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Think Again

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We surprise some of the world's brightest minds with ideas they're not at all prepared to discuss. With host Jason Gots and special guests Henry Rollins, Bill Nye, Jane McGonigal, Jason Silva, and many more . . . You've got 10 minutes with Einstein. What do you talk about? Black holes? Time travel? Why not gambling? The Art of War? Contemporary parenting? Some of the best conversations happen when we're pushed outside of our comfort zones. So each week on Think Again, we surprise smart people you've probably heard of with hand-picked gems from Big Think's interview archives on every imaginable subject. The conversation could go anywhere.

We surprise some of the world's brightest minds with ideas they're not at all prepared to discuss. With host Jason Gots and special guests Henry Rollins, Bill Nye, Jane McGonigal, Jason Silva, and many more . . . You've got 10 minutes with Einstein. What do you talk about? Black holes? Time travel? Why not gambling? The Art of War? Contemporary parenting? Some of the best conversations happen when we're pushed outside of our comfort zones. So each week on Think Again, we surprise smart people you've probably heard of with hand-picked gems from Big Think's interview archives on every imaginable subject. The conversation could go anywhere.
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United States

Networks:

Panoply

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We surprise some of the world's brightest minds with ideas they're not at all prepared to discuss. With host Jason Gots and special guests Henry Rollins, Bill Nye, Jane McGonigal, Jason Silva, and many more . . . You've got 10 minutes with Einstein. What do you talk about? Black holes? Time travel? Why not gambling? The Art of War? Contemporary parenting? Some of the best conversations happen when we're pushed outside of our comfort zones. So each week on Think Again, we surprise smart people you've probably heard of with hand-picked gems from Big Think's interview archives on every imaginable subject. The conversation could go anywhere.

Twitter:

@bigthink

Language:

English


Episodes

152. Where You Gonna Run To? Lorena Luciano and Filippo Piscopo (documentary filmmakers)

6/16/2018
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Imagine you’re a father or a mother of three kids. Your city is in the middle of a civil war. At any time a rocket might burst through your wall. Soldiers might round your family up, or kill them in crossfire. What do you do? You leave, of course. You do whatever you have to do to get your kids to safety. There will be many deadly risks along the way. But you know what’s the worst? The not knowing. The constant thoughts inside your head of everything that might go wrong, everything you...

Duration:00:55:15

151. Jessica Abel (cartoonist, creative coach) – Practical Magic

6/9/2018
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On an earlier episode of this show the Turkish novelist Orhan Pamuk said something that I’ve never forgotten. He said that writing programs shouldn’t teach about plots or characters or how to structure a story. Instead, they should teach writers to manage their own psyches. To be the captains of their own creative ships across the rough daily waters of fluctuating emotions and energies. This kind of self-management, he suggested, is what makes the difference between people who keep...

Duration:01:03:16

150. David Sedaris (humorist) – Sir David of the Spotless Roadways

6/2/2018
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Life is full of horrible things. I dare you to deny it. Things like death, sickness, and alcoholism. And did I mention death, which lies in wait for us all? But if you talk about these things at dinner parties, or at work, or to someone you have just met in line at the grocery store, you risk being branded a negative person. In some circles, such as the state of California, negativity is like leprosy. It can really mess up your social life. This does not seem to trouble my guest today,...

Duration:01:00:35

149. Yanis Varoufakis (former finance minister of Greece) – Happiness, Inc.

5/26/2018
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As the Wu-Tang Clan once put it: “Cash moves everything around me... Get the money. Dollar dollar bill, y’all.” I grew up not wanting to believe this. All the stuff that seemed worth having was hard to put a price tag on. but in a global capitalist world, there’s a lot of hard, sad truth to it. As an American child of the 1980s, I absorbed the message “find yourself!” “Follow your passions!” But there are powerful economic forces at work, shaping our lives and opportunities. My guest...

Duration:00:56:09

148. Jonathan Lethem (writer) – Batman's Greatest Enemy

5/19/2018
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There’s a famous line from a Bob Dylan song that goes “she’s got everything she needs...she’s an artist...she don’t look back.” As a person who loves art—music and literature especially—I’ve always been haunted by that line. Does an artist really not look back? Is looking back somehow a threat to creativity? What about Proust? Did he ever look anywhere but back? My guest today is Jonathan Lethem, one of my very favorite writers since I read his early novel Fortress of Solitude. He’s also...

Duration:00:56:23

147. Ronan Farrow (investigative journalist) — A Failure to Communicate

5/12/2018
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In Hollywood movies diplomats always get a bad rap. I’m picturing Claude Rains as “Mr. Dryden” in Lawrence of Arabia looking, as Clyde Rains always does, somewhat reptilian as he hunches over a map of the Middle East with General Allenby, smirking secretively. Hollywood diplomats are slippery. Untrustworthy. More often than not, they turn out to be double agents. On screen, definitive action plays better than careful talk or compromise. This is true of America in general and of our...

Duration:00:41:06

146. Think Again LIVE with Kristen Radtke (graphic novelist) – The Fascination of What's Difficult

5/5/2018
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This episode is really something different. It’s a live show we did on April 21st in Green Bay Wisconsin, as part of Untitled Town Book and Author Festival, now in its second year. I’d never been to Green Bay before. Nice town! You may know about the cheese and the football, but did you know that the Red Hot Chili Peppers once fled from the police due to an unfortunate wardrobe malfunction at a concert and spent the night hanging out at a local fan’s house? I learned this and much, much...

Duration:00:56:01

145. Michael Gazzaniga (neuroscientist) – The Impossible Problem

4/28/2018
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Je pense donc je suis. (I think, therefore I am.) Huh? Who is this I? How do I know that it is thinking? What does it even mean to say that I am—that I exist, if it's this mysterious, untrustworthy Ithat says so? To be fair, René Descartes didn't invent these problems. but In the centuries after his death, his thought experiments sent philosophers, psychologists and later on, neuroscientists reeling and spiraling down a seemingly bottomless chasm In search of Consciousness. What is...

Duration:00:46:22

144. Antonio Damasio (neuroscientist & philosopher) – Where is My Mind?

4/21/2018
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Why can’t we all just get along? And conversely, why do we sometimes get along so well, building cathedrals, inventing Democracy, symphonies, and stuff that that? According to my guest today, the answer is as old as life itself. In the behaviors of the most ancient forms of bacteria, single-celled organisms without a nucleus, we can see the seeds of civilization as we know it, for better and for worse. They form collectives. They go to war. The key is homeostasis—the imperative of all...

Duration:01:01:30

143. The Way Brothers (documentary filmmakers) – City On a Hill

4/14/2018
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In New York City, where we all live in little boxes on top of one another, “Ignore thy neighbor” is a reasonable coping strategy. Live and let live, right? To each her own. But what’s the tipping point at which thy neighbor becomes simply too numerous, too loud, too different to ignore? I’d submit that whoever you are. Wherever you locate yourself on that spectrum of tolerance. You too, have your limits. In the mid 1980s, a group of people in Oregon discovered their tipping point when a...

Duration:01:06:47

142. Meg Wolitzer (writer) – Messages From Another Planet

4/7/2018
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Ambition and loyalty. What we want versus what we already have and should be grateful for. When there’s conflict here, in some ways it's a tension between loyalty to others and loyalty to ourselves…or maybe loyalty to who we are now versus another possible future self. Have I overcomplicated my life out of impatience and ingratitude? Have I broken something precious beyond repair? Or on the other hand, am I missing out on the life I’m supposed to have? Sometimes I think a lot of the...

Duration:00:58:14

141. Tara Westover (writer, historian) – Nothing Final Can Be Known

3/31/2018
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What does your education mean to you? What would you be willing to sacrifice for it? For me and my sister, growing up, it was a given that you’d get “well-educated.” You’d get good grades, go to a good college, and most likely graduate, medical, law, or business school. School was just what you did…ritualized and rote the way religion is in other families. For my guest today, Tara Westover, the framework was completely different. In her mountain home in Idaho, school was seen as a...

Duration:01:00:11

138. Steven Pinker (Cognitive Scientist) – The Defeat of Defeatism

3/10/2018
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I admit it. I confess. I’ve got a touch of what my guest today calls “progressophobia”. Ever since Charles Dickens got hold of me back in middle school, and William Blake after that, I’ve been a little suspicious of the Great Onward March of science and technology. Gene therapy, healthier crops, safer, more efficient forms of nuclear energy? Very nice, very nice. But what about eugenics, climate change, and Fukushima? For every problem human ingenuity solves, doesn’t human nature create a...

Duration:00:35:21

137. Amy Chua (author, attorney) – U.S. & Them

3/3/2018
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I don’t know about you, but for me, middle school was horrible. I arrived at an all-male school in a still very homophobic era as a small, nervous, Michael Jackson fanatic. Don’t worry - I’m going somewhere with this. For three years, life was hell. Then I found my tribe—the drama nerds. Maybe we couldn’t beat you up, but you had to respect the artistry. In high school, Tribalism was power. My guest today is Yale Law professor Amy Chua, who shook the Internet up a few years back with her...

Duration:00:47:38

136. Michio Kaku (physicist) – Timid Monkeys on Mars

2/24/2018
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Back in the old days, if your species was faced with an existential threat, you were stuck hoping for some advantageous mutation. Maybe an extra fin or a slightly more sophisticated eyeball. Outwitting fate was pretty much out of the question. And as much as we might prefer to just go binge-watch something and forget about it, there are several plausible scenarios whereby humanity could face extinction in the too-close-for-comfort future. Happily, thanks to our very large brains and...

Duration:00:50:20

135. Niall Ferguson (historian) – The Ghost of Future Past

2/17/2018
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Every time he sees a triangle these days, my 10-year-old son points and says “Gasp! the illuminati!” This is a meme he and all his friends absorbed from YouTube. It’s interesting that several centuries after the Illuminati first appeared, as basically a idealistic secret boys’ club, followed by the Freemasons, these kinds of shadowy organizations still exert so much power on our imaginations. That’s because power doesn’t always come in the shape of Queens, Presidents, CEOs or Members of...

Duration:00:45:49

134. Jacob Sager Weinstein (children's author) – Imaginary Histories, Possible Futures

2/10/2018
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Once upon a time, there was a rabbit. No...Not a rabbit. Lewis Carroll already did that… How about an Amazonian river dolphin. Ok. once upon a time there was an Amazonian river dolphin who wondered about his cousins in the wide, open ocean, free from mud and muck and strangling roots. Hey - It’s not much, but it’s a start. Think back to any story you really loved as a child. Chances are, it starts with a tiny thread like this one. After that, it's up to the courage, imagination, and...

Duration:00:54:28

133. Jeremy Bailenson (VR expert) – Through the Looking Glass

2/3/2018
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How do you know that you’re really where you are right now? I mean, where are you getting this sense of place from? A bunch of data from at least some of your five senses enters your brain where it’s cross-referenced with categories from memory. You’re making a probabilistic calculation: This sure looks, feels, and smells like my office. Jeremy Bailenson, my guest today, has been experimenting with cutting edge virtual reality for over a decade now. His Virtual Human Interaction Lab...

Duration:00:46:47

132. Karl Ove Knausgaard (writer) – The Way I Should Be in the World

1/27/2018
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Wherever you are right now, take a look around you. Let your eyes rest on the first thing that catches your attention. For me, while writing this, it’s a bowl in Big Think’s offices. Highly polished, assembled, it seems, from curved, stained strips of wood. If I kept going, I might get to a particular wooden coffee table of my childhood. Its reassuring warmth and sturdiness. How I turned it into a fort and camped out under there, watching Saturday Night Live. All the abuse it took over the...

Duration:00:41:42

131. Daniel Alarcón (writer) – There's No Such Thing as Glamor, Really

1/20/2018
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A listener commented the other day on Twitter that on two completely different recent episodes of this show – one about technology and the other one about jellyfish, the same idea came up: that stories play a powerful role in shaping our real lives. This idea comes up so often, in so many different forms and contexts, that I’ve begun to think of it as maybe the crucial truth for understanding why people do the things we do. The stories we wrap around ourselves, our neighbors. our children....

Duration:00:57:06