Originally aired April 2005
Environmental damage, climate change, rapid population growth and unwise political choices were all factors in the demise of these societies, but other societies found solutions and persisted. The subtitle claims “societies choose to fail or succeed.”
DISRUPTIVE: BIO-INSPIRED ROBOTICS features three separate interviews with (1) RADHIKA NAGPAL, (2) ROBERT WOOD, and (3) CONOR WALSHWritten on October 7th, 2015
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.
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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 NatureWritten on March 20th, 2015
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.
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.”