Wednesday, June 28, 2023

AI May Tell Us More About the Cosmos Than Telescopes: A Conversation with Andrew Pontzen

Unleashing the power of AI and supercomputers, we're on the brink of a cosmic revelation. The creation of galaxies in code, a feat akin to the invention of the telescope, is revolutionizing our understanding of the universe. 
Renowned cosmologist Andrew Pontzen, harnessing the might of these computational behemoths, is leading us into a new era where virtual worlds mirror reality, offering unprecedented insights into our cosmos. His book, 'The Universe in a Box,' explores how these simulations are not just pushing the boundaries of cosmology, but also transforming diverse fields from finance to disease forecasting.

My conversation with Andrew Pontzen:

Wednesday, June 21, 2023

How the Memory of the ’60s Civil Rights Era Is Being Co-Opted

Our celebration of Juneteenth is a direct result of the civil rights struggles of the 1960s. The battles led by Martin Luther King Jr. and many others created an enduring legacy on which the continued fight for civil rights rests. But what happens when this legacy is manipulated, distorted, and appropriated to further agendas far removed from the original purpose? What does it mean when various causes are labeled the “civil rights struggle of our time?” Does it dilute the impact of the original battle? When wielded in the wrong hands, could it even be seen as an affront to 50 years of civil rights progress? These questions form the central theme of my conversation today with Hajar Yazdiha.

Hajar is an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Southern California, and she has critically examined how various movements, including those on the far right, have appropriated the symbols and rhetoric of the civil rights era to advance their cause. She examines this in her new book  The Struggle for the People’s King: How Politics Transforms the Memory of the Civil Rights Movement.

My WhoWhatWhy conversation with Hajar Yazdiha:

Wednesday, June 14, 2023

Space: It’s Not Just for Governments Anymore: A conversation with Ashley Vance

The recent congressional budget battles have underscored the scarcity of public funds for space, science, and technology. This has paved the way for the private sector, a world that Ashlee Vance delves into in this week’s WhoWhatWhy podcast and in his new book, When the Heavens Went On Sale: The Misfits and Geniuses Racing to Put Space Within Reach.

My WhoWhatWhy conversation with Ashley Vance: