Matt Bai on his book

Matt Bai: Well nothing inspired me to write the book. I actually had to be talked into it by my agent, and I’m still not sure it was a good idea. But you know what inspired me to write the stories that led up to it, and what inspired me to get really interested in Democratic politics is at this moment, in the emergence of a progressive movement is that I went out with Howard Dean in early . . . in 2003 when he was still a relatively unknown. And it was just Dean and I and an aid or two driving around in a van, you know? And he had his wash and wear shirts in the back and all that kind of stuff. And the crowds he drew just blew me away. It was like nothing I’d seen. The intensity, and the size, and the age disparities. But the intensity, and the fury, and the resentment spilling over. And it wasn’t just about Republican government. It was about Democrats and why their own party couldn’t stand up to what was happening in Washington, and it shook me. I came back and I said to my editors there is something profound happening at the grassroots of Democratic politics, and we don’t understand it. They were very encouraging for me to go do that; and so that really . . . that really got me moving in that direction. And there were just several twists and turns along the way that, you know, further convinced me that there was a lot worth mining there.

Recorded on: 12/13/07

Emergent Democratic politics is profound and worth researching.

Ethnic chauvinism: Why the whole world shouldn’t look like America

We are constantly trying to force the world to look like us — we need to move on.

Videos
  • When the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, many Americans jumped for joy. At the time, some believed there weren't going to be any more political disagreements anywhere in the world. They thought American democracy had won the "war of ideas."
  • American exceptionalism has sought to create a world order that's really a mirror image of ourselves — a liberal world order founded on the DNA of American thinking. To many abroad this looks like ethnic chauvinism.
  • We need to move on from this way of thinking, and consider that sometimes "problem-solving," in global affairs, means the world makes us look like how it wants to be.
Keep reading Show less

Physicists find new state of matter that can supercharge technology

Scientists make an important discovery for the future of computing.

Pixabay
Surprising Science
  • Researchers find a new state of matter called "topological superconductivity".
  • The state can lead to important advancements in quantum computing.
  • Utilizing special particles that emerge during this state can lead to error-free data storage and blazing calculation speed.
Keep reading Show less

First solar roadway in France turned out to be a 'total disaster'

French newspapers report that the trial hasn't lived up to expectations.

Image source: Charly Triballeau / AFP / Getty Images
Technology & Innovation
  • The French government initially invested in a rural solar roadway in 2016.
  • French newspapers report that the trial hasn't lived up to expectations.
  • Solar panel "paved" roadways are proving to be inefficient and too expensive.
Keep reading Show less