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In The Moment podcast


Listen in on the latest Town Hall conversation, wherever you are! In the Moment is a weekly podcast featuring in-depth interviews curated by Town Hall’s Digital Media Manager, Jini Palmer. Senior Correspondent Steve Scher, along with a host of Seattle journalists and thought leaders, take on topics ranging from science and health, civics and culture, to the arts—and beyond! Join us, In the Moment, for expansive talks from Town Hall’s digital stage.


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Listen in on the latest Town Hall conversation, wherever you are! In the Moment is a weekly podcast featuring in-depth interviews curated by Town Hall’s Digital Media Manager, Jini Palmer. Senior Correspondent Steve Scher, along with a host of Seattle journalists and thought leaders, take on topics ranging from science and health, civics and culture, to the arts—and beyond! Join us, In the Moment, for expansive talks from Town Hall’s digital stage.







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141. Max Holleran with Marcus Harrison Green: Millennials and the Fight for Affordable Housing

It’s no secret that housing costs are climbing and income is struggling to keep up. It’s a complex problem with a lot of loud voices. One of the newest voices, however, is the YIMBY (“Yes In My Backyard”) movement. This growing number of influential activists are calling for more construction and denser cities in order to increase affordability. Max Holleran’s book, Yes to the City, offers an in-depth look at the movement and how it fits into the larger debate of how we shape where we live. From YIMBY’s origins in San Francisco to its current group of activists pushing for new apartment towers in places like Boulder, Austin, and London, Holleran explores how changing the way we look at urban density can make an impact. Once blamed for overpopulated slums, urban density has become a rallying cry for millennial activists locked out of housing markets and simultaneously unable to pay high rents. For many, the YIMBY movement has become a way forward. Yet, with many points of view and powers at play in this fast-changing public debate, there is much tension between activists and proponents of other housing movements. In this installment of Town Hall’s In the Moment podcast, Marcus Harrison Green talks with Holleran about the current state of the housing movement, the history that got us here, and how both might shape the future of where we live. Max Holleran is Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Melbourne. His work focuses on urban development in Europe and the United States, particularly how cities manage tourism. He has written about gentrification, architectural aesthetics, post-socialist urban planning, and European Union integration for anthropology, sociology, geography, and history journals. His work on cities and politics has also appeared in Australian Book Review, Boston Review, Contexts, Dissent, Slate, and many other publications. He is currently an Urban Studies Foundation research fellow. He is the author of Tourism, Urbanization, and the Evolving Periphery of the European Union. Marcus Harrison Green is the publisher of the South Seattle Emerald and a columnist with The Seattle Times. Growing up in South Seattle, he experienced first-hand the impact of one-dimensional stories on marginalized communities, which taught him the value of authentic narratives. After an unfulfilling stint in the investment world during his twenties, Marcus returned to his community with a newfound purpose of telling stories with nuance, complexity, and multidimensionality with the hope of advancing social change. This led him to become a writer and found the South Seattle Emerald. He was awarded the Seattle Human Rights Commissions’ Individual Human Rights Leader Award for 2020. Buy the Book—Yes to the City: Millennials and the Fight for Affordable Housing Presented by Town Hall Seattle. To become a member or make a donation click here.


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140. R. Douglas Arnold with Sally James: Can Social Security Be Fixed?

Since it started, Social Security has been a cornerstone for retirement in America. But Americans are living longer and having fewer children, which means that this popular program now pays more in benefits than it collects in revenue. There’s less going into the pot than there is going out. Without reforms, 83 million Americans will face an immediate benefit cut of 20 percent in 2034, just a dozen years away. What’s more, most future retirees are not participating in employee-sponsored retirement plans outside of Social Security, which could otherwise buffer the impacts of these cuts. Many people are counting on the safety net of Social Security for their future. How did we get here and what is the solution? In Fixing Social Security, R. Douglas Arnold explores how Social Security has played out in American politics, why Congress struggles to fix its problems, and what legislators can do to save it. In the 140th episode of Town Hall’s In the Moment podcast, Sally James interviews Arnold about whether or not America will be able to fix the future of Social Security and how we might go about doing it. R. Douglas Arnold is the William Church Osborn Professor of Public Affairs Emeritus at Princeton University. His books include Congress, the Press, and Political Accountability (Princeton), The Logic of Congressional Action, and Framing the Social Security Debate. Sally James is a writer and journalist who covers science and medical research. She has written for The Seattle Times, South Seattle Emerald, Seattle and UW Magazines, among others. For the Emerald, she has been focusing during the pandemic on stories about health and access for communities of color. In the past, she has been a leader and volunteer for the nonprofit Northwest Science Writers Association. For many years, she was a reviewer for Health News Review, fact-checking national press reporting for accuracy and fairness. Buy the Book — Fixing Social Security: The Politics of Reform in a Polarized Age Presented by Town Hall Seattle. To become a member or make a donation click here.


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139. Leoma James with Charlie James: Stories of a Black American Woman Living in Africa

What is it like to be a young, Black, American woman traveling in Southern and Eastern Africa? In her new novel, No Blame, No Shame, No Guilt, Leoma James explores the profound experience of being surrounded by Africa’s natural beauty and vibrant culture while also realizing the harsh realities of racism and the long-term implications of colonization in Africa. Through short stories and poetry, James exposes readers to the different racial relations present within each story, allowing them to draw their own conclusions about racism and white supremacy. James only has one request: that readers consider what they know about history and current events and reflect on how they have contributed to the racial relations that exist within society today. Who is to be blamed for the gross discrepancies we see and experience? Who should feel shame for the perpetuation of colonial ideals? Who is guilty for the dramatic and disproportionate physical and mental brutality invoked against Black bodies? In the 139th episode of Town Hall’s In the Moment podcast, Charlie James interviews Leoma James about No Blame, No Shame, No Guilt. Leoma James is a young Black poet, storyteller, activist, and educator from Seattle, Washington. She primarily writes poetry and short stories that focus on the Black experience, from a global standpoint. Leoma is a world traveler who extended her studies at Washington State University through the Knowledge Exchange Institute in Nairobi, Kenya. Leoma also served in Namibia with the U.S Peace Corps from 2017-2019 as a Secondary English teacher and has traveled extensively through Southern and Eastern Africa. Leoma is currently pursuing her master’s degree in Education at the University of Washington and has the desire to support students who are disadvantaged academically and socially due to race, income, immigration status, and language barriers, as well as people with disabilities. Charlie James has been an organizer in the Black American community for most of his life, beginning at age five after he led black kindergartners into the Michigan school system in 1956. A leader for Black students throughout his schooling, Charlie became the founder and First President of the Black Student Federation at Lake Michigan Junior College and was named a Ford Foundation Scholar. After receiving death threats due to his community activism, Charlie left Michigan and came to the University of Washington in Seattle, where he became the President of the Black Student Union and an editor for the UW Daily. Today, Charlie is a well-known editorial writer for every major newspaper in the Pacific Northwest, including his own platform, the African American Business and Employment Journal. He is also the founder of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Park in Seattle and one of the founders of Northwest African American Museum. He is currently in the process of writing a book called The Survival of Black America and is a proud father of three daughters. Presented by Town Hall Seattle. To become a member or make a donation click here.


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138. Kevin G. Bethune with Beverly Aarons: How Reimagining Design Can Transform Lives and Organizations

Design is more than an aesthetically pleasing logo or banner – it has the power to solve problems in unique ways, cultivate innovation, and anchor multidisciplinary teamwork. In Reimagining Design, Kevin Bethune describes his journey as a Black professional through corporate America, revealing the power of transformative design, multidisciplinary leaps, and diversity. Bethune, who began as an engineer at Westinghouse, moved on to Nike (where he designed Air Jordans), and now works as a sought-after consultant on design and innovation, shows how design can transform individual lives and organizations. In Bethune’s account, diversity, equity, and inclusion emerge as a recurring theme. He shows how, as we leverage design for innovation, we also need to consider the broader ecological implications of our decisions and acknowledge the threads of systemic injustice in order to realize positive change. He contends that design transformation takes leadership by leaders who do not act as gatekeepers but, with agility and nimbleness, build teams that mirror the marketplace. Bethune is joined by Beverly Aarons in the 138th episode of Town Hall’s In the Moment Podcast, as they discuss design in harmony with other disciplines. Design in harmony with other disciplines can be incredibly powerful; multidisciplinary team collaboration is the foundation of future innovation. With insight and compassion, Bethune provides a framework for bringing this about. Kevin G. Bethune is the Founder and Chief Creative Officer of dreams • design + life, a think tank for design and innovation. Over a career that spans more than twenty years, he has worked in engineering, business, and design. Beverly Aarons is a writer, artist, and game developer. She works across disciplines exploring the intersections of history, hidden current realities, and imagined future worlds. She specializes in making unseen perspectives visible and aims to infuse all of her creative work with a deep sense of emotionality. She’s won the Guy A. Hanks, Marvin H. Miller Screenwriting Award, Community 4Culture Fellowship, Artist Trust GAP Award, 4Culture Creative Consultancies Award, and the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture smART Ventures grant. She’s currently publishing in-depth artist profiles at Artists Up Close on Substack. Buy the Book—Reimagining Design: Unlocking Strategic Innovation Presented by Town Hall Seattle. To become a member or make a donation click here.


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137. Alexander Monea with Edward Wolcher: How the Internet Became Straight

In today’s internet-based world, it’s easy to forget that there was a time before it was mainstream. How is it built? Who decides its content? And how has that content affected our culture? In this episode of In the Moment, author and researcher Alexander Monea takes a close look at this thing we all take for granted and argues that the internet isn’t as open source as one might think. In his new book, The Digital Closet, Monea explores how heteronormative bias is deeply embedded in the internet, hidden in algorithms, keywords, and content moderation. Monea argues that the internet became straight by suppressing everything that is not, forcing LGBTQIA+ content into increasingly narrow channels — rendering it invisible through opaque algorithms, automated and human content moderation, warped keywords, and other strategies of digital overreach. Monea explains how the United States’ thirty-year “war on porn” has brought about the over-regulation of sexual content, which created censorship of a lot of nonpornographic content, including material on sex education and LGBTQ+ activism. It turns out that we may take a lot for granted when it comes to the internet. Monea offers a chance to confront its flaws and examine the cultural, technological, and political conditions that put LGBTQIA+ content into the closet. In the 137th episode of Town Hall’s In the Moment podcast, Monea discusses The Digital Closet with Edward Wolcher. Alexander Monea is Assistant Professor in the English Department and Cultural Studies Program at George Mason University. Edward Wolcher is a writer, media artist, and cultural organizer based in Seattle. His technology consultancy,, helps artists and activists find their digital voice. Buy the Book—The Digital Closet: How the Internet Became Straight Presented by Town Hall Seattle. To become a member or make a donation click here.


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136. Joel Simon and Robert Mahoney with Katy Sewall: How Censorship and Lies Made the World Sicker and Less Free

As COVID-19 began to spread around the world in 2020, so did a steady stream of information — and disinformation. Running parallel to the pandemic was an “infodemic,” a digital and physical deluge of information that resulted in mass confusion and censorship. In their new book, The Infodemic, authors Joel Simon and Robert Mahoney lay bare the mechanisms of a modern brand of “censorship through noise” that moves beyond traditional means of state control (jailing critics and restricting the flow of information, for example) to open the floodgates of misinformation. The result? A public overwhelmed with lies and half-truths. Simon and Mahoney have traveled the world for many years defending press freedom and journalists’ rights as the directors of the Committee to Protect Journalists. They’ve charted COVID censorship beginning in China, through Iran, Russia, India, Egypt, Brazil, and inside the Trump White House. They argue that increased surveillance in the name of public health, the collapse of public trust in institutions, and the demise of local news reporting all contributed to help governments hijack the flow of information and usurp power. Through vivid characters and behind-the-scenes accounts, Simon and Mahoney argue that under the cover of a global pandemic, governments have undermined freedom and taken control — and that this new political order may be the legacy of the disease. Truth may seem like a simple concept, but Simon and Mahoney highlight how complex it really is. What do you consider a fact? How do you know what a fact is? In this installment of Town Hall’s In the Moment podcast, radio host Katy Sewall interviews Simon and Mahoney about these questions in the context of today’s pandemic and political powers. Joel Simon is a fellow at the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia Journalism School and formerly the Executive Director of the Committee to Protect Journalists. Before joining CPJ, he worked as a journalist in Latin America and California. He is the author of three books, including We Want to Negotiate: The Secret World of Hostages, Kidnapping, and Ransom, also from Columbia Global Reports. He lives in Brooklyn, New York. Robert Mahoney is Executive Director of the Committee to Protect Journalists. He was a Reuters correspondent with postings in Southeast Asia, West Africa, India, Israel, France and Germany. This is Robert’s first book. He lives in New York City. Katy Sewall is a back-up announcer/host for KUOW and a feature reporter. She’s a PRINDI award-winning producer who trained with Radiolab and toured with A Prairie Home Companion. Her work has appeared on The Takeaway, Here & Now, the BBC, and more. Katy spent nine years as the Senior Producer of Weekday with Steve Scher and is currently the host and creator of the international podcast The Bittersweet Life. Buy the Book—The Infodemic: How Censorship and Lies Made the World Sicker and Less Free Presented by Town Hall Seattle. To become a member or make a donation click here.


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135. David M. Peña-Guzmán with Steve Scher: The Hidden World of Animal Consciousness

Have you ever watched a dog sleep? At times it doesn’t look like sleep at all with their tails thumping, paws padding at an invisible ground, and squeaks, grunts, and growls disrupting an otherwise quiet slumber. We might assume that they’re dreaming about squirrels, or a really good bone. But are they? What really goes on in the minds of animals when they sleep? Author David Peña-Guzmán brings together behavioral and neuroscientific research on animal sleep with philosophical theories of dreaming in his new book, When Animals Dream. Through his research, Peña-Guzmán builds a convincing case for animals as conscious beings and examines the thorny scientific, philosophical, and ethical questions it raises. In the 135th episode of Town Hall’s In the Moment podcast, senior correspondent Steve Scher and David Peña-Guzmán discuss the cognitive and emotional lives of nonhuman animals, challenging us to regard animals as beings who matter, and for whom things matter. David M. Peña-Guzmán is associate professor of humanities and liberal studies at San Francisco State University. He specializes in critical animal studies, the history and philosophy of science, and contemporary European philosophy. He is a coauthor of Chimpanzee Rights: The Philosophers’ Brief and cohost of the popular Overthink podcast. Steve Scher is a podcaster and interviewer and has been a teacher at the University of Washington since 2009. He worked in Seattle public radio for almost 30 years and is Senior Correspondent for Town Hall Seattle’s In The Moment podcast. Buy the Book: When Animals Dream: The Hidden World of Animal Consciousness Presented by Town Hall Seattle. To become a member or make a donation click here.


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134. Thomas H. Pruiksma with Dr. Ruben Quesada: A New Translation of The Kural

The Tirukkuṟaḷ, or Kural, for short, is considered a masterpiece of universal philosophy, ethics, and morality. Traditionally attributed to Thiruvalluvar, also known as Valluvar, the original text has been dated from 300 BCE to 5th century CE. The classic Tamil work is one of the most cited and translated ancient texts in existence; it has been translated into over 40 Indian and non-Indian languages and has never been out of print since its first publication in 1812. In a new translation of the Kural, Thomas Hitoshi Pruiksma brings English readers closer than ever to the brilliant inner and outer music of Tiruvalluvar’s work and ideas. The work consists of 1,330 short philosophical verses, or kurals, that together cover a wide range of personal and cosmic experiences, such as — Politics: Harsh rule that brings idiots together—nothing Burdens the earth more Friendship: Friendship is not a face smiling—friendship Is a heart that smiles Greed: Those who won’t give and enjoy—even with billions They have nothing Drawing on the poetic tradition of W. S. Merwin, Wendell Berry, and William Carlos Williams, and nurtured by two decades of study under Tamil scholar Dr. K. V. Ramakoti, Pruiksma’s translation transforms the barrier of language into a bridge, bringing the fullness of Tiruvalluvar’s poetic intensity to a new generation. In the 134th episode of Town Hall’s In the Moment podcast, Pruiksma discusses his translation of the Kural with poet, editor, and translator, Dr. Ruben Quesada. Thomas Hitoshi Pruiksma is an author, poet, performer, and teacher. His books include The Safety of Edges and Give, Eat, and Live: Poems of Avvaiyar. Pruiksma teaches writing for Cozy Grammar and has received grants and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, 4Culture, Artist Trust, the Squaw Valley Community of Writers, the US Fulbright Program, the American Literary Translators Association, and Oberlin Shansi. Ruben Quesada, Ph.D. is editor of Latinx Poetics: Essays on the Art of Poetry (University of New Mexico Press, 2022) and author of Revelations (Sibling Rivalry Press, 2018), Next Extinct Mammal (Greenhouse Review Press, 2011), and translator of Selected Translations of Luis Cernuda (Aureole Press, 2008). Dr. Quesada has served as an editor for AGNI, Pleiades, and The Kenyon Review. His writing appears in Best American Poetry, Ploughshares, and Harvard Review. He is an Associate Teaching Fellow at The Attic Institute and teaches for the UCLA Writers’ Program. He lives in Chicago. Buy the Book: The Kural—Tiruvalluvar’s Tirukkural: A New Translation of the Classical Tamil Masterpiece on Ethics, Power and Love Presented by Town Hall Seattle. To become a member or make a donation click here.


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133. Linda Lee with Shin Yu Pai: Meet Town Hall Seattle’s Curator-in-Residence

As Curator-in-Residence for Town Hall, Linda Lee has been working with Town Hall Seattle since October 2021 to better interpret and display our permanent art collections, as well as develop a longer-term exhibition plan including artwork from the community. In the 133rd episode of Town Hall’s In the Moment podcast, Program Director Shin Yu Pai interviews Lee about her work as Curator-in-Residence, her collaboration with Urban Artworks to put art on our walls, and exciting opportunities for the public to get hands-on and make murals with us this June. Linda Lee is a Museology graduate student at the University of Washington and aspires to pursue a Ph.D. in Paleobiology after graduation in 2022. Her fields of interest are in Curatorial and Collections Management, with a particular proclivity towards Natural History, Heritage and History museums. Shin Yu Pai is Program Director for Town Hall. She hosts the Lyric World podcast for In The Moment and is developing a podcast with KUOW Public Radio that will launch in June 2022. She’s the author of 11 books and a 2022 Artist Trust Fellow. Presented by Town Hall Seattle. To become a member or make a donation click here.


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132. Treva B. Lindsey with Leoma James: Violence, Black Women, and the Struggle for Justice

Studies clearly indicate that Black women, girls, and non-binary people face disproportionately high rates of physical and sexual violence, and face a greater risk of death by homicide than women and non-binary people of white, Latinx, and Asian/Pacific Islander descent. What forces have contributed to a legacy of violence, and is justice possible? In America, Goddam, Black feminist historian Dr. Treva B. Lindsey explores the combined force of anti-Blackness, misogyny, patriarchy, and capitalism in the lives of Black women and girls in the United States today. Dr. Lindsey explains that the struggle for justice begins with a reckoning of the pervasiveness of violence against Black women and girls in the United States. Through a combination of history, theory, and memoir, Dr. Lindsey highlights the gender dynamics of anti-Black violence and addresses how the circumstances of this violence remain underreported and understudied. Dr. Lindsey also shows that the sanctity of life and liberty for Black men has been a rallying cry within Black freedom movements – movements that Black women are rarely the focus of despite their lived experiences, frontline participation, and leadership in demanding justice. Across generations and centuries, their refusal to remain silent about violence against them led many to envision and build toward Black liberation through organizing and radical politics. In the 132nd episode of Town Hall’s In the Moment podcast, Dr. Lindsey and Leoma James discuss the collective journey toward just futures for Black women. Dr. Treva B. Lindsey is Associate Professor in the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Department at Ohio State University and founder of the Transformative Black Feminism(s) Initiative in Columbus, Ohio. Leoma James is a writer, activist, political science and communication broadcasting Alum at Washington State University and Peace Corps Namibia 2017-2019. Buy the Book—America, Goddam: Violence, Black Women and the Struggle for Justice Presented by Town Hall Seattle. To become a member or make a donation click here.


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131. Frank C. Keil with Halli Benasutti: Childhood and the Lifelong Love of Science

Spend any amount of time with young children, and there’s a good chance of finding yourself on the receiving end of a barrage of questions. How do clocks work? Where do fish go in winter? Why isn’t the oldest person in the world also the tallest person in the world? And on and on. But it makes sense; children are new here, relatively speaking, and are constantly trying to figure out their big, beautiful, confusing world. But where does that sense of wonder go when people become adults? In his book Wonder: Childhood and the Lifelong Love of Science, psychology professor Frank C. Keil examines the inner workings of children’s minds and how people can regain and retain a sense of wonder and discovery. Keil writes that children are naturally curious young scientists with a strong desire to learn. But over time, that sense of wonder can become stifled, and adults gradually lose interest in thinking about the world scientifically. Keil argues that when we stop questioning how things work — and why — we can become more vulnerable to misinformation and manipulation. In the 131st episode of Town Hall’s In the Moment podcast, researcher Halli Benasutti joins Kiel to discuss ways to stay curious and exercise our minds to engage with the world like a scientist. Frank C. Keil is Charles C. & Dorathea S. Dilley Professor of Psychology at Yale University, where he is also a member of the Cognition and Development Lab. He is the author of Developmental Psychology: The Growth of Mind and Behavior and other books. Halli Benasutti is a PhD candidate in the Chamberlain Lab at UW and a member of the board of directors of ENGAGE, a program to train graduate students in public science communication skills. Buy the Book—Wonder: Childhood and the Lifelong Love of Science from MIT Press Presented by Town Hall Seattle. To become a member or make a donation click here.


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130. Lyric World: Lorna Dee Cervantes with Shin Yu Pai

Poet Lorna Dee Cervantes is considered one of the major voices in contemporary Chicana literature. Growing up, she was encouraged to only speak English in order to avoid racism in her California community. As a writer, her experiences as a woman of Mexican and Indigenous American descent fuel her work, which often explores loss of language, questions of identity, and dichotomies of acceptance and resistance. In this installment of Lyric World for Town Hall’s In the Moment podcast, Program Director Shin Yu Pai interviews Cervantes about her newest collection of poetry, April on Olympia. Lorna Dee Cervantes is a XicanIndx (Chumash/Purepacha) author of five award-winning books of poetry: Emplumada (Pitt Poetry Series 1981); From the Cables of Genocide: Poems on Love and Hunger (Arte Publico Press 1991); Ciento: 100 100-Word Love Poems (Wings Press 2011); Drive: The First Quartet (Wings Press 2005); and Sueño (Wings Press 2013). The founder of MANGO Publications (first to publish Sandra Cisneros), Cervantes is also the recipient of two NEA grants, two Pushcart Prizes, a Lila Wallace Readers Digest grant, and three state arts poetry fellowships. She presented twice at the Library of Congress as well as hundreds of universities, colleges, and other venues. The former Director of Creative Writing at CU Boulder, where she was a professor for 20 years, she moved to Olympia, WA in 2014 and now lives and writes in Seattle. Shin Yu Pai is Program Director for Town Hall. She is the author of eleven books of poetry. From 2015 to 2017, she served as the fourth poet laureate of the City of Redmond. Her work has appeared in publications throughout the U.S., Japan, China, Taiwan, the United Kingdom, and Canada. Presented by Town Hall Seattle. To become a member or make a donation click here.


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129. Laurie Winkless with Steve Scher—Sticky: The Secret Science of Surfaces

You are surrounded by stickiness. With every step you take, air molecules cling to you and slow you down; the effect is harder to ignore in water. When you hit the road, whether powered by pedal or engine, you rely on grip to keep you safe. The Post-it note and glue in your desk drawer. The non-stick pan on your stove. The fingerprints linked to your identity. The rumbling of the Earth deep beneath your feet, and the ice that transforms waterways each winter. All of these things are controlled by tiny forces that operate on and between surfaces, with friction playing the leading role. In her new book, Sticky: The Secret Science of Surfaces, physicist Laurie Winkless explores some of the ways that friction shapes both the manufactured and natural worlds, and describes how our understanding of surface science has given us an ability to manipulate stickiness, down to the level of a single atom. But this apparent success doesn’t tell the whole story. Each time humanity has pushed the boundaries of science and engineering, we’ve discovered that friction still has a few surprises up its sleeve. Steve Scher and Laurie Winkless discuss sticky situations of all kinds in the 129th episode of Town Hall’s In the Moment podcast. Laurie Winkless is an Irish physicist-turned-science-writer, currently based in New Zealand. After her post-grad, she joined the U.K.’s National Physical Laboratory as a research scientist, where she specialized in functional materials. Since leaving the lab, Laurie has worked with scientific organizations, engineering companies, universities, and astronauts, amongst others. Her writing has featured in outlets including Forbes, Wired, Esquire, and The Economist. Her first book, Science and the City, was published by Bloomsbury Sigma in 2016. Steve Scher is a podcaster and interviewer and has been a teacher at the University of Washington since 2009. He worked in Seattle public radio for almost 30 years and is Senior Correspondent for Town Hall Seattle’s In The Moment podcast. Buy the Book: Sticky: The Secret Science of Surfaces from Bloomsbury Presented by Town Hall Seattle. To become a member or make a donation click here.


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128. Michelle Drouin with Dr. Margaret Morris: How Technology Helps and Hinders Intimacy and Connection

Are we all, quite literally, out of touch? According to behavioral scientist Michelle Drouin, millions of people worldwide are not getting the physical, emotional, and intellectual intimacy they crave. Pandemic isolation has undoubtedly played a role, but the wonders of modern technology are connecting us with more people more often than ever before. But are these connections what we long for? Drouin’s new book, Out of Touch, explores what she calls an intimacy famine and considers why relationships carried out on technological platforms may leave us starving for physical connection. Drouin puts it this way: when most of our interactions are through social media, we take tiny hits of dopamine rather than the big shots of oxytocin that an intimate, in-person relationship would typically provide. Covering everything from pandemic puppies and professional cuddlers to the roles of sexual relationships, Drouin discusses the many pathways to intimacy and how technology can be both a help and a hindrance. In the 128th episode of Town Hall’s In the Moment podcast, Dr. Margaret Morris and Michelle Drouin discuss technology, intimacy, and what it means to find belonging and fulfillment. Michelle Drouin is a behavioral scientist and expert on technology, relationships, couples, and sexuality whose work has been featured or cited in the New York Times, CBS News, CNN, NPR, and other media outlets. She is Professor of Psychology at Purdue University–Fort Wayne and Senior Research Scientist at the Parkview Mirro Center for Research and Innovation. Dr. Margaret Morris is a clinical psychologist focused on how technology can support wellbeing. She is an affiliate faculty member in the Information School at the University of Washington, as well as a research consultant. Morris is the author of Left to Our Own Devices: Outsmarting Smart Technology to Reclaim Our Relationships, Health and Focus. Buy the Book — Out of Touch: How to Survive an Intimacy Famine Presented by Town Hall Seattle. To become a member or make a donation click here.


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127. Kathy Gilsinan with Steve Scher: Stories from the Front Lines of the Pandemic

Most Americans can pinpoint the moment, back in March of 2020, when COVID-19 changed everything in the United States. Lockdown measures reshaped the daily lives of millions. Work changed. School changed. The experiences of going to the grocery store, doctor’s office, or meeting up with friends changed. And let’s be honest, two years into the pandemic, our lives are still changing as we grapple with variants, shifting guidelines, and the continued loss of loved ones. It has been a long season of hardship, but amidst the heartache are glimmers of hope fueled by human kindness and collaboration. Journalist Kathy Gilsinan brings such stories to light in her book, The Helpers. She profiles eight individuals on the front lines of the coronavirus battle: a devoted son caring for his family in the San Francisco Bay Area; a not-quite-retired paramedic from Colorado; an ICU nurse in the Bronx; the CEO of a Seattle-based ventilator company; a vaccine researcher at Moderna in Boston; a young chef and culinary teacher in Louisville, Kentucky; a physician in Chicago; and a funeral home director in Seattle and Los Angeles. In the 127th Episode of Town Hall’s In the Moment podcast, Steve Scher interviews Gilsinan about the people across the country — and the socioeconomic spectrum — who took action to help others in the face of the pandemic. Kathy Gilsinan is a contributing writer at the Atlantic, where she has reported on national security and contributed to its extensive and acclaimed coronavirus coverage. She lives in St. Louis, Missouri. Steve Scher is a podcaster and interviewer and has been a teacher at the University of Washington since 2009. He worked in Seattle public radio for almost 30 years and is Senior Correspondent for Town Hall Seattle’s In The Moment podcast. Buy the Book—The Helpers: Profiles from the Front Lines of the Pandemic Presented by Town Hall Seattle. To become a member or make a donation click here.


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126. Vanessa Chakour with Amanda Carter Gomes: How Nature Guides Us Toward Healing

When Vanessa Chakour was growing up, she experienced a series of physical traumas — chronic asthma, a car accident that fractured her back and neck, and sexual trauma. On her path to recovery, she pursued various approaches to therapeutic movement from martial arts to yoga, exploring the traditions that honor mind-body connection. Now twenty years into her journey to reconcile her daily routines with a yearning for a greater purpose, Chakour shares her learnings in her new book, Awakening Artemis. She combines the story of her own healing journey with practical, plant-based knowledge, and remains rooted in the belief that healing can happen through connection to ourselves and to the natural world. In the 126th episode of Town Hall’s In the Moment podcast, Vanessa Chakour talks with writer Amanda Carter Gomes about finding self-awareness, confidence, and forging true connections with loved ones. Vanessa Chakour is an herbalist, visual artist, rewilding educator, former pro-boxer, environmental activist, and founder of Sacred Warrior — a multi-disciplinary and experiential “school” offering plant medicine, wildlife conservation, and meditation through courses, workshops, and retreats with a diverse group of teachers. Sacred Warrior’s Rewilding Retreats are in partnership with the Wolf Conservation Center in New York, The Jaguar Rescue Center in Costa Rica, and Alladale Wilderness Reserve in the Scottish Highlands. Vanessa has shared her work as a speaker at the United Nations, Brown University, and the Muhammad Ali Center, and as a visual artist, in galleries from Tribeca to Chelsea. She lives in Western Massachusetts and teaches around the world. Amanda Carter Gomes is an editor, writer, producer and the founder of online publication, The Fold. Amanda spent much of her early career working in marketing, event management, video and photo production for clients in the private and non-profit sectors. Buy the Book: Awakening Artemis: Deepening Intimacy with the Living Earth and Reclaiming our Wild Nature Presented by Town Hall Seattle. To become a member or make a donation click here.


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125. Guilaine Kinouani with Anastacia-Reneé: Living While Black

Mental health professionals are in high demand now more than ever. In the U.S. alone, around a third of the population sought therapy services in 2020. But mental health practitioners aren’t immune to issues of deep structural racism and white supremacy; if they aren’t recognized and consciously dismantled, the potential for further harm to Black people persists, and mental, physical, and emotional wellness remain out of reach. Over the past 15 years, radical psychologist Guilaine Kinouani has focused her research, writing, and workshops on how racism affects physical and mental health. Her new book Living While Black — recently named a Guardian Book of the Year — brings personal stories, case studies, and research together to give voice to the diverse, global experiences of Black people. Kinouani offers expert guidance on how to set boundaries and process micro-aggressions, protect children from racism, handle difficult race-based conversations, navigate the complexities of Black love, and identify and celebrate the wins. In the 125th episode of Town Hall’s In the Moment podcast, writer and educator Anastacia-Reneé talks to Kinouani about her guide for radical self-care and coping. Guilaine Kinouani is a UK-based French radical and critical psychologist of Congolese descent. She is a feminist, a therapist, and an equality consultant, as well as the founder, leader, and award-nominated writer for Kinouani is a senior psychologist and an adjunct professor of Black and Africana studies at Syracuse University, London. Kinouani heads Race Reflections and its academy, providing workshops on anti-racism, racial trauma, and self-care. Anastacia-Reneé is an award-winning cross-genre writer, educator, interdisciplinary artist, TEDX speaker, and podcaster. Reneé is the author of (v.), (Black Ocean Press), Forget It (Black Radish Press) and Answer(Me), (Winged City Chapbook Press). She has received fellowships and residencies from Cave Canem, Hedgebrook, VONA, Artist Trust, Jack Straw, Ragdale, Mineral School, Hypatia in the Woods and The New Orleans Writers Residency. Anastacia-Renee’s writing has been included in numerous anthologies, literary journals, and magazines. Buy the Book: Living While Black: Using Joy, Beauty and Connection to Heal Racial Trauma Presented by Town Hall Seattle. To become a member or make a donation click here.


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124. Stanley Shikuma with Jasmine Pulido—Stop Repeating History: Tsuru for Solidarity

Tsuru for Solidarity is a nonviolent, direct action project of Japanese American social justice advocates working to end detention sites and support front-line immigrant and refugee communities that are being targeted by racist, inhumane immigration policies. In the 124th episode of Town Hall’s In the Moment podcast, Jasmine Pulido interviews writer and community activist Stanley Shikuma about Tsuru for Solidarity’s work and advocacy to close all U.S. concentration camps. The release of this episode is close to The Day of Remembrance (DOR), a day of commemoration of the forced removal and incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II. On February 19, 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 which gave the U.S. Army the authority to remove and incarcerate approximately 120,000 Americans of Japanese ancestry from the “military areas” established in West Coast states during WWII. On or around February 19, events are held in numerous U.S. states, especially in California, Oregon, and Washington, to remember the impact of the experience on communities and educate others about civil liberties — and their fragility. Stan Shikuma is a social activist, community organizer, writer, and retired nurse. He grew up in Watsonville, CA, and studied at Stanford University, UC Berkeley, and the University of Washington. He currently serves as Co-President of the Seattle Chapter of the Japanese American Citizens League and is actively involved in Tsuru for Solidarity, Tule Lake Pilgrimage, From Hiroshima to Hope, Tech Equity Coalition, and the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance. As a longtime taiko (Japanese drum) player, he also performs, writes, and lectures on the history, teaching, and performance of taiko in North America. Jasmine M. Pulido is a Filipino American writer-activist and community journalist living in Seattle, WA. She is currently pursuing her Master’s of Arts in Social Change with an emphasis on transformative justice. Learn more about Tsuru for Solidarity. Presented by Town Hall Seattle. To become a member or make a donation click here.


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123. Hilda Lloréns with Lola E. Peters: Afro-Puerto Rican Women Building Environmental Justice

Puerto Rico has faced challenge after challenge in recent years, from economic crises and political upheaval to the aftermath of two consecutive and powerful hurricanes — Irma and María — in 2017. The devastation caused by the storms was widespread, destroying the already-fragile power grid, making most roads impassable, and costing thousands of people their lives. Years later, as rebuilding continues with ongoing struggles, an often-overlooked population of Afro-Puerto Rican women are drawing from a well of cultural knowledge to enable their communities to survive and thrive. In her new book, Making Livable Worlds, anthropology professor Hilda Lloréns describes the everyday acts of resistance maintained and passed on through generations of Black Puerto Rican women. Despite oppressive narratives that attempt to erase them, Lloréns contends that these women are the central agents of social change in their communities. The restorative changemakers. The true heartbeats. Llorens brings the histories of these marginalized women to life in their continued fight against exploitation, further environmental destruction, and deepening capitalistic roots. In the 123rd episode of Town Hall’s In the Moment podcast, Lola E. Peters and Hilda Lloréns discuss how Afro-Puerto Rican woman are producing good, meaningful lives for their communities through solidarity, reciprocity, and an ethics of care. Hilda Lloréns is associate professor of anthropology and marine affairs at the University of Rhode Island and author of Imaging the Great Puerto Rican Family: Framing Nation, Race, and Gender during the American Century. Her latest book, Making Livable Worlds: Afro-Puerto Rican Women Building Environmental Justice, is available now. Lola E. Peters is an essayist and poet living in Seattle, WA. She serves as Editor-at-large for the South Seattle Emerald and has written articles for several publications including The Seattle Star and Crosscut. Her poems have been published in multiple anthologies as well as her own two collections, Taboos (2013) and The Book of David: A Coming of Age Tale (2015). In addition to her published poems, she has written commentary for and edited several online journals and newsletters and served as managing editor of a national newsletter for social justice activists. She is the author of a book of essays, The Truth About White People (2015). Buy the Book: Making Livable Worlds :Afro-Puerto Rican Women Building Environmental Justice from University of Washington Press Presented by Town Hall Seattle. To become a member or make a donation click here.


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122. Aaron Poochigian with Steve Scher: Baudelaire’s Flowers of Evil

Les Fleurs du Mal (The Flowers of Evil), Baudelaire’s best-known and most controversial body of work, was published in 1857. The poems were non-traditional by 19th-century Parisian standards, tracing themes of death, sex, corruption, mental health, and other taboo topics that raised more than a few eyebrows. Declared an offense against public morals, a French court suppressed the publication of six of his poems, a decision that was not reversed until nearly a century later in 1949. On the 200th anniversary of Baudelaire’s birth, poet and translator Aaron Poochigian shares a landmark translation of Les Fleurs du Mal, with particular respect for the author’s original lyrical innovations and brooding melancholic tones. In the 122nd episode of Town Hall’s In the Moment podcast, Poochigian talks with senior correspondent Steve Scher about Baudelaire’s work and the book that launched modern poetry. Aaron Poochigian has published four books of poetry, including American Divine, which won the 2020 Richard Wilbur Poetry Award, and several translations. He lives in New York. Steve Scher is a podcaster and interviewer and has been a teacher at the University of Washington since 2009. He worked in Seattle public radio for almost 30 years and is Senior Correspondent for Town Hall Seattle’s In The Moment podcast. Buy the Book: Les Fleurs du Mal (The Flowers of Evil) Presented by Town Hall Seattle. To become a member or make a donation click here.