Exercise your ears: the 51 podcasts shown below present the best ideas, information and stories from a larger group of 601 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 29,270 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.
Artificial Intelligence 75 mins – “Melanie Mitchell is a professor of computer science at Portland State University and an external professor at Santa Fe Institute. She has worked on and written about artificial intelligence from fascinating perspectives including adaptive complex systems, genetic algorithms, and the Copycat cognitive architecture which places the process of analogy making at the core of human cognition. From her doctoral work with her advisors Douglas Hofstadter and John Holland to today, she has contributed a lot of important ideas to the field of AI, including her recent book, simply called Artificial Intelligence: A Guide for Thinking Humans. At the link right-click “Download” and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.
Artificial Intelligence 53 mins – “Artificial intelligence is better than humans at playing chess or go, but still has trouble holding a conversation or driving a car. A simple way to think about the discrepancy is through the lens of “common sense” — there are features of the world, from the fact that tables are solid to the prediction that a tree won’t walk across the street, that humans take for granted but that machines have difficulty learning. Melanie Mitchell is a computer scientist and complexity researcher who has written a new book about the prospects of modern AI. We talk about deep learning and other AI strategies, why they currently fall short at equipping computers with a functional “folk physics” understanding of the world, and how we might move forward.” At the link right-click “Download” and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.
Australia Wildfires 12 mins – “For years, climate change experts have said that hotter and drier summers would exacerbate the threat of bushfires in Australia. Fires have been raging since September and a prolonged drought and record-breaking temperatures mean the blazes won’t stop for weeks — if not months. But to read or watch or listen to the conservative press in Australia is to get an altogether different story: that it’s arson, not climate change, that’s mainly responsible for the deaths of nearly 30 humans and an estimated one billion animals. Damien Cave is the New York Times bureau chief in Sydney, and he recently wrote about “How Rupert Murdoch Is Influencing Australia’s Bushfire Debate.” He spoke to Bob about the media landscape of denial and deflection, and why critics say it’s making it harder to hold the government accountable.” At the link right-click “Download” and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.
Books and Learning 44 mins – “Software Engineer Andy Matuschak talks about his essay “Why Books Don’t Work” with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Matuschak argues that most books rely on transmissionism, the idea that an author can share an idea in print and the reader will absorb it. And yet after reading a non-fiction book, most readers will struggle to remember any of the ideas in the book. Matuschak argues for a different approach to transmitting ideas via the web including different ways that authors or teachers can test for understanding that will increase the chances of retention and mastery of complex ideas.” At the link right-click “Download” and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.
Climate Change 38 mins – “On this episode, Debbie talks to journalist Tatiana Schlossberg about what we can do, as individuals, about climate change.” At the link right-click “Download episode” and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.
Climate Walkout by Amazon Employees 34 mins – “When more than a thousand Amazon employees walked off the job last September, it wasn’t higher wages or better benefits they were demanding. “It was a really, really powerful moment to see such support for something as radical, I guess as climate change,” remembers Sarah Read, an Amazon User Experience Researcher. “That was a moment when I realized that we as employees could change what the company was doing,” agrees software designer Jacob Adamson. “Just the mere act of signing a letter could move the largest company, move the richest man in the world, to do something.” Read and Adamson are both members of Amazon Employees for Climate Justice (AECJ), the group that organized the walkout. Workers in Amazon offices from Seattle to New York to Dublin participated, joined by students, youth groups and tech workers from other companies. It was the culmination of a long-waged employee campaign urging CEO Jeff Bezos and other upper level management to reduce the company’s carbon footprint. (Amazon scored a “C” on the Greenpeace Click Clean Report; tech companies Facebook, Google and Youtube each scored an “A.” Bezos has since pledged to make the company carbon neutral, in line with the Paris Climate Agreement.)…” At the link you can listen, but not download; however, a copy is included in this blog archive.
Concorde Airplane 33 mins – “Not so long ago, if you had a lot of money, you could fly from New York to London in about three hours. The plane was the Concorde, which came out of service in 2003. The Concorde failed commercially, but it lives on as an object of luxury design. In his book, Supersonic, Lawrence Azerrad explores the look and feel of the iconic airplane and the history of it’s creation. Lawrence Azerrad is also a graphic designer, his studio LADdesign specializes in design, art direction, and branding. On this episode, a conversation with Lawrence about the design of the Concorde. “It was part of this dream of the future…coming from an era when we used to think bigger.” At the link you can listen, but not download; however, a copy is included in this blog archive.
Covid 19 Clinician Mental Health 16 mins – “In this Hippo Education Short, psychiatrist Dr. Melissa Shepard sits down with Primary Care RAP host Dr. Neda Frayha for some real talk on the mental health challenges facing health care workers in the COVID-19 pandemic, and some concrete, tangible tools to help us get through this period. Spoiler alert: it’s more than yoga.” At the link right-click “Download” and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.
Covid 19 Deaths 15 mins – “How are you coping with all of the death around us these days? In this Hippo Education update, Primary Care RAP host Dr. Neda Frayha interviews Dr. BJ Miller, a hospice and palliative care specialist at the University of California, San Francisco whose TED talk on what really matters at the end of life has been viewed over 10 million times. Along with Shoshana Berger, Dr. Miller is the co-author of the book, A Beginner’s Guide to the End: Practical Advice for Living Life and Facing Death and founder of the Center for Dying and Living. In this conversation, he helps us come to terms with our own mortality and provide better support to our patients at the end of life. ” At the link right-click “Download” and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.
Covid 19 Vaccine Development 15 mins – “The continuing spread of SARS-CoV-2 remains a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. What physicians need to know about transmission, diagnosis, and treatment of Covid-19 is the subject of ongoing updates from infectious disease experts at the Journal. In this audio interview conducted on July 15, 2020, the editors discuss a phase 1 study of a candidate vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 and outline what needs to happen next.” At the link right-click “Download” and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.
Creative Inspiration 25 mins- “Humans use creativity every day to solve complex issues. Some people are more creative than others in problem solving. How do these people manage to stay ahead of everyone else creatively? First, these people are inspired. Find something that piques your interest, that drives you to go above and beyond, to experiment and learn. You can find creative inspiration even at work. If you are passionate about what you are doing, then you are feeding your creativity. Practicing Creativity – Another common denominator of creative people is that they practice creativity. People do not just wake up already skilled at something. They have to practice it until they have mastered it. Practice can be defined as two things: To do repeated exercises for proficiency To pursue a profession actively There is a myth that you can’t practice creativity and innovation. You can practice and become proficient. There are many ways to exercise your creative abilities. There are exercises for daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly practice of creative skills.” At the link right-click the down-pointing arrow, select “Save File,” and “OK” to get the podcast.
Crisis Response During Corona Virus 41 mins – “Presenter / Eric Yaverbaum, CEO of Ericho Communications, is a communications, media, and public relations expert with over 35-years in the industry, having co-founded Jericho Communications and served as president from 1985 until its successful merger in 2006 with LIME Public Relations & Promotions. Yaverbaum has worked with a wide-range of top-of-their-industry clients including Sony, IKEA, Progressive Insurance, Domino’s, Beachbody, H&M, and fitness guru Jack LaLanne. He is also a bestselling author who literally wrote the book on public relations—the industry-standard bestseller PR for Dummies—as well as six other titles including, Leadership Secrets of the World’s Most Successful CEOs (over a million copies sold). His expert commentary has been featured on Forbes, The Washington Post, The New York Times, HuffPost, CNBC, Fox Business, and PR Week, among others.” At the link you can listen, but not download; however, a copy is included in this blog archive.
Dematerialize 63 mins – “Andrew McAfee of MIT’s Sloan School of Management talks about his book, More from Less, with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. McAfee argues that technology is helping developed nations use fewer resources in producing higher levels of economic output. The improvement is not just a reduction in energy per dollar of GDP but less energy in total as economic growth progresses. This “dematerialization” portends a future that was unimaginable to the economists and pundits of the past. McAfee discusses the potential for dealing with climate change in a dematerialized world, the non-material aspects of economic progress, and the political repercussions of the current distribution of economic progress.” At the link right-click “Download” and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.
Democracy Defined P2 33 mins – “It’s too easy to define democracy in terms of political structures like parliamentary systems or voting procedures. Astra Taylor argues that democracy has to be looked at in much broader terms, she asserted while sitting on a New York ferry — itself is a profoundly democratic service. “We’ve done ourselves a real disservice by letting democracy be limited to this sort of formal political sphere. And not recognizing that democratic principles have to infuse all of the spaces we inhabit,” Taylor told IDEAS host Nahlah Ayed. “So we’re just about freedom and equality. What if you have accessible, efficient public transit?” At the link you can listen, but not download; however, a copy of the podcast is included in this blog archive.
Democracy in India 14 mins – “ Last week, India’s ruling party (the BJP) passed the Citizenship Amendment Act. The legislation grants a clear path to Indian citizenship to non-Muslim refugees from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Opponents pointed out flaws in the law almost as soon as it was introduced. The law fails to mention Muslim minorities who face persecution in their own countries, such as the Rohingyas in Myanmar. Critics see it as the latest step in the Hindu nationalist government’s steady march toward a Hindu nation-state. The move follows the revocation of Kashmir’s autonomy this summer, and two million people losing statehood in Northeast India after being left off of a national register of citizens. The list requires citizens to provide documents to prove Indian ancestry. Many Muslims fear that the National Register of Citizens will be enacted across India, leaving religious minorities in the world’s largest democracy in danger of losing their home. Union Home Minister Amit Shah twisted history to provide justification for the Citizenship Amendment Act, shouting to his colleagues in Parliament that decades ago it was the now opposition, Congress Party, that divided India and Pakistan along religious lines. As Indian historian Romila Thapar wrote in The New York Times earlier this year, “extreme nationalists require their own particular version of the past to legitimize their actions in the present.” This week, we go back to a piece reported by OTM Producer Asthaa Chaturvedi. She examines how Hindu nationalists are rewriting Indian history in the world’s largest democracy, with journalist Shoaib Daniyal, political scientist Christophe Jaffrelot, and sociology professor Nandini Sundar.” At the link right-click “download MP3” and select “Save Link As” to get the podcast.
Egg Sexing 15 mins – “Researchers, regulators, and the chicken industry are all united in their search for a way to make eggs more ethical by stopping culling—the killing of male chicks born to laying hens. Contributing Correspondent Gretchen Vogel talks with host Sarah Crespi about the many approaches being tried to determine the sex of chicken embryos before they hatch, from robots with lasers, to MRIs, to artificial intelligence, to gene editing with CRISPR. Also this week, Sarah talks with Melanie Bergmann, a marine biologist at the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in Bremerhaven, Germany, about finding microplastic particles in snow all the way up at the Fram Strait, between Greenland and the Svalbarg archipelago in Norway.” At the link right-click “download MP3” and select “Save Link As” to get the podcast.
Einstein 36 mins – “In 1905, when Albert Einstein worked as a patent office clerk, he published a series of academic papers that revolutionized physics and our thinking about space and time, mass and energy. His ideas were a great leap forward. Panellists at the Stratford Festival discuss how Einstein revolutionized how we live our lives today.” At the link you can listen, but not download; however, a copy of the podcast is included in this blog archive.
Entrepreneurial Success 29 mins – “Rodney Williams, CEO and Co-Founder of LISNR, leads one of the most disruptive companies in the IoT space and the world of mobile connectivity. He is the 2016 Black Enterprise Tech Entrepreneur of the Year and has also been honored by Ad Age’s Top 40 under 40 and the Upstart100. Prior to LISNR, Rodney spent over four years at Procter & Gamble as a brand manager and is most noted for being the first marketer there to co-write digital patents. He is also a former Lockheed Martin and Department of Energy disruptor. Rodney achieved those honors after earning four degrees by the age of 24, including an MBA and Masters in Integrated Marketing Communications from Howard University.” At the link right-click “Download” and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.
Game of Thrones Creator 22 mins – “George R.R. Martin is the author of A Song of Ice and Fire, the acclaimed book series that was adapted into the uber-popular HBO show Game of Thrones. These days, he’s in the midst of writing the final two novels in that series. Before he sat down with Nerdette’s Greta Johnsen earlier this month, his team told us that he couldn’t answer the question on everyone’s mind (so, like, when’s the next book coming out?) so we didn’t ask. But Martin did tell us how writing is going, how he’s managing fan expectations and what he expects for the future of fantasy TV. (Plus, we have a super-special announcement at the end of the interview.)” At the link you can listen, but not download; however, a copy of the podcast is included in this blog archive. …
Gut Microbiome 20 mins- “Micro-organisms live inside everything from the human gut to coral—but where do they come from? Host Meagan Cantwell talks to Staff Writer Elizabeth Pennisi about the first comprehensive survey of microbes in Hawaii’s Waimea Valley, which revealed that plants and animals get their unique microbiomes from organisms below them in the food chain or the wider environment. Going global, Meagan then speaks with Erle Ellis, professor of geography and environmental science at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, about a project that aggregated the expertise of more than 250 archaeologists to map human land use over the past 10,000 years. This detailed map will help fine-tune climate models.” At the link right-click “Download MP3” and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.
Human Health Advancement 45 mins – “From ASM Microbe 2019 in San Francisco, Vincent speaks with Victoria McGovern, Carl Nathan, and Dan Portnoy about advancing human health through innovative collaborations.” At the link right-click “Right click to download TWiM#207” and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.
Human Rights 28 mins – “Jonathan Sumption assess the pros and cons of written and unwritten constitutions, comparing the US and UK.” At the link right-click “Download,” select “Higher quality,” then “Save File” and “OK” to get the podcast.
Hungarian Immigrant Fence 36 mins – “In 2015, as hundreds of thousands of Afghan, Iraqi, Sudanese but mostly Syrian refugees fleeing their respective war zones landed in countries around the world, Hungary was one of several European countries that erected barriers to stave off illegal migrants. Nearly five years later, those migrants are gone. But the fence remains….” At the link you can listen, but not download; however, a copy of the podcast is included in this blog archive.
Impeachment Investigation 105 mins – “Former Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch testified before the House Intelligence Committee as a part of the impeachment investigation. Yovanovitch answered questions about her career, her experience in Ukraine and her abrupt dismissal. The hearing saw some of the same grandstanding and distractions as the first public hearing, But we cut out all the unnecessary repetition and theatrics to leave you with just the questions and answers that you need to hear.” At the link right-click the down-pointing arrow and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.
Index Funds 27 mins – “While he has been writing articles about index funds for decades, the most read is “30 reasons to fall in love with index funds”. While the most common advantages are low expenses, low turnover, massive diversification, Paul suggests the #1 reason may be staying as far away as you possibly can from commission-based sales people, con artists and other conflicts of interest typically not associated with index fund providers. Many do-it-yourself investors rely of services that have a large presence on the internet. A wonderful aspect of the internet is the ability to do meaningful due diligence on the reputations of those offering their “special ways” to perform better than index funds. But can you depend on the information you find on the internet? Paul discusses the services of “search engine suppression consultants.” These very clever people are wizards at making bad information disappear. In fact, in many cases their fees are not earned until all the damaging information is totally eliminated. He reads an example of one such article that claims to address the pros and cons of a well-known investment manager. The pros are strong convincing points, while the cons are almost the mistakes that we would expect would be found in any firm.” At the link right-click “Download” and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.
Innovation in Cincinnati 26 mins – “When civic and business leaders have a meeting of the minds, amazing things can happen. Cincinnati is home to several major corporations and health care organizations. The demand is high for tech innovation. This midwestern city has created a unique approach to draw in the best talent. Cintrifuse is the confluence of innovation in Cincinnati. […]” At the link right-click “Download” and “Save” from the pop-up menu.
Institutional Reform 47 mins – “Political Scientist and author Terry Moe of Stanford University talks about his book, The Politics of Institutional Reform with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Moe explores the politics and effectiveness of educational reform in the New Orleans public school system in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Moe finds that policy-makers turned to charter schools for pragmatic reasons and students enjoyed dramatic improvements in educational outcomes as a result. Moe uses this experience to draw lessons about political reforms generally and the power of vested interests to preserve the status quo in the absence of catastrophic events like Katrina.” At the link right-click “Download” and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.
Investing Long Term 44 mins – “What’s the toughest challenge for many investors? Staying the course for the long term. In this podcast, Paul discusses what he considers “the most useful information for investors.” While adding new insights to his Ultimate Buy and Hold Strategy, Fine Tuning Your Asset Allocation and Distributions in Retirement articles and podcasts, Paul explores nine decades of returns for six asset classes that academics have studied for over 50 years. It turns out that the end result of the returns has been exactly what the academics predicted, but the trip was not an easy one for investors. See and download the Tables referenced here. Paul hopes that in understanding this, all investors — especially young investors — will see that the strategy with the most predictable returns is also the one with the best predictable returns, and maintain the focus and confidence to make it through the normal ups and downs of the market without giving up.” At the link right-click “Download” and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.
Investment Prospects 41 mins – “Paul discusses the comparative returns from the Vanguard, DFA and Best-In-Class Portfolios for 2019. He also responds to 12 questions from listeners and readers of paulmerriman.com’s podcasts, articles, videos, books and recommendations for mutual funds, ETFs, 401k’s, the Ultimate Buy-and-Hold Portfolio and more. To learn more about comparative returns, take a look at the 2-4 Fund Combo Returns 1928-2018. 12 Q&A How does the new Fidelity Small-Cap Value (FISVX) compare to our IJS and SLYV? What’s a good Vanguard Small-Cap Value Fund for a 66-year-old investor? Do you really recommend large and small-cap growth funds? Why are you so high on DFA funds? What’s your plan for helping kids with their IRAs? When will you be updating the S&P 500 Fine-Tuning Table? What does a long-time client of Paul’s old firm have to say? Where can an investor find historical data on stock and bond returns? What about supplying transcripts of your podcasts? Which is better: VTWW or FISVX small-cap value funds? How do Vanguard Value Index and Vanguard Equity Index funds compare? How much would $20,000 become in 45 years if I invest it in small-cap value?” At the link right-click “Download” and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.
Investment Q & A 44 mins – “In this podcast, Paul shares his thoughts for the coming year and answers investor questions. The S&P 500 has made 5% more than the portfolio you recommend. Should I put it all in the S&P? What do you think of the new Avantis ETFs? What do you think about structured notes? In the answer I make reference to an article by Larry Swedroe: 31:34 https://alphaarchitect.com/2019/08/22/structured-notes-the-exploitation-of-retail-investors/ Can whole life insurance cash value be considered the same as bonds? I am 27 with a wife and 2 year old daughter. What should I do with $150,000? I want to live on $2 million in retirement. What dividend funds do you recommend? What do I do if my 401k does not offer target date funds? For a young investor do you prefer your portfolio 7 (well diversified) or portfolio 8 (all value). This is the link to the recommended portfolios: https://paulmerriman.com/best-in-class-recommended-portfolios-2019/” At the link right-click “Download” and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu to download the podcast.
Judiciary Hearings on Ukraine..16 mins.- “Today, the Judiciary Committee held a public hearing that Democrats hope will allow them to fully lay out the evidence in their case against Donald Trump. We heard testimony from the Intelligence Committee lawyers from each party. Continuing their line of attack against the fairness of the inquiry’s proceedings, committee Republicans raised a sequence of objection’s to Chairman Rep. Jerry Nadler’s handling of the hearing. The Justice Department’s Inspector General released a report into the underlying evidence that served as the impetus for the Mueller probe. ” At the link right-click the down-pointing arrow and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.
Language Impact 31 mins – “We talk to cognitive scientist Lera Boroditsk about how language can influence the way we think.” At the link you can listen, but not download; however, a copy of the podcast is included in this blog archive.
Manuka Honey 5 mins – “This is a special Microbiology Today edition of Microbe Talk. The latest issue of the Society’s magazine, Microbiology Today, focuses on natural products and drug discovery. In this podcast we talk with two researchers about their work to find new antimicrobial compounds that could be used to form new treatments: Lorena T. Fernández-Martínez from Edge Hill University about her research on actinomycetes and Aled Roberts from Swansea University Medical School about his work on manuka honey.” At the link left-click “Download episode” and select “Save File,” and “OK” to get the podcast.
NASA History 38 mins – “NASA turns 60 this week. We’re joined by Former NASA chief technologist Mason Peck joins us to discuss the agency’s history of spaceflight milestones, which include landing humans on the Moon (six times!), putting rovers on Mars, sending probes to interstellar space, and partnering on the International Space Station. Beyond these physical exploration achievements, NASA has also revolutionized the human view of Earth, the solar system, the Milky Way, and the deep swaths of space and time beyond our local group of galaxies. We also discuss NASA’s future, including its partnerships with the commercial space sector, megaprojects like the Space Launch System and the James Webb Space Telescope, and human exploration of the Moon and Mars.” At the link you can listen, but not download; however, a copy is included in this blog archive.
Nucleotides Synthesized by Bacteria 44 mins – “The TWiM holobionts pay tribute to Stuart Levy, and reveal the remarkably diverse array of cyclic nucleotides synthesized by bacteria that likely mediate interactions with animal and plant hosts.” At the link right-click “Right click to download TWiM#206” and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.
Open Access Books 20 mins – “Open access is transforming scholarly journal publishing, yet the looming size of the journal ecosystem has thrown into deep shadow an equally remarkable transformation in scholarly books. In recent years, e-book acquisition rates and usage have soared. E-books offer multiple advantages, from acquisition models to accessibility and researcher engagement metrics. In parallel with research coming out of the UK, an ongoing study by the US-based Book Industry Study Group is identifying the challenges in understanding the usage of OA e-books. This research will provide much needed documentation on e-book impact levels, especially for funders of open access publishing programs….” At the link right-click “Download and select “Save Link as” from the pop-up menu.
Pathogen Essential Genes 55 mins – “At Georgia Tech, members and trainees of the Center for Microbial Dynamics and Infection discuss the identification of pathogen essential genes during coinfections, and how coral management can improve coral defenses against pathogens.” At the link right-click “Right click to download TWiM#208” and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.
Poor Kids 50 mins – “Sociologist Susan Mayer of the University of Chicago talks about her book What Money Can’t Buy with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Mayer reports on her research which found that giving poor parents money had little measured effect on improving the lives of their children. She emphasizes the importance of accurately understanding the challenges facing children in poverty if the goal is to actually help them. She concludes that there is no simple way to help the most vulnerable children and that strategies to help them must recognize this reality. The conversation ends with a discussion of the potential role of education and parenting practices to help children in poor families.” At the link right-click “Download” and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.
Science Language and Culture 23 mins – “As a former science teacher and now professor of education at Stanford, Dr. Bryan A. Brown is keenly interested in improving science teaching and learning in urban communities by investigating how language and culture matter for effective science teaching. Some of this work is shared in his new book Science in the City, where Brown examines the interplay of language and culture in effective science teaching. Dr. Brown joins us to discuss his new book, the power of using technology to adapt to the cultural background of our students, and the need for adjusting our science language that better serves students in inner-city context.” At the link right-click “Download” and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.
Scripture 36 mins – “THE LOST ART OF SCRIPTURE – Karen Armstrong is a former Catholic sister who resided in a convent, and is now a hugely popular writer on religious beliefs who travels the world. She now describes herself as a freelance monotheist. Her focus now is on the sounds, rituals and power of scripture, all of which she feels is endangered in our secular, digital age. She joins Nahlah Ayed to talk about recovering what she calls “the lost art of scripture.” At the link you can listen, but not download; however, a copy of the podcast is included in this blog archive.
Seaweed 15 mins – “For countries like Malaysia, Tanzania and the Philippines, seaweed agriculture is a major industry. However, these countries still see significant crop losses due to disease and pests. So what role does microbiology have in helping these countries’ growth in the industry? On this month’s episode Matt visited London’s Natural History Museum to talk to Professor Juliet Brodie. Professor Brodie is a seaweed researcher working with GlobalSeaweedSTAR, a programme aiming to grow the research and innovation capabilities of developing countries engaged in seaweed farming. To find out more about GlobalseaweedSTAR’s work, visit their website. www.globalseaweed.org/” At the link right-click the down-pointing arrow and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.
Solar Storms 5 mins – “A massive solar storm today could create electrical chaos in our modern technological society Solar storms can be much more powerful — as much as ten times more powerful — than we previously thought, according to a new study led by researchers from Lund University. They found evidence of a massive solar storm in 660 BCE in chemical traces formed in the atmosphere which then rained down and were found in ice cores from Greenland. “We saw a huge spike in the ice cores,” said Florian Mekhaldi, a co-author of the paper that announced this discovery, and a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Geology at Lund University in Sweden. “That’s a signal that Earth was hit by some huge event.” Research in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Previous research by the group had found evidence of two other major solar storms in ice cores that date back to 775 and 994 CE. Taken together, they prove that massive solar storms have happened throughout history that were much more powerful than anything we’ve been able to detect in the past 70 years, when we first began to monitor solar activity in earnest. This suggests that we might be underestimating the risk of solar storms if our assessment was based on our relatively recent monitoring efforts, said Mekhaldi. Solar storms are violent bursts of charged particles that are driven off the sun by the sun’s magnetic field. A particularly powerful storm on the surface of the star can end up forming solar flares and coronal mass ejections that send particles at tremendous speed towards us. They don’t have much impact on biological life on Earth. But their interaction with the Earth’s magnetic field can cause severe disruptions to our electric grid and satellite system by causing electric currents to surge. For the past 70 years, scientists have been using satellites to monitor solar storms, and occasionally we’ve experienced large ones that have caused significant disruption. A large solar storm caused a massive power outage in Quebec in 1989 and another had similar impacts in Malmö, Sweden in 2003. But according to Mekhaldi, they were rather mild events that aren’t even detectable in the ice cores he examined. The proof is in the ice The research team found large concentrations of radioactive isotopes beryllium-10 and chlorine-36 left over from the 660 BCE solar storm when they looked at ice cores from Greenland.”These cosmic rays are so high energy, they produce a lot of particles in the atmosphere,” said Raimund Muscheler, the senior author of the paper and a professor in the department of geology at Lund University. Evidence of a powerful solar storm from 660 BCE was discovered in ice cores extracted from Greenland. (Raimund Muscheler) The more they come into the atmosphere, they more they produce in the ice cores and you can see back in time this way.” If such a powerful solar storm were to occur today in our modern technological society, it could take weeks to months to restore power, and cost trillions of dollars in damages and repairs, according to Mekhadi. Given the enormous repercussions, we need to better understand its impact on Earth and take precautions. For now, scientists can’t say how often these massive solar storms occur, or when the next one will happen. But Mekhaldi and his colleagues will continue to search for traces of other major solar storms in the ice to get a better picture of how often they occur.” At the link you can listen, but not download; however, a copy of the podcast is included in this blog archive.
Summer Vacation 14 mins – “This past week, my kids went back to school. Summer vacation has come and gone. And that’s gotten me thinking about the very idea of summer vacation because every summer, for the past several years, my wife, her sisters and our families have had this tradition of going to a cabin for a few days to get out of the city. We don’t own a cabin. We have to rent one. And this year, the process of finding it, looking at pictures of all the possible cabins on all the possible lakes, made me wonder about this particular, middle-class American ritual of going into the wilderness for vacation, where that ritual came from, and what it says about our relationship to modern life.” At the link right-click “Download MP3” and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.
This American Life – “I’m announcing a whole new podcast, and giving you a listen to the first episode. The podcast is called Before It Had a Theme, and on it, Britta Greene an I discuss and deconstruct old episodes of This American Life. On this episode, we discuss the very first episode of that show, as well as why the show is worth discussing, how we and others became fans of the show, and why we love Ira Glass’s mother.” The podcast isn’t available at the link, but is included in this blog’s archive.
US and UK Constitutional Models 28 mins – “Jonathan Sumption, formerly one of England and Wales’s most senior judges sitting in the UK’s Supreme Court, assesses the US and UK’s constitutional models.” The podcast isn’t available at the link, but is included in this blog’s archive.
Walls and Barriers 36 mins – “Canadian author and journalist Marcello Di Cintio is a wall traveller and says the 21st century has been a boom time for walls. In 2012, he wrote a book about our walled world and has made it his business to track them since. The Twenty-Walled Century is the fifth and final part in our series: Walking the Border: Walls That Divide Us.” At the link you can listen, but not download; however, a copy of the podcast is included in this blog archive.
Wine Making 33 mins – “Claude Blankiet was a pioneer in stone washing denim and is now applying the same innovative thinking to wine making. While visiting New York from France, he noticed very traditional styles and a lack of ingenuity in fashion. He moved there in the 1970’s to continue his work in the jean business, eventually creating a technique of washing denim in pumice stones to create worn, lighter wash jeans. Years later, he operates his Napa winery using the same inventive mentality. Upon entering the wine business, Blankiet began work with experienced, yet stubborn winemakers. Professionals were limited by their own knowledge making the wine high quality, but not progressive, just as the fashion industry had been. Blankiet shifted his business away from such mentors and now relied solely on his own taste, which has led to his success.” At the link left-click the down-pointing arrow, select “Save As” from “OK” to get the podcast.
Wisdom and Knowledge 44 mins – “Software Engineer Andy Matuschak talks about his essay “Why Books Don’t Work” with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Matuschak argues that most books rely on transmissionism, the idea that an author can share an idea in print and the reader will absorb it. And yet after reading a non-fiction book, most readers will struggle to remember any of the ideas in the book. Matuschak argues for a different approach to transmitting ideas via the web including different ways that authors or teachers can test for understanding that will increase the chances of retention and mastery of complex ideas.” At the link right-click “Download” and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.
World War Two Letters 33 mins – “Comedian Nicole Byer shares some of the tips she’s learned from friends on her podcast Why Won’t You Date Me. Reporter Dan Lamothe tells us about reading hundreds of letters from World War II, Heather Mizeur describes how she rebuilt her politics after losing an election, and Cristen Conger and Caroline Ervin define what being Unladylike means to them.” At the link find the title, “Nicole Byer Wants to Date You (Encore),” right-click the down-pointing arrow and select “Save Link As” from the pop-up menu.