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Think Again – a Big Think Podcast

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We surprise some of the world's brightest minds with ideas they're not at all prepared to discuss. With host Jason Gots and special guests Neil Gaiman, Alan Alda, Salman Rushdie, Mary-Louise Parker, Richard Dawkins, Margaret Atwood, Sam Harris, Daniel Dennett, Saul Williams, Henry Rollins, Bill Nye, George Takei, Maria Popova, and many more . . . You've got 10 minutes with Einstein. What do you talk about? Black holes? Time travel? Why not gambling? The Art of War? Contemporary parenting? Some of the best conversations happen when we're pushed outside of our comfort zones. So each week on Think Again, we surprise smart people you've probably heard of with hand-picked gems from Big Think's interview archives on every imaginable subject. The conversation could go anywhere. SINCE 2008, BIG THINK has captured on video the best ideas of the world’s leading thinkers and doers in every field, renowned experts including neurologist Oliver Sacks, physicist Stephen Hawking, behavioral psychologist Daniel Kahneman, authors Margaret Atwood and Marylinne Robinson, entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson, painter Chuck Close, and philosopher Daniel Dennett.

We surprise some of the world's brightest minds with ideas they're not at all prepared to discuss. With host Jason Gots and special guests Neil Gaiman, Alan Alda, Salman Rushdie, Mary-Louise Parker, Richard Dawkins, Margaret Atwood, Sam Harris, Daniel Dennett, Saul Williams, Henry Rollins, Bill Nye, George Takei, Maria Popova, and many more . . . You've got 10 minutes with Einstein. What do you talk about? Black holes? Time travel? Why not gambling? The Art of War? Contemporary parenting? Some of the best conversations happen when we're pushed outside of our comfort zones. So each week on Think Again, we surprise smart people you've probably heard of with hand-picked gems from Big Think's interview archives on every imaginable subject. The conversation could go anywhere. SINCE 2008, BIG THINK has captured on video the best ideas of the world’s leading thinkers and doers in every field, renowned experts including neurologist Oliver Sacks, physicist Stephen Hawking, behavioral psychologist Daniel Kahneman, authors Margaret Atwood and Marylinne Robinson, entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson, painter Chuck Close, and philosopher Daniel Dennett.
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Location:

United States

Description:

We surprise some of the world's brightest minds with ideas they're not at all prepared to discuss. With host Jason Gots and special guests Neil Gaiman, Alan Alda, Salman Rushdie, Mary-Louise Parker, Richard Dawkins, Margaret Atwood, Sam Harris, Daniel Dennett, Saul Williams, Henry Rollins, Bill Nye, George Takei, Maria Popova, and many more . . . You've got 10 minutes with Einstein. What do you talk about? Black holes? Time travel? Why not gambling? The Art of War? Contemporary parenting? Some of the best conversations happen when we're pushed outside of our comfort zones. So each week on Think Again, we surprise smart people you've probably heard of with hand-picked gems from Big Think's interview archives on every imaginable subject. The conversation could go anywhere. SINCE 2008, BIG THINK has captured on video the best ideas of the world’s leading thinkers and doers in every field, renowned experts including neurologist Oliver Sacks, physicist Stephen Hawking, behavioral psychologist Daniel Kahneman, authors Margaret Atwood and Marylinne Robinson, entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson, painter Chuck Close, and philosopher Daniel Dennett.

Language:

English


Episodes

170. Lynsey Addario (photojournalist) – on art, love, and war

11/10/2018
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Think about all the images you see in a day. The advertisements. The photos and videos as you search the web or scroll through social media, if you do that. Now think back a century and a half or so to when photography was new. Imagine the first time a British monarch saw a picture of an Inuit family, or vice versa. What did they make of each other? What did it remake in themselves? My guest today, photographer Lynsey Addario, has spent over two decades traveling the world taking intimate...

Duration:00:58:08

169. Ben Marcus' reality is only slightly askew from our own

11/3/2018
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A "grow light" for humans that cooks a guy's face. A pharmaceutical mist that puts you in the right mood for mourning the victims of terrorism. The year of All Hell Breaks Loose. The Year of the Sensor. Mudslides. Hurricanes. People who flee and people who stubbornly stay put. A terrible structure. A grand experiment. Creams and lotions that induce false prophecies. People who tumble into other people's marriages after they're dead. Every inch of the earth as a graveyard. More...

Duration:01:00:38

168. Michael Palin (writer and comic) – So long as there was laughter, I was safe

10/27/2018
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I recently spent several hours on a transatlantic flight zooming in and out of the interactive map of the Earth on my seat's personal entertainment unit. Exploring tiny islands in the polar North…impossible inland seas in the middle of Central Asian deserts…Places so remote and strange that they fire the imagination. In 2018, It's not easy to wrap your mind around the fact that not all that long ago no human and no satellite had ever set eye on many of these places. For all anybody knew,...

Duration:00:55:31

167. Gary Shteyngart (writer) - Reality catches up to dystopian fiction

10/20/2018
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Gary Shteyngart's new novel Lake Success is the evil doppelgänger of the Simon and Garfunkel song 'America'. In what is surely destined to become one of those legendary novel openings, right up there with "it was the best of times, it was the worst of times," we meet Barry Cohen, "a man with 2.4 billion dollars of assets under management . . ." in a Greyhound Bus Terminal at 3:20 am, bleeding from his face and drunk on $20,000 of Japanese whiskey. Shteyngart is one of my favorite writers...

Duration:00:54:48

166. Manoush Zomorodi (journalist) — How blockchain might save journalism. Maybe.

10/13/2018
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Why would two intelligent women running a hugely successful podcast at one of the most respected studios in the audio world, quit to start a small journalism company built on blockchain, a technology very few people have ever heard of? To quote someone on Twitter yesterday paraphrasing Bill Clinton sounding pretty harsh, actually: "It's the business model, stupid." As we keep learning the hard way, as long as we get our journalism from Facebook and 24 hour cable news, we're suckers for...

Duration:00:50:02

165. Man Booker prize winners Olga Tokarczuk (author) and Jennifer Croft (translator) — As fact and fiction blur, America’s finally ready for Olga Tokarczuk

10/6/2018
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Does it ever strike you as odd that we manage to inhabit two completely different realities at once? On one level, we have common sense and reason that orient us in the world. We make narrative sense of our own life and self and we go about our day with a provisional yet perfectly satisfactory sense of what the hell we're doing. And on another level, we know basically nothing. Forget about dark matter and multiple universes. Just glance into the eyes of that stranger on the train—there's a...

Duration:00:48:55

164. Jill Lepore (Historian) – Why America keeps going to pieces

9/29/2018
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As Alexander Hamilton put it, the American Experiment puts to the test the question “of whether societies of men are really capable or not of establishing good government from reflection and choice…or whether they are forever destined to depend for their political constitutions on accident and force.” This question surfaces throughout Jill Lepore’s brilliant new history of the United States: These Truths. Our conversation took place during the live-streamed, virally-watched Senate Judiciary...

Duration:00:49:24

163. Four Letter You – Merve Emre (scholar and critic)

9/22/2018
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Did you ever see the 1951 Disney version of Alice in Wonderland? Where the caterpillar, voiced by actor Richard Haydn, sits laconically on his giant toadstool, wreathed in hookah smoke, peers at Alice under his drooping eyelids and says: Who….Aaaaaaah…..you….? Even as kid, I felt the existential impact of that question. Not, "hey kid, what's your name?" But who, fundamentally, are you as a person? What are you like? Were you born that way? How much of that can you change? All those...

Duration:00:40:34

162. Emily Nemens (Editor, The Paris Review) — The Literary Industrial Complex

9/15/2018
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I have a confession to make: Literary magazines have always kind of intimidated me. Give me an 800 page, impenetrable work of literature any day. Like Captain Ahab, I’ll pursue it relentlessly unto the ends of the earth until it unfolds its briny secrets. But facing a shelf of lit mags at The Strand Bookstore, I always feel either underdressed or overdressed. Like a dream where you’re naked at the Vienna Opera or in head-to-toe Ralph Lauren at a Sonic Youth concert. Maybe all this started...

Duration:00:47:53

161. Congo: This Seemingly Impossible Knot – Daniel McCabe (documentary filmmaker)

8/18/2018
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THIS IS CONGO, a new documentary film, attempts to wrap its mind around the incomprehensible realities of the Democratic Republic of Congo, almost 60 years after it was founded. At one point, commenting on one of the more incomprehensible recent events, a high-ranking military officer remarks: “They will say, “This is Congo” But when will they ask “Why? why is Congo like this?” Where do we begin? Where can we begin? For as long as I can remember, the news out of Congo has been bad. But my...

Duration:00:54:37

160. Bassem Youssef (political satirist) – Now I Have to Answer for This?

8/11/2018
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My grandmother used to tell a story about coming to America from Poland. How she sang God Bless America to cheer up all the grownups on the ship. She was 5 or 6 years old, traveling alone with her mom. For her, it must have been a big adventure. I can hardly imagine what it was like for her mom— my great grandmother — how bad things must have been for Jews in their home town of Bialystok for her to pick up and leave like that, without her husband, heading toward some distant cousin in the...

Duration:00:46:05

159. Change is Made by the Ones Who Stay – Paula Eiselt (documentary filmmaker)

8/4/2018
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When I started college at New York University in 1990, nobody lived in Brooklyn. Brooklyn was the dark side of the moon. At least that’s how we NYU students thought about it. Lots of people lived in Brooklyn, of course. Just not us. It’s 2018, and Brooklyn has become an international brand, synonymous with artisanal pickles, gastropubs, and luxury condos. It’s the place even former NYU students can’t afford to live anymore. But in a couple of Brooklyn neighborhoods, people are still...

Duration:00:54:34

158. Parker Posey (actor) – I See a Dachshund In You

7/28/2018
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The impulse to make art is with us from childhood. It’s the desire to play. To say “hey! Look what I made!” It’s the wild fun of making a big mess that’s nobody else’s but your own—and not having to clean it up. Above all else, art is wild. It’s independent. It’s free. And that’s one reason why the art industry is a very weird thing. In order to make money “at scale” as the Silicon Valley kids like to say, movie studios, fancy galleries, and concert promoters have to quantify, systematize,...

Duration:01:08:03

157. The Spiders From Mars – Jason Heller (Hugo Award-winning writer)

7/21/2018
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The other day I was at a kid’s birthday party and a fellow dad was joking that “When we were kids, it was all ‘bang-bang-bang!’ and now it’s all ‘pew-pew-pew!’”He was talking about video games and lasers as opposed to, I’m guessing, cowboys? Actually, as I remember childhood, it was all “wowm…wowm!” The sound of lightsabers. I was 5 years old when Star Wars: A New Hope came out, and like everyone who grew up back then, I had sci-fi seeping into my very pores. Alien civilizations. Cyborg...

Duration:00:55:15

156. While You Live, Shine – Christopher C. King (Grammy-winning music producer)

7/14/2018
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While you live, shine. Have no mourning at all. Life exists a short while And time demands its fee. – From a 2000 year old tombstone in (then) Greek-speaking Asia Minor I’d like to do a little free-association exercise with you. I’m going to say three words and I’d like you to speak or write down all the words that come to mind as a result. No filtering. No judgment. Ready? American Pop Culture. Go! . . . Ok. Here’s what I got: Kanye Trump Gun Meme YouTube That’s pretty sad, I...

Duration:01:02:01

155. Lauren Groff (writer) – We Should Die of That Roar

7/7/2018
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The places we live in shape us. I don’t care who you are how indomitable your will…your spirit is in dialogue with the place you live. For example, I live in New York City, a place I wrapped around me like a second skin when I was 18 years old. Back then New York made me feel strong, cool, infinitely removed from the suburbs I grew up in. I’ve been here for 25 years and at this point what I mostly notice is the claustrophobic public spaces, the smallness of the sky. What do you feel when...

Duration:00:42:47

154. Jonathan Safran Foer (writer) – One Thing We Can All Agree Upon

6/30/2018
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What is food? It’s nourishment. It’s comfort. It’s culture. It’s art. For millions of people, it’s not something you waste much time thinking about. You eat what you’ve always eaten. What everyone around you eats. What you can afford. For others, every bite is a careful, conscious choice motivated by the drive to be thin, to impress your friends, or to do the right thing. In 2018, whatever our motivations, most of us live at a vast remove from the places and the ways our food is produced....

Duration:00:47:33

153. Guns: The Genie and the Bottle – Priya Satia (Historian)

6/23/2018
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When you think of the industrial revolution what comes to mind? Steam engines probably. Lone genius inventors. Factories and coal mines, perhaps. And depending on your professional interests and political leanings, either suffering laborers in sweat shops or the Great Onward March of Civilization. Did anybody think of guns? According to my guest today Stanford historian Priya Satia, guns are inextricably bound up with industrialization and it is our long and ever-changing relationship with...

Duration:00:47:56

152. Where You Gonna Run To? Lorena Luciano and Filippo Piscopo (documentary filmmakers)

6/16/2018
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Imagine you’re a father or a mother of three kids. Your city is in the middle of a civil war. At any time a rocket might burst through your wall. Soldiers might round your family up, or kill them in crossfire. What do you do? You leave, of course. You do whatever you have to do to get your kids to safety. There will be many deadly risks along the way. But you know what’s the worst? The not knowing. The constant thoughts inside your head of everything that might go wrong, everything you hope...

Duration:00:55:15

151. Jessica Abel (cartoonist, creative coach) – Practical Magic

6/9/2018
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On an earlier episode of this show the Turkish novelist Orhan Pamuk said something that I’ve never forgotten. He said that writing programs shouldn’t teach about plots or characters or how to structure a story. Instead, they should teach writers to manage their own psyches. To be the captains of their own creative ships across the rough daily waters of fluctuating emotions and energies. This kind of self-management, he suggested, is what makes the difference between people who keep producing...

Duration:01:03:16