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.

Think Again Podcasts
  • 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:

Dickson DesPommier on vertical farming

Ben Goertzel on artificial general intelligence

COVID-19 amplified America’s devastating health gap. Can we bridge it?

The COVID-19 pandemic is making health disparities in the United States crystal clear. It is a clarion call for health care systems to double their efforts in vulnerable communities.

Credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images
Sponsored by Northwell Health
  • The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated America's health disparities, widening the divide between the haves and have nots.
  • Studies show disparities in wealth, race, and online access have disproportionately harmed underserved U.S. communities during the pandemic.
  • To begin curing this social aliment, health systems like Northwell Health are establishing relationships of trust in these communities so that the post-COVID world looks different than the pre-COVID one.
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