tv Book TV In Depth CSPAN September 2, 2013 5:00pm-8:31pm EDT
and the strange world of the human digestive system. the former salon.com columnist is the author of five books including bestsellers "stiff", "bonk" and her 2013 release, "gulp." >> host: mary roach how did elvis die? >> guest: based on research from my book is that he was a victim of severe and associated sudden death. >> host: how did you find that out? >> guest: i found that out ,-com,-com ma one fine day i was talking to somebody here in d.c. they have a megacolin which is a monstrous colin, it suggests
some severe difficulties internal difficulties. the woman happened to say to me all this presley died of that. i went why? one thing led to another and i spent a day with elvis presley's doctor and learned about the king's troubles with severe. >> host: who was his doctor? >> guest: dr. nick megapolis. >> host: what was that like? >> guest: it was the anniversary of elvis's death. there was a gathering of all the hard-core fans who come to graceland and so they were all milling around. he was doing a memorial tribute and whenever to this house which is the house that elvis had built for him way back when in the 70s. dr. nick and i sat around in the living room with this wonderful 1970s at the time very posh place. a great read rooms and we sat
there. dr. nick here and his wife aetna edna would be -- the furniture was quite far apart and i would lean down to put my coffee and i'd have to get up slightly to get the coffee cup down. dr. nick and i talked about elvis and every now and then edna would pop up with an observation or a comment about priscilla presley or something. a dispatch from the distant. >> host: what did you learn from.net? >> guest: i was there to talk about well i should explain to people "gulp" the subtitle is adventures in the alimentary canal from head to tail. this chapter had to do with constipation in this whole notion of is it possible to die of constipation and you hear sometimes about people who have died on the throne which i guess
would be appropriate with elvis. but anyway if you're interested in this -- most people assume it was drugs and an overdose the killed elvis and in fact he certainly took a lot of drugs and that did not help but the actual moment of death as far as i could tell from the autopsy the cause of death was fatal heart arrhythmia which can come on with someone who is straining at the stool. the moment of death would have appeared to have been associated so it fit into the book and i said i need to talk to dr. nick. he was a lovely and gracious man in his 80s now and invited me in and we sat around and had coffee and chatted about elvis and constipation and things. >> host: where did you get the eye to the -- idea to write
"gulp"? >> guest: "gulp", it's a wonder i didn't write about this topic before. it's kind of a taboo subject and i enjoy writing about taboo topics particularly that relate to the human body. partly because it's fun to play with taboo and because everybody stays away from it. therefore, all the more for me to play with. i'm kind of the bottom feeder of nonfiction so it's like i will take that. i will do it. i will do it. anything that has taken away taboo people are secretly fascinated with. it's kind of like somebody says you are on a diet and you can't have any deserts or whatever and that is something you crave so people are both repulsed and drawn to it and they want to peek behind the curtain so i'm here pulling the curtain apart for people. i also think when it's your own
body that you are talking about the taboo does is a disservice because sometimes people have health concerns and issues that they don't feel comfortable even talking to their doctor about like elvis presley's problems. those are things that because it's taboo people don't want to bring it up. they feel embarrassed you know. constipation is an embarrassing thing to talk about. >> host: in the close of "gulp" you right there is an unnameable feeling i've had 10 times in my life. it's a mix of wonder privilege humility and awe that orders on fear. i felt as in a field of snow on the outskirts of fairbanks alaska with the northern lights whipping overhead so seemingly close i dropped to my knees. i am walloped by it on dark nights in the mountains looking up the sparkling sphere of our galaxy. what what experience were you having when he wrote this? or what made you have that feeling? >> guest: well, i decided to
get my first colonoscopy without any drugs. i wanted to see what it looked like in there because my feeling was this is your own body and here is this opportunity this very rare opportunity to see these miraculous parts of you that our day in and day out keeping you alive and doing these amazing things. i thought okay i'm going to observe this. i'm going to see my own colon and i expected to feel the emotions that i'm describing in the passage that you just read. when in fact i felt mild to moderate cramping. [laughter] but anyway i hoped it would do this transcendent experience and it was. actually, it was an amazing thing to witness however the intermittent sharp pain and discomfort kind of distractedistracted me from my goal of lofty feelings.
>> host: mary roach there's a natural museum of health and medicine here in washington? what is there? >> guest: that is he full of the megacolin which inspired the trip to memphis to visit with elvis's son. his personal physician for many years. that is what brought on this whole chapter. >> host: what does "bonk" mean? >> guest: "bonk" is slang for sexual. excuse me i believe you have misspelled the title of your own book. it is blank and not long to which i replied it is both. "bonk" is a little more common in the u.k. and in fact that is what people say in the u.k.. i grew up in new england and i save "bonk." blank is a silly word and honk it's like -- so that is why i chose "bonk."
to people to this day will write to me and say ps i think it's blank as though that made it past the copy editor. nobody noticed the title was misspelled but enough people complained that i had made up for book tours a little yellow leather i. this is the text on the cover of the paperback that is yellow. i would have a little poll taken applied to the cover of the book if it really bothered them. i used to "bonk" instead of point. >> host: where did you research the book? >> guest: "bonk" is a book about sex labs and when i say sex labs this is a book about the physiology of sex meaning not gender stuff or sociology or hiv or aids transmission but specifically the biomechanics and the physiology of arousal so
people just say this is a system a human system and it deserves like any other human system to be studied and understood and for centuries nobody did that. it wasn't until masters and johnson got it rolling in earnest but it's really the 40s and 50's. nobody wanted to go there so i looked at people who went there. great souls who went there so that is what the book is about. >> host: how significant were masters and johnson and the kinsey study's? >> guest: kinsey was more -- had more to do with extensive interviewing. he had people come in and do this long three-hour interview. into this extensive interview about sexual habits and what do you do and how do you do it with and how many times in what position? really very specific or snow questions about people's
sexuality and publish these two volumes and that was very controversial with things that he and covered so that was mostly what kinsey did. however -- we are talking this is the 40s and early 50's than they did at one point bring people into the attic of his house in indiana and the attic sessions were essentially him with a movie camera and a notepad observing taking notes and answering questions that he had been studying the process of the sexual response as it would come to be called. the work was never published in any journal or anywhere else. he didn't have an institute wearing a white coat. fast-forward to masters and johnson. masters and johnson and this is in the 50s mind you, brought volunteers into the observed and sometimes it was couples and sometimes it was one person.
they were just documenting the entire sexual response cycle in the beginning stages of arousal and the plateau stage an and really specific. this came out in the 50s and and -- the date is in the book but at a time when it was really scandalous and they had gone out of their way to dress it up in formal science. there would be -- they came up with euphemisms for things with a lot of syllables. a couple having sex in the lab would be the reacting unit. if the man lost his it would be a failure of performance. pornography would be stimulative literature. everything had a multis -- multisyllabic euphemism. there is nothing in it -- it's a big book and it's very thorough.
nonetheless there's nothing scandalous in there. they had so much hate mail that they had to hire a second secretary to handle all of the hate mail. my hats off to them. it was a tremendously brave thing to do at the time. it made a very conservative era. nothing like this had ever been done and they did it and they got people to come into the lab. that was the amazing thing. and i would have loved to interview some of their subjects but they were anonymous and masters and johnson were fiercely protective of their identities. and i was going to sort of put an ad in the paper saying if you were one of those subjects please contact me and some of the people said if you do that and we have tried, we will get people pretending to have been subjects who will want to tell you these and absolutely false stories. so i thought how can i get
across to people -- i wanted to know what would that be like because it's extraordinarily awkward situation to be in a laboratory studying somebody in a white coat with a notepad and say okay now remove your clothing amp pursued -- proceed to do what you are going to do and don't mind us. pretend we are not here. the way i got around that is i did find these days there are not many studies where two people are required. if you are studying arousal or orgasm whatever it is you can do that with one person if you know what i mean. you don't necessarily have to have two people so i did find one study and i asked dr. dang who was a four-dimensional --
four-dimensional study where they can make a four-dimensional film of the body parts in question and i e-mailed the doctor and i said i'm very interested in this next project that you have and this is a man who had been published in the lancet. it was a legitimate research venture and i said i'm really interested in this historic undertaking. could i be there. in the room and he wrote back right away. he said well yes you could but unfortunately we are having difficulty finding a brave couple for an intimate study. if your organization would like to provide a volunteer i would be happy to arrange it. so my organization called its president and i believe the way that i phrased it was i said to
ed, you know how you said you hadn't been to london in 25 years and let's go and i will take care of everything and we can stay in a nice hotel. jeremy irons is in something and he has a big eared and it's supposed to be really good show. we can go to stonehenge. in that way -- my husband ed -- he is a wonderful has a wonderful capacity for denial so he sort of latched onto the hey we are going to london and this will be great and didn't even think about the segment in which we were going to have to -- and this was ultrasound. people often said you were found with an mri. in that case you have have privacy at least. a bit cramped and uncomfortable but you would have privacy. with ultrasound the guy is right here the wind. so it was tremendously awkward
experience but at the same time i was thinking this is going to be so fun to write. it was so much fun to write. my husband ed deserves a medal for this because he didn't have any sort of silver lining like that. for him it was just a really awkward thing and of course the performance was on him and yeah. i could go into more detail but i don't think we need to probably right here. >> host: in your first book mary roach "stiff" the curious lives of human cadavers the first line in that look is the human head is the approximate size and weight of a roast. how did you discover that? >> guest: one of the places that i went to -- "stiff" is a book about postmortem careers. it's people who have donated their bodies to science and science, research, education and
some of the more unusual places that they ended up. people are familiar with anatomy classes and dissection but there are a lot of other things that dead people have gotten up to over the years that are quite fascinating. one of them is that surgeons will use cadavers to practice on and to learn techniques or to refresh themselves and to practice. basically you don't want to practice on a live person so the dead are useful for practicing. the place that i went was this seminar for facial and reconstructive surgeons and they were practicing some techniques. people think well why didn't they have the whole body? the thing is with cadaver research, you don't want to waste usable tissue so the head would be in a reconstructive surgery lab and the arm might
stay in the test of a power window to make sure someone's hand were ended that it wouldn't be causing an injury. the legs might -- anyway you can be in five places at once as a research cadaver which i think is kind of the ultimate multitasking. so anyway, to the head's, they have them set up. this is a long-winded answer. they were in roasting pans of the sort that you would use to roast a chicken and because in fact they are about the same size. i am happy to make that observation because there were 30 heads in roasting pans in this surgical training seminar that i was at in texas. >> host: who donates their bodies? >> guest: there are people who donate their bodies can't have people like myself kind of practical utilitarian, sheep.
its door-to-door service. they come and pick you up. there is no rigmarole with the funeral home. if you want to you can do a service but you don't have to. so they will pick you up and plus you get sort of the wonderful feeling of making a donation to science, a contribution to science. >> host: [inaudible] >> guest: that would require putting a value on a dead body which is an interesting issue because dead bodies are kind of like cars. if you park by parts if you add it up with each individual part sells for although it's shipping and handling technically. if you take the cost of the individual one and add them up it's a far greater number than it would be just for a whole body. so it's difficult to put a figure actually on it. should the irs audit, will see,
they are not going to audit you. it's going to be a really strange scenario to audit you after -- beyond the grave. >> host: is there a shortage of dead obvious for surgeons etc.? >> guest: yes and no. depending on where you live because if you are in -- if you live somewhere near stanford or harvard, people love to donate to those schools. it's kind of like you can say i'm going to harvard. i've often thought the people who run the willed body program should have t-shirts made up and saying i am going to harvard, and it's funny. there can be two medical schools close by. i think there is duke and a smaller college. it doesn't have the same prestige so duke is always sort of quietly giving some of their surplus.
there are these regional surplus deficits. some places have plenty of bodies and others are always scrambling to get more bodies. >> host: in "stiff" the curious lives of human cadavers you right it makes little sense to try to control what happens to your remains when you are no longer around to reap the joys of benefits of that control. people make elaborate request concerning disposition of their bodies are probably people who have trouble with the concept of not existing. >> guest: yeah. that is the number one reason in my experience that people cite. they are not -- they don't want to donate their body to science to research and education. they say well i want to be able to say what is used for it. i to cure cancer. i don't want to be used in plastic surgery or whatever it is. people want to be able to exert control over their circumstances
though they are no longer in the circumstances at the time. anyway it's a way that is still being around. people have a lot of difficulty with the prospect of no longer being around. of course you are not going to be around to care or to take issue. it's not a rational thing and people say you wrote this book. does that mean you are going to donate your body to science? i must say i have the paperwork are stanford and ucsf medical schools which are the two schools within the radius of where i live in the bay area. so i have the paperwork but i have not filled about. i'm kind of like a college senior. i'm still deciding where i want to go and what is the view like of the anatomy lab at csf and where are the facilities? , going to be stored?
who cares? i am dead but i have that interactional kind of desire. and i also think it's interesting, i haven't pulled the trigger. i haven't filled out the forms signed it and turned it in. it is my intent. to go off and be cremated now just seems wrong. >> host: the last chapter in "stiff" is remains of the author , will she or won't she is the title. mary roach you're right though that you're also concerned about ed and his take on your being donated. >> guest: ed is my husband and ed is a very squeamish man and the thought of me or himself being upon a table. for him, he is like do i get to
keep my underwear on? i don't want to take my underwear off in a roomful of strangers. that is his concern but for me the thought of me being parceled out and used was disturbing to him. one of the things i realized in talking to medical ethicists and various people about the topic is the wishes of the living are more important than the wishes of the dead. somebody said, if someone leaves elaborate plans for what is to be done with their remains that has been tremendous impact on the way the people who have just lost -- lost their loved ones so it's hard enough to cope with the loss of someone and if you can find out they wanted to be donated to science and they are going to be used in some kind of research or experimentation or whatever it is, and that's an upsetting thing for the family the people who work in the willed body programs will
usually go with us and take the side of the living. the dead, let's face it they are dead and the living still have emotions and things to deal with. and that circumstance doesn't ably presented itself with the family is just very uncomfortable with the wishes of the deceased to become -- to go to an anatomy lab or to be used in medical research. it's very upsetting for them and in that case the body wouldn't be. it's not like the universe is going to pull the body away. this horrible traumatic tug-of-war going on. they let it go and they understand. >> host: being caught in possession of a corpse is a crime that being caught with a corpse itself carries no -- >> guest: in hoddy snatching,
grave robbing going back to the 17 1800's. grave robbing was the practice of stealing someone's cufflinks or family heirloom or jewels to take stuff of value. for centurians there was no need to have a law about body snatching. who let's face it wants to go to the trouble of digging up a grave to pull up a bawdy? there is no value in a dead body. but then the dawn of anatomy schools in the 1800's and on, they needed dead bodies and they needed material for dissection and nobody back then filled out a willed body farm to donate their body to science. if you wanted to study the human body and he wanted to teach anatomy you had to pay a bodysnatcher.
resurrection is was another term that was used. these were folks that go into cemeteries and they would have would have been casing the cemetery because it has to be a fresh body. it has to be one that has just been buried. you don't want to do a dissection on the decomposed body. the skeleton will be useless though they were looking for a fresh grave and they would come in late at night and pick up the body and take it over to the anatomy school. to the guy who runs it and they would be paid for the bodies. they did quite well. i have a number in "stiff" the number of part and full-time resurrection is employed in london and of course i don't remember that number but it was a popular way to make a living. even then there was a shortage because some of the schools that an there was at least one instance where you could pay part of your tuition in bodies. as a student -- some midnight prank go and dig up a grave and
get the body and you get tuition credit and to get a discount on tuition for providing it. >> host: you write that the instructors became known as the kind of guys to whom you could take your sons and pretended lake and sell it for beer money. 37.5 cents to be exact. it happened in rochester new york in 1831. welcome to booktv's in depth on this holiday weekend. our guest is author mary roach and she began writing books in 2003 trade read the first book is "stiff" the curious lives of human cadavers. all of her books in "new york times" bestsellers. the second book came out in 2005 , "spook" science tackles the afterlife and "bonk" came out in 2008, "packing for mars" in 2010 the curious science of life in the void in her most recent just came out a month or two ago "gulp" adventure on the alimentary canal. 202 theory code if you would
like to participate in our life program 585-3880 in the eastern and central timezones you can e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org and you can make a comment on our facebook page three for mary roach facebook.com/booktv or on our twitter feed at booktv is the address they are. mary roach, where did you grow up and when did you become a writer and again why the topics? when did you start being interested in this stuff? >> guest: i grew up in well, i was born in hanover new hampshire and i grew up in that area the upper valley which includes a town in vermont, no arch vermont on the other side of the river. i grew up in a small town, college town, my parents both work at dartmouth.
we were in at night because my father was an assistant professor. we couldn't afford the fancy houses so we were in aetna and i loved it now. aetna was where i spent most of my junior high and high school. that is where i was. i did not have the desired to be a writer. i didn't give any thought to my career all the way through my senior year of college. i just thought i had this sounds like well, i went to wesleyan and i graduated with this special kind of person with a lot of potential to do something and i really had not a clue. when i was in sixth grade i had a desire to be the person, when
you write a letter to accompany say like scrubbing bubbles. i really love scrubbing bubbles. do you actually make a windup scrubbing bubble which i actually wrote this letter. the person who wrote the letters back compat i thought it would be fun to be the person i think you can call a corporate communications may be. that was something i thought would be fun to do and that is about as far as i ever -- i never wanted to be a doctor or a lawyer, an actress or a writer. i just never gave it any thought. >> host: after you left wesleyan were to happen? >> guest: do they still have drive away cars? it's a service, kind of a shady service where someone drives a car. someone is moving to the west coast and they want to get their car out there's cheaply as possible. you as a college student or a
very -- someone without a lot of funds and want to travel across the country you volunteer to drive that car with a bunch of your friends. you are not paid but you get a free car to use. the poor person on the other end whose car has been run down and taken out to death valley and back. we had had an old scott lissa payment and i remember the rearview mirror just dropping off. so these companies would tend to start up and disappeared. i came out in a drive away car with two friends just because i heard san francisco was kind of a cool place and there was this thing called -- where they would push carts around with chinese food and you would point to what you wanted on the card. there was no chinese food in aetna or hanover at the time and of course the ocean was there. it sounded kind of exotic so off i went to san francisco.
no clue what i would do to make a living but you know back then you got a job as a waitress and did market research compact catering. tamping and all that stuff that you could kind of do to pay the rent. my rent was $185. i lifted the quarter -- corner of haight and ashbury. >> host: what would that cost today to live there? >> guest: oh, the rents in san francisco now, just one room probably 2000 bucks. maybe not that high for just running room. maybe about 1000 bucks. i haven't checked out the rents lately. >> host: did you work at the san francisco zoo? >> guest: i got a job at the san francisco zoological society which is a nonprofit that supported the zoo and i was the public affairs assistant.
it's a public relations job and i realized pretty soon that i am not cut out for public relations. this is what would happen. we took all the calls from the press and so every now and then because the zookeepers and the society does the zoological society had a certain amount of ill will and between and my boss boss -- anyway zookeepers would sometimes call the press things that weren't true. i got a call and someone said yes i was told that the -- was dry by fleas. my job in public relations i was damage control. i would deny, spend anything but i would do, i would be like really? okay, how much blood in wonderfully and how much blood
in a cheetah a? i would go off on this tangent and go to the side a reporter completely abandoning my job which was to mitigate the damage and deny or whatever or stall or anything to keep us out of the press. i didn't last very long. it was very fun. i worked in a trailer by guerilla world. sometimes people would knock on the door and zoo visitors and say excuse me is this guerilla macworld? i would go oh not quite. close. >> host: how did you get from there to "stiff"? >> guest: for a long time i was a freelance writer. this new jobless halftime so i
did freelance writing well freelance writing while i worked there which was a nice way to transition to freelance. i didn't go cold turkey which even back then was a tough row road to hoe. i would write for the san francisco examiner sunday magazine. that is where i got my start, freelancing for them. i did a little bit of copywriting and commercial writing as well. i wrote for the banana republic, the original banana republic catalog back when it was travel close, safari stuff that was supposedly found oversees in these exotic locales. by the time i came to banana republic, the clothing was not being found in exotic places. it was being made to look like it was found in exotic laces and we would have to come up with the stories for the clothing. >> host: did you make the stories that? >> guest: i'm saying we made those stories that, yes.
>> host: david childs from new york city says mezrich do you consider your work and findings to be scientific and how would you define science to be differentiated from work which does not conform to this? >> guest: do i consider my work to be scientific? what i do as i report on work that is scientific. scientific as an you were doing formal research that is published in journals, so i am reporting on the scientific material that is published in journals. what was the second half of that? >> host: i think that was the point whether you considered your work to be in scientific. >> guest: no, because i guess the word scientific suggest to me that you are a scientist who is doing formal research that will be published in scientific journals or science journals. >> host: is there life after death?
>> guest: i don't know. i just wrote a book on it. >> host: what is your conclusion after your research? >> guest: do you know what? "spook" my second book, i knew from the get-go that it was unlikely that mary roach with her b.a. in psychology was going to be the person who after all these millennia with 10 down the definitive answer to the question what happens to us after we die? i became fascinated in this started with a chapter from "stiff" that had to do with people trying to physically find the soul in a body. they would take a body and early dissection, very early was looking around at all these bits and pieces. is this the center of the being?
this is the soul and a lot of that work was obviously in the head because people very early on could tell with a head injury something happens to someone's essence and they are no longer themselves. they change or they disappear so the head was the place. anyway in that chapter physically looking for the soul i got interested in this notion that you could use scientific -- there's that word. you could use the scientific method. you could apply that to something as ethereal as the spirit or the soul. there are different ways to go about that but ringing that search in that question into a laboratory system i found interestiinteresti ng. so i was interested in the tech makes and the people and what they have done to go at that question rather than setting out to provide the definitivdefinitiv e answer for people. i think that when you look at the question, what happens when we die, religion is the better
place to search than science partly because it's difficult to having defined the soul how do you define the spirit and would you really looking at? it's like trying to bring love into a laboratory setting. you need for your subject, you need to find people who are or are not in love. if you leave it up to them how do you know what that person is experiencing is the same as this person is experiencing? there is no way to codify it. there is no way to be sure. likewise with the soul or a spirit what are we talking about here? so it's a problematic area to bring into the lab but a very fascinating one. >> host: be further explored the 21 grams. >> guest: yeah, yeah. that notion of 21 grams comes from a physician duncan mcdougall who in the early part
of the 1900s worked in a tuberculosis sanitarium and sadly there were a lot of people that were dying. he had kind of a ready subject pool to work with. he had this idea that you might be able to prove that the soul has substance by putting someone on a very sensitive scale as they die and the moment they die , you look at the needle and see if it goes down just a tiny little bit. it's a very primitive way to go at it that you know i just loved the fact that he decided to do it and he did it. it was an industrial silk scale. he fitted it with kind of a and he would install these patients. you can tell when somebody is going to die. you can tell when someone's sort of is in the exodus mode is my
mother's position. anyway, you can tell. they installed the needle and they would look at it. it was a very fraught experiment. the word got out into the community. people thought this was an appropriate and at one point they would burst and and that disrupted that particular weighing. another time he is having trouble zeroing the scale. there's only one clear-cut case where he claims the needle went down 21 grams. that is where that comes from. >> host: in "stiff" and lasts for me, a belief is not something you are born into or that you simply choose to adopt one day. belief for me calls for plausibility. >> host: that is just me. i was the kind of kid that -- my mother was a catholic. catholicism was very important to the family. i have a photograph of my great grandmother who had built into her doorway -- she had her own holy water supply.
the local priest was giving her her own supply. my mother -- my grandmother wanted my mother to become a nun. catholicism was very important on that side of the family and my mother, it was an endless source of frustration that it didn't take with me. my mom would read to me from the bible at night and i was the kind of kid that, she would read to me about in jericho when the walls came down and the priests were trumpeting. i thought well come, is it possible there was an earthquake at the same time and the guy would blow into the trumpet? how do you know? know? that could've been a coincidence coincidence. or jesus walked upon the waters. what if the surface of the eight toll was only a couple of inches below the water? maybe he was walking on that. how do we know he was walking on the water?
did anyone go under the water and look at what was under there? i was that kind of kid. even though i didn't go into science and i didn't major in science. i guess i'm just "wired" that way. >> host: in fact in "gulp" placing history aside left look at the digestive realities of a quail and jonah. what did you discover about jonah and the whale? >> guest: reading the bible it stayed with me. not the way my mother would have liked to stay with me. it didn't engender much faith or commitment to catholicism unfortunately but the images stayed with me. my mother's bible have these beautiful reproductions of paintings. i don't know who the artist was in this but there was a painting of jonah and the whale and oddly it's a daily whale. jonah is halfway out and wearing
this red robe and his hair is wet. he is swimming out of the whale and anyway that image come to all of the images in my mother's bible or sort of emblazoned in my brain. when i was working on "gulp" i thought it would be interesting to fact check that in a sense there a quail in which you could live and in fact it wouldn't be a bailing quail. it would be the sperm whale because the sperm whale feeds by suction. a giant squid all the way and and opening to the first domick is big enough to a lout a man. the sperm whale is the logical choice. there is no acid in that first compartment so that is also handy. unfortunately the sperm whale
chews with its stomach. very powerful muscular transactions going on. say you were a scuba diver and you had an air tank you might be able to survive for a while and it would be quite uncomfortable. you would have broken bones or at the very least a lot of discomfort. but you could possibly in the sperm whale. so that led to i became curious curious -- the experience of being prey inside of a animal whose swallows its prey whole. i chew my oysters but i know that some people don't choose their oysters. i spoke to a marine biologist about what that experience would be like for an oyster. anyway that is a chapter that has to do with the possible reality of living inside of another persons stomach.
>> host: dan e-mails into mary roach a witness an autopsy years ago and i was astounded at how the body was treated. let's just say that the pathologist would weigh the organ and go for a 3-pointer in returning to oregon to the body cavity. right then and there i decided i would never allow an autopsy on anyone i loathe or myself unless it was a coroner's case and there isn't any permission. >> guest: interesting. i have never seen an autopsy but sometimes i tie in with the stories about anatomy labs. mostly from the 60s. these were people around my age talking about medical school when they were younger. i know that medical schools have gone to fairly extensive links these days to instill a sense of respect and gratitude and medical students and that includes having people from
hospice coming and talk to the students before they begin the gross anatomy course. also, they typically will do a memorial service at the end of the anatomy class. not all schools but a lot of them now and i went to one of those not knowing quite what to expect thinking oh this is something all the students go to because they have to go. but in fact the students got up on the stage -- not all of them but a lot of them. some of them read journal entries. there was a woman who read this tremendously moving passage where she said, and this was addressed to the cadaver that she had worked with. when i palpate and abdomen i think of your abdomen and when i listen to a heart i see your heart. really, people were teared up. i was teared up and it was very
emotional that someone had composed a song. so the readings came from the students and it was obvious that there was a lot of emotion that they have not processed and that they were now expressing to the group who were gathered there. in many schools the families are invited as well come to for the families of the cadavers. so you know i obviously haven't been to every anatomy class and i haven't been there when people are on their best behavior with a notepad. my sense is that students today are a lot more respectful. it used to be -- there was this whole tradition of taking photographs, dissection photographs and it would be a group of students working on the body that would pose for photographs and they would sometimes have the cadaver sitting up and these photographs
were they used christmachristma s cards sometimes. there was a whole book, i forget the name of the book but it's sort of a coffee table book of these photographs. it was what people did. you have to look at these things in the context of the day. also humor was encouraged as a coping strategy. years and years ago. now that is not the case. yeah so i haven't spent a lot of a lot of time in pathology labs. i suppose if your day-to-day job is doing anatomies you become a little desensitized and you know when it's your job to work on dead oddities they are very much tissue and not people. they look like people but they are not people.
that is very difficult for people to wrap their heads around. when i think about even organ donation just because the remains of someone that you knew looks like that person. it looks like a person. it's not. it's a whole. it's muscle and tissue and when you are pathologist and you never knew this person i can imagine, respect doesn't really intrude into the equation after while. >> host: from "stiff" mary roach writes many of their students gave the cadaver's name. real name said one student. they introduced me to the cadaver who despite having been reduced to a head lungs and arms retained an air of purpose and dignity. we are talking with author mary roach hear on "in depth" on c-span2. 202 is the area code 585-3880 and 58 i 3881 in the pacific.
facebook twitter and e-mail are also available to contact the author. we are going to start with ernestine in oak hill west virginia. thanks for holding. you are on with author mary roach. >> caller: thank you. i have enjoyed the conversation and like mary, i have been planning on donating my body for the west virginia osteopathic school in lewisburg and my family like you said is at gast at me doing this. but i have worked in hospitals for over 56 years and i feel that it is worthwhile to detonate -- donate my body to the students. my second comment is, i was in college when masters and johnson's work came out and it really was the topic of conversation in the dorms and
the classes and what have you. so those are my two comments and i am enjoying the program. >> guest: thank you very much. that is interesting. i just wish i could have talked to some of the people who had volunteered for the masters and johnson studied because i just think it was such a heroic thing to have done at that time. really brave. not just masters and johnson but the people who volunteer to do that. so it's interesting to get the perspective of somebody who was there then. let's go to dan from bridgewabridgewa ter new jersey please go ahead with your question or comment. >> caller: yes, sir i wanted to point out that -- why we are so shy is the same reason that
we and other animals are shy. it's a time when we are extremely vulnerable and we can be attacked by predators. the second thing i would say is a lot of tissues of bodies are not used by medical students but they are used for salvage tissue and replacement tissue and this raises a very conflicting question. there is this bias because they want the tissue and want to do something with it. so that is what scares a lot of people also. you have people who after 20 minutes are declared -- [inaudible] the last thing i would point out is as a medical student i recall in my country they put the cadavers in brine and formaldehyde before we would use
them. we had a 12-year-old girl cadaver and her face was so radiating and so beautiful that it was really hard to imagine that she was dead. when you do pathologies the organs that you see, they take out all the organs. the organs are not left in the body and the reason they may get thrown around is it's really hard work for a pathology. >> host: when and where did you go to medical school? >> guest: i went to medical school in eastern europe. it was very primitive. it was a three-year course back then and we did a lot of anatomy >> host: thank you for calling in. let's get a response from mary roach. >> guest: thank you, dan. i was curious your comment,
there is obviously a great need for organs and tissue but i don't know of any evidence to suggest that the staff or icu or wherever the person was being kept off to jenae did on the respirator, when someone is brain dead or whatever it is, that issue of them rushing the death in order to get the tissue my understanding is that is not true. the staff at the icu, they are completely separate from the people who need the tissue and organs and the families or the people at the donation network. obviously if a person is brain dead they are gone and they are legally dead there is a hope that the family will make the organs available but in terms of rushing death i don't know of any evidence for that. >> host: avnet posts on our facebook page
facebook.com/booktv mary code code -- mary roach i'm almost 70 years old and if i could afford to hand your book set on the street corners. i had to stop quoting it at the dinner table. what is next? >> guest: thank you very much. i just love the image of you out on the street. i'm going to hire you. i am looking into something actually this weekend. i don't know yet where i'm going. i'm looking into possible next next -- it gets harder for me over the years. the office -- obvious topics, the obvious ones have been done so he gets a little harder for me to find something. seriously. ideas people. >> host: you are not going to give us any more than that? >> guest: i'm going to be all coy and secretive.
>> host: besides having relations in front of strangers in a lab, what is one of the first trips he took that ed just kind of set up and when you said i'm going to meet with elvis's doctor? >> guest: i will tell you picture that most disturbed ad that made him concerned for my safety and it was before i did any of these books. i wrote a column for salon.com. help in the human body similar roach topics and one time i was writing about part parties is known as bashful bladder. some people you are at the stadium and there are some men
who find it hard to get going. it's called bashful bladder so i was writing a column. this is one of those questions where you have got so much regret that you asked the question. so, the way that you treat bashful bladder, it's similar to the way phobias are treated. if you have a spider phobia one of the things that colleges will do is they start you out in a room with a spider and then they bring it progressively closer and closer. over time he fewer holding a tarantula or something. there is a for that like progressive exposure. i don't know what the term is but anyway that is what you do. with bashful bladder you can help somebody buys being what is called a -- buddy. the person drinks a whole lot of water to load up and you start out in the kitchen while they are in the bathroom and you say i am in the kitchen and they are
>> caller: i want to compliment you on the journeys you have been through. it's remarkable that somebody can -- with your qualifications can go through all of this, and all the different topics. and the research and i commend you for that. what got you really started in to this? i mean, to branch out in all these different topics? >> good question. it's possible there is something wrong with me. [laughter] okay. i -- yeah, how did i end up -- i'm trying to think where my career verged off in this direction. i think it was the salon call. of it a very early online magazine, and it was a research
-- they were reported pieces. and there were a couple of them that had to do with cadaver search. it's not agnat my labs. and the hit rate on the column were very high. it suggested it wasn't just me that thought it was interesting. but that people had a fascination. to think again, it gets back to what we are talking about earlier with the fact it was taboo. there's a taboo around death and dead bodies. so nobody explores that or talks in a straightforward way about. i enjoyed tackling those topics. i found that people responded -- a lot of connection with the topic. everybody dices, everyone has
sex, everyone eats. they're the things we would rather not think about. i think human beings like to think themselves as minds of personalities. don't want to think of themselves as a eating, mating animal. we want to turn away from that. i found it to be a fascinating one to step in to and explore. >> host: when people meet you, what is the main topic they want to talk about? >> guest: it usually depend on which book has just come out. i get asked a lot about -- people bring their own experience to it. for example, i got a lot of stories about people's personal experiences that seemed par normal like a dream they had when someone dies. a ghost story.
-- troubling me i have had eitherble bowel. i'm not a doctor. i get a lot of questionses. there was a lot of questions i shared with the viewers. >> host: jean in stockton, california. you're on booktv. author mary roach is our guest. >> caller: hi. can you hear me? >> guest: i can. >> caller: yes, this is the question i have. i don't know if they gave it to you. i have a friend who decided to -- [inaudible] and they had --
and later what ended up happening is they cremated and gave the body back to the family. so the wishes of the person were not taken care of. a lot of people don't know it's something that can happen. so -- so a lot of people don't think about that. and i wondered -- the only personal experience i've had for someone to die in the family and we were upset because we didn't want an autopsy. they wanted an autopsy. [inaudible] and the -- and big ceremony, that kind of thing. all of this is really moved me.
i wondered -- wanted to get your thought on it. and later find that their wishes weren't fulfilled. >> host: thank you, jean. >> guest: yeah. that's unusual because normally what happens is if there's a surplus of bodies, the institute -- the medical school that received them will make them available to other medical schools or even in the case i was in san francisco researching s. t. i. f. f. i went to the san francisco college. they were practices their technique on a man who had donated himself to medical school we ended up at the morgue school. it's rare to quote, unquote, waste a body. there's a demand.
it must have been an area where there wasn't another facility close by that could make use of the body. because normally there is an effort because they're so, you know, you don't -- it's a precious gift that someone has made, and like you said, you want to respect the wishes of the family. there's usually somebody or some institution who could make use of that body. it's an unusual circumstance. >> host: what is going on at the university of tennessee? >> guest: the university of taliban is -- tennessee is the home of -- one of several now. the body farm. they are like starbucks now. they are cropping up all over the place. the original body farm is a facility in the knoxville, the university of tennessee. it's a forensics research facility, and what they are doing there is studying the timeline of decomposition in different environments.
for example, buried in soil versus buried in sand versus in water versus the trunk of a carver us is the backseat of a car. how does the environment affect the timeline decay. in order pinpoint the time of death, this is forensics folk -- detectives look at what state the body is in then they can work backyards. the body has been decomp posing for approximately six weeks. so then we can figure out when the person was killed. which used to be -- they sometimes were off my decades. way off. it's not always -- depends a lot on the environment. the weather, how moist things are. that's what they're doing at the body farm. creating different environments and seeing how it slows or speeds and affect of process of decomposition. the reason there are so many. they are cropping up in
different ecological -- a dry climate or, say, a tropical climate. so they can learn about the timeline of decomposition in different e ecological system. there's actually a project going on right now. you can go on a web cam and watch. there's a pig underwater. they're studying what happens to a body underwater. they have this pig that you've got a web cam that comes on every fifteen minutes. i wish i had the link for curious viewers. what tends happen in this area anyway, a lot of crabs show up. crabs like pork and humans as as well as humans like crab. the crabs tend to take care of the body. it's kind of like, you know, there's that kind of burial -- sky burial where the body is put
out and the involvetures come down. in india outside -- i think it's outside of human mumbai. a sea burial is a similar. you become part of the ecosystem. via the crabs. >> host: rachel, posts on facebook thank you so much for being an amazing writer. i'll read and buy any book you write. why did you choose to write about the space program in "packing for mars" what was the favorite part about researching the book? she's a recent resident of the space coast in florida. your book gave me a great new perspective on my surroundings. >> guest: thank you. that's lovely to hear. i chose that topic, which at first hearing sounds like a bit of a departure. in fact, it's a book about the
human body, yet again. the human body in the extraordinarily surreal circumstances of space travel. zero gravity. because any system or machine that was built on theater is built to function on earth in earth gravity. you put it in zero gravity and it doesn't work the same way. all kinds of surreal things happen to human beings in orbit. which is a gibbet, it's a nasa. johnson space center. a giant tank that the world's largest swimming pool and they'll submerge a piece of the space station life-size and the astronauts will put on their whole -- you know, the space walking suits, and they will rehearse their moves.
because you're floating in water. it's similar to floating in space. the amount of practice that goes in to, you know, one, two-hour space walk where you're out there say you're adjusting a solar panel or something. the amount of something has been rehearsed and practiced. it's tremendously complicated and fascinating, and at the same time it's very human. i love this in the earliest space lab, the earliest space station before this space station they put -- they had a dinner table -- okay. which that doesn't make any sense. you put something down and it floats away. you get a chair. it makes no sense to have chairs and ceiling and floors. it makes no sense. you can be whenever. it's all the same. they realize they took it out. why did we even put it in. it's ridiculous.
the astronauts demanded that it come back. they said we are human beings at the end of the day. when we're done with our jobs and work. we want to sit around a table together and eat. and be human. so we want a table and chair. be-- they brought it back. and it's equipped with velcro and straps. don't just put thing down. there's a substantial -- table and a floor and ceiling orientation. there's a element of being human that although everything is changed and you don't really need them, people want them. so it's interesting to see what you can take away, how many strangend the human spirit can endure before it's like protests. >> host: in "packing for mars." norbert summed it. i asked him if he thought being an astronaut was the best or the worse job in the world. quote, you are sleep-deprived and you have to perform
perfectly or else you don't fly anymore. as soon as you are done with something, ground control is telling youing? else to do. the bathroom stinks and you have noise automatic the time. you can't open a window. you can't go home. you can't be with your family. you can't relax. and you're not well-paid. can you get a worse job from that? [laughter] >> guest: i love norbert kraft. nasa ames psychological issues. people read that quote and i wasn't sure to include it. i didn't want the book to go was to dash people's dreams of becoming an astronaut. i'll tell you why -- i go on to say it in the book. that's all true. but for me it's the same -- i like to go backpacking with my husband and i we go to the see
-- mountains. we carry it in our pack and we go up there and spend few dais up there. we have friends who say why would you want to do -- why don't you go on a cruise? why don't you go to europe? the food is horrible, you dente get a good cup of coffee. it's uncomfortable. you sleep on the ground, you're bit by bugs, there's -- it's you get hot and sunburned. you are sweety, you can't wash your clothes. it sounds like a horrible vacation fop which i say, that is true. all that stuff is there. look where you are. look where you are. look at your surroundings. there's no one else -- you're in -- it's a privileged feeling of being in this spot where so few people have been and there's no one around, and just the perspective and the experience dwarfs all that minor inconvenienced stuff. i think that space travel is that times a thousand. yeah, it's uncomfortable, you're
stressed out, your body feels weird, and the food is bland and all of that stuff. who cares! look, you're in space! you're floating. you're flying across the like superman. you're like a soap bowl and you're looking down on a massive beautiful planet that is earth! who cares that the toilets stinks. it's that kind of thing. >> host: you talk about space walks, and the effect they have on astronauts in "packing for mars" what is the effect? >> guest: space walking is a term that applies to being outside the spacecraft. it's just you floating in space attached by an umm bill -- umbilical usually. but not always. in the gem nigh era, there was a hammering about what will that blow the mind of the astronaut? will it completely freak them out to be in this infinite space
floating, this tiny vulnerable human being and there was a fear they would psychological become unhinged. in fact what happened in both the first and the second space walkers. i think it was ed white here. and what happened though he got out there -- ed white, i believe it was. and he didn't want to come back in. there was this euphoria. just like -- wow. and he kept stalling. it was like a kid being called back to the dinner table who is in the middle of a make believe thing. and keeps going in a minute. and mission control is getting concerned. he needs to come back in. he needs to get -- he needs to come back. he's a minute late. and he would be out there. i have a great view -- he's taking photographs. i have a --
hang on. they're like ed you need to get back in here now. and he finally said okay, i'm coming back in. this is the saddest moment of my life. he just loved it out there. and he comes back in, and the other guy -- they're in there and they're talking about this experience, and, you know, a couple of hard-core military guys and air force guys. and one of them is saying, wow, look like you were back in your mother's women. it was the most amazing feeling. sort of a new age conversation. they really -- it was this sort of transcendent amazing experience. it hasn't been -- there was an expectations it would be terror or something worse. their miebdz would be blown. >> host: in the acknowledgment you write the first time i visited johnson space center a sign near the door said hard hat required. it kind of was.
at lough -- space agencies keep a firm grip on the public image, and it's less troublesome for employees and contractors to say no to someone like me than to take their chances and see what i write. happily, there are people involved in the human side of spacex mirror ration who see value in unconventional coverage or plain too nice to say no. our next call comes from houston. carol, hi, carol. >> caller: hi. how are you? >> guest: fine! >> caller: i've been fascinating with your comments today. i shared your consternation at some of the stories from the bible that i studied when i was young too, and tried to find some sort of reasonable explanation for some of those things. it seemed almost like a quest, and one of the things that i thought of when i was thinking of this while you were speaking of it, what do you think about the search that scientists are undergoing now looking for the
god particle? >> guest: you mean the part of the brain or -- the particle -- >> host: the super thingy. didn't mean use a technical term. >> guest: exactly. precisely. well, it's -- i have no background in particle physic. i dated a particle physicist for awhile. he was a very beautiful man. i would sit across the table and say explain matter and antimatter. i would try to hang in there as long as i could. i would quickly become lost. i can't really make an intelligent comment open the several for the particle. i think it's fantastic it's underway and there might be a better understanding of it. my understanding is that's the bulk of what is out there; right? that's the stuff -- but anyway, i'm all for it. [laughter] >> host: on our facebook page
facebook.com/booktv. teresa writes in, mary, my 10-year-old son, zack, is as big a fan of yours as we are. he loved "packing for mars" we are currently reading -- are your books written for 10-year-olds? >> guest: they are written for 10-year-old and 90-year-old and everybody in between. thank you, zach! >> host: and we will continue that. and teresa writes -- when you said you wanted idea for a new topic. zack thought that guns how they shape what we do and the problem around the world with regulates that would be a good next book. any thoughts on that? >> guest: i agree. i think that, zack, that is a great idea. it's a little -- to try to think of my brand of humor apply together topic of guns is a little challenging, but it's a really interesting topic, and i have thought about that.
i have thought about it. >> host: michael dun lap posts on facebook. i was surprised when you concluded at the end of "spook" you believed believed in ghost. the conclusion seems to at with odds what i found to be a skeptical exploration of the subject. >> guest: i'm glad you asked that. i get asked that a lot. the point i was making at the end of "spook." was i was trying to make a different point out the difference between knowledge and belief. and for me to know there are ghosts is one thing and to believe is something else. and belief, i think is just a decision that you make. and sometimes is based on how you're brought up and sometimes more fun to believe that. in the case of ghosts, i just thought it's more fun -- i don't know. i know of no solid evidence of their existence. a belief is i'm going believe because it's more fun to believe
than not believe. i was playing around the difference of belief and knowledge. but i don't think that came through very well. if i had to write the book again, i would change the ending somewhat because it sounds like the last page is like i flip-flopped and suddenly, wow, she spends an entire book sort of making the case there isn't a lot of persuasive evidence for this, and then what the heck all the sudden she says i believe in ghosts. it came out of that discussion in the end about knowledge versus belief. >> host: bob is here in washington, d.c., bob with, please go ahead with your comment or question for mary roach. >> caller: thank you, mary. i've enjoyed -- your talk immensely. here is the thing, i'm 70 years old, and kind of -- options. >> guest: yeah. >> caller: death. i never, you know, give my body for an autopsy. i have been giving thought to this -- i've read about it piece by
piece sometimes. people pay an service to in effect freeze the body and the head, and i gathered a few people there is some possibility that, you know, maybe 40, 30, years from now they'll find a way to revive your body. and, you know, and i've always held off, i thought they rerevive younger bodies before older bodies like me. my thought is i propose your comment about the 21 centimeter looking for the soul, you know, who i am and what i am is stored in my brain, and the question i have for you is: do you have any knowledge about feasibility of this? i mean, i tend to think it's a possibility with the next 30, 40, 50 years. in effect recreate you through the use of your brain. and how much does it cost?
[laughter] >> host: all right. thank you, bob. >> guest: yes. that's a -- it's called cry preservation, i believe it is. you can freeze either the head or the whole enchilada. and the idea if you can thaw out the head you can reattach it to another body. i guess -- like you said the brain would be the repository of the self. the challenge with the preservation, if i'm remembering the term exactly right, is it's essentially freezer burn. you got -- a single cell or layer of cells, you know, or, you know, sperm, for example, is a good exemple. you can freeze and thaw and everything is great. when you have an entire brain a three dimensional structure with millions of layers, then it becomes trickier. i don't -- nothing beyond just the single
cell as far as i know has been successfully reanimated as it were. but like you said, you know, 40 to 50 years down the line who can say -- i don't -- there's a fair amount of skepticism that surrounds it. i think because right now it's impossible but like you said who knows what will be possible. you know, even the notion of reattaching a head to a body i looked in to in "stiff." there was a researcher in the '60s, robert white. he took ahead from one -- we're talking a monkey, and took a head and -- if you can reattach the blood supply and oxygen brain. it would be possible to do a whole body transplant. you could take the head. say you have a brilliant person and you didn't want the knowledge to disappear. you could e essence give them a new body. they wouldn't --
the nerves the spinal nerves wouldn't be reattached. the person couldn't move. you would a hello on a pillow being oxygen by a blood supply. at the time the animals lived only a short while partly because of the rejection of the immune system rejecting the tissue. we made progress with stem cell research and i think that is something, you know, actually being able to do a whole body transplant. it sounds very frankenstein. if you could reattach the spinal cord it's something that would be feasible. strange as it seems. so something like the preservation is in that category it sounds sigh fie bizarre. but who knows where things will be in 100 or 500 years. i don't know. >> host: we are biology. we are reminded of this at the beginning and end. at birth and death. in between we do what we can to
forget. ken in atlanta. ken, good afternoon to you. >> caller: hello. [inaudible] i'm in my 70s and i'm, of course, catholic. the idea of do -- donating or giving -- [inaudible] we grew up with, you know, the prayers that the reservation of the body. and the ideas are still out there people's minds that -- [inaudible] and the idea of a good use to be
done with a body is a marvelous idea. >> host: ken? >> caller: one last thing i would like to say is you made a couple of comments that took me back to a meeting i had with a buddhist monk when i was in vietnam in the '60s. he made a comment that stayed with me. the comment is you will never understand what you believe. and you will never believe what you understand. these are two different processes. which we commingle all the time. >> host: before we get a response from mary roach. can i ask, is it considered anticatholic to donate your body to science? >> caller: it used to be. it isn't now. it was in the '80s, i think, when my wife and we went to my aunt's funeral, and -- [inaudible] it has taken time.
each bishop in each dizzies has to give approval. i don't know of any die -- in the united states has been denied. it took for a long time for traditions to -- [inaudible] we have to think about -- it takes a long time for -- >> host: are you still a practicing catholic? >> caller: very much so. i'm hoping to help pope francis get the vatican reconciled. >> host: thank you, sir. marry roach, response for ken? >> guest: it was van can ii was an exfor the-- extraordinary time. i believe that's when cree cremation began to be allowed. there was a requirement that the body be buried.
vatican ii -- cremation and cremation is an interesting story. it took a long time for it to be acceptable. i mean, initially the horrible thing. you burn a body. how horrible. it was a sick and slow process of acceptance. and the catholic church now accepts cremation. this is part of it has changed, i think it was vatican ii. i'm not an expert on vatican ii. the requirement was that the cree -- it's okay slox -- as long as you bury the cremation. it was a comprised scenario. it's interesting when i was working on "stiff" i came upon a method of dealing with remains called -- well water reduction the
euphemism, tissue digestion. it's like you put the body in the a pressure cooker. you get a tidy powdered. it's used -- [laughter] it's used with livestock and animals that have pryon disease. it's one of the ways that destroys it apparently. anyway, there are some forward-looking morticians who thought that tissue i digestion would be something they could offer to their clients. and i called up someone, the u.s. conference catholic bishop and said how do you feel about this process? and also about composting. there's now a movement for composting body. that's something that people like that idea of being taken up in to a plant material. he said, i don't know so i just the idea of -- i think of compost as garbage.
and i think of stuff going down the drain. the whole -- i have difficulties with that. he said i can't speak for the church. i personally think it sounds a little odd. it's something that the church would to look in to, and, you know, the church is always, you know, evolving with these issues of body dispositions, and the cremation vatican ii was a great example. so, yeah. thank you. >> host: we're halfway through our in-depth with author mary roach, and plenty of time for your phone calls, facebook comments, twenty -- tweets and e-mail. our producer is tan ya davis. tanya sends out a questionnaire to the authors to find out what they're reading and their influences and some of their favorite books. she did that with mary roach as well. here is the response.
♪ >> host: back live with mary roach. some of your greatest influences you write my snow mobile owning, fun-loving, slim jim, chicken slaughtering childhood neighbors. who were they? >> guest: my chicken-slaughtering, snow mobile-riding neighbors. they grew up in a college town that was very much the town was
the college. the college was the town. but my -- my folks couldn't afford to live in downtown an over. we lived out aways, so i was -- i had this upbringing that was very kind of skite. i spent most my time over there. riding snow mobiles, eating spam. then i go them to my dart mouth professor home, and so and i was -- i don't know. i think that was -- i ended up being very comfortable in different world and different communities, different type of -- not only comfortable but i sort of sought that out. what i do and what i'm privileged to do is step in to other world for a span of time. like -- this work i do enable me to step
in to words i would never otherwise see. nasa, for example, i would never be able to spend any time there without doing what i do. anyway, i maybe trace it back to that. the joy of stepping back and forth between two very different world. >> host: another one of our greatest influence my excentric dad who was 65 when i was born. >> guest: he was 60. you don't want to rush in to anything. [laughter] my dad came over from england -- my dad was born in 1894. what he is 119 now. he came over from england on -- my brother -- that was a great story. in the irish tradition was a great story teller. he talked about coming over on the ship. my brother thought that's just one of those stories. he did not. and i wrote to the national archives, which i drove by last night on my way in.
and they lo and behold it was a copy pasting to. it was a copy of the logbook and there was his name. there was how would he was, color of his hair, $25 in the pocket. there it was. there it was. and 1915, i think it was? yeah. so there you go. it's true. >> host: how long did it take when you wrote the national archives to get that information? >> guest: well, it wasn't that long. i don't -- i don't remember. i don't remember a few weeks. >> host: in one of your books, i think it is "spook" you say your dad drank? >> guest: my dad did drink a lot of. i never thought of him as an alcoholic. he was ?efer staggering around and being bellicose and
abusive. he was quietly at cabbing -- 5:00 get out the scotch or whatever drink. tenth annual went through a martini phase and the got lazy and the scotch. over the years, i remember the number of jiggers -- isn't it a shot -- anyway. the number of -- it sounds like a word you're not supposed to say. anyway the number would go -- by the time i graduated from high school we were up to three jiggers of scotch. i know, my brother told me that in one of his physicians said you need to cut down on the booze. but i never saw it affect his behavior or thought of it as an issue. i guess if your definition is you need to have alcohol every day, i suppose that is the definition. i don't know what the definition is. >> host: doug fraser tweets in. what did your parents do for a
living. he was a professor. what did he teach? >> guest: he taught speech and he was the manager or assistant manager in the dart mouth player. he was involved in the set design and the publicity of the play. theater. he loved the theater. when he was -- before he met my mother and settled down, he was in summer stock theater and something called -- which was traveling lecture and event. he did that and summer stock. and now it's amazing you can go online and to these newspaper data bases and put in -- i put in his name and all the review of the plays and the description and of the play coming up. so -- i could figure out where he was -- from portland maine, denver to all over the place he traveled. he a spirit of adventure. i guess that's why i think of
him as an influence. >> host: you mention in favorite books and et, bill bringson? a couple of times. >> guest: yeah. the ability to seamlessly blend fascinating information with humor. no one does better. on my best days, reaching as far as i can i can maybe craze the hem of his chino or whatever he's wearing. he's just a tremendous writer. never a stale turn of phrase. sometimes it's a choice of a single word. i wish i could come up an example. okay, here is -- bill was describing, you know, he's grown up here and also lived in the u.k. he describes summer in the u.k. of course. it's covered by the gray cloud. the entire summer. it's a gray color. instead of saying it's gray
overhead the entire time. he said, it was like living inside tupperware. [laughter] he has a marvelous ability to blend research and fact with fun and humor. yeah. >> host: you're watching book of it on c-span2. our guest this month on in-depth is author mary roach. the author of five non-fiction books beginning with "stiff." which came out in 2003. 'spook" came out in 2005. "bong" the curious coupling of science and sex in 2008. "packing for mars" the curious life of science in 2010. and this year "gulp."
that facebook comes -- i'm a recent medical school grad. i read "stiff" before or after and school. and i can't change how to changed my perspective on the human body. have you ever thought about writing about psychological orderers. how an malts experience the disorders. i'm sure it's been done before but never with your human and openness. >> guest: i have thought about that. thank you very much. that is something that i feel without a medical or neuroscience background, i would feel a little bit lost and shiewn of my footing. i have stayed away. it's interesting, i wanted to recommend a couple of -- an author who has written on both topics. this woman christine mantro who is a physician and a poet.
her first book was "body of work" it was about her experience in agnat my and reflection. and the next book which is coming out "fall together fire "which is about she was a resident and inpatient in a strisk unit. it's about tal mental illness. so, yeah, i have. it's kind of a natural topic in a sense, but i again, it's the lark of knowledge of the working of the brain would make me. it's one of the situations where my lack of a medical background would really kind of challenge me. >> host: she has appeared on our q & a program. you can watch that -- you can go to c-span.org type her name if and she'll be there in the video library. you can watch that online if you are interested. mar sincerity wells, facebook stoant you a new book for you
"push" birthing through the ages and across cultures. >> guest: that's a fantastic idea; however, i have blurped two possibly three -- there's one called -- i'm going forget. it's one book called "get me out of here" which is we have the same publishers. i know, the books. i have been sent them by -- i blurped them, i guess you would say. they were wonderful. gosh and i'm forgetting the tight. it's a perfect title. i absolutely agree. it's been done so well by the two or three authors who i wish had their names here. but yeah. >> host: this is a -- going back to facebook for another comment. from alex in researching your books, you always seem to throw yourself all in with whatever the subject may be. has there any point where you felt you've gone too far?
>> guest: there was a point where my editor felt that i went too far. and i -- this was in "bong." i probably won't -- go in to it here, because i don't want to get c-span in to trouble. but anyway, yes, the answer is yes. this was a small scene in -- and it was over in cairo, it was in the offices of -- and it was i won't. i'm going say -- >> host: we're cable. >> guest: it's not a big deal. it was he was a wonderful professor who had a tremendous sense of curiosity. he was fascinating by reflects and sometimes they were the reflects of sex. things that would happen during intercourse. i said what are the reflectses? he said you can come here and
demonstrate them. i said i don't know how it's going go. i went there. and there was supposedly going to be somebody demonstrating a reflect. it was a woman, and the woman wisely had not shown up to work that day. i traveled all the way to cairo to do this. part of the reason i went there to visit the professor he published this story on the effect of polyester on fertility. okay. the way he did this, he made little polyester pants for rats. okay. and in this study in the study t a figure ii. the underpant worn by the rat. it's in "stiff "we can show it. peter is having a heart attack over here. anyway the jurnt pant worn by the rat. it's a man i have to meet. a man who dresses rats in polyester rat. polyester because it's hot it
does lower your sperm count. so for the record, polyester underwear not advised. no polyester. when i got there, the professor -- i look at him and he's wearing a beautiful bright blue suit but it's polyester. he said yes, but underwear never! so anyway. the professor i have to visit this man. and he was going to demonstrate some of the reflectses of sexual intercourse. the woman took off and he said, well, i have someone else here. a man i can demonstrate some re-- one had to do with the mous. which races and lowers the testicle to adjust the temperature which ties in with fertility. there was one other and the -- it's a medical term i think we can say it. it's the able wink. okay. it's very easy to elicit the
able wink. you scratch on the side and it winks. it winks. so -- but my editor felt that i had gone a little too far with the wink. and i also went on, i believe i said that looking -- because we're observing. and he's one of the metal pointers. he's pointing with the pointer to this poor guy who is winking. and i just had this memory when i was a kid -- remember on easter the sugar egg with the opening you look through and see the scene of bunny rabbits and chicks inside the egg i flashed on this. and my editor said no. the able wink is gone. no able wink. >> host: next call comes from
mod in three dough. >> caller: hello. there's a book i heard of called " incorruptible." after they die it's said their body do not decomp pose. i was wondering is there anything to this? have you ever heard of it. how well documented is it? i've heard that -- someone with open a wonderful -- [inaudible] is it true? is it myth? >> guest: i'm going answer the first part and request you to repeat the second. "incorruptible." i don't -- as in they don't decompose -- there are -- there is a vast array of real lick of saints which is fingers and tows and bit -- poe -- toes and -- bit and pieces. i don't know the whole nondecomposed body that are on display somewhere lennon he was
carefully embalmed. so that is beyond my area of expertise. i am fascinated by the topic of real lick. i have a cousin who told me there was a thing of forensic -- it's the pep who figure out for each for say for a given saint are there 123 fingers bhop do they belong to? he went on the story. he made it up. he was pulling my leg. there is not -- i wanted to, of course, i wanted to be or report upon forensic real -- i love the intersection of science and religion. i don't dare to write the book. i feel like i just don't want to mess with it. my name it religion. i don't want to stir the pot. i just -- we have a fascinating topic. and i touch on a little bit of
"spook" with the indestructible bone and the jewish religion, the jewish faith, there's supposedly something called a loose. there's a search the little bone in the big toe? is it in the head. there were tiny bones nominated. then they try to destroy them and they were easy to destroy. so they crossed that off the list. anyway, so the notion of there being incorruptible remain is not unique to the catholic church. what is the second question? >> host: when they're opened up there's a pleasant sent. >> guest: embalming fluid, maybe. >> host: what does smell like? >> guest: it's actually not pleasant. it smells like formaldehyde. in anad -- when they are done with the lower half the body take it away so the exposure is lower.
it's a strong unpleasant odor. it wouldn't be embalming fluid. >> host: marie in california. you are on booktv, go ahead. >> caller: thank you. i enjoyed the discussion so much. >> guest: thank you. >> caller: i have cienld of a question about is there a genre of taboo amat me? i'm thinking of two books i recall. one, a children's book called "everybody poops." the other is a book by a physician -- i'm sorry i don't know his name either. it's called "how we die." >> guest: sherwin knew land. >> caller: i wondered if you talked to other authors who dot kind of writing you do. it makes if so assessable for people. >> guest: yeah. there should be conference of taboo writers. i don't know who "everybody
poops." it's a popular book. we should get together and hang out. because i've not met any of these folks. i don't know there is a name for the genre either, but yeah. it's a small but fun group. [laughter] >> host: and sherwin nu land has been on the program. you can go to booktv.org use the search function on the upper left-hand side. you'll be able to watch the in-depth interview we did. this is an e-mail from allen, your favorites included ann and the amazing adventure of -- how have they specifically influenced your life? >> guest: the amazing adventure hasn't influenced me in any way other than make me hang my head in shame that i can call myself a writer.
because what he does. he's a god. just amazing. just what he does with language unbelievable and story. not a specific influence. i suppose any time you read someone who is that extraordinary, it's a kick in the butt, in inspiration. just a push to do better and try harder. any time i'm reading that. ann falls to the category as well. beautifully thought out and crafted reported essay that is just -- the thinking, the writing and the reporting all of those elements just beautifully executed. again, sort of a a push. a reminder to keep trying harder as a writer. >> host: mary roach, what are you reading this summer? >> guest: right now i am reading a collection of short stories called "irish girl" tim
johnston. "dark" which is amazing. and also collection of essays, mostly about travel jeff dyer who is a british writer. i was reading jeff's it's called "yoga for people who can't be bothered to do it." i'm about to start "falling to the fire" christine's new book which is fascinating. a novel called "snapper" bryan -- that's next up. so that's sort of what is on my list right now. >> host: bob from massachusetts e-mails in. my favorite book of yours is "my planet "your book of personal essays. how did the reader's digest column come about? will you write more of those columns? > guest: thank you!
that came about i wrote for a magazine that morphed to other tights including health and in health. it was a wonderful magazine to write for. i did some of my -- that was my first feature writing experience. the publisher of that magazine was a gentleman who went to become ceo at reader's digest. he contacted me about writing a humor column. i had done the humor column. it was called "stitches." he was editor. we had a wonderful time doing it together. he recruited me to do a humor column for reader's digest. and sadly, my mother was not alive to see that column happen. because it had -- the thing that would have excited her most is to have a regular in each reader's digest. it's different from the books in
that it is life with ed, basically. it's day-to-day life. it's not reported. there's not a lot of going out and reporting. there's no science in it. it was fun to write. it was fun to write at the certain point the magazine leadership changed, and they didn't want to have the cool klum -- column anymore. it would be fun to do another column at some point. >> host: what does do? >> guest: he's a graphic artist and ill traitor. he worked at the san francisco chronicle for many years. >> host: are you both working from home? >> guest: yeah. because he -- they had buyout at the certain point and newspapers, as you know, are shrinking. so now, yes. he works -- i don't work from home. i have an office with about ten other writers, and some radio npr producers, fiction, non-fiction, kinds of a wonderful mix of folks.
we have a little door and window. we occupy -- we have taken over the corner of an old building in downtown oakland. >> host: why do you not work from home? most authors we talk to -- >> guest: sanity. i just -- nothing to do with being around ed. but that isolated, and to have somebody to go to lunch with. get you out of your head is good for me. i worked alone when i was living alone for a year and a half. working alone it's like solitary confinement. i would be there. and day in night. if i didn't have plans that night. i would go to bed and wake up and still here at my desk. i haven't left. it was like house arrest. it's better for me to be socialized. occasionally. >> host: another e-mail from meg -- could you say roughly the relative usefulness of these
sources while writing your books google, google looking at edu and scholar site, and books? >> guest: google scholar is useful for me. that would be the number one. google as a gateway to things like must be med which is a it's on google scholar. i use it to get to data bases like pub med or nasa technical report. there are a number of data bases. i'm not using just sort of going in and typing in a keyword. because it's not a useful -- that's not a useful way to get trust worthy information. sometimes i'll look something up like, say, the silver balls on cupcakes. i wanted to know something. i type those in. and lo and behold. they have a name. dragge. they have a name. and they're illegal in
california. somebody suited saying the coating is silver. it's real silver. you can't go get ball for your cupcakes. you can't order them online. they won't ship to california. so i go up on the tang about and google takes me on those tangents which become footnotes which are the best part of my books anyway. >> host: what about wikipedia? >> guest: wikipedia is a good place to go when you are starting out and you want a broad overview? particularly in the realm of science. some of the physiological things or anatomical entity if you just want a good overview, i find they are helpful. you definitely want to when you stray out in to the fringes, you want to fact check that before you go and put -- it was interesting here -- this was fascinating to me. my wikipedia page. somebody did a wikipedia page
for me, and she said i need sources for this. and i said, i'm your source. i'm mary roach. i can tell you it's true. she said, wikipedia requires a link. so they're using the internet like the source nobody should use -- you have to have an internet link. i would have to fudge an interview somewhere, have it online and she could source it. coming from me, no, you can't just say it. yeah, i can. i am mary. for the mary roach entry. i can do that. she said no, you can't. we need to have -- they need a link. the -- so a lot of -- what used to be on the mary roach page was stuff pulled from internet web pages. there was a lot of information that wasn't right that ended up -- because it was sourced. it's the internet. anyway google scholar is useful for me. what was the third one?
>> guest: books. a surprising amount of misinformation in books. i'll tell you why books are not fact-checked. magazines, like the new yorker, or discover or wired or outside they employ fact checkers whose job is to go through and check everything and publishers don't do that. some authors hire fact checkers. but it's very time consuming to fact check a whole book is months of work. i to do it myself and have technical -- somebody in the field read it for accuracy. so anyway books i've gotten in to trouble. there's a couple of in "stiff" in particular, i treated -- the book is a secondary source. you shouldn't use it as a spars. it turned out not to have been a good source. so that would be bottom of the list. >> host: next call comes from joy in moses lake, washington. hi, joy. >> caller: hi!
[inaudible] i'm blessed to be talking with mary roach. >> guest: hi, joy! >> caller: the first book i read -- i went out and bought ten. i don't use electronics, but i have three ideas for you. i want to ask -- because i would read anything you wrote, and i wanted to gush, but i love your writing. dna, have you thought about doing anything with dna? >> guest: that's a good one. again, i would feel like it would be a -- i would want to have a tbhkd genetic. it would take some getting up to speed. i think about that one. it is an interesting topic. there is a lot of kind of surreal work that goes on. >> host: what are the other two, joy? >> caller: i wanted to ask you about the history of hiv. i wanted to comment that i find fascinating most of the conversation has been about "stiff" and not about "bonk"
people are more willing to talk about death than sex. >> guest: yes. >> caller: that's interesting to me. [laughter] so the history of hiv, i think there's a book in there somewhere. >> guest: yeah. yeah. >> host: my others? >> caller: it's escaped me. i just wanted to tell mary roach, i love her writing. as far as i'm concerned she's as good as bill. >> guest: oh, thank you! >> host: so dna and hiv. >> guest: hiv. i didn't -- didn't someone do, you know, like the wonderful cancer book. wasn't there an hiv? i tend think if somebody did one. if you don't know, probably they didn't then. that's a great idea. ..
was a steady or seven quantified house secretly people picked their nose. there is someone on the stage the teen dash when they observed a nose back. you have to look as scions. but basically how often do they pick their nose? every betty disable a sitting in a circle is a lot lower. >>host: it is in a footnote but. >> the subtitle of that chapter because saliva it is
not the law in this chapter the state chapter people were disgusted people were more upset with the saliva but it is a mild substance it is miraculous in what it does not just what you read that it is a curse and to spit on someone unless it is a blessing but it is upsetting. >>host: in 1973 researchers from university of virginia school of medicine and look at the exposure with the figure in
a nasal cavity to see how often they pick your nose of the observers sat in front of the best theater over the course of a group of 124 physicians and medical students picked their collective noses 29 times although some were observed at a slightly slower rate but the researchers speculated because the chairs were arranged in a circle. that is part of the footnote merriment go-ahead. >> caller: you are as good at of india the authors you have spoken of. i look forward to regain "gulp." my question involves the elvis presley but the last two years i have gone
through dental implant surgery as well as cancer treatment did i have been subjected to a lot of paid vacation. that may have had some effect on the problems but i read somewhere that when elvis died the poorest on ashley post-mortem revealed he had 50 pounds of fecal matter inside of him. , and you know, anything regarding that and what is normally in people's intestines when they die? >>host: why are you curious? >> having been on a number of pain killing medication and i suffered from vocational irregularity. [laughter] >> it will stop you write-up >>guest: yes. that is true. what you heard about the
tremendous volume and weight of fecal material progress had been there a long time it was hard. doctors looked across the room and said just like that rock. had been there a long time. it was a large volume but i don't have a figure for you but let's say that the amount he had was way more than the average person was a one dash would have had a and way harder in to make a good point at the moment of death it was a risk we have brought on by pushing too hard he was on painkillers their prescription drugs that slows the double bill with the way down that is a big problem. the husband was in a bike accident and he was on
painkillers he severed rather have the pain they and the constipation. he is probably watching right now saying thank you. [laughter] >>host: you talk, good afternoon. >> caller: you have a new face and i will go out to read your books. my question is science fiction do you have favorite authors? second are you a free and of futurama? >> i know what it is but i have not watch chipper i should because when i have och left on it looks fascinating but ray bradbury. i loved him.
there is a particularly haunting short story i hope it is ray bradbury. but the one that was amazing the alien with the beautiful woman her hair was straight down over half of her face ian as it turns out when she pulls back her hair this horrible thing came out to him and told the guys skillets and out of his body and the wife came home if he was like a jellyfish on the floor but it was written beautifully. ray bradbury. >>host: by the way she does include that story in her first book "stiff" whether or not she would donate her body or her skeleton.
we have new the end of "spook" you talked about the scientists that developed the chamber where the body would be in the chamber froze and then exploded. do you know, if there has been in the advancement of that work? also what about ufo phenomenon? >> i do not engage with that community. to find your footing in the general research in the topic like that would be tough. it is so cloaked with the conspiracy theories. i do talk about it quite a bit in the book "packing for mars" i got into what the military projects with the
mannequins they were dropping down and testing them what they had three fingers only and some people would to see them briefly before they reach taken away in they would say they were reared aliens. so i did step into the world a little bit i hesitate to dive under. >>host: exploding people? >> it was vibration either shake them or vibrate or ultrasound to break it up and mechanically compost process. people are interested in a bunch of different countries
i am not sure why it has taken so long it is a very complicated process. but she is still working on it i have confidence when they we will do human composting. >>host: there is in e-mail in here from somebody and i apologize. what about follow-ups? >> i think, thousand years old? [laughter] i think it would be fascinating to do a where are they now? but maybe what you'd do is just like when you read to
movie or the dvd has the author or the film maker doing the narration. this is going on behind the scenes. would be interesting to have the after the fact there ration -- and their ration of what they're up to or what is a way to do it? with publisher would not be interested in that but it may be interesting. >>host: chicago e-mail's about "packing for mars" has sex in our space happened yet if not when it does leave please write about it? but there is a whole chapter called the three dolphins club which has to do with the zero gravity intercourse.
just go buy the book i will not give this one away. [laughter] >>host: hasn't happened? >>guest: not that anybody is willing to own up to. but the other reason is to be loyal to the mission so you may be torn between loyalties to yourself in the mission there was one couple of reminders to doing is they got buried right before the ignition. you would think they would
but astronauts are career driven people. there goes your career the think you dream w. spangle whole life working up to and i told this to make agent in he said it might be worth it? [laughter] i tried to find, i really don't care if somebody had done it in what about zero gravity? there are the zero gravity flights i called them and he said nasa is the contractor so if that gets out we could zoos' lot of money so of course, he said no. maybe one of the staff knight have done that? after-hours? guenevere early flights
while they worked out the kinks? nobody owns up to it. >>host: your research on the topic included locating a porn star? >>guest: yes. there was a trilogy called the uranium -- during this experiment and i heard there was a scene shot in zero gravity on a simulator that is a plane so conceivably you could and i tracked down the producer who lives in spain and we had a conversation about this and he said yes. we did definitely. that is shot and i will send you a link into can check it out. we got the pilot to do that
with a time share party got a pilot to do zero gravity? yes. we have to check the plane thursday after word to make sure it is okay. i thought okay. but then i down loaded the experiment i'm the only person that fast for did. [laughter] i got to the zero gravity seen and read a way if you do anything about zero gravity you can tell this is fake because her ponytail is hanging down. normally it would be floating. other parts of the anatomy is not the zero gravity. there should be no hanging down. [laughter] in to there was.
they are standing behind a sofa the money shot they flipped it sideways so looks like they were floating but it was fake. >>host: you are on a booktv. >> caller:. >>host: we will put you on a whole day and come back. turn down your volume. >> caller: hello. i heard or read that in "gulp" you said plagiarism was debunked? is that correct?
and is there anything of the craze that doesn't seem to go away? >>host: what is he referring to? >>guest: fletcher was the man, an efficiency expert that believed to get the most possible whether a piece of paper we're talking up at 700 shoes so very time-consuming and very time-consuming not only allow you to extract more benefits but eats less and save money. he had a plan to energize the economy and then eat less and then he got
involved in world war i or belgium instead of sending them food to chew more thoroughly that they could get by with half of the food. this was an debunked before fletcher by a man who met somebody with whole in his stomach you could put food in and pulled out at intervals to see what was going on he would tie chunks of food them lower in been ample it back out in there would be nothing there. so the stomach does a very thorough job to read it -- dissolved solid chunks into liquids. the mouth does preliminary digestion to break down the starch and the sugars and
there is stuff going on but the stomach breaks things down quite well but somebody has done that debunking but even two-day people are big believers shooting has more nutrients available. but the conversation is more of a problem. this is amazing. also with the cheekbones staring straight ahead now i hear him to endlessly. and they said some how they
would hold up the newspaper to not have to look. [laughter] >>host: have you ever made yourself squeamish? >>guest: the very first time that an autopsy had already been done that was a very shocking and disturbing sight because they have been gutted in a real sense of the word the organs are in a bag then there is an open cavity. it is red and raw and interface that is the first place i went for "stiff" was also squeamish but the image
would pop into my head for days afterwards for are remember thinking this might not have been the best idea. [laughter] but that was one of the most confrontational images. it was a little disturbing but not squeamish. what grosz's me out of the books so much has but that filament when you picked up that ogress not that strand from the bull to the spoon? he stated by pulling away quickly that won't happen.
that is what i have trouble with. >> what about james garfield? >> key is the poster boy for rectal feeding. garfield there was the assassination attempt he could not eat for verge so he was fed back word. you can feed people rectory for your daughter is serving a lot of nutrients and you could keep someone alive for a while but it is not the same as he being obviously. so garfield's position was a big advocate to the point where he wrote a book about 100 pages on the topic which he believed was more interesting than any romance
you since i woke up this morning we have read you. we have a reading group and she is catholic. she looks like she could be your sister. she is out of town but i felt like i was sitting here with her watching you. i wanted to say that i gave her "spook" to read and also she wanted to read "stiff" for our reading group and that was rejected because nobody wanted to read about dead ace. >> guest: oh. what is wrong with people? >> caller: i know. we don't want to read about that however, to we give books to each other for birthdays and christmas and i got her "gulp." she is out of town so i have to give it to her later but watching you it was like being
with her. when i read "spook" i live in mendocino county and they came across dr. wilson and obscure psychiatric wealth. i was intimately appointed with him because my best friend was his daughter. i couldn't believe it. where did you find this guy? >> guest: he is the guy who talked about the voices in the voices and they had come to write? >> host: i apologize. i hung up on that collar. >> guest: you hung up on her. robin, callback. he is so rude. [laughter] he is the one who if i'm remembering right and it's been a while he was talking about the voices that people would hear with schizophrenia and he was wondering whether the voices were actually real.
i may be remembering this wrong but people with schizophrenia it was affecting the brain in a way that enabled them to hear things that the rest of us couldn't hear. i don't know where i found wilson. i forget where i came across him but it was a fascinating, a very thoughtful out-of-the-box interpretation of the voices that one hears with psychosis. >> host: karen from jessup ireland good afternoon. you are on booktv on c-span2. >> caller: thank you very much. i have thoroughly enjoyed this interview from both sides and have read everything about mary roach's other then "packing for mars." you mentioned earlier that you are reluctant to talk about the science underlying miracles and i am in -- objects then there is
a small but very interesting literature about the scientific underpinnings that leads to some miraculous events. for instance sculptures that move or cry or cry blood. i am interested in why he would be relied and to write about that when you say in "spook" i came away from the science saying i choose to believe? >> guest: because i write with a kind of a freewheeling flip and irreverent all over the map casualness that i have found with "spook" sometimes people take offense at just the very notion of being silly or having fun or doing something humorous on the topic. i don't want to offend anybody or make them feel that i have
made fun of their religion in any way or their beliefs. i just don't feel comfortable that's all. >> host: steve posts on our facebook page, steve likes your sense of humor. can you talk a little bit about your sense of humor and how you determine what is acceptable and appropriate versus what may potentially be seen as crossing the line? >> guest: that's a great question in the way that happens is when i'm writing i don't bring myself then. i leave that for my wonderful editor who i have been with all along at w.w. norton. she is a very good ear for what is immature, silly, not funny, offensive and there is very little material. the one we talked about earlier
in the example. there is surprisingly little material that she crosses out and writes no. but he cause i don't think of myself as it did judge of that and the fact that i feel free to just let it rip and she is my safety net, she is standing in for normal human beings, reading it going i don't know about this. that is kind of how it works. >> host: well, do you know john the author? >> guest: i do. >> host: did you read the review that he wrote? >> guest: i heard about it and i read the nice parts that yeah anyway. >> host: do you not read reviews? >> guest: i don't read reviews in general. i do if there is a nice review in the times i will read that. some of the major ones especially if i know them -- joe
i actually know not personally but he blurb "spook" and he was someone who was supposed to do an interview with me in the u.k. for "spook" but he had a last-minute conflict and he bailed. that is not -- how i'd know john. it was especially sad to have him not being enthusiastic about "gulp." >> host: he writes about you she is loved justifiably so which is why feel jurists and for not enjoying "gulp" more. he says it's a bit too much like a hive for looting ripley believe it or not. a lot of trivia but not much heart. >> guest: that's fair. you know, to it's a topic -- the
alimentary canal as opposed to death and sex. those are kind of large topics. the heart is harder to pull into it in my defense but yeah. >> host: are you affected a critique? >> guest: oh yeah, for sure. not the ones where i see where they're coming from and i understand that. what stays with me is not something like that. that doesn't really truck will need that someone -- one of the first previews of "stiff" was in self magazine i think it was and it really describes me as perky. i am like perky. i am many things but i am not perky.
it seemed off. it doesn't even seem right. i'm trying to think of other, other comments people have made. >> host: all of your looks a bit on "the new york times" bestsellers list, correct? >> guest: yeah. >> host: do you have a favorite? >> guest: it's the proverbial thing of asking someone who is your favorite child? no, i don't and they think actually some of the least popular book in my case was so five. you kind of feel bad for the litter. when i do hear from somebody who has read it and enjoyed it i say i don't feel that way about "spook" so it's particularly gratifying from someone who took the time to write you about that.
the book that people don't know exists. >> host: donna in rehobeth beach delaware. hi donna. donna? >> caller: yes, maam here. >> host: please go ahead. >> caller: i was reading a press article in a red there were soviet cosmonauts and there was a woman and a man who had sex in space and they had a child -- don't know they had a child from that particular contact or not. she was it -- at one time. we have to remember that a lot of them weren't necessarily true. it created a heroin that was not true. but anyway i thought that was quite interesting. they were called cosmonauts. they did have sex in space.
>> guest: right. i am familiar with the a couple you describe. there were two cosmonauts who had flown in space that did have a child but i never heard that it was conceived in a mission or that they had sex in space. the part that i heard was that they were a couple. they had them both in space and they have a child together so there is a child of two astronauts but was not conceived in space in zero gravity. i don't know of any humans who have done the deed in space. >> host: in "gulp" lilly ellison puts it, and on our facebook page. what is the response to the last chapter on the topic of transplants? just quickly do you want to read a bit of this. the first transplant was performed in 1958 a surgeon in
the early days of antibiotics. patients frequently develop from the massive kill off of normal bacteria. iceman thought it might be helpful to restock the system with someone's normals. these were the days when iceman says we simply tried it. rarely does medical science come up with the treatment a treatment so ineffective inexpensive and free of side effects. iceman first -- it's been 55 years since iceman pushed the plunger yet no u.s. insurance comity formally recognizes the procedure. what is this? >> guest: yeah. the fecal transplant or bacteria therapy as it is euphemistically known is very effective at treating an infection with the bacteria called c-difficile. when antibiotics have failed the
process is essentially you want to get the bacteria from a healthy colon into the patient. the best way to do that is to take the contents of the colon and that material is processed very minimally. analyst or blender was involved that day was there. it's basically sailing and the donors stool sample and that has put in the blender. and then it's carried across town and a cooler to the patient who is waiting. the same instrument that is used in eight colonoscopy, the colonoscope and a plunger so you are receiving the colon with healthy bacteria. you just think of it as immigration. back terry a, a whole community going in and taking over in
someone else's colin. it's very dramatic. it went in a day or two. a person as chronic and there are between 15 and 30,000 people year die from chronic c-difficile infections. a fecal transplant is cheap and is free. it's very effective and there are no side effects assuming the donor doesn't have any problems or medical conditions. so it is a fairly miraculous process but it's not just the it factor. when i interviewed the doctor i said why is it taken so long for this to be accepted? is it because of the it factor in their people repulsed by then notion of taking fecal material from one person the stranger no less but sometimes a family member. he said that but it's also more than that the way medicine
happens and the way the process by which a new tech make is except good. normally there's a pharmaceutical company or device maker who is spending the money to push it through with the various levels that you go through in order for the process to become something on the hospital's menu. here's the code and here is the amount that we bill etc.. with this that structures and there and no one is pushing for it. so the doctormacdoctormac k that i visited in minneapolis said i would just go for a colonoscopy because it's essentially a similar thing. it's kind of what he is doing but there is this container up stuff. and anyway the story has gone on it's very interesting. it's kind of amazing and the techniques are being tested for
other i believe inflammatory but it's still not being done for anything other than c-diff infections. >> host: ts glassman tweets in how many projects are you working on at a time? is something eyes on the back earner or one at a time? >> guest: i am usually just working on one but i will be writing one chapter in researching another doing a preliminary setup for another one. if things go well i'm starting to get the idea for another book might be percolating and i might be looking in that but in the final stages of one book. i am kind of a one burner at a time gal. i don't do well with four burners. i get confused. >> host: randy from unlike illinois please go ahead with your question or comment for author mary roach.
>> caller: hello. it's been a very interesting conversation. my question is about cadavers or body parts especially body parts for transplant patients. in this capitalist system we have why can't people, or maybe they do demand a financial benefit for their families for this so-called use of the body parts and if not, you know, maybe there would be the stipulation why can't i -- why can't everything associated with this transplant be free of charge? >> guest: yes, i wrote an op-ed some years back for "the new york times" on that topic exactly. there is a shortage for organs. there is a waiting list and i don't have the numbers in my head anymore but it's a tragic situation the number of people dying on the waiting list for organs.
as an incentive why can't there be some way for people to receive some financial benefit or like you said to somehow compensate or encourage donation the concern is anytime you have money entering into the equation there could be some sort of black marker or people could feel pressured or that whole business that happens oversees with people selling their kidneys and given some small amount of money. some desperate person selling a kidney for a walkman or something like that. there is that concern. in the case of the person who is dead or they are legally dead and they are not undergoing surgery it seems like there
should perhaps be a way to create an incentive for families and individuals in some way. maybe not monetary but like you said maybe medical care or something. i think that is something that should be openly discussed. i also think the model that exists in the european union, my understanding is it's an op doubt system for organs and a shin. if you don't have a mark on your driver's license and you don't specifically say i don't want my organs used for transplantation than the default is that they will be used. i think that makes a lot of sense as long as nobody understands that is a system and they have a way to opt out. it would just make a lot more organs available. and you know that's the one topic i don't get on my high horse very much. i'm kind of a goofball but organ donation you know essentially
it's just surgery. it's not mutilation. it's not this awful thing that your loved one is doing. first of all your loved one is legally dead. whether or not they are being oxygenated they don't necessarily look dead. but it's an opening up of the body cavity and its surgery. we find when someone is alive so why is it this disturbing thing? the heart is still beating so therefore i say yes if i take that heart i killed my love once one so it's a very emotional issue. i encourage people to talk about it and think about it and explore why it is they feel how they feel about it. >> host: a couple of tweets. todd williamson, as a library in your books are easy to give away two pages looking for something to read. keep up the good work. marshall guest tweets in do you have advice for writers?
>> guest: advice for writers? one thing i would say to writers is to trust your instincts particularly -- i'm trying to figure out what would i write it up about lex there is a tendency and myself, i used to second-guess myself a lot and say that's not a vote. that's just a magazine piece reid who would want to read that word that seems stupid. another thing people do when they are writing they tend to hand it out to a lot of their colleagues to read. mostly fiction and nonfiction that i think of i had done that with "stiff" someone would have said you know mary this whole kind of cadaver humor is really inappropriate and is a bad idea. i would take this out and i would take that out. i would then think i don't know, are they write, in my right?
i am pretty insecure as a writer. i don't really trust myself well enough that if someone came and said this is not working and you should take that out, i have come to trust my editor. i know her to be a good voice and a good pair of eyes on my work but i think sometimes people solicit so much advice that they then began to second-guess themselves. you don't want to be -- you always want to be the person somebody is trying to be like. you don't want to be like someone else. an agent would contact me and say let's do like the physics of "star trek." let's do a book like that. why don't you do the biology of marcus wealthy? that is not the way to do it. you want to be lawrence krause. you want to be the person he writes the book that is kind of like that.
you don't want your books with proposal to be like this looks like mary roach's "stiff." i encourage people to be their own unique wonderful selves. >> host: leonard in naples florida. please go ahead. we have two minutes left in our program. >> caller: congratulations on your program. >> guest: thanks. >> caller: it's a combination of great interviewer and great author and a very challenging subject. i read a book based on my experience as a physician and medical student. the painting of the anatomy lesson, a 400-year-old painting and we learned a great deal about it from the painting. we wanted to see what we could learn so we said, on.urbanek give us a clue. he said when you heat eatmack
cereal you use your super neder muscle. [laughter] when you pour your use your pro-neder muscle. he was a professor. he looked at the back of her hand and i realized. [inaudible] he said we have got a doctor bennett. our conclusion is -- dumped the soup in his lap. he was so impressed with our having mastered his lesson he said you will be great physicians and surgeons and radiologists etc..
i wanted to find more paintings by rembrandt to learn more about medicine to make my studies more colorful. as you were doing recording the heroes and heroines of the bible there were 600 masterpieces. 200 were heroes and heroines of the bible. i collected them from curators in museums throughout the world and they sent me some of the best reproductions. >> host: leonard i apologize. we are almost out of time. thank you for sharing that story. any respond to that call or? >> guest: are you saying that rembrandt had the pro-neder and super neder muscles backwards? >> host: he is gone. >> guest: i'm familiar with the paintings but i don't have
the knowledge to fact check it but that's fascinating to hear. >> host: finally needs. this is a tweetdeck. is there a national clearinghouse -- this is a tweet >> guest: there should be. we added a page to the back of "stiff". it all depends -- i would start with calling the closest medical school and to you that is the anatomy department that has a world body program usually and that is who you would contact about donating to medical school. they usually have a radius of a few hundred miles to come and pick up the body. i also get questions like people sat want to donate to the body farm which is an interesting wish that people have but you have to look to tennessee or you have to ship on embalmed remains across the line.
you have to live in the area of tennessee. if you want to do automotive crash tests save the -- safety and he lived in the detroit area you have to situate yourself with where it's happening. >> host: for the last three hours we have been talking with author and journalist mary roach five nonfiction books beginning with "stiff" the curious lives of human cadavers, "spook" came out in 2005 and "bonk" came out in 2008. "packing for mars" the curious science of life in the void in 2010 and finally just this past year "gulp" adventure on the alimentary canal. mary roach thank you for being on booktv and thank you all for joining us.
what are you reading this summer? tv wants to know. speak to books. the first by the prize-winning author and journalist hedrick smith and it's entitled who stole america a? it's a real eye-opener. anyone that wants to i think really understand america and how we got to where we are today , why the average american is struggling the way they are. i think that this is one of the most thoughtful and as i said i opening reads at least to me in a long time. hedrick smith is someone that i have listened to write before a
great deal. i would highly recommend the book. as a policymaker obviously what can we learn from the policy from the last 30 or 40 years that may have contributed to this and where do we go from here? it's highly relevant to me and i think it would be relevant to many others as well. the second book that i have read is a rather small one in terms of pages. i think it's really wonderfully inquisitive and instructive. it's called ever ancient, ever knew and it's written by archbishop john quinn, one of the great american bishops and intellectuals and he studies the structures of the catholic church and how best to reform them.
someone that oversees a very large bureaucracy and many structures and very often asks why is it the way it is? how can we do this better? i think all institutions can and should go through reform. this is a very thoughtful book. it's in addition to many other books he has written and published and he is someone that i admire a great deal. he is a former archbishop, emeritus of the arched diocese of san francisco. ever ancient, ever knew.
>> you walt mossberg has technology plateaued? >> guest: absolutely not. absolutely not. technology is always changing and always coming up with technology companies are always coming up with something new and there are new technology companies all the time. a lot of them and what we call stealth mode. we don't even know who they are. certain technologies plateau and things move on but in general, no. >> host: i guess i asked that because in the last couple of years we have had an explosion of smartphones. we have had tablets come on line what is out there? >> guest: well, first of all there are vast numbers
especially in the less developed countries but even in the developed countries who don't own a smartphone and certainly there are vast numbers that don't own a tablet. to give you a rough example apple which leads in the tablet market has sold somewhere around 160 million ipads since 2010. that is a remarkable achievement for people that own apple stock. i don't own any stock in any of these companies. that made him very happy but even 160 million ipads then even if you had the android tablets come to it's a small fraction of people that could own a tablet especially as the prices come down. so there has been a lot of talk
about the difficulty of innovating the smartphone space and we have seen a couple of iterations by apple and samsung that haven't been big giant jumps in the innovation. this often happens but i think there has been much more to do with the smartphone and just to give you one example, the less you have to pull the phone out of your purse or your pocket and the less you have to hit icons and buttons no matter how ingenious we designed they are, the more convenient and kind of natural the process will seem. and so there's a lot of work going on. voice recognition and what are called wearables.
google class is a good example. really smart things you wear on your wrist. i'm not talking about the fitness -- but significantly beyond that. that would tie back into the cell phones and the smartphones sitting in your pocket or purse and allowing you to do a bunch of things. also just staying on the smartphone for a minute's, that's hardly the only area of technology but giving it more capabilities and more intelligence in a way that is is good so make him a smartphone that is aware to some extent. not in a human sense but aware of its surroundings or aware of what's going on. just today for instant motorola which is now owned by google is
announcing a new smartphone that it says can automatically adjust functions when it senses that it's in a moving car, when it senses that it it is in your pants pocket or it will shut down the screen and other functions to save the battery. it turns the screen down on a table or in your pocket. you can pull it out of your pocket and just by twisting your wrist it will automatically turn the camera on before you unlock the phone for press any button of any kind or icon. before you swipe on the screen or anything. those are examples of something that i think could get much bigger which our phones and tablets and wearable devices using their sensors.
gyroscopes and the new kinds of sensors that can detect body heat or body function and different things. we have a lot of stuff in technology. >> host: who is developing those sensors? >> guest: i don't know the names of the companies. obviously the customers with the sensors are, many of their were were -- are well-known. apple buys a lot of sensors. if you have an iphone there are a whole bunch of sensors in there. if you have a samsung galaxy phone there are a whole bunch of sensors in there and then there are all these people making medical devices or fitness devices that are using various new types of things. so there's just a ton going on. at the same time you are right right,-somethings are plateauing
or declining. the pc. i have been writing for years now. the proof has finally arrived in the last year or so where you have seen pc sales actually falling back into the double digits for five quarters in a row. and before that it had been quite flat. some of this had to do with the economic meltdown around the developed world over the last four or five years but as the economy has recovered the pc has peaked. when i say it has peaked i don't mean it's done. i don't mean people are going to throw their pcs away.
i don't think that tablets or smartphones can replace everything that a laptop can do better laptop -- what's happening is there are enough daily scenarios for which people used to grab their laptop that are more conveniently done now on a tablet, especially a tablet but also a smartphone that people find their actual daily use of their laptop has declined significantly. they still haul it out for things that a tablet or smartphones don't do very well for them since like a competition spreadsheet or writing a novel -- not going to write a novel probably on an ipad with the keyboard but people are finding they use them a lesson as they use them less
they feel like directing their money towards one of these other devices and not replacing the laptop. that is what they mean by peeking and that is what most of the experts mean by peeking. so yeah some technologies plateau. right now there is somewhat of a plateau in smartphones although i don't think it will last very long. it's not a plateau in sales so much as feature innovation but as i just explained with a kind of self-awareness we are going to see a bunch of that. i think that is going to keep going and then other things get replaced or declined and become less important in the life of someone who depends on technology and the pc is an example of that. >> host: how is the blackberry doing? >> guest: i don't know what the sales are of the blackberry q. 10. for those who don't know we should explain that blackberry
which i think most people now has been in a lot of trouble, missed a lot of the revolutions offered by the iphone. very tied tight to the corporate i.t. departments which have themselves lost a lot of power and influence. blackberry changed its leadership and changed its entire operating system platform and brought out two new phones. one is called the c. 10 -- z10 and that is an all touch phone directly competitive with the iphone and android phones like the samsung and that has not done very well. the other one was called the q10 , the same software, the same functionality on the software but it looks more like a regular traditional blackberry with a physical keyboard.
that has been out i want to say two months or less and i don't know the sales numbers on that. my guess is that we'll do pretty well at least in the first sales order because there's there is a pent-up demand among people, mostly black very users who like physical keyboards and there is a much more modern software and has a much more modern software base so they can keep using the physical keyboard and not feel so behind the android and iphone friends they may have. but i think the company's belief was that there was a finite number of those people and that is why they had to bring up the other type of phone which is more directly similar to the
iphone and to the android phone. i don't know how the q10 will do. i'm guessing it will do pretty well in the first quarter. >> host: have you reviewed the z tenant how has that compared? >> guest: i have reviewed the z10. a colleague and partner katie barret who works with me in our office reviewed the q10. i thought the z10 was okay and it had a couple of interesting features but blackberry, like the windows phone which is another platform for most of the phones are made by nokia, bear in a a difficult situation because they got started at least in this new generation of post-iphone generation of smartphones, they got started late and it's been difficult for
them to attract the apps, the variety and certainly the important apps that i think people are looking for. so it's just a tough situation. it's not that the phones are terrible or anything like that. the windows phone is really got a quite nice user interface and it's been carefully thought through. nokia phones, but hardware rounded for the most part has been good but they haven't been able to track an app like say instagram and of course this changes day by day so what i'm telling you right now might have
changed by the time people see this show. but the last time i checked they didn't have instagram. i don't think it's on the blackberry. it might be. but that's just one example and the new apps come out all the time. when app developers whether they are small shop of five people or a big company with an app development team, these folks have limited resources. they have to prioritize what they do and they are looking for the platform where they can also monetize their top as quickly as they can. they continually go to apple and android and it's a chore for blackberry and for microsoft to support the platforms. >> host: are apps for apple
and android devices on par now? >> guest: they are more on par until maybe the last nine months to one year i think. there were a large number of apps where the very same app which had been nice -- much nicer and much richer than they were on android, i think there is a lot more parity. i still think of i guess almost a million apps on both those app stores you are going to find a greater number that are higher-quality on the apple side and a lesser number that are of the same quality on the android site. you also have to have -- there are malware viruses or other
kinds of malicious software on the android side. there's a reason for that but i can't explain but on the quality issue i think the gap is close and certainly the numbers in gaps. android may have more apps now than apple. >> host: why the malware on the android? >> guest: will, there is probably technical under the hood issues that i don't understand because i'm not an engineer but i know that the one big issue is the android app store which is called google play is not curated here you can submit an app and google doesn't review it. so it's easier to slip things in. apple famously curates all the apps in their store and they get criticized by some people who believe you shouldn't make any choices in what you offer. everything should be allowed. apple just says, i think the
number is 2% or 3% of the apps that are submitted to us and i think that strew, but one of their criteria is that they tested these things and they reject the ones that they think kerry malware. they are not perfect but they have been pretty good. i don't think that there is significant malware on the iphone. there had 10 estimates i had seen that as many as 60% of the apps in the android store carries some amount of malware. i am not endorsing that number but i have seen estimates like that. it doesn't mean those apps get downloaded a lot compared to the ones that are safe and popular. i pursue him there is no malware on the facebook app and i presume there is no malware in the twitter app and the
instagram app or whatever were the various games that are frequently downloaded on both platforms. so, even if that 60% number were true it would mean 60% of the actual downloaded apps have malware. but you know google is aware width of this and they understood the risks. they will apps after-the-fact when they learn that they are in some way a problem. they don't care it beforehand and apple does. some people are drawn to apple for what it does in some people are drawn to android. there are many reasons but some people are drawn to android for that reason. they don't like the idea for curator. >> host: walt mossberg from the "wall street journal" what do you use? >> guest: well i am not a great example because due to my job to use everythineverythin g.
right now i'm sitting here with a brand-new android phone that was just announced today run by motorola called the moto x. it is this. >> host: it looks like a normal phone. >> guest: it has a number of interesting features. as i was saying it has the ability to sense certain things about its location and movement. and then i also have this iphone 5 so i am always using multiple devices. i personally own an iphone, a couple of ipads, a couple of google android tablets and a couple of android phones. so you know i try to use what i like the best and what works the best for me. as a practical matter i own
three or four windows computers and three or four macs. i have a roku and an apple tv and the chromecast which is the newest tv device. i have them all on my tv. >> host: speaking of which we asked some reporters who cover technology here in washington that if they had any questions for you. >> guest: you do that. that's annoying but -- >> host: one of the questions was about the chromecast and this reporter says you recently reviewed and recommended googles new chromecast product. how will chromecast changed television dealing with. >> guest: we have to back up and explain what we are talking about because i don't think we can assume everyone knows what chromecast is. so, the tech industry in general and especially apple and google and a few other, microsoft and a
few other companies, have been trying to change television. they have changed phones. they have changed you know the music industry. they have changed lots of things but television has been a hard nut to crack which frustrates these guys because the regarded as pretty backward. if you think about it, if you carry around one of these devices and you look at how these work and how your tv works. try to go to the menu on your tv and change something. it's really quite primitive. even if it's a so-called smart tv functionality. the technology guys have been trying to reinvent the tv. the problem is that there are two problems. the biggest problem is that you can build a tv but what they really want to do is change the
content of the tv and equalizer. they want to equalize the content like netflix or hulu or itunes content or amazon content. they want to make that just another choice along with c-span and nbc or you know hbo or whatever else you are getting from your cable company and the media companies are not crazy about that. so there has been a lot of friction there. the second problem is if you build a tv and let's let's say you build a revolutionary tv that was much easier to use and took some of the lessons from these devices or even you know, integrated it with all of your other devices which is all perfectly possible but you have built a device in the tv that people really don't replace more than ivory -- i forgot the
number but seven or eight years that people replace them. it's not like phones which a lot of people replace every couple of years. it's not as good of hisness in some respects. so, that is the backdrop. they are trying to change tv. the only way or so far it has been by building a box that you plug into the tv and there is apple tv. they have sold about 13 million of those, which makes it one of their very smallest project. there is there is a grounding error in their financial reports but they have sold about 13 million the interesting thing about that number is half of those have been sold in the last year or so i think if i'm not mistaken. so it is celebrated. roku which is a competitor has sold about 5 million.
these boxes, what they do is bring content that is not coming from the cable companies. these are not cable boxes. internet content to your tv so netflix is a great example and youtube is a great example. itunes, amazon, whatever. google tried that and they try something called google tv which they did the software and a couple of other companies to the hardware and it was a failure. i give quite a bad review. it was kind of a mishmash. chromecast is google's second and what it is, it says you know what? we are not going to build a complicated talks that goes on the tv. we are not going to put content streams into that box. we are just going to make a little thing that looks like a usb flash drive and plug it into a port called in hdmi port which
is a common port on the back of hdtv's and then there is a wider as he used to plug it into the power. whether you have android phone or whether you have an iphone or tablets of those types, you will see a little icon pop-up that will let you just been whatever you would be watching on the phone or tablet onto the tv screen. and that is the new product that they came out with. it costs $35. apple for several years has had a similar thing. if you happen to own an apple tv in addition to the programming that is on the apple tv, its built-in, like major league baseball, itunes baseball ,-com,-com ma you would be able to use a technology affairs called airplay that does the same thing. a little icon on the screen.
i am watching a video or audio music. you hit that and it wirelessly beams it to the tv. apple had that airplay and google has it with chromecast. the pros and cons are kind of inverse to each other. the positive on apple's airplay system is that it works with thousands of apps and the app developer doesn't have to do anything. their play icon just appears. it works on too many apps to you can go into. you can sit down and just review all your photos on the tv screen with no wires. the downside on the apple product system is it only works with apple products. so if you have an iphone or an ipad or a it will work. if you have a windows computer and android phone airplay
doesn't work even if you own an apple tv. on the chromecast that just came out, it works across platforms. it doesn't only work with googles android operating system devices. it works with apple's devices and on a windows computer or a with googles browser or what is called chrome, it will work with that so you have a windows laptop in the chrome browser and you want to go to the youtube site or watch a youtube video on your tv screen it will work. google has cross-platform and apple is apple only. this is not an uncommon thing. and then, the downside is that chromecast so far only works with a handful of apps. andrew devices, it works with four apps out of the million that it works with and they are
important apps for video so it works with netflix and youtube which google wants and then googles own video and music apps. there is really only one app that google does not own. on the iphone it works with netflix and youtube. and it might test the reason i gave it a good review was it worked. i tried it on an old tv and in old hdtv. i tried it on apple products and android products and windows laptops and it just worked. the challenge for google is to get more companies to sign on and add that little chromecast icon to their apps. and the challenge for apple might be to open it up to other companies devices. >> host: we are talking on "the communicators" with walt mossberg personal technology columnist for "the wall street journal."
see thank you. >> i need to remind folks we need you to turn your cell phones off. not just put them on silent but turn them off. there's a lot of radio inter-floods -- influence and they want to make sure the recordings come out well. their two cameras here from c-span. the program is being recorded for c-span and they will broadcast the sometime probably in the next week or two. we don't have an air date yet. our associate curator is recording also for the oral oral history program which totals over 800 people. well we are chatting the biographies of our guests will appear on the screens behind us and also some photographs. the ones of the kennedys come from the national archives and the white house photographers and the photographs of the kennedys you will see in dallas comes from the sixth floor museum collections. we will also have a