Mining Digest 431 – Feb 21, 2020: African Resource Management, AI Impact, Algorithm Impact on Humans, Anti-money Laundering, Army Modernization, Climate Change Fix, Crypto AG, DNA Evidence Faults, Driverless Cars, Drug Purchases in Louisiana, Energy Future, Explosive Networks, Fake Content, Financial Crisis of 2008, Gene Location Impact, Gerrymandering Fight, Housing Experiment, Information Privacy, Kibbutz, LED Upgrade, Memories that Hide, Militia Group Conflicts, Natures Warning System, Neural Networks Impact, Podcasting Evolution, Privacy Laws, Robots and AI Transform America, Science and Math Trends, Shared Prosperity, Spiderwebs, Transportation Trends, US – Asia Relations, Virus Swarms Spread, VR to Preserve Evidence, Wind Powered Ships

Exercise your ears: the 50 podcasts shown below present the best ideas, information and stories from a larger group of 622 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.

African Resource Management 78 mins – “On Tuesday, September 17, the Africa Growth Initiative at the Brookings Institution hosted His Excellency President Alpha Condé of Guinea to share his thoughts on the many priorities that need to be balanced when managing revenues from natural resources in Africa. This is an abiding priority for Guinea, a nation blessed with one-third of the world’s reserves of bauxite, as well as a wealth of iron, diamonds, gold, among other natural resources. While the country’s mining sector produces more than 90 percent the country’s exports, the sector only accounts for 17 percent of tax revenue and 2.6 percent of employment. Reforms are underway in Guinea to improve the business environment and open up to high-quality foreign investment. However, myriad challenges remain, including attracting more investors and optimizing the mining sector, diversifying the economy, and boosting job creation. His Excellency also reflected on how Guinea’s reforms may offer lessons for other resource-rich nations in Africa.” At the link right-click “Download the Audio,” and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

AI and Ethics 27 mins – “Cansu Canca is a philosopher and the founder/director of the AI Ethics Lab, where she leads teams of computer scientists, philosophers, and legal scholars to provide ethics analysis and guidance to researchers and practitioners.” At the link you can listen, but not download; however, a copy of the audio is included in this blog archive.

AI Impact 21 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 “Download” and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

Algorithm Bias 24 mins – “Algorithms spread bias at gigabit speeds. What does this mean for society? And who can fix it?” At the link you can listen, but not download; however, a copy of the audio is included in this blog archive.

Algorithm Bias 34 mins – “What can a mistake in a computer program from 1843 tell us about modern-day biases in software algorithms?” At the link left-click “Share,” then right-click the down-pointing arrow and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

Algorithm Impact on Humans 31 mins – “We talk to mathematician and science writer Hannah Fry about her latest book Hello World: Being Human in the Age of Algorithms.” At the link right-click “Download” and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

Anti-money Laundering 107 mins – “America’s anti-money laundering (AML) system is designed to catch criminals and deter illicit activity. Since its inception in the 1960s, AML has grown beyond organized crime and tax evasion to combat drug dealers, human trafficking, and after September 11, 2001, terrorists. Today, AML compliance is a multi-billion-dollar industry generating millions of annual reports and is used in law enforcement cases spanning a wide range of activities. New questions about AML’s goals, effectiveness, and impact on financial inclusion today have prompted proposals in Congress to modify AML in significant ways. On September 11, Brookings convened current and former policy makers and leading thought leaders to examine whether we have arrived at the right place with our AML policy, and if not, what needs to change.” At the link right-click “audio only” and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

Army Modernization 62 mins – “The Army must evolve to win. The multi-domain operations concept details how the Army, as part of the joint force, integrates multi-domain capabilities to defeat adversaries. This concept reflects the role that emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence and hypersonics are increasingly playing in the changing nature of warfare. But to be able to operate under this concept and achieve a multi-domain, operations-ready force by 2028, the Army must undertake significant modernization efforts. The Army Futures Command, led by Lieutenant General Eric Wesley, has led a year-long project to define not only the future operating environment but also the force structure the U.S. will need to succeed.” At the link right-click “Download the Audio” and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

Black Holes Collide 22 mins – “On Sept. 14, 2015, at almost the exact same time that a pair of sprawling gravitational-wave detectors heard the last gasp of a collision between two black holes, another, more perplexing observation took place. Over 500 kilometers above the surface of the Earth, the orbiting Fermi Gamma-Ray Space Telescope logged a passing burst of gamma rays, a high-energy form of light. The signal was so slight that the NASA scientists who run the satellite didn’t notice it at first. “[The gravitational-wave detector] LIGO saw a bright event, clear in their data, and we found a little blip in our data that’s really only credible because it happened so close in time to the gravitational wave,” said Valerie Connaughton, a member of the Fermi team. On Feb. 11, the Fermi researchers posted a paper to the scientific preprint site arxiv.org describing the gamma-ray burst and speculating that it likely originated from the same black-hole merger that produced the gravitational waves observed by LIGO (the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory). The correlation, which is far from certain, would upend entrenched assumptions in physics. Astrophysicists have long believed that black holes exist in a vacuum, as they tend to swallow up all nearby matter. This absence of matter means it should be impossible for two merging black holes to generate a flash of light….” At the link right-click “Download” and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

Climate Change Fix 34 mins – “Could we pull the solution to climate change out of thin air? An oft-forgotten but hugely important scientific technique from the early 20th century suggests the idea isn’t crazy.” At the link left-click “Share,” then right-click the down-pointing arrow and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

Crypto AG 18 mins – “For more than half a century, governments all over the world trusted a single company to keep the communications of their spies, soldiers and diplomats secret. The company, Crypto AG, got its first break with a contract to build code-making machines for U.S. troops during World War II. Flush with cash, it became a dominant maker of encryption devices for decades, navigating waves of technology from mechanical gears to electronic circuits and, finally, silicon chips and software. The Swiss firm made millions of dollars selling equipment to more than 120 countries well into the 21st century. Its clients included Iran, military juntas in Latin America, nuclear rivals India and Pakistan, and even the Vatican.” At the link you can listen, but not download; hwoever, a copy is included in this blog archive.

Dark Matter Dispute 18 mins – “For 80 years, scientists have puzzled over the way galaxies and other cosmic structures appear to gravitate toward something they cannot see. This hypothetical “dark matter” seems to outweigh all visible matter by a startling ratio of five to one, suggesting that we barely know our own universe. Thousands of physicists are doggedly searching for these invisible particles. But the dark matter hypothesis assumes scientists know how matter in the sky ought to move in the first place. This month, a series of developments has revived a long-disfavored argument that dark matter doesn’t exist after all. In this view, no missing matter is needed to explain the errant motions of the heavenly bodies; rather, on cosmic scales, gravity itself works in a different way than either Isaac Newton or Albert Einstein predicted.” At the link right-click the down-pointing arrow and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

DNA Evidence Faults 29 mins – “In the early 20th century, a new forensic technique, fingerprinting, displaced a cruder form of identification based on body measurements. Hailed as modern, scientific, and infallible, fingerprinting was adopted around the world. But in recent years, doubts have been cast on its reliability, and a new technique, DNA profiling, has emerged as the forensic gold standard. In assuming it is infallible, are we making the same mistake again?” At the link left-click “Share,” then right-click the down-pointing arrow and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

Driverless Cars 34 mins – “The first pedestrian killed by a car in the Western Hemisphere was on New York’s Upper West Side in 1899. One newspaper warned that “the automobile has tasted blood.” Today, driverless cars present their own mix of technological promise and potential danger. Can the reaction to that 1899 pedestrian tragedy help us navigate current arguments about safety, blame, commerce, and public space?” At the link right-click the down-pointing arrow and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

Drug Purchases in Louisiana 131 mins – “The high cost of prescription drugs has become an increasingly pressing concern for policymakers, insurers, and families. New drugs—like those now available for hepatitis C— offer tremendous medical benefits, but at a cost that puts them out of reach for many patients. In an effort to address the affordability dilemma, the Louisiana Department of Health has recently introduced a novel “subscription” model under which Asegua Therapeutics, a subsidiary of Gilead Sciences, will supply, for a negotiated sum, enough hepatitis C drugs to cure virtually all incarcerated and Medicaid patients suffering from hepatitis C in Louisiana over the next five years.” At the link right-click “audio only” and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

Energy Future 26 mins – “I had a great discussion today with David Cohen, Founder, and Chairman of E7 Ventures. Our topic was the future of energy and his belief that we are rapidly heading towards an Energy Internet. Like most other areas of science and technology, energy is experiencing an exponential progression that likely changes the energy paradigm in the coming decade. In his book titled The Zero Marginal Cost Society, Economist Jeremy Rifkin describes how Internet technology and renewable energies are merging to create an energy Internet that changes the way power is generated and distributed in society – a paradigm shift in energy similar to what occurred in computing. He describes an emergent system with synergies between Five Pillars that drive this paradigm shift: Shifting to renewable energy; Transforming buildings into micro–power plants to collect renewable energies on-site; Deploying hydrogen and other storage technologies to store intermittent energies ; Using Internet technology to transform the power grid into an energy Internet; Transitioning the transport fleet to electric plug-in and fuel cell vehicles that can buy and sell green electricity on a smart, continental, interactive power grid” At the link you can listen, but not download; however, a copy is included in this blog archive.

Energy Future 54 mins – “The buzz: “Energy is the new new Internet” (Brian Lakamp techcrunch.com/2017/01/22/energy-is-the-new-new-internet). The dynamic, distributed, and multi-participant Energy Internet – aka Enernet – is positioned to transform our lives – perhaps on a larger scale than the Internet before it. It is built around clean energy generation, storage and delivery. With a long list of innovators emerging, the resulting innovation will drive massive change, including how we think about cities, municipal services, transportation, insurance, real estate, financial services and more. The experts speak. Frank Diana, TCS: “You’ve got to think about big things while you’re doing small things, so that all the small things go in the right direction” (Alvin Toffler). Gray Scott, Futurist: “It always seems impossible until it is done” (Nelson Mandela). Tom Franklin, TCS: “Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage” (Anais Nin). Join us for Exploring The Future of Energy: Welcome to the Enernet.” At the link right-click “Download MP3” and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

Explosive Networks 21 mins – “Last week, United Airlines grounded nearly 5,000 flights when its computer system crashed. The culprit: a faulty network router. Later on the same morning, another computer glitch halted trading on the New York Stock Exchange for over three hours. Some saw the sinister hand of a hacker in these outages, but they are far more likely to be a coincidence, an intrinsic feature of the system rather than a bug. Networks go down all the time, a consequence of unprecedented levels of interconnection. Disruptions can occur even in the most robust networks, whether these are power grids, global financial markets, or your favorite social network. As the former Atlantic reporter Alexis Madrigal observed when a computer error shut down the Nasdaq stock exchange in 2013, “When things work in new ways, they break in new ways.” A fresh new understanding of such systems — the way they grow, and how they break — has arisen from the physics of coffee. Researchers usually think of network connectivity as happening in a slow, continuous manner, similar to the way water moves through freshly ground coffee beans, slowly saturating all the granules to become coffee in the container below. However, over the past few years, researchers have discovered that in special cases, connectivity might emerge with a bang, not a whimper, via a phenomenon they have dubbed “explosive percolation” At the link right-click “Download” and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu. .”

Fake Content 36 mins – “What will fake content look like in five years? In 10?” At the link you can listen, but not download; however, a copy of the audio is included in this blog archive.

Financial Crisis of 2008 66 mins – “Anat Admati of Stanford’s Graduate School of Business talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the financial crisis of 2008, the lessons she has learned, and how it has changed her view of economics, finance, and her career.At the link right-click “Download” and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

Gene Location Impact 15 mins – “The nucleus of a cell has something in common with a cardboard box full of kittens: People get so fascinated by the contents that they overlook the container. The nucleus itself is often treated as no more than a featureless membranous bag for holding the vitally dynamic genetic material. Yet in fact it has specialized parts and an internal architecture of its own, and scientists have long speculated that precisely how the DNA positions itself with respect to those parts might matter a great deal. Now a team of researchers is finding credible evidence that this is true and possibly an important influence on gene expression. Using a new technique based on the genome-editing tool CRISPR, they artificially pinned parts of a cell’s DNA to different regions in the nucleus and observed what happened. The work, published last month in Cell, has begun to yield intriguing insights into how various nuclear neighborhoods may relate to gene expression, as either cause or facilitator…” At the link right-click “Download” and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

Gerrymandering 17 mins – “Partisan gerrymandering — the practice of drawing voting districts to give one political party an unfair edge — is one of the few political issues that voters of all stripes find common cause in condemning. Voters should choose their elected officials, the thinking goes, rather than elected officials choosing their voters. The Supreme Court agrees, at least in theory: In 1986 it ruled that partisan gerrymandering, if extreme enough, is unconstitutional. Yet in that same ruling, the court declined to strike down two Indiana maps under consideration, even though both “used every trick in the book,” according to a paper in the University of Chicago Law Review. And in the decades since then, the court has failed to throw out a single map as an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander. “If you’re never going to declare a partisan gerrymander, what is it that’s unconstitutional?” said Wendy K. Tam Cho, a political scientist and statistician at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.” At the link right-click the down-pointing arrow and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

Health Care Technology 88 mins – “As Congress currently works toward a national data privacy law, how will existing and emerging innovations be impacted, including connected devices, applications, and the cloud? What will be the effects of stronger transparency and disclosure requirements on consumer-facing technologies and companies? What will privacy compliance look like for companies who offer online or cloud-based products and services? How can we protect consumer rights in the emerging world of around-the-clock digital connections? On September 16, the Center for Technology Innovation at Brookings hosted a public discussion on how federal legislation should account for a variety of nuanced verticals, including health care, commerce, and education. Panelists discussed how pending legislation should allow for innovation, while still ensuring greater consumer transparency. The event also examined the context and application of any new data law and its effect on various online, behavioral activities managed by consumers.” At the link right-click “Download the Audio” and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

Heredity Science 43 mins – “We talk to Carl Zimmer, New York Times columnist and author of 13 books about science about his latest book She Has Her Mother’s Laugh: The Powers, Perversions, and Potential of Heredity.” At the link right-click “Download” and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

Housing Experiment 207 mins – “In 1992, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development partnered with five public housing authorities to launch Moving to Opportunity ⁠— a 10-year fair housing experiment to help low income families find housing in low-poverty areas. They hoped to test what many people already suspected: different neighborhoods affect opportunity in different ways. The results and subsequent projects have illustrated that while some neighborhoods expand opportunities, others decrease them, highlighting important policy solutions for fair housing. Rising housing costs, increasing economic inequality, and new research from a team led by Raj Chetty on work done with the Seattle and King County Housing Authorities makes Moving to Opportunity more relevant than ever. On September 19, Brookings’s Future of the Middle Class Initiative hosted an event presenting new results on Moving to Opportunity from Jens Ludwig, professor at the University of Chicago, Jeffrey Kling from the Congressional Budget Office, and Nathaniel Hendren of Opportunity Insights and Harvard University. Their presentations were followed by two panels discussing the research in the field as well as the work on the ground by practitioners.

Information and Communications Trends 57 mins – “The digital economy has a profound influence on the world’s trajectory and the societal well-being of ordinary citizens. It affects everything from resource allocation to income distribution and growth. The information and communications technology (ICT) industry stands at the center of the digital economy, serving as a reliable yardstick of its performance. The ICT industry unites labor policy, economic growth, and the current heated immigration policy discourse and poses both profound challenges and exciting opportunities for a broad cross-section of policymakers. On July 24, Governance Studies at Brookings hosted a discussion on trends in the information technology sector featuring experts in the field. Panelists spoke about the opportunities and challenges brought on by digital trends that are simultaneously fueling economic productivity and producing undesirable social outcomes, such as increasing inequality and stagnant social mobility. The panel also discussed a recently released Brookings paper on the impact of the ICT sector on growth, job creation in the U.S. economy, and systematic challenges, including privacy, trade, and immigration.” At the link right-click “Download the Audio” and

Information Privacy 140 mins – “Recent congressional hearings and data breaches have prompted legislators, advocacy groups, and business leaders to call for broad federal privacy legislation. Furthermore, congressional leaders in both parties have expressed an interest in taking up privacy legislation and various Members of Congress have released drafts of bills intended to spark discussion. As Congress returns to session in September, legislators will face continuing questions about how to develop federal legislation to protect personal information. On September 11, the Center for Technology Innovation at Brookings hosted a public discussion on the status of federal privacy legislation. This event, part of Brookings’ ongoing focus on the privacy debate, examined expected legislation through the eyes of keynote speakers and two expert panels. The first panel, which will be a live taping of the Lawfare Podcast, looked through the broad lens of competing visions of what legislation should accomplish and the impact on businesses and individuals. The second panel delved into specific issues presented by proposals for legislation, the path forward to passage, and the prospects.” At the link right-click “Audio only” and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

Kibbutz 44 mins – “Economist and author Ran Abramitzky of Stanford University talks about his book, The Mystery of the Kibbutz, with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Abramitzky traces the evolution of the kibbutz movement in Israel and how the kibbutz structure changed to cope with the modernization and development of the Israeli economy. The conversation includes a discussion of how the history of the kibbutz might help us to understand the appeal and challenges of the socialism and freedom.” At the link right-click “Download” and select “Select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

LED Upgrade 13 mins – “…In particular, LED lights — or light-emitting diodes — depend on the phenomenon of localization. They light up when electrons in a semiconducting material, having started out in a position of higher energy, get trapped (or “localize”) in a position of lower energy and emit the difference as a photon of light. LEDs are still a work in progress: Engineers need to build LEDs that more efficiently convert electrons into light, if the devices are to become the future of artificial lighting, as many expect they will. If physicists can gain a better understanding of the mathematics of localization, engineers can build better LEDs — and with the help of Mayboroda’s mathematics, that effort is already under way.” At the link right-click the down-pointing arrow and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

Libyan Conflicts 63 mins – “The past year has seen no end to the turbulence plaguing Libya since the ouster of Moammar al-Gadhafi in 2011, with armed factions vying for control of the country’s strategic assets and United Nations-facilitated negotiations leading nowhere. While the self-styled Libyan National Army of General Khalifa Haftar continues, unsuccessfully, to try to take over the country militarily, the internationally-recognized government of Prime Minister Fayez Serraj in Tripoli, propped up by militias opposed to Haftar, retains control over major institutions and sources of national wealth. Weapons of increasing sophistication and lethality are flowing to the opposing sides, in violation of U.N. sanctions and pitting foreign powers against each other, with the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt (with French support) backing Haftar, and Turkey and Qatar backing Serraj. Meanwhile, facing a stagnant economy and constant threats to infrastructure, the Libyan people are caught in the crossfire of this protracted jockeying. Unchecked migration and the threat of extremist groups taking hold in the country’s contested spaces likewise make Libya’s internal situation a security concern for Europe and the United States. Solving the civil war in Libya would restore needed stability to a strategically vital part of northern Africa while laying the groundwork for the prosperity of the Libyan people.” At the link right-click “Download the Audio” and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

Memories That Hide 16 mins – “Susumu Tonegawa’s presence announces itself as soon as you walk through the door of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Picower Institute for Learning and Memory. A three-foot-high framed photograph of Tonegawa stands front and center in the high-ceilinged lobby, flanked by a screen playing a looping rainbow-hued clip of recent research highlights. The man in the portrait, however, is anything but a spotlight-seeker. Most days, he’s ensconced in the impenetrable warren of labs and offices that make up Picower’s fifth floor. His hair, thick and dark in the photo, is now a subdued silver, and today, a loosely draped blue cardigan replaces the impeccable suit jacket. His accommodating, soft-spoken manner belies his reputation as a smasher of established dogma, or at least as a poker of deep and abiding holes. Along with his MIT neuroscientist colleague Dheeraj Roy and others, Tonegawa is upending basic assumptions in brain science. Early this year, he reported that memory storage and retrieval happen on two different brain circuits, not on the same one as was long thought. His team also showed that memories of an event form at the same time in the brain’s short-term and long-term storage areas, rather than moving to long-term storage later on. Most recently (and tantalizingly), his lab demonstrated what could someday be a way to bring currently irretrievable memories back into conscious awareness.” At the link right-click the down-pointing arrow and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

Militia Group Conflicts 87 mins – “On September 10, 2014, the United States announced the formation of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS. Since then, ISIS has lost nearly all the territory it once claimed authority over, simultaneously losing most of its sources of revenue. Even as the caliphate’s power has significantly waned, the fight continues in an effort rout out the remnants of the group. Today Coalition partners are dealing with the challenges of returning foreign fighters, securing and rebuilding territory formerly held by ISIS, and addressing the humanitarian challenges in communities who experienced ISIS’s brutality. On September 10, the Brookings Institution and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace hosted an event commemorating the fifth anniversary of the founding of the Coalition, discussing the early days of the diplomatic and military efforts to bring together a diverse coalition of partner nations, how their efforts were organized, and recommendations on where the Coalition can go from here.” At the link right-click “Download the audio” and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

Natures Warning System 33 mins – “Scientists are homing in on a warning signal that arises in complex systems like ecological food webs, the brain and the Earth’s climate. Could it help prevent future catastrophes?” At the link right-click “Download” and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

Network Security 29 mins – “The French telegraph system was hacked in 1834. What does the incident teach us about modern-day network security?” At the link left-click “Share,” then right-click the down-pointing arrow and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

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.” At the link right-click “Download” and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

Nigerian Schoolgirl Abductions 56 mins – “Five years ago, on April 14, 2014, Boko Haram terrorists entered the Nigerian town of Chibok and kidnapped 276 schoolgirls. Already stand-outs due to their pursuit of education, these girls were exemplary in their ambition and work ethic, dreaming of a brighter future for themselves and their families. Five years later, over 100 of the young women are still missing. Those who have returned are haunted by the nightmare they lived through and, too often, face discrimination and ostracism. Their story is not only one of personal resilience, but also of the failure of national and international institutions and the media to respond in an appropriate and timely way. On July 31, journalist Isha Sesay joined the Brookings Africa Growth Initiative for a discussion on her recent book, “Beneath the Tamarind Tree: A Story of Courage, Family, and the Lost Schoolgirls of Boko Haram,” which shares the personal stories of some of the Chibok girls, emphasizes the global necessity of girls’ education, scrutinizes the role of the media during such tragedies, investigates the governance challenges that persist in Nigeria, and imparts broader lessons for national security.” At the link you can listen, but not download; however, a copy of the podcast is included in this blog archive.

Podcasting Evolution 39 mins – “What can new forms of media (like podcasting!) learn from the evolution of radio in the early 20th century? ” At the link right-click “Download” and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

Privacy Laws 139 mins – “Recent congressional hearings and data breaches have prompted legislators, advocacy groups, and business leaders to call for broad federal privacy legislation. Furthermore, congressional leaders in both parties have expressed an interest in taking up privacy legislation and various Members of Congress have released drafts of bills intended to spark discussion. As Congress returns to session in September, legislators will face continuing questions about how to develop federal legislation to protect personal information. On September 11, the Center for Technology Innovation at Brookings hosted a public discussion on the status of federal privacy legislation. This event, part of Brookings’ ongoing focus on the privacy debate, examined expected legislation through the eyes of keynote speakers and two expert panels. The first panel, which will be a live taping of the Lawfare Podcast, looked through the broad lens of competing visions of what legislation should accomplish and the impact on businesses and individuals. The second panel delved into specific issues presented by proposals for legislation, the path forward to passage, and the prospects.” At the link right-click “audio only” and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

Robots and AI P1 15 mins – “Robots are already changing jobs as an endless array of robots enter our everyday lives. From trucking to service work to high-end jobs like doctors and lawyers, this documentary explores how robotics and artificial intelligence are changing the workplace.” At the link you can listen, but not download; however, a copy of the audio is included in this blog archive.

Robots and AI Transform America P2 15 mins – “Automation is already reshaping cities, just as the manufacturing collapse hollowed out America’s heartland. This is a tale of two cities, comparing the Rust Belt to Las Vegas, the city that is expected to be hit the hardest by job displacement due to robotics, artificial intelligence, 3D printing and other technologies in this fourth industrial revolution. AJ+’s [Al Jazeera] documentary series on automation explores how advancements in artificial intelligence, robotics, machine learning and automated vehicles will affect jobs, cities and inequality. From trucking to radiology, new technology is already changing white collar and blue collar occupations, reshaping cities and concentrating wealth in the hands of the few. Robots are taking over the world as companies like Tesla, Amazon, Uber and Google are using robots to automate.” At the link you can listen, but not download; however, a copy of the audio is included in this blog archive.

Science and Math Trends 66 mins – “Why doesn’t our universe make sense? What is time? What is life? On Friday, more than 200 readers joined writers and editors from Quanta Magazine at the Simons Foundation for a wide-ranging panel discussion that examined the newest ideas in fundamental physics, biology and mathematics research, including the questions of whether our universe is “natural,” the nature of time, the origin and evolution of life, whether mathematics is invented or discovered and what role it plays in science and society. These are just some of the topics presented in Quanta’s two new books published by The MIT Press: Alice and Bob Meet the Wall of Fire and The Prime Number Conspiracy.” At the link right-click “Download” and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

Shared Prosperity 66 mins – “Economist and author Daron Acemoglu of MIT discusses with EconTalk host Russ Roberts the challenge of shared prosperity and the policies that could bring about a more inclusive economy. Acemoglu argues for the importance of good jobs over redistribution and makes the case for the policies that could lead to jobs and opportunities across skill levels.” At the link right-click “Download” and select “Select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

Spiderwebs 13 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.

Transportation Trends 60 mins – “New advances in transportation are affecting the manner in which people move, services are rendered, and packages are delivered. Developments from autonomous vehicles and remote sensors to unmanned aerial systems are altering transportation and service delivery around the world. Autonomous systems are being deployed in law enforcement, agriculture, fire-fighting, and disaster relief, among other areas. Because of the growing deployment of these systems, there are important issues of privacy, security, regulation, and human safety that need to be resolved.” At the link right-click “Download the audio” and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

US – China Relations 126 mins – “Throughout the United States, local leaders are stepping onto the world stage. Governors and mayors have expanded their international portfolios, including by launching initiatives to attract investment and jointly address transnational challenges like climate change. While economic interests previously guided much of sub-national outreach, cultural exchange and scientific partnership are also becoming important forces of attraction. The U.S.-China relationship is no exception to this trend. Despite the shift in Washington toward viewing China as a strategic competitor, many state and local leaders continue to explore ways to seize opportunities for closer collaboration with Chinese counterparts. What are the key motivations for this outreach at the sub-national level? Are such efforts generating positive benefits? What effect, if any, are deepening relations between local governments in the United States and China having on the overall bilateral relationship? Are there risks from deepening sub-national U.S.-China relations that deserve greater scrutiny? On July 29, the John L. Thornton China Center at Brookings hosted a public event to explore the costs, benefits, and impacts of sub-national exchanges between the United States and China. Oregon Governor Kate Brown and Former Missouri Governor Bob Holden joined a keynote conversation moderated by award-winning journalist and author James Fallows. A high-level panel of experts and practitioners then convened to discuss the potential promises and pitfalls of sub-national connections within the U.S.-China relationship.”At the link right-click “Audio Only” and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

US – Asia Relations 90 mins – “Under the “America First” banner, President Trump has promised a reset of U.S. trade policy, focusing heavily on negotiating a string of bilateral trade agreements. For trade-dependent economies in Asia with close ties to the United States, like Japan and Taiwan, this moment of disruption in international trade presents both risks and opportunities. The U.S.-China trade war and the increasing bifurcation of high-tech platforms present major challenges for the Japanese and Taiwanese economies, both at the center of global supply chains and with advanced technological capabilities. On the other hand, a bilateral trade agreement with the United States offers a chance to leave behind market access irritants and deepen bilateral ties. Japan and Taiwan, however, are not starting at the same place. Japan has concluded two mega trade agreements and has just come to a preliminary agreement on a trade deal with the U.S., while Taiwan is interested in launching negotiations to ameliorate its economic and diplomatic isolation. What challenges must be overcome to forge a trade agreement? Can the U.S. articulate an effective bilateral trade strategy in Asia? On Tuesday, September 17, the Center for East Asia Policy Studies at Brookings, the U.S.-Japan Research Institute, and the Global Taiwan Institute co-hosted a panel of experts to discuss these issues. Panelists also examined how Japan and Taiwan have weathered the tariff trade war and how they can prepare themselves for a protracted U.S.-China economic conflict.” At the link right-click “Download the Audio” and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

Viral Swarms 28 mins – “Sometime in late 2013, a mosquito-borne virus called chikungunya appeared for the first time in the Western Hemisphere. Chikungunya, or “chik,” as it’s called, rarely kills its human hosts. But it can cause fever, rash and debilitating joint pain. In the two years since it first arrived in the Caribbean, chik has spread wildly across the Americas. It is now suspected of having infected over 1 million people in 44 countries and territories, creating a hemisphere-wide horde of mosquito-borne suffering. The same biological quirks that have contributed to chik’s success are showing researchers how to fight it — and other viruses like it. Chik is an RNA virus, just like influenza, West Nile virus, hepatitis and Ebola, among others. Unlike DNA viruses, which contain two copies of their genetic information, RNA viruses are single-stranded. When they replicate, any errors in the single strand get passed on. As a result, copying is sloppy, and so each new generation of RNA viruses tends to have lots of errors. In only a few generations, a single virus can become a mutant swarm of closely related viruses….” At the link right-click “Download” and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

VR to Preserve Evidence 30 mins – “In the Victorian era, plaster casts became a way to preserve important artifacts in 3D. Now, virtual reality promises to preserve places and experiences. But who decides what gets preserved? And is the technology an accurate re-creation of the experience, or does it fool us into thinking we’ve encountered the real thing when we’ve done nothing of the sort? Guests include Jaron Lanier, VR pioneer; Nonny de la Peña, VR artist; and Tristram Hunt, director of the Victoria and Albert Museum.” At the link left-click “Share,” then right-click the down-pointing arrow and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

Wind-powered Ships 30 mins – “For thousands of years, we sailed our cargo across oceans using zero-emission, 100 percent renewable wind. Then we switched to ships that run on oil, creating a global maritime fleet that pumps greenhouse gases into the sky. Could we go back to wind-powered ships by rediscovering a clever nautical innovation that we abandoned a century ago?” At the link left-click “Share,” then right-click the down-pointing arrow and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.

Thanks for stopping by.

About virginiajim

Retired knowledge nut.
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