In this episode, we will hear from speakers who are curious about our place in the universe and what lies beyond our skies. They will talk about the impact of asteroids hitting the earth, stardust in our veins, search for extraterrestrial life and the architecture of cosmos.
Two significant trends for the future of personal travel are unfolding – the increasing number of electric cars and a world of autonomous vehicles. Benedict Evans of venture capital firm “Andreessen Horowitz” talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about how these two trends are likely to affect the economy, urban design, and almost every aspect of how people live. “Just as electric isn’t about removing the gas tank, autonomy isn’t actually about the car driving itself. It’s about you getting rid of the person. And it’s about changing everything else about that vehicle. And everything about the city around it. In much the same way that removing the horse wasn’t just about removing the [horse] – it changed everything else about vehicles and everything else about it.”
Spectacular intelligence is the most conspicuous sign of genius. However, recent research indicates that various factors explain true ingeniousness, not just high IQ. They include creativity, perseverance and other traits. Claudia Kalb joins us to talk about what made Einstein, Michelangelo and others become the greatest minds of their times.
To many of us, the desire to bring order to chaos can be nearly irresistible. We tell our kids to clean their rooms, and our politicians to clean up Washington. But economist and writer Tim Harford thinks we’re underestimating the value of disorder. In this episode he explains how an embrace of chaos is beneficial to musicians, speechmakers, politicians – and the rest of us.
Depression is the most disabling chronic condition worldwide affecting around 14% of world’s population. It’s very likely to cause problems at school, damage career and disrupt relationships. It can be triggered by enviromental factors, and can run in families. Research is now underway to precisely identify the genes associated with depression and the results may lead to dramatically improved and personalised treatment.
Anne Curzan, an English Professor at the University of Michigan, explains how grammar rules are not fixed in the English language. Language is constantly evolving and we should think of the dictionary as a field guide rather than the authority on language. So we can all stop correcting each other and just appreciate our different ways of speaking because when we criticize someone for their language we also criticize part of their community.
In the 1960s and 70s New York City was going through an economic downturn and many people with means moved to the suburbs. By the 1980s there were empty buildings everywhere throughout the Lower East Side that squatters eventually took over. They set about fixing up their decrepit buildings, clearing rubble, building stairs, reinforcing walls, and replacing windows. These squatters would resist eviction by the city for almost two decades and in 2002 they finally achieved legalization and were allowed to stay.
How does friendship influence political power? One of the Winston Churchill’s closest friends and confidantes was an eccentric scientist named Frederick Lindemann. His connection to Churchill altered the course of British policy in World War II. And not in a good way.
Last fall a group of, well, let’s just call them crypto-wizards, came together in an undisclosed location to launch a new currency that promised total anonymity to its users. It’s an undertaking that involves some of the most elaborate security and cryptography ever done (so we’ve been told). And lots of math. In the middle of it, something started to get weird.