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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: Body Talk

8/17/2018
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First, if you think about the design of the human body, it’s not actually all that intelligent. We have tailbones, but no tails. We swallow food through the same tube we use to breathe. And don’t get us started on tonsils. Biologist Nathan Lents explains these human errors. Then, P.T. Barnum is probably best known for his outrageous exhibits and larger-than-life personality. But he also shaped our idea of what it means to be an American. Finally, can someone really be guilty of committing...

Duration:00:49:21

What’s Wrong With Our Bodies?

8/17/2018
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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:00:17:46

The Life of P.T. Barnum

8/17/2018
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He was a huckster, a showman, and a consummate businessman. P.T. Barnum and his exhibitions presented “freaks” and oddities from abroad, while also shaping the definition of what it means to be an American. We speak with Stephen Mihm, editor of the book, “The Life of P.T. Barnum, Written by Himself," about Barnum’s lasting contribution to American culture.

Duration:00:15:26

How Neuroscience Is Changing The Law

8/17/2018
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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:00:15:19

Full Show: Taking Care of Business

8/10/2018
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Taking care of business can mean a lot of different things. From activist CEOs to the science of war to clean energy companies, we’re diving into how business actually gets done. First up, CEOs used to keep their mouths shut. They’d donate to campaigns and spend money lobbying, sure, but for the most part, they wouldn’t comment on politics. That’s *definitely *no longer the case. Patagonia, Starbucks, Apple… corporations and the people in charge of them are commenting on issues ranging...

Duration:00:49:37

When Big Business Wades Into Big Social Issues

8/10/2018
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In April, a Starbucks employee in Philadelphia called the police on two black men standing in a store. It was a PR nightmare. So a month later, Starbucks employees underwent a mandatory racial bias training that closed thousands of stores across the country and cost the company millions of dollars. It goes to show that today, people want more from companies. They don’t just expect good products, and quality service — they want company leadership to take stances on major social issues. We...

Duration:00:14:46

When Science Goes To War

8/10/2018
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Growing up, Thanksgivings in Jennet Conant’s house were contentious. The Vietnam War was raging, and in Cambridge, MA, student protests were ubiquitous. But Conant’s family was especially combative. Her grandfather, James B. Conant, a former president of Harvard University, had both supervised the production of poison gas during World War I, and oversaw the development of the atomic bomb during World War II. And Conant’s father argued her grandfather wasn’t a scientist who had served his...

Duration:00:21:29

The Uncertain Business Of Clean Energy

8/10/2018
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Hybrid cars. Solar energy. Hydropower. In recent years, the federal government and private companies have both paid a lot of attention to clean energy. But, the future of the industry is uncertain — especially in the U.S. We talk with Carnegie Mellon University professor and Aquion Energy founder, Jay Whitacre, about the advancement of new energy technology.

Duration:00:12:40

Full Show: Bring On The Competition (Rebroadcast)

8/3/2018
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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 the different approaches to tackling this problem. Finally, you’ve heard the name Martin Shkreli, but there are many other...

Duration:00:49:40

Are College Rankings Actually Useful?

8/3/2018
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In 1983, U.S. News & World Report began to rank America’s colleges. More than 30 years later, they continue to release yearly lists of the “best” schools in the U.S. 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:00:13:45

Feeding A Growing Global Population

8/3/2018
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The global population is steadily climbing, and by 2050, scientists expect that 10 billion people will call Earth home. This got science writer Charles Mann wondering: How are we going to feed all of those mouths without completely destroying the planet? Mann explores this question in his new book, “The Wizard and the Prophet: Two Remarkable Scientists and their Dueling Visions to Shape Tomorrow’s World.” We talk with him about whether innovation, conservation, or some mixture of the two,...

Duration:00:17:38

Why Americans Pay So Much For Drugs

8/3/2018
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In 1983, U.S. News & World Report began to rank America’s colleges. More than 30 years later, they continue to release yearly lists of the “best” schools in the U.S. 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:00:17:04

Full Show: Finding Order In Chaos

7/27/2018
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First: Scurvy. Website design. Store promotions. Turns out, randomized trials affect many parts of our daily lives. Then: “The Origin of Species”… actually has a pretty interesting - and unexpected - origin. Finally: In news that shouldn’t shock anyone who has ever been to a meeting, they can make you less productive. But how about the toll they take even before they start?

Duration:00:50:13

Full Show: Watch What You Eat

7/20/2018
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Today, the Food Network is a touchstone of the entertainment industry. But it took a decade for the channel to make money. Chef Sara Moulton and author Allen Salkin tell us about the rise and influence of the cooking channel. Plus: If you use Uber Eats more than you use your stove, you're in good company — 90 percent of Americans either don't like to cook or are on the fence about it. With cooking becoming more hobby than necessity, we look at how the food industry is trying to keep...

Duration:00:49:48

How The Food Network Went From Bust To Big Time

7/20/2018
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If you knew what was going on behind the scenes at the Food Network during the ‘90s, you might have placed a hefty wager that it would fail. Chefs were cooking in incomplete kitchens, and couldn't stop filming — even if they got hurt. It was a mess. Even Sara Moulton, one of the Food Network’s earliest stars, didn’t think the channel would survive. But not only did it survive — it thrived. We talk to Moulton about her early days at the Food Network, and with author Allen Salkin about his...

Duration:00:19:09

The Future Of Food Shopping

7/20/2018
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When we sit down to binge watch a season of Chopped, we rarely do it to learn a new cooking technique. In fact, the Food Network might actually discourage us from trying our hand in the kitchen. We speak with industry analyst Eddie Yoon about the future of grocery stores and food companies, in a world where cooking is no longer considered an indispensable skill.

Duration:00:17:35

From Delmonico’s To Howard Johnson’s

7/20/2018
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2015 was the first year that Americans spent more money on bars and restaurants than on groceries. And with attention-grabbing chefs and buzzy new places to eat, it feels like restaurants have never been more central to American life. But how did we get there? Paul Freedman, Yale historian and author of the book “Ten Restaurants That Changed America,” charts the course from Delmonico’s to Howard Johnson’s.

Duration:00:12:25

Full Show: Define The Relationship

7/13/2018
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First: Americans love small businesses, but economist Robert D. Atkinson says that big business is better for workers, consumers, and the world. Then: From standard measurements to interchangeable parts, precision engineering created the modern world. Author Simon Winchester explains how the precision revolution got started in the first place. Finally: We tend to become friends with people who share our interests and passions. But the connections don’t stop there—new research now shows...

Duration:00:49:51

The Benefits Of Big Business

7/13/2018
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Ever since Thomas Jefferson championed the “yeoman farmer,” Americans across the political spectrum have romanticized small businesses. Politicians tout Mom-and-Pop companies as the backbone of the economy. But, if you run the numbers, small businesses don’t live up to the hype, according to economist Robert D. Atkinson, co-author of the book “Big is Beautiful: Debunking the Myth of Small Business.” Atkinson says that we should take a size-neutral approach to regulating businesses.

Duration:00:21:01

Friendly Minds Think Alike

7/13/2018
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Choosing Friday night plans. Deciding what to wear to work. Selecting a new Netflix show to binge-watch. People are influenced by the tastes and opinions of their friends, and vice versa. But that doesn’t mean you’re a carbon copy of your social network— or does it? We talk with Carolyn Parkinson, an assistant professor of social psychology at UCLA, about why our brains might be more similar that we think.

Duration:00:07:31