Re: Who Are You?

My name is Billy Tauzin. It’s French. My mother is “Martinez”, so I’m of French-Spanish heritage primarily. And I’m from a little place called Thibodeau in Louisiana. I served in the state legislature and in the Congress – for 25 years, actually, in Congress. And I’m now the CEO and President of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America – otherwise known as PhRMA here in Washington – the trade association that represents about 34 of the largest global pharmaceutical industry. . . here in America.

I grew up in the country – a little place called _________ which wasn’t . . . It was even smaller than Thibodeau if you can imagine. So going to Thibodeau was like going to a big city. And I was sort of, you know, a country boy kind of looked down on by big boys from the city. So I grew up poor. Dad never earned, I think, above poverty. But we lived on a farm and we, you know . . . we literally grew up raising crops, and hunting animals, and catching fish and surviving. And we took care of . . . I remember coming home in the afternoon and I’d say, “Mom, what’s for supper?” And she’d say, “I don’t know. Go get something,” you know? And we . . . I don’t remember being poor. We were always very happy and well taken care of. But looking back on it I realized, you know, we were poor country kids. And so everything from there was an adventure. You know going to . . . going to high school and, you know, reading Shakespeare, and learning you know history, and literature, and science was a great adventure for me. Knowledge was a . . . was a . . was fun. I was able to attend Nicholls State University, which was a home town university there – part of the junior college system initially of Louisiana – a state run university. I’d been elected president of my student body at Thibodeau High, and so I got into school politics at Nicholls as well. But again it was . . . I remember those days as adventurous – of learning how big and wide the world was, and how much there was to . . . to see, and know, and do.

In my senior year at Nicholls, I had a professor who had glaucoma and had trouble with his eyes, and he commissioned me to drive him across America and to Canada one summer. I spent the whole summer driving him around, visiting all the universities of the eastern side of the country – all the way starting from Fayetteville and the University of Arkansas; going up into Canada and Stafford, watching the Shakespearean Festival there; and going on to Quebec and then coming down the eastern seaboard and visiting every one of our great American universities. I remember that as . . . as eye opening. And that same year I helped a state senator get elected, and that opened up all sorts of opportunities for me. Recorded on: 9/11/07

Growing up Cajun.

Meet the Bajau sea nomads — they can reportedly hold their breath for 13 minutes

The Bajau people's nomadic lifestyle has given them remarkable adaptions, enabling them to stay underwater for unbelievable periods of time. Their lifestyle, however, is quickly disappearing.

Wikimedia Commons
Culture & Religion
  • The Bajau people travel in small flotillas throughout the Phillipines, Malaysia, and Indonesia, hunting fish underwater for food.
  • Over the years, practicing this lifestyle has given the Bajau unique adaptations to swimming underwater. Many find it straightforward to dive up to 13 minutes 200 feet below the surface of the ocean.
  • Unfortunately, many disparate factors are erasing the traditional Bajau way of life.
Keep reading Show less

After death, you’re aware that you’ve died, say scientists

Some evidence attributes a certain neurological phenomenon to a near death experience.

Credit: Petr Kratochvil. PublicDomainPictures.net.
Surprising Science

Time of death is considered when a person has gone into cardiac arrest. This is the cessation of the electrical impulse that drive the heartbeat. As a result, the heart locks up. The moment the heart stops is considered time of death. But does death overtake our mind immediately afterward or does it slowly creep in?

Keep reading Show less

Cornell scientists engineer artificial material that has three key traits of life

An innovation may lead to lifelike self-reproducing and evolving machines.

Shogo Hamada/Cornell University
Surprising Science
  • Scientists at Cornell University devise a material with 3 key traits of life.
  • The goal for the researchers is not to create life but lifelike machines.
  • The researchers were able to program metabolism into the material's DNA.
Keep reading Show less