Tom Freston: Our Better Angels Will Prevail
Question: Do you have a political philosophy?
Tom Freston: Well I would judge myself to be – I’m an independent. I don’t necessarily say I’m a Democrat or a Republican in American terminology. But I do believe that . . . I do believe in the basic goodness of man, and I don’t appreciate, you know, the fear mongering, negative Hobbsian view that a man is basically a beast to be contained and to be wary of. I think that kind of thinking gets you into a lot of trouble if you’re a political leader or a political follower. So I tend to believe more, but not in a naïve way, in the better side of humanity. And I believe that politically anybody who wants to really honestly communicate information, and inform and educate people, and build their awareness about issues in a solid way, that would be somebody . . . And do it in a real voice and not be the classic politician sellout of looking to do anything for votes. I think America . . . a lot of America would agree with me on this, in that there’s really a dearth of candidates today that people would think maybe feel that way.
Recorded On: 7/6/07
Freston rejects the Hobbesian view of mankind. It's time to believe in our better side.
Here's the science of black holes, from supermassive monsters to ones the size of ping-pong balls.
- There's more than one way to make a black hole, says NASA's Michelle Thaller. They're not always formed from dead stars. For example, there are teeny tiny black holes all around us, the result of high-energy cosmic rays slamming into our atmosphere with enough force to cram matter together so densely that no light can escape.
- CERN is trying to create artificial black holes right now, but don't worry, it's not dangerous. Scientists there are attempting to smash two particles together with such intensity that it creates a black hole that would live for just a millionth of a second.
- Thaller uses a brilliant analogy involving a rubber sheet, a marble, and an elephant to explain why different black holes have varying densities. Watch and learn!
- Bonus fact: If the Earth became a black hole, it would be crushed to the size of a ping-pong ball.
Military recruits are supposed to be assessed to see whether they're fit for service. What happens when they're not?
- During the Vietnam War, Robert McNamara began a program called Project 100,000.
- The program brought over 300,000 men to Vietnam who failed to meet minimum criteria for military service, both physically and mentally.
- Project 100,000 recruits were killed in disproportionate numbers and fared worse after their military service than their civilian peers, making the program one of the biggest—and possibly cruelest—mistakes of the Vietnam War.
In a breakthrough for nuclear fusion research, scientists at China's Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) reactor have produced temperatures necessary for nuclear fusion on Earth.
- The EAST reactor was able to heat hydrogen to temperatures exceeding 100 million degrees Celsius.
- Nuclear fusion could someday provide the planet with a virtually limitless supply of clean energy.
- Still, scientists have many other obstacles to pass before fusion technology becomes a viable energy source.
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