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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: Looking Back, Looking Forward

4/20/2018
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First up: We live in a world run by complicated systems. And the failure to understand those systems can have pretty dire consequences. Then: What’s that one song you keep listening to on repeat? Turns out, that tune could be used as therapy to improve your quality of life as you get older. Finally: It might seem like rich people don’t have a care in the world, but sociology professor Rachel Sherman found that some 1 percenters feel uneasy about publicly displaying their wealth.

Duration:00:49:58

How Small Problems Snowball Into Big Disasters

4/20/2018
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The Three Mile Island disaster caused 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:00:15:30

Can Music Help Improve Memory?

4/20/2018
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ABBA, Patsy Cline, and Frank Sinatra are filling the earbuds of elderly people all over America. Why? Eldercare services and nonprofit organizations are increasingly using music as a therapeutic tool to stir up memories and soothe anxiety. Innovation Hub takes a look at the science behind these programs, as well as the lives that they’re changing.

Duration:00:13:17

Why The Rich Don’t Want To See Themselves As Rich

4/20/2018
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Let’s say that you make more than $500,000 a year. You have a million bucks in the bank. Maybe you have a second home in the Hamptons. You’re rich, right? Well, to most people, it certainly looks that way. But even if you’re part of the 1%, you might not think of yourself as that wealthy. Rachel Sherman is a professor of sociology at The New School and the author of Uneasy Street: The Anxieties of Affluence.” She interviewed 50 wealthy New Yorkers about their attitudes toward their money....

Duration:00:20:30

Full Show: For Love Or Money

4/13/2018
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First up, after WWII, lots of soldiers came home and started families. And businessman Bill Levitt saw that as an opportunity. We’ll talk with Lawrence Levy, the Executive Dean of Hofstra University’s National Center for Suburban Studies, about the rise of the American suburbs and how this new version of the American dream left some people out. Then, an entirely different sort of baby boom. According to Stanford’s Hank Greely, “In 20 to 40 years, most babies born to people with good...

Duration:00:49:44

Levittown And The Rise Of The American Suburb

4/13/2018
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When people get sick of urban living, there’s a clear alternative: the suburbs. But how did the suburbs become so popular in America? After World War II, Bill Levitt cleared a few potato fields on Long Island, New York, and created an orderly suburb, Levittown. We talk with the Executive Dean of Hofstra University’s National Center for Suburban Studies, Lawrence Levy, about how Levittown, and the advent of the modern suburbs, changed the nation.

Duration:00:13:56

The Future Of Making Babies

4/13/2018
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We’ve made babies pretty much the same for a very long time. No need to get into the specifics, but for the majority of people throughout human history, sex and reproduction have been inextricably linked. But, according to Hank Greely, a professor at Stanford and author of “The End of Sex and the Future of Human Reproduction,” that all may change. And it may change sooner than we think.

Duration:00:17:19

What’s Your Job Really Worth?

4/13/2018
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We know the old adage, “money can’t buy you love.” But, we also know the feeling that if we had just a little more money, we might be just a little more happy. Figuring out the balance between the two can be tough. How much value should you put in your paycheck? Cornell economist Robert Frank agrees that it’s complicated, but he might also have some answers for us.

Duration:00:14:10

Full Show: When Things Go Wrong

4/6/2018
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The human body is kind of a mess. Why is that? Politicians are willing to do anything to bring new jobs to their city. That’s not necessarily a good thing. The Spanish Flu was the most devastating pandemic since the Black Death. And it’s been mostly forgotten.

Duration:00:49:56

What’s Wrong With Our Bodies?

4/6/2018
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Humans have a tailbone for a tail we don’t have, wisdom teeth that don’t fit in our mouths, and tonsils that only seem to cause problems. Each of these “mistakes” can tell us a little bit about how we evolved and why we were so successful in spite of these flaws. We talk about our body’s quirks with biologist Nathan Lents, author of “Human Errors: A Panorama of Our Glitches, from Pointless Bones to Broken Genes.”

Duration:00:20:09

Why Cities Shouldn’t Lure Companies With Tax Breaks

4/6/2018
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The competition for Amazon’s second headquarters has gotten a lot of attention recently. And that makes sense. After all, cities have offered Amazon billions of dollars in tax incentives, free workforce training, and all sorts of other perks. Bloomington, Minnesota, even suggested building a monorail. But cities and states aren’t just trying to woo Amazon. They’re fighting over all sorts of corporations. And that might be a big mistake. Nathan Jensen, a professor at the University of Texas...

Duration:00:16:41

The History Of A Forgotten Plague

4/6/2018
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The competition for Amazon’s second headquarters has gotten a lot of attention recently. And that makes sense. After all, cities have offered Amazon billions of dollars in tax incentives, free workforce training, and all sorts of other perks. Bloomington, Minnesota, even suggested building a monorail. But cities and states aren’t just trying to woo Amazon. They’re fighting over all sorts of corporations. And that might be a big mistake. Nathan Jensen, a professor at the University of Texas...

Duration:00:12:25

Full Show: Mind Over Matter

3/30/2018
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American democracy. Where the people tell the politicians what to do… right? It turns out, politicians actually influence voters more than you think. Then: We know more about the brain than ever before. Law professor Francis Shen talks about how what we’ve learned is playing out in our legal system. Finally: That sugar-filled doughnut might bring you pleasure, but it probably doesn’t make you happy. Pediatrician Robert Lustig says, yes, there’s a difference between the two, and Americans...

Duration:00:49:39

How Neuroscience Is Changing The Law

3/30/2018
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Francis Shen says that he often calls neurolaw a “new” and “emerging” field, but even he doesn’t completely believe that. Shen is an associate law professor at the University of Minnesota and executive director of education for the MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Law. He says we’ve been using neuroscience in law for decades, but there have been some major developments over the last few years. For example, brain science is increasingly informing how we view criminals — especially...

Duration:00:15:16

The Difference Between Pleasure And Happiness

3/30/2018
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In the last few decades, Americans have become fatter, sicker, more depressed, more addicted, and, often, 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 seem...

Duration:00:17:30

Do We Shape Politicians, Or Do They Shape Us?

3/30/2018
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You’re at the voting booth, ready to cast your vote for the candidate who will support the issues you care about. But how did you come to care about those issues to begin with? Did you and your fellow Americans set the political agenda, or do politicians dictate what’s important? Gabriel Lenz is the author of “Follow the Leader?: How Voters Respond to Politicians’ Policies and Performance.” We talk with him about political influence and how it shapes democracy.

Duration:00:15:45

From Ford to Foxconn: A History of Factories

3/23/2018
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Look around you: at your computer, your phone, your water bottle, or the books on your desk. Chances are, all of these things were made in a factory. Factories fuel the modern world. And they’ve shaped our society - from politics, to work, to leisure. Joshua Freeman, author of Behemoth: A History of the Factory and the Making of the Modern World, walks us through the history of the factory, and how it still impacts our daily lives.

Duration:00:18:58

Selfies And The Self

3/23/2018
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Twitter. Selfie-sticks. Reality TV. It can seem like our society is becoming more narcissistic and self-involved. (Just read a few of the boatload of articles and think-pieces on this topic) But are we really more self-centered? The answer involves Aristotle, Ayn Rand, and ‘80s-era California. At least, that’s according to Will Storr, author of the book, Selfie: How We Became Self-Obsessed and What It’s Doing to Us. He explains how our conception of self has changed throughout human...

Duration:00:21:52

Full Show: Bring On The Competition

3/16/2018
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First, U.S. News releases its college rankings each year to much fanfare. But are they actually hurting higher ed? We ask journalist Scott Jaschik and U.S. News’ Robert Morse. Then, there will be 10 billion people on the planet by 2050. That’s a lot of mouths to feed. Can we do it without destroying Earth’s resources? We talk with science writer Charles Mann about different approaches to tackling this problem. Finally, you’ve heard the name Martin Shkreli, but there are many other...

Duration:00:49:19

Are College Rankings Actually Useful?

3/16/2018
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In 1983, U.S. News & World Report began ranking America’s colleges. More than 30 years later, they continue to release annual lists of the “best” schools in the country. We talk with Inside Higher Ed’s Scott Jaschik and U.S. News’ Robert Morse about how these rankings have shaped how students select colleges in America.

Duration:00:13:41

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