People pushing a risky or new message are in a difficult spot, because the support for their moment is not high. They have to work well with others who do things in a more steady form. In the book “Loonshots: How to Nurture the Crazy Ideas That Win Wars, Cure Diseases, and Transform Industries”, Safi Bahcall discusses the importance of and ideas behind keeping innovative ideas from being lost into the abyss.
Safi is a technologist, business executive, and author. He got his BA summa cum laude from Harvard, and his PhD from Stanford. He worked as a consultant for McKinsey, and then co-founded a biotech company Synta Pharmaceuticals Corp. developing cancer drugs, which he served as CEO at for thirteen years. He also worked with President Obama’s council of science advisors for future national research.
Here are the show notes for my episode with Safi:
how Loonshots are separated into two types based on product or strategy
what it takes to get an innovative idea through an organization
how Vannevar Bush was a big part of the basis for research and development in the United States
where the 150-person rule for groups comes from, and why it applies to both social networks and corporations
what Dr. Bahcall learned from his school and work experience throughout the recent years
when to listen to others and take their message into account as a CEO
how a lone individual can only do so much based on the structure of the scenario they are placed in
how structure trumps culture as far as application
Understanding risk is an economic way to understand the decisions and systems in our communities and finances. Economist Allison Schrager looks at risk in fields at the more extreme ends of the spectrum, to understand it with less noise in place.
Professor Allison Schrager teaches at NYU, and has a PhD in Economics from Columbia University, with her Bachelors from the University of Edinburgh. She is an economist, journalist at Quartz, and cofounder of LifeCycle Finance Partners, LLC. She has contributed to The Economist, Reuters, and Bloomberg BusinessWeek.
what sex work can teach about risk management, and how Allison looked at a specific brothel to understand the value proposition
where in life you have your risks managed, whereas you have them completely ignored in other categories
when to take a risk and when to lean towards the safer option
why you should define what risk and reward mean to you, so that you can take and seek levels complementary to your nature
how to include your human irrationality into your risk modeling
what it takes to get the most bang for your buck in the department of risk-taking
how hedging and insurance are methods used to master your domain
what you can expect in your assessments, and what type of room you need to leave for unanticipated events
where the perspective of the world has gone, in terms of having control of the world you live in
Your social position determines your power, beliefs, behaviors, and the way that you interact with the world. Are you a central figure in groups that you participate in? Are you able to get information or leverage transferred smoothly? Did the financial institutions of yesterday have all the information that they needed?
Economics Professor Matthew O. Jackson of Stanford University discusses topics related to this in his book The Human Network. He graduated with a PhD from Stanford in 1988, and has done much research in economics and social networks over the past 25 years. He is also a member of the Santa Fe Institute, and wrote Social and Economic Networks prior to this version of it. We discussed his book contents, his career, and thoughts on networks.
how the degree of centrality, and the different kinds of centrality, impact how quickly information or influence can transfer from you or others
whose family benefited greatly from being a central figure in the Middle Ages, coordinating communication between many
what types of value can be provided in networks that you are currently part of
why externalities should be taken into account when decision-making, as they are part of the variable set
how the financial networks remain in a precarious situation with regards to global economic well-being
what it takes for a financial contagion to spread or take hold
what people take into account for how they group with similar individuals of economic or educational status
why reaching across groups can cause suspicion or thoughts of being a traitor
how the area you live in during youth is so relevant to future earnings, regardless of small changes like tax rates or incentives
how prediction market(like those created by Dr. Robin Hanson) show results of an issue before even knowing the result
why being aware of biases and flaws in analysis of what is seen counters effects of averaging
It was wonderful to have Professor Jackson on the show. I took solid notes on his book, with good subheadings, and enjoy the fact that he created the book as a more public version of his prior book. He does current research and finds models for networks that were not mapped out prior. You can check out his webpage, his research, and his book.
The way that organisms move is a precursor to how robots will map their movements out. Animals can do things like walk on water and climb up vertical surfaces, and knowing how this works is useful. Professor David Hu of Georgia Tech explores these topics in his book How to Walk on Water and Climb up Walls.
Professor Hu is Associate Professor of Fluid Mechanics at The George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering at Georgia Tech. He runs the Hu Laboratory for Locomotion at his institution. He got his Bachelors and Masters, along with his PhD in Mathematics, at MIT. Most of his research focuses on hydrodynamics and elasticity problems as they relate to biology.
what biolocomotion is involved with, and how evolution has impacted animals and the insect world in terms of movement
why looking at nature is a good way to get ideas for mechanical devices that are more effective or better maintaining
where Professor Hu looked for inspiration, or bioinspiration, to see what the next item of research would be
how insects or animals can walk on water based on surface tension
what kinds of analysis it requires to be able to take a guess regarding locomotion and test it out in terms of basis
how body movements and material properties have to be looked at as a pair to be able to decipher their value
what kinds of animals need to undulate or slither to be able to get the most efficiency for their movement
how some of these advances connect to upcoming robots that are able to touch and move things in a more gentle way than current robots
I was glad to have Professor Hu on the show. He is a personable individual with a good sense of humor. You can check out his book on Amazon, look at his research articles, or look at his lab page.
Sand is one of the overlooked natural resources of the world, and is a huge part of the cities that we live and transport around in. In his book The World in a Grain: The Story of Sand and How it Transformed Civilization, journalist Vince Beiser speaks to the importance of this resource, as well as the stories related to its acquisition and usage.
Vince has served as a journalist in over 100 countries, reported from California’s harshest prisons, ridden with first responders, and contributed to Wired, The Atlantic, Rolling Stone, the LA Times, and more. He continues to work as an award-winning journalist based in Los Angeles.
why sand on beaches is at risk of being reduced all around the world
how violence is attached to battles for sand in some parts of India and elsewhere
where sand operations have allowed for building of whole cities
what sand is used to build, and what other substances come from sand
how reinforced concrete became the main element for strong buildings
how more cars leads to more paved road, which led to more cars
why is it worthwhile to look at sustainability and personal usage of cars and fuel sources in relation to sand limits and violence related to it
Calculus is a branch of mathematics that speaks to the flow of our society. You might think of derivatives and integrals, but you can also think of it as deconstruction and reconstruction. Professor Steven Strogatz of Cornell University wrote Infinite Powers: How Calculus Reveals the Secrets of the Universe to detail how calculus links with universal dynamics.
Professor Strogatz is the Jacob Gould Schurman Professor of Applied Mathematics at Cornell University. He graduated from Princeton University with a degree in mathematics, attended Trinity College and completed his doctoral work in applied math at Harvard, and then did a postdoctorate at Harvard and Boston University. He then taught at MIT, and then joined Cornell faculty in 1994, where he currently continues to teach.
Some of the items Professor Strogatz has worked on include biology as it relates to math, geometry of supercoiled DNA, sleep-wake cycle dynamics, 3D chemical wave topology, collective behavior of oscillators, and social system structural balance. There is a theme of waves across many of the categories. He has worthwhile papers on these topics, along with co-authoring the 6th most cited physics paper of all time(which is also the 63rd most cited research article of all time), on small-world networks.
how Professor Strogatz got to being a researcher and math professor
where he attended, and the takeaways that he got at those institutions
what small-world networks bring to the table as advantages
what similarity worm neural networks have with the power grid of the western United States
why Calculus is linked to rules of growth, laws of motion, and more
when math can apply in your day-to-day life, and why it is valuable to have a sense of the dynamics you see
how calculus is connected to HIV clearance and immune response in the body, through exponential growth curves
what math feedback from teachers can do to student’s esteem levels
You can check out on Professor’s Strogatz website, which has all his research articles, or see his book on Amazon. It was great to have him on the show, and connect with someone interested in some of the same topics as myself.
You have a set of strengths and built up investments that is your source of highest energy. It is worth working from that, instead of starting items from scratch. One is way more motivating than the other. On episode 215 of the show, I discuss this concept.
As well, I want to include material on Nipsey Hussle and his passing, along with how it relates to leverage.
why you should leverage the strengths that you have
how looking at what you have is inspiring as compared with the alternative viewpoint
what you can do to use leverage for your workouts
when to apply points of leverage to your being
how social connections connect to this concept, with some efforts of yours being the priorities
why certain places give you more leverage than others, and how to get a sense of where they are
how to see where you have already built up leverage and investment, in order to expand on it
why Nipsey Hussle knew this concept and applied it to his efforts
how he impacted his community, and the message to take away
what it means to be valuable to others around you
Glad to have you listening on episode 215 of the show. The show you know about. On to the next.
Caring is something we look to see more of. In episode 214, transformational life coach Paty Ramirez joins to discuss what got her into coaching, how she has applied her abilities, the importance of meditation, and more.
This episode was recorded at Pan Pacific Park in West Hollywood.
where Paty has been at recent times in her life
what caused Paty to get into life coaching in the first place
how the best teachers are the ones who have gone through the process for themselves
how some of her clients have been impacted by her working with them
what Paty brings to life coaching that separates her from others
how you can do meditation in different ways, and what it provides
what broad perspective can do to someone stuck in a labyrinth of their own making
You might know of Doruk Gundogan from his lawyering (word I just made up) after studying law at Cambridge, or you may know of him currently as an actor in the United States. Doruk joins us on episode 212 of the show to let us know about his story and perspective, and how an observational style gives a sense of self.
why observation is a big basis for how you understand others and develop your own style in response
how the small details of a person’s actions and behaviors can say a lot about who they are in a short period of time
how not being too concerned with your success in a category gives you a big advantage in the category
what kind of risk it is to change up your living situation or profession in a world where these things are commonly fixed in place
how the visceral response to the uncomfortable leads to the expression of our internal humanity that was there the whole time
why it is very valuable to question all that is around you
how Doruk had a long-term plan to shift to his current acting role that felt more appropriate as a thing
battle between me and Doruk inspired by no one else who was there
Nutrition and health are two cornerstones of a good existence. Episode 208 of the show comes with guest Erika Madison, who I have known for many years. Erika is a grad student in a Nutrition Masters program in Seattle, Washington.
We discussed many topics, including:
nutrition and the items that Erika is working on, including a community assessment project
some of the background behind how we know each other
vulnerability and the power of releasing your emotion or affected self out into the world, as similarly described by Brene Brown
stories from my recent happenings, as well as some local stories of note
snowmaggedon in Seattle, and snowboarding which was done by us
what it takes to reach the point where you are on the border of improving or upgrading your abilities
Glad to have Erika on the show, and let’s continue to more great material
Prolific science writing in the topics of evolution, parasites, and the brain is the domain of author and New York Times columnist Carl Zimmer, who joins us on episode 207 of the show.
Carl Zimmer reports from the frontiers of biology, where scientists are expanding our understanding of life. Since 2004 he has written about science for the New York Times, where his column “Matter” has appeared weekly since 2013. He is a popular speaker at universities, medical schools, museums, and festivals, and he is also a frequent on radio programs such as Radiolab and This American Life.
The connection between the brain, body, and mind is the connection between the subunits of our living world. Professor Alan Jasanoff, director of the Center for Neurobiological Engineering at MIT, explored this topic in his book The Biological Mind.
Professor Jasanoff obtained his Bachelor’s Degree in Biochemical Sciences at Harvard College. After completing his Masters in Chemistry at the University of Cambridge, UK, he returned to Harvard University to commit to his PhD studies in Biophysics. Jasanoff joined the faculty of the Department of Biological Engineering at MIT in 2004.
In my episode with Professor Jasanoff, we discussed:
his career and the steps that led him to where he is
the philosophy of neuroscience, and the reductionist mindset
the use of fMRI for brain imaging and understanding of the pathways
some of the analogs between a brain and a computer
how the external world is linked to the internal
ways that imaging has changed in the field in recent years
how parts of the brain are activated by emotions, but are not the only regions involved in such activity
the way that emotions light up sensations throughout the body
how the processes performed by the brain are connected to stimuli
scientists keeping track of the current research in their industry
Biology will reach out to the endless openness, but it will be limited and managed by physics and the equations that govern our universe. In this episode, we discuss with Professor Charles S. Cockell of the University of Edinburgh about topics in his book The Equations of Life.
Before Professor Cockell taught in the School of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Edinburgh, he was a Professor of Geomicrobiology and microbiologist with the British Antarctic Survey in Cambridge. He got his doctorate in Molecular Biophysics at Oxford University, and has published over 300 scientific papers in the categories of astrobiology, geomicrobiology, and life in extreme environments. As well, he has contributed to plans for Mars exploration.
In my episode with Professor Cockell, we discussed:
Professor Cockell’s fascination with space and biology
the progression he made in his career to the University of Edinburgh
what kind of research he performed in his time at the Antarctic
examining life at the boundaries of what is physically viable
where in our solar system may have opportunity for viability
what kinds of studies Professor Cockell has been part of designing
involving incarcerated individuals in a moon-like confinement study
a ladybug physics project that the professor set for his students
predictability of biology and physics, and thoughts on free will
how the things around us are not so out of place based on the laws
Farming and ecology is the cornerstone of what we eat and how we live. Welcome to episode 204 with UC Santa Cruz student and educator Simone Albuquerque~.
Simone is a thoughtful individual who looks at and feels the interplay between the way that farming is done, from pesticides used to workers involved, and the end result of crops that are used for cooking and eating. This holistic view is a broad sense that is necessary to build toward sustainable long-term results for us as a people.
On this episode, we discussed:
how Simone looks at the complex interactions among species happening in farms and gardens
whether people in farm labor or related fields make a livable income, and its connection to the food that comes out
strawberries and a pesticide associated with it
crops that are endemic to an area, and the inefficiency associated with growing plants where they are not suited for
species that are at risk of disappearing around the world
some native nuts that grow in California
the systems in place to collect or manage water absorption in this drought-filled region of the world
how Simone speaks to/interviews people related to food justice and more
building riverbeds to allow for water flow/capture that waste less water
where Simone is on the here-and-now versus dopaminergic spectrum
Welcome to episode 203 of the show, where we have radio DJ, host, and personality Romeo from 93.5 KDAY, and previously Power 106 with Dejai of the Goodfellas, joining as a guest~.
From his public bio, “Growing up in the music business, Romeo always wanted to be a singer and a writer, but he never thought that his career and blessings would come through the radio. After meeting someone in his apartment complex, the conversation came up about radio and the rest is history.
Fifteen years later, Romeo has sung the National Anthem for the Lakers, Sparks, Dodgers, Kings, and LA Galaxy. He has also produced jingles for BET — all the while maintaining a great career in radio. He says waking up doing the Morning Show on 93.5 KDAY has been a longtime dream that has now come true.”
On this episode, we discussed:
how he started his career at Power 106, and how he got on to there with his friend Dejai
some of the individuals who Romeo has met along the way, like Aaliyah, Jennifer Lopez, or DJ Quik, and some stories related to them
information about the radio industry and about song selection
music and performing that Romeo has done in the past, and will do
how 93.5 KDAY and Power 106 are connected as radio networks
Romeo’s leadership ability and where it comes from
being heard, standing out, and being humble
how Romeo got back into radio after being off of it for some time
how hip hop has adjusted in form over the last decade or two
where to get fuel for the fire of your motivation
and did a paired freestyle to each other’s beats
You can check out Romeo on the radio in Los Angeles on 93.5 KDAY, see him at public events related to the radio station, or listen to him on the podcast “Tha Goodfellas and Porscha Coleman ‘UNCUT’.
Welcome to episode number 202, with Dr. Robin Hanson, co-author of The Elephant in the Brain: Hidden Motives in Everyday Life.
Robin Hanson is associate professor of economics at George Mason University, and research associate at the Future of Humanity Institute of Oxford University. He has a doctorate in social science from California Institute of Technology, master’s degrees in physics and philosophy from the University of Chicago, and nine years experience as a research programmer, at Lockheed and NASA.
On my episode with Dr. Hanson, we discussed topics and tangents connecting off of his blog articles and book messages, including: