Two (Totally Opposite) Ways to Save the Planet

Freakonomics Radio | 22 August 2018 | 0h 51m | Listen Later  | iTunes
While environmentalists say we’re doomed if we don’t drastically reduce consumption, technologists say that human ingenuity can solve just about any problem. Discusses the ideas in Charles C. Mann’s The Wizard and the Prophet: Two Remarkable Scientists and Their Dueling Visions to Shape Tomorrow’s World. Nicely frames why each side can’t get the other.

1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created

Context with Brad Harris | 20 August 2018 | 0h 40m | Listen Later  | iTunes
Review of 1493: Uncovering the New World, by Charles C. Mann, which shows how Europeans emerged at the centre of a modern, globalized world by establishing the Columbian Exchange, which globalised commerce, ecology, food and disease.

What You See is a Function of the Question You’re Answering

EconTalk | 23 July 2018 | 1h 04m | Listen Later  | iTunes
Interview with Teppo Felin about perception, cognition, and rationality. Argues against the omniscient thinking that interprets cognitive errors as biases and irrationality. Discusses the implications of different understandings of rationality for economics, entrepreneurship, and innovation.

The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, by Thomas Kuhn

Context with Brad Harris | 24 July 2018 | 0h 24m | Listen Later  | iTunes
Discusses the ideas in Thomas Kuhn’s The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, a classic in the history of science, and one of the most cited books of the twentieth century. Kuhn challenged our assumptions about how science works, but his opaque style ignited a cultural movement energized around the misinterpretations that objective truth was an illusion and that scientific progress was just a conceit of western civilization. These ideas became pillars of postmodernism, and no one was more frustrated by the folly of their development than Thomas Kuhn himself.

How Insights from Ancient DNA are Upending Paleontology

FT Tech Tonic | 17 April 2018 | 0h 21m | Listen Later  | iTunes
Interview with David Reich about the ideas in his book Who We Are and How We Got Here: Ancient DNA and the New Science of the Human Past. Covers how the genomic revolution is affecting paleontology and changing many of our preconceptions about the mixing of human groups in human pre-history.

Jennifer Ackermann on the Genius of Birds

The Book Club | 15 June 2016 | 0h 30m | Listen Later 
Interview with Jennifer Ackermann, author of The Genius of Birds, which documents the remarkable wits of our pea-brained feathered friends. Sprinkled with remarkable stories about the cleverness of birds.

Photosynthesis

In Our Time | 15 May 2014 | 0h 46m | Listen Later  | iTunes
Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss photosynthesis, the process by which green plants and many other organisms use sunlight to synthesise organic molecules. Photosynthesis arose very early in evolutionary history and has been a crucial driver of life on Earth. In addition to providing most of the food consumed by organisms on the planet, it is also responsible for maintaining atmospheric oxygen levels, and is thus almost certainly the most important chemical process ever discovered.

Robert Aronowitz on Risky Medicine

EconTalk | 9 November 2015 | 1h 10m | Listen Later  | iTunes
Should women get routine mammograms? Should men get regular PSA exams? Interview with Robert Aronowitz, author of Risky Medicine, about the increasing focus on risk reduction rather than health itself as a goal. Discusses the social and political forces that push us toward more preventive testing even when those tests have not been shown to be effective. A provocative look at the opportunity cost of risk-reduction.