In the first half, prominent public health scientist and biosecurity expert, Dr. Michael Osterholm, discussed the growing threat of 21st century infectious diseases, and what can be done to protect ourselves. Globally, the risks from infectious disease are higher than they've ever been in human history, he cited, with the most significant issues being pandemic influenza, and antibiotic resistance. Through mutation, bacteria has increasingly developed a resistance to many antibiotics, and we could be entering an alarming post-antibiotic era. One way to slow this down, he said, is to curb the overuse of antibiotics, which accelerate the bacteria's resistance.
What often scares us can be different than what kills us, he commented, noting that outbreaks that can be transmitted by a respiratory route are of the biggest concern, as they can be quickly spread around the world via air flight. The number one disease threat to the world is a serious influenza pandemic, in which a flu virus emerges out of a wild bird, genetically mutates, and then infects humans for the first time-- more than 250 million people died from such a pandemic in 1918, and with today's population it could be many times that number, he warned. New and better drugs, and flu vaccines, that last for a number of years, could help stave off pandemics, he suggested, adding that he's concluded there is no evidence that vaccines for childhood diseases cause autism.
In the latter half, artist, writer and practicing witch, Harold Roth, spoke about various types of witches, the history and dynamics of spells and curses, and protection methods. He outlined the different types of plants and herbs that people can grow themselves which can be used for spells, rituals, and protection. These included:
1) Poppy-- associated with fertility and abundance
2) Yarrow-- stalks used for divination
3) Vervain-- a Druid herb that helps provoke interesting dreams
4) Mugwort-- also associated with dreams, and dream recall
5) Belladonna-- the quintessential "evil eye" herb
6) Mandrake-- root used to make a "mannequin" for protection and abundance.
One of the reasons magic works is because the world isn't necessarily a just place, and witchcraft can be used to mitigate this, he noted. Roth detailed a method for dealing with a threatening person: Take something that represents them such as a photograph, and wind it up in a piece of paper, and write their name on it and cross it out repeatedly. Then, tie the paper up in black yarn or thread and put it in a box and bury it.