Is cash the best way to help the poor? (Michael Faye)
Rationally Speaking Podcast
by Rationally Speaking
2y ago
The idea of giving poor people cash, no strings attached, is "very unappealing" for most donors, admits economist Michael Faye -- but it's still one of the best ways to help the poor. Michael and Julia discuss the philosophy behind his organization (GiveDirectly), the evidence we have so far about cash transfers as an anti-poverty intervention, and the various concerns people have about it: How long-lasting are the effects? Does it make recipients less likely to work? Does it cause inflation ..read more
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Humanity on the precipice (Toby Ord)
Rationally Speaking Podcast
by Rationally Speaking
2y ago
Humanity could thrive for millions of years -- unless our future is cut short by an existential catastrophe. Oxford philosopher Toby Ord explains the possible existential risks we face, including climate change, pandemics, and artificial intelligence. Toby and Julia discuss what led him to take existential risk more seriously, which risks he considers underrated vs. overrated, and how to estimate the probability of existential risk ..read more
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Dangerous biological research - is it worth it? (Kevin Esvelt)
Rationally Speaking Podcast
by Rationally Speaking
2y ago
Kevin Esvelt, a scientist at MIT, argues that research intended to prevent pandemics is actually putting us in a lot more danger. Also discussed: Kevin's own research on engineering wild animal species. Are the risks worth the benefits ..read more
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Dangerous biomedical research - is it worth it? (Kevin Esvelt)
Rationally Speaking Podcast
by Rationally Speaking
2y ago
Kevin Esvelt, a scientist at MIT, argues that research intended to prevent pandemics is actually putting us in a lot more danger. Also discussed: Kevin's own research on engineering wild animal species. Are the risks worth the benefits ..read more
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Why we're polarized (Ezra Klein)
Rationally Speaking Podcast
by Rationally Speaking
2y ago
Ezra Klein explains how Republican and Democrats in the US became so different from each other, ideologically and demographically, and why that trend + our institutions =  political gridlock. Questions covered include: Is polarization necessarily bad? Has the left polarized more than the right? And what should we make of polls that seem to show Republicans and Democrats used to agree on immigration policy ..read more
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The genetic lottery (Kathryn Paige Harden)
Rationally Speaking Podcast
by Rationally Speaking
2y ago
Kathryn Paige Harden, author of “The Genetic Lottery: Why DNA Matters for Social Equality” explains what scientists have learned about how our genes affect our educational success. Why is this research so controversial? And is it worth doing anyway ..read more
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How to reason about COVID, and other hard things (Kelsey Piper)
Rationally Speaking Podcast
by Rationally Speaking
2y ago
Journalist Kelsey Piper (Future Perfect / Vox) discusses lessons learned from covering COVID: What has she been wrong about, and why? How much can we trust the CDC's advice? What does the evidence look like for different drugs like Fluvoxamine and Ivermectin? And should regular people really try to evaluate the evidence themselves instead of deferring to experts ..read more
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"Price gouging" in emergencies
Rationally Speaking Podcast
by Rationally Speaking
2y ago
Every time there’s an emergency, the prices of certain goods skyrocket -- like masks and hand sanitizer during COVID --  and the public gets angry about price gouging. In this episode, two economists (Raymond Niles and Amihai Glazer) make the case for why “price gouging” is actually a good thing, and Julia raises potential counterarguments ..read more
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How to be a data detective (Tim Harford)
Rationally Speaking Podcast
by Rationally Speaking
2y ago
When you see a statistic reported in the news, like "10% of University of California Berkeley students were homeless this year," how do you evaluate it? You shouldn't blindly accept every statistic you read. But neither should you reject everything that sounds surprising. Tim Harford, economist and author of The Data Detective: Ten Easy Rules to Make Sense of Statistics, talks about the heuristics he recommends using, and the mistakes people tend to make ..read more
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Are Uber and Lyft drivers being exploited?
Rationally Speaking Podcast
by Rationally Speaking
3y ago
How much do Uber and Lyft drivers really earn, after expenses? Are they getting a raw deal by being classified as 'independent contractors' instead of employees? I explore the debate over these questions with three guests: Louis Hyman (Cornell), Veena Dubal (UC Hastings College of the Law), and Harry Campbell (The Rideshare Guy ..read more
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