This week we present two stories from people who let science lead them down a rabbit hole of curses.
Part 1: Science journalist Erik Vance decides to get cursed by a witch doctor for science.
Part 2: After taking a rock from Mauna Loa, volcanologist Jess Phoenix starts to worry that her offering to the volcano goddess Pele was not enough.
Erik Vance is an award-winning science journalist based in Baltimore. Before becoming a writer he was, at turns, a biologist, a rock climbing guide, an environmental consultant, and an environmental educator. He graduated in 2006 from UC Santa Cruz science writing program and became a freelancer as soon as possible. His work focuses on the human element of science — the people who do it, those who benefit from it, and those who do not. He has written for The New York Times, Nature, Scientific American, Harper’s, National Geographic, and a number of other local and national outlets. His first book, Suggestible You, is about how the mind and body continually twist and shape our realities. While researching the book he was poked, prodded, burned, electrocuted, hypnotized and even cursed by a witchdoctor, all in the name of science.
Jess Phoenix is Executive Director and co-founder of environmental scientific research organization Blueprint Earth. She is a volcanologist, an extreme explorer, and former candidate for United States Congress. She has been chased by narco-traffickers in Mexico, dodged armed thieves in remote Peru, raced horses across Mongolia, worked on the world’s largest volcano in Hawaii, piloted the Jason2 submersible on an undersea volcano, and explored deep in the Australian Outback. Jess believes science should be accessible to everyone, and that creative possibility is limitless. Jess is a Fellow in The Explorers Club and the Royal Geographical Society, a featured scientist on the Discovery and Science Channels, an invited TEDx speaker, and she has appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, in Wired, Fast Company, on National Public Radio, on CNN, NBC, and has written for the BBC. She is the host of the podcast Catstrophe! (catastropheshow.com) and has a book coming out in Spring 2020 with Timber Press called Miss Adventure: My Life as a Geologist, Explorer, and Professional Risk-Taker.
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