Our Top 5

Just getting started with the podcast? Check out our all-time favorite episodes right here.

 
 
Rhiana gunn-wright

Rhiana gunn-wright

#56: What’s It Feel Like To Be Asked to Save The World?

In Episode 56, Quinn & Brian asked: What’s It Feel Like To Be Asked To Save The World?

Our guest is Rhiana Gunn-Wright, who is writing policy and leading the Green New Deal project at New Consensus, which is one of the main think tanks working on the Green New Deal.

The Green New Deal is one of the most important pieces of policy being worked on right now, and it could have wide sweeping effects that impact not just our generation but the future for everyone. Conversations around environmental topics tend to get real political real fast, but Rhiana reminds us that this isn’t a political issue – this is not a political game and millions of people will die. Sorry, no joke there, just a stark reality that too many people are happily ignoring.

 
varshini prakash

varshini prakash

#52: What’s The Deal with the Green New Deal?

In Episode 52, Quinn & Brian ask (using their best Seinfeld impression): What’s The Deal With the Green New Deal?

Our guest is Varshini Prakash, a founder of the Sunrise Movement, a veritable army of young folks fighting to stop climate change and create millions of good jobs in the process. We think Varshini will be, no exaggeration, one of the most instrumental people in American politics (and for the future health of our planet) over the next couple years.

The Sunrise Movement’s army is comprised of ordinary people who are scared about what the climate crisis means for the people and places they love. They aren’t looking to the Left or the Right to solve the problem – they’re looking forward to unite millions of people and reclaim our democracy from the corrupting influence of fossil fuel executive and those who empower them. The cornerstone of this movement is the Green New Deal, a plan that will transform our economy and society at the scale needed to stop the climate crisis. So this summer, thousands of people from Sunrise will descend on one of the first Democratic Presidential debates to #ChangeTheDebate and make sure the #GreenNewDeal is a top issue in the 2020 election.

 
c. brandon ogbunu

c. brandon ogbunu

#55: Are We Thinking About CRISPR All Wrong (& What the Hell is CRISPR)?

In Episode 55, Quinn & Brian ask: Are We Thinking About CRISPR All Wrong (And What The Hell is CRISPR)?

Our guest is C. Brandon Ogbunu, an evolutionary systems biologist working as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Brown University. Although the title is different, his role is almost identical to Brian’s here at INI: He uses experimental evolution, mathematical modeling, and computational biology to better understand the underlying causes and consequences of disease, across scales: from the biophysics of proteins involved in drug resistance to the social determinants underlying disease. In doing so, he aims to develop theory that enriches our understanding of the evolutionary and ecological underpinnings of disease, while contributing to practical solutions for clinical medicine and public health.

So, like Brian, it’s pretty apparent why C. Brandon is vital to the survival of our species. (The similarities are just uncanny, aren’t they?)

We’ve talked about CRISPR before on the show, but if you’re not familiar, here’s a brief and overly simplistic overview of this potentially world-changing technology: it’s scissors for DNA. It’s still a very young technology – it was only patented in 2012 – but it has the potential to do everything from eliminating genetic diseases from our lineage, to making our food supply more efficient and productive, to creating a real-life Jurassic Park. But what can’t we do with it – and perhaps more importantly, what shouldn’t we be doing with it? That’s what we’re going to find out today.

 
ariel waldman

ariel waldman

#40: What Takes A Young Woman from Art School to NASA…& Why Might That Change Everything Forever, for Everyone?

In Episode 40, Quinn & Brian ask: What Would Take A Young Woman From Art school to NASA... And Why Might That Change Everything Forever, For Everyone, For Good?

Our guest is Ariel Waldman, the author of What's It Like in Space? Stories from Astronauts Who've Been There, the founder of Spacehack.org, the global director of Science Hack Day (something she awesomely calls “massively multiplayer science”), and a member of the council for NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts – a program that nurtures radical, science fiction-inspired ideas that could transform future space missions.

Ariel is helping to build a great new future full of exciting ideas, and she does everything in her power to invite others to collaborate and contribute themselves. She’s doing all of the things, and while you don't have to do all of them too, Ariel is an inspiration for all of us to get out there and do SOMETHING! Plus, she is single handedly proving to parents everywhere that you can, in fact, do something with an art degree.

 
"deepsea” dawn wright

"deepsea” dawn wright

#39: Is the Ocean Running Out of Oxygen? Is That Bad?

In Episode 39, Quinn & Brian ask: Is The Ocean Running Out of Oxygen? Is That Bad?

Our guest is Dawn “Deepsea Dawn” Wright, Ph.D., the Chief Scientist of the Environmental Systems Research Institute (AKA Esri) and a Professor of Geography and Oceanography at Oregon State University. She also happens to have the distinction of being the first African-American woman to dive to the ocean floor in the deep submersible ALVIN (which we would totally be up for doing if anyone has a spare submergible chipmunk for us to ride).

Dr. Wright leads efforts to map the entirety of the ocean floor in, essentially, the same detail as the Google Maps app on your phone. This is one of the grandest endeavors that our society has yet to undertake, and it’s not just a good excuse to take a ride in a cool submarine. In many ways, we understand the stars and celestial bodies better than we understand the water that covers the majority of our planet – and we need to understand it if we’re going to protect it and prevent the depletion of oxygen.