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Innovation Hub

PRI

Innovation Hub looks at how to reinvent our world – from medicine to education, relationships to time management. Great thinkers and great ideas, designed to make your life better.

Innovation Hub looks at how to reinvent our world – from medicine to education, relationships to time management. Great thinkers and great ideas, designed to make your life better.

Location:

Boston, MA

Networks:

PRI

WGBH

PRX

Description:

Innovation Hub looks at how to reinvent our world – from medicine to education, relationships to time management. Great thinkers and great ideas, designed to make your life better.

Language:

English


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Episodes

A Compulsion to Be Good

7/3/2020
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:00:26:57

Saying Goodbye To Language As You Know It

7/3/2020
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:00:23:16

Educating Kids in a Pandemic

6/26/2020
Students have lost months and months of learning because of school closures during the COVID-19 crisis. Research shows that remote education efforts haven’t measured up, and the pandemic has only exacerbated economic, racial and rural-urban divides. During the next school year, following the long summer break, many students could find themselves falling even further behind. Dana Goldstein, a national correspondent for The New York Times and the author of The Teacher Wars: A History of...

Duration:00:31:23

Baby Boom or Baby Bust?

6/26/2020
These days, we wonder a lot about the long-term impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. What will this crisis mean for our jobs? Will schools be open in the fall? When will we be able to return to our favorite activities? One topic that you’re probably not thinking about — but that will have a huge national impact — is birth rates. Melissa Kearney, a professor of economics at the University of Maryland and a senior fellow at Brookings, argues in a recent report (co-authored with Wellesley College...

Duration:00:19:44

The Makings of Modern Conservatism

6/19/2020
In the 1930s, America experienced the Great Depression, the New Deal, and leadership from both Herbert Hoover and Franklin Roosevelt. California, meanwhile, witnessed a serious shift in the Republican Party - a shift that would impact the entire country for decades to come. Kathryn Olmsted, professor of history at the University of California Davis and author of Right Out of California: The 1930s and the Big Business Roots of Modern Conservatism, says that all sorts of factors came together...

Duration:00:29:25

Designing for You

6/19/2020
From our smartphones to our bicycles, the user experience provided by manufactured products has an enormous impact on our lives. Down to the smallest details, designers often puzzle over how to best align a product with the demands of the customer. But that wasn’t always the approach, and Cliff Kuang, author of User Friendly: How the Hidden Rules of Design Are Changing the Way We Live, Work, and Play, explains how this revolution of design has taken hold and dramatically changed our patterns...

Duration:00:20:29

A Tale of Two Pandemics

6/12/2020
There are a lot of possible explanations for why Japan has weathered the COVID-19 pandemic better than the United States. It’s possible that the Japanese are more used to wearing masks, that the government used contact tracing more effectively to contain outbreaks, and that handshakes aren’t a widespread cultural practice. But according to Dariush Mozaffarian, a cardiologist, and the dean of the Tufts Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, one of the main reasons Japan is coping...

Duration:00:31:32

The Power of Play

6/12/2020
Childhood today is radically different than it was just a few generations ago. Before the coronavirus pandemic, kids’ busy schedules included school, homework, chores, sports, music lessons and other activities. Those packed schedules often left out one key element that is 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...

Duration:00:18:41

Democracy in Decay

6/5/2020
The Declaration of Independence states that "all men are created equal," but for much of U.S history that has been an aspirational ideal, according to Suzanne Mettler, a professor of government at Cornell University. Now the pillars of American democracy, including the rule of law, the legitimacy of opposition and free and fair elections, are under attack like never before, she explains. Mettler, the co-author of Four Threats: The Recurring Crises of American Democracy, says that while the...

Duration:00:34:52

Climate Change in the Time of Coronavirus

6/5/2020
We’re all ready for some good news, so headlines about smog dissipating in China, skies clearing in LA, and jellyfish appearing in canals in Venice were very welcome amidst the pandemic. However, while these paint a rosy picture of a potential silver lining to the global shutdown, the truth is much more complicated. Shannon Osaka, a reporter for Grist focusing on climate change and science, says the way we’ve slowed our lives this year has had a positive impact on our planet but it’s not...

Duration:00:13:29

The Race for a Coronavirus Vaccine

5/29/2020
The headlines have been full of the latest “breakthroughs” in efforts to develop a vaccine against COVID-19, and markets have even reacted to all the twists and turns in recent weeks. Although he understands the desire for any positive news in the midst of a deadly pandemic, Michael Kinch, associate vice chancellor and director of the Center for Research Innovation in Biotechnology at Washington University in St. Louis, is keen to temper expectations about a vaccine. He notes that the...

Duration:00:49:40

Motown: The History Of A Hit Factory

5/22/2020
Shortly after Michael Jackson died in 2009, Helen Brown, a music critic for the Daily Telegraph wrote that the Jackson 5’s 1969 single “I Want You Back,” is “certainly the fastest man-made route to pure joy.” And while Michael, Tito, Jermaine, Marlon, and Jackie may have stolen the spotlight, the group - like so many others - emerged from a hit factory created by a man named Berry Gordy Jr. Gordy founded Motown after stints as a boxer and as a worker in a Lincoln-Mercury plant. And he...

Duration:00:24:05

Fixing Broken Hearts

5/22/2020
From updates about the availability of ventilators in our states to watching each other anxiously for even the hint of a cough, we’ve put a lot of focus on the health of our lungs recently. There’s another factor that we might have been overlooking in all this though: your heart is at stake, too. Dr. Sandeep Jauhar, the director of the Heart Failure Program at Long Island Jewish Medical Center and author of Heart: A History, takes a look at some of the unseen ways that we influence our...

Duration:00:24:31

The Great Reopening

5/15/2020
In the midst of a pandemic, governors around the country have been reopening local economies and causing concern for many health experts, including members of the White House coronavirus task force who testified before a Senate committee this week. Dr. Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota has long warned about the risk of pandemics. He calls the effort to reopen a “hodgepodge,” though he believes remaining locked...

Duration:00:50:00

The Slow Burn of a Long Term Slowdown

5/8/2020
Our world is fast, and, while it may feel that it’s always getting faster, we’re actually slowing down in a lot of ways. That’s according to Danny Dorling, a professor of geography at Oxford University and author of Slowdown: The End of the Great Acceleration – and Why It’s Good for the Planet, the Economy, and Our Lives. He says that, even before this pandemic, there was a global slowdown in population, in technological advancement, and in the economy.

Duration:00:28:10

The Value of a Human Life

5/8/2020
Governors in some states have taken steps to begin reopening businesses in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic. Any easing of social distancing measures inevitably leads to uncomfortable conversations about the value of human life versus economic prosperity. Those types of conversations are nothing new, according to Howard Steven Friedman, a statistician and health economist at Columbia University. He says people have long calculated how much human lives are worth, including those working...

Duration:00:21:48

Global Risks of a Global Pandemic

5/1/2020
The coronavirus pandemic has been compared to the Great Depression and the Second World War, in terms of the threat it poses to democracy. Geopolitical risk analyst Ian Bremmer doesn’t think the crisis will usher in a new world order, but he believes it will intensify and speed up trends that many have worried about for years. Bremmer, president of Eurasia Group and GZERO Media, discusses the impact of COVID-19 on global inequality, segregated societies, global leadership, our dependence on...

Duration:00:49:00

A Path Out Of A Pandemic

4/24/2020
After weeks and weeks of millions of people sheltering-in-place across the country because of COVID-19, there is talk of possibly reopening parts of the economy. Still, many public health experts insist the right conditions need to be created before we can begin to find a path back to life as we once knew it. Yonatan Grad, assistant professor of Immunology and Infectious Diseases at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, is one of a growing chorus of voices calling for a dramatic...

Duration:00:23:56

What You Don’t Know About George Washington

4/24/2020
He’s on our money, our capital is named after him and he’s even in our extremely weird car ads. But how much do you really know about statesman, general, farmer, slave master, husband, stepfather, and first President of the United States George Washington? According to Alexis Coe, author of You Never Forget Your First: A Biography of George Washington, probably not as much as you might think. Coe walks us through the surprising life of the man on the one dollar bill.

Duration:00:26:22

The Economics of a Global Emergency

4/17/2020
Everybody, in one way or another, is being impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. From our health to our social lives, so much has changed so quickly. However, the crisis is hitting some Americans harder than others. Estimates are that America's unemployment rate is currently in the teens (and potentially headed higher), and there has been a record number of unemployment benefit claims during the past month. According to David Autor, Ford Professor of Economics at MIT and co-chair of the MIT...

Duration:00:49:49