A boy carries buckets to fill with water from a public tap amid an acute shortage of water Oct. 13, 2015, on the outskirts of Sanaa, Yemen Oct. 13, 2015, on the outskirts of Sanaa, Yemen. Photo by Quinn Kelley

Water Wars

Fresh water, the most precious resource, is disappearing. In this episode, we look at what’s happening in places that already are running out of water. From the outside, fighting in Yemen looks like a sectarian conflict, but that may be the world’s first water war. In California, farmers are pumping up enormous amounts of groundwater to keep their crops alive. This is taking a serious toll on the land, which has been deflating steadily – like a leaky air mattress. Reporter Nathan Halverson takes us to the fastest-sinking town in America and talks with scientists, farmers and residents about what this means for some of the nation’s most productive farmland.
One of the biggest consumers of water is meat production. It takes a staggering amount of water to produce just a single hamburger patty. But what if there were a way to re-create the burger using a fraction of the water? Cutting-edge science is creating lab-made alternative meats without sacrificing taste.


Mark Zuckerberg on Facebook’s Hardest Year, and What Comes Next

Has Facebook become too big to manage, and too dangerous when it fails? Should the social infrastructure of the global community be managed by a corporation headquartered in Northern California? What’s Zuckerberg’s reply to Apple CEO Tim Cook, who says the social media giant’s business model is at odds with its users’ interests? And how has all this changed Zuckerberg’s ambitions for Facebook’s future, and confidence in its mission?

Mark Zuckerberg has long held that the company’s mission is to make the world more open and connected — with the assumption being that a more open and connected world is a better world. But a more open world can make it easier for governments to undermine each other’s elections from afar; a more connected world can make it easier to spread hatred and incite violence.

The Ezra Klein Show

Is Talent a Thing?

Is the concept of talent so ill-defined as to be useless, when hiring people? Entrepreneur and author Margaret Heffernan argues that we need something new, as good grades and top degrees have proved no guarantee of high performance in the workplace. She talks to the recent head of HR (or “people operations”) at Google, the pioneer of the concept of a “growth mindset”, and the academic who found people’s intelligence increased over the course of the 20th century. She also speaks about other measures like “grit”, “cultural fit” and how to interview people to find the candidate who is best for the job and the company, rather than the one you like.

Analysis – BBC Radio 4

Japanese Zen Garden, photo by Andreas Øverland Japanese Zen Garden, photo by Andreas Øverland

Meditation Under Investigation

Silicon Valley CEOs, scruffy hippies, and Tibetan monks alike describe meditation as blissful and life-changing, but what does the science say? Can it reduce stress, increase your attention, and improve mental health — or is all this focus on breathing just a bunch of hot air? Sit back, get comfortable, focus your mind and let the experts to sort it out for you. Among them are Tim Ferriss, Professor Gaelle Desbordes, Dr. Clifford Saron, and Dr. Britta Hölzel.

Science Vs

Power of Dead People

Our lives are controlled by invisible hands from the grave. Trillions of dollars of the US economy are devoted to executing the wishes of people who died long ago, rather than satisfying the needs, preferences, and values of those living now. Philosopher Barry Lam follows the story of the Hershey fortune to show how a 19th century industrialist constructed the oddest business structure to ensure that his idiosyncratic wishes would be fulfilled hundreds of years after his death. The story raises questions about why we give the dead so much power over our lives, and what this says about how we find meaning in our own lives given foreknowledge of our mortality.

Hi-Phi Nation

The Madhouse Effect

In this episode, Clay and Grant sit down with renowned Climate Scientist Michael Mann to discuss his new book The Madhouse Effect. The conversation covers not only the book but how do we engage with those with differing viewpoints? How do we find common ground?

Dr. Mann is the author of more than 200 peer-reviewed and edited publications, and has published three books including Dire Predictions: Understanding Climate Change, The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars: Dispatches from the Front Lines, and most recently, The Madhouse Effect.

The Prism Podcast

The Value of Deep Work in the Age of Distraction

the-value-of-deep-workHave you ever spent an entire day at work feeling really busy and yet at the end of the day you realize you weren’t very productive at all? And when you resolve to do better the next day and dig into deeper work, you find that you can’t focus. You still have an overpowering itch to check your email or scroll through your Instagram feed.
If that sounds familiar, this show is for you. Our guest, Cal Newport, is the author of So Good They Can’t Ignore You on how you shouldn’t necessarily follow your passion. He now has a new book called Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World, and it’s just as insightful and paradigm-shifting as his last. In this podcast Cal and Brett discuss why being able to concentrate deeply on hard tasks is the skill that will set you apart in today’s marketplace and how deep work can lead to a more meaningful life.

The Art of Manliness

British Airship R 101

Airships and the Future that Never Was

They are hulking, but graceful — human-made whales that float in the air. For over a century, lighter-than-air vehicles have captured the public imagination. In these visions, cargo and passengers traverse the globe in smoothly gliding aircraft, then dock elegantly at the mooring towers on top of Art Deco skyscrapers.

Today, blimps are mostly just PR gimmicks, but for 100 years, lighter-than-air crafts were seriously considered as the perfect design solution for all kinds of problems, at least in theory. And despite setbacks and failures, people just wouldn’t give up on the promise of airships.

The most promising, and most opulent, rigid airship of the 1920s era was Britain’s R101 and its rise and dramatic fall is the primary subject of engineering expert Bill Hammack’s new book about Britain’s last great airship, called Fatal Flight. In this podcast he evokes futures that might have been.

99% Invisible


John Thompson vs. American Justice

When police showed up to question John Thompson, he was worried that it was because he had sold drugs to an undercover cop. When he realized they were investigating a murder, he could only laugh: “Shit, for real? Murder?”Thompson was insistent on his innocence, but New Orleans prosecutors wanted a conviction for a high-profile murder, and they were not scrupulous about how they got it. Thompson quickly found himself on death row. Eighteen years later, just weeks before Thompson was due to be executed, his lawyers discovered that a prosecutor had hidden exculpatory evidence from the defense. Thompson had been set up.

The New Yorker Radio Hour