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Conversations recorded at the annual Uncharted Berkeley Festival of Ideas, produced by Berkeley's award-winning independent news site Berkeleyside.

Conversations recorded at the annual Uncharted Berkeley Festival of Ideas, produced by Berkeley's award-winning independent news site Berkeleyside.
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Conversations recorded at the annual Uncharted Berkeley Festival of Ideas, produced by Berkeley's award-winning independent news site Berkeleyside.






The Pipping Party

Berkeleyside's Tracey Taylor talks about falcons and the Cal falcon webcam —which is keeping a watchful eye on Annie and Grinnell, two peregrines who made their nest in the clock tower of the Campanile on the UC Berkeley campus — with raptor mavens Allen Fish, director of the Golden Gate Raptor Observatory, and Douglas Bell, wildlife program manager at the East Bay Regional Park District (who shows off his splendid falcon imitations). What makes wildlife webcams so mesmerizing, what...


Uncharted Episode 29: Learning to be a black man in America

What’s the script for black manhood? Mychal Denzel Smith unapologetically upends assumptions about black masculinity, rewriting the script for black men so that depression and anxiety aren’t considered taboo, and feminism and LGBTQ rights become part of the fight. Denzel Smith, author of of Invisible Man, Got the Whole World Watching, talked with Uncharted Berkeley Festival of Ideas Co-Curator Helena Brantley about black manhood today and the heightened awareness of racism in Trump’s America.


Uncharted Episode 28: Equal justice for all?

Most of us are familiar with public defenders from TV shows, but do we really understand the crucial role they play in the justice system? In fact, they represent 80% of people charged in the system and provide legal representation to defendants who cannot afford private attorneys. However, they are often so overwhelmed by crushing caseloads that they’re unable to provide their clients with the bare minimum representation required by the Constitution. Jon Rapping founded Gideon’s Promise...


Uncharted Episode 27: Death 101

Jessica Zitter describes herself as an “accidental evangelist.” As a doctor, she set out to save lives, not to focus on death. But her work has led her to a commitment to change the current paradigm of end-of-life medical decision-making. In October 2017, Zitter, an ICU and palliative care physician at Highland Hospital, sat down with Amy Tobin, CEO of the JCC East Bay, at the Uncharted Berkeley Festival of Ideas in Berkeley. Uncharted is a production of Berkeleyside, Berkeley's...


Uncharted Episode 26: A neo-Nazi finds life after hate

When he was an insecure teenager, Christian Picciolini was part of a group of violent, skinhead neo-Nazis. Fast forward to today, and Picciolini spends his days helping people disengage from hate and violent extremism through his nonprofit, Life After Hate. In October 2017, Picciolini, author of the book Romantic Violence: Memoirs of an American Skinhead, sat down with Mother Jones senior editor and writer Wes Enzinna at the Uncharted Festival of Ideas in Berkeley to talk about his...


Uncharted Episode 25: Class Cluelessness

America is sometimes described as a class-free society — a view not shared by UC Hastings law professor Joan Williams. Williams, author of White Working Class: Overcoming Class Cluelessness in America, argues that misconceptions about class — in particular how the “professional elite” class misunderstands and condescends to the middle, working class — explains much that is wrong with the country. In October 2017, Williams sat down with media innovator Peter Leyden at Berkeleyside's fifth...


Uncharted Episode 24: Don't underestimate Trump

Political messages gain added strength when they’re delivered in a way that matches how our brains process information. Pioneering cognitive linguist George Lakoff says that America’s leading progressive politicians have ignored the science, while Donald Trump and the right wing have connected with voters with dangerous effectiveness. In October 2017, Lakoff, a former distinguished professor at UC Berkeley, sat down with journalist Daphne White at the fifth annual Uncharted Berkeley...


Uncharted Episode 23: Everything Trump Touches Dies

Rick Wilson is a Republican political strategist and media consultant with 30 years of experience. He has helped to elect Governors, U.S. Senators, statewide Cabinet officers and state legislators. He is also a vehement critic of the 45th President of the United States and is working on a film project titled ‘Everything Trump Touches Dies.’ In October 2017, at the fifth annual Uncharted Berkeley Festival of Ideas, produced by independent news site Berkeleyside, Wilson talked with media...


Uncharted Episode 22: Political journalism in the age of Trump

The shortcomings of traditional political journalism have been visible for some time. But the unprecedented presidency of Donald Trump has graphically exposed journalism’s weaknesses. In 2016, before the November election, Jay Rosen, Professor of Journalism at New York University, sat down with journalist Kathy Kiely at the Uncharted Festival of Ideas in Berkeley to talk about the right frame for interpreting press coverage of the presidential campaign. Their conclusions hold just as true...


Uncharted Episode 21: From Hangover to criminal justice reform

Scott Budnick is best known as the executive producer of the Hangover movies, the highest grossing, R-rated comedies in history. But unknown to many, Budnick’s mission is to reform the criminal justice system. In October 2016 Budnick sat down with Lance Knobel, founder and curator of the Uncharted Festival of Ideas in Berkeley, to talk about why he founded the Anti Recidivism Coalition in 2013, an organization of very high-achieving, formerly incarcerated young adults who work to support...


Uncharted Episode 20: What can we do about Citizens United?

With the conservative turn of the Supreme Court, overturning Citizens United looks unlikely. But Daniel Newman believes there are reforms that can be implemented even in the current political climate. In 2016, before the November election, Newman, co-founder and president of Maplight, sat down with journalist Kathy Kiely at the Uncharted Festival of Ideas in Berkeley, to talk about reforming the place of money in our political system. Every year in Berkeley, Uncharted draws together...


Uncharted Episode 19: Black elephants in the room

What do you think about when you hear about African-American Republicans? Are they heroes fighting against the expectation that all Blacks must vote democratic? Or are they sell-outs, letting down their race? In 2016, before the November election, Corey Fields, Assistant Professor of Sociology at Stanford University, published a book titled Black Elephants in the Room: The Unexpected Politics of African American Republicans. In October 2016 Fields sat down with media innovator Peter...


Uncharted Episode 18: Assholes: A theory of Donald Trump

When Aaron James sat down to write a popular philosophy book about assholes, he didn’t anticipate the candidacy — then the presidency — of Donald Trump. But then James found he had the perfect framework to explain the seemingly inexplicable. In October 2016, before the November election, James, a professor of philosophy at the University of California Irvine, sat down with writer Dan Schifrin at the Uncharted Festival of Ideas in Berkeley to talk about his book, Assholes: A Theory of...


Uncharted Episode 17: The Digital Doctor

As healthcare has gone digital, Bob Wachter, Chairman of the Department of Medicine at UCSF, noticed plenty of problems. Why were doctors no longer making eye contact with their patients? How could one of America's leading hospitals give a teenager a 39-fold overdose of a common antibiotic, despite a state-of-the-art computerized prescribing system? How can we make sure doctors and the digital world make things better for patients?


Uncharted Episode 16: Why pursuing happiness is making us miserable

Ruth Whippman, the author of "America The Anxious: How our Pursuit of Happiness is Making us a Nation of Nervous Wrecks," talks with Lauren Schiller, host of the Inflection Point radio show and podcast, about America's happiness industry and why we're not getting our money's worth.


Uncharted Episode 15: A perspective on the 2016 election

Jamelle Bouie is the Chief Political Correspondent of Slate. In October 2015 he sat down with Lance Knobel at the Uncharted Festival of Ideas in Berkeley to talk about the 2016 election. Rather than delve into the horse race of candidate nominations, Knobel asked Bouie to offer a framework for understanding this election — does the party actually decide who the nominees should be, how does campaigning and financing impact outcomes?


Uncharted Episode 14: The globalization of education

Nicholas Dirks is the Chancellor of the University of California Berkeley. He spoke with Quentin Hardy, deputy technology editor of the New York Times, about how UC Berkeley is planning to cement its position as one of the top public universities in the world with the launch of a global campus.


Uncharted Episode 13: Climbing the learning ladder

Elñora Tena Webb is president of Laney College, a community college in Oakland, California. Every day, Webb grapples with the issues of how to get young, often disenfranchised, people into colleges and universities. She spoke with bestselling author Julia Flynn Siler about how her personal journey informs how she tackles the job, and has given her a strong faith in the power of education.


Uncharted Episode 12: Liberty and drugs

Described by Rolling Stone as “the real drug czar,” Ethan Nadelmann, the founder and executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, is widely regarded as the outstanding proponent of drug policy reform globally. He spoke with bestselling author and Berkeleyside co-founder Frances Dinkelspiel about viable alternatives to the war on drugs.


Uncharted Episode 11: Making culture for the internets

Wherever he’s worked, Robin Sloan, author of “Mr Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore," has been figuring out the future of media. Sloan and media innovator Peter Leyden here explore the difference between online writing — which, he says, can sometimes feel like consuming sugar — to publishing a book, which he compares to eating protein-heavy leafy greens.