Nature is wonderfully abundant, diverse and mysterious — but biological research today tends to focus on only seven species, including rats, chickens, fruit flies and us. We’re studying an astonishingly narrow sliver of life, says biologist Alejandro Sánchez Alvarado, and hoping it’ll be enough to solve the oldest, most challenging problems in science, like cancer. In this visually captivating talk, Alvarado calls on us to interrogate the unknown and shows us the remarkable discoveries that surface when we do.
Every year the silicon computer chip shrinks in size by half and doubles in power, enabling our devices to become more mobile and accessible. But what happens when our chips can’t get any smaller? George Tulevski researches the unseen and untapped world of nanomaterials. His current work: developing chemical processes to compel billions of carbon nanotubes to assemble themselves into the patterns needed to build circuits, much the same way natural organisms build intricate, diverse and elegant structures. Could they hold the secret to the next generation of computing?
Today nine nations collectively control more than 15,000 nuclear weapons, each hundreds of times more powerful than those dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. We don’t need more nuclear weapons; we need a new generation to face the unfinished challenge of disarmament started decades ago. Nuclear reformer Erika Gregory calls on today’s rising leaders — those born in a time without Cold War fears and duck-and-cover training — to pursue an ambitious goal: ridding the world of nuclear weapons by 2045.
Dr. J. talks to Richard Samson, a futurist, author of a number of books on human potential and director of the EraNova Institute. In Mind over Technology, Mr. Samson argues that, as machines automate routine physical and intellectual labor, human beings will be able to enhance their unique human capacities to find new niches in the economy. (First broadcast March 20, 2004)
Dr. J. chats with Erik Helzer (Dept of Psychology, Cornell University) co-author of the paper “Dirty Liberals!: Reminders of physical cleanliness influence moral and political attitudes” in Psychological Science. They discuss the growing literature on the ways that political attitudes are driven by disgust sensitivity, and by disgust priming such as bad smells and sticky hands. Listen also to the 2004 Changesurfer interview with Martha Nussbaum about her book Hiding from Humanity: Disgust, Shame and the Law. (First broadcast April 5, 2011)
For Valentine’s Day, Dr. J. talks with Katherine Gates, author of Deviant Desires: Incredibly Strange Sex, and founder of Gates of Heck Press, about the boundary between sexual variation and psychopathology, the political correctness of S&M, the market for erotic genetic engineering, and the joying of blowing up and popping balloons. (Originally broadcast February 14, 2004)
Dr. J. talks with Douglas Rushkoff, author of Open Source Democracy (download PDF), published by the UK thinktank Demos. Rushkoff is the author of more than a dozen books, including Cyberia and Playing the Future. (This interview was originally broadcast August 21, 2004.)
Dr. J. talks with Tom Atlee, author of The Tao of Democracy and director of the Co-Intelligence Institute. Atlee argues for expanded use of participatory democracy through citizen juries to develop “co-intelligent citizenship.” (This interview was first broadcast September 25, 2004)
James Hughes, IEET Executive Director, speaking at the August 5, 2004 Faith, Transhumanism and Hope Symposium, Trinity College, University of Toronto. (and yes, seven years later I’m still working on that book…)
Dr. J. chats with David Koepsell about his book Innovation and Nanotechnology: Converging Technologies and the End of Intellectual Property. Koepsell is an author, philosopher, attorney, and educator who teaches at the Delft University of Technology. He is also author Who Owns You? The Corporate Gold Rush to Patent Your Genes.
We recently learned that a friend of the IEET, Dominique Mainon, lost her battle with cancer several weeks ago. In her memory we repost this interview Dominique, screenwriter, filmmaker and author of, among others, Cinema of Obsession: Erotic Fixation and Love Gone Wrong in the Movies, Femme Fatale: Cinema’s Most Unforgettable Lethal Ladies, and The Modern Amazons: Warrior Women On-Screen. (First broadcast December 2009)