bacteria and they were discovered over a hundred years ago and actually felix dural, doctor who discovered them, he realized that he could kill bacteria with the viruses and he said, whoa, this could be a drug .
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actually, incredibly in the 1920's you could buy powder with these viruses in it, you know, in paris. it was being mass produced and it was quite popular. antibiotics came on the scene and they seemed more reliable, more tractable because they are just chemicals, they're not almost alive like viruses are and so there was a shift and really the only place where this kind of approach call phage they therapy was the soviet union. they're being treated with therapy and viruses on the wounds and in some cases it's working. since the fall of the soviet union some of the people came with the united states and have been with scientists here trying
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to bring therapy back into sort of american and european medicine and it's been very slow, you know, you can't be 100% sure that the viruses you're using are going to kill the bacteria that you want to cure, but there are some -- there's some progress and there's actually major trials going on now in terms of treating people with infections from burns and so on and the idea that instead of just one chemical, you have a virus and you can do lots of things with viruses, you can engineer them. so if the bacteria start to evolve resistance to them, you can do evolutionary experiments with viruses and get them to evolve to do a better job or maybe you can put in an extra gene in there to help them break out what bacteria can form u engineer viruses. so this is the kind of creativity we need to fight this fight. >> i think it's worth saying
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that antibiotics have been such an incredible boom to our health, they save so many lives but we use them badly sometimes, and there are costs to that. antibiotic resistance among infectious resistance is one cost and the loss that we rely on it and not precise, they destroy the bacteria that we rely upon as well as that that is causing harm and so they do shift the micros and how they can harm our health, long-lasting they are, they have resilience and bounce back but too many of such a sort and you get problems. that's actually infections happen, they are almost caused by antibiotics wiping out the native microbes that live within
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us, creating space for the invader to take whole. people ask me ask me if it's a bad thing, i don't think so. the solution to saving the bacteria that we rely upon is very much the same as protecting infectious, it's scaling back on our use of antibiotics and using judiciously so we use them when we need to and only when we need to and that solves everything from cultural shifts and when they're asked for, doctor's prescription to technological shifts, to be able to diagnosis illnesses early so if you have have a viral illness, you're not prescribing people with antibiotics because the drugs don't do any good. antibiotics largely are microbial weapons, they are tool
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that is bacteria evolve to destroy each other in intense competition because after all it's their world. and we mind those weapons and we did such a good job that we picked the low-hanging fruit and we stopped to be able to discover new ones easily, the bacteria that live in our bodies might be a potential new source. just a few months ago i read about a study about how a new potential antibiotic was discovered among our nose bacteria about, i think, something like 8 to 10% that people carry the one species that seems to do well against
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steophocacasours. that competition might be fierce but places where we constantly shove food down and we bombbard with nutrients. easy live, the nose however is scattered resource unless you're eating weirdly, no nutrients there. maybe those are the places that we need to look for the next generation for good antibiotics. i think this is the type of thing that you can get when you think of humans and other animals as ecosystems, more than the individuals that we are and think ecologically, which part of the body is going to be fiercest among microbes, where are we more likely to find tomorrow's weapon.
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>> there's a part in your book where you call the gut a rain forest and the nose a desert. a geographical -- >> that's right. >> we have a few minutes for questions and there's two microphones set up so i hope you guys will come and ask some questions and when you do just say your name first and -- and make it a question, we will also take comments too, right? >> hi, i'm ana and i have a question and how they were great for eradicating for smallpox and we still have the virus that kills tens of thousands of people and is endemic and we have known about it for a hundred years, the yellow fever still is raging and how there's
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so many viruses we don't know about and they're still a problem. yeah, vaccines are -- they are aan amazing thing. fact that we can train our bodies to be ready for a virus and basically fight it off is an incredible thing that we can do and -- but that sort of masks a lot of hard work that goes into making sure that the vaccines treat population effectively, so with smallpox it wasn't like, yeah, everybody get in line, get your smallpox vaccine, that involved figuring out where is smallpox in the world and going out and collaborating with community leaders, taking vaccines on
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horse back into the way remote areas of ethiopia trying to get the last cases because until you get the very last cases it's not over. that's what we are dealing with polio. polio, we could have been done with polio ten years ago but we -- you know, it's enduring in the very unstable places like, for example, parts of pakistan and nigeria. so in pakistan you have vaccine workers who get killed by the taliban, you know, a way of sort -- you know, as part of their political campaign and, you know, the virus doesn't care. that's an opportunity for it to take off. also built-in problems with vaccines also in the sense that, you know, the flu virus is a real pain in the neck because it is just constantly turning evolutionarily, so every year
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there are new mutations arising, mixing and matching together and you get a new strain every year and, you know, the scientists making making the vaccines, a lot of them are using the basic technology we used in the 1950's like actually trying to grow vaccine and chicken eggs for example, it takes months to do that. they have to guess in advance, we are entering our flu season right now just about and the vaccines decided on months ago and we have to hope that they got it right and a lot of times they don't, so there's a situation where what we really need ultimately and there are people working on this is to get beyond vaccine that just targets the part of the virus that changes rapidly but target the part that changes never, the things essential of being a flu virus, the dream is of making a universal food vaccine.
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if you're a kid, you get a flu shot and maybe you get a booster once later in life, you know, like other vaccines, that would believe great and a lot of lives would be saved but we are not there yet. >> hi, i have a question of the incorporation of microphones in genome. quite a few years i learned about a couple of theories suggested that not just pieces of dna were incorporated but two really important cell-type or one of those is mitochondria and one with the white cells, i wonder if there's any credibility these days of those theories and how that might happen.
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>> mitochondria is definitely right. for any of them who are not familiar with them, all of our cells contained structures called mitochondria, bean-shaped things that provide energy. they are essential for our lives and they used to be bacteria. they are comest caited domestic caited bacteria that worked their way into ancestral cell and became forever stuck there. some people think it's the carrier, the domain of life that includes animals, plants, all the complex life that you can see with our eyes.
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all of them contain mitochondria and perhaps the reason of that singularity, even though we have taken in bacteria and turned them into other cellular structures at different times, the reason maybe that that singularly improbable event was really critical in allows life to escape from the confines of bacteria and go big to develop larger sizes. that's, again, we were talking about events that happened billions of years ago. they were obviously controversial but i think there's no control about origins of mitochondria all of them cover form of bacteria. >> there were white blood cells,
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they are just our cells but what's interesting is when you look at them they're really -- you know, under the microscope there, it's interesting how they're around in the way that's. reminiscent, what you might found in the soil like grabbing bacteria and so on and there are some ideas that the behavior of our white blood cells inside of our bodies are using old genes that were sort of held on from our single cell ancestors and sniffing -- white blood cells sniffing around looking for bacteria in your blahed is not that different from slime in bacteria in the soil. there sort of may have been -- >> i like the idea of a slime mole around.
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>> my friend recently join the peace corps and she's been on seven rounds of antibiotics so far. i was wondering were so far on the consequences of being on so many antibiotics in a short period of time? >> it's a tough break. the military are investigating because of that problem, travel-associated diarrhea, if you do run into problems, sometimes we don't have better options, unfortunately, but i think that the emerging science of the might -- microbes will
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work within us rather than just, you know, use the force approac. >> i'm zach, i was wonder if i can ask you a speculate on the possibility of a large change of mitochondria entering into our bodies or pandemic that might change the species or differentiation of species and whether that's possible and what kind of future possibilities for integration whether that's viral or bacterial to change us or even split off. well, i can work with that. [laughter] >> you take an old species and you split it in two.
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right. branching process, a lot of it is different in nature just by part of it is those populations not being able to interbreed successfully. there are certain cases where when you -- with animals where you fool around with the microbion where you get difficulty with interbreeding. imagine that they are the new plague and people who get sick with it can only have kids with other people who are sick with it and can't have kids with the other ones and all of a sudden you're die -- diverging now and keep it going for a hundred years and you have a new species. >> so just wait. [laughter] >> and i want the credit on that movie that gets made on that.
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[laughter] >> hi, my name is liz, i have a question regarding antibiotic abuse and leading to resistance. so more specifically in regards to feeding it to livestock and cattle which now mostly do, given that's most likely necessary for the large-scale production of meat that we produce and looking forward that's probably going to require a lot of research because we are probably not going to lose the habit of our meat-eating any time soon, so basically my question is is there evidence showing that beef cattle, et cetera, do you find active antibiotic molecules in a significant amount that can affect humans? >> it doesn't quite work like that. what happens is that these animals are being fed antibiotics, healthy animals, they have a micro and these
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antibiotics they challenge every bacteria encounters that's vulnerable to it and many species have the challenge and, you know, basically if they've got the right muation they might be able to survive, if they don't they die, over time that's going to foster the evolution of the resistance-bacteria and we are talking about bacteria in the gut. if we go to -- you shouldn't be eating meat that is with gut and they get in the water, they get in the soil, they're trading these resistant genes with other bacteria, they become part of


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