Interviews By Topic

Conceptually, hope feels big, amorphous, hard to define exactly. But for the past few months, "To The Best Of Our Knowledge" producers have been trying anyway. Scientists, activists, futurists, theologians, artists, authors all weighed in on what they think when they hear the word "hope."More

Steven Pinker

Steven Pinker presents a Dangerous Idea: things today are actually better than they've ever been.More

forest

Claire Peaslee is a naturalist who lives in Point Reyes, California, a place decimated by recent forest fires that sits literally on top of the San Andreas Fault. Yet she finds hope there through pilgrimage.More

Alice Walker

Hope is a complicated, even slippery, word. One that demands a poet’s voice. Here’s Alice Walker, reading her poem “Hope is a Woman Who Has Lost Her Fear.”More

bright brain

How neuroscientist Tali Sharot accidentally stumbled on what’s known as “the optimism bias” — our hard-wired belief that our future will be better than our past or present.More

Yuval Noah Harari

Sometimes you stumble upon a book that sets you on a whole new path. For Israeli historian and philosopher Yuval Norah Harari — author of "Sapiens," "Homo Deus," and "21 Lessons for the 21st Century" — it wasn’t a novel, a memoir, or even a history book that changed his world. It was a book about chimpanzees.More

"From War is Beautiful" by David Shields, published by powerHouse Books.

David Shields says the New York Times is complicit in romanticizing war through imagery.More

Samantha Power

Samantha Power was President Obama's ambassador to the UN, taking part in life-and-death decisions, including whether to launch military strikes. She talks about her two biggest foreign policy challenges — whether to intervene in Libya and Syria.More

Airmen pose with an MQ-9 Reaper at Creech Air Force Base.

Was Qassem Soleimani 'assassinated'? 'Killed'? The legal differences are complicated, says Brookings Institution fellow Scott Anderson.More

Lidia Yuknavitch

The main character in Jeff VanderMeer’s other-worldly tale is a polymorphous bear who moves in magical and unexpected ways, and keeps secrets in his fur. It’s both a futuristic story and one with deep history, the kind of dystopian fiction that drew Yuknavitch in, again, and again.More

Clock

He’s one of the most frenetically productive, wired guys on the planet, but digital media theorist Douglas Rushkoff is backing away from the clock.More

Spruce Grain Picea #0909-11A07 (9,550; Sweden) Rachel Sussman

Photographer Rachel Sussman has documented 30 of the oldest living things in the world. Beautiful and romantic, her photos document both the adaptation and fragility inherent to surviving for tens of thousands of years. More

George Saunders

The author of "Lincoln in the Bardo" recommends Victor Klemperer's two-volume diary that reads as a slow-motion picture of what the Holocaust looked like before it was known Holocaust.More

robot brain

Steve sat down with logician and mathematician Roger Antonsen and computer science pioneer Barbara J. Grosz to talk about how AI will challenge our own perception of intelligence in ways we might not expect.More

Michael Twitty

Michael Twitty can trace his family’s food history back to the slave cabins and Antebellum kitchens of the South. Honoring his diasporic heritage — he’s both black and Jewish — lead Twitty to the practice of identity cooking. He calls it Kosher/Soul.More

Salt, fat, acid, heat

Chef, author, and Netflix star Samin Nosrat developed her own philosophy of cooking, based on a few universal principles: salt, fat, acid and heat. She says it allows us to cook by following our taste buds, rather than a recipe book.More

Anne Lamott

Writer Anne Lamott says that the children’s classic made her feel like there was room in the world for imaginative, adventurous girls who just might wear mismatched knee socks. More

A five year vertical of Bourbon County Brand Stout. Older, pre-brewery sale style bottles are on the left, while the newer bottle design is on the right. 

Back in 1995, Goose Island created one of the most iconic craft beers of all time — Bourbon County Stout. Which — as Chicago Tribune beer writer Josh Noel explains — was why it was such a shock when they sold the brewery to Anheuser-Busch.More

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