To The Best Of Our Knowledge: In Pain

TTBOOK began as an audio magazine of ideas - of smart, entertaining radio for people with curious minds.

It's sort of journalistic (because some of us are, or used to be, journalists), but it's never about the President's speech to the U.N., weapons inspections in Iraq, or yesterday's stock market disaster. It's the kind of show that would spend an hour on the future of capitalism, or on the roots of Islamic fundamentalism. It might also spend an hour on hair. Or salt. Or pirates, road trips, psychic phenomena, house cleaning, animal intelligence, high energy physics, or how to say you're sorry.

It's the kind of show where someone might mention Charlotte Bronte or Anthony Trollope in one segment, U2 or They Might Be Giants in another.

In this hour, we looked at Pain.

Justin O. Schmidt is a research biologist and professor at the University of Arizona school of Entomology and he's been stung by nearly every insect with a stinger, from the benign honeybee to the vicious tarantula hawk wasp. He told Steve Paulson about his creation, the Schmidt Sting Pain Index.

Alan Dale used to watch old slapstick comedies with his grandmother. He says she'd start laughing at the first hint of impending injury to the actors. For years he wondered just what about banana peels and misplaced rakes that makes us laugh. He talks with Anne Strainchamps about how "Comedy is a Man in Trouble".

In many cultures, people use pain as a means of coming closer to God. Ariel Glucklich talks with Jim Fleming about the history and psychology behind the practices.

Americans spend billions of dollars a year on over-the-counter pain relievers. In fact, all over the world, easing pain is big business. And Aspirin’s one of the top sellers. Why? Charles Mann, author of “The Aspirin Wars”, tells Steve Paulson what happened when a German company called Bayer came to America

Jimmy Palmieri is in constant physical pain. He has Behcet’s Syndrome, a rare disease that affects an estimated 15,000 people in the United States. It’s an autoimmune disorder that causes a host of symptoms, including chronic headaches, fevers, nausea, severe joint pain, ulcerations and skin lesions. There is no cure. Palmieri tells Anne Strainchamps about living with Behcet’s.

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