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Long Now: Seminars About Long-term Thinking

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United States

Description:

We will have a banner to add soon. We also just submitted our "Long Now: Conversations at The Interval" podcast.

Twitter:

@longnow

Language:

English


Episodes

Renee Wegrzyn: Engineering Gene Safety

10/30/2017
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Genome editing technologies provide the unprecedented ability to modify genetic material in a manner that is targeted, rapid, adaptable, and broadly accessible. Advances in genome editing form the foundation for new transformative applications across all of biology, ranging from highly personalized therapeutics to control of mosquito populations in the wild to reduce vector borne diseases. Extension of these technologies to gene drives and germline editing, which can alter the outcomes of...

Duration: 01:21:15


David Grinspoon: Earth in Human Hands

9/6/2017
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For thinking about the future of life on Earth in planetary terms, no one can match the perspective of an astrobiologist. David Grinspoon notes two major shifts in Earth’s biological regime: 1) 2.1 billion years ago, when cyanobacteria flipped the whole planet from anaerobic to oxygen-based life; 2) now, as humans assume domination of the Earth’s living systems. “We suddenly find ourselves running a planet,” he says, “without knowing how it should be done. We’re at the controls, but we’re...

Duration: 01:31:39


Nicky Case: Seeing Whole Systems

8/7/2017
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Nicky Case’s presentations are as ingenious, compelling, and graphically rich as the visualizing tools and games Nicky creates for understanding complex dynamic systems. Case writes: “We need to see the non-linear feedback loops between culture, economics, and technology. Not only that, but we need to see how collective behavior emerges from individual minds and motives. We need new tools, theories, and visualizations to help people talk across disciplines.” Nicky Case is the creator of...

Duration: 01:18:31


Carolyn Porco: Searching for Life in the Solar System

7/24/2017
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Where will unambiguous signs of life most likely be found outside Earth? While telescopes squint at impossibly distant (but numerous) exoplanets, increasing numbers of increasingly brilliant robots are probing the wildly exotic potential environments for life nearby in our own Solar System. Which ones are the most promising candidates, and why, and what are the plans to check them out? Is life in the universe a one-off freak, or the norm? If we find just one more instance, we can infer...

Duration: 01:25:29


James Gleick: Time Travel

6/5/2017
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The problem of the unknowable future is matched by the problem of the unchangeable past. Both are solved by the dream of time travel. The peculiarities and paradoxes of time travel are explored in imaginative detail in science fiction, even though it doesn’t exist, or maybe especially because it doesn’t exist. Grappling with the idea helps humans engage with a dimension of profound human powerlessness and also invites deeper thinking about what actually can be known about the past and what...

Duration: 01:20:31


Geoffrey B. West: The Universal Laws of Growth and Pace

5/23/2017
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The scope of Geoffrey West’s talk is covered by the full title of his new book: Scale: The Universal Laws of Growth, Innovation, Sustainability, and the Pace of Life in Organisms, Cities, Economies, and Companies. It is original, spectacular work—showing how logarithmic scaling governs everything from cells to ecosystems. The same rules govern companies and cities, but somewhat differently from biology and from each other. Geoffrey West deploys the rigor of a theoretical physicist long at...

Duration: 01:34:05


Frank Ostaseski: What the Dying Teach the Living

4/10/2017
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It’s a lot more than “Seize the day.” We learn from the dying to push away nothing; to lose the habit of postponing things; to show up entirely; to find rest amid whatever; to go ahead and be surprised. You can look death right in the eye, tough as it is, and life lights up. Frank Ostaseki, one of the world’s great end-of-life counselors, has attended over a thousand dyings. He was a cofounder of the renowned Zen Hospice in San Francisco and is the author of a new book, The Five...

Duration: 01:32:30


Bjorn Lomborg: From Feel-Good to High-Yield Good: How to Improve Philanthropy and Aid

3/13/2017
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Bjorn Lomborg does cost/benefit analysis on global good. There are surprises when you examine what are the highest-yield targets in the domains of health, poverty, education, reduced violence, gender equality, climate change, biodiversity, and good governance. Reducing trade restrictions floats to the top: $1 spent yields $2,000 of good for everyone. Contraception for women is close behind, with a whole array of benefits. For health go after tuberculosis, malaria, and child malnutrition....

Duration: 01:30:00


Jennifer Pahlka: Fixing Government: Bottom Up and Outside In

2/1/2017
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Code for America was founded in 02009 by Jennifer Pahlka “to make government work better for the people and by the people in the 21st century.” The organization started a movement to modernize government for a digital age which has now spread from cities to counties to states, and now, most visibly, to the federal government, where Jennifer served at the White House as US Deputy Chief Technology Officer. There she helped start the United States Digital Service, known as "Obama's stealth...

Duration: 01:24:50


Steven Johnson: Wonderland: How Play Made the Modern World

1/4/2017
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“You will find the future wherever people are having the most fun,” Johnson argues. He chronicles how, throughout history, world-transforming innovation emerges from the endless quest for novelty in seemingly trivial entertainments--fashion, music, spices, magic, taverns, zoos, games. He celebrates the observation of historian Johan Huizinga (Homo Ludens), “Civilization arises and unfolds in and as play.” Steven Johnson is the leading historian of creativity. His books include Wonderland:...

Duration: 01:23:38


Douglas Coupland: The Extreme Present

11/1/2016
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Douglas Coupland has done so much more than name a generation (“Generation X”—post-Boomer, pre-Millennial, from his novel of that name). He is a prolific writer (22 books, including nonfiction such as his biography of Marshall McLuhan) and a brilliant visual artist with installations at a variety of museums and public sites. His 1995 novel Microserfs nailed the contrast between corporate and startup cultures in software and Web design. Coupland is fascinated by time. For Long Now he plans...

Duration: 01:28:05


David Eagleman: The Brain and The Now

10/4/2016
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David Eagleman gives the keynote talk on "The Brain and The Now" at the Long Now Member Summit and is joined onstage after his talk by Stewart Brand and Danny Hillis for further discussion and Q&A. 02016 marks The Long Now Foundation's 20th year and we are holding our first Summit to showcase and connect with our amazing community, on Tuesday October 4, 02016 from noon to 11:30pm, at Fort Mason Center in San Francisco.

Duration: 01:21:05


Jonathan Rose: The Well Tempered City

9/20/2016
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Cities and urban regions can make coherent sense, can metabolize efficiently, can use their very complexity to solve problems, and can become so resilient they “bounce forward” when stressed. In this urbanizing century ever more of us live in cities (a majority now; 80% expected by 2100), and cities all over the world are learning from each other how pragmatic governance can work best. Jonathan Rose argues that the emerging best methods focus on deftly managing “cognition, cooperation,...

Duration: 01:24:11


Seth Lloyd: Quantum Computer Reality

8/9/2016
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Quantum computing is widely considered to be: The most potentially transformative technology of this century; Nothing but hope and hype. A reliable reporter who is familiar with all of the rich variety of quantum research going on and the reality of the remarkable progress in the field (along with its still-expanding potential) is quantum pioneer Seth Lloyd, professor of mechanical engineering and physics at MIT. Lloyd describes himself as a mechanic of quantum computing, quantum...

Duration: 01:44:48


Kevin Kelly: The Next 30 Digital Years

7/14/2016
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Since the mid-01980s Kevin Kelly has been creating, and reporting on, the digital future. His focus is the long-term trends and social consequences of technology. Kelly’s new book, THE INEVITABLE: Understanding the 12 Technological Forces That Will Shape Our Future, is a grand synthesis of his thinking on where technology is heading in the next few decades, and how we can embrace it to maximize its benefits, and minimize its harms. Kevin Kelly is the founding executive editor of Wired...

Duration: 01:30:52


Brian Christian: Algorithms to Live By

6/20/2016
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It is possible to be extremely astute about how we manage difficult decisions. With just a few mental tools we get the benefit of better outcomes along with release from agonizing about the process of deciding. Many mental tools—algorithms—developed with obligatory clarity for computers turn out to have ready application for humans facing such problems as: when to stop hunting for an apartment (or lover); how much novelty to seek; how to get rid of the right stuff; how to allot scarce...

Duration: 01:30:31


Walter Mischel: The Marshmallow Test: Mastering Self-Control

5/2/2016
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Can you pass the marshmallow test? You’re a little kid. A marshmallow is placed on the table in front of you. You’re told you can eat it any time, but if you wait a little while, you’ll be given two marshmallows to eat. The kids who have the self-control to pass this most famous of psychological tests turn out to have more rewarding and productive lives. Walter Mischel, who first ran the test in the 1960s, spent the rest of his career exploring how self-control works, summarized in his...

Duration: 01:26:46


Priyamvada Natarajan: Solving Dark Matter and Dark Energy

4/11/2016
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No one thinks longer, or bigger, than astrophysicists. “This is the golden age of cosmology,” says Priya Natarajan, one of the world’s leading astrophysicists, because data keeps pouring in to vet even the most radical theories. And the dominant mysteries are profound. She observes that “The vast majority of stuff in the universe—both dark matter and dark energy, which dominate the content and fate of the universe—is unknown.“ The universe’s greatest exotica are the focus of her...

Duration: 01:31:42


Jane Langdale: Radical Ag: C4 Rice and Beyond

3/14/2016
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Three billion people—nearly half of us--depend on rice for survival. What if you could adjust rice genetically so 1) it has a 50% greater yield, 2) using half the water, 3) needing far less fertilizer, 4) along with higher resilience to climate change? It would transform world agriculture. All you need to do is switch rice from inefficient C3 photosynthesis to the kind of C4 photosynthesis employed by corn, sugarcane, and sorghum. That switch has been made in plants 60 independent times by...

Duration: 01:27:44


Stephen Pyne: Fire Slow, Fire Fast, Fire Deep

2/9/2016
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Once humans took charge of fire, fire remade humans and commenced remaking the world. “We got small guts and big heads because we could cook food,” says Stephen Pyne, the world’s leading historian of fire. “We went to the top of the food chain because we could cook landscapes. And we have become a geologic force because our fire technology has so evolved that we have begun to cook the planet.“ The understanding of wildfire as an ecological benefit got its biggest boost from Pyne’s 1982...

Duration: 01:24:37

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