In the first half, author and publisher Richard A. Lertzman discussed Dr. Max Jacobson, whom the Secret Service under JFK code-named "Dr. Feelgood." He developed a unique "energy formula" which contained methamphetamine and altered the paths of some of the 20th century’s most iconic figures, including President and Jackie Kennedy, Marilyn Monroe, and Frank Sinatra. Dr. Jacobson, who immigrated out of Nazi Germany, had trained with Karl Jung, and first developed a treatment for multiple sclerosis using methamphetamine. His injection formula that became popular with writers, celebrities, and politicians, not only included amphetamine, but such bizarre ingredients as sheep sperm, monkey gonads, human placenta, and steroids, Lertzman detailed.
The concoction "gave people instant power, instant energy, and took away their pain," but Dr. Jacobson never told patients what was actually in the formula. His intentions may have started out positive, but eventually he used the treatments to gain power over his clients such as JFK, who became addicted to the drug, and included Dr. Jacobson as part of his entourage. According to Lertzman's research, Marilyn Monroe was injected by him just before she went on stage to sing her famous rendition of "Happy Birthday Mr. President." Among "Dr. Feelgod's" famous patients were the writers Tennessee Williams, Truman Capote, and Rod Serling, actress Elizabeth Taylor, and baseball player Mickey Mantle. Jacobson was eventually disbarred from practicing medicine in New York state, and tougher drug laws were enacted in 1972 that curtailed these kinds of medical practices.
In the latter half, Robert Muir-Wood, a professor, and chief research officer of Risk Management Solutions, talked about some of the most tragic natural disasters and how human complacency and poor planning contribute to them. He addressed what could be improved, and areas which are ripe for catastrophe if nothing changes. For instance, 5.4 million people in Washington state live in a zone endangered by an impending 9.0 Cascadia megaquake. Despite the warnings, Washington still lags behind all other quake prone states, lacking seismic safety laws for schools, hospitals, and vulnerable buildings, according to a report. Buildings made out of cement in countries outside of the US are particularly susceptible to seismic damage, he added.
In Cuba, Fidel Castro set up a hurricane-preparation plan that is successful in reducing casualties, switching off electricity and picking the crops before the storm makes landfall, Muir-Wood reported. Much was learned from the failures after Hurricane Katrina, he noted, such as how the shipping canal (built to improve trade) actually provided the conduit for the storm surge getting into New Orleans. The Netherlands is a good example of how a country devised sophisticated ways for dealing with floods, and involved the entire citizenry in the effort, he continued. Muir-Wood also cited the case of a self-reliant 10-year old English girl who was on the beach in 2004 in Thailand, and warned beach goers that a tsunami was approaching. She had recently learned in school that water receding was the sign of an imminent tsunami, and it's estimated that she saved around 100 lives that day.