Brief conversations with the thinkers, artists, makers and shapers of our world. Their insights on dozens of different topics are enlightening, provocative, and always surprising. Listen and learn something new every episode.
Recreational cannabis with mind-altering levels of THC is now legal in 10 states. Many more states allow sales of CBD, a chemical from cannabis that won’t get you high, but is claimed to have myriad health benefits. Yet big questions remain: How safe is cannabis? How should it be regulated? And who gets to profit from its sale? In this episode, plant chemist John de la Parra and attorney Ernest Anemone delve into those questions.
About 100 years ago, there were less than five puffins left in all of Maine. But now, thanks to the conservationists, the Atlantic puffin is making a comeback on a few islands. And they’re becoming a model for how people can help other species on the brink. Journalist Derrick Jackson, an Environmental Writing Fellow at the Union of Concerned Scientists, has been following the story for decades. Here, he talks about what it takes to bring an animal back from local extinction, the sometimes sticky ethics of conservation, and what it’s like to be an environmental reporter in today’s changing climate.
Artificial intelligence has the potential to enrich our lives. But it can also drive people apart and cause tremendous harm. Olaf Groth, a professor at Hult International Business School and CEO of the Cambrian Group, explores how this technology is reshaping societies in his new book, Solomon's Code: Humanity in a World of Thinking Machines. He co-authored the volume with Mark Nitzberg. In this episode, Groth, an alumnus of Tufts’ Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, talks about the promise and perils of AI.
Nicholas Kristof is a journalist, two-time Pulitzer Prize winner, and longtime columnist for the New York Times. He has written extensively about immigration around the world, critiquing policies but also telling the stories of the families living with their consequences. Here, Kristof talks about the moral quandaries of immigration, what the world can learn from Canada, and what goes on behind the scenes of some of his most gut-wrenching reporting.
Deke Sharon has made it his life’s work to bring vocals-only music to the masses. As director of the Tufts ensemble the Beelzebubs in the early 1990s, his experimental take on a Peter Gabriel song—with voices standing in for instruments—inspired a new era in a cappella performance. Sharon has also helped popularize a cappella through movies like Pitch Perfect, television, and even Broadway. Sharon sat down to talk about his career and his mission to create harmony through harmony.