Episode Archive for June 2013

Ethan Zuckerman - Digital Cosmopolitans in the Age of Connection

June 24, 2013

Our guest this week is an inspiring thinker whom we’ve wanted to get on the show for a long, long time: Ethan Zuckerman.

He’s the director of the Center for Civic Media at MIT, and works at MIT’s Media Lab. He’s also the co-founder of Global Voices, a community of global bloggers—and has worked in the past at Geekcorps and Tripod.

We’re here to discuss his new book Rewire: Digital Cosmopolitans in the Age of Connection—which among other things argues that the technological ability to communicate with someone does not inevitably lead to increased human…

Mario Livio - Brilliant Blunders From Darwin to Einstein

June 17, 2013

One thing we often forget about great scientists, especially as they are lionized and mythologized: they made mistakes. Sometimes big ones. Sometimes, even, brilliant ones.

Charles Darwin, for instance, didn’t understand genetics. He and Gregor Mendel were as ships passing in the night. Granted, Darwin eventually realized that he needed a better theory of heredity in order for his idea of natural selection to work—so he came up with “pangenesis,” a completely wrong idea that… well, the less said about it the better.

But Darwin isn’t the only one. From Linus Pauling to Albert Einstein,…

Daniel Dennett - Tools for Thinking

June 10, 2013

Having spent 50 years as an influential thinker, Daniel Dennett has earned the right to tell us how to think. His latest book is a collection of 77 tools for thinking, which every self-respecting critical thinker should consider, if not actively use.

American philosopher and author Daniel C. Dennett is perhaps best known in cognitive science for his multiple drafts (or “fame in the brain”) model of human consciousness and he is among the most influential philosophers of our day. He is the Austin B. Fletcher Professor of Philosophy, and Co-Director of the Center for Cognitive Studies…

Stephan Lewandowsky - The Mind of the Conspiracy Theorist

June 03, 2013

From 9-11, to the death of Osama bin Laden, to the Boston Bombings, there’s been a consistently bizarre and troubling reaction by some members of the public.

We’re referring to the people—a minority, to be sure, but a surprisingly large one—who always seem to think there’s some kind of cover up. The U.S. government, they feel, was really behind the attacks on, uh, itself. And as for Bin Laden—well, he isn’t really dead.

These people are called conspiracy theorists,  and, their particular form of irrationality is uniquely befuddling. It has been often denounced, but rarely…