Patented: History of Inventions | 16 August 2023 | 0h 45m | Listen Later | Podcasts | Spotify
Interview with Keith Houston about his book Empire of the Sum: The Rise and Reign of the Pocket Calculator. Discusses how humans did mathematics before calculators; the development of number systems, slide rules and mechanical calculators; and shares stories about key steps in the development of pocket calculators.
The Future of . . . with Owen Bennett-Jones | 26 August 2023 | 0h 41m | Listen Later | Podcasts | Spotify
Interview with Shane O Mara about his book Talking Heads: the New Science of How Conversation Shapes our Worlds. Discusses the purpose of conversation, both for the individual and for society; what happens in our brains as we converse, and the role of conversation in creating communities.
The Next Big Idea | 17 August 2023 | 1h 15m | Listen Later | Podcasts | Spotify
Interview with Chris van Tulleken about his book Ultra-Processed People: The Science Behind Food That Isn’t Food. Argues that the ultra-processed food that makes up 60 percent of the American diet is an industrially produced edible substance that is not really food and is killing us. Advocates stronger government regulations to curb its consumption.
This is a hard-hitting critique of ultra-processed food. Adam Gopnik and Helen Lewis have good reviews that push back on the strongest claims and argue for a more nuanced position.
The Dissenter | 31 August 2023 | 1h 01m | Listen Later | Podcasts | Spotify
Interview with Greger Larson about the domestication of animals. Discusses the evidence from genetics and archaeology about how domestication got started; the impact of animal domestication on human evolution; issues with how we think about domestication and the supposed intentionality behind it; how we should think about the early stages of our relationship with other animal species; and insights from animal domestication on the timing of human dispersal.
Bretton Goods | 21 August 2023 | 1h 01m | Listen Later | Podcasts | Spotify
Interview with Soham Sankaran, who runs PopVax, an Indian mRNA vaccine company working to build low-cost broadly protective vaccines to protect against the entire sarbecovirus species. Discusses why there hasn’t been a successful Indian mRNA vaccine yet, why developing countries can’t afford drugs for rare diseases, what they’re doing to fix it, and their biggest constraints.
Instant Genius | 31 July 2022 | 0h 40m | Listen Later | Podcasts | Spotify
Interview with Lars Chittka about his book The Mind of a Bee. Discusses research demonstrating the remarkable cognitive capabilities of bees – their spatial memory, their ability to use tools and solve problems, and their ability to learn from other bees.
Writers and Company | 28 August 2022 | 0h 52m | Listen Later
2008 interview with Clive James about his book Cultural Amnesia: Necessary Memories from History and the Arts. Discusses his life and work, many of the greatest thinkers and their lessons that we keep having to relearn, and the need for humanist values.
The Dissenter | 21 August 2023 | 1h 43m | Listen Later | Podcasts | Spotify
Interview with Valerie Fridland about her book Like, Literally, Dude: Arguing for the Good in Bad English. Discusses what people call “bad” English, the history of standardization and prescription in English, how grammar rules are mostly arbitrary; how women and low-status people drive linguistics change; what gender has to do with how we speak; the uses of filled pauses like “um” and “uh”, the uses of “like”, “I mean”, “you know”, and “so”; the meaning of “dude”, and “literally”; whether words have any intrinsic meaning; the current proposal of using “they/them” as singular personal pronouns to refer to non-binary people; and removing/banning words from classic books.