You've got 10 minutes with Einstein. What do you talk about? Black holes? Time travel?
Why not gambling? The Art of War? Contemporary parenting?
Each week, host Jason Gots surprises some of the world's brightest minds with ideas they're not at all prepared to discuss. Join us and special guests Neil Gaiman, Alan Alda, Salman Rushdie, Margaret Atwood, Richard Dawkins, Maria Popova, Mary-Louise Parker, Neil deGrasse Tyson and many more...
Ben Marcus' reality is only slightly askew from our own
Notes from the Fog author Ben Marcus on Elon Musk, the weird existential joys of the reality TV show Castaways, and whether we will eat in the future.
- A grow lamp for humans?
- A mist that puts you in the right mood for mourning the victims of terrorism?
- How realism and postmodernism fell in love and had babies.
A "grow light" for humans that cooks a guy's face. A pharmaceutical mist that puts you in the right mood for mourning the victims of terrorism. The year of All Hell Breaks Loose. The Year of the Sensor. Mudslides. Hurricanes. People who flee and people who stubbornly stay put. A terrible structure. A grand experiment. Creams and lotions that induce false prophecies. People who tumble into other people's marriages after they're dead. Every inch of the earth as a graveyard. More pharmaceuticals. Lives curated by drugs. The pills we swallow and the pills we reject. The way you never really know anybody.
That's a quick trip through some of the images and ideas the writer Ben Marcus hits the reader with in Notes From the Fog, his latest collection of short stories. Reading them is like ingesting a powerful hallucinogen synthesized by a computer that's digested a good chunk of the Internet. They feel the way life these days often feels, but with its skin peeled off.
Surprise conversation starter clips in this episode:
Killer robots. Alien invasions. Climate change. Josh Clark of Stuff You Should Know and the new podcast The End of the World thinks a lot these days about existential threats. Believe it or not, he's optimistic.
- Could the threat of extinction be humanity's opportunity to get our collective s#*t together?
- Two centuries since the Enlightenment, the war between reason and belief is still raging. Why?
- Why is it still hard to explain to some people what a podcast is?
- Why hasn't technology given us more freedom?
- Why is eternal life not desirable?
- Why don't Universal Basic Income and other forms of redistribution solve the underlying problem?
In the 1980's, Northeast Portland was a black neighborhood hustling to survive. Today, it's full of pilates studios and handlebar moustaches. As a writer, professor, and former inmate, Mitchell S. Jackson has lived in and learned from both worlds. In SURVIVAL MATH, he puts the pieces together.
- An open letter to Markus, the first black American to live—and immediately die—on Oregon soil.
- "Nobody gets a pass. And everybody gets a pass. If you take a broad look at anyone's circumstances, it's hard to convict them of just being a terrible person."
- "Portland's a utopia now…but I wonder if they know what it cost?"
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