Gulp! with Mary Roach

Mary&cow
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Why wouldn’t Kafka’s father look at him over breakfast? What does periblepsis mean? Why does Mary Roach have her arm inside a cow’s stomach? How did I make Mary cry? These and many more questions are answered in our delightful conversation with Mary Roach, whose latest book Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal is just out in paperback. Plus, we talk to science writer Virginia Hughes about recent research on the connections between gastric bypass surgery, gut bacteria and weight loss.

We’re also now on Stitcher Radio!

Mary Roach is our funniest science writer. Her first book Stiff looked at what happens to the body after death, from cryonics to cadaver donation and more. In Spook she looked at the science (normal and paranormal) of life after death, in Bonk sex research, and in Packing for Mars she found out how the astronauts manage their bodies (and body wastes) in space.  Now Gulp takes on digestion from the mouth to, well, you know. In the New York Times, Janet Maslin wrote that Gulp is “far and away her funniest and most sparkling book, bringing Ms. Roach’s love of weird science to material that could not have more everyday relevance.” See Mary’s tour dates for the paperback release of Gulp and more on her website. And I’m really sorry I made Mary cry!

Virginia Hughes writes about science and medicine, focusing mostly on genes, brains and drugs. Her blog, Only Human, is hosted by National Geographic, and her writing has appeared in Nature, Smithsonian, the New Yorker online, and many other publications. See her recent blog post “The Humble Heroes of Weight Loss Surgery: Stomach Acids and Gut Microbes,” and her post last May on the “obesity paradox, “The Obesity Apologists.”

Music in this episode includes “Break it Down,” Screamin’ Jay Hawkins “I Want Your Body,” and “Love in a Box” by the Workday Release.

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