James Gleick discusses "Time Travel" in a book launch event with Joe Palca from NPR at the 2016 Library of Congress Book Festival in Washington, D.C.
Speaker Biography: James Gleick is a best-selling author and historian of science. He has worked as an editor and reporter for the New York Times and in 1993 he co-founded The Pipeline, a pioneering New York City-based internet service provider, and served as its chairman and chief executive officer. Gleick's books include "The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood," "Faster: The Acceleration of Just About Everything," "Chaos: Making a New Science," "Genius: The Life and Science of Richard Feynman" and "Isaac Newton." Three of his books have been Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award finalists, and he has received a PEN/E. O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award and a Royal Society Winton Prize for science books. Gleick's latest book, "Time Travel" , explores the subversive origins of time travel, its evolution in literature and science, and its influence on our understanding of time itself.
'I am thinking of the days without end of my life...'
After signing up for the US army in the 1850s, aged barely seventeen, Thomas McNulty and his brother-in-arms, John Cole, go on to fight in the Indian wars and, ultimately, the Civil War.
Having fled terrible hardships they find these days to be vivid and filled with wonder, despite the horrors they both see and are complicit in. Their lives are further enriched and imperilled when a young Indian girl crosses their path, and the possibility of lasting happiness emerges, if only they can survive.
Moving from the plains of the West to Tennessee, Sebastian Barry's latest work is a masterpiece of atmosphere and language. Both an intensely poignant story of two men and the lives they are dealt, and a fresh look at some of the most fateful years in America's past, Days Without End is a novel never to be forgotten.
"While traditionally social factors have been considered to have primary influence on political behaviors and preferences, more recent research shows that there's also a strong heritable component to ideological attitudes. Rose McDermott, professor of International Relations at Brown University and a 2015-16 CASBS fellow, will discuss her research on the influence of genetic contributions to political and social behavior. McDermott has described her work as intended to offer "…a genuinely interdisciplinary approach to the interaction of psychological processes and political outcomes.""
McDermott studies the biological influences which interact with environmental factors to shape ideology across the political spectrum in cultures around the world. Her research has included conducting embedded experiments on attitudes toward gender equality in numerous countries including Lebanon, Jordan, Uganda, Indonesia, Mongolia and India.
The author of Political Psychology in International Relations and co-editor of Man Is by Nature a Political Animal , McDermott was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 02013. McDermott is the David and Mariana Fisher University Professor of International Relations at Brown University and a Fellow in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She received her Ph.D.(Political Science) and M.A. (Experimental Social Psychology) from Stanford University and has taught at Cornell, UCSB and Harvard. She has held numerous fellowships, including the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, the Olin Institute for Strategic Studies and the Women and Public Policy Program, all at Harvard University. She is also a past and current fellow at the Stanford Center for Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Sciences.
She is the author of three books, a co-editor of two additional volumes, and author of over a hundred academic articles across a wide variety of disciplines encompassing topics such as experimentation, emotion and decision making, and the biological and genetic bases of political behavior."
The Great Leveler: Violence and the History of Inequality from the Stone Age to the Twenty-First Century by Walter Scheidel
Are mass violence and catastrophes the only forces that can seriously decrease economic inequality? To judge by thousands of years of history, the answer is yes. Tracing the global history of inequality from the Stone Age to today, Walter Scheidel shows that inequality never dies peacefully. Inequality declines when carnage and disaster strike and increases when peace and stability return. The Great Leveler is the first book to chart the crucial role of violent shocks in reducing inequality over the full sweep of human history around the world.
Ever since humans began to farm, herd livestock, and pass on their assets to future generations, economic inequality has been a defining feature of civilization. Over thousands of years, only violent events have significantly lessened inequality. The "Four Horsemen" of leveling—mass-mobilization warfare, transformative revolutions, state collapse, and catastrophic plagues—have repeatedly destroyed the fortunes of the rich. Scheidel identifies and examines these processes, from the crises of the earliest civilizations to the cataclysmic world wars and communist revolutions of the twentieth century. Today, the violence that reduced inequality in the past seems to have diminished, and that is a good thing. But it casts serious doubt on the prospects for a more equal future.
An essential contribution to the debate about inequality, The Great Leveler provides important new insights about why inequality is so persistent—and why it is unlikely to decline anytime soon.