Innovation Hub-logo

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

The Power of Conservative Talk Radio

12/13/2019
More
When Rush Limbaugh’s conservative talk show hit Sacramento in the 1980s, no one could have guessed the power that he - and other right-leaning radio hosts - would eventually wield. Limbaugh’s show was part of an attempt to reinvigorate AM radio, which had been rapidly losing audience to FM, and he quickly gained a die-hard audience. Over the ensuing decades, as conservative talk radio grew in power and popularity, it dramatically reshaped the Republican party. And it may well have played a...

Duration:00:49:32

The Rise of the Comedian

12/6/2019
More
Humans have always enjoyed a good laugh, but the concept of stand-up comedy is relatively new. Wayne Federman, a comedian who teaches at the University of Southern California, and hosts the podcast The History of Stand Up, talks about the origin of the modern comedian. From the earliest vaudeville circuits, to the rise of the comedy record, to the role of late-night television in break-out comedy moments, we pay tribute to the power of the comedian.

Duration:00:31:03

Why Fast Fashion Might Need To Slow Down

12/6/2019
More
Americans buy, on average, almost 70 items of clothing a year. And many of those garments are worn just seven to ten times before being thrown away. This breakneck consumption of clothes is only possible because of fast fashion, a system in which clothing is made quickly, sold cheaply, and seen as pretty disposable. Dana Thomas, author of “Fashionopolis: The Price of Fast Fashion and the Future of Clothes,” walks us through the origins and effects of fast fashion.

Duration:00:19:14

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

11/29/2019
More
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 has...

Duration:00:29:01

Honey, Income Inequality Led Me to Overwork the Kids

11/29/2019
More
How would you describe your childhood? Did your parents have a laissez faire attitude, letting you run wild and free, or did they have more rigid rules, which dictated your life choices? Perhaps you’re now a parent yourself — which parenting approach have you chosen? Matthias Doepke, a professor of economics at Northwestern University, argues that we often assume that parenting is all about culture, and that the reason that those from different countries or backgrounds parent differently is...

Duration:00:21:24

The Guitar Makers That Made Modern Music

11/22/2019
More
In 1957, Buddy Holly appeared on “The Ed Sullivan Show” on CBS, strumming his tunes on a Fender Stratocaster, which was casually slung across his body. The instrument had - and would - fundamentally change American culture and music. And, to a lot of people, it was a shock. But behind the technological innovations inherent in the solid-body electric guitar is a story of two friends and rivals, people whose legacies have been inscribed on the guitars they created. Leo Fender and Les Paul,...

Duration:00:28:02

From Famous To Forgotten

11/22/2019
More
If you have that gnawing feeling that you’re forgetting something, chances are you’re right. And it may not be your keys, but something a little bigger. César Hidalgo, director of MIT’s Collective Learning Group, explains how society experiences generational forgetting. Hidalgo says: even if you have a pristine memory, time greatly impacts the names, books, movies, and historical events that are common knowledge at any given moment. Researching how culture gets passed down (or doesn’t) from...

Duration:00:21:56

Our Compulsion to Be Good

11/15/2019
More
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
More
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
More
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
More
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
More
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
More
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
More
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
More
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
More
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
More
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
More
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
More
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
More
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