Big Brains
Big Brains
Nov 25, 2020
The Science of Empathy, with Peggy Mason
Play • 21 min

With so many contentious issues in our deeply polarized world, the real or virtual Thanksgiving dinner table may be a hard place to find a lot of empathy this year.

As we take a week off to reconnect with our families, we wanted to re-share this enlightening episode with Professor of Neurobiology, Peggy Mason, all about how empathy works and how we can make our empathy stronger.

The Strong Towns Podcast
The Strong Towns Podcast
Strong Towns
Allison Schrager: "The only insurance against uncertainty is resilience."
Is there a meaningful difference between risk and uncertainty? On the face of it, we might not think so; in casual usage, we could employ the words interchangeably. But some economists see an important distinction between the two. Early in the American experience of the pandemic, economist Allison Schrager wrote an op-ed for The Wall Street Journal called “Risk, Uncertainty and Coronavirus” (paywall). “The novel coronavirus appears at first to be a problem of risk management,” she wrote. “It is a dangerous disease that threatens the lives of our neighbors and loved ones. Our response—increased social distancing, shutting down businesses—is aimed at reducing that risk. But the problem isn’t risk so much as uncertainty.” She goes on to explain that not long after the 1918 flu pandemic, another economist, Frank Knight, made a distinction between risk and uncertainty. Schrager picks up there: The future is unknowable, but risk is measurable. It can be estimated using data, provided similar situations have happened before. Uncertainty, on the other hand, deals with outcomes we can’t predict or never saw coming. Risk can be managed. Uncertainty makes it impossible to weigh costs and benefits, such as whether reducing the spread of a virus is worth the cost of an economic shutdown that could last several months. The most responsible course of action is to assume the worst and take the most risk-averse position. Managing uncertainty is expensive: In markets, it means holding cash; in society, it means shutting down. Strong Towns president Chuck Marohn says he’s gone back to Schrager’s Wall Street Journal piece, as well as her other writing, numerous times throughout the pandemic. That’s why it’s a special pleasure to welcome her on this week’s episode of the Strong Towns podcast. Allison Schrager is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, author of the book An Economist Walks into a Brothel: And Other Places to Understand Risk, and cofounder of LifeCycle Finance Partners, LLC, a risk management firm. In this episode, Marohn and Schrager talk about that difference between risk and uncertainty, the tension between efficiency and adaptability, and whether people are geographically sorting during the pandemic based on risk preference. They discuss why meatpackers in Iowa were more prescient about the coronavirus than global finance experts in New York. And they discuss how local communities should be thinking about their own fragility. “The only insurance against uncertainty,” says Schrager, “is resilience.” Additional Shownotes * “Risk, Uncertainty and Coronavirus,” by Allison Schrager (paywall) * Allison Schrager at the Manhattan Institute * An Economist Walks into a Brothel: And Other Places to Understand Risk, by Allison Schrager * Allison Schrager (Twitter) * Charles Marohn (Twitter)
45 min
Everything About Hydrogen
Everything About Hydrogen
EAH Media
Digging into the mining industry - Jan Klawitter of Anglo American
Anglo American is the world's largest platinum mining company. Their core mining operations produce copper, diamonds and platinum group metals, as well as iron ore, coal, polyhalite, and nickel and manganese. These minerals are essential inputs for a staggering variety of products today, and demand for them is continuing to grow. Anglo American (and the mining industry in general) is therefore confronting the monumental challenge of how to continue to meet increasing demand for metals and minerals while simultaneously reducing carbon emissions. In the case of Anglo American, the company has committed to making its operations carbon neutral by 2040. On this episode of Everything About Hydrogen, Jan Klawitter, Head of International Policy for Anglo American, speaks with Andrew, Chris, and Patrick about Anglo American's strategy for decarbonizing its mining operations and how they plan to use hydrogen and fuel cell technologies as a key part of their approach. Links: Anglo American website: https://www.angloamerican.com/ Anglo American sustainability page: https://www.angloamerican.com/sustainability/our-sustainable-mining-plan CSIRO "Moving to Hydrogen" article: https://www.csiro.au/en/Research/MRF/Areas/Resourceful-magazine/Issue-21/Moving-to-hydrogen Hatch press release re: Green Hydrogen Consortium: https://www.hatch.com/en/About-Us/News-And-Media/2020/03/Industry-comes-together-to-form-Green-Hydrogen-Consortium GTM article re decarbonization of mining operations: https://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/mining-giants-embrace-renewables-but-decarbonization-remains-a-steep-climb Events: inspiratia will be hosting the "Hydrogen Decade" virtual event on Feb 17, 2021. EAH hosts will be in attendance and we will be recording a segment for the podcast during the event. For updates and more information about the Hydrogen Decade virtual event, visit: https://www.inspiratia.com/welcome/events Tickets are free for inspiratia subscribers, but non-subscriber tickets are also available. If you or your company are interested in attending the Hydrogen Decade virtual event, or if you are interested in potential speaking and/or sponsorship opportunities, drop the inspiratia team an email at conferences@inspiratia.com
1 hr
Sustainability Defined
Sustainability Defined
Jay Siegel & Scott Breen
*UPDATED* Ep 32: Reversing Global Warming with Paul Hawken (Project Drawdown)
Happy 2021, Definers! This month we have an update to one of our most popular episodes ever. We interviewed Paul Hawken of Project Drawdown back in June 2018. For those unfamiliar, Project Drawdown is a non-profit focused on helping the world reach “Drawdown,” which is the future point in time when the levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere stop climbing and start to steadily decline. The need to reach Drawdown is as important as ever, so we thought it would be a good episode to revisit to start the year. Before playing the original episode, we provide an update on Project Drawdown’s many activities since we interviewed Paul, including releasing Drawdown Review 2020 that has a new framework for the most impactful activities to reach Drawdown and starting Drawdown Labs to engage the private sector. We’ll be back next month with fully new episodes of Sustainability Defined. In the meantime, have a wonderful start to the new year and enjoy this episode! ----------------------------- SustainabilityDefined is the podcast that seeks to define sustainability, one concept (and bad joke) at a time. Hosted by Jay Siegel and Scott Breen. Each episode focuses on a single topic that helps push sustainability forward. We explain each topic with the help of an experienced pro, place it within our organizational tree, and help our listeners define what exactly sustainability is, episode by episode. We have divided our organizational tree into the following seven sectors: Energy Cities Natural Environment Transportation Business Policy Social Each episode is categorized under one of our sectors and visually depicted within our organizational tree. The more episodes we complete, the more the tree will visually define what exactly sustainability means. www.sustainabilitydefined.com
1 hr 5 min
The Interchange
The Interchange
Greentech Media
Is 'Too Much' Wind and Solar a Good Thing?
We are going to build a lot more wind and solar over the coming decades. It will inevitably lead to oversupply of these resources on the grid. But is that a good thing? That’s the focus of this week’s show, featuring a conversation between Shayle Kann and Columbia University's Melissa Lott. The stars have aligned for a rare win-win-win situation: Solar and wind are popular with politicians; they’re popular with customers; and they’re often the lowest-cost resource, making them an attractive bet for investors. As we build more solar and wind, many regions will start to look like California does on a sunny spring day, or like West Texas does on a windy night: power prices drop to zero or below, producers curtail excess electricity, creating the dreaded "overproduction” of renewables. So what do we do with all this carbon-free power? We asked Melissa Lott and it turns out quite a lot! She argues that renewable oversupply can actually be a feature of the grid, not a bug (even if it causes some minor pests along the way). There are all kinds of new resources we can harness with excess wind and solar.  Melissa is a Senior Research Scholar at Columbia Center on Global Energy Policy and she and her colleague, Julio Friedman, wrote a paper laying out the case for intentionally overbuilding capacity — and thus intentionally creating oversupply. They lay out a framework for figuring out what to do with intermittent excess energy and zoom in on a case study in New Zealand. What happens when an aluminum smelter — one that uses a whopping 12% of the county’s annual demand and is powered largely by hydroelectric power — closes down? It was one decarbonization modeler’s dream.  The Interchange is brought to you by the Yale Program in Financing and Deploying Clean Energy. Through this online program, Yale University is training working professionals in clean energy policy, finance, and technology, accelerating the deployment of clean energy worldwide, and mitigating climate change. To connect with Yale expertise, grow your professional network, and deepen your impact, apply before March 14, 2021.
37 min
The Energy Gang
The Energy Gang
Greentech Media
Why Local Solar + Storage Is a Pillar of the Net-Zero Grid
This week, we finally left behind a destructive regime that thwarted environmental policy at every turn. We exchanged it for a government putting climate experts and clean-energy doers in its highest ranks in a way that no prior administration has done before. What comes next? First up this week: If Biden wants his $2 trillion climate spending plan to make a bigger impact, should he emphasize rooftop solar and small-scale batteries? A leading modeler says a local solar-storage plan could save hundreds of billions of dollars as we build out the net-zero grid. Then: the board members of major corporations are often ignorant about climate change and what it takes to address it, according to a new report from NYU’s Stern business school. Why is that true – still? What can be done about it? And last: Should you sign up for your utility’s green power program? Is there a better way to guarantee that your monthly power bill supports the world you envision? We’ll answer a listener question. Recommended reading: * VCE: Why Local Solar for All Costs Less * Local Solar For All Roadmap * LA Times: Boiling Point: How rooftop solar could save Americans $473 billion * Bloomberg: Many Corporate Boards Don’t Fully Understand the Climate Crisis * Harvard Business Review: Boards Are Obstructing ESG — at Their Own Peril * NREL: Voluntary Green Power Procurement - 2019 Utility Green Pricing Ranks * Energy Sage: What to look for, and availability of community solar This podcast is brought to you by Sungrow, a leading provider of PV inverter solutions around the world. Sungrow has delivered more than 10 gigawatts of inverters to the Americas alone — and 120 gigawatts in total across the globe. Learn more about Sungrow’s cutting-edge solar projects. This podcast is also brought to you by CPower. CPower and its team of energy experts are back with a webinar series aimed to help organizations make sense of the chaos and optimize their energy use and spend in 2021. This hour-long webinar series features market-by-market breakdowns to help energy planners make the right decisions. Register today.
1 hr
Upzoned
Upzoned
Strong Towns
Public Housing and the Housing Crisis
In a recent op-ed for The New York Times, journalist and novelist Ross Barkan wrote about public housing and the housing crisis. An eviction crisis is looming, Barkan wrote, staved off only by an eviction moratorium. But that moratorium will eventually expire. “When it does, a crushing housing emergency could descend on America—as many as 40 million Americans will be in danger of eviction.” Barkan goes on to say the federal government must play an important role in addressing the short-term crisis as well the underlying problems in the housing market. One “major step,” according to Barkan, would be to repeal "an obscure 22-year-old addition to the Housing Act of 1937, the Faircloth Amendment. Passed in an era when the reputation of housing projects was at a low, the amendment prohibits any net increase in public-housing units.” The repeal of Faircloth is a regular feature in progressive proposals, including the Green New Deal and other efforts by Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. In this week’s episode of Upzoned, host Abby Kinney, an urban planner in Kansas City, is joined by regular co-host Chuck Marohn, the founder and president of Strong Towns, as well as by Strong Towns senior editor Daniel Herriges. The three of them discuss the Faircloth Amendment and the role of the federal government in addressing the housing crisis. They talk about where a federal response could align with a Strong Towns response, the problems with supersized solutions, and to what extent repealing Faircloth will address the underlying dysfunctions in the housing market. Then in the Downzone, Daniel says he’s finally reading E.F. Schumacher, Chuck talks about a course he’s starting on the plague, and Abby discusses a show she’s been binge-watching, a terrifying psychological thriller. Additional Shownotes: * “It’s Time for America to Reinvest in Public Housing,” by Ross Barkan * Online Course: “Creating Housing Opportunities in a Strong Town” * Abby Kinney (Twitter) * Daniel Herriges (Twitter) * Charles Marohn (Twitter) * Gould Evans Studio for City Design * Theme Music by Kemet the Phantom (Soundcloud) * Recent Strong Towns content related to this podcast * “What's Missing From the Green New Deal, by Daniel Herriges * “Form Without Function in Public Housing,” by Johnny Sanphillippo * “What Happens When a Third of U.S. Tenants Don’t Pay Rent” (Podcast) * “Can We Afford to Care About Design in a Housing Crisis?” by Daniel Herriges * “The Connectedness of Our Housing Ecosystem,” by Daniel Herriges
30 min
Boston Public Radio Podcast
Boston Public Radio Podcast
WGBH Educational Foundation
BPR Full Show 1/25/21: Working It Out
Today on Boston Public Radio: Washington Post opinion columnist EJ Dionne discusses the litany of challenges facing President Biden, and why he believes he ought to prioritize urgency over unity. He also talks about his expectations for the future of the filibuster. Victim’s rights attorney Kenneth Feinberg discusses the open question of whether a federal victim’s compensation fund ought to be instated in response to the pandemic. We then open lines to listeners, to hear your thoughts on whether a COVID-19 victim compensation fund is necessary. Daniel Lieberman, a professor in the Department of Human Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University, talks about his new book, “Exercised,” about the evolution of humans and our aversion to exercising. Revs. Irene Monroe and Emmett Price, hosts of GBH’s All Rev’d Up, talk about the need for civil rights leaders to maintain pressure on the Biden administration on issues of racial equity, and weigh in on critiques of Biden from conservative faith leaders in the Catholic Church. Boston Globe business columnist Shirley Leung speak on her reporting about struggling Boston restaurants, and renewed focus from city and state leaders in prioritizing small businesses for grants and loans. She also talks about the challenges facing Mayor Marty Walsh as U.S. Labor Secretary. We close out Monday’s show by opening lines, talking with listeners about your experiences trying to stay in shape in quarantine.
2 hr 44 min
Columbia Energy Exchange
Columbia Energy Exchange
ColumbiaUEnergy
New Congress Weighs in on Climate Change
President Biden has quickly followed through on his commitment to address climate change with a series of executive orders aimed at undoing the policies of the Trump administration and appointments across the government to carry out his ambitious agenda. But his plans will also require the approval of Congress to provide the necessary funding and legislative authority. Given the political divides in Washington, there are plenty of questions about Biden’s ability to win over the new Congress even with his party in charge of the Senate and the House of Representatives. In this edition of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Bill Loveless is joined by Heidi Heitkamp, a former Democratic senator from North Dakota, for some informed insight on the dynamics on Capitol Hill. Senator Heitkamp is known as a middle-of-the-road politician, one who worked with Republicans as well as members of her own party in search of legislative solutions. Among her priorities then and now is a commitment to making sure rural states like North Dakota have a say in national debates over major issues like energy and climate change. She served in the Senate from 2013 to 2019, and had assignments on the Agriculture, Banking and Homeland Security committees. Earlier in her career, she was an attorney for the Environmental Protection Agency before completing two terms as North Dakota state tax commissioner and two terms as the state’s attorney general. After leaving Congress, she co-founded the One Country Project to reopen rural dialogue between voters and Democrats. Recently, the Bipartisan Policy Center named Senator Heitkamp co-chair of its new Farm and Forest Carbon Solutions Task Force and the University of Chicago Institute of Politics made her a 2021 Pritzker Fellow. Among the topics Bill and Senator Heitkamp discuss are the prospects for President Biden’s priorities for funding and legislation to curb greenhouse gas emissions and promote cleaner forms of energy, including new jobs. Bill and Senator Heitkamp also talk about some of her former colleagues in Congress and their potential influence on energy and climate issues, as well as the outlook for oil and natural gas and the potential for emerging technologies like carbon capture and sequestration.
42 min
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