In an effort to protect over-fished species, the ocean has largely been privatized. A conversation about the commercialization of fishing and the effect it’s had on the seafood we consume with journalist Lee Van Der Voo, who writes about the topic in “The Fish Market: Inside the Big-Money Battle for the Ocean and Your Dinner Plate” (St. Martin’s Press).
“To many of us, the desire to bring order to chaos – to tidy up our kids’ toys, organize an overstuffed closet, or rake the leaves covering the lawn – can be nearly irresistible. And it’s a desire that extends to other aspects of our lives: Managers tell employees to get organized; politicians are elected on promises to clean up Washington. And so on.”
But economist and writer Tim Harford thinks we’re underestimating the value of disorder. In this episode he talks about the main ideas from his new book, Messy, and how an embrace of chaos is beneficial to musicians, speechmakers, politicians – and the rest of us.
Hosted by Shankar Vedantam and produced by Maggie Penman, Jennifer Schmidt and Renee Klahr. Supervising producer is Tara Boyle.
With the ever-growing average life expectancy for humans showing no sign of slowing down, how close are we to cracking the code of longevity? Can we finally stop it altogether?
Biomedical gerontologist Dr Aubrey De Grey reveals his unique, seven-step approach to the problem of ageing. Harvard University’s Dr Justin Werfel explains why programmed death might be a good thing. And we hear how the University of Kent’s Dr Jenny Tullet is using roundworms to reveal clues about the genetics of ageing.
Presented by Nicola Davis and produced by Max Sanderson.
Education has become the greatest divide of all – splitting voters into two increasingly hostile camps – with the educated on one side and the less educated on another. “It points to a deep alienation that cuts both ways. The less educated fear they are being governed by intellectual snobs who know nothing of their lives and experiences. The educated fear their fate may be decided by know-nothings who are ignorant of how the world really works. Bringing the two sides together is going to be very hard. The current election season appears to be doing the opposite.”
Written by David Runciman, read by Andrew McGregor and produced by Simon Barnard. Illustration by Thomas Nast.
“Across the continent, rightwing populist parties have seized control of the political conversation. How have they done it?”
These parties “have made a very public break with the symbols of the old right’s past, distancing themselves from skinheads, neo-Nazis and homophobes. They have also deftly co-opted the causes, policies and rhetoric of their opponents. They have sought to outflank the left when it comes to defending a strong welfare state and protecting social benefits that they claim are threatened by an influx of freeloading migrants.
…Brexit was just the start. Europe’s new far right is poised to transform the continent’s political landscape – either by winning elections or simply by pulling a besieged political centre so far in its direction that its ideas become the new normal. And when that happens, groups that would never have contemplated voting for a far-right party 10 years ago – the young, gay people, Jews, feminists – may join the working-class voters who have already abandoned parties of the left to become the new backbone of the populist right.”
Written by Sasha Polakow-Suransky, read by Andrew McGregor and produced by Simon Barnard
Do people lucky enough to have been raised in middle class families, owe obligations to those less fortunate? Research shows that in Britain life chances are determined, to a large degree, by the circumstances into which you’re born, such as your race, or class.
David Edmonds speaks to Holly Lawford Smith who teaches Political Philosophy at the University of Sheffield.
Is boredom under threat? In fact, there is so much to stimulate our everyday lives that we need never be bored ever again. And what would we miss if we did eliminate boredom completely from our lives? The happily bored Phill Jupitus takes a creative look at this misunderstood emotion. He examines what boredom is, and how it has influenced our leisure time, our workplaces, our creativity and our evolution. He scrutinizes its impact on comedy, art, music, and television, taking us from punk to prison, from J. R. R. Tolkien to Sherlock Holmes, from Danish sex clubs to London’s ‘Boring Conference’.
Interviews include – the Reverend Richard Coles, the writer Natalie Haynes, the artist George Shaw, the comedy writer & producer Robert Popper, the psychologist Peter Toohey, the punk musician Gaye Black (formerly of The Adverts), the psychologist Sandi Mann, the BBC newsreader Simon McCoy, Dr Teresa Belton and the social media entrepreneur Jodie Cook.
“Food is more than nourishment. It’s a source of pleasure — and guilt — and an agent of change. This episode, TED speakers explore our deep connection to food, and where it’s headed.”
Economist Tim Harford initiates us into contract theory. His new book, “Messy,” is about unlocking creativity, and it looks at how disorganization and improvisation are often the routes to invention. He turns a bunch of techniques on this year’s Nobel winner, Oliver Hart and subject him, and his theories, to a set of oddball suggestions by flipping through decks of inspiration cards and getting ideas from cryptic phrases, which sound great accompanied by the guitar.
What if talent is grotesquely overrated? And what if deliberate practice is the secret to excellence? Those are the claims of the research psychologist Anders Ericsson, who has been studying the science of expertise for decades.
One idea you may have heard of that came from Ericsson’s research: the 10,000-hour rule. Stephen Dubner and Ericsson discuss what Ericsson believes people get wrong about his work, and how he feels about this “magic number.” At one point Stephen Dubner speaks with the person who popularized the idea of the 10,000-hour rule — Malcolm Gladwell.
Illustration by Jennifer Austin