Audio

American flag

If you want to know what a state-of-the-art election system looks like, you won't find it in the United States. Pippa Norris runs the Electoral Integrity Project at Harvard and the University of Sidney, which monitors elections in 153 countries. She told Rehman Tungekar that most of our democratic neighbors do a better job.

Consider that the average American voter doesn't understand basic political facts like who their local representatives are. Should they still be allowed to vote? Philosopher Jason Brennan makes the case for an epistocracy: the rule of the knowledgeable.

Targeted person

Cathy O'Neil, data scientist and author of the blog mathbabe.org, warns that politicians are perilously close to being able to tell voters only what they want to hear.

hiding in yellow mist

Storytelling is all the rage these days — and everyone seems to have a life narrative. But not philosopher Galen Strawson. He says life stories often create an inauthentic version of ourselves.

reading a story

Can a better life story make you happier? Psychologist Tim Wilson thinks so, and he describes a technique he calls "story-editing" to create a more hopeful and meaningful life narrative.

Patti Smith

Legendary poet and singer Patti Smith has two selves. On stage, she revels in collaborating with the people around her and creating a memorable performance. But she reveals a very different self in her memoir "M Train." 

muskrat

Here's an Anishinaabe poem and creation story by Kimberly Blaeser. It's the story of the lowly muskrat, and it reminds us that we are constantly building new worlds - since the beginning of time and even now.

an hourglass

We all think about time but probably not as deeply as the groundbreaking theoretical physicist Lee Smolin. Smolin has created a radical new view of the nature of time and the cosmos. He lays it out in a book called "Time Reborn: From the Crisis in Physics to the Future of the Universe."

Pages

Subscribe to Audio