Enlightenment Now

Book coverYou may be among many who wistfully harken back to the “golden days” of the past. For some people the past does look rosier, or perhaps the present looks grim, but, according to Steven Pinker, a Harvard University cognitive psychologist, that “golden age” of the past is a reflection of faulty memory.

We — most people in the world, anyway — are actually far better off than we were decades and surely centuries ago. That’s based on many metrics of progress, including literacy, safety, gender equality, lower poverty, and many more. Pinker presents in his new book an abundance of data as evidence of such progress. This progress, he argues, is rooted in the ideals of the Enlightenment some 250 years ago.

Pinker’s book is called “Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress.” Last week we played a couple of segments of an interview that How On Earth host Susan Moran and KGNU journalist Joel Edelstein conducted with Dr. Pinker. In today’s feature, we play that interview in full.

Hosts: Joel Parker
Producer: Shelley Schlender
Engineer: Joel Parker
Contributors: Tom Yulsman, Shelley Schlender
Executive Producer: Susan Moran

Listen to the show here:


The Ocean Is Us #3 : Marine Sanctuaries

marine_sanctuaries_mapMarine Sanctuaries (starts at 5:18) This is the third feature interview In the Ocean Is Us series, which explores how we in land-locked Colorado are connected to the oceans, why they matter so much to us all, and what’s at stake.  Today we discuss marine sanctuaries: the conservation science behind establishing them, and their ecological and economic benefits.  In June, President Obama announced his intention to make a vast area of the central Pacific Ocean off-limits to fishing, energy exploration and other activities. If the plans go through, they could create the marine sanctuary. It would double the swath of ocean that is fully protected globally.  Our guests today are devoted to marine conservation. Billy Causey works in the The Office of National Marine Sanctuaries at NOAA – the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. He is Regional Director of the Southeast Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Region.  Vicki Nichols Goldstein is founder of the Colorado Ocean Coalition, a nonprofit based in Boulder dedicated to connecting people living inland to ocean conservation efforts. Formerly she directed the marine advocacy organization Save Our Shores.

For more info on how you can get involved in nominating new sites for marine sanctuaries, visit the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation.   All features in The Ocean Is Us  series can be found here.

Hosts: Susan Moran, Kendra Krueger
Producer: Joel Parker
Engineer: Maeve Conran
Additional Contributions: Shelley Schlender, Beth Bennett
Executive Producer: Joel Parker

Listen to the show:


Tesla // Octopus!

Feature 1 – Tesla (start time 5:30) Nicola Tesla is one of the iconic figures of the early electrical age. He invented AC motor technology still used today in your DVD player and also polyphase AC power. He was a brilliant demonstrator, whose images of flowers of lightning growing from his inventions and portraits of his friend Mark Twain, illuminated by Tesla’s fluorescent bulbs, are still familiar today. He worked with and fought with the mighty JP Morgan and wireless radio great Marconi. He is a figure of mystery, who many believe presaged death rays and infinite and free energy for everyone on earth.   Biographer Bernie Carlson has written the  book “Tesla: Inventor of the Electrical Age.” We talk with Bernie about Nicola Tesla’s mental method of invention, Colorado experiments, and modern mystique.

Feature 2 – Octopus! (start time 14:35)  If you doubt that the Octopus may be the most mysterious creature in the sea – consider this – an octopus has three hearts, eight arms, camouflaging skin, and some of them can figure out ways to do things that many humans can’t – such as getting the lid off of a child-proof bottle.  Longmont resident Katherine Harmon Courage is with us today to discuss her new book, “Octopus! The Most Mysterious Creature In the Sea.”

Hosts: Jim Pullen, Joel Parker, Shelley Schlender
Producer: Joel Parker
Engineer: Joel Parker
Executive Producer: Beth Bartel

Listen to the show: