What If Everyone Were Guaranteed a Paycheck?

Natalie Foster of the Economic Security Project

What if everyone got paid - even if they didn’t have a job? That’s the idea behind universal basic income, or UBI. Its advocates say we need it to protect humans who are losing their jobs to robots — and as one of the best ways to end poverty.

In this episode, Spencer Critchley talks to Natalie Foster of the Economic Security Project, which she started with Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes to advocate for a UBI for all Americans.

How to Communicate for Impact: Lessons from Presidents, CEOs & the Grassroots

Sean Smith of Porter Novelli

We sometimes think that good communicators are just born talented, like a Jefferson or a Lincoln. And it’s probably true that the great ones have a special gift. But it’s also true that anyone can learn to communicate better.

To explore how, Spencer talks to Sean Smith, who has worked on presidential campaigns for Bill Clinton, John Kerry, and Barack Obama, served at the Department of Homeland Security, and is now at global PR firm Porter Novelli.

Why Do We Vote the Way We Do? New Findings Hold Surprises

Professor Mirta Galesic of the Santa Fe Institute

New podcast episode: Spencer Critchley talks to Santa Fe Institute researcher Mirta Galesic about how and why we vote. Mirta says complex social systems — offline and online — may explain a lot about the surprise election of Donald Trump, hyper-partisanship, media echo chambers, and many other aspects of the current state of democracy. For example, as she and her partners found in a just-published study, if you want to know how people will vote in an upcoming election, you may get better information if you ask them how their friends will vote.

North Korea & WMD: How to Think About the Unthinkable

David Schmerler

Spencer talks with David Schmerler, a Middlebury Institute of International Studies researcher who keeps track of North Korea and its weapons of mass destruction.

David says his work can be like a spy novel, or a video game — and in fact he even helped create a Minecraft simulation to help people understand what’s at stake. But knowing the difference between fiction and reality is crucial — for him, and for all of us.

More Than Just Pretty Fish: This Aquarium Is a Force in Ocean Preservation

Ken Peterson of the Monterey Bay Aquarium

The Monterey Bay Aquarium is world famous for otters, sharks, a spectacular setting — even appearances in movies such as "Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home" and "Finding Dory," and TV shows such as "Big Little Lies" and the BBC/PBS series "Big Blue Live." But that’s just the most visible part. The Aquarium is also a powerful force for protecting the oceans through education, advocacy, and the development of young leaders. In this episode of the podcast, Spencer speaks with the Aquarium’s Ken Peterson about the dramatic impact the Aquarium is having in ocean conservation — and the protection of all life on earth.

If We Got the First 5 Years of Life Right, It Would Change Everything

Gabriel Sanchez, Communications Director for First 5 LA.

ON THE PODCAST: If more children got what they need between the ages of 0 and 5, it would mean less crime, less violence, less poverty, and more people having happy, productive lives. Lots of research backs that up. When young children suffer from poor health, neglect, missed learning opportunities, or trauma, they can pay for it for the rest of their lives. So do the rest of us. Many of our biggest social problems originate in troubled childhoods.

In this episode, Spencer talks to Gabriel Sanchez, the Director of Communications for First 5 LA, part of a California-wide organization focused on education, advocacy, and funding in support of the crucial first five years.

We Know How to Reduce Gang Violence — If We're Willing to Act

Jose Arreola, director

ON THE PODCAST: Cities across the United States struggle with gang violence, and the challenge can sometimes seem hopeless. But you may be surprised to learn that we know a lot about how to reduce gang violence — often dramatically. We just have to act on what we know. Our guest this time, José Arreola, is an expert on the subject, from a small but innovative California city: Salinas. The strategy there brings together law enforcement, social service agencies, nonprofits, the faith community, and anyone else who wants to make a difference.

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