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Future Perfect

Vox Media

Future Perfect explores provocative ideas with the potential to radically improve the world. That’s never felt more urgent than it does today. But the truth is that humankind has faced crises throughout our history, leaving behind rich wisdom for us to draw from. In our new limited series, The Way Through, we’re looking to belief systems, philosophies, and wisdom traditions to help us navigate what we’re living through today. In eight episodes hosted by Vox’s Sean Illing and Sigal Samuel, we’ll talk to thought leaders who can help us see a larger context, and perhaps help us find something meaningful, ennobling, and even fortifying in our common experience. Produced by Vox and the Vox Media Podcast Network.

Future Perfect explores provocative ideas with the potential to radically improve the world. That’s never felt more urgent than it does today. But the truth is that humankind has faced crises throughout our history, leaving behind rich wisdom for us to draw from. In our new limited series, The Way Through, we’re looking to belief systems, philosophies, and wisdom traditions to help us navigate what we’re living through today. In eight episodes hosted by Vox’s Sean Illing and Sigal Samuel, we’ll talk to thought leaders who can help us see a larger context, and perhaps help us find something meaningful, ennobling, and even fortifying in our common experience. Produced by Vox and the Vox Media Podcast Network.

Location:

United States

Networks:

Vox Media

Description:

Future Perfect explores provocative ideas with the potential to radically improve the world. That’s never felt more urgent than it does today. But the truth is that humankind has faced crises throughout our history, leaving behind rich wisdom for us to draw from. In our new limited series, The Way Through, we’re looking to belief systems, philosophies, and wisdom traditions to help us navigate what we’re living through today. In eight episodes hosted by Vox’s Sean Illing and Sigal Samuel, we’ll talk to thought leaders who can help us see a larger context, and perhaps help us find something meaningful, ennobling, and even fortifying in our common experience. Produced by Vox and the Vox Media Podcast Network.

Twitter:

@voxdotcom

Language:

English


Episodes

On Buddhism and Blackness

7/1/2020
Co-host Sigal Samuel talks to Valerie Brown, a mindfulness teacher with a racial justice lens, about how to use Buddhist spiritual teachings not just to soothe us as individuals, but to tackle broader inequality, especially racial inequality. Relevant resources: "A New Paradigm For Racial Justice and the Global Pandemic" by Valerie Brown and Marisela Gomez, Order of Interbeing "It’s okay to be doing okay during the pandemic" by Sigal Samuel, Vox "“Our calm is contagious”: How to use...

Duration:01:05:05

Introducing Future Perfect: The Way Through

6/30/2020
We’re living through challenging times: a pandemic, a historic economic collapse, racial injustice, and social unrest. But it would be a mistake to believe that what we’re experiencing is somehow unique in human experience. People have confronted crises for millennia, grappling with the same anguish and anxiety we’re feeling now. And they’ve left us with rich wisdom about how to navigate suffering. There’s comfort in that — and that’s the idea at the heart of a new podcast series from Vox’s...

Duration:00:01:41

Bonus: The power of the President

1/15/2020
The 2020 candidates have some bold ideas to tackle some of our country's biggest problems, like climate change, the opioid crisis, and unaffordable health care. A lot of their proposals have been tried in the past. This season, The Impact has those stories: how the big ideas from 2020 candidates succeeded — or failed — in other places, or at other times. What can Sen. Elizabeth Warren's proposal to fight the opioid crisis learn from what the US did to fight the AIDS epidemic? How did Germany...

Duration:00:28:28

Introducing Reset

10/22/2019
Josiah Zayner is a biohacker who’s famous for, among other things, injecting himself with the gene-editing tool CRISPR. At a time when the technology exists for us to change, or hack, our own DNA, what are the ethics of experimenting on ourselves, and others at home? Arielle Duhaime-Ross has been following Zayner’s story and talks to him about how he’s thinking about human experimentation today. Plus: new efforts to come up with a code of conduct for biohackers, from legislation to...

Duration:00:29:57

The money in the moon

7/17/2019
Fifty years ago this summer, Apollo 11 landed on the moon. Now, NASA’s talking about going back. But is it worth it? We talk to lunar geologists about what we’ve already learned from the first Apollo missions, and what’s left to discover. Then, we take a trip, not through space, but through time—back to a scientific expedition in Greenland almost a century ago. The science done there might have seemed insignificant at the time, but has since proved an important first step towards our current...

Duration:00:30:23

Your PTA vs. equality

7/10/2019
Big philanthropists can threaten democracy. But so can small ones, like you and me. One big example? Parent-teacher associations. We examine how rich PTAs can hoard opportunity and deny resources to poor kids. Dana Goldstein on the Malibu-Santa Monica PTA warsThe harm done by parents who hoard donationsRob Reich on superrich PTAsA Center for American Progress report on PTA donations in rich schoolsThe case that the importance of private donations is overstated Learn more about your ad...

Duration:00:27:28

Move fast and break schools

7/3/2019
When Mark Zuckerberg gave $100 million to Newark’s schools, he raised a big question: Who will decide where this money goes? The answer: Not the people of Newark. We examine why the people of Newark turned against a gift that Zuckerberg and Cory Booker wanted them to celebrate.Dylan Scott explains the Newark giftPatrick Wall at Chartbeat has done some fantastic reporting on the outcomes of the giftDale Russakoff’s history of the gift, and the New Yorker excerptThe Harvard evaluation, and a...

Duration:00:26:19

Who's afraid of killer robots?

6/26/2019
Most charity is focused on the near term. So what happens when you try to only give to charities that will help humans a long time from now — not just in 100 years, but in a million years? To find out, we talk to Jaan Tallinn, a founding engineer of Skype who is trying to force the world to take threats to the future, threats like AI, seriously.Tallinn explains his concern with AI at an effective altruism conferenceKelsey Piper explains the risks of unconstrained AIAI experts on when they...

Duration:00:29:57

Donors from beyond the grave

6/19/2019
Billions of dollars are donated every year from the fortunes of people who’ve died but are using their wills to influence our world from beyond the grave. Some of these zombie donors left instructions that are racist, classist, or just silly. So how do we free ourselves from the grip of the undead?Ray’s book: Immortality and the Law: The Rising Power of the American DeadThe case against listening to the wishes of the dead“The Bittersweet Legacy of the Buck Trust”The Baconsfield Park case,...

Duration:00:31:25

Sim City, Wisconsin

6/12/2019
Diane Hendricks is the richest self-made woman in America, and she has used her fortune to remake the city of Beloit, Wisconsin. But she’s also used her riches to bankroll former Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, and to crush unions in the state. In this episode: How do we reconcile Beloiters’ love for her with her broader effects on the state?Bran Lichtenstein spends a fair amount of time with Diane Hendricks in his documentary As Goes JanesvilleAlexandra Stevenson’s profile of Diane...

Duration:00:21:04

A foundation-funded atrocity

6/5/2019
In the 1950s and ’60s, Western foundations like Ford and Rockefeller pushed hard to control India's population by sterilizing its people. In 1975, India's government expanded that disturbing practice into a massive atrocity. How did this happen — and how can we prevent it from happening again?Gyan Prakash’s history of the emergencyMatthew Connelly’s history of population controlEmma Tarlo has a book of narratives from the EmergencySavina Balasubramanian explains the focus on sterilizing men...

Duration:00:31:29

He bought the law

5/29/2019
John M. Olin isn’t a household name, but his foundation helped create the Federalist Society, turned federal judges against environmental protection and unions, and bankrolled conservative polemicists like Dinesh D’Souza. How did one small foundation do so much to advance conservatism?Jane Mayer’s history of the Olin FoundationMayer’s full book Dark MoneyJames Piereson remembers his time as president of the Olin FoundationJohn Miller’s sympathetic history of the Olin FoundationSteve Teles on...

Duration:00:33:32

Gilded Rage

5/22/2019
To put our new age of extreme inequality in perspective, we look back at Andrew Carnegie, who gave America a huge number of libraries so they’d forgive him for his brutal steel mills. We ask: Is the same thing happening in 2019?Richard White’s history of the Gilded Age, and a short review hitting the main pointsA 1911 book examining the conditions of Carnegie’s steel millsThe staggering death rates at Carnegie’s millsHamlin Garland’s visit to the Homestead Mill Carnegie’s “The Gospel of...

Duration:00:24:52

Season 2: Philanthropy vs. Democracy

5/16/2019
On the second season of Future Perfect: how philanthropy clashes with democracy. First episode drops Wednesday, May 22nd. Subscribe on your favorite podcast app! Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Duration:00:01:14

How to pick a career that counts

11/28/2018
What do you want to be when you grow up? Do you want to make a lot of money, or follow your bliss, even if it’s not lucrative? The group 80,000 Hours has a different suggestion: Think of your career as a chance to do a ton of good, and try to find the job that lets you help the most people you can. It’s a simple rule, but, as Julia Wise and Jeff Kaufman have found, it’s anything but simple in practice. ––– Further reading: 80,000 Hours’s career guide Jeff Kaufman’s blog, where he breaks down...

Duration:00:19:54

How to save a species (if you really want to)

11/21/2018
The black-footed ferret was thought extinct — until a Wyoming rancher rediscovered it, in 1981. Since then, conservation workers have been doggedly attempting to save the ferret, only to run into big problems like, oh, the literal bubonic plague. We’re still spending millions every year attempting, hope against hope, to save the ferrets. How much should we spend to save an endangered species — and is it ever time to give up? ––– Further reading: The Black-Footed Ferret Conservation Center in...

Duration:00:21:28

How to be a better carnivore

11/14/2018
Most fish die by slowly suffocating to death on the deck of a boat, struggling for air. That’s horrendously cruel, but it also makes for acidic, rubbery, smelly fish. There’s another way: ikejime, a Japanese method of fish slaughter where the fish is stabbed in the skull and dies instantly with a minimum of pain. That’s good for the animals — and, our guest Andrew Tsui argues, it makes for much tastier food. ––– Further reading: Cat Ferguson’s feature in Topic on Andrew Tsui and ikejime...

Duration:00:23:34

How to rethink America's borders

11/7/2018
The most reliable, best-documented way to lift someone in a poor country out of poverty? Let them come to the US (or another rich country). That’s the argument of Fabio Rojas, a self-described advocate of open borders. That idea is often used as a punching bag by immigration opponents, but Rojas argues it could dramatically reduce poverty without costing Americans jobs. ––– Further reading: Fabio Rojas’s “simplified argument” for open borders Rojas’s three-part series on how to achieve open...

Duration:00:23:15

How to cool the planet with a fake volcano

10/31/2018
When volcanoes erupt, they spray particles into the atmosphere that cool the planet for a bit. As we get closer and closer to truly catastrophic global warming, more and more scientists are wondering whether a similar approach, called solar geoengineering, could be necessary. If it works, solar geoengineering could buy us some time to cut emissions and get our act together. If it doesn’t, the climate could be irreparably disrupted. No pressure. ––– Further reading: Brad Plumer explains the...

Duration:00:21:45

How our drinking water could help prevent suicide

10/24/2018
Lithium is a potent drug used to treat bipolar disorder, but it’s also the third element in the periodic table, and you can find tiny amounts in most drinking water. Scientists have discovered something remarkable: In areas where the tap water has more lithium, fewer people seem to die by suicide. That raises a big question: Should we put small amounts of lithium in the drinking water? Can we afford not to? ––– Further reading: Anna Fels’s op-ed “Should We All Take a Bit of Lithium?” in the...

Duration:00:19:21