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Clearer Thinking with Spencer Greenberg

Science Podcasts

Clearer Thinking is a podcast about ideas that truly matter. If you enjoy learning about powerful, practical concepts and frameworks, wish you had more deep, intellectual conversations in your life, or are looking for non-BS self-improvement, then we think you'll love this podcast! Each week we invite a brilliant guest to bring four important ideas to discuss for an in-depth conversation. Topics include psychology, society, behavior change, philosophy, science, artificial intelligence, math, economics, self-help, mental health, and technology. We focus on ideas that can be applied right now to make your life better or to help you better understand yourself and the world, aiming to teach you the best mental tools to enhance your learning, self-improvement efforts, and decision-making. • We take on important, thorny questions like: • What's the best way to help a friend or loved one going through a difficult time? How can we make our worldviews more accurate? How can we hone the accuracy of our thinking? What are the advantages of using our "gut" to make decisions? And when should we expect careful, analytical reflection to be more effective? Why do societies sometimes collapse? And what can we do to reduce the chance that ours collapses? Why is the world today so much worse than it could be? And what can we do to make it better? What are the good and bad parts of tradition? And are there more meaningful and ethical ways of carrying out important rituals, such as honoring the dead? How can we move beyond zero-sum, adversarial negotiations and create more positive-sum interactions?


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Clearer Thinking is a podcast about ideas that truly matter. If you enjoy learning about powerful, practical concepts and frameworks, wish you had more deep, intellectual conversations in your life, or are looking for non-BS self-improvement, then we think you'll love this podcast! Each week we invite a brilliant guest to bring four important ideas to discuss for an in-depth conversation. Topics include psychology, society, behavior change, philosophy, science, artificial intelligence, math, economics, self-help, mental health, and technology. We focus on ideas that can be applied right now to make your life better or to help you better understand yourself and the world, aiming to teach you the best mental tools to enhance your learning, self-improvement efforts, and decision-making. • We take on important, thorny questions like: • What's the best way to help a friend or loved one going through a difficult time? How can we make our worldviews more accurate? How can we hone the accuracy of our thinking? What are the advantages of using our "gut" to make decisions? And when should we expect careful, analytical reflection to be more effective? Why do societies sometimes collapse? And what can we do to reduce the chance that ours collapses? Why is the world today so much worse than it could be? And what can we do to make it better? What are the good and bad parts of tradition? And are there more meaningful and ethical ways of carrying out important rituals, such as honoring the dead? How can we move beyond zero-sum, adversarial negotiations and create more positive-sum interactions?




Large language models, deep peace, and the meaning crisis (with Jim Rutt)

What are large language models (LLMs) actually doing when they churn out text? Are they sentient? Is scale the only difference among the various GPT models? Google has seemingly been the clear frontrunner in the AI space for many years; so how did they fail to win the race to LLMs? And why are other competing companies having such a hard time catching their LLM tech up to OpenAI's? What are the implications of open-sourcing LLM code, models, and corpora? How concerned should we be about bad actors using open source LLM tools? What are some possible strategies for combating the coming onslaught of AI-generated spam and misinformation? What are the main categories of risks associated with AIs? What is "deep" peace? What is "the meaning crisis"? Jim Rutt is the host of the Jim Rutt Show podcast, past president and co-founder of the MIT Free Speech Alliance, executive producer of the film "An Initiation to Game~B", and the creator of Network Wars, the popular mobile game. Previously he has been chairman of the Santa Fe Institute, CEO of Network Solutions, CTO of Thomson-Reuters, and chairman of the computer chip design software company Analog Design Automation, among various business and not-for-profit roles. He is working on a book about Game B and having a great time exploring the profits and perils of the Large Language Models. [Read more]


Censorship, cancel culture, and truth-seeking (with Iona Italia)

When is a certain speech act an opinion versus a call to action? Does that distinction matter for censorship purposes? Why does it seem that human behavior tends towards censorship rather than towards freedom of expression? Is feeling emotionally or politically harmed a valid reason for censoring certain speech acts? Will it always be the case that, given enough time, truth will win out over ignorance, bullshit, misinformation, and lies? What are the necessary and sufficient conditions for creating a society in which truth wins at the end of the day? Why are citizens so often attracted to populist and/or fascist ideologies and political parties? What value does religion provide to a society? Iona Italia is the editor-in-chief of Areo Magazine and the host of its Two for Tea podcast. Iona is the author of two books: Anxious Employment (a study of eighteenth-century essayists) and Our Tango World (sociological and philosophical musings on dance and life). She holds a PhD in English Literature from Cambridge University and publishes weekly creative non-fiction pieces on her Substack, The Second Swim. Her background includes a decade in academe and a 12-year career as a tango dancer and teacher. Iona lives in London with four old friends. She loves dancing, running, choral singing, chess, dogs, and sci-fi. [Read more]


Why are birth rates plummeting? And how much does it matter? (with Malcolm & Simone Collins)

What is pro-natalism? How fast are birth rates falling around the world? How long will it take for us to really feel the effects of population collapse? What are the primary drivers of population collapse? How does the current difficulty of raising children compare to other periods in history? What roles do various religions and philosophies play in population dynamics? What are some non-coercive ways to encourage population growth? What constitutes an intergenerationally durable culture? Simone and Malcolm Collins are a husband-wife team driving the pronatalist movement, which seeks to bring attention to the risks of a hard landing on demographic collapse. In addition to running the Pronatalist Foundation, the Collins Institute, and a collection of private equity companies, they enjoy writing, having so far published five bestselling books (The Pragmatist's Guide series). To hear more from them, check out their podcast (on Substack, YouTube, or whenever you listen to podcasts), follow them on Twitter at @SimoneHCollins, or check out their books: The Pragmatist's Guide to Crafting ReligionThe Pragmatist's Guide to GovernanceThe Pragmatist's Guide to SexualityThe Pragmatist's Guide to RelationshipsThe Pragmatist's Guide to LifeFurther reading: Forecasting Our World in Data: The Next 100 Years [Read more]


Science is learning from start-ups (with Adam Marblestone)

Read the full transcript here. What are focused research organizations? Which kinds of research projects lend themselves to the FRO model? Researchers in academia frequently complain about the incentive structures around funding and publishing; so how do FROs change those dynamics? Why must FROs be time-limited, especially if they're successful? Who's in charge in an FRO? How does "field-building" help to improve science? What effects might large language models have on science? Adam Marblestone is the CEO of Convergent Research. He's been launching Focused Research Organizations (FROs) such as E11 bio and Cultivarium. He also serves on the boards of several non-profits pursuing new methods of funding and organizing scientific research including Norn Group and New Science. Previously, he was a Schmidt Futures Innovation Fellow, a consultant for the Astera Institute, a Fellow with the Federation of American Scientists (FAS), a research scientist at Google DeepMind, Chief Strategy Officer of the brain-computer interface company Kernel, a research scientist at MIT, a PhD student in biophysics with George Church and colleagues at Harvard, and a theoretical physics student at Yale. He also previously helped to start companies like BioBright and advised foundations such as the Open Philanthropy Project. His work has been recognized with a Technology Review 35 Innovators Under 35 Award (2018), a Fannie and John Hertz Foundation Fellowship (2010), and a Goldwater Scholarship (2008). Learn more about him at [Read more]


The range of human perceptual experiences (with Anil Seth)

Read the full transcript here. How does the world differ from our perception of it? Where is color located? Is the self constructed in the same way our concept of the world is constructed? Aside from being interesting bits of trivia, why does any of that really matter? In what ways does perception most often differ among humans? How different are art and science? Anil Seth is a neuroscientist, author, and public speaker who has pioneered research into the brain basis of consciousness for more than twenty years. His mission is to advance the science of consciousness, and to use its insights for the benefits of society, technology, and medicine. He is Professor of Cognitive and Computational Neuroscience at the University of Sussex; Co-Director of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research Program on Brain, Mind, and Consciousness; a European Research Council Advanced Investigator; and Editor-in-Chief of the academic journal Neuroscience of Consciousness. He has published more than 180 research papers and has been recognized by Web of Science, over several years, as being in the top 0.1% of researchers worldwide. A former Wellcome Trust Engagement Fellow, his two TED talks have been viewed more than thirteen million times, he has appeared in several films, and he has written for Aeon, The Guardian, Granta, New Scientist, and Scientific American, and he is lead scientist on the Dreamachine project. His new book Being You: A New Science of Consciousness was an instant Sunday Times Bestseller and a 2021 Book of the Year for The Economist, The New Statesman, Bloomberg Business, The Guardian, The Financial Times and elsewhere. Check out Dreamachine, take part in The Perception Census, visit Anil's website, or follow him on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, or LinkedIn. [Read more]


The capabilities approach to welfare (with Martha Nussbaum)

Read the full transcript here. What is the capabilities approach to welfare? To what is this approach reacting? How should capabilities be balanced or traded off against each other? How do capabilities differ from needs? Are zoos unethical? Can plants be subject to injustice? What are our ethical obligations towards factory farms? How do our ethical obligations to domesticated animals and livestock differ from our ethical obligations to wild animals, if at all? Why is vulnerability important? Is inequality intrinsically bad, or is it only bad because of its effects? Martha C. Nussbaum is the Ernst Freund Distinguished Service Professor of Law and Ethics, appointed in the Philosophy Department and the Law School of the University of Chicago. She gave the 2016 Jefferson Lecture for the National Endowment for the Humanities and won the 2016 Kyoto Prize in Arts and Philosophy, the 2018 Berggruen Prize in Philosophy and Culture, and the 2020 Holberg Prize. These three prizes are regarded as the most prestigious awards available in fields not eligible for a Nobel. She has written more than twenty-two books, including Upheavals of Thought: The Intelligence of Emotions; Anger and Forgiveness: Resentment, Generosity, Justice; Not for Profit: Why Democracy Needs the Humanities; The Monarchy of Fear, and most recently Justice for Animals: Our Collective Responsibility. Learn more about her via her University of Chicago bio. [Read more]


Should you become a charity entrepreneur? (with Joey Savoie)

Read the full transcript here. What is charity entrepreneurship? What sorts of incentives pull charities away from their stated goals? Why is Effective Altruism even a thing when it's already the case that most charities probably try to be as effective as they can be and probably use evidence of some kind to move towards that end? How diverse are the value systems in the EA movement? To what extent should charity funders diversify? Under what conditions does expected value theory break down? Is it possible to be too altruistic? Have too many EA orgs moved away from more traditional, near-term causes to pursue long-term causes? How frequently should charities switch projects? What is foundation entrepreneurship? What's the best advice to give to a non-EA person who wants to do some amount of good in the world? Joey Savoie wants to make the biggest positive difference in the world that he can. His mission is to cause more effective charities to exist in the world by connecting talented individuals with high-impact intervention opportunities. To achieve this, he co-founded Charity Entrepreneurship, an organization that launches effective charities through an extensive research process and incubation program. Prior to Charity Entrepreneurship, he co-founded Charity Science, a meta-organization that increased the amount of counterfactual funding going to high-impact charities. Subsequently, he co-founded Charity Science Health, a nonprofit that increases vaccination rates in India using mobile phones and behavioral nudges. He has given lectures on various aspects of charity entrepreneurship and Effective Altruism in Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard, Yale, EAG London, EAG San Francisco, Berlin, Basel, Vancouver, Stockholm, and Oslo. Learn more about Charity Entrepreneurship here, and learn more about Joey here. [Read more]


Has political polarization been misunderstood? (with Nick Gillespie)

Read the full transcript here. Are the US's culture wars a sign of a society falling apart? Is social media a cause or a symptom (or both or neither) of the animosity between political tribes in the US? We've all heard of postmodernism, but what the heck is it? Is libertarianism a right-leaning ideology? Are the current levels of intergenerational animosity unusually high? How will the FTX collapse likely impact cryptocurrencies over the next few decades? Nick Gillespie is an editor at large at Reason, the libertarian magazine of "free minds and free markets", and host of The Reason Interview with Nick Gillespie. Gillespie served as the editor in chief for and Reason TV from 2008 through 2017 and was Reason magazine's editor in chief from 2000 to 2008. Under his direction, Reason won the 2005 Western Publications Association "Maggie" Award for Best Political Magazine. His work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Post, Slate, Salon,, Marketplace, and numerous other publications; and he is a frequent commentator on radio and television networks such as National Public Radio, CNBC, CNN, C-SPAN, Fox Business, Fox News Channel, MSNBC, and PBS. He holds a Ph.D. in English literature from the State University of New York at Buffalo. He also holds an M.A. in English with a concentration in creative writing from Temple University and a B.A. in English and Psychology from Rutgers University. Follow him on Twitter at @nickgillespie. [Read more]


How can you tell if you're cut out for entrepreneurship? (with Matt Clifford)

Read the full transcript here. What are "variance-amplifying" and "variance-dampening" institutions? Has the world been getting weirder recently? Should entrepreneurs aim for variance amplification or variance dampening? What percentage of people should be entrepreneurs? What traits and skills are necessary for successful entrepreneurship? How has ambition changed over the course of history? How can entrepreneurs know if they're really changing the world, or just doing something slightly before someone else did it, or just doing something that would have happened anyway? How can entrepreneurs avoid getting mired in "tar pit" ideas? Matt Clifford MBE is cofounder and CEO of Entrepreneur First, the leading technology company builder that invests in top technical individuals to help them build world-class deep technology startups from scratch in six locations across Europe, Asia, and Canada. Since 2011, Entrepreneur First has created over 500 startups worth over $10bn including Magic Pony Technology, Tractable, and CloudNC. Matt is also Chairman of the UK's new Advanced Research and Invention Agency (ARIA), which aims to enable exceptional scientists and researchers to identify and fund transformational research that leads to new technologies, discoveries, products, and services. Matt sits on the board of Code First Girls, which he co-founded in 2013 to teach young women how to code, and is a member of the Innovate UK Council. Matt started his career at McKinsey & Co. and holds degrees from Cambridge and MIT, where he was a Kennedy Scholar. He was awarded an MBE for services to business in the 2016 Queen's Birthday Honours. Follow him on Twitter, interact with him on LinkedIn, or learn more about his work at Entrepreneur First. [Read more]


Letting ChatGPT make your decisions for you (with Dax Flame)

Read the full transcript here. What would happen if you chose to let ChatGPT control your life for a year? If products like ChatGPT help us (e.g.) to write something important, then should we give it credit as a co-author or merely act as though it's a high-powered Grammarly? How would you feel if you received a hand-written card from a romantic partner but later found out that everything they'd written had been authored by ChatGPT? How can we learn to get along with — and perhaps even form friendships with — people with whom we strongly disagree? Dax Flame was one of the first YouTube stars. He acted in the movies 21 Jump Street and Project X, and has written three memoirs. After running out of money, he spent a few years working minimum wage jobs, but now at 31 he is attempting to become a full-time YouTuber again. Check out his YouTube channel, @Daxflame. [Read more]


What good is college now that we can learn everything for free on the internet? (with Nick Dirks)

Read the full transcript here. Why are colleges and universities valuable to societies? Why does formal post-secondary education seem unnecessary for some fields like programming, where a person can learn everything they need from internet resources? Do universities have a monopoly on credentials? If so, is that monopoly warranted and desirable, or does it stifle innovation and reduce competition? Why have tuition costs been skyrocketing over the past few decades? How does the quantity and quality of university research compare to military and private research? Are universities too political? Should the humanities still be taught in universities? How must colleges and universities evolve to keep pace with technological and economic change? Nicholas Dirks, President and CEO of the New York Academy of Sciences, is an internationally renowned historian and anthropologist. He leads the Academy in promoting science-based solutions to world challenges, including pandemics and global warming. His work at the Academy facilitates the dissemination of scientific information, supports broad access to science education, studies counter bias in academia and the laboratory, and supports scientists across all stages of their careers. He was awarded his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago and has taught at UC Berkeley, the California Institute of Technology, the University of Michigan, and Columbia University. Find him on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram. [Read more]


Not seeing your face as a first step to enlightenment? (with Richard Lang)

Read the full transcript here. What is The Headless Way? What are we like before we accept the names, roles, and narratives given to us by other people? What does it mean for consciousness to be "boundless" or "infinite"? What are the benefits of adopting a "headless" perspective? How can we visit (and feel relatively confident that we've visited) this perspective? Where is this perspective situated relative to the larger constellation of meditation and mindfulness concepts from other traditions? Richard Lang has been teaching The Headless Way for over fifty years having met Douglas Harding, the author of On Having No Head, in 1970. Richard also worked for many years as a psychotherapist as well as teaching tai chi and dance. The Headless Way is a method of waking up to your True Self which is spacious, still, and free. Being conscious of your True Self enables you as an individual to be more creative, loving and effective in the world. Contact Richard at or learn more at his website, [Read more]


Is giving people a sense of agency better than giving them cash? (with Richard Sedlmayr)

Read the full transcript here. Can giving people a sense of agency and dignity be better than giving them access to food, shelter, clothing, or cash? And what exactly can be done in practice to expand human agency? How does the value of agency-oriented interventions compare to the value of more tangible interventions? How robust are the findings about all of the above in light of the replication crisis? In general, how much confidence should we place (with or without the replication crisis) in the findings of social science research? How tight should the feedback loop be for organizations that do both research for and implementation of charitable interventions? Richard Sedlmayr works with a private foundation called the Wellspring Philanthropic Fund, where he funds research and innovation to promote pro-poor economic development. He is also involved in the setup of The Agency Fund, a philanthropic partnership investing in ideas and organizations that support people in the navigation of difficult lives. Richard's background is in behavioral, development, and financial economics, and he has a PhD in Public Policy from Oxford. Richard has lived in a dozen countries and is currently based in the Bay Area. You can get in touch with him on LinkedIn. [Read more]


Are you working on the most important problem in your field? Why not? (with Rohit Krishnan)

Read the full transcript here. How are curiosity and innovation connected? What's the most important problem in your field? And are you working on it? Why or why not? Is curiosity the best heuristic — either for an individual or for society at large — for finding valuable problems to work on? What mental models do people tend to use by default? How much is an academic degree worth these days? What are some alternatives to degrees that could count as valid credentials, i.e., as unfakeable (or very-hard-to-fake) signals of someone's level of skill in an area? Can people learn to fake any kind of signal, or are there some that are inherently unfakeable? Rohit Krishnan is an essayist at Strange Loop Canon, where he writes about business, tech, and economics. He's been an entrepreneur and an investor and is very excited to see when crazy ideas meet the real world. Follow him on Twitter at @krishnanrohit. [Read more]


How huge a deal is climate change, really? (with Diana Ürge-Vorsatz and Misha Glouberman)

Read the full transcript here. How huge a deal is climate change, really? What's the right metric for determining how bad climate change effects will be? How do the forecasts made by climate experts differ from those made by superforecasters? Which pieces of the climate change puzzle are we absolutely sure about right now, and which pieces are still speculative or under investigation? Where can we find trustworthy information about climate change? How can we navigate conversations about these topics without becoming defensive? Diana Ürge-Vorsatz is a professor at the Central European University in Vienna, and also Vice Chair of Working Group III (Mitigation) in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) – the UN’s science panel on climate change. She has a PhD from the University of California (Los Angeles and Berkeley) in Environmental Sciences and Engineering. Diana has over 100 peer-reviewed publications and has been serving on a wide range of academic and corporate advisory and governing bodies, including the UK Energy Research Center (UKERC), European Climate Foundation, Austrian Climate and Energy Fund (Klien), McKinsey, RWE, European Research Council, and IIASA. She regularly provides expert analysis related to environmental issues to the media, including BBC World News, BBC4, BBC World Service, Euronews, RTL, TRT, NTV, ITV. Diana is a proud mother of 7 children and a national champion in Orienteering. She lives with her family in Budapest, Hungary. Follow her on Twitter at @dianaurge or on Instagram at @dr_diana_urgevorsatz. Misha Glouberman is a consultant who helps companies get unstuck on all sorts of issues, ranging from retention problems, to underperforming teams, to creating collaborative cultures across silos and in hybrid workplaces. He does this by helping people talk to each other in ways that are effective, authentic, and human. He hosts the Trampoline Hall Lectures in Toronto and is the co-author, with Sheila Heti, of The Chairs Are Where The People Go. He does lots of online events, so join his email list to learn more about them. You can also find him on Twitter, LinkedIn, and his website, (NOTE: Misha was on our podcast back in episode 109!) Further reading: "Superforecasting Long-Term Risks and Climate Change""Forecasting Our World in Data: The Next 100 Years""Climate and weather at 3 degrees more: An Earth as we do not (want to) know it""Climate Endgame: Exploring catastrophic climate change scenarios""Exceeding 1.5°C global warming could trigger multiple climate tipping points"Notes from Misha's climate talk at BitNorth [Read more]


Becoming a policy entrepreneur (with Tom Kalil)

Read the full transcript here. What is a "policy entrepreneur"? Can people become policy entrepreneurs if they're not already a political office holder? Aside from literally speaking to the POTUS, what are some ways that policy entrepreneurs can make progress on their goals? Why is it so hard for some people to articulate actionable plans that would accomplish their goals? What is market shaping? Why do some government departments have no budget for R&D? Tom Kalil is Chief Innovation Officer at Schmidt Futures. In this role, Tom leads initiatives to harness technology for societal challenges, improve science policy, and identify and pursue 21st century moonshots. Prior to Schmidt Futures, Tom served in the White House for two Presidents (Obama and Clinton), helping to design and launch national science and technology initiatives in areas such as nanotechnology, the BRAIN initiative, data science, materials by design, robotics, commercial space, high-speed networks, access to capital for startups, high-skill immigration, STEM education, learning technology, startup ecosystems, and the federal use of incentive prizes. Follow him on Twitter at @tkalil2050. [Read more]


How to build your second brain (with Tiago Forte)

Read the full transcript here. What is a "commonplace book"? What traits are desirable in "second brain" tools? What are some common mistakes people make in note-taking? What should we take notes about? What are some useful methods of organizing, distilling, remembering, and taking action on notes? How much information should we hold in our brains and how much should be offloaded to a second brain? What are creative convergence and divergence? Tiago Forte is the founder of Forte Labs and one of the world's foremost experts on productivity. He has taught more than 20,000 people worldwide through his programs and writes and speaks on how technology can help knowledge workers revolutionize their personal effectiveness. Tiago's online course, Building a Second Brain, has produced more than 5,000 graduates from over 70 countries. In a previous life, he worked in microfinance in Latin America, served in the Peace Corps in Ukraine, and consulted for large companies on product development in San Francisco. He lives in Long Beach, California, with his wife Lauren, son Caio, and dog Ximena. Lear more about him at or follow him on Twitter at @fortelabs. By the way: We've summarized this episode's key takeaways in a Thought Saver card deck to help you remember these ideas forever! You can explore the deck here: [Read more]


Does every language have a word for depression? (with Sean Mayberry)

Read the full transcript here. Why is depression on the rise globally? We've all heard that social media is a big cause of depression, but what other factors might we have overlooked? Why are anxiety and depression so closely linked? What is group interpersonal therapy? How does it differ from cognitive behavioral therapy and other treatment modalities? Which languages lack an equivalent to the word "depression"? Sean Mayberry is a former diplomat and social marketer who believes that treating depression in women in Africa is the most simple and cost-effective way to address systemic poverty. Sean is the founder of StrongMinds, a social enterprise with the mission of improving women’s mental health in Africa; and has served as a SOCAP Fellow, a Rainer Arnhold Fellow, a Cordes Foundation Fellow, and a GLG Fellow. In addition to that, in 2020, he won the Humanitarian Award from the Group Foundation for Advancing Mental Health. Prior to founding StrongMinds, Sean was the CEO of FXB International, an anti-poverty team active in Africa, and the COO for VisionSpring, which provides eyeglasses to low-income populations. Sean also worked for Population Services International as their Country Director in India and the Congo. For interest in partnering with StrongMinds or learning more, email Sean at [Read more]


What things in life *shouldn't* we optimize? (with Christie Aschwanden)

Read the full transcript here. Why should we not optimize some things in life? Should some things (e.g., interpersonal relationships) be "off-limits" for optimization? How much time spent being unproductive is good for us? What can we learn by paying attention to our moods? Does science make progress and produce knowledge too slowly? Why is research methodology applied so inconsistently, especially in the social sciences? Christie Aschwanden is author of Good to Go: What the Athlete in All of Us Can Learn From the Strange Science of Recovery, and co-host of Emerging Form, a podcast about the creative process. She's the former lead science writer at FiveThirtyEight and was previously a health columnist for The Washington Post. Her work has appeared in dozens of publications, including Wired, Scientific American, Slate, Smithsonian, Popular Science, New Scientist, Discover, Science, and She is a frequent contributor to The New York Times. She was a National Magazine Award finalist in 2011 and has received journalism fellowships from the Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting, the Carter Center, the Santa Fe Institute, and the Greater Good Science Center. Learn more about her at or follow her on Instagram at @cragcrest or on Mastodon at @cragscrest. [Read more]


How can we make science more trustworthy? (with Stuart Ritchie)

Read the full transcript here. How can we make science more trustworthy? When scientists break into factions around a particular topic, whom should we trust, and why? Why did trust in science as an institution plummet drastically during COVID? What is the state of the evidence for the effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine, ivermectin, or vitamin D against COVID? Why is controlling for variables so difficult? What evidence is there for how well IQ represents intelligence and predicts useful things about people's lives? There's the famous quip that "IQ tests only measure how well people do on IQ tests", but we also all seem to know that some people are smarter than others; so can't that disparity be captured in a single number, or even in a small set of numbers? Stuart Ritchie is a Lecturer at the Social, Genetic, and Developmental Psychiatry Centre, King’s College London. He received his PhD in psychology from The University of Edinburgh in 2014. Since then, he's been researching human cognitive abilities like how our mental abilities age and how education can improve intelligence. His other interests are in the subject of Science Fictions: the problems with the scientific system and how we might fix them to improve the quality of research. Learn more about him at or follow him on Twitter at @StuartJRitchie. [Read more]