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The Conversation #46 — Mark Mykleby

Today, in America right now, we only can think of growth in quan­ti­ta­tive terms. And in a resource-constrained envi­ron­ment, how frickin’ stu­pid is that? You’re actu­al­ly impos­ing your own death sen­tence by not being able to get over the grip of this quan­ti­ta­tive dynam­ic.

Margaret Atwood on Fiction, the Future, and the Environment

We have already changed the world a lot, not always for the bet­ter. Some of it’s for the bet­ter, as far as we human beings are con­cerned. But every time we invent a new tech­nol­o­gy, we like to play with that tech­nol­o­gy, and we don’t always fore­see the con­se­quences.

The Conversation #44 — John Seager

In 1962, the Food and Drug Administration approved the birth con­trol pill. I would sub­mit that that’s one of the four or five most trans­for­ma­tive tech­no­log­i­cal changes of the last mil­len­ni­um. Not just the last cen­tu­ry. Because for the first time in the his­to­ry of the world, half the peo­ple on Earth no longer have to depend on the oth­er half for the arc of their lives.

Imaging the Health of Our Planet

The inter­est­ing thing is not just fig­ur­ing out what one plant needs, but doing it on the scale of a mil­lion plants. This is where imag­ing can help. Capturing the detail, but from a dis­tance. Some farm­ers already used drones or oth­er air­craft to do just that. But these are not tools avail­able to all. I want to ask what if pre­ci­sion agri­cul­ture could be a ser­vice acces­si­ble to any­one on the plan­et?

Forbidden Research: Messing with Nature Part I: Genetics

When it comes to a field as fast-moving and as high of stakes as genet­ic engi­neer­ing, how do we pro­ceed wise­ly? How do we bal­ance our own wild­ness and civil­i­ty as we devel­op increas­ing­ly pow­er­ful ways to inter­act with the liv­ing world?

The Conversation #41 — John Fullerton

I actu­al­ly think you can trace many many of these big sys­temic crises to being symp­toms of the flawed idea that eco­nom­ic growth can go on indef­i­nite­ly, expo­nen­tial­ly, on a finite plan­et. That’s sort of my North Star. And then as a finance per­son, why do we think we need eco­nom­ic growth? Well, because the way our cap­i­tal sys­tem works is that cap­i­tal demands that growth.

The Conversation #40 — Mary Mattingly

It’s inter­est­ing and scary to think about an Earth that could be com­plete­ly con­trolled by humans, but it seems like it’s def­i­nite­ly pos­si­ble. I could find fun think­ing about liv­ing under the sea or all the places that humans real­ly haven’t been able to sus­tain them­selves in very well. Like, if we could real­ly get con­trol of that. I mean, it’s def­i­nite­ly a dark future, but I think some­thing that I could embrace if we did go there.

The Conversation #37 — David Keith

There are biol­o­gists who’ve spent their careers work­ing on some species of bee­tle in the trop­i­cal rain­for­est, and they just love the rain­for­est in their bones And they feel that when they go tes­ti­fy in Congress to some com­mit­tee, that they can’t just say, I love it in my bones and you guys will love it too, if you share it with me.” They have to say, Oh, we’ve done all this math and com­put­ed that there’s an ecosys­tem ser­vice here.” And I think that that has real­ly impov­er­ished our debate about envi­ron­men­tal issues.

The Conversation #36 — Ethan Zuckerman

We are in the midst of a shift in how we encounter infor­ma­tion. And we’re wrestling with three par­a­digms at the same time. The old­est of these par­a­digms, for for most of us, is edit­ed media. … You have a pow­er­ful gate­keep­er, the news­pa­per edi­tor, who says, Here are things you need to pay atten­tion to today. Give this a small amount of your time, and you will be rough­ly up to date with what you need to know.” 

The Conversation #35 — Chuck Collins

Much of class and iso­la­tion and pulling away is this sort of illu­sion that some­how we can be apart from the suf­fer­ing that is in our midst. And that’s a myth. The social iso­la­tion that many peo­ple in the one per­cent expe­ri­ence is a wound.

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