Mining Digest 429 – Feb 7, 2020: Addictive Technology, Agriculture Nutrient Management, AI Bias, Bill Gates Concerns, Biochar, Blood Pressure Regulation, Climate Change – Oceans, Deficits, Democratic Adversaries, Digital Literacy for Kids, Driverless Car History, Ebola Upgrade by Fauci, Election Security, Elizabeth Warrens’ Plans, Farmers Solving Problems, Guns Debate, Homeless Education, Knee Osteoarthritis, Lab Grown Lungs, Malcolm Gladwell, Nature Conservancy, Neural Networks, Nonviolent Resistance, North Korean Life, Parasites That Alter Behavior, Poverty Cost, Radiation Harming Patients, Trump Corruption, US Defense Policy, Wounded Warrior Project

Exercise your ears: the 42 podcasts shown below present the best ideas, information and stories from a larger group of 681 for the week, to hear while your hands and eyes are busy. Get all the files as a group here, or double (ctrl-click) individual  titles to get single podcasts and explore the source. A collection of 27,030 podcasts, listed alphabetically and grouped by topic, can be downloaded piecemeal, with files A-E at this link, and the remainder here. You’ll be limited to a 4GB maximum per download at the last place, so multiple group downloads will be needed to get all files, totaling over 170GB and may take a few hours. The first entry in the collection is a text file with just titles for quicker reference. A collection of abstracts for all the podcasts is available at this link and updated quarterly. Get the discarded material, too, using a podcast aggregator loaded with this opml file of the 503 sources. And try PodcastRE from the University of Wisconsin with over 150,000 titles. Exercise your ears and relax the rest.

Addictive Technology 102 mins – “On 4/5, Prof. Elizabeth Morrison, Vice Dean of Faculty, welcomed Professor Adam Alter and esteemed author & journalist Malcolm Gladwell, for a conversation on Professor Alter’s latest book, “Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked.” Nearly 400 alumni, students and faculty set aside their phones to learn about the complexities of addiction and how it manifests in the modern age.” At the link you can watch and copy but not download the presentation; however, a copy is included in the blog archive. [See, also, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3134413/%5D

Agricultural Nutrient Management 43 mins – “Jason Mauck is a farmer in Gaston, Indiana and the CEO of Constant Canopy, an operation dedicated to closing the gap between livestock and grain production. He is passionate about demystifying misconceptions and bringing public awareness to how the farming and agriculture industry truly works from a large-scale farming perspective. Jason joins me today to share how his large-scale nutrient management system works, discuss the imbalance between supply and demand, and why he believes a sharing economy is a perfect solution to addressing these issues. He shares the intercropping strategy he uses to create higher crop yields, effective strategies for using manure as a soil nutrient management technique, and how he describes “true soil wealth” for large-scale farmers. He also explains the concept of wheat spreading and how it impacts production costs and the benefits of planting soybeans early in the growing season.” At the link left-click the down-pointing arrow, select “Save File” and “OK” to download the podcast.

Agriculture and Microbes 30 mins – “David Perry is the President, CEO, and Director of Indigo Ag, a company that seeks to harness the power of plant microbes to improve yield and lessen (and potentially eliminate) the use of harmful pesticides and insecticides. David is a well-known entrepreneur, having founded and built three outstanding companies within the last two decades. He has lead the last two companies through successful IPOs while providing significant returns for their investors. Prior to becoming a businessman, David attended the US Air Force Academy and was a National Merit Scholar. In this episode, David explains how plant-microbe research can benefit the farmer as well as the environment. He describes the thought processes involved in founding Indigo Ag, the benefits of their research as well as its plausible risks towards the environment. He also shares their current research progress and their future projects.” At the link left-click the down-pointing arrow, select “Save File” and “OK” to download the podcast.

AI Bias 63 mins – “ The world is experiencing extraordinary advances in artificial intelligence, with applications being deployed in finance, health care, education, e-commerce, criminal justice, and national defense, among other areas. As AI technology advances across industries and into everyday use around the world, important questions must be addressed regarding transparency, fairness, privacy, ethics, and human safety. What are AI’s benefits and risks? What role should the public and private sectors play in addressing AI challenges? Can AI be part of the solution? On October 31, the Center for Technology Innovation at Brookings hosted a public event on new developments in artificial intelligence. Panelists discussed the opportunities, risks, and ways to mitigate possible problems with these emerging technologies.” At the link right-click “Download the Audio” and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

AI Changes Science 22 mins – “No human, or team of humans, could possibly keep up with the avalanche of information produced by many of today’s physics and astronomy experiments. Some of them record terabytes of data every day — and the torrent is only increasing. The Square Kilometer Array, a radio telescope slated to switch on in the mid-2020s, will generate about as much data traffic each year as the entire internet. The deluge has many scientists turning to artificial intelligence for help. With minimal human input, AI systems such as artificial neural networks — computer-simulated networks of neurons that mimic the function of brains — can plow through mountains of data, highlighting anomalies and detecting patterns that humans could never have spotted….” At the link right-click the down-pointing arrow and select”Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

Bill Gates Concerns 57 mins – “’To put it bluntly,’ wrote Bill and Melinda Gates in their foundation’s annual Goalkeepers Report, “decades of stunning progress in the fight against poverty and disease may be on the verge of stalling. This is because the poorest parts of the world are growing faster than everywhere else; more babies are being born in the places where it’s hardest to lead a healthy and productive life.” There is no topic in the philanthropic world more fraught than population growth. The history of efforts to analyze and address it is filled with bad predictions and cruel solutions. The Gateses, though, are trying to take a different approach to the issue. Rather than seeing a population problem in the demographic projections, they’re framing it as a poverty problem — and, for that matter, an opportunity. In this conversation, I talk with Bill Gates about the report and about much more: the geographic and political forces that have held African development back, whether economic growth brings political freedom, the risks posed by artificial intelligence, and how we should weigh future human lives and current animal suffering. This conversation also marks the launch of a new Vox podcast and section, Future Perfect, which focuses on evidence-based ways to make the world a better place. You can find the section at Vox.com, and you can find the podcast, which is hosted by my colleague and friend Dylan Matthews, wherever you get your podcasts. ” At the link right-click ”MP3” and select”Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

Biochar 43 mins – “Jim Loar is the President & CEO of Cool Planet, a company founded to provide innovative agricultural technologies that increase crop production at a low cost while reducing greenhouse gas throughout the atmosphere. The company’s current research focus is on their Cool Terra Engineered Biocarbon technology, a type of soil enhancer that improves soil health, reduces water consumption, and supports optimal fertilizer performance. Prior to joining Cool Planet in 2015, Jim was the VP of Operations at Wilbur-Ellis Company, the fourth largest agricultural retailer in the USA. Today, Jim shares their company’s latest findings on Cool Terra and how it can help optimize crop output. He describes the science behind Cool Terra, the many benefits it imparts to both soil and farmer, and how it can help fight global warming. He also explains some of its most outstanding research findings, particularly when it comes to soil microbe health.” At the link left-click the down-pointing arrow, select “Save File” and “OK” to download the podcast.

Blood Pressure Regulation 9 mins – “Some years ago, when Jennifer Pluznick was nearing the end of her training in physiology and sensory systems, she was startled to discover something in the kidneys that seemed weirdly out of place. It was a smell receptor, a protein that would have looked more at home in the nose. Given that the kidneys filter waste into urine and maintain the right salt content in the blood, it was hard to see how a smell receptor could be useful there. Yet as she delved deeper into what the smell receptor was doing, Pluznick came to a surprising conclusion: The kidney receives messages from the gut microbiome, the symbiotic bacteria that live in the intestines….” At the link right-click the down-pointing arrow and select”Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

Clean Energy Technology 103 mins – “Dave Roberts is an energy and climate writer at Vox and a senior fellow at the Kleinman Center for Energy Policy at the University of Pennsylvania. He started as his career covering climate science and clean energy technology, but — for reasons we discuss here — he now writes just as much about political psychology, media ecosystems, political institutions, and how they intersect with climate change. We cover a lot in this conversation, including: “Tribal epistemology,” and why it’s crucial to climate paralysis; How the GOP went from the party of cap-and-trade to the party of climate denial; Why the right and left-wing media ecosystem’s diverged so dramatically; What today’s climate activists get right about our politics that their predecessors got wrong; The carbon tax dead-end; How nuclear energy became so divisive; The conflicting moral and social visions at the heart of the climate movement; Why it is impossible to separate technological innovation from the policy ecosystem that shapes it; Whether climate change really is an “existential” threat; What climate change will mean for the world’s poor” At the link right-click ”MP3” and select”Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

Climate Change 92 mins – “…Saul Griffith is an inventor, a MacArthur genius fellow, and the founder and CEO of Otherlab, a high-tech research and development company on the frontlines of trying to imagine our clean energy future. Griffith and his team were contracted by the Department of Energy to track and visualize the entirety of America’s energy flows — and as a result, he knows the US energy system better than just about anyone on this planet. Griffith is also clearer than anyone else I’ve found on the paths to decarbonization, and how to navigate them. Most conversations about climate change are pretty depressing. This conversation is not. We have the tools we need to decarbonize. What’s more, decarbonizing doesn’t mean accepting a future of less — it can mean a more awesome, humane, technologically rich, and socially inspiring future for us all. This conversation is about a vision of decarbonization that is genuinely awesome, and how we can actually get there.” At the link right-click ”MP3” and select”Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

Climate Change – Oceans 70 mins – “…Oceans cover 70% of the earth, absorb 93% of the heat from the sun, and capture 30% of the carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Forty percent of the world’s population lives within 60 miles of the coast, and half a billion people rely on oceans as their primary food source. As go the oceans, so goes humanity. Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson is the founder of the Urban Ocean Lab and the Ocean Collectiv, she’s held positions at the NOAA and the EPA, and was named by Outside Magazine as the most influential marine biologist of our time. And she’s able to do something a lot of people aren’t: communicate not just the science of climate change from the ocean perspective, but the role oceans play in the human story. This is not a dry, complex disquisition on climate science. This is a vivid tour of the way oceans shape our lives, and the costs and consequences of reshaping them.” At the link right-click ”MP3” and select”Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

Climate Change in BC Update 60 mins – Update on 2050 predictions. At the link find the title, “2050: Degrees of Change,” right-click it and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

Deficits 63 mins – “Stony Brook University’s Stephanie Kelton is the most influential proponent of Modern Monetary Theory, a heterodox take on government budgets that urges a focus on inflation, rather than deficits. Jason Furman was President Barack Obama’s chief economist, and while he’s firmly in the economic mainstream, he’s been pushing his colleagues to recognize that the economy has changed in ways that make our debt levels less worrying. I asked the two of them to join the podcast together because I wanted to understand some questions at the intersection of their competing theories. Should we worry about government deficits, and if so, when? Does MMT actually offer a free lunch, or is it just a different way of calculating the bill? When can the Federal Reserve print money without triggering inflation? How would an administration that followed MMT actually diverge from what we’ve seen in the past? Why did so many mainstream economists make such bad predictions about deficits after the financial crisis? And does Medicare-for-all actually need to be paid for? This is a weedsy conversation about one of the most important questions in American governance.” At the link right-click ”MP3” and select”Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

Democratic Adversaries 78 mins – “On November 5, the Governance Studies and Foreign Policy programs at Brookings hosted a release event for “The Democracy Playbook,” a new report by Brookings experts Norman Eisen, Torrey Taussig, and Alina Polyakova, and the Transatlantic Democracy Working Group’s Susan Corke. After a keynote speech by Senator Ben Cardin, the authors appeared on a panel to describe their findings, based upon an extensive review of social science and practitioner experience, and to discuss strategies that supporters of liberal democracy can implement to halt and reverse democratic backsliding and make democratic institutions work more effectively for citizens, with a particular focus on the European experience.” At the link right-click “audio only” then click “Download audio” and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

Democratic Trends 84 mins – “On October 31, the Global Economy and Development program at Brookings and the Center for the Implementation of Public Policies for Equity and Growth (CIPPEC) from Argentina co-hosted an event to assess democratic trends in the developing world and tease out implications for growth and development, drawing from recent electoral results in Africa, Latin America, and South Asia. The event kicked off with a brief presentation on global attitudes toward democracy by the Pew Research Center. A moderated panel with regional experts followed.” At the link right-click “audio only” then click “Download audio” and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

Digital Literacy for Kids 48 mins – “Welcome to Episode 465 of the Moving at the Speed of Creativity podcast, a show by Dr. Wesley Fryer (@wfryer) focusing on digital creativity, media literacy, digital literacy, digital citizenship, instructional technology integration and engaged learning both inside and outside the classroom. This episode features a reflection by Wes following the 2019 Summer Institute on Digital Literacy. Wes reflects on ten different “ingredients” which made this a powerful and transformative professional development experience, as well as five different lessons and ideas he’s taking into his 5th and 6th grade Digital Literacy classes this upcoming school year. Check the podcast shownotes for a full list of referenced websites and resources mentioned in this episode. This podcast also includes an interview from the conference with Brian Turnbaugh (@wegotwits) discussing the weaponization of social media and recommended resources for learning more about the ways Russia continues to work to subvert the electoral process in the United States. Remember to also subscribe to “The EdTech Situation Room” (@edtechSR), the weekly webshow and podcast Wes co-hosts with Jason Neiffer each week on Wednesday evenings. Also remember to subscribe to Wes’ (almost) weekly newsletter in which he shares a helpful technology tip, tool, text, and tutorial. Sign up on www.speedofcreativity.org/email-updates.” At the link left-click the down-pointing arrow, then right-click “Download,” then select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

Digital Literacy in Classrooms 30 mins – “Welcome to Episode 464 of the Moving at the Speed of Creativity podcast, a show by Dr. Wesley Fryer (@wfryer) focusing on digital creativity, media literacy, digital literacy, digital citizenship, instructional technology integration and engaged learning both inside and outside the classroom. This episode features a reflection by Wes from the ATLIS [Assoc of Technology Leaders in Independent Schools} 2019 Conference in Dallas, Texas, primarily on Media Literacy and his 3 hour workshop, “Filtering the Exoflood: Strategies for Media and Information Literacy.” All resources from the workshop are available on wfryer.me/exoflood. Refer to the podcast shownotes for links to the other websites and links referenced in this podcast. Remember to also subscribe to “The EdTech Situation Room” (@edtechSR), the weekly webshow and podcast Wes co-hosts with Jason Neiffer each week on Wednesday evenings. Also remember to subscribe to Wes’ (almost) weekly newsletter in which he shares a helpful technology tip, tool, text, and tutorial. Sign up on http://www.speedofcreativity.org/email-updates.” At the link left-click the down-pointing arrow, then right-click “Download,” then select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

Driverless Car History49 mins – “We talk to writer Dan Albert about his new book Are We There Yet?: The American Automobile Past, Present, and Driverless.” At the link you can listen but not download; however, a copy of the podcast is included in this blog archive.

Ebola Update by Fauci 15 mins – NIH Director discusses research efforts being made with Ebola. The source cannot be determined, but the podcast is included in this blog archive.

Election Security 90 mins – “On November 4, Governance Studies at Brookings hosted an event to address impeachment, foreign interference, and election security in 2020. Expert panelists discussed current developments, threats to our political system, and ways to safeguard the upcoming election.” At the link right-click “Download the audio” and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

Elizabeth Warrens’ Plans 49 mins – “Oligarchic capitalism? Elizabeth Warren has a plan for that. Opioid deaths? She’s got a plan for that too. Same is true for high housing costs, offshoring, child care, breaking up Big Tech, curbing congressional corruption, indicting presidents, strengthening reproductive rights, forgiving student loans, providing debt relief to Puerto Rico, and fixing the love lives of some of her Twitter followers. Seriously. But how is Warren going to pass any of these plans? Which policy would she prioritize? What presidential powers would she leverage? What argument would she make to her fellow Senate Democrats to convince them to abolish the filibuster? What will she do if Mitch McConnell still leads the Senate? What about climate change? I caught her on a campaign swing through California to ask her about that meta-plan. The plan behind her plans. Warren’s easy fluency with policy is on full display here, but it’s her systematic thinking about the nature of power, and what it takes to redistribute it, that really sets her apart from the field. I don’t want to shock you, but: She’s got a plan for that too.” At the link right-click ”MP3” and select”Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

Farmers Solving Problems 33 mins – “Reinier van der Lee is the CEO & Founder of Vinduino, an AgTech company that supports farmers and other producers in the ag industry with products that improve profits and fruit quality as well as increase yield. One of the company’s latest products is the Vinduino R4 Sensor station, an open-source sensor that gives farmers data on water usage and efficiency. Reinier also owns a 4-acre vineyard and credits his need for better irrigation management as the reason why he founded Vinduino. Reinier joins me today to share how Vinduino is helping farmers gather the kind of data they need and understand when it comes to water management. He explains how their products work, what separates them from other AgTech companies, and why knowing how much water you’re using is critical to your business. He also discusses why he chose to keep their products open source and shares some of the upcoming events and projects they have lined up this year.” At the link right-click the down-pointing arrow and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

Fracture Bracing59 mins – “Bones break but have the ability to heal with proper bracing. From off-the-shelf braces to custom made devices, multiple fracture orthotic options are available Specialist Alex Shimkus explains the considerations made in order to achieve optimum results. Fitting and rehabilitation with these fracture braces needs to be closely monitored to prevent complications and achieve faster and optimum healing.” At the link you can download the audio or TV version of the program; however, a copy of the audio program is included in this blog archive.

Geoengineering 70 mins – “Most analyses of how to “solve” climate change start from a single, crucial assumption: that carbon emissions and global warming are inextricably linked. Geoengineering is a set of technologies and ideas with the potential to shatter that link. Can we use them? Should we? Could they be used in concert with other solutions, or would simply opening the door drain support from those ideas? Even if we did want to deploy geoengineering, who would govern its use? And is mucking with the earth at this level more dangerous than climate change itself — which may, ultimately, be the choice we face? Jane Flegal is a geoengineering expert at Arizona State University and a program officer at the Bernard and Anne Spitzer Charitable Trust. She’s able to parse this debate with an unusual level of clarity, fairness, and rigor. This isn’t an argument for or against geoengineering. It’s a way to think about it, and that turns out to be a way to think about the climate change problem as a whole.” At the link right-click ”MP3” and select”Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

Guns Debate 49 mins – “Want to know why we can’t make any progress on the guns debate? Because this isn’t a debate over policy. It’s a debate over identity. After last month’s shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, I remembered a book Evan Osnos recommended on this show, called Citizen-Protectors: The Everyday Politics of Guns in an Age of Decline by Jennifer Carlson. Carlson, a sociologist, realized that her discipline had missed a major social transformation: that Americans weren’t just buying guns for hunting or home protection. Guns had become part of their everyday lives, structuring how they saw the world, their country, and their role in it. And so she dove deep into the experiences of gun carriers in Michigan, becoming a gun carrier and even certified instructor herself, examining how the NRA’s training programs construct new models of citizenship, and digging into how gun ownership interacts with race, gender, and class. I don’t believe that empathy alone offers a way forward in the guns debate. But I do believe that understanding the identities at play here — both among those who own guns and those who want to see gun ownership restricted — is the only way to have a debate that makes sense. This conversation helped me, at least, see those identities much more clearly. Books Columbine by Dave Cullen Chokehold by Paul Butler The Limits of Whiteness by Neda Maghbouleh.” At the link right-click ”MP3” and select”Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

Homeless Education 44 mins – “Welcome to Episode 463 of the Moving at the Speed of Creativity podcast, a show by Dr. Wesley Fryer (@wfryer) focusing on digital creativity, media literacy, digital literacy, digital citizenship, instructional technology integration and engaged learning both inside and outside the classroom. This episode features an interview with Shelly Fryer (@sfryer) about the 2017 movie, “The Florida Project” (@floridaproject). The IMDB description of the movie is, “Set over one summer, the film follows precocious six-year-old Moonee as she courts mischief and adventure with her ragtag playmates and bonds with her rebellious but caring mother, all while living in the shadows of Walt Disney World.” The Florida Project raises a host of important issues facing every community, including poverty, homelessness, social services, education and schools, non-profit and church outreach programs, and more. As a lifelong educator with extensive experiences working with families in poverty through church ministry, as well as educational and social services for homeless children and families in Oklahoma City, Shelly Fryer has unique and important perspectives on the issues and needs highlighted in “The Florida Project.” Check out the podcast shownotes for links to referenced books, resources, organizations and websites mentioned in the show. Please reach out to Shelly or Wes with feedback and additional resources or ideas this movie or this podcast interview encourages you to share.” At the link left-click the down-pointing arrow, then right-click “Download,” then select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

Knee Osteoarthritis58 mins – “Knee pain is a common complaint that affects people of all ages. Find out about various knee braces and the best type to use for different problems. Also learn about what to do after knee surgery and osteoarthritis bracing.” At the link you can download the audio or TV version of the program; however, a copy of the audio program is included in this blog archive.

Lab Grown Lungs 12 mins – “This week: A new study from the University of Bristol showing the way plants accumulate sugar helps them tell what time it is; scientists have successfully transplanted lab-grown lungs into pigs; and Caucher Birkar was awarded the Fields Medal—and then it was immediately stolen.” At the link right-click the down-pointing arrow and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu to get the podcast.

Malcolm Gladwell 93 mins – “Malcolm Gladwell’s work is nothing short of an intellectual adventure. Sometimes, as in his podcast Revisionist History, he takes something small and mundane — a hockey statistic, a semicolon, a verbal tic — and draws a broad, sweeping conclusion that shatters your worldview. Other times, as in his new book Talking to Strangers, he takes something big and contentious — the death of Sandra Bland, the wrongful conviction of Amanda Knox, the ponzi scheme of Bernie Madoff — and produces insights that challenge conventional wisdom, leaving you wondering how you missed what he saw all along. In either case, once you’ve experienced what Gladwell has to say, you can never see things in quite the same way again. This conversation is an adventure of its own. We cover everything from the secrets behind Gladwell’s creative process to the basic social ingredient that undergirds all of modern society to the story of how an entire field office of the CIA got infiltrated by Cuban spies — and what that teaches us about human nature.” At the link right-click ”MP3” and select”Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

Nature Conservancy 44 mins – “Michael Doane is the Managing Director of the Agriculture and Food Systems at The Nature Conservancy, a nonprofit organization and the world’s leader in providing nature conservation efforts. Their mission is to conserve Mother Nature for future generations by buying lands to prevent plant and animal extinction and restoring otherwise ruined parts of nature back to its former glory. Michael’s responsible for ensuring industries that rely heavily on nature are managed and controlled. He primarily concentrates on projects involving soil health, sustainable forestry and ranching, and nutrient loss reductions. Today, Michael Doane shares his company’s advocacies and their many projects. He discusses the company’s history and what made them become the leading conservation organization. He also explains some of their company’s many successful projects as well as their prospects, and how they prioritize which ones to fund first.” At the link left-click the down-pointing arrow, select “Save File” and “OK” to download the podcast.

Neural Networks 16 mins – “When we design a skyscraper we expect it will perform to specification: that the tower will support so much weight and be able to withstand an earthquake of a certain strength. But with one of the most important technologies of the modern world, we’re effectively building blind. We play with different designs, tinker with different setups, but until we take it out for a test run, we don’t really know what it can do or where it will fail. This technology is the neural network, which underpins today’s most advanced artificial intelligence systems. Increasingly, neural networks are moving into the core areas of society: They determine what we learn of the world through our social media feeds, they help doctors diagnose illnesses, and they even influence whether a person convicted of a crime will spend time in jail. Yet “the best approximation to what we know is that we know almost nothing about how neural networks actually work and what a really insightful theory would be,” said Boris Hanin, a mathematician at Texas A&M University and a visiting scientist at Facebook AI Research who studies neural networks.” At the link right-click the down-pointing arrow and select”Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

Nonviolent Resistance 48 mins – “The 2010s witnessed a sharp uptick in nonviolent resistance movements all across the globe. Over the course of the last decade we’ve seen record numbers of popular protests, grassroots campaigns, and civic demonstrations advancing causes that range from toppling dictatorial regimes to ending factory farming to advancing a Green New Deal. So, I thought it would be fitting to kick off 2020 by bringing on Erica Chenoweth, a political scientist at Harvard specializing in nonviolent resistance. At the beginning of this decade Chenoweth co-authored Why Civil Resistance Works, a landmark study showing that nonviolent movements are twice as effective as violent ones. Since then, she has written dozens of papers on what factors make successful movements successful, why global protests are becoming more and more common, how social media has affected resistance movements and much more.” At the link right-click ”MP3” and select”Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

North Korean Life 48 mins – “The most important story in the world right now is how real the chance of war with North Korea is — and how cataclysmic such a war would be. Part of the reason the risk of war is so real is that our understanding of North Korea is so sparse. “The Hermit Kingdom” is a world unto itself; a land of deprivation, of lunacy, of tyranny, of delusion. We have no diplomatic relations, no trade, no cross-cultural exchanges. We don’t understand Kim Jong Un, we don’t understand his people, and they don’t understand us. And so, ignorant, we lurch towards the possibility of nuclear war built atop mutual miscomprehension. The best view we have into life in North Korea is Barbara Demick’s Nothing to Envy: The Ordinary Lives of North Koreans. Demick was the Los Angeles Times bureau chief in Seoul and Beijing, and she found herself obsessed with this country she couldn’t cover and couldn’t understand. So she began talking to the people who had left it, the refugees who escaped across the DMZ. She began asking them to reconstruct their lives, to tell her what it was like, to make everyday life in North Korea intelligible. And they did. They told her what it was like to grow up, and to fall in love, and to go to school, and to have dinner, and to flee. They told her what it was like to build new lives, to remember past friends, to know their family was in a place they could never visit again, to hear the rest of the world fear and pity the place they had once called home. This conversation is about North Korea, but it’s also about North Koreans — about what it’s like to live in the most closed society on earth, about what they know and don’t know of the outside world, about how their existence can be both ordinary and extraordinary, about what would happen to them if there was a war. And this is a conversation about what we need to know about North Korea, about how the country’s past informs its present, about what Demick would tell Trump if he would just listen.” At the link right-click ”MP3” and select”Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

Parasites That Alter Behavior 38 mins – “We talk to parasitologist and co-author of Soonish: Ten Emerging Technologies That’ll Improve and/or Ruin Everything, Kelly Weinersmith.” At the link you can listen but not download; however, a copy of the podcast is included in this blog archive.

Pest Wars 36 mins – “Fatma Kaplan and Cameron Schiller are the founders of Pheronym, an agricultural biotechnology company that develops safe and nontoxic solutions to protect a wide variety of plants. Their flagship product is based on pheromones which is extracted from microscopic roundworms called nematodes. Fatma is Pheronym’s CEO/CSO and is an accomplished scientist with a Ph.D. in Plant Molecular and Cellular Biology and postdoctoral training in Natural Product Chemistry. Cameron is the COO and has extensive experience in entrepreneurship with a bachelor’s degree in economics and a Master of Science degree in pharmacy healthcare management. Fatma and Cameron join me today to discuss their pheromone-based pesticide and how it can improve the agricultural landscape in the future. They describe the primary problem regarding nematodes, what inspired them to investigate the use of pheromones as a pesticide, and what eventually lead them to make nematodes work for farmers instead of against them. They also explain the science behind their product and its mechanical and legal challenges as well as share their experience with accelerators.

Poverty Cost 94 mins – “…Few want to justify the existence of poverty, but when they do, that’s how they do it. People in poverty just aren’t smart enough, or hard-working enough, or they’re not making good enough decisions. There’s a moral void in that logic to begin with — but it also gets the reality largely backward. “The poor do have lower effective capacity than those who are well off,” write Sendhil Mullainathan and Eldar Shafir in their book Scarcity. “This is not because they are less capable, but rather because part of their mind is captured by scarcity.” They show, across continents and contexts, that the more economic pressure you place on people, the worse their cognitive performance becomes. Mullainathan is a genius. A literal, MacArthur-certified genius. He’s an economist at the Chicago Booth School of Business who has published foundational work on a truly dizzying array of topics, but his most important research is around what scarcity does to the brain. This is work with radical implications for how we think about inequality and social policy. One thing I appreciated about Mullainathan in this conversation is that he doesn’t shy away from that. This is one of those conversations I wanted to have because the ideas are so important and persuasive. I didn’t expect Mullainathan to be such a delight to talk to. But since he was, we also discussed the economics of our AI-soaked future, the power of rigid rules, the reason conversation is so much better in person, why cigarette taxes make smokers happier, what Star Trek got wrong, and how he’s managed to do so much important work in such a vast array of disciplines. We could’ve gone for three more hours, easily.” At the link right-click ”MP3” and select”Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.uction. But if your knowledge of Nader mostly consists of his 2000 campaign for the presidency, his career does demand some context. Nader is one of America’s truly great policy entrepreneurs, and arguably one of its great ideologists. The consumer safety movement he founded and led has saved, literally, millions of lives. His idea of what it means to be a public citizen is deeply rooted in American traditions, but largely, and lamentably, lost today in national American politics. And Nader is still active. Writing books. Writing columns. Releasing podcasts. He’s never stopped. He has led, and continues to lead, one of the most fascinating lives in American political history. In this conversation, we talk about everything from his theories of the media to his approach to political change to how he hired and advised “Nader’s Raiders.” We discuss Howard Schultz’s third-party presidential campaign, whether America is a better country than it was 50 years ago, the differences he sees between Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, and which parts of life he believes should be de-commercialized. I’ve long wanted to interview Nader, to ask him about the parts of his career, and of his philosophy, that I knew less about. It was a pleasure to get the chance.” At the link right-click ”MP3” and select”Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

Radiation Harming Patients 4 mins – “The topic here is radiation and how we’re not doing the right things for patients. We have a serious problem with overcooking radiation in the United States. It’s by far worse here than anywhere else in the world. We have runaway uses of nuclear scans, CT scans, and PET scanning, and we don’t even warn our patients; we don’t give patients any data on the dangers. In my book, imaging is a really important topic because there’s so much progress in imaging and use of nonionizing radiation like ultrasound or MRI, but we continue to rely heavily on scans. In cardiology, for example, there are more than 10 million nuclear scans being performed each year, mostly CT scans. We know from all the data we have today that 2%-3% of cancers in this country are related to use of medical imaging and ionized radiation. So, why don’t we tell patients when they have a particular imaging scan exactly how many millisievert (mSv) they’re getting exposed to? A CT angiogram of the heart is 16 mSv; a lot is being done to try to reduce that, but that is equivalent to 800 chest x-rays. How about a typical nuclear scan? A lot of patients who are treated in cardiology get this done every year. At 41 mSv, it’s equivalent to 2000 chest x-rays. But patients aren’t told any of this. And not only that, but we could actually measure exactly how many mSv they got by using the same type of radiation badges that the medical professionals use when they work in a cardiac cath lab or in an x-ray suite. But we don’t do that. This is a serious breach of our responsibility to patients.” At the link you can watch and copy but not download the presentation; however, a copy is included in the blog archive.

Spider Webs 12 mins – “Millions of years ago, a few spiders abandoned the kind of round webs that the word “spiderweb” calls to mind and started to focus on a new strategy. Before, they would wait for prey to become ensnared in their webs and then walk out to retrieve it. Then they began building horizontal nets to use as a fishing platform. Now their modern descendants, the cobweb spiders, dangle sticky threads below, wait until insects walk by and get snagged, and reel their unlucky victims in. In 2008, the researcher Hilton Japyassú prompted 12 species of orb spiders collected from all over Brazil to go through this transition again. He waited until the spiders wove an ordinary web. Then he snipped its threads so that the silk drooped to where crickets wandered below. When a cricket got hooked, not all the orb spiders could fully pull it up, as a cobweb spider does. But some could, and all at least began to reel it in with their two front legs….” At the link right-click the down-pointing arrow and select ”Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

Trump Corruption 63 mins – “The question of whether President Trump colluded with Russia during the 2016 election has consumed Washington since the Justice Department appointed Robert Mueller special counsel in March 2017. But there’s another question worth considering: the financial corruption swirling around Trump’s businesses, and now his administration. In any other White House, this would be the ongoing, constant story — the site of endless investigations and inquiries. And it still might be. We know Mueller is looking into the web of financial ties between Trump’s businesses and the post-Soviet bloc, and we know that part of the Mueller investigation gets Trump particularly outraged. Plus, we still don’t know what’s on Trump’s tax returns, or what could be discovered if Democrats take back a chamber of Congress and get subpoena power. Here’s my bet: If there is some scandal lurking that’s going to derail the Trump administration, I think it’s going to be found by following the money, not by following the Russian bots. Adam Davidson has been investigating this since Trump’s election. If you’re an avid podcast listener, you probably know Adam from his days at Planet Money. He’s now at the New Yorker, doing some of the best investigative work on the Trump Organization. You’ll want to hear what he’s found.” At the link right-click ”MP3” and select”Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

U.S. Defense Policy 63 mins – “On October 31, the Brookings Institution hosted Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) to discuss U.S. defense and foreign policy with Senior Fellow Michael O’Hanlon.” At the link right-click the down-pointing arrow, select “Save File” and “OK” to download the podcast.

Wounded Warriors Project 92 mins – “Since September 11, 2001, 3.3 million Americans have served in uniform. As of October 7, 2019, the Defense Department reports that 7,028 have died and 53,010 service members have been wounded in action, but this is just a fraction though of those who are estimated to have been adversely impacted by the longest wars in American history. The Department’s own Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center reports that more than 380,000 have sustained traumatic brain injuries, and RAND estimates that, “Nearly 20 percent of military service members who have returned from Iraq and Afghanistan reported symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder or major depression.” The need for services and support continues to grow even as the numbers of killed and wounded decline, and the public’s interest and involvement wanes. On October 30, Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) and the Brookings Institution unveiled the results of WWP’s 10th Annual Warrior Survey (AWS) and hosted a panel discussion about the most pressing issues facing America’s servicemembers and veterans. The AWS is America’s largest and most comprehensive survey of wounded, injured, and ill veterans and provides the latest snapshot of their mental, physical, and economic health and wellbeing.” At the link right-click “Audio Only” and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

Thanks for stopping by.

 

About virginiajim

Retired knowledge nut.
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