In the first half, former staff scientist at the Environmental Protection Agency, E.G. Vallianatos, talked about how he witnessed first hand the catastrophic collusion between the EPA and the chemical industry. He revealed the harrowing facts about the thousands of deadly synthetic chemicals that have, for decades, been released into the biosphere and which we continually absorb. Dating back to the 1970s, the EPA has a history of approving and expanding the use of pesticides, which have an adverse effect on the central nervous systems of humans, and other life forms, he detailed. More recently, they approved neonicotinoid insecticides, which have been linked to honeybees' Colony Collapse Disorder, he reported.
While the EPA has done a relatively good job in programs such as the Clean Air Act, we need for them to act more independently, and in the best interests of American citizens' health, rather than furthering the profit-driven interests of agribusiness and chemical industries, he argued. Vallianatos recommends eating organic foods, as well as joining environmental groups that work toward protecting the natural world, which our health is intertwined with. For more, see his related blog posting on Huffington Post.
In the latter half, Deputy Head of the Department of Astronomy at the University of Arizona, Chris Impey, discussed four decades of dramatic advances in astronomy and planetary science, as well current views of cosmology and space exploration. His new book examines unmanned space missions and observatories, such as Hubble and Spitzer, which have garnered unprecedented new perspectives on distant worlds. Space exploration itself has helped push technology into more advanced directions such as in miniaturization, electronics, remote sensing capabilities, and even in medical arenas, he reported.
Impey pondered such concepts as the multiverse. "The Universes of a multiverse are probably independent of each other and never intersect...but they might interpenetrate or...have linkages that we of course want to try to figure out what they are so we can test this idea," he continued. Based on recent data, he estimated there could be some 100 million habitable planets in the Milky Way alone. He also explained how several dwarf galaxies like Sagittarius are being merged into the Milky Way, which may offer clues into how galaxies are formed.