Try Premium for 30 days

Live games for all NFL, MLB, NBA, & NHL teams
Commercial-Free Music
No Display Ads
Speaking with - The Conversation Podcast-logo

Speaking with - The Conversation Podcast

News >

Ideas and analysis from the sharpest minds in the academic and research world.

Ideas and analysis from the sharpest minds in the academic and research world.
More Information


United States


Ideas and analysis from the sharpest minds in the academic and research world.




Speaking with: social researcher and author Hugh Mackay on 2017, 'a really disturbing year'

Social researcher Hugh Mackay and The Conversation's FactCheck Editor Lucinda Beaman.“I’ve found 2017 a really disturbing year.” That’s the summary from writer, thinker and social researcher, Hugh Mackay. Mackay spoke in December with The Conversation’s FactCheck Editor Lucinda Beaman at the Sydney launch of The Conversation 2017 Year Book: 50 standout articles from Australia’s top thinkers. Among the essays featured in the book is Mackay’s enormously popular and thought-provoking...

Duration: 00:59:21

Speaking with: Emrys Westacott on the virtue of frugal living

Simple living in a complex time – is a return to frugality the key to happiness?Xurxo Martínez/flickr, CC BY-NC-SAThey say the best things in life are free – or at least, Emrys Westacott seems to think so. For those who have the choice, the rejection of extravagance is deemed highly virtuous. Many of the great thinkers of history have advocated the moral value of frugal living, but in our culture of excess the temptation to indulge can be difficult to overcome. William Isdale spoke with...

Duration: 00:23:53

Speaking with: Bates Gill on Australia's changing relationship with China

Flickr: Pedro Szekely, CC BY-SADuring Xi Jinping’s opening address at the Communist Party’s 19th National Party Congress last week, the Chinese president outlined his vision of a “new era” for China – one that will see “China moving closer to centre stage”. China’s economic and foreign policies have significant implications for Australia. More than 30% of our exports go to China, more than 1 million Chinese tourists visit Australia every year, and about 30% of international students in...

Duration: 00:26:36

Speaking with: Emma Power and Jennifer Kent about why Australian cities and homes aren't build for pets

A canine commuter catches up on some sleep on the Paris Metro.Kevin O'Mara/Flickr, CC BY-NC-NDWe’re a nation of pet lovers: 60% of Australian households have some kind of pet. And with dogs in 39% of those homes, it’s only natural that we’re starting to see dogs sitting happily alongside human diners at places like cafes and pubs. But while we have one of the highest levels of pet ownership in the world, our rights and infrastructure planning don’t seem to be built around this reality. No...

Duration: 00:22:27

Speaking with: John Gerrard on preventing infectious diseases

John Gerrard says a developed city like Sydney could not cope with an epidemic of the scale of the recent Ebola outbreak.UNMEER/Martine Perret/Flickr, CC BY-NDThe Spanish Flu of 1918 is estimated to have infected around 500 million, and killed between 20 and 40 million, people around the world - all within the space of a year. It is perhaps the deadliest pandemic in human history. We have seen nothing as devastating since, but outbreaks such as influenza, HIV/AIDS, Zika and Ebola...

Duration: 00:16:51

Speaking with: Nicole Gurran on AirBnb and its impact on cities

New York residents protest against AirBnB at a City Hall hearing into the impact of short-term rentals in 2015.Shannon Stapleton/ReutersAirBnb has turned sharing our homes and living spaces with strangers from a fringe idea into a multi-million dollar business. It’s changed the way many of us travel. But its growth has turned many suburbs and apartment buildings that are zoned for residential use into hotels, with temporary residents who have no long-term investment in the neighbourhoods...

Duration: 00:25:34

Speaking with: Nancy Pachana on planning for an active and engaged ageing population

The Danish Choir “Gangstativerne”, singing at a conference launching the European Year for Active Ageing and Solidarity Between Generations in 2012.DG EMPL/ flickr, CC BY-NCDue to advances in medicine, hygiene and nutrition we are now living longer than ever before. In our region, the percentage of people over the age of 60 doubled in just 20 years - something that took 120 years in Europe and the United States. And while there are definitely losses as we age – fine motor skills and a...

Duration: 00:31:41

Speaking With: Cameron Murray on grey corruption and the 'Game of Mates'

Land rezoning, sales, and planning approvals are just a few of the ways 'grey gifts' can decide who benefits from government decisions.Dean Lewins/AAPThe role of declared gifts and donations has driven a lot of discussion around government corruption in recent years. But what about the clique of developers, banks and superannuation companies who reap the benefits of policies and approvals that preserve monopolies? How do we decide who the winners and losers are in society, without even...

Duration: 00:31:20

Speaking with: Dr Mark Blaskovich on antibiotic-resistant bacteria and the threat of superbugs

Antibiotics Staphylex, used to treat the infection Golden Staph. TONY PHILLIPS/ AAPSince the discovery of antibiotics in the mid-20th century, millions of lives have been saved from bacterial infections. But the over-prescription of these drugs has led to some types of bacteria becoming resistant to treatment. It’s estimated at least two million people are infected with antibiotic-resistant bacteria in the United States each year. These “superbugs” can spread rapidly and stopping them is...

Duration: 00:32:52

Speaking with: Julian Savulescu on the ethics of genetic modification in humans

Could genetic engineering one day allow parents to have designer babies?Tatiana Vdb/flickr, CC BYWhat if humans are genetically unfit to overcome challenges like climate change and the growing inequality that looks set to define our future? Julian Savulescu, visiting professor at Monash University and Uehiro professor of Practical Ethics at Oxford University, argues that modifying the biological traits of humans should be part of the solution to secure a safe and desirable future. The...

Duration: 00:37:58

Speaking with: Peter Doherty about infectious disease pandemics

Medical workers move a woman, who is suspected of having Ebola, upon her arrival at Meioxeiro Hospital, in Vigo, northwestern Spain, 28 October 2015.SALVADOR SAS (EPA)/ AAPHumans have had to deal with infectious diseases for centuries. Ancient Greeks and Egyptians suffered from smallpox, leprosy and tuberculosis. And when an outbreak occurs, it can be devastating. Pandemics like the Black Plague, Spanish Flu and HIV have killed millions of people around the world. While improved...

Duration: 00:34:38

Speaking with: Tony Kevin on his return to Moscow and the new Cold War with Russia

Russian line guard march prior to a military parade in Moscow.Yuri Kochetkov/EPATony Kevin first went to the Soviet Union in 1969. He was 25 years old and working in the Australian Embassy in Moscow at the peak of the Cold War. Embassy staff were told to be aware that every discussion was probably being recorded, and that they should avoid any interactions with locals. Forty-eight years later he returned to Russia and found a very different country from the one he left. In his new book,...

Duration: 00:30:16

No problem too big #1: Artificial intelligence and killer robots

Imagine a world where artificial intelligence is in control and humans are brink of extinction. What went wrong? What could we have done?ShutterstockThis is the first episode of a special Speaking With podcast series titled No Problem Too Big, where a panel of artists and researchers speculate on the end of the world as though it has already happened. It’s not the world we grew up in. Not since artificial intelligence. The machines have taken control. Three fearless researchers gather...

Duration: 00:45:10

Speaking with: Mia Woodruff about using 3D printing to replace body parts

Mia Woodruff at the November 2016 launch of the Herston Biofabrication Institute, a collaboration between QUT and the Metro North Hospital and Health Service.AAP3D printing is fundamentally changing the way we make many objects – from construction materials to toys and even food. And being able to 3D-scan the environment, even our own bodies, means that tools and prosthetics that were once mass-produced can now be custom-made for the people they’re designed to help, at a low cost. What...

Duration: 00:18:35

Speaking with: Peter Green on saving the Christmas Island red crab

Peter Green joins the millions of Christmas Island red crabs in their migration.Greg Miles, Author providedEvery year tens of millions of Christmas Island red crabs migrate from the island’s dense forest to the cliffs to spawn. It’s a phenomenon that literally stops traffic and draws tourists from around the world to the tiny Australian territory. But while there are still tens of millions of red crabs on the island, in recent years their numbers have dipped by around a third as they...

Duration: 00:18:09

Speaking with: Meg Urry on supermassive black holes

Supermassive black holes, containing as much mass as millions or billions of suns, exist at the centre of all galaxies, including our own Milky Way. NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, CC BY-SABlack holes are incredibly strange phenomena: a collapsed star packed into a tiny region of space. Their gravitational force is so strong that not even light can escape. So it is not surprising that, for a long time, black holes were not thought to actually exist – they were only a theoretical...

Duration: 00:33:02

Speaking with: the Poll Bludger William Bowe on the Canning byelection

Liberal candidate Andrew Hastie has campaigned strongly on local issues. Richard Wainwright/AAPThis Saturday’s Canning byelection has turned from being a poll on Tony Abbott to being a test of both new Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten. Political analyst Natalie Mast spoke with “Poll Bludger” William Bowe about what Monday’s leadership spill will mean for the vote in Canning. Subscribe to The Conversation’s Speaking With podcasts on iTunes, or follow on...

Duration: 00:20:17

Speaking with: Lawrence Gostin on Ebola, the WHO and the future of global health

Who ya gonna call? The World Health Organization has been criticised for its poor response to last year's Ebola outbreak. Ahmed Jallanzo/AAPThe recent Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa occurred in three of the poorest and least resourced countries in the world. And as Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia all struggled with the epidemic, it was clear a global response was needed to contain the disease. But the response, led by the World Health Organization, has been widely criticised for...

Duration: 00:14:58

Speaking with: Naomi Klein on capitalism and climate change

Noami Klein speaking in Sydney. Christopher Wright, Author providedIn her latest book, This Changes Everything (2014), the writer and activist Naomi Klein tackles the issue of climate change through a familiar prism: capitalism. She argues that unrestrained capitalism is the root of the problem and that the global response to climate change has, thus far, been shaped by wealth and power. Christopher Wright spoke to Naomi Klein on the eve of her appearance at the Sydney Festival of...

Duration: 00:21:23

Speaking with: Hayley Saul and Emma Waterton on the Nepal earthquake and the everyday Nepalese hero

It will be many years before life returns to normal in the Langtang valley, one of the regions worst-affected by the earthquakes in Nepal. Scott Mattoon/flickr, CC BY-SAHayley Saul and Emma Waterton were doing anthropological field work in the Langtang valley in Nepal when the devastating magnitude 7.8 earthquake hit on April 25 this year, killing more than 9,000 people. At the time of the quake, they were with several local guides from the village of Langtang, now dubbed “the worst...

Duration: 00:20:03

See More