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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.
More Information

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

Full Show: Twice Told Tales

2/15/2019
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First, we revisit a classic debate: nature vs. nurture. One way to settle it? Through the lens of twin studies, which have opened up some curious revelations about how our genes affect us. Next, we turn to the 19th-century Midwest, and look at how Laura Ingalls Wilder reframed American history in the ‘Little House’ house series. Then, you sent us a whole lot of feedback about a recent segment on whether we spend too much money on education in the U.S. - and whether college educations are...

Duration:00:50:26

Tapping Into Twin Studies

2/15/2019
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Seeing double? It’s not your imagination - birth rates of twins have been rising sharply, and twin studies are now, more than ever, influencing various disciplines. Everyone from economists, to religious scholars, to scientists see the value in studying twins. Nancy Segal, author of “Born Together-Reared Apart: The Landmark Minnesota Twin Study,” talks to us about the far-reaching effects of twins. And if you’re not a twin yourself, don’t feel left out, because what we learn from twins can...

Duration:00:29:47

The Story Behind The ‘Little House’

2/15/2019
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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:00:19:54

Full Show: Changing Landscapes (Rerun)

2/8/2019
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Are college kids becoming more fragile? Social psychologist Jonathan Haidt says yes. And he connects the change to parenting, polarization, and campus politics. How a Coney Island sideshow helped save infants’ lives. Termites! They may be super gross… but we can also learn a lot from them.

Duration:00:49:25

Full Show: Blackboards And Message Boards

2/1/2019
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First, what does a well-rounded education mean to you? Does it make you smarter? Or are you simply jumping through hoops to try and impress future employers? George Mason University economist Bryan Caplan argues that the way the system is set up, it’s mostly become a hoop-jumping exercise. Then, it’s not that hard to imagine a place where ordinary people - not editors - determine the news. But when the website Reddit first launched in the mid-2000s, the idea was groundbreaking and few...

Duration:00:49:58

Why The Value Of Education Is Overblown

2/1/2019
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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 percent 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...

Duration:00:30:25

Rethinking Reddit’s Radicalism

2/1/2019
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Reddit is the fifth most popular website in the U.S. and has become a focal point when discussing the intersection of technology and free speech. Communities on Reddit host lighter topics, ranging from financial advice to gardening. But it also has a dark side. Reddit has been known as a breeding ground for racist, sexist, and obscene dialogue. On a site where members have free reign to vote on what content is most interesting, Reddit can be viewed as a canary in the coal mine for issues...

Duration:00:18:45

Full Show: A Work In Progress

1/25/2019
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Brexit is just one of many issues threatening to tear the European Union apart. But where did the idea of European integration come from and was the concept doomed from the start? We talk to Gillian Tett from the Financial Times and Brown University’s Mark Blyth about the past, present and future of the EU. Then, ever text your crush and stare anxiously at your phone until he or she responded? As society and technology evolves, our expectations for wait times are changing too. And the...

Duration:00:50:03

Inventing A United States Of Europe

1/25/2019
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The vision of a united Europe was born out of the ashes of the Second World War. Early supporters included former British prime minister Winston Churchill, who was one of the first to champion the idea of a “United States of Europe.” The European Union is now a vast political and economic union of 28 member countries and, with more than 500 million people, its combined population is the third largest in the world after China and India. But the European Union did not begin as a large...

Duration:00:28:24

Waiting Really Is The Hardest Part

1/25/2019
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If you’ve ever been in line at the DMV, had your flight delayed, desperately needed an email reply to come NOW, or had a YouTube video buffer for more than a couple seconds, you know that waiting is awful. But what can we learn from it? According to Jason Farman, author of “Delayed Response: The Art of Waiting from the Ancient to the Instant World,” the answer is quite a lot. And it touches on everything from aboriginal message sticks, to pneumatic tubes, to loading icons.

Duration:00:21:02

Full Show: Fact In Fiction

1/18/2019
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First, whether it’s FDR reassuring the nation through radio or Trump talking about hamburgers on Twitter, new technologies have always impacted American politics. Historian Jill Lepore walks us through the interactions between the machine of government and the tech we think can make that machine run better. Hint: it rarely works out as we anticipate. Then, if you really, absolutely, can’t wait to know who’s going to end up on the Iron Throne… well, there’s a scientific reason you care so...

Duration:00:50:22

A Technological Fix For Broken Politics

1/18/2019
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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:00:29:21

Why We Care About Fictional Characters

1/18/2019
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Finding out that Darth Vader is Luke Skywalker’s father probably didn’t have any practical implications for your life. It didn’t translate into a raise at work or help you lose 15 pounds. So why do we care so much about the fates of fictional characters? William Flesch is the author of the book “Comeuppance: Costly Signaling, Altruistic Punishment, and Other Biological Components of Fiction.” He argues that we root for good guys and gals because we love making bets on people. And, once we...

Duration:00:20:06

Full Show: Trying to Keep Up

1/11/2019
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First, it might be tough to keep up with your New Year’s resolutions - especially if they have to do with dieting. But here’s some good news: some fats may be a lot better for you than you think and calorie counting isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. We take a look at the latest developments in nutrition science, and explain what it all means for your waistline. Then, we take a trip on the high seas and ask the question: How did America become such a dominant figure in global trade? As...

Duration:00:49:56

Eat Smarter, Eat Healthier

1/11/2019
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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:00:21:28

The Rise of the Sea Barons

1/11/2019
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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:00:15:06

When Fashion Meets Tech: How One Company Is Transforming Our Closet

1/11/2019
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Right now, there’s a wearable device for pretty much everything. Fitbits track your footsteps. Virtual reality headsets can transport you anywhere in the world. There’s even jewelry that lets others know when you’re in danger. But there isn’t much tech in the things we’re already wearing: clothes. We visit the Ministry of Supply, a company that’s trying to mix high-tech and apparel, and talk with the company’s founders, Gihan Amarasiriwardena and Aman Advani.

Duration:00:12:37

Full Show: New Year, New Ways Of Learning

1/4/2019
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The New Year is often seen as a blank slate. It’s a way to start fresh and maybe accomplish those goals you’ve been putting off for the last 365 days. But how you learn is just as important as what you learn. Our show this week will get you ready to tackle whatever is on your agenda. First, if you truly want to learn better, put down the highlighter. Author Ulrich Boser says strategies such as memorization and underlining passages in a book are outdated methods of studying. He proposes a...

Duration:00:49:50

Becoming An Effective Learner

1/4/2019
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You’ve probably experienced this: it’s high school, the night before an exam, and you’ve got a 500-page textbook in your left hand and highlighters in your right hand. You have highlighted all the important information in the book, and there isn’t a whole lot of white space left. Unfortunately, you’re not sure that you’ve absorbed any of the material in a meaningful way. Turns out, there is little evidence that highlighting and underlining material in books is a good strategy for successful...

Duration:00:17:25

When It Comes to Learning Language, Age Isn’t Just A Number

1/4/2019
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Learning a second language is tough. You have to consider grammar, pronunciation, and, sometimes, words that don’t even exist in your native language. And the conventional wisdom had been: if you want a child to learn a second language, start them as young as possible. But a new study has found that there’s a little more leeway than we originally thought. We talk with Boston College assistant psychology professor Joshua Hartshorne about his and his colleagues’ research and what it means for...

Duration:00:12:36