Mr. Eccles Presents | Mindscape: Heredity, DNA, and Editing Genes

Published on Aug 6, 2018


“Blog post:… Our understanding of heredity and genetics is improving at blinding speed. It was only in the year 2000 that scientists obtained the first rough map of the human genome: 3 billion base pairs of DNA with about 20,000 functional genes. Today, you can send a bit of your DNA to companies such as 23andMe and get a report on your personal genome (ancestry, health risks) for about $200. Technologies like CRISPR are allowing scientists to edit genes, not just map them. Science writer Carl Zimmer has been following these advances for years, and has recently written a comprehensive book about heredity: She Has Her Mother’s Laugh: The Powers, Perversions, and Potential of Heredity. We talk about how our understanding of heredity has changed over the years, how there is much more to inheritance than simply listing all the information we pass down in our DNA, and what the future might hold in a world where genetic manipulation becomes widespread.”
“Carl Zimmer is a leading science writer whose work regularly appears in The New York Times, National Geographic, The Atlantic, and elsewhere. He is the author of thirteen books, including a university-level textbook on evolutionary biology. He has been awarded prizes and fellowships by the National Academy of Science, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the Guggenheim Foundation, among others. He teaches as an adjunct professor at Yale University.”

Mr. Eccles Presents | Mindscape: Threats to Liberal Democracy

Published on Jul 30, 2018

Blog post (w/ audio player):…

“Both words in the phrase “liberal democracy” carry meaning, and both concepts are under attack around the world. “Democracy” means that the people rule, while “liberal” (in this sense) means that the rights of individuals are protected, even if they’re not part of the majority. Recent years have seen the rise of an authoritarian/populist political movement in many Western democracies, one that scapegoats minorities in the name of the true “will of the people.” Yascha Mounk is someone who has been outspoken from the start about the dangers posed by this movement, and what those of us who support the ideals of liberal democracy can do about it. Among other things, we discuss how likely it is that liberal democracy could ultimately fail even in as stable a country as the United States.”

“Yascha Mounk received his Ph.D. in Government from Harvard University. He is a Lecturer on Government at Harvard, a Senior Fellow in the Political Reform Program at New America, and Executive Director at the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change. His most recent book is The People vs. Democracy: Why Our Freedom Is in Danger and How to Save It.”

Mr. Eccles Presents | The Big Picture: From the Big Bang to the Meaning of Life (Sean Carroll)

“Award-winning scientist and writer Sean Carroll ties together the fundamental laws of physics governing the workings of the cosmos with the everyday human experience we all share.
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The talk, given at the Royal Institution in October 2016, will take us on a breath-taking journey from the origin of the Universe, through the evolution of life and consciousness, to the eternal question of what it all really means.

Dr Sean Carroll is an astrophysicist at the California Institute of Technology. He has written a variety of popular science books along with textbooks and has long been interested in the biggest questions in astronomy: Where does probability come from? How does time work? What is dark matter and dark energy?”

Watch the Q&A: