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Innovation Hub

PRI

Each week, Kara Miller talks to our most innovative thinkers, examining new ideas and potential solutions to today’s many challenges. Topics range from education to health care to green energy.

Each week, Kara Miller talks to our most innovative thinkers, examining new ideas and potential solutions to today’s many challenges. Topics range from education to health care to green energy.
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Location:

Boston, MA

Networks:

PRI

WGBH

Description:

Each week, Kara Miller talks to our most innovative thinkers, examining new ideas and potential solutions to today’s many challenges. Topics range from education to health care to green energy.

Language:

English


Episodes

China Deal, or No China Deal?

8/23/2019
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In a modern-day Mexican standoff, the U.S. and China are confronting each other over trade practices. The United States believes China has been luring away jobs and stealing American technology. But what if the issue isn’t that China is stealing innovations, but that it is out-innovating us? George Yip, a professor of marketing and strategy at Imperial College Business School in London thinks that the Chinese are no longer mere imitators but have become serious innovators in their own...

Duration:00:34:01

What’s Worth Worrying About?

8/23/2019
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Spiders and grizzlies and snakes, oh my! Ask someone what they are afraid of, and the answer is likely to be something like a plane crash or shark attack. But the authors of the book “Worried?: Science Investigates Some of Life’s Common Concerns,” Eric Chudler and Lise Johnson explain why they believe we often waste our energy worrying about the wrong things. Chudler, a neuroscientist at the University of Washington and Johnson, an assistant professor of physician assistant studies at...

Duration:00:15:10

Why The Value Of Education Is Overblown

8/16/2019
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We hear all the time about the gap between those with college degrees and those without. In 2015, the gap hit a record high: people who finished college earned 56% more than those who didn’t (other sources have the percentage even higher, including scholar Bryan Caplan). Over the past few years, then-President Barack Obama and Senator Bernie Sanders proposed bills to either increase college attainment or make public colleges tuition-free for all. But Caplan is a contrarian on this topic....

Duration:00:28:49

The Story Behind The ‘Little House’

8/16/2019
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For nearly 100 years, the “Little House” books (and the subsequent television series) have been cherished by kids and adults around the world. Millions of children have aspired to be like Laura Ingalls, a pioneer girl who courageously helped her family start new farms across the Midwest - planting, harvesting, hunting, and fighting blizzards. The story of Ingalls’ family was based on the real-life adventures of Laura Ingalls Wilder, but Wilder’s real childhood was much harsher. As a...

Duration:00:20:10

Avoiding Digital Distraction

8/9/2019
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Think you might need a digital detox? You’re not alone. It’s becoming more and more of a trend to take time away from our online lives. Cal Newport author of “Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World” shares his approach to avoiding digital distraction and reclaiming time. He discusses how to be more intentional about how you use technology, and more aware about how technology uses you. We’ll discuss everything from the neuroscience of the human brain to how to do your...

Duration:00:29:50

What's Wrong With American Capitalism?

8/9/2019
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Capitalism is a recurring theme among the ever-growing list of Democratic presidential candidates. But many Americans of all political stripes have concerns about our free market economy and whether it is working for them, according to Steven Pearlstein, a Pulitzer-Prize winning columnist for The Washington Post and author of “Can American Capitalism Survive: Why Greed Is Not Good, Opportunity Is Not Equal, and Fairness Won’t Make Us Poor.” We talk with Pearlstein about the importance of...

Duration:00:18:42

All or Nothing: Understanding Risk In Some Very Unusual Places

8/2/2019
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Economist and journalist Allison Schrager visited a legal brothel, chased celebrities with the paparazzi, attended conferences with surfers, and interviewed high-ranking military generals, all to better understand the nature of risk. In her book, “An Economist Walks Into A Brothel,” Schrager explores how people manage risk outside the world of economics and finance and considers the most interesting lessons that can be learned from people in some of the riskiest professions.

Duration:00:25:47

The Origins of Your Vacation

8/2/2019
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Tourism is an international industry worth trillions of dollars, which creates hundreds of millions of jobs worldwide — but that wasn’t always the case. In his book, “A History of Modern Tourism,” University of New England history professor Eric Zuelow walks us through the story of how we learned to love travel. From diplomacy, to new technologies like steam power, to a growing need for adventure and self-expression, tourism has become a global phenomenon with a huge impact on the places...

Duration:00:23:34

Eat Smarter, Eat Healthier

7/26/2019
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When it comes to losing weight or maintaining a healthy diet, many of us have chosen to go either low-calorie or low-fat. But recent research has started to upend nutrition science, reframing our notions of “healthy” eating, according to Dariush Mozaffarian, a cardiologist and Dean of the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University. Mozaffarian explains why the science is changing, when a calorie isn’t just a calorie, how fat could be a lot better than we think,...

Duration:00:19:50

A Technological Fix For Broken Politics

7/26/2019
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There has been a continuous problem, dating back to founding of the United States, according to Jill Lepore, a professor of American history at Harvard University. Lepore, the author of “These Truths: A History of the United States,” says Americans have had tremendous faith in the notion that technological innovations could heal our divisions and fix political problems. But that faith has frequently been misplaced or misguided. And ethical conversations around how to keep newspapers,...

Duration:00:29:06

The Race for Nuclear Power

7/19/2019
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The heroism of D-Day is immortalized in history books, but far less attention is given to the individuals who worked undercover to prevent Germany from developing an atomic bomb during WWII. In his new book, The Bastard Brigade: The True Story of the Renegade Scientists and Spies Who Sabotaged the Nazi Atomic Bomb, science writer Sam Kean tells the stories of the men and women who made up the Alsos Mission, or the “Bastard Brigade.” They worked tirelessly to make sure Germany’s...

Duration:00:28:36

The American Achievement of Advertising Apollo

7/19/2019
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After Russia sent a man into space, the United States didn’t want to be left behind. But getting a man on the moon wasn’t as easy as just saying we would. David Meerman Scott, a marketing strategist and co-author of the book Marketing the Moon: The Selling of the Apollo Lunar Program talks about just what it took — from PR strategies to partnering with Walt Disney — to get enough support for the mission. Without the marketing and media attention, Scott thinks, we couldn’t have landed on...

Duration:00:20:43

The Secret Agency that Created Agent Orange, Self-Driving Cars, and the Internet

7/12/2019
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DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, has been developing new military technologies for the United States since shortly after the launch of Sputnik in 1957. But Sharon Weinberger, the Washington Bureau Chief for Yahoo News and the author of The Imagineers of War: The Untold Story of DARPA, the Pentagon Agency that Changed the World, says there’s more to the Agency than new weapons and military strategies. DARPA, Weinberger explains, not only incubated the internet, but it...

Duration:00:29:05

Building An Inclusive Innovation Economy

7/12/2019
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In recent years, some American cities, like Pittsburgh, have been transformed by legions of tech jobs. But even as these one-time industrial cities reinvented themselves, many residents - including those who are part of communities of color - have been excluded from the prosperity and growth that have been ushered in along with the influx of jobs and investment. Andre Perry, a fellow in the Metropolitan Policy Program at the Brookings Institution, and Tawanna Black, founder and CEO of the...

Duration:00:20:17

Marinating In Plastics

7/5/2019
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Plastics are colorful, shiny, and flexible. They can also be sturdy, monochrome, and opaque. They come in different shapes and sizes, too. In fact, we’ve become so good at creating and molding plastics into whatever we want them to be that author Susan Freinkel says: it’s hard to imagine a world without them. In her book, Plastics: A Toxic Love Story, Freinkel chronicles the history of plastics and explores how, for better or worse, the material shapes our lives.

Duration:00:19:04

The Long History Of The Gig Economy

7/5/2019
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When you hear the term “gig economy,” you probably think of Uber or Lyft or Postmates - companies that have used apps to disrupt industries and create an army of 1099 workers. But according to Louis Hyman, a Cornell University historian and author of Temp: How American Work, American Business, and the American Dream Became Temporary, the gig economy is a lot bigger than Silicon Valley. And it has a much longer history than you might think.

Duration:00:15:56

The Rise of the Sea Barons

7/5/2019
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Back in the mid-19th century, some American entrepreneurs sailed halfway around the world - to China - to make their fortunes. These merchants would later build dynasties back home by investing money in promising American industries, including railroads and coal, as well as new technologies, like the telegraph. It was the invention of the clipper ship that made it all possible. These were ships that were built for speed and profit, a profit that came not just by importing goods like tea to...

Duration:00:14:17

The American Family - Older And Smaller

6/28/2019
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The American family is changing in many different ways. But perhaps one of the most significant is that, on average, American women are giving birth later. And birth rates have hit a 30-year low. In the early 1970s, the average age of first-time moms was 21… it’s now 26. The same trend is impacting fathers - their age has gone from 27 to 31 over the same time period. But why did this change happen? And what does it mean for our society, our economy, and our families? To find out, we talked...

Duration:00:21:50

The Brains Behind Automation

6/28/2019
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We constantly hear that technology is killing opportunities in the workplace. But reports by the World Economic Forum and Deloitte have shown that automation is creating — and will continue to create — millions of jobs in fields like sales, IT services, and big data. But to really know how tech is affecting our lives, experts like Daniel Theobald and Melissa Flagg say we need to focus less on the 30,000-foot view of the industry and more on what is going on at the ground level. We talk to...

Duration:00:16:20

China: Pharmacy To The World

6/28/2019
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In the 1990s, most of the world’s medicines were manufactured in the United States, Europe and Japan. Today, almost 80% of them come from China. In her book, “China Rx: Exposing The Risks Of America’s Dependence On China For Medicine,” Rosemary Gibson says that China is becoming the world’s pharmacy, but that development, she argues, comes with many risks.

Duration:00:11:07