The Madeleine Brand Show for January 19, 2011

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U.S. urges China to crack down on piracy

Before tonight's state dinner at the White House, President Obama and China's Hu Jintao will talk about lots of issues--primarily economic and trade-related. On the agenda, as it always is for talks between Chinese and American officials, intellectual property and piracy. That's a huge issue for the entertainment industry and for Silicon Valley. UC Irvine economist Peter Navarro joins. He's written books about China and trade, including The Coming China Wars and Seeds of Destruction.
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Tonight's state dinner with China's President Hu Jintao presents a minefield of potential protocol disaster. But at least there is a state dinner. Last time President Hu was in Washington, there wasn't one, which the Chinese took as a snub. Here to discuss the delicate issue of protocol is Pamela Eyring, President and Director of the Protocol School of Washington, which trains government officials and business leaders in international protocol and etiquette. (Hint: no fruit baskets).
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What role do your genes play in your friendships? A study published this week in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences says there is evidence that our biology has a hand in how we choose our friends. James Fowler is a social scientist at UC San Diego and he is the author of the study. He crossmapped human genomes with trees of Facebook friends.
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Disaster Preparedness: memoir of a 1970s childhood

Growing up in the 1970s and 80s, there weren't a lot of Brady Bunch moments for Heather Havrilesky. It was more like Kramer vs. Kramer in her house. Heather's grown up to become a writer, cultural critic, and a parent herself here in Los Angeles. She's written a memoir called Disaster Preparedness. She begins by describing the general feeling of doom and disaster in the 1970s.
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How to beat the high prices of textbooks

The Student Interest Research Group calculated that the average person in college spend $900 a year on textbooks. That price tag can really hurt penny pinched students grappling with tuition prices and fee hikes. But there are several new ways students can reclaim some of that cash... from books by mail to Wikipedia like texts. Reporter Sanden Totten has the details.
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The Dinner Party Download duo, Rico Gagliano and Brendan Francis Newnam, stop by with the latest buzz. This week they talk about an unearthed video of a clinical study involving a housewife on LSD. They rehash the history of the worlds first known computer virus, a code known as Elk Cloner that was written by a highschooler and they share the scientific secret to curing hangovers.
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