Dr. Douglas Powell is an associate professor and scientific director of the International Food Safety Network at Kansas State University. Trained in molecular biology, and employed as a journalist, Dr. Powell found that food safety was a discipline where he could meld his interests in science, society and policy -- more formally known as risk analysis. His lab, the International Food Safety Network, seeks innovative ways to compel everyone in the farm-to-fork food safety system -- individual producers, retail employees, and consumers, among others -- to acknowledge and adopt best practices to reduce the risk of foodborne illness.
Writer Marc Gerstein was joined by co-author Michael Ellsberg and his father Daniel Ellsberg to discuss their book on major accidents and catastrophes, and how they often could be prevented. For example, the death of students from the recent China quake might have been averted if their schools weren't so badly constructed, and there was a stronger motivation to protect children, said Gerstein. In the case of the Challenger disaster, NASA's top brass didn't listen to the warnings of engineers about the safety of O-rings. Additionally, the timing of the launch was kept even though the weather was too cold because Pres. Reagan wanted to have a link up with Christa McAuliffe during his State of the Union speech, Daniel Ellsberg detailed. Leaders, across political systems, often gamble with risks, and other people's lives, when the alternative is a possible loss to their status, he added. Michael Ellsberg talked about "bystander behavior" in which psychological factors such as ... More »Host: George Noory