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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

Our Compulsion to Be Good

11/15/2019
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There is a famous quote from French existentialist philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre: “Hell is other people.” While some may agree with that sentiment and crave solitude, there’s a lot of evidence that people are drawn to each other. We form friendships, sports teams, knitting circles and complex societies, unlike any other species on Earth. Nicholas Christakis, a doctor, sociologist, and author of “Blueprint: The Evolutionary Origins of a Good Society,” has spent years trying to understand why...

Duration:00:26:56

What’s Missing From Childhood Today?

11/15/2019
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Childhood today is radically different than it was just a few generations ago. These days, kids’ busy schedules include school, homework, chores, sports, music lessons and other activities. But those packed schedules leave out one key element that turns out to be crucial to growth and learning — play. That’s according to Dorsa Amir, a postdoctoral researcher and evolutionary anthropologist at Boston College. Amir has studied the Shuar people of Ecuador, a non-industrialized society, and...

Duration:00:22:27

The Great Unraveling of American Health Care

11/8/2019
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We spend more on medical care than any other developed country in the world - almost twice the average - but the U.S. lags behind many other wealthy nations on outcomes such as infant mortality and life expectancy. How did we get here? Christy Ford Chapin, a historian at the University of Maryland Baltimore County and author of “Ensuring America's Health: The Public Creation of the Corporate Health Care System,” explains how what she calls “the insurance company model” was invented. And...

Duration:00:49:45

Understanding Why Neighborhoods Matter

11/1/2019
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Breaking persistent cycles of poverty may seem an impossible task, but the findings of a landmark government social experiment tell a different story. Back in the mid-1990s, a program called “Moving to Opportunity” gave some families, living in troubled public housing projects in five large cities, vouchers and additional assistance to move away to low-poverty neighborhoods. Lawrence Katz, a professor of economics at Harvard University and the principal investigator of the long-term...

Duration:00:28:53

Using Less and Getting More

11/1/2019
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It often feels like trash is piling up all around us, and that our consumption habits have put us on the road to environmental disaster. Just take a look at recycling bins stacked high with Amazon boxes and takeout containers. But research shows that we’re actually using fewer resources than we were 25 years ago, a process called “dematerialization.” That’s according to Andrew McAfee, the Co-Director of the Initiative on the Digital Economy at the MIT Sloan School of Management and the...

Duration:00:21:14

Cleanliness, Health...and Microbes

10/25/2019
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Are you a self-proclaimed germaphobe like President Trump? Well, if you think your home is sparkling clean, try walking around with a microscope. According to Rob Dunn, a professor of Applied Ecology at both North Carolina State University and the Natural History Museum of Denmark, we are surrounded by thousands of tiny species, living on every imaginable surface. And while some bacteria can be harmful, most just humbly co-exist with us... and some are more helpful than we know. In his...

Duration:00:23:02

Lessons From The World’s Quirkiest Innovators

10/25/2019
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Obsessed with work, insensitive, socially detached, and neglectful of family and friends. Those may not be the most endearing qualities, but they are just a few of the common characteristics that longtime innovation researcher, Melissa Schilling found when studying some of the world’s most famous and prolific inventors in the fields of science and technology. Schilling, a professor of management and organizations at New York University’s Stern School of Business, explores the ingenuity of...

Duration:00:26:01

Feeling Lonely? You’ve Got Company

10/18/2019
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We’ve all got friends — hundreds of them, if you believe what Facebook’s telling you — but many of us are still worried about being lonely. So worried that it might be surprising to learn that hundreds of years ago, being alone was considered a virtue. But according to Susan Matt and Luke Fernandez, both professors at Weber State University, how we view emotions is changing all the time. Matt and Fernandez, authors of “Bored, Lonely, Angry, Stupid: Changing Feelings about Technology, from...

Duration:00:28:22

What's Our Tech Doing to Our Brains?

10/18/2019
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Many adults and teens are spending longer and longer hours engaged with digital media, and researchers are only beginning to grasp the impact on mental health and well-being. Doreen Dodgen-Magee, a psychologist and the author of “Deviced! Balancing Life and Technology in a Digital World,” discusses how screens are profoundly altering who we are and how we behave. She points to concerns about increased feelings of loneliness, anxiety, and a reduced ability to tolerate boredom and to...

Duration:00:20:53

What’s So Bad About A Little Ego?

10/11/2019
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Whether they’re athletes like LeBron James, entrepreneurs like Steve Jobs, or entertainers like Kanye West, the richest and most famous among us are often known for having the largest egos. Why shouldn’t we follow their example? Ryan Holiday, author of “Ego is the Enemy,” tells us how ego can be a huge disadvantage - and even end careers. He also explains why he thinks our ego problem is getting worse, and what he believes we can do about it.

Duration:00:26:49

Approaching the Future: How We Think About Tomorrow

10/11/2019
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When psychologist Walter Mischel published the findings of his famous marshmallow study, showing the impact of delayed gratification on a child’s future success, it changed how people raised their kids. But in the nearly 50 years since the study was published, questions have been asked about our ability to truly look ahead. Is teaching a child delayed gratification really all there is to making sure they succeed? How well can we predict the future? Bina Venkataraman, author of “The...

Duration:00:22:27

Is Race Science Making a Comeback?

10/4/2019
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With the European intellectual movement, there was a heightened interest to interpret the world around us. Scientists of the 18th century sought a way to categorize and objectively understand the multitude of species inhabiting earth. Unfortunately, humans were not spared in this scientific venture and the idea of superior and inferior human races were born, which went on to influence our social understanding of one another. Angela Saini, a science journalist and the author of “Superior:...

Duration:00:27:44

Say Goodbye To Language As You Know It

10/4/2019
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It seems like every time a dictionary publishes a new update, people flock to social media to talk about it. Whether they’re responding to the addition of the word “fam” or the dad joke, They always return to the question of what consequences these additions will have. Do they really spell disaster for the English language? Turns out, the “updation” (new to the Oxford English Dictionary as of last year) of language isn’t necessarily a bad thing. And it’s been going on for as long as...

Duration:00:22:16

Fools for Fossil Fuels: A History of Climate Change Inaction

9/27/2019
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Just about 40 years ago, a secret group of elite scientists, known as the Jasons, sounded the death knell for climate change. They had consulted a computer model that predicted the destabilizing effects of a warming earth - from droughts, to rising sea levels, to geopolitical conflicts. Their warnings reached the ears of politicians, and, ultimately, during his 1988 presidential campaign, George H. W. Bush pledged to solve the problem. But then the story shifted, and climate change was not...

Duration:00:32:07

What IS Evil, Really?

9/27/2019
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If you’ve ever had an evil thought - or even a murder fantasy- you’re not alone. Julia Shaw, the author of “Evil: The Science Behind Humanity’s Dark Side” explains that most people have devilish notions sometimes. Shaw, a psychologist and research associate at University College London, says we all have the capacity for cruel deeds. She suggests that acknowledging our darker desires may in fact help us deconstruct and better understand the whole concept of evil. This understanding, Shaw...

Duration:00:17:50

How is Meritocracy Damaging Our Economy?

9/20/2019
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Those in the highest paying jobs are working longer hours than ever before. Meanwhile, the middle class is falling behind, as employers demand more qualifications from employees. America is supposed to be a meritocracy, but perhaps meritocracies - which aim for fairness - aren’t all they’re cracked up to be.

Duration:00:31:02

The Real Cost of Expensive Housing

9/20/2019
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Picking up and moving to new opportunities has always been a part of the American dream. But, says Tamim Bayoumi, a deputy director at the International Monetary Fund and a co-author of the paper, “Stuck! How Rising Inequality Suppressed US Migration and Hurt Those Left Behind,” that narrative has shifted in modern America. As well-paying jobs are increasingly concentrated in cities with high living costs, some Americans find themselves unable to pursue the careers that could most help them...

Duration:00:18:45

Reinventing Schools For An Era Of Innovation

9/13/2019
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On this week’s show, we explore efforts to remake public education in North Dakota and beyond with Governor Burgum, Cory Steiner, the superintendent of Northern Cass School District where By next school year, grade levels are expected to be a thing of the past and students will chart their own course to high school graduation, at their own pace, and Ted Dintersmith, a venture capitalist and the author of, “What School Could Be: Insights and Inspiration from Teachers Across America.” Two...

Duration:00:36:55

The Worldwide Web’s Worldwide Reach

9/13/2019
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Access to the internet is prized across the world. Payal Arora, author of The Next Billion Users: Digital Life Beyond The West, says that young people, in non-Western countries, will make up the bulk of the next billion online users. Western aid groups often make assumptions about what these new users want from technology, but they are frequently mistaken. How exactly are young people in Africa, the Middle East, Asia, and South America using technology? One example: in countries where dating...

Duration:00:12:33

FDR’s Overhaul: The New Deal and Its Lasting Legacy

9/6/2019
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In the midst of the Great Depression, Franklin Delano Roosevelt campaigned on a platform that would bring radical change to America: a package of policies he called the New Deal. The New Deal completely reinvented our infrastructure and central government, according to Eric Rauchway, a professor of history at the University of California, Davis, and author of the book Winter War: Hoover, Roosevelt, and the First Clash Over the New Deal. He says that the effects of FDR’s revolutionary plan...

Duration:00:31:54