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Innovation Hub

PRI

Each week, Kara Miller talks to our most innovative thinkers, examining new ideas and potential solutions to today’s many challenges. Topics range from education to health care to green energy.

Each week, Kara Miller talks to our most innovative thinkers, examining new ideas and potential solutions to today’s many challenges. Topics range from education to health care to green energy.
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Location:

Boston, MA

Networks:

PRI

WGBH

Description:

Each week, Kara Miller talks to our most innovative thinkers, examining new ideas and potential solutions to today’s many challenges. Topics range from education to health care to green energy.

Language:

English


Episodes

Full Show: Private Lives, Public Spaces

10/19/2018
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The story of privacy in America is long and fascinating. But suffice it to say, there was an uproar over postcards. Yes, postcards. What separates a successful movement, like the campaign for same-sex marriage, from a struggling movement, like the push for gun control? Too little water in some places. Too much in others. What Texas tells us about the future of water in America.

Duration:00:49:03

The Evolution of American Privacy

10/19/2018
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Every day, it seems like there’s a new story about privacy: A Facebook hack that puts the private data of millions at risk. A years-long surveillance program of personal communications by the government. Endless concerns about how much of our lives we share on social media. With all this in the air, it can certainly feel like we have a lot less privacy nowadays. But is that really the case? Well, according to Vanderbilt professor Sarah Igo, author of “The Known Citizen: A History of...

Duration:00:19:23

The Blueprint For Social Movements

10/19/2018
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After Adam Lanza shot and killed 20 children and six adults at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut in 2012, activists may have thought that gun control at the federal level was a sure bet. But as the old saying goes, “there’s strength in numbers,” and the size of National Rifle Association’s membership has long outnumbered that of America’s gun reform groups. Leslie Crutchfield, the executive director of Georgetown University’s Global Social Enterprise Initiative, says...

Duration:00:15:14

Putting A Price On Water

10/19/2018
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If you try to imagine what a dystopian future would look like, you might conjure up aliens invading Earth, or robots overpowering humans. But according to author Seamus McGraw, the problems of the future are more down-to-earth than some may imagine. In his book, “A Thirsty Land: The Making Of An American Water Crisis,” McGraw writes about how water scarcity in Texas could turn into a crisis that affects all Americans. And it could happen sooner rather than later.

Duration:00:13:26

Full Show: A Sense Of Self

10/12/2018
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Take credit for that killer PowerPoint presentation, or for running a 4-minute mile if you want. But at the end of the day, Robert Sapolsky says we don’t have a shred of free will. Next, corporations have fought tooth-and-nail to gain their civil rights and having the United States Supreme Court as an ally hasn’t hurt. Then, the Spanish flu of 1918 killed between 50 and 100 million people and, in the process, reshaped the world. Author Laura Spinney says it’s inevitable that we’ll see...

Duration:00:49:56

The Hidden Biology Behind Everything We Do

10/12/2018
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Humanity is simultaneously incredibly kind and incredibly violent. We commit indescribable atrocities, but also acts of incomprehensible compassion. There is both horror and beauty in our history. Which leads to the question… how do we reconcile this inherent contradiction? It all goes back to our biology, according to Robert Sapolsky, a neurobiologist at Stanford and author of the book “Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst.” In fact, all questions about human behavior are,...

Duration:00:24:39

Life, Liberty, And The Pursuit Of Corporate Happiness

10/12/2018
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Former presidential candidate Mitt Romney famously declared that “corporations are people” while on the campaign trail in 2011. The Iowa State Fair crowd jeered him and Romney launched into a stammering defense. But, if you look at Supreme Court cases from the past 200 years, Romney’s assessment wasn’t too far off. Corporations may not be people, but they enjoy many of the same basic rights we do. We talk with UCLA law professor Adam Winkler about his book, “We The Corporations: How...

Duration:00:12:34

The History Of A Forgotten Plague

10/12/2018
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The Spanish Flu of 1918 killed between 50 and 100 million people. It infected a third of the world’s population. But it’s likely that, if you’re thinking of the most important events of the 20th century, the Spanish Flu probably doesn’t immediately spring to mind. Why is that? To find out, and to explore exactly how it reshaped society, we talked with Laura Spinney, author of the book “Pale Rader: The Spanish Flu of 1918 and How It Changed the World.”

Duration:00:11:40

Full Show: The Devil Is In The Details

10/5/2018
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There actually IS a solution to traffic. UCLA’s Michael Manville tells us what it is. Blue collar workers are getting the short of the stick. Here’s how we can change that. Turns out, there’s some science behind sin.

Duration:00:50:09

The One Way To Reduce Traffic

10/5/2018
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Traffic is awful. It causes pollution, it makes people stressed, it costs cities and drivers billions of dollars… and if you’ve ever sat in a car, inching along a packed highway, you understand the toll it takes. So, how do we fix it? According to UCLA’s Michael Manville, there are a lot of proposed solutions, but only one - yes, one - really works.

Duration:00:19:49

Blue-Collar Jobs, Redefined

10/5/2018
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Blue-collar jobs are changing. In the mid 20th century, many of these jobs were protected by unions and offered financial security. Today, both companies and employees are struggling to adjust to a turbulent economy; wages for lots of workers have barely kept pace with inflation. Economist Dennis Campbell thinks he’s found a solution. We talk to Campbell about a new economic model that could benefit everyone - and that focuses on sharing.

Duration:00:12:18

Science And Sin

10/5/2018
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Religions have been studying human behavior for thousands of years - long before science got into the game. And for Christians, the seven deadly sins have offered a moral and social framework to get folks on the straight and narrow. Neuroscientist Jack Lewis says: we can use that framework to inform our future decisions. We talk to Lewis, author of the new book “The Science of Sin: Why We Do The Things We Know We Shouldn’t” about the biological side of this religious list.

Duration:00:16:01

Full Show: Bridging The Chasm

9/28/2018
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There are a lot of chasms in the world, dividing lines between one thing and another. This week on Innovation Hub, we’ll take a look at those chasms, whether they’re in our digital life, our understanding of our own health, or in the complex systems that govern the world. First up, the gap between failure and success can be razor-thin. And the tiniest issues can snowball into huge catastrophes. It happened in the nuclear plant Three Mile Island, with the 2008 financial crisis… even with...

Duration:00:50:06

How Small Problems Snowball Into Big Disasters

9/28/2018
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The Three Mile Island disaster forced hundreds of thousands of people to evacuate their homes. It absolutely dominated the news cycle. It led to a complete rethinking of nuclear energy. And it all stemmed from a plumbing problem, a valve that didn’t shut. But the Three Mile Island accident isn’t the only meltdown caused by a seemingly small issue that snowballed into a gigantic disaster. To find out exactly how this happens, we talked with Chris Clearfield, co-author of “Meltdown: Why Our...

Duration:00:15:51

The Difference Between Pleasure And Happiness

9/28/2018
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In the last few decades, Americans have become fat, sick, stupid, broke, depressed, addicted, and most decidedly unhappy. At least, that’s according to physician Robert Lustig, author of the book, “The Hacking of the American Mind. The Science Behind the Corporate Takeover of Our Bodies and Brains. He says that we’re facing four big crises in our country: a health care crisis, a social security crisis, an opioid crisis, and a depression crisis. And he argues that while these crises might...

Duration:00:17:38

Dissecting America’s Digital Divide

9/28/2018
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If you’re reading this, you almost certainly have access to the internet, which means you can check email anytime, do online banking, or investigate whether your kid’s rash is worthy of a trip to the doctor. But, across the country, about one in five people don’t have access to those tools. According to Angela Siefer, the executive director of the National Digital Inclusion Alliance, there are three main reasons why people don’t have internet connections: it’s unaffordable, it’s physically...

Duration:00:15:49

Full Show: Out Of The Concrete

9/21/2018
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Violent crime rates in cities have declined significantly since the mid-1990s. We examine the reasons behind this drop, and the influence it has had on city life. Then, concrete buildings are the foundation of the modern world. But they eat up a resource that’s becoming increasingly difficult to come by: sand. Finally, for centuries, species have mutated to adapt to urban habitats. We investigate the wily ways that they continue to evolve in cities.

Duration:00:49:38

Crime In America Is On The Decline. So Why Don’t We Feel Safer?

9/21/2018
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Talk to anyone who lived in New York City in the 1970s, and they will probably highlight the city’s widespread crime. Times Square wasn’t yet Disney-fied and Brooklyn hadn’t been taken over by hipsters. Most people agreed that New York was a dangerous place. But then something happened: murders, and violent crime in general, began to drop. And that trend wasn’t unique to New York: It happened in many places across America. So who do we have to thank for the crime decline? To find out, we...

Duration:00:19:28

Sand. It’s Slipping Through Our Fingers

9/21/2018
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Unless we’re relaxing on it at the beach, or kicking it out of our shoes, we probably don’t think too much about sand. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t important. Sand is a vital ingredient in concrete. And glass. And asphalt. It makes our modern, urban life possible. And our hunger for it is causing more and more trouble. Vince Beiser, author of “The World in a Grain: The Story of Sand and How It Transformed Civilization,” explains why sand matters, and how the quest to extract more of it is...

Duration:00:15:27

Evolution In The City

9/21/2018
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When you think of evolution, you probably imagine a slow process, one that happens in some verdant jungle or plain. For example: Homo Sapiens gradually evolving over millions of years on the savannah. Or the finches of the Galapagos adapting to their unique environment. But Menno Schilthuizen, a biologist and author of “Darwin Comes to Town: How the Urban Jungle Drives Evolution,” says that evolution can hapen a lot faster, and a lot closer to us, than we might think. And humans, along with...

Duration:00:13:50