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October 25, 2007

Living Through Fire

Living Through Fire

Novelist Wilton Barnhardt knows what it's like to live through Californian wildfires. He was living in Laguna Beach, Calif. in November 1993, when brush fires from interior canyons and valleys destroyed over 193,814 acres and 1,000 homes. Wilton wended his way home from work through all the emergency barricades to save his personal belongings: above all, a novel he was writing at the time. He tells Dick what it was like to be rescuing his belongings while flames were destroying trees just a few houses away.

Chasing Smallpox

This week is the anniversary of the last case of smallpox.

Dr. Donald D. A. Henderson knows about the severity of the disease first-hand. He helped eradicate smallpox globally nearly 30 years ago. Dick Gordon talks to D. A. about his time as a disease detective - flying into remote areas in rickety planes, and discovering that last person in the world with smallpox was on his own staff.

Mapping Disease

When D. A. Henderson was tracking smallpox, he was using reports from "advance teams" on the ground. Today, Dick talks with one researcher who is using satellite imagery to track infectious disease.

Dr. Andy Tatem is mapping the progress of killer diseases like malaria using high resolution satellite imagery. He talks with Dick about how the new technology can both help with current infectious disease outbreaks, and potentially slow the advance of diseases around the world.

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