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...
Manoush Zomorodi on how blockchain might save journalism. Maybe.
Why would two intelligent women running a hugely successful podcast at one of the most respected studios in the audio world quit to risk everything on a technology almost nobody understands?
- Fake news, real risk, and the messy rise of blockchain media.
- Why people police other people's voices
- And much, much more.
Why would two intelligent women running a hugely successful podcast at one of the most respected studios in the audio world, quit to start a small journalism company built on blockchain, a technology very few people have ever heard of?
To quote someone on Twitter yesterday paraphrasing Bill Clinton sounding pretty harsh, actually: "It's the business model, stupid."
As we keep learning the hard way, as long as we get our journalism from Facebook and 24 hour cable news, we're suckers for infotainment, propaganda, and actual fake news—not the real news Trump is always calling fake, but the real fake news trolls cook up to polarize American culture. And in these raging digital waters, non-profits and public media struggle just to stay afloat.
There's got to be a better way, right?
Manoush Zomorodi and Jen Poyant thought so. Partners on the podcast Note to Self, they left to start Stable Genius Productions. It's part of Civil, a new blockchain journalism platform. For reasons we'll try to explain, blockchain has the potential to bring us better, more independent media. Better, more independent everything, maybe.
That's what Jen and Manoush were betting on, anyway. They document the twists and turns since that fateful decision with refreshing vulnerability on their podcast ZigZag. Its second season started on October 11th.
Surprise conversation starter clips in this episode:
The catacombs of Paris. Secret graffiti beneath NYC. The hidden cities of Cappadocia. Writer and explorer Will Hunt is your philosophical tour guide to what lies beneath.
- "The surface of the earth is where we're rational . . . Part of us dreads the chaos, and part of us is always attracted to it."
- "There were these things hanging from the ceiling…long strands of bacteria called "snotsicles"… But at our feet was a natural stream that had been running through Brooklyn forever."
- "It's…about death. Undergoing a death. We're going into the other world and then retreating to the surface… changed in some way."
The 8th century AD was a tough time to be a genius from a poor family in China. Poet and novelist Ha Jin on the tortured life of the legendary drunken poet Li Bai. Also: panpsychism, the value of idleness, and humanities education in America today.
- "I knew in the case of Li Bai, I should follow the poems. Every masterpiece by him would be kind of a small crisis…a center for drama in his life."
- "There are people who want a different kind of fulfillment. Society should be open to that. In the long run, you don't know—maybe those idlers can produce more for the society."
Man-Booker prizewinning author Marlon James in a freewheeling game of verbal ping-pong on African mythology, '80's hip hop, heavy metal, tattoos, and billionaire philanthropy.
- "Black Leopard, Red Wolf" has been compared to "Lord of the Rings" and "Game of Thrones", but it's something entirely different.
- Growing up gay in a deeply religious Jamaica and writing his way out of there.
- Trickster narrators, truths you have to sort out for yourself.
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