Listened toClimate Obscura by Brooke Gladstone and Bob Garfield from On the Media | WNYC Studios
Trump's attacks on climate science; the dark money behind environmental deregulation; and the Anthropocene.
The Trump administration has ordered federal agencies to stop publishing worst-case scenario projections of climate change. This week, On the Media examines the administration’s pattern of attacks on climate science. Plus, a look at the dark money behind environmental deregulation.
1. Kate Aronoff [@KateAronoff], fellow at the Type Media Center, on the White House's suppression of climate warnings. Listen.
2. Jane Mayer [@JaneMayerNYer], staff writer at The New Yorker and author of Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right, on the billionaires supporting the modern conservative intellectual framework. Listen.
3. Jan Zalasiewicz, Anthropocene Working Group Chair, on the traces that today's humans might leave behind for future civilizations, and Benjamin Kunkel [@kunktation] on whether the Age of Capitalism might be a more appropriate term to describe our epoch. Listen.
Some interesting discussion on climate, but more specifically on the effects of man from a much longer term geological perspective. It’s not often that one could say there’s news that takes a Big History perspective, but this certainly comes as close as one could hope. The second segment was particularly interesting.
I sort of like the idea of dating the Anthropocene from the 1950’s with the invention of the atomic bomb as it created a world-wide layer. But then the beginning of agriculture or the start of the industrial revolution also likely had world-wide effects as well.
We revisit Bob's conversation with filmmaker Joe Berlinger, about the ethics of HBO's "The Jinx."
Whether Robert Durst confessed on camera will become a relevant legal matter in the real estate figure's upcoming trial. The supposed confession — "What the hell did I do? Killed them all, of course." — at the end of HBO's The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst has recently been revealed to have been seriously, deceptively edited. In 2015 Bob spoke with documentary filmmaker Joe Berlinger, co-creater of the Paradise Lost trilogy, about modern filmmaker, the responsibility of the artist and different interpretations of "truth." It's a relevant conversation to revisit, this week in particular.
Some interesting ethical questions here. Something to think about with respect to documentaries, truth, and entertainment value. Some pieces not too dissimilar to how some cable news stations are approaching the news these days.
TODAY ON XRAY:
(1)News with Friends with Lillian Karabaic and Michael Leverette
(2)Talk Media News
(3) Everything Is Interesting: Old Wives’ Tales
(4) Lillian interviews Aaron Parecki with IndieWeb
(5) A rebroadcast of our interview from with Andrea Rodgers of Our Children’s Trust
(6) Since it’s Wednesday, we close out the show with Ben DeJarnette from Bridgeliner
The audio link is automatically queued up to the beginning of the Aaron Parecki interview about IndieWeb. I only listened to that portion of the show.
Veteran journalist Joe Nocera’s neighbor in the Hamptons was a therapist named Ike. Ike counted celebrities and Manhattan elites as his patients. He’d host star-studded parties at his eccentric vacation house. But one summer, Joe discovered that Ike was gone and everything he’d thought he’d known about his neighbor -- and the house next door -- was wrong. From Wondery, the company behind Dirty John and Dr. Death, and Bloomberg, “The Shrink Next Door” is a story about power, control and turning to the wrong person for help for three decades. Written and hosted by Joe Nocera, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, “The Shrink Next Door” premieres on May 21st.
Her name is Ruth Westheimer, but we all know her as Dr. Ruth, the helpful lady who’s spoken to us for decades about sex. She's always direct, to the point, and bubbling with insight about ourselves and our partners. In this frank conversation with Alan Alda, Dr. Ruth talks about how to achieve a long lasting relationship in a short term world. She also talks candidly about her past experience as a sniper, and shares her thoughts on sex and relationships as we age.
Sheila Nevins has explored the human condition in the thousand or so documentaries she produced for HBO. From more than 30 years of telling us stories about ourselves, to her experience as a woman in the workplace, Sheila has plenty to say about communicating. And she never holds back. In this delightful episode, Alan Alda talks with Sheila about her life, how she feels about aging, the #MeToo movement, sex, divorce, documentaries, storytelling, and just about everything else! This episode is sponsored by Calm. Check out www.calm.com/alda for more details.
I always forget that Sheila is as old as she is. She does have a great sense of humor.
She makes an interesting point about humility that people with power (and especially within the entertainment industry) should be aware of and work to improve.
Most shocking was the story she tells about her me too moment and how she viewed it. Definitely a perspective I wouldn’t have expected.
Her perspective about looking at individuals as a way into human problems and making documentaries is similar to a philosophy I remember hearing from Masha Gessen in an interview that Jeffrey Goldberg did with her. The upshot is that, especially for righting wrongs and general atrocities, focusing a story on a particular individual has a lot more power than focusing on the nameless and faceless masses. Sheila’s example of the Holocaust survivor is a particular apt one. (As I think about it Masha would be a great interview for this podcast.)
Senator Bill Bradley has an amazing life. He was a Gold medal Olympian, a Rhodes Scholar, a legendary star with the Knicks for 10 years, a United Sates Senator for 12 years. He ran for the Democratic party’s Presidential nomination, and to top it off, he’s the host of the long-running SiriusXM Satellite Radio program – “American Voices.” In this episode, Alan Alda speaks with Sen. Bradley about leading a life of curiosity, learning and service. His stories are fun and he has a lot to say about our fellow Americans. This episode is sponsored by Athletic Greens, visit athleticgrrens.com/alda
How do we come up with ideas? How do we make decisions? And how can we do both better? Steven Johnson has explored this question and written a dozen books about it. In this playful, thoughtful episode, Steven has some fascinating stories, like how Darwin made the decision to get married — or how a defecating duck helped lead to the invention of the computer. Through their own stories, Steven and Alan Alda share their thoughts about the transformative nature of ideas and what sort of environments best give rise to creativity.
I love the idea of the slow hunch discussed here. It’s part of the reason I keep a commonplace book. Johnson also discusses his own personal commonplace book, though he doesn’t give it that particular name here.
The commercial about Alda Communication Training makes me wonder if they recommend scientists and communicators have their own websites? In particular, I’m even more curious because of Johnson’s mention of his commonplace book and how he uses it in this episode. I suspect that scientists having a variety of interconnecting commonplaces (via Webmention) using basic IndieWeb or A Domain of One’s Own principles could better create slow hunches, create more links, increase creativity and diversity, and foster greater innovation. I’ll have to follow up on this idea. While some may do something slightly like this within other parts of social media, I don’t get the impression that it’s as useful a tool in those places (isn’t as searchable or permanent feeling, and is likely rarely reviewed over). Being able to own your digital commonplace as a regular tool certainly has more value as Johnson describes. Functionality like On This Day dramatically increases its value.
But there’s another point that we should make more often, I think, which is that one of the most robust findings in the social sciences and psychology over the last 20 years is that diverse groups are just collectively smarter and more original in the way that they think in, in both their way of dreaming up new ideas, but also in making complicated decisions, that they avoid all the problems of group think and homogeneity that you get when you have a group of like minded people together who are just amplifying each other’s beliefs.—Steven Johnson [00:09:59]
Think about a big decision in your life. Think about the age span of the people you’re talking to about that choice. Are they all your peers within three or four years? Are you talking somebody who’s a generation older and a generation younger?—Steven Johnson [00:13:24]
I was talking to Ramzi Hajj yesterday about having mentors (with a clear emphasis on that mentor being specifically older) and this quote is the same sentiment, just with a slightly different emphasis.
One of the things that is most predictive of a species, including most famously, humans, of their capacity for innovation and problem solving as an adult is how much they play as a newborn or as a child.—Steven Johnson [00:28:10]
Play is important for problem solving.
I think you boil this all down into the idea that if you want to know what the next big thing is, look for where people are having fun.—Alan Alda [00:31:35]
This is interesting because I notice that one of the binding (and even physically stated) principles of the IndieWeb is to have fun. Unconsciously, it’s one of the reasons I’ve always thought that what the group is doing is so important.
Ha! Alda has also been watching Shtisel recently [00:50:04].
We love hearing from our listeners! Through social media and email, you've been sending us your own answers to "Alan's 7 Questions" and we've been having a great time reading through all your witty, smart, and often poignant responses. In this episode, we're highlighting all of our favorites! We want to keep hearing from you, so please continue to write us at: firstname.lastname@example.org or get social with us on Twitter @alda, or on Facebook and Instagram at "ClearandVivid." Thanks for listening and enjoy the show -- dedicated to all of you!
I appreciate the fact that they did this episode to have some more two way conversation between those on the show and their audience. Makes me think they would appreciate and benefit from taking a more IndieWeb approach to their web presence.
Alan Alda wanted to get off the island quickly. Steven Strogatz explains how an 18th century British clergyman could have helped. In this short bonus episode, Steven helps Alan understand something that he’s wondered about for years.
Quadrilateral equation?? Did he mean the Pythagorean theorem?
There’s a reasonable basic discussion of Bayesian statistics here.
Stephen Fry loves words. But he does more than love them. He puts them together in ways that so delight readers, that a blog or a tweet by him can get hundreds of thousands of people hanging on his every keystroke. As an actor, he’s brought to life every kind of theatrical writing from sketch comedy to classics. He’s performed in everything from game shows to the British audiobook version of Harry Potter. And always with a rich intelligence and searching eye. In this conversation with Alan Alda, Stephen explores how myths — sometimes very ancient ones — help us understand and, even guide, our modern selves.
Just a lovely episode here. I particularly like the idea about looking back to Greek mythology and the issues between the gods and humans being overlain in parallel on our present and future issues between humans and computers/robots/artificial intelligence.
When former Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes penned aNew York Times op-ed calling for the breakup of the platform, he was lauded by anti-corporate politicians and the press. Then came a series of hard questions: how exactly would breaking up Facebook, which owns WhatsApp and Instagram, address free speech concerns? Or help stifle the spread of propaganda on the platform? And how would American regulations affect the majority of Facebook users, who live in the global south? According to Michael Lwin, an American-born antitrust lawyer living in Yangon, Myanmar, US regulators should tread lightly. He and Bob speak about how calls to break up Facebook could have wide ranging unintended consequences, especially outside of the US.
As bad as Facebook is, there are some potential second and multiple-order effects to be careful of when considering breaking them up or heavily regulating them.