Thursday, April 28, 2011

A World Where Girls Are Not for Sale

At thirteen Rachel Lloyd found herself caught up in a world of pain and abuse, and eventually ended up a victim of commercial sexual exploration. It took time, but she finally broke free of her pimp and her past. Years later, she would arrive in the US to work with women in the sex industry and soon founded her own nonprofit, GEMS, to meet the needs of other girls with her history. Rachel's is a true story of resilience, courage and sisterhood.

My conversation with Rachel Lloyd about her memoir Girls Like Us: Fighting for a World Where Girls Are Not for Sale, an Activist Finds Her Calling and Heals Herself

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Monday, April 25, 2011

The Evolution of Political Order

Why is it, that history always seems to repeat itself? While societies are varied and develop in many different ways, there indeed seems to be certain recurring patterns of behavior across time and across cultures. Esteemed political scientist Dr. Francis Fukuyama, in his seminal new work The Origins of Political Order, argues that because of our shared biological foundation, much our our human nature is in fact hardwired, including our propensity to favor relatives, appreciate altruism and a built in tendency to follow rules, to launch warfare and to organize for better societal outcomes. How this all plays out is the difference between Somalia and America.

My conversation with Francis Fukuyama:

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Sunday, April 24, 2011

Physics of the Future

Most of us remember growing up and hearing about a world of flying cars, domed living, wrist radios and robots that would take care of our every need. Whether it was the sleek world of the Jetsons, the dark world of Brazil or Bladerunner or the sci fi paranoia of the cold war, we have always been fascinated by what the future might look like. That future may not be here in its entirety, yet, the technology of today may indeed lead to the brave new world of tomorrow. Certainly we’d like to think that technology can give us more than social networking and computerized medical records. World renowned professor of theoretical physics Michio Kaku, uses the cutting edge of science and technology to paint a picture of exactly what he thinks our future, or at least our grand kids future will look like.   Kaku's Physics of the Future: How Science Will Shape Human Destiny and Our Daily Lives by the Year 2100  is  Future Shock meets Star Trek

My conversation with Michio Kaku:

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Friday, April 22, 2011

Green: Then & Now

We are reminded on this Earth Day that few issues we face are as pressing and our changing environment and our sources and uses of energy. But what we may not know, is that behind all of our current efforts to reduce our impact on the planet, there is a 150 year history of green innovation and progress that is overlooked and has hit so many roadblocks along the way. Alexis Madrigal, senior editor and technology reporter for gives us some history and perspective in Powering the Dream: The History and Promise of Green Technology

My conversation with Alexis Madrigal:

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Thursday, April 21, 2011

LA & SF in the 1930s

Los Angeles in the 1930s: The WPA Guide to the City of Angels (WPA Guides)
San Francisco in the 1930s: The WPA Guide to the City by the Bay (WPA Guides)Maybe it says something about the state of urban history today, but to better understand the history and culture of our two great California cities, San Francisco and Los Angles, we need to go back to the 1930’s and look at two volumes originally produced by the Federal Writers Project of the Works Progress Administration (WPA) at the height of the depression. Both truly capture the beauty and authenticity of LA and San Francisco. Add to these volumes an introduction by former SF Chronicle book critic David Kipen and you have far more then just a passing vision of time gone by. University of California Press has just reissued these two beautiful guides, to Los Angeles and San Francisco in the 1930s. Great photos, great writing and a new introduction by David Kipen.

My conversation with David Kipen:

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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Explaining the Congo

The events that have been happening in the Congo are truly one of the worlds great tragedies, yet we pay little attention to what's going on there. Millions of war deaths have taken place, more then 3.5 million refugees have fled the country. But even for those trying to understand what's going on, the complexities are stunning. Over 20 rebel groups are fighting, it involves the armies of nine countries and the objectives and causes are even murkier. Jason Stearns is a human right activist who has worked for the United Nations on peacekeeping missions in Congo and whose understanding of the complexity and nuance of the Congo are unparalleled. He tries to explain it us in his book Dancing in the Glory of Monsters: The Collapse of the Congo and the Great War of Africa

My conversation with Jason Stearns:

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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Pakistan: A Hard Country

While we continue to be at war in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya, it is arguably Pakistan that will shape the future of US success or failure in the region. If Islamic terror is to be unleashed, it will probably come from the mountains of Pakistan. On the other hand, if we are to have success in forestalling terrorism against the West, again Pakistan will be the reason. A nation both regressive and stable, deeply divided and yet somewhat functional because of those divisions, Pakistan is a country of immense size and even larger contradictions. Few understand Pakistan as well as Anatol Lieven. His new work Pakistan: A Hard Country, is a must read for anyone who truly wants to understand this most important part of the world.

My conversation with Anatol Lieven:

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Monday, April 18, 2011

A Hole At the Bottom of the Sea

The problems faced by the Fukashima reactor and the explosion last year of the Deep Water Horizon prove conclusively that industrial accidents will happen and that all the engineering and technology in the world can't always devise immediate solutions.

Last year in the Gulf, black plumes of oil poured out  for 87 days. On the surface people worked round the clock. Teams of engineers and scientist from industry and government did there best to vet and try solutions. It looked as if much was happening. In fact no one knew exactly what to do. A delicate dance had to take place between government and BP, and even the Noble Prize winning Secretary of Energy, didn't have the answers. One mile down, things moved a a truly glacial pace. No one covered this story better than Joel Achenbach of the Washington Post. He was the go to journalist throughout the story and now he's written the definitive account in A Hole at the Bottom of the Sea.

My conversation with Joel Achenbach:

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Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Bond

Like so many other things in our society, our relationship to animals sends tenuous and very contradictory messages. On the one hand we spend literally billions of dollars on our pets. We have a deep kinship with those animals. Yet in a larger sense, with respect to our food, our habitat and our public policy, we suddenly loose sight of that bond. How is that possible? How can we seemingly have it both ways?

Wayne Pacelle has spent seventeen years with The Humane Society of the US, and the past seven as its President and CEO. He understands the effort it has taken to build the nation's largest animal protection voice. He lays it all out in his book The Bond: Our Kinship with Animals, Our Call to Defend Them.

My conversation with Wayne Pacelle:

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