Alex Blaze

Radio Lab Investigates the Origin of HIV

Filed By Alex Blaze | November 18, 2011 12:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living, Media
Tags: Glenn Burke, HIV/AIDS, NYC, origin of HIV, patient zero, podcast, radio lab

I listened to an interesting episode of Radio Lab this week, a podcast out of NYC. It was about the concept of Patient Zero, or that there's really one place where a disease (or an idea) starts.

The middle of the show is a segment about HIV that discussed quite a bit of the history that I didn't know. For example, apparently the first transmission of HIV from a chimpanzee to a human happened in 1908 in Cameroon, long before the virus was RL_circleonly_medium_image.pngfirst isolated and Québécois flight attendants were being blamed for causing it.

The third segment starts with the story of the first out Major League Baseball player, who was drummed out of the league for being gay. He's one of the people ascribed to the position as inventor of the high-five. It probably isn't true, but wouldn't it be cool if a gay man co-invented the high-five? That's so us.

They take a detour in France, saying that it appears in À bout de souffle, a 1960 French film, although I haven't met a French person who knows what a high-five is (Wikipedia's page for the high-five doesn't even have a French translation).

Anyway, it's a great podcast that releases a new episode every couple of weeks. The gay-related content in this one makes it a great episode to start with.

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Radio Lab also did a segment on trans mayor of a small town in the Pacific Northwest. Worth a listen.

From the history I've read of Glenn Burke, he didn't invent the high five, merely helped to popularize it.