11. Paul Romer: “I Figured Out How to Get Myself Fired From the World Bank.”
Play • 34 min

For many economists — Steve Levitt included — there is perhaps no greater inspiration than Paul Romer, the now-Nobel laureate who at a young age redefined the discipline and has maintained a passion for introducing new ideas to staid debates. Levitt finds out what makes Romer a serial “quitter,” why you can’t manufacture big ideas, and what happened when Romer tried to start a charter city.

How to Save a Planet
How to Save a Planet
Gimlet
Kelp Farming, for the Climate (Part II)
So, what do you do with 579 pounds of seaweed? In our last episode, we ventured into the ocean to learn how seaweed farming can help solve climate change. In part II, we ask: What do we do with all that kelp? Plus our team does some seaweed R&D of its own and discovers...green scones? Calls to action Check out the New York State Assembly Bill A4213 on seaweed cultivation and for residents of New York, check out the petition. Encourage innovation with kelp: Whether you work in fertilizers, plastics, cosmetics, or any industry, you can encourage your company to do R&D with kelp. Maybe it could serve as a substitute for less climate-friendly ingredients and materials. And if you need a middleman to source from, check out The Crop Project, founded by Casey Emmet whom we interviewed this episode. Consider kelp products: If you are interested in making any kelp flour recipes, do a search for online retailers and don’t forget to share what you make! Send photos, video or audio to howtosaveaplanet@spotify.com Learn more Read Dune Lankard’s amazing piece in the GreenWave newsletter, A Native Perspective on Regenerative Ocean Farming. Also check out Duke’s organization, Native Conservancy. Emily Stengel, Bren Smith’s co-founder and co-executive director of GreenWave, also wrote about regenerative ocean farming in Ayana’s anthology All We Can Save. Go have a read (or listen)! Watch “The Future of Seafood,” a discussion that Ayana moderated with Bren Smith and Sean Barrett of Dock to Dish.
44 min
Science Friday
Science Friday
Science Friday and WNYC Studios
Tech Unions, Color Perception, Fish Vs Birds. Feb 19, 2021, Part 2
Reprogramming Labor In Tech More than 6,000 warehouse workers in Bessemer, Alabama are midway through voting on whether they should unionize. If the ‘yes’ votes win, it would be unprecedented for the company: The last time a unionization vote was held by Amazon’s United States employees, back in 2014, a group of 30 technicians ultimately voted not to join the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace workers. Meanwhile, at Google, a group of more than 800 have recently joined the Alphabet Workers Union, which was formed in early January. The AWU is a minority union, a kind of union that cannot negotiate contracts. But, the union has said, they will still be able to advocate for workers who would be excluded from a traditional union, like the temporary workers, contractors, and vendors who make up more than half of Google’s global workforce. And in the world of app-based gig workers, a debate has been raging for years about whether Uber and Instacart workers are full employees with rights to overtime and collective bargaining—or contractors, which have neither. In California, state law has changed twice in the last year to try to answer this question. SciFri producer Christie Taylor talks to legal scholar Veena Dubal, and historian Margaret O’Mara, about this rise in union activity, and the way tech companies have impacted our lives—not just for their customers, but also for their workers. Fish Versus Feather: Georgia’s Salt Marsh Smackdown At Science Friday, we love a smackdown, whether it’s a debate over which mammal has better sonar—dolphins versus bats—or which planet is the best to host signs of life—Mars or Venus? But when it comes to fish versus birds, we don’t need to manufacture drama. Nature gave us its own. Corina Newsome, a graduate student at Georgia Southern University, was studying how seaside sparrows adapt to nest flooding, an environment where the most likely predators are animals like minks and raccoons. That’s when she caught on film a very unusual interaction: A fish entered a sparrow’s nest, and killed one of the new hatchlings. Newsome joins Ira to explain what she saw, and how climate change is helping to turn the tables on this predator-prey relationship. The Neuroscience Behind Seeing Color The basic mechanics of how we see color sounds simple enough—light hits an object and bounces into our eye. Then, our brain processes that information. But how we perceive color is much more complicated. Neuroscientist and artist Bevil Conway is mapping out how the neurons in our brain respond to color to make a neurological color model. He explains how color might encode meaning, and the plasticity of our visual system.
47 min
The Ezra Klein Show
The Ezra Klein Show
New York Times Opinion
A Radical Proposal for True Democracy
One thing I want to do on this show is give space to truly radical ideas, to expand the boundaries of our political and moral imaginations. And Hélène Landemore, a political scientist at Yale, has one of those ideas. She calls it “open democracy,” and the premise is simple: What we call democracy is not very democratic. The role of the people is confined to elections, to choosing the elites who will represent us. Landemore argues that our political thinking is stuck in “18th-century epistemologies and technologies.” It is not enough. We’ve learned much in the last few hundred years about random sampling, about the benefits of cognitively diverse groups, about the ways elections are captured by those with the most social and financial capital. Landemore wants to take what we’ve learned and build a new vision of democracy atop it — one in which we let groups of randomly selected citizens actually deliberate and govern. One in which we trust deliberation and diversity, not elections and political parties, to shape our ideas and to restrain our worst impulses. This is a challenging idea. I don’t know that it would work. But it’s a provocation worth wrestling with, particularly at this moment, when our ideas about democracy have so far outpaced the thin, corrupted ways in which we practice it. You’ve heard people say, “We’re a republic, not a democracy.” Landemore’s challenge is this: What if we _were _a democracy? We honor those who came before us for radically reimagining who could govern, and how politics could work. But did they really discover the terminal state of democracy? Or are there bold steps left for us to take? Recommendations: Liquid Reign by Tim Reutemann The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas The Principles of Representative Government by Bernard Manin Mortelle Adèle Book Series The Ezra Klein Show is hiring an Associate Producer! Apply to work with us by clicking here or by visiting www.nytco.com/careers. Thoughts? Email us at ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com. New episodes every Tuesday and Friday. The Ezra Klein Show is produced by Roge Karma and Jeff Geld; fact-checking by Michelle Harris; original music by Isaac Jones; mixing by Jeff Geld.
45 min
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