Why Shaming Other Countries Often Backfires, with Rochelle Terman
Big Brains
by University of Chicago Podcast Network
5d ago
How do you stop a government from continuing to commit human rights abuses? You could take them to an international court of justice, or file a complaint at the UN. But none of those bodies have any enforcement power. Short of going to war, the only option on the table in most international situations is to name and shame. But is that strategy effective? In her new book, “The Geopolitics of Shaming: When Human Rights Pressure Works and When It Backfires,” University of Chicago political scientist Rochelle Terman argues that there is a real dilemma to international human rights pressure: Shamin ..read more
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Can Trump Legally Be President?, with William Baude
Big Brains
by University of Chicago Podcast Network
3w ago
The Supreme Court’s decision on whether Colorado can take former President Donald Trump off the ballot in the 2024 election may be one of the most consequential in its history. The case will turn on the court’s interpretation of Amendment 14, Section 3 of the Constitution, which bars any previous elected official from holding office if they participated in an insurrection. When making their case, Colorado followed the logic of a law review article co-authored last year by University of Chicago Prof. William Baude. The article drew a ton of attention, in part because Ba ..read more
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What Our Hand Gestures Reveal About Our Thoughts, with Susan Goldin-Meadow
Big Brains
by University of Chicago Podcast Network
1M ago
Language shapes our world. But when we speak, there is actually a secret conversation happening beyond our words. It’s happening not with our mouths—but with our hands. Prof. Susan Goldin-Meadow is a distinguished scholar of psychology at the University of Chicago. Her research into deaf children who were never taught sign language led her to studying why the gestures we do all day may contain more information about our minds than we realize. Now she’s included all her insights in a new book, “Thinking With Your Hands—The Surprising Science Behind How Gestures Shape Our Thoughts ..read more
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Psychedelics Without Hallucinations: A New Mental Health Treatment? with David E. Olson
Big Brains
by University of Chicago Podcast Network
1M ago
The United States is facing a real mental health crisis. In the last few years, one possible treatment has gotten a lot of press: psychedelic drugs. But what is actually happening in a person’s brain when they take a psychedelic? Could understanding the biology and the chemistry allow us to make better and safer versions of these drugs—and maybe even create psychedelics without the hallucinations? In this episode, we speak with Assoc. Prof. David E. Olson, founding director of the UC Davis Institute of Psychedelics and Neurotherapeutics. Olson and his lab have been researching the therapeutic ..read more
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The Science Of Happiness
Big Brains
by University of Chicago Podcast Network
2M ago
The Big Brains team is taking some time off during the holidays but for all those travelers out there heading home, we wanted to make sure you still had your favorite podcast in your feed. So, we’re resharing one of our most popular episodes ever. It’s about the science of happiness. What is the key to living a happy and fulfilling life? The answer is actually quite simple, according to the two scholars behind the longest scientific study of happiness every conducted. Beginning in 1938, the Harvard Study of Adult Development tracked three generations of families to uncover what contributed to ..read more
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Do We Really Have Free Will? With Robert Sapolsky
Big Brains
by University of Chicago Podcast Network
2M ago
Here’s the question you’re going to be asking for the next 30 minutes: Did I freely choose to listen to this podcast, or did I actually have no choice at all? Most of us probably believe we have free will. We feel like we make decisions, and that each of us is responsible for the consequences of our actions. But what if that’s all just an illusion? Robert Sapolsky is a renowned professor of biology and neurology at Stanford University, but he’s also the author of best-selling scientific books such as “Behave”. He’s always been focused on the biological mechanisms that shape our actions, but in ..read more
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A Radical Solution To Address Climate Change, with David Keith
Big Brains
by University of Chicago Podcast Network
3M ago
Climate change can feel like an impossible crisis these days. Every week there is some new report about the irreversible damage we’re doing to our planet and the havoc it will bring to people’s lives. We all know cutting emissions is the solution, yet governments and companies seem no closer to meeting the goals that scientists say we must hit. It can feel hopeless. There is one possible controversial solution to climate change many in the mainstream haven’t discussed. It’s so controversial, in fact, that some experts say we shouldn’t even be discus ..read more
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How PFAS “Forever Chemicals” Are Harming Our Health, with Linda Birnbaum
Big Brains
by University of Chicago Podcast Network
3M ago
By now, you've probably heard about the dangers of PFAS “forever chemicals.” These chemicals are all around us—they're in waterproof hiking boots, electronics, nonstick pans and even our drinking water—but there's no way for them to break down in our environment. Epidemiological studies have linked to these chemicals to numerous diseases—from kidney cancer, liver cancer, obesity, decreased fertility and more. American toxicologist Linda Birnbaum has been sounding the alarms about how PFAS are harming our health for the last few decades. She was previously the director of the Nat ..read more
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Are We Worse People Than We Used To Be? With Adam Mastroianni
Big Brains
by University of Chicago Podcast Network
4M ago
How many times have you heard this phrase: “Back in the day, people were nicer” or “People aren’t as kind as they used to be?” Most of us have experienced the feeling that people are becoming meaner over time, year after year. But is it true? Are people really less kind than they used to be? That’s the question that has bothered psychologist Adam Mastroianni most of his life. He set out to find an answer—a search that recently culminated in a paper published in the journal Nature titled, “The Illusion of Moral Decline.” While the title may be a giveaway for his findings, he asks: If people are ..read more
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Freakonomics’ Steven Levitt On The Secret To Making Tough Choices
Big Brains
by University of Chicago Podcast Network
4M ago
Of the academic books that have become household names, “Freakonomics” must be at the top of the list. The 2005 book by University of Chicago scholar Steven Levitt and journalist Stephen Dubner created not only a whole new way of thinking about discovering answers to complex problems, but launched a media empire—from book sequel to a movie to a hit podcast. On this special episode, we sat down with Levitt during the inaugural UCPN Podcast Festival, to talk about the legacy of Freakonomics. Almost 20 years later, he told our audience how he views himself as a “data scientist” and not just an ec ..read more
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