221: Safi Bahcall | How To Support Innovative Ideas And The “Loonshots” Behind Them

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

220: Allison Schrager | Risk Mitigation With Examples In “An Economist Walks Into A Brothel”

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.

Show notes:

  • 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

I was glad to have Professor Schrager on episode 220. You can check out her articles on Quartz, home page, or her book on Amazon.

219: Professor Matthew O. Jackson | Social, Financial, And Global Network Dynamics In “The Human Network”

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.

Show notes:

  • 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.

218: Professor David Hu | Animal/Robotic Movement, Fluid Mechanics, And More In “How to Walk on Water and Climb up Walls”

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.

Show notes:

  • 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.

217: Vince Beiser | How Sand Served As A Natural Resource That Transformed Civilization

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.

Show notes:

  • 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

I was glad to have Vince on the show. You can check out his book The World in a Grain on Amazon, or check out his website.

216: Professor Steven Strogatz | Calculus, Biological Dynamics, And More From His Book “Infinite Powers”

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.

Show notes:

  • 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.

215: Leveraging Your Strengths, And Some Words About Nipsey Hussle

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.

Show notes:

  • 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.

214: Paty Ramirez | Life Coaching With Care, Meditation, And Broad Perspective

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.

Show notes:

  • 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
  • and more

Glad to have Paty on the show~

Check out @selflovemafia on Instagram

213: Nick Tovar | Scientific Thinking, IT For Surgical Imaging, Technology Viewpoints, And Gaming

Scientific thinkers get along. Guest Nick Tovar on episode 213 is my friend of a long time, and both of us think about and keep up with recent science and technology.

Nick does IT for a company that makes imaging products that doctors use for surgeries and related applications.

Show notes:

  • how we met and our background in activities we have done
  • why upcoming technology is valuable and how it is being used
  • what Nick thinks about AI, 3D printing, VR, and ore
  • where we went to school or were at during different times of our life
  • what kinds of games Nick has played, along with my connection to such games
  • how Nick thinks about life perspective in relation to productivity, competition, learning, and more
  • what Nick has in mind as a goal or goals for 2019

Glad to have Nick on the show~. He may return at a later time to discuss specific scientific research articles or related concepts with me.

212: Doruk Gundogan | From Lawyer To Actor, Observation, Questioning Everything, And Life Shifts

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.

Show notes:

  • 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

Glad to have Doruk on the show~

211: Mimmy Loftin: Views On Love And Sexuality In “Your Body Is A Gift”

We bring a variety of perspectives to The Armen Show podcast, and this episode is no exception. Guest Mimmy Loftin is author of an upcoming book about sexuality, love, and relationships.

I always like to support creators doing their thing, because they are able to reach out to someone who meshes well with them.

In this episode, we discussed:

  • sections of her book, from the broad to the narrow to the self-focused
  • ways that consistent use of pornography during formative teenage years impacts future ability to connect
  • conquest philosophy and how it has limiting features
  • the ways that sex has developed over recent decades in the media

210: Self-support, Non-process, Limbic Resonance, Adversity, And Context

The stream of consciousness is back in place for episode 210, which reminds us of the 210 freeway in Los Angeles.

Show notes:

  • why the steps along the way are not so relevant to me, but the stepping beyond past elements is
  • why you should support the things that you have made or done, regardless of how significant or insignificant they have been
  • how limbic resonance is the main feature pulling you and others to social networks and related applications
  • what adversity leads to as far as content creation in our society, and how adversity is the base for most of what we see as breakout material
  • how context is placed much more heavily than content in the eyes of the collective, with context always serving as the base in viewer’s minds while they examine your content

Links to material mentioned in the episode:

Elon Musk interview on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast

209: Recent Postings, Statistics, Other Shows, Quote Posts, And Broad Vision

The Armen Show comes forward with variety on this one where it returns to me bringing you the updates and stream of consciousness.

On this one, I bring up:

  • recent postings that have been on the show
  • some of the statistics associated with the show, and how they have improved over time
  • other podcasts and the comparisons with them
  • example include Conan’s new podcast, the Impaulsive one, and Srini’s Unmistakeable Creative podcast
  • I look at what kinds of things others are doing that I do differently
  • quote posts I have done on Instagram and their reach to a new demographic that likes the presentation of them
  • how the oldest individuals have a broad perspective, and an upcoming guest may be of that age group
  • various insights I like to share

Glad to have you listening through to this point. The show continues onward with flow.

208: Erika Madison | Nutrition, Vulnerability, Stories, And Perspectives

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

207: Carl Zimmer | Science Writing, Evolution Through Time, And His “What Is Life” Podcast

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.

Zimmer’s career began at Discover, where he went on to serve for five years as a senior editor. In addition to his work for the New York Times, he has written  articles for magazines including National Geographic, Wired, and The Atlantic. Zimmer is the author of thirteen books about science. His latest is She Has Her Mother’s Laugh: The Power, Perversions, and Potential of Heredity.

In this episode, we discussed:

  • Carl’s career and what led up to his current position as author and writer
  • his new podcast titled “What Is Life?”, involving numerous scientists and individuals with perspectives on the matter
  • specific episode topics and guests which were part of the set
  • how physicist/astrobiologist Sara Walker from ASU said we should think that aliens may not introduce themselves so we need to understand how to reach out
  • Professor Jim Cleaves point that there were not big efforts to find the origin of life 200 years ago
  • Jeremy England of physics at MIT, and his view of life as a way to dissipate energy, related to entropy theory
  • Steven Benner, scientist at the Foundation for Applied Molecular Evolution, and his view that life wouldn’t need to be RNA, DNA, or carbon-based like we are
  • Kate Adamala, chemist at University of Minnesota, and her interest in building a synthetic cell at her protobiology lab
  • how Carl formulated his book She Has Her Mother’s Laugh
  • Carl’s experience writing a column for The New York Times
  • why risk-taking is necessary to not remain at a plateau point

I was glad to have Carl on the show. You can check him out on Twitter @carlzimmer, take a look at his new podcast What Is Life?, or check out his book She Has Her Mother’s Laugh on Amazon.

206: Professor Alan Jasanoff | The Connection Between Brain And Body, And More From “The Biological Mind”

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

Glad to have Professor Jasanoff on the show. You can check out his faculty page, look at his PubMed Publications list, or check out The Biological Mind on Amazon.

205: Professor Charles S. Cockell | Astrobiology, And How Physics Shapes Evolution, In “The Equations of Life”

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
  • the Great Filter that Professor Hanson from episode 202 spoke about
  • the power laws connecting metabolism and energy production
  • how the sky can be perceived differently on different parts of the Earth
  • features of individuals that are taken note of, like being open-minded

You can check out his university page, look at his list of publications, or head to his book’s Amazon listing. It was great to have him on, and we connected on some key topics.

204: Simone Albuquerque | Ecology, Sustainable Farming, And Water Management

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
  • the book Tending The Wild by Kat Anderson
  • a message for all the people

Glad to have Simone join on this one.

203: Romeo | DJing Hip Hop On The Radio, From Power 106 to 93.5 KDAY

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’.

202: Dr. Robin Hanson | Career, Viewpoints And Articles From His Blog “Overcoming Bias”

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:

  • having a thing, whether it be a viewpoint or something you stand for
  • hidden motives and the ways they can be look at more rationally
  • the concept of the Great Filter, which is a viewpoint about the universe and lack of activity beyond our planet
  • viewquakes, and the ability to bring individuals to growth through change of their thinking that is not rigid
  • a message to young eccentrics, the value and efficiencies that they have, and how they can look at themselves
  • the way that Edward Snowden was a form of hero, and what kinds of traits Dr. Hanson might look for in relevant individuals
  • Black Mirror translating some of the scientific messages available to a broader audience
  • how stories are used by people, and if they are somewhat religious in the way that they function
  • more topics on the mindset that you take to a difficulty

You can check out Dr. Robin Hanson’s blog at Overcoming Bias, look at his faculty page, or check out his biography. You can also take a look at my past text interview with Dr. Hanson and his The Elephant in the Brain  co-author Kevin Simler.