DISRUPTIVE: BIO-INSPIRED ROBOTICS features three separate interviews with (1) RADHIKA NAGPAL, (2) ROBERT WOOD, and (3) CONOR WALSH

Written on October 7th, 2015

robertcollage 

 

Welcome to the second episode of my new monthly podcast series produced with Harvard’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering.

DISRUPTIVE: BIO-INSPIRED ROBOTICS features three separate interviews with (1) RADHIKA NAGPAL, (2) ROBERT WOOD, and (3) CONOR WALSH. From insects in your backyard, to creatures in the sea, to what you see in the mirror, engineers and scientists at Wyss are drawing inspiration to design a whole new class of smart robotic devices

In this one, ROBERT WOOD discusses new manufacturing techniques that are enabling popup and soft robots. His team’s ROBO-BEE is the first insect-sized winged robot to demonstrate controlled flight.

In part one, RADHIKA NAGPAL talks about her work Inspired by social insects and multicellular systems, including the TERMES robots for collective construction of 3D structures, and the KILOBOT thousand-robot swarm. She also speaks candidly about the challenges faced by women in the engineering and computer science fields.

In part three, CONOR WALSH discusses how a wearable robotic exosuit or soft robotic glove could assist people with mobility impairments, as well as how the goal to create real-world applications drives his research approach.

The mission of the Wyss Institute is to: Transform healthcare, industry, and the environment by emulating the way nature builds, with a focus on technology development and its translation into products and therapies that will have an impact on the world in which we live. Their work is disruptive not only in terms of science but also in how they stretch the usual boundaries of academia.

http://wyss.harvard.edu/
– See more at:

DISRUPTIVE: BIO-INSPIRED ROBOTICS Radhika Nagpal Interview

DISRUPTIVE: BIO-INSPIRED ROBOTICS Conor Walsh Interview

Robert Wood’s interview transcript

Free Forum Q&A – GANGA WHITE, YOGA BEYOOND BELIEF: Insights to Awaken and Deepen Your Practice & STEVEN PINKER, THE STUFF OF THOUGHT: Language as a Window into Human Nature

Written on March 20th, 2015

White-pinker

 

 

 

 
Ganga White (originally aired: July 2007)

Steven Pinker (originally aired: October 2007)

I’ve been practicing yoga since 1970, obviously long before it was a major cultural phenomenon. GANGA WHITE started a few years earlier. YOGA BEYOND BELIEF: Insights to Awaken and Deepen Your Practice speaks to the way I’ve thought about yoga. It’s about paying attention, lifelong learning, and discovering our own paths to growth, integration and presence. It talks about living life as a meditation – but not in the navel-gazing or guru-following way many may think about meditation. It also takes issue with many in the yoga world today who tend to make it a rigid strictly codified authoritarian practice. Why does the FCC get so riled up about salty language? How do lobbyists bribe politicians? Why do romantic comedies get such mileage out of the ambiguities of dating? And why is bulk email called spam? These are some of the everyday questions STEVEN PINKER tackles in THE STUFF OF THOUGHT: Language as a Window into Human Nature. We know language helps us communicate, but what can words tell us about ourselves? Harvard professor and two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist, PINKER explores how language illuminates the mind.

http://www.whitelotus.org/

http://stevenpinker.com/

 

Q&A: LESTER BROWN – FULL PLANET, EMPTY PLATES

Written on December 25th, 2014
124

Aired: 12/23/12

Recorded: 10/17/12

When gas prices were at or near record highs a few months ago in the US, that got people’s attention. What about food prices? Have you noticed them rising? Are you making different choices in the supermarket? If not, it might be because of two things.
One, in America so much of our food is processed, packaged and marketed, that raw commodity prices make up only a fraction of the price of the food we buy. In other countries, especially the less developed ones, an increase in the price of rice or corn can have a major effect on how much a family can afford to eat. Two, Americans spend only 9% percent of their income on food, while millions around the world spend 50-70%. Millions of households now routinely schedule foodless days each week-days when they will not eat at all. A recent survey by Save the Children shows that 14% of families in Peru now have foodless days. India, 24%. Nigeria, 27%.

In his newest book, FULL PLANET, EMPTY PLATES, LESTER BROWN writes,
“The U.S. Great Drought of 2012 has raised corn prices to the highest level in history. The world price of food, which has already doubled over the last decade, is slated to climb higher, ushering in a new wave of food unrest. This year’s corn crop shortfall will accelerate the transition from the era of abundance and surpluses to an era of chronic scarcity. As food prices climb, the worldwide competition for control of land and water is intensifying. In this new world, access to food is replacing access to oil as an overriding concern of governments. Food is the new oil, land is the new gold. Welcome to the new geopolitics of food.”

 

www.earth-policy.org

 

 

Q&A: ETHAN NADELMANN, DRUG POLICY ALLIANCE

Written on December 11th, 2014
  Aired 08/15/10 Prohibition has failed -- again. Instead of treating the demand for illegal drugs as a market, and addicts as patients, policymakers the world over have boosted the profits of drug lords and fostered narcostates that would frighten Al Capone. Today, there are more drugs on our streets at cheaper prices than ever before. There are more than 1.2 million people behind bars in the U.S., a large percentage of them for nonviolent drug usage. Under our failed drug policy, it is easier for young people to obtain illegal drugs than a six-pack of beer. Why? Because the sellers of illegal drugs don't ask kids for IDs. As soon as we outlaw a substance, we abandon our ability to regulate and control the marketing of that substance. There is smarter approach usually called harm reduction. Reducing drug use is not nearly as important as reducing the death, disease, crime, and suffering associated with both drug misuse and failed policies of prohibition. But there are signs of change in the wind. The US Congress recently reversed years of inaction to make sentencing for crack and powder cocaine more equal and proposition 19 on the ballot in CA in November would legalize marijuana. I caught up with Ethan Nadelmann founder and executive director of the DRUG POLICY ALLIANCE in early July at a daylong conference in Los Angeles - New Directions California: A Public Health and Safety Approach to Drug Policy and he agreed to join me on the radio. http://www.drugpolicy.org/homepage.cfm For info re CA Prop 19: Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Act of 2010 http://taxcannabis.org/

Q&A: JOHN FULLERTON – Former Managing Director at JPMorgan & Founding Director, THE CAPITAL INSTITUTE

Written on September 18th, 2014

 

 

Aired 06/24/12

JOHN FULLERTON has spent a career at the highest reaches of the financial world, including as chief investment officer of a division of JP Morgan.

He is the founder and director of Capital Institute, which describes itself as “a non-partisan, transdisciplinary collaborative space, whose mission is to explore and effect economic transition to a more just, resilient, and sustainable way of living on this earth through the transformation of finance.” That’s a big, bold, and daunting mission and I’m eager to learn how they plan to do that and a sense of their progress so far.

JOHN FULLERTON is also principal of Level 3 Capital Advisors, LLC. whose investments are primarily focused on sustainable, regenerative land use, and food, and water issues. Fullerton is the creator of the weekly Blog, “The Future of Finance” on the Capital Institute

http://capitalinstitute.org