The Most Interesting People I Know
Emily Anthes on Clones, Cyborgs, and Sado-Masochistic Cows

Emily Anthes on Clones, Cyborgs, and Sado-Masochistic Cows

June 19, 2019

Emily Anthes is a science journalist and writer based in Brooklyn. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Nature, Scientific American, and many other outlets. She has also appeared on far more prominent shows than this one, including NPR’s Fresh Air, PBS News Hour, and BBC Radio. Her 2013 book Frankenstein’s Cat explores the cutting edge of bioengineered animals.

We get into some pretty wild territory this episode (pun intended), covering:

A few chapters from her upcoming book The Great Indoors: what our dust says about ourselves, the ideal workplace, amphibious houses, and humane prisons (if there is such a thing).

We spend the bulk of our conversation on topics from her book Frankenstein’s Cat, including: cloning, the tension between expensive innovations in animal treatment and more cost effective ways of helping animals, whether biodiversity matters, bringing back the wooly mammoths, sado masochistic cows, animal cyborgs, the ethics of animal testing, CRISPR babies, and human animal hybrids

Show notes:

A (questionable) article claiming China has been engaging in decades of eugenics (and a criticism of that article)

Academic paper on the prevalence of Scandinavian pretrial solitary confinement

An article I wrote about the Brooklyn jail with no heat or power

The German man who asked to be eaten (warning: very gross)

Malaika Jabali on the Real Reasons Hillary Lost Wisconsin

Malaika Jabali on the Real Reasons Hillary Lost Wisconsin

June 11, 2019

Malaika Jabali is an attorney, activist, and writer based in New York. She is a contributing writer to Essence Magazine and has had her work published in Current Affairs, Jacobin, the Intercept and elsewhere. She’s written on many topics including police shootings, white nationalism, black radicalism, and hip hop. She has also done excellent reporting on the dramatic declines in black voter turnout in Milwaukee during the 2016 election. Malaika makes a persuasive case that these declines help explain Hillary’s loss. The real reasons for this drop are at odds with the narrative advanced by the Clinton campaign and Democratic establishment. They also chart a path forward for 2020. In addition to this reporting, we discuss: How the DNC fails to learn from its mistakes, the corrosive impact of wealth in politics and music, Bernie and race, Bonnaroo, political labels, Black Panther Fred Hampton, why Joe Biden should stick to eating ice cream, and the mysterious deaths of Ferguson protest organizers.

Note that this episode was recorded before Joe Biden declared his candidacy. Malaika wrote a Jacobin piece about Biden called: Joe Biden is Not a Blue Collar Candidate.

Malaika's articles we discuss:

Hillary Clinton is Still Deeply Confused About What Happened in Wisconsin

The Color of Economic Anxiety

The Sacrifices Of Slain Black Panther Party Leader Fred Hampton And His Family Are A Lesson In Black Love

Other articles and events referenced:

Bernie Sanders on Andrew Gillum and Stacey Abrams: Many Whites Made ‘Uncomfortable’ Voting for Black Candidates

Bernie Sanders Campaign Announces 10 New Women Hires

Bernie Eugene V Debs documentary

New York Magazine article on socialists

The 10 Worst Things Joe Biden Has Done in His Political Career

Will Black Voters Still Love Biden When They Remember Who He Was?

Bill Clinton's Crime Bill Destroyed Lives, and There's No Point Denying It

Joe Biden accidentally tells a man in a wheelchair to stand up

The mysterious deaths of Ferguson activists

Nathan J. Robinson on Persuading People to Join the Left

Nathan J. Robinson on Persuading People to Join the Left

June 6, 2019

Nathan J. Robinson is the founder and editor of Current Affairs, a left-wing print magazine based out of New Orleans. He is also the author of five books on politics. Nathan holds a law degree from Yale and is pursuing a PhD in sociology from Harvard. He also happens to be my favorite active political writer.

In today’s show we cover a lot, including:

Current Affairs, persuading people on politics, understanding the actual positions our political opponents take and engaging with their arguments, the rhetorical strategies employed by the intellectual dark web, the claim that the left is afraid to engage with the actual ideas of the right, giving a platform to odious people, purity policing on the left, 2016 and 2020, whether Bernie should give his millions away and whether anyone should choose to be wealthy, the surprising non overlap of effective altruism and the left, the risks of quantifying values, Bernie on immigration, nationalism, Steven Pinker and the decline of violence, and why we think joining the left is the best way to influence the future in a positive direction.

Show notes:

Nathan’s articles that we discuss:

Why Bernie should give his millions away

Nathan’s spot on prediction of the 2016 election

The immorality of wealth

New York Times propaganda about immigration

The Vietnam War

The media’s hierarchy of victims

Misleading inequality statistics

The real dangerous ideas

Nathan’s EPIC TAKEDOWNS:

Sam Harris

Jordan Peterson

Charles Murray

Steven Pinker

Pete Buttigieg

Ben Shapiro

Other links:

Dave Rubin

Jordan Peterson being interviewed by Cathy Newman

Book If You’re an Egalitarian, How Come You’re So Rich?

Twitter thread on Steven Pinker’s faulty sexual assault sources

My article in Current Affairs on psychedelics

ContraPoints on Ben Shapiro and gender pronouns

My review of The Better Angels of Our Nature

An Effective Altruism take on 2020 candidates

 

Subscribe to Current Affairs

(Cabán for Queens District Attorney Re-release) Chloe Cockburn on Ending Mass Incarceration

(Cabán for Queens District Attorney Re-release) Chloe Cockburn on Ending Mass Incarceration

June 6, 2019

NOTE: This is a re-release of my discussion with Chloe Cockburn. At the beginning of the episode, I make the following endorsement of Tiffany Cabán, a candidate for Queens District Attorney:

On Tuesday June 25th, Queens will hold an election for District Attorney. The DA is the top prosecutor for Queens, a borough of nearly 2.4 million people. If you are inspired by this episode, I would encourage you to support Tiffany Cabán. Cabán is the only public defender running in the race- the other six candidates are career prosecutors and politicians. She is also the only candidate who is refusing corporate PAC money. The other front-runner, Melinda Katz, has taken over $150,000 from real estate players. Chloe doesn’t make endorsements as a matter of policy, but a number of organizations she has directed funding towards have endorsed Caban, including Real Justice PAC, the Working Families Party, and VOCAL New York, a group that organizes formerly incarcerated people. Cabán has also received endorsements from congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, and activists Cynthia Nixon and Zephyr Teachout. This will be a low-turnout election, so each donation, volunteer, and voter will have a big impact on the outcome. Prosecutors are the group most responsible for mass incarceration, but their enormous amount of power and discretion also makes them most able to end it.  

You can learn more and get involved at www.cabanforqueens.com 

Chloe Cockburn leads Open Philanthropy's strategic grant-making aimed at ending mass incarceration in the US. Prior to joining Open Phil, she oversaw state policy reform work for the ACLU’s Campaign to End Mass Incarceration. Previously, Chloe worked with the Vera Institute and the civil rights law firm of Neufeld, Scheck and Brustin, and clerked for Judge Sifton of the Eastern District of New York. Chloe can be found on Twitter at @chloecockburn

We cover:

  • An overview of mass incarceration in the united states
  • Open Philanthropy’s approach to criminal justice reform
  • The importance of criminal justice reform relative to other problems like global poverty and factory farming
  • The role of rehabilitation and deterrence
  • Why we think punishment should play no role

Show notes:

Wage theft vs. all other theft

Books discussed:

The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander

The Collapse of American Criminal Justice by William Stuntz

Chloe Cockburn on ending mass incarceration

Chloe Cockburn on ending mass incarceration

May 23, 2019

Chloe Cockburn leads Open Philanthropy's strategic grant-making aimed at ending mass incarceration in the US. Prior to joining Open Phil, she oversaw state policy reform work for the ACLU’s Campaign to End Mass Incarceration. Previously, Chloe worked with the Vera Institute and the civil rights law firm of Neufeld, Scheck and Brustin, and clerked for Judge Sifton of the Eastern District of New York. Chloe can be found on Twitter at @chloecockburn

We cover:

  • An overview of mass incarceration in the united states
  • Open Philanthropy’s approach to criminal justice reform
  • The importance of criminal justice reform relative to other problems like global poverty and factory farming
  • The role of rehabilitation and deterrence
  • Why we think punishment should play no role

Show notes:

Wage theft vs. all other theft

Books discussed:

The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander

The Collapse of American Criminal Justice by William Stuntz