The Aspen Institute

"society & culture" • News • Science

Aspen Ideas to Go is a show about big ideas that will open your mind. Featuring compelling conversations with the world’s top thinkers and doers from a diverse range of disciplines, Aspen Ideas to Go gives you front-row access to the Aspen Ideas Festival and other events presented by the AspenRead more

Popular episodes

Politics Minus Politicians

Jul 27 • 46:53

Imagine a new kind of democracy — one that puts governance back in the hands of the people. This is the idea behind political theorist Hélène Landemore's book Open Democracy. Contemporary representative democracies, like in the United States, are broken, she says, so why not reinvent popular rule? In a conversation with Jeffrey Goldberg, editor in chief of The Atlantic, sh...

Is Cryptocurrency a Good Bet?

Jul 20 • 28:44

Cryptocurrency is revolutionizing the global financial system and shaking up our perception of trust. Joseph Lubin, co-founder of Ethereum, says the digital currency’s open-source, decentralized system is the opposite of what we’re used to — a bank-led financial system built in backrooms. “It’s a new kind of trust foundation for the planet,” he says. In a conversation with...

Learning from the Pain of the Pandemic

Jul 13 • 52:48

As many of us know personally, the coronavirus pandemic has taken a toll on mental health. As lockdowns were enacted, loneliness, isolation, and depression increased. Concerns of loved ones dying and fear of contracting the virus affected our well-being. Since April of 2020, about 40 percent of US adults have reported symptoms of depression and anxiety. In 2019, that figur...

Can the Promise of America Be Renewed?

Jul 6 • 54:41

The American Promise—that all men and women are inherently equal—is not being fulfilled because racism continues to corrode our society. Author and veteran Theodore R. Johnson says what’s need is a more multi-racial national solidarity, and the Black American experience has lessons on how to get there. In his book, When the Stars Begin to Fall: Overcoming Racism and Renewi...

Breaking the Blue Wall of Silence: Reflections on the Derek Chauvin Trial

Jun 29 • 40:24

The emotionally charged trial of Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd was a milestone case in a country whose legal system has historically been resistant to convict officers for alleged abuses. What did it take to break the blue wall of silence, the informal code among police officers protecting their own? Is it possible to get a fair trial and an impartial jury w...

Why America Should Be Safer than It Is

Jun 23 • 35:25

Insanity can be defined as doing the same thing over and over again but expecting a different result. As a nation, America has cycled through the same defense and intelligence issues since the end of the Cold War. In her book Insanity Defense, Congresswoman Jane Harman chronicles how four administrations have failed to confront some of the toughest national security policy...

Battling the Increasing Threat of Ransomware

Jun 16 • 42:28

Ransomware attacks on Colonial Pipeline and top meat producer, JBS, have catapulted malware into the mainstream. Ransomware isn't a new threat but it's getting significantly worse, say cybersecurity experts. In recent years, thousands of schools, government agencies, healthcare providers, and small businesses have fallen prey to it. The malicious software that's designed t...

Building Brain Health at Any Age

Jun 8 • 30:48

People often talk about maintaining their physical health but brain health is an afterthought. It turns out brain fitness at any age heightens and protects brain function and can even prevent brain disease. Sanjay Gupta, author of Keep Sharp: Build a Better Brain at Any Age, Maria Shriver, founder of the Women’s Alzheimer’s Movement, and Natalie Morales, West Coast anchor ...

An Outsider's Search for Belonging in America

Jun 2 • 49:00

Award-winning author and playwright Ayad Akhtar grapples with identity and belonging just like the protagonist in his book Homeland Elegies. "In some ways being an outsider has given me a freedom to be able to withstand and bear some of the forced outsiderness. It gives me a perspective," he says. His fictional book, named one of the 10 Best Books of the Year by the New Yo...

Unequal from the Start: Racism’s Deep Roots in American Medicine

May 25 • 52:53

Throughout American history, racism has been embedded in health and health care. To justify slavery, scientists promulgated falsehoods about African Americans and health. More recently, social policies rooted in racism have led to less access to care, higher disease rates, and lower life expectancies for communities of color. Science writer Harriet Washington says structur...

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