Episodes

Consciousness & Being a Beast Machine with Neuroscientist, Anil Seth, PhD.

“…the contents of consciousness are a kind of waking dream—a controlled hallucination—that is both more than and less than whatever the real world really is.”  -Anil Seth

Name: Anil Seth, MS, PhD

Specialty: Neuroscientist and Professor of Cognitive and Computational Neuroscience.

Location: University of Sussex. Brighton, United Kingdom.

All right, welcome back. Today we’re privileged and delighted to have one of the world’s leading researchers in neuroscience, Anil Seth. Anil is Professor of Cognitive and Computational Neuroscience at the University of Sussex and Founding Co-Director of the Sackler Centre for Consciousness Science. He has published over 100 scientific papers and book chapters and is the Editor-in-Chief of the journal, Neuroscience of Consciousness. His TED talk on consciousness and controlled hallucination has been viewed over 12 million times and stands as one of TED’s most popular science talks.

Today we’ll dig deep into (what Cal Fussman would call) the big questions of neuroscience: Is my reality the same as yours (do we see the same color red)? What does it mean to be you? Why did we evolve to have consciousness? Are different states of consciousness such as we see in comas, sleep, and general anesthesia measurable and clearly definable?  What is consciousness and where in the brain can we find it? Why does a brain adapted to basic, hunter gatherer survival also include the capacity to compose symphonies, write philosophy, debug software code, go to the moon and ponder questions about the nature of its own existence?  Will we ever be able to deconstruct the basic elements of consciousness and reconstruct them in a computer AI?

This episode was a lot of fun and will probably be one of my most favorite. To be clear, exploring our current understanding of the brain, consciousness, and the fundamental reality of who we are and how we experience the world around us is just not something you can knock out in an hour. That’s why I can’t recommend to you enough to check out Anil’s new book, “Being You.” With that said, let’s get started…

Continue reading “Consciousness & Being a Beast Machine with Neuroscientist, Anil Seth, PhD.”

Psychology, Science & Practice. Scott Browning, PhD & Brad Van Eeden-Moorefield, PhD.

Images courtesy of American Psychological Association, Chestnut Hill College & Monclair State University

Today we’re exploring a particular challenge in the mental health space, the gulf between academic research and real-world clinical practice. As you’ll learn in the episode, only a surprising few of the published articles in psychology and psychiatry journals are ever read by practicing mental health professionals.

Today we’re happy to welcome two guests working to bridge this gap. Dr. Scott Browning is a researcher and professor of psychology at Chestnut Hill College. Dr. Brad van Eeden-Moorefield is a researcher and professor of Family Science and Human Development at Monclair State University.

Their new book, coming out next week and published by the American Psychological Association is titled, “Treating Contemporary Families: Toward a More Inclusive Clinical Practice.” This was a great conversation and we really enjoyed having Scott and Brad on the show. With that said, let’s get started…

Continue reading “Psychology, Science & Practice. Scott Browning, PhD & Brad Van Eeden-Moorefield, PhD.”

The Business of Risk with Gen. Stanley McChrystal

Images courtesy of Penguin Random House and The McChrystal Group

Today we’re excited and honored to have with us, retired US Army General Stanley McChrystal. A retired four-star general with 34 years of service, Stanley was the commander of all US and coalition forces in Afghanistan from 2009 to 2010. Prior to this, he served as commander of JSOC or the Joint Special Operations Command, overseeing the US military’s most elite units including Delta Force and SEAL Team 6. According to journalist Sean Naylor, in his Book, Relentless Strike, McChrystal was, “the general whose vision and intensity transformed JSOC into a global man-hunting machine.” His tenure included the capture of Saddam Hussein and the killing infamous terrorist, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

Today Stanley is founder and CEO of the McChrystal Group, a strategic consulting firm. He is also a senior fellow at Yale University’s Jackson Institute for Global Affairs, where he teaches a course on Leadership. His books include, My Share of the Task, Team of Teams, Leadership- Myths and Realities and his newest book that we’ll be discussing today, Risk. A Users Guide.

I’m really proud of how this conversation came out. It was a lot of fun and we hope you enjoy. With that said, let’s get started.

Continue reading “The Business of Risk with Gen. Stanley McChrystal”

Weeks, Years and a Royal Tribute. Brief thoughts on the 20th anniversary of September 11th.

Photos of lower Manhattan and Colin Miller back in college working for Midway Airlines. Both photos taken just a few weeks before the September 11th, 2001 attacks.

Colin’s brief reflections and personal memories from September 11th, 2001.

White House Physician, Jeffrey Kuhlman, MD and Co-Author, Daniel Peach, DO on “Transformative Healthcare”

Name: Jeffrey Kuhlman, MD, MPH

Specialty: Former White House Physician. Currently Senior Vice President and Chief Quality and Safety Officer for AdventHealth.

Location: Orlando, FL

Name: Daniel Peach, DO

Specialty: Sports Medicine. Currently Director of Clinical Transformation at AdventHealth.

Location: Orlando, FL

When it comes to VIP medical care, there is one patient who stands above all others. From what is publicly known he is assigned a team of doctors, nurses, medics and PA’s on standby around the clock. He and this team travel with an armored ambulance, a supply of matched blood, and a full array of medical and diagnostic equipment. His aircraft also has state of the art medical equipment with a surgical suite. Before he arrives anywhere, an advance team has carefully planned emergency routes to pre-screened medical facilities. If those facilities prove inadequate, resources can be brought in, including in one case, an entire Naval hospital ship anchored off the coast.

If he needs hospital care, surgery or other treatments, his local hometown hospital (which happens to be US Military’s flagship medical center) has a private suite, on standby for his exclusive use. This care is 100% covered by his employer without any deductibles, co-pays, or network restrictions.

Today’s guest knew two of these VIP patients very well. Dr. Jeffrey Kuhlman spent 16 of his 30 years of military services as a White House Physician. This included a tour as Chief of the White House Medical Unit. This means he was the personal physician to President George W. Bush and President Barack Obama. He currently serves as Senior Vice President and Chief Quality and Safety Officer for AdventHealth.

Jeffery is joined today by his colleague and co-author, Dr. Daniel Peach. Daniel, a registered sports medicine physician in the UK, currently serves as Executive Director of Clinical Innovation for AdventHealth. Their new book, “Transformative Healthcare,” and their unique career paths are the subjects for today’s episode.

Continue reading “White House Physician, Jeffrey Kuhlman, MD and Co-Author, Daniel Peach, DO on “Transformative Healthcare””

Neuroscience & Innovations of Literature. “Wonderworks” with Angus Fletcher, PhD

Photograph by Sarah Lagrotteria. Courtesy of Simon & Schuster

Name: Angus Fletcher, PhD

Specialty: Professor of story science & Literature at Ohio State’s Project Narrative

Location: Ohio State University. Columbus, OH

Today we are excited to have Angus Fletcher with us on the show. He is a professor of story science and literature at Ohio State University’s Project Narrative. He completed dual degrees in neuroscience and literature before receiving his PhD in literature from Yale. In addition to his teaching and research, Angus also serves a story consultant for Sony, Disney, BBC, Amazon, PBS and NBC/Universal.  Unlike many literary academics, critics and perhaps your high school English teacher, Angus takes a very different approach to literary scholarship. He studies literature’s practical usefulness, and the science behind it.  

His new book, “Wonderworks. The 25 Most Powerful Inventions in the History of Literature,” explores literature as a series of unique and innovative discoveries. These literary inventions had, and continue to have, unique problem-solving functions. Problem-solving functions that can now be studied with the modern tools and methods of neuroscience. 

Continue reading “Neuroscience & Innovations of Literature. “Wonderworks” with Angus Fletcher, PhD”

Humanity’s R&D Department. Science & philosophy of childhood with developmental psychologist, Alison Gopnik, PhD

Today we’re exploring the world of childhood, a “protected space in which they [children] can produce new ways of thinking and acting that, for better or worse, are entirely unlike any that we would have anticipated beforehand.” A protected space that exceeds, in length, that of any other species. A space of time that today’s guest has spent her career studying and often refers to as humanity’s R&D department.

Alison Gopnik, PhD is likely a familiar name to many of you, especially those of you who are parents. Currently a professor of psychology and philosophy at the University of California at Berkeley, Alison has published over 100 research articles and books including critically acclaimed bestsellers such as: The Scientist in the Crib, The Philosophical Baby and The Gardener and the Carpenter. Her public appearances include TED, Talks at Google, the World Economic Forum and even Stephen Colbert’s show. She is also a long-time contributor to the Wall Street Journal’s Saturday Review section.

We covered a lot of ground in this episode. How do young children and babies begin to understand the world around them? We will learn about something called, “theory theory,” a process that allows children to develop and test intuitive theories about their world. We’ll see how this process resembles Bayesian probability and how understanding childhood cognitive development may be a key to developing advanced AI. This is also something Alison is researching. No surprise.  She lives and works in the Bay area and she is even married to one of the founders of Pixar.

Anyway, this is one of our more fascinating episodes. As a father of two young daughters, and a long-time fan of Alison’s work, talking with Alison was a real privilege. With that said, let’s get started.

Continue reading “Humanity’s R&D Department. Science & philosophy of childhood with developmental psychologist, Alison Gopnik, PhD”

“Nobody’s Normal” and the Stigma of Mental Illness. Anthropologist, Roy Richard Grinker, PhD

“Because everything we see is affected by how we see it, pure vision is an illusion.”

-Roy Richard Grinker

Today we are delighted to have Roy Richard Grinker with us. He a professor of anthropology and international affairs at George Washington University, and author of “Nobody’s Normal. How Culture Created the Stigma of Mental Illness.” Richard comes from a long line of research psychologists. His grandfather, Roy Richard Grinker, Sr. was a pioneer in American psychology, and studied under Sigmund Freud. He may have been one of the last people psychoanalyzed by Freud before Freud’s death.

We’ll talk more about that, and Richard’s unique lens on psychology and mental illness through history, anthropology and culture. Can science really answer the questions: Is there really such a thing as a normal human mind? Is there really such as thing as an abnormal mind? Well, let’s find out and with that said, let’s get started.     

Links and Resources:

Nobody’s Normal Book: https://wwnorton.com/books/9780393531640/about-the-book/product-details

Roy Richard Grinker Website: https://royrichardgrinker.com/

George Washington University Profile: https://anthropology.columbian.gwu.edu/roy-richard-grinker

Ted Talk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QYVpTYKevxQ

“Tracing Health” with Research Program Director for the Public Health Institute, Marta Induni, PhD

Name: Marta Induni, PhD

Specialty: Principal Investigator at the Public Health Institute. Director of Tracing Health.

Location: Sacramento, CA.

Today we are delighted to have Dr. Marta Induni with us on the show. She is a principal investigator with the Public Health Institute. She is also director of Tracing Health, a program launched in response to the COVID-19 pandemic that provides contact tracing and scientific support services to counties and local health departments on the US West Coast.



Links and Resources:

Dr. Marta Induni Profile: https://www.phi.org/experts/marta-induni/

Tracing Health Program: https://www.phi.org/our-work/programs/tracing-health/

Dr. Marta Induni LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/dr-marta-induni-622a8735

Targeting PTSD with two Navy SEAL Physicians. Sean Mulvaney, MD with guest host, Robert Adams, MD

Guest Host: Robert Adams, MD

Specialty: Special Operations and Family Medicine

Location: Raleigh, NC

Guest: Sean Mulvaney, MD

Specialty: Special Operations, Sports & Pain Medicine

Location: Annapolis, MD

Today we are thrilled to embark on a new adventure here on PeerSpectrum. The first episode of our new guest host series. We’re inviting back some of our most popular past guests and handing over the microphone. As Keith and I have learned over the past few years, there is an art and craft to interviewing. Playing on the field has given us both a deeper appreciation and admiration for the true masters of the game. Masters such as the late Larry King (who passed away just last month) and his very close friend, and our most recent guest, Cal Fussman. As we discussed last time, one of my all-time favorite podcast interviews was Cal Fussman interviewing Larry King, on Tim Ferriss’s podcast. It was a rare opportunity to listen in as two masters discussed their game. These types of conversations are likely more common than we think. It’s just not as common to hear them.

Today we are happy to have our good friend and past guest, Dr. Robert Adams back with us. As you may recall, Bob is a former US Navy SEAL and command surgeon for the army’s elite Delta Force. A recently retired family physician in the UNC health system, Bob is also the author of two books, “Six Days of Impossible,” and “Swords and Saints: A Doctor’s Journey.” 

Today Bob is joined by his good friend and former colleague, Dr. Sean Mulvaney. Sean is also a former US Navy SEAL turned army physician. Their conversation will take us all around the world from the battle fields of Iraq and Afghanistan, to a surprise birthday party for Colin Powell aboard a US Navy warship.   

Continue reading “Targeting PTSD with two Navy SEAL Physicians. Sean Mulvaney, MD with guest host, Robert Adams, MD”