Patrick Byrne: Who are you?

Patrick Byrne: Patrick M. Byrne. Where am I from? Well I currently live Utah, but I’m actually from back east. I was born in Indiana, grew up around New England. I think of Vermont and New Hampshire as my home, but I spent my teenage years in . . . just outside of Washington, D.C.

Well I’m sure the New England upbringing gave me a traditional set of values and sort of Yankee values. I had . . . The time in D.C. really gave me a lot of exposure, I think, much more than I had growing up in Vermont and such – in New Hampshire and Connecticut – to the way things work. And . . . that’s kind of a vague answer. How did it shape me? I’d say actually where I came from, if I were to . . . If you want me to take a running start at it, I’d say I come from a family that’s Irish, middle class or lower middle income Irish immigrants from Long Island and New Jersey – Patterson, New Jersey and down to the southern tip of New Jersey. I think my pop was the first guy not only in his family but in his high school to go to college. He went on to the . . . went on to the GI . . . into the Air Force, but the GI Bill to graduate school in Michigan. And then I was born in Indiana, and I’d say that I know people . . . Well I’d say that my family really lived the Horatio Alger dream, because when I was born he was just off the GI Bill and on his first job. And then by the time I was 16 or 17, he had become . . . or our family had become affluent. So it was unusual in that I . . . I experienced as I was growing up . . . I think my worldview was formed when we were probably still, you know, lower middle income or middle income. And by the time I became 16, 17, 18 we were affluent. So I think sometimes my particular take on things was somewhat formulated by that experience. I was also extraordinarily lucky in that along the way, this funny guy started showing up at our house – this funny guy from Omaha whom nobody had ever heard of at the time . . . And he would show up, and visit us, and sit and talk with me for hours on end. So where I came from, if I . . . I’m probably blending a couple of answers together, but that’s where I . . . I think my . . . I came from in a socio-economic sense.

Recorded on: 10/29/07

 

Where Byrne calls home.

Yann Martel: ‘Transgression is central to art’

Is it acceptable to write a story from the perspective of someone who is completely unlike you?

Videos
  • Man Booker Prize-winning writer Yann Martel, a Canadian man, has written from the perspectives of a man with AIDS, a body-switching woman, an Indian boy, and 20th-century Portuguese widowers.
  • Is it acceptable to write from the perspective of someone who is completely unlike you? Martel believes these transgressions put empathetic imagination into practice, allowing your mind to go where your body cannot.
  • In Martel's case, it's the recipe for great art—books that have been loved and read by millions. "[W]e are who we are in relation to others," says Martel. "But the key thing is the empathetic imagination, and the empathetic imagination is the great traveler. And travelers necessarily cross borders. And not only do they have to but it's a thrill to do so. It's a thrill encountering the other."
Keep reading Show less

'The West' is, in fact, the world's biggest gated community

A review of the global "wall" that divides rich from poor.

Image: TD Architects
Strange Maps
  • Trump's border wall is only one puzzle piece of a global picture.
  • Similar anxieties are raising similar border defenses elsewhere.
  • This map shows how, as a result, "the West" is in fact one large gated community.
Keep reading Show less

Why Nikola Tesla was obsessed with the Egyptian pyramids

The inventor Nikola Tesla's esoteric beliefs included unusual theories about the Egyptian pyramids.

Mstyslav Chernov/Wikimedia
Surprising Science
  • Nikola Tesla had numerous unusual obsessions.
  • One of his beliefs was that the Great Pyramids of Egypt were giant transmitters of energy.
  • He built Tesla Towers according to laws inspired by studying the Pyramids.
Keep reading Show less