Speakers Forum | KUOW News and Information

Speakers Forum

Thursday, 11:00 p.m. - midnight on KUOW

Sarah Vowell, Gloria Steinem, Michael Pollan: you can't make it to every lecture in town but you can hear plenty here. We record talks all over the Puget Sound region, from uber–famous intellectuals to lesser–knowns. From soldiers to urban farmers to humorists; we tape it, then air it on Speakers Forum.

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‘The Science Of Self’ With Jennifer Ouellette

Mar 20, 2014
Jennifer Ouellette's book, "Me, Myself, and Why."

What defines us? What determines our identity?

Jennifer Ouellette explores how eye color, likes and dislikes, and even hatred of cilantro construct our individual identities. She underwent personality tests and genome sequencing to determine the slight variations that set us all apart.

Ouellette is a blogger for "Scientific American" and the author of “Me, Myself, and Why: Searching for the Science of Self.” She spoke at Town Hall on February 25, 2014.

John Heilemann and Mark Halperin's book "Double Down."

John Heilemann and Mark Halperin are the authors of "Game Change," the best-selling story of the 2008 presidential election that was turned into an HBO movie.

In their new book, “Double Down: Game Change 2012," they apply their political knowledge to the 2012 presidential race. They go beyond the headlines to offer an account of a hard-fought campaign on both sides.

They spoke at the First Presbyterian Church on November 12, 2013, in an event sponsored by Town Hall.

ced.berkeley.edu

In a way, Majora Carter’s dog is partially responsible for the existence of a Bronx park. More than a decade ago, Carter was pulled by her dog into a vacant, trashed lot and onto the banks of the Bronx River. After securing a USDA Forest Service program grant, Carter worked with community groups over five years to build the award-winning Hunts Point Riverside Park.

Carter is an urban revitalization strategist who examines the connection between urbanization and the environment. She spoke at the University of Washington’s Kane Hall on January 22, 2014, as part of the UW Graduate School lecture series.

‘Dog Whistle Politics’ With Ian Haney López

Feb 27, 2014
Ian Haney Lopez's book "Dog Whistle Politics."

Dog whistle politics means using language that appeals to one group of people but may have coded meanings to another. For example, one reason Ronald Reagan did so well with white voters was because he told stories of the “welfare queen” – a woman with “eighty names, thirty addresses, [and] twelve Social Security cards [who] is collecting veteran’s benefits on four non-existing deceased husbands. She’s got Medicaid, getting food stamps, and she is collecting welfare under each of her names. Her tax-free cash income is over $150,000.”

Ending Our ‘Big Fat Crisis’ With Deborah Cohen

Feb 20, 2014
Dr. Deborah Cohen's book, “A Big Fat Crisis."

Candy by the cash register, 24-hour drive-throughs and constant food advertisements have all contributed to America’s obesity epidemic. More than one-third of Americans are obese, and natural scientist Dr. Deborah Cohen has some new ideas for solving this problem.

In her new book, “A Big Fat Crisis: The Hidden Influences Behind the Obesity Epidemic — and How We Can End It,” Cohen argues in favor of government regulation of unhealthy foods and stricter restaurant guidelines. She spoke at Town Hall on January 22, 2014.

‘The Boy Who Shot The Sheriff’ With Nancy Bartley

Feb 13, 2014
Nancy Bartley's book "The Boy Who Shot the Sheriff."

In 1931, Asotin County Sheriff John Wormell was shot and killed by a 12-year-old boy. Herbert Niccolls, Jr., was almost hung by a lynch mob before he was sentenced to life in prison.

Journalist Nancy Bartley is the author of “The Boy Who Shot the Sheriff: The Redemption of Herbert Niccolls, Jr.” The book reveals Niccolls’ troubled past and early Washington state history. She spoke at the Elliott Bay Book Company on January 7.

Online Reputation As Currency With Joshua Klein

Feb 6, 2014
Joshua Klein's book "Reputation Economic."

In today’s world: Avis discounts car rentals based on its Twitter followers; Carnival Cruise Lines offers upgrades based on Klout scores; Amazon is this-close to pricing goods based on a customer’s online reputation.

Online reputation is replacing currency, technology Joshua Klein argues. How will this affect our future interactions with each other and with businesses? Klein is the author of “Reputation Economics: Why Who You Know is Worth More Than What You Have.” He spoke at Town Hall on January 9.

Nuclear Weapons Today With Joseph Cirincione

Jan 30, 2014
KUOW Photo/Jeannie Yandel

The Cold War might be over, but the nuclear weapons and the threat of destruction remains.

Joseph Cirincione is the president of Ploughshares Fund, a global security foundation. He’s also the author of “Nuclear Nightmares: Securing the World Before It Is Too Late.”

He spoke at Town Hall on January 14 about today’s most pressing international security issue — and the steps governments are taking to make the world safer.

Inside The Teenage Brain With Daniel Siegel

Jan 23, 2014
Daniel Siegel's book "Brainstorm."

The teenage brain can be a mystery to adults. UCLA psychiatry professor Daniel Siegel debunks myths about adolescence to show how teens learn new skills, connect with others and demonstrate limitless creativity.

Siegel is the author of “Brainstorm: The Power and Purpose of the Teenage Brain.”

He spoke at Town Hall on December 13, 2013, in a lecture presented by ParentMap.

Dave Isay On The 'Ties That Bind'

Jan 16, 2014
Dave Isay's book "Ties That Bind."

Ten years ago, Dave Isay began StoryCorps by building a soundproof booth in Grand Central Terminal. People arrived in pairs to interview each other about their lives.

Today, StoryCorps airs stories weekly on NPR, and more than 30,000 interviews have been recorded and archived in the Library of Congress. Isay has also compiled some of the stories into books. His most recent is called “Ties That Bind: Stories of Love & Gratitude from the First Ten Years of StoryCorps.”

He spoke at the Elliott Bay Book Company on December 17, 2013.

In 1963, one of the most controversial books of the twentieth century was published. “Eichmann in Jerusalem” presented Adolf Eichmann not as a sociopath — but as an ordinary person who simply believed his actions were normal. The author of this book, political theorist Hannah Arendt, refers to this theory as the “banality of evil.” Arendt was a Jew who fled Germany in the early 1930s. 

Yale professor Seyla Benhabib offers an overview of the controversy surrounding Arendt’s book, and what lessons it can teach us about humanity. Benhabib spoke at the University of Washington’s Kane Hall on October 24, 2013 as part of the Graduate School lecture series.

Julia Serano's book "Excluded."

Julia Serano has challenged exclusion in the feminist and queer movements for years. As an activist and trans woman, Serano was shocked to see some people challenge one type of sexism while ignoring — and sometimes furthering — others.

In her new book, "Excluded: Making Feminist and Queer Movements More Inclusive," Serano calls for a new, inclusive approach to battling sexism. She spoke at the Elliott Bay Book Company on December 4.

Why Can’t We All Just Get Along?

Dec 20, 2013
Joshua Greene's book "Moral Tribes."

As humans, we’re designed to work together with certain groups of people while fighting off others. In modern times though, our tribes have been forced closer to others, sparking clashes. What is a practical way to solve these problems? And how can different tribes move forward together?

Psychologist Joshua Greene traces the roots of morality and conflict in his new book, “Moral Tribes: Emotion, Reason, and the Gap Between Us and Them.” He spoke at Town Hall on November 15.

Five Minutes Onstage At Ignite Seattle

Dec 19, 2013
Flickr Photo/Randy Stewart

What would you say if you had five minutes onstage and a captive audience?

That's the premise of Ignite Seattle, a regular worldwide event where presenters get five minutes and twenty PowerPoint slides to get a point across. Speakers at November’s event touched on a variety of topics, including living in two cities, superbugs, and little-known facts about "Hamlet."

Ignite Seattle 22 took place at Town Hall on November 20. The talk was moderated by Seattle Times columnist Monica Guzman.

StoryCorps Love Stories With Dave Isay

Nov 22, 2013
Flickr Photo/las-initially

If there's one tradition that's never faded away in our history as people on this earth, it's storytelling. StoryCorps is a massive oral history project whose mission is to record, preserve and share the stories of Americans from all background and beliefs. It was founded in 2003 by radio documentary producer Dave Isay.

People tell their stories in mobile booths all around the country, and selected stories air nationally on NPR. All of the stories are preserved in the Library of Congress, with the hope that it will one day become a public, searchable database. Isay spoke at Seattle's Town Hall on February 7, 2012.

Dean R. Owen's book "November 22, 1963"

November 22 marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Journalist Dean R. Owen collected interviews from notable civil rights leaders, White House staff, and others connected to Kennedy for his book, “November 22, 1963: Reflections on the Life, Assassination, and Legacy of John F. Kennedy.”

Owen spoke at the Elliott Bay Book Company on September 14. He was joined by Patricia Baillargeon, a contributor to his book who served as assistant to Eleanor Roosevelt.

A History Of Woodrow Wilson With A. Scott Berg

Nov 14, 2013
A. Scott Berg's book "Wilson."

It’s been a century since Woodrow Wilson’s inauguration, and the president has a compelling history. He was 10 years old by the time he learned to read, and yet he ultimately became a scholar and the president of Princeton University.

He led the United States through WWI and helped establish the League of Nations. A serious stroke left his entire left side paralyzed, and his disability became the argument for the 25th Amendment.

A. Scott Berg’s new biography of Wilson came out earlier this fall. Berg spoke on September 18 at Town Hall in a talk moderated by KUOW’s Steve Scher.

Mental Health In China With Michael Phillips

Nov 7, 2013

China is listed as a country with one of the highest rates of suicide, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Mental health services often carry a stigma, though that’s starting to change. The government recently passed the country’s first national mental health law.

Michael Phillips has lived and worked in China since 1985 at the end of the Cultural Revolution. He discussed China’s mental health landscape at the University of Washington’s Kane Hall as part of the graduate school lecture series on October 15.

The Untold Story Of Marvel Comics With Sean Howe

Oct 31, 2013
Sean Howe's book "Marvel Comics: The Untold Story."

Nearly half a century ago, a diverse group of characters began to capture children’s hearts: Spider-Man, Captain America, the Incredible Hulk, Iron Man and the X-Men. The epic Marvel Comics universe has been a massive force in pop culture; inspiring countless books, films and becoming a multi-billion dollar enterprise.

Sean Howe chronicles the rise of this phenomenon in “Marvel Comics: The Untold Story.”  Howe spoke at the Elliott Bay Book Company on October 17, 2012.

Abduction And Escape In Somalia With Amanda Lindhout

Oct 24, 2013
Amanda Lindhout's memoir "A House in the Sky."

As a child, Amanda Lindhout dreamed about the exotic places she saw in National Geographic.

In her twenties, she traveled all over the world — usually alone, always on a shoestring budget with just a backpack. She trekked through more than 50 countries, and in 2008 she traveled to Mogadishu, Somalia, as a freelance journalist where she was abducted. For 15 months, she survived abuse by imagining herself elsewhere. 

After her release, Lindhout founded the Global Enrichment Foundation, a humanitarian organization dedicated to empowering women in developing countries.

Lindhout spoke about her recent memoir “A House in the Sky,” along with her co-author Sara Corbett at Town Hall on September 16.

WordPress And The Future Of Work With Scott Berkun

Oct 17, 2013
Flickr Photo/Armando Torrealba

WordPress.com is the 15th most-trafficked website in the world. It’s also a unique workplace. Everyone works from home, employees use blogs and chat instead of email, and there are no schedules.

Scott Berkun reports on his year at WordPress, including lessons he learned about leadership, productivity, and the evolution of business. He spoke at Town Hall on September 19.

Dean R. Owen's book "November 22, 1963: Reflections on the Life, Assassination, and Legacy of John F. Kennedy"

November 22 marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Journalist Dean R. Owen collected interviews from notable civil rights leaders, White House staff and others connected to Kennedy for his book, “November 22, 1963: Reflections on the Life, Assassination, and Legacy of John F. Kennedy.”

Owen spoke at the Elliott Bay Book Company on September 14, 2013. He was joined by Patricia Baillargeon, a contributor to his book who served as assistant to Eleanor Roosevelt.

Erik Assadourian and Annie Leonard's book "State of the World 2013."

The buzzword “sustainable” has been around for years — so long that it’s nearly begun to lose its meaning. In order to chart a true sustainable future, we need to make changes to our lifestyles that are more drastic than simply composting or bringing reusable bags to the grocery store.

Erik Assadourian and Annie Leonard are co-authors of the book “State of the World 2013: Is Sustainability Still Possible?” They spoke on September 16 at Town Hall. The talk was moderated by Grist founder Chip Giller.

Innovation To The Rescue With Ramez Naam

Sep 26, 2013
Ramez Naam's book, "The Infinite Resource."

With so many global challenges — climate change, overpopulation, natural-resource depletion — Ramez Naam argues that the only solution is innovation. Naam is a computer scientist who spent a decade at Microsoft, where he helped develop early versions of Outlook and Internet Explorer. He’s currently adjunct faculty at Singularity University.

The Future Of Food With Vandana Shiva

Sep 19, 2013
Flickr Photo/Elevate Festival

What is the future of food? How can it sustain us? Vandana Shiva is an environmental and anti-globalization activist. Throughout her career, she’s fought for changes in agriculture practices, among other causes. Her latest book is called “Making Peace with the Earth.” She spoke at Town Hall on September 12, 2013, in a talk sponsored by YES! Magazine.

Is Marriage For White People? With Ralph Richard Banks

Sep 12, 2013
Ralph Richard Banks' book "Is Marriage for White People?"

Though it was once the norm to get hitched right out of high school, marriage has declined throughout American society. This development is the most pronounced among African Americans, and black women are more than three times as likely as white women never to marry. When black women do marry, they are more likely than any other group to wed a man who is less educated or earns less money than they do.

Amy Tan: Creative Minds Do Not Think Alike

Sep 5, 2013
Flickr Photo/David Sifry

Amy Tan’s mother wanted her to become a doctor and a concert pianist. Instead, Tan chose to write fiction, a career that was out of line with her Chinese immigrant parents’ expectations.

Tan’s novels include “The Joy Luck Club,” “The Bonesetter’s Daughter” and “Saving Fish From Drowning,” all of which are New York Times bestsellers.

In this talk, recorded at the University of Washington’s Meany Hall on January 12, 2012, Tan talks about the genesis of creativity, different forms of creative expression and how her own creative process has evolved.

"Cinderella Ate My Daughter" With Peggy Orenstein

Aug 29, 2013
Peggy Orenstein's book "Cinderella Ate My Daughter."

Pink is no longer just a color for young girls — it’s a lifestyle. It celebrates girlhood, but more alarmingly, it fuses girlhood to an obsession with appearance, argues Peggy Orenstein.

Orenstein, an author and the mother of a young girl, was shocked by today’s “princess culture” that forces girls to value material objects and looking pretty over individuality. To research this phenomenon, Orenstein braved toddler beauty pageants, Disneyland and Miley Cyrus concerts, and her resulting book is a tough examination of the girlie-girl culture and its effect on young girls’ identities and futures.

Orenstein spoke at Seattle’s Town Hall on February 15, 2012.

Tom Kizzia's book "Pilgrim's Wilderness."

Alaska journalist Tom Kizzia spent a decade following the Pilgrims, a modern-day Alaska pioneer family. With his wife and fifteen children, Papa Pilgrim masqueraded as a homespun Christian family man. Over time, however, Kizzia reveals that this father was actually a sociopath.

Kizzia spoke at the Elliott Bay Book Company on August 8.

"The Science Of Consequences" With Susan Schneider

Aug 15, 2013

There are consequences to all of our actions — positive and negative, large and small, delayed and immediate.

Biopsychologist Susan Schneider talks about how consequences follow certain scientific principles. She’s the author of “The Science of Consequences: How They Affect Genes, Change the Brain, and Impact Our World.” She spoke at Town Hall on July 11, 2013.

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