Interviews By Topic

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.More

markets

Glen Weyl is an economist at Microsoft Research and he’s invented a whole new formula for collective decision making. It’s called quadratic voting — it sets up a marketplace where you can trade your vote, based on what you care about most.More

baby yawns

Political scientist Jonathan Bernstein makes the case for lowering the voting age considerably. Like, to birth.More

Fun outside on election day

Eric Liu, founder of Citizen University, tells us why citizens are more powerful than they think and how he's trying to reinvigorate the culture of voting — by making it more fun.More

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.More

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.More

Fire eating

For decades, Todd Robbins has been entertaining audiences with his sideshow act, first at Coney Island and later with several off-Broadway shows. He demonstrated a few tricks of his trade.More

Magic Kingdom

John Jeremiah Sullivan reads an abridged version of his essay, "You Blow My Mind. Hey, Mickey!" about getting high at Disney World.More

Walt Disney

Cultural anthropologist Scott A. Lukas describes the history and cultural significance of theme parks such as Disney World.More

Ferris wheel

At one point there were more than 1,500 amusement parks across America. Historian Lauren Rabinovitz says they helped ease the country into a period of rapid technological change.More

Super punch.

After spending time with a real-life superhero in Seattle called Phoenix Jones, author Jon Ronson wonders if people like him can actually fight crime.More

Searching the stars

For more than 30 years, the scientists at the SETI Institute have been looking and listening for signs of extraterrestrial intelligence. And recently, some of them decided to get a bit more proactive.More

Neil DeGrasse Tyson

Neil deGrasse Tyson makes the case for why constantly searching for answers doesn't have to dispel our sense of awe and wonder faced with the seemingly unknowable universe.More

Solar eclipse

Journalist David Baron describes how witnessing a total solar eclipse set him on a path to examine how eclipses have propelled many inquisitive minds deeper into the sciences to see more deeply into the universe.More

boats

Novelist and short story writer Ben Marcus is a novelist and short story writer talks about how the addictive quality of language is a big part of what makes short stories so powerful.More

You've probably seen Jesse Eisenberg in films like "The Social Network," "The Squid and the Whale" and "The End of the Tour." But have you read his fiction debut?More

against nature

How do you go from producing riveting stories about real people for "This American Life" to writing surreal short stories? Diane Cook is the person to ask.More

You see an ad that promises the comforts of a nice suburban home, along with a full-time job. There's just one catch — you only spend half your time there; you spend the other half living in a prison cell. That's the premise behind Margaret Atwood's novel, "The Heart Goes Last," a blend of dystopia and social satire.More

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