Azra Raza on The First Cell

EconTalk | 23 March 2020 | 1h 24m | Listen Later | iTunes
Interview with Azra Raza about her book The First Cell: And the Human Costs of Pursuing Cancer to the Last. Raza argues that we have made little progress in fighting cancer over the last 50 years. The tools available to oncologists haven’t changed much – the bulk of the progress that has been made has been through earlier and earlier detection rather than more effective or compassionate treatment options. Raza wants to see a different approach from the current strategy of marginal improvements on narrowly defined problems at the cellular level. Instead, she suggests an alternative approach that might better take account of the complexity of human beings and the way that cancer morphs and spreads differently across people and even within individuals. The conversation includes the challenges of dealing with dying patients, the importance of listening, and the bittersweet nature of our mortality.

Isabella Tree on Wilding

EconTalk | 16 March 2020 | 1h 17m | Listen Later | iTunes
Interview with Isabella Tree about her book Wilding. Describes how Tree and her husband turned their three and a half-acre farm, the Knepp Castle Estate, into something wilder, a place for wild ponies, wild pigs, wild oxen, and an ever-wider variety of birds and bugs. Covers the re-wilding phenomenon, the complexity of natural systems, and the nature of emergent order.

Richard Davies on Extreme Economies

EconTalk | 9 March 2020 | 2h 04m | Listen Later | iTunes
Interview with Richard Davies about his book Extreme Economies: What Life at the World’s Margins Can Teach Us About Our Own Future. Explores economic life in extreme situations. Examples discussed are the Angola State Penitentiary in Louisiana, two Syrian refugee camps in Jordan, the rain forest in the Darien Gap in Panama, and Kinshasa, the largest city in the Democratic Republic of Congo. An economic and journalistic tour de force as Davies shares insights from his encounters with people around the world struggling to trade and prosper in extreme environments.

Peter Singer on The Life You Can Save

EconTalk | 17 February 2020 | 1h 06m | Listen Later | iTunes
Interview with Peter Singer about his book The Life You Can Save. Singer argues that those of us in the developed world with a high standard of living can and should give/forgo some luxuries and donate instead to reduce poverty and suffering in poor countries. This is a wide-ranging conversation on the potential we have to make the world a better place and the practical challenges of having an impact.

Marty Makary on the Price We Pay

EconTalk | 10 February 2020 | 1h 20m | Listen Later | iTunes
Interview with Marty Makary about his book The Price We Pay. Makary highlights some of the stranger aspects of the US health care system including the encouragement of unnecessary or even harmful procedures and the predatory behaviour of some hospitals who sue patients and garnish their wages to recover fees that are secret until after the procedure is completed. Makary favours requiring hospitals to make their prices transparent. He also discusses a number of ways that employers and patients are trying to avoid the worst aspects of the current system.

Melanie Mitchell on Artificial Intelligence

EconTalk | 6 January 2020 | 1h 18m | Listen Later | iTunes
Interview with Melanie Mitchell about her book Artificial Intelligence: A Guide for Thinking Humans. Overviews artificial intelligence (AI) and where we might be going. Mitchell argues that much of what is called “learning” and “intelligence” when done by machines is not analogous to human capabilities. The capabilities of machines are highly limited to explicit, narrow tasks with little transfer to similar but different challenges. Along the way, Mitchell explains some of the techniques used in AI and how progress has been made in many areas.

Adam Minter on Secondhand

EconTalk | 13 January 2020 | 1h 08m | Listen Later | iTunes
Interview with Adam Minter about his book Secondhand: Travels in the New Global Garage Sale. Explores the strange and fascinating world of secondhand stuff – the downsizing that the elderly do when they move to smaller quarters, the unseen side of Goodwill Industries, and the global market for rags.

Kimberly Clausing on Open and the Progressive Case for Free Trade

EconTalk | 30 December 2019 | 1h 08m | Listen Later | iTunes
Interview with Kimberly Clausing about her book Open: The Progressive Case for Free Trade, Immigration, and Global Capital. Argues both for free trade and interventions to soften the impact of trade on workers and communities.