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Free Forum Q&A - JANE McGONIGAL REALITY IS BROKEN How Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World
October 22, 2014 12:25 AM PDT
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Originally aired: 01-22-12

There are 183 million active video gamers in the US, and the average young person will spend 10,000 hours gaming by the age of 21. There are now more than five million "extreme" gamers" in the US who play an average of 45 hours a week.

According to game designer JANE McGONIGAL, this is because videogames are increasingly fulfilling genuine human needs. But she goes way beyond that, in her first book, REALITY IS BROKEN -- now out in paperback - she suggests we can use the lessons of game design to fix what is wrong with the real world.
Reality is Broken, Jane McGonigal
Drawing on positive psychology, cognitive science, and sociology, she shows how game designers have hit on core truths about what makes us happy so that videogames consistently provide the exhilarating rewards, stimulating challenges, and epic victories that are so often lacking in the real world.

I recommend Reality Is Broken to people who have no interest in games. Separate from what it says about the current reality and possible future of games, the book is an excellent primer on what we have learned - and most people don't know - about happiness, learning, productivity and growth.

Free Forum Q&A - DAVID KIRP, author, KIDS FIRST: Five Big Ideas For Transforming Children's Lives And America's Future
October 08, 2014 10:39 PM PDT
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originally aired 7-24-2011

What's good enough for a child you love? What's good enough parenting? Good enough early education? Good enough healthcare? Good enough schools?

DAVID KIRP, envisions a national effort to support and develop our children based on a simple "Golden Rule:" Every child deserves what's good enough for a child you love.
David Kirp, Kids First
In KIDS FIRST, he offers on-the-ground accounts of initiatives that work - and that could affordably be implemented in communities everywhere - to achieve five key priorities:
1) strong support for new parents
2) high-quality early education
3) linking schools and communities to improve what both offer children
4) giving all kids access to a caring and stable adult mentor
5) providing kids a nest egg to help pay for college or kick-start a career.Where do you think the most important changes need to take place to turn things around in terms of big issues like the economy, the environment, and social justice?

His latest book, Improbable Scholars: The Rebirth of a Great American School System and a Strategy for America's Schools, was named outstanding book of 2013 by the American Education Research Association. The book chronicles how an urban school district has brought poor Latino immigrant children, many of them undocumented, into the education mainstream.

Free Forum Q&A - FRANCES MOORE LAPPE ECO-MIND: Changing The Way We Think To Create The World We Want
October 02, 2014 10:57 PM PDT
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Originally aired 12-30-2012

Where do you think the most important changes need to take place to turn things around in terms of big issues like the economy, the environment, and social justice?
Some say climate change is the critical global issue so it must be clean energy. Others say nothing will make as much difference for the world's people as educating and empowering girls and women. Closer to home, a case can be made that public financing of political campaigns would have the most impact on all issues by making it possible for the power of the United States to become a greater force for good.
All good answers, but this week's guest gives another answer - and its one that I share. Frances Moore Lappe, who has herself been a force for good at least since the publication of the phenomenal best-seller Diet for a Small Planet in 1971, says that the greatest impact would follow from changing our minds.

In her 18th book, ECOMIND: CHANGING THE WAY WE THINK, TO CREATE THE WORLD WE WANT, Lappé argues that much of what is wrong with the world, from eroding soil to eroding democracies, results from ways of thinking that are out of sync with human nature and nature's rhythms. Drawing on the latest research in climate studies, anthropology, and neuroscience, she weaves her analysis together with stories of real people the world over, who, having shifted some basic thought patterns, now shift the balance of power in our world. Chapter-by-chapter, Lappé takes us from "thought trap" to "thought leap," and with each shift, challenges become opportunities.

Free Forum Q&A- SHERRY TURKLE director, MIT Initiative on Technology & the Self author, ALONE TOGETHER: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other
August 11, 2014 11:09 PM PDT
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originally aired 02-13-2011

How much technology do you use? Email, texting, facebook, twitter, second life, etc. Has it freed you up, given you more time, or has it added new demands to your life that actually make you feel you have less time? If you're using social media regularly, do you feel more connected with your friends and family or less?
Clinical psychologist SHERRY TURKLE has been studying our relationship with technology for most of her career, and has written several books about what she's experienced and learned. Of her newest, ALONE TOGETHER, she has said, "This is a book of repentance. I have been studying computers and people for thirty years. I didn't see several important things. I got some important things wrong." I was already interested in talking to her, but that really grabbed my attention. I'm interested in people, maybe especially experts, who are willing to change their minds.

Turkle writes: "Technology promises to let us do anything from anywhere with anyone. But it drains us as we try to do everything everywhere. We begin to feel overwhelmed and depleted by the lives technology makes possible. We may be free to work from anywhere, but we are also prone to being lonely everywhere. In a surprising twist, relentless connection leads to a new solitude. We turn to technology to fill the void, but as technology ramps up, our emotional lives ramp down."

Free Forum Q&A- DAN PALLOTTA CHARITY CASE: How the Non-Profit Community Can Stand Up for Itself and Really Change the World
August 11, 2014 11:04 PM PDT
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originally aired 04-14-2013

When someone approaches you to donate to a non-profit, how many of you want to know how much of of its money goes to salaries and fund-raising and how much goes to actual program services? If you're like most people, that question probably figures into your decision.

I have factored that question of how much is spent on overhead into my charitable giving. But is it a valid or wise way to make such decisions? While it may be helpful, according to DAN PALLOTTA, much more important is how well they serve their mission and how good a job they're doing solving the problems you care about.
In his earlier book, UNCHARITABLE, Pallotta, who has a record of helping to raise hundreds of millions of dollars for causes, made the case that the way we think about non-profits and the rules we set for them, makes it harder for them to succeed on a truly significant scale. Too many nonprofits, he says, are rewarded for how little they spend -- not for what they get done. Instead of equating frugality with morality, he asks us to start rewarding charities for big goals and big accomplishments (even if that comes with big expenses). Where other folks suggest ways to optimize performance inside the existing paradigm, UNCHARITABLE suggests that the paradigm itself is the problem and calls into question our fundamental beliefs about charity.

With a new book, CHARITY CASE: How the Non-Profit community Can Stand Up for Itself and Really Change the World and in a recent TED talk, he says "My goal ... is to fundamentally transform the way the public thinks about charity within 10 years."

Free Forum Q&A: JEREMY SCAHILL DIRTY WARS The World is a Battlefield Best-selling book, Oscar-nominated film Founding Editor, THE INTERCEPT with Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras
August 11, 2014 10:51 PM PDT
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originally aired 05-05-2013

You're busy trying to make ends meet. The news is filled with celebrity gossip, natural and corporate disasters, the latest mass homicides, and dysfunctional politics. How much do you know about the covert wars the US is involved in around the globe?
JEREMY SCAHILL'S best-selling book and Oscar-nominated documentary, DIRTY WARS, begins as an investigation into a US night raid gone terribly wrong in a remote corner of Afghanistan, and quickly transforms into a high-stakes global investigation into the rise of JSOC, Joint Special Operations Command, the most secret and elite fighting force in U.S. history. In military jargon, JSOC teams "find, fix and finish" their targets, who are selected through a secret process. No target is off limits for the "kill list," including U.S. citizens.

DIRTY WARS reveals covert operations unknown to the public and carried out across the globe by men who do not exist on paper and will never appear before Congress, raising questions about freedom and democracy, war and justice, morality and politics. No matter how little you know, these actions are being done in your name.

Free Forum Q&A: MARSHALL GANZ Organized with United Farmworkers for 16 years Led Obama grassroots in 2008 campaign, Teaches Public Narrative at Harvard on the Unique Power of Story and Narrative
July 23, 2014 09:27 AM PDT
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originally aired 03-03-2012

In the early 1960s, MARSHALL GANZ dropped out of Harvard to join the Civil Rights Movement in Mississippi. He then spent 16 years working with César Chávez and the United Farm Workers. He returned to Harvard in the 1990's, graduated, earned his Ph.D., and now teaches the power of public narrative at the Kennedy School.
Marshall Ganz
During Barack Obama's 2008 presidential campaign, he was lead organizer of the grassroots for the former community organizer. GANZ offers a valuable perspective on the Occupy/99% movement.

Free Forum Q&A: SARA DAVIDSON, author of THE DECEMBER PROJECT: An Extraordinary Rabbi and a Skeptical Seeker Take Aim at Our Greatest Mystery
July 18, 2014 04:53 PM PDT
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Originally Aired: 03/16/14

We all deal day to day with a lot of questions and a lot of fears – around work, money, health, politcs, relationships. And at some point, we will all deal with the final fears and the final questions – fear of death and questions about what it means and what if anything comes after.

At his request, today’s guest, SARA DAVIDSON met every Friday for two years with 89-year-old RABBI ZALMAN SHACHTER-SHALOMI, the iconic founder of the Jewish Renewal movment, to discuss what he calls THE DECEMBER PROJECT. “When you can feel in your cells that you’re coming to the end of your tour of duty,” in tHe rabbi’s words, “what is the spiritual work of this time, how do we prepare for the mystery?”

Davidson, who describes herself as having a seeker’s heart and a skeptic’s mind, feared death would be a complete annihilation, while Reb Zalman felt certain that “something continues.” He didn’t want to convince her of anything, but to loosen her mind.” Through their talks, he wanted to help people “not freak out about dying,” and enable them to have a more heightened and grateful life.
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July 04, 2014 03:08 PM PDT
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Originally aired 07-28-2013

I say that in a past life I worked in the entertainment industry, comedy in particular. I co-wrote and co-produced novelty records THE HOMECOMING QUEEN'S GOT A GUN, I LIKE EM BIG AND STUPID and EARTH GIRLS ARE EASY all performed by Julie Brown. I directed comic music videos for some of these songs, and ended up co-writing and co-producing the film EARTH GIRLS ARE EASY. I've produced and hosted this show since 1996 and I consult and speak primarily to non-profits and foundations, working with them on communications, encouraging them to tell better stories.
My transition seems mild compared with that of this week's guest, TOM SHADYAC, whose phenomenally successful writing/directing/producing career included the hits
ACE VENTURA: PET DETECTIVE, LIAR LIAR, THE NUTTY PROFESSOR, BRUCE ALMIGHTY, and PATCH ADAMS . His films grossed nearly $2 billion and earned him four People's Choice awards and a ton of money.

His 2011 documentary, I AM recounts what happened after a cycling accident left him incapacitated for months. Though he ultimately recovered, he emerged a changed man. In the film, Shadyac meets with a variety of thinkers and doers including David Suzuki, Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn, and Archbishop Desmond Tutu - asking what's wrong with society and what can we do make things better?

Tom wrote a book, LIFE'S OPERATING MANUAL, which asks whether life comes with a set of guidelines? If so, what are they? And finally, do we have the courage to pay attention and to change? Rather than spoil the plot by telling you his answers, join us for the conversation.

Free Forum Q&A: ELAINE PAGELS MacArthur and National Book Award winner REVELATIONS: Visions, Prophesy, and Politics in the Book of Revelations
June 25, 2014 03:39 PM PDT
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