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 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.

"Revolutionary Summer" With Historian Joseph Ellis

Aug 8, 2013
Joseph Ellis' book "Revolutionary Summer."

In the summer of 1776, 13 colonies seceded from the British Empire. The British sent the largest armada across the Atlantic to quell the rebellion; and a revolution begans.

Historian Joseph Ellis offers a new perspective on the Revolutionary War in his latest book, “Revolutionary Summer: The Birth of American Independence.” Ellis spoke at Town Hall on July 10.

Bill Kibben's book "The End of Nature"

In 1989, Bill McKibben wrote what is considered the first book on climate change for a general audience. More than two decades after “The End of Nature,” McKibben is still advocating for the environment. He’s been a main player in the fight to stop the Keystone Pipeline and he focuses this talk on climate change and the Northwest.

He spoke at the Queen Anne United Methodist Church on April 28 as part of The Well lecture series.

From Wikipedia.

When Benjamin Franklin (and friends) brought the ideals of the Enlightenment to a nascent United States, he laid the foundation for the political revolution that would follow. Historian Jonathan Lyons spoke about the founding father and the country’s intellectual coming-of-age in this talk recorded at Town Hall on June 27.

Environmental Debt With Amy Larkin

Jul 18, 2013
Flickr Photo/rlpporch

Environmental debt — global warming, extreme weather, pollution — is weakening the global economy. Amy Larkin, formerly of Greenpeace, discusses how the natural world and business can coexist. She spoke at the Elliott Bay Book Company on July 1.

Defeating Bullying With Emily Bazelon

Jul 11, 2013
Flickr Photo/J_O_I_D

Bullying isn’t new, but the internet and social media have morphed it into something much more sinister. It’s too easy to post a cruel message or photo without considering the consequences. Emily Bazelon talks about the devastating consequences of bullying, as well as what parents and educators can do to promote empathy and understanding. She spoke with Dan Savage at Town Hall on April 29.

You sang it in elementary school, summer camp or church, and you probably still remember the lyrics. Woody Guthrie’s “This Land Is Your Land” is arguably the most iconic American folk song, though history has glossed over the political messages hidden in some of the seldom-sung verses. Robert Santelli unravels the song in this talk recorded at the Elliott Bay Book Company on May 23, 2012.

Annalee Newitz's book "Scatter, Adapt, and Remember."

We’re long overdue for a catastrophic disaster based on studies of Earth’s past. Scary? It probably should be, considering that during our most recent disasters, more than 75 percent of the planet’s species died out. 

Annalee Newitz is a journalist and editor of the science website i09.com. She’s also the author of “Scatter, Adapt, and Remember: How Humans Will Survive a Mass Extinction.” Annalee Newitz talks about how, even though catastrophe may be inevitable, humanity's chances for survival are better now than ever. She spoke at Seattle’s Town Hall on May 22.

Five Minutes Onstage At Ignite Seattle

Jun 20, 2013
Flickr Photo/Randy Stewart

Five minutes onstage. What would you say?

That's the premise of Ignite Seattle, a regular worldwide event where presenters get five minutes to get a point across. Speakers at May’s event touched on a variety of topics, including busking in Pike Place Market, stalking strangers online and teaching children how to fail.

Ignite Seattle 20 took place at Town Hall on May 16. The talk was moderated by Seattle Times columnist Monica Guzman.

"The Autistic Brain" With Temple Grandin

Jun 13, 2013
Temple Grandin's book "The Autistic Brain."

Autism is a developmental disorder characterized by social impairment, communication difficulties, repetitive interests or behaviors, and occasional cognitive delays. The number of kids with autism in the United States has skyrocketed in recent years. It's estimated that one in 88 children currently has autism.

Temple Grandin is an activist for autism rights. In her latest book, she talks about genetic research that links brain science and behavior, as well as sharing her own experiences growing up with autism. She spoke at Seattle’s Town Hall on May 20, 2013.

The Tourism Boom With Elizabeth Becker

Jun 6, 2013
Elizabeth Becker's book "Overbooked."

 Tourism is a $6.5 trillion industry globally. But vacationing in places like Paris and Venice and Cambodia leaves a mark. In her new book "Overbooked," journalist Elizabeth Becker explores the dark side of tourism: the environmental impact, damage to cultural sites and employees who work long hours for low wages. She spoke at Seattle’s Town Hall May 15, 2013.

All About Grammar

May 30, 2013
Courtesy of the University of Washington

Don’t use the passive voice.

Never end a sentence with a preposition.

The way we teach grammar is scandalous, according to linguist Geoffrey Pullum. We nitpick too much he says, and we rely too much on old rules that have little application today. Pullum spoke about how we can fix this in a talk recorded at the University of Washington’s Kane Hall on February 12, 2013.

Why The Color Pink Calms Prison Inmates With Adam Alter

May 23, 2013
Adam Alter's book "Drunk Tank Pink."

Pepto-Bismol pink is a color sometimes used in prisons to calm inmates. People with names that start with K are more likely to donate to victims of Hurricane Katrina than Hurricane Rita. Professional cyclists pedal faster when people are watching.

A variety of external factors influence our thoughts, feelings, and decisions, says Adam Alter, a professor of psychology at NYU and the author of “Drunk Tank Pink: And Other Unexpected Forces that Shape How We Think, Feel, and Behave.”

He spoke about the degree to which our environment shapes who we are at Seattle’s Town Hall on April 2, 2013.

The Promise And Perils Of Interfaith Marriage

May 16, 2013

She wanted their daughter to get a nice Catholic education. He wanted to send her to learn about Scientology on a cruise ship. Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise are a very public example of interfaith marriage, but they represent some trends Naomi Schaefer Riley discusses in her new book, “’Til Faith Do Us Part: How Interfaith Marriage is Transforming America.”

Most notably, 45 percent of marriages in the United States are between people of different religions — and these unions can often lead to unhappiness. By conducting interviews with married (and divorced) couples, Riley explores why interfaith couples tend to be less happy than others and why certain combinations are more likely to lead to failed marriages. She spoke at Seattle’s Town Hall on April 10, 2013.

Hooked On Salt, Sugar And Fat With Michael Moss

May 9, 2013

Every year, the average American eats 70 pounds of sugar. The amounts of salt and fat are equally staggering. The processed-food industry thrives, raking in $1 trillion a year. Meanwhile, the costs to our health include obesity and diabetes.

Michael Moss talks about how companies use salt, sugar and fat to get us addicted to their products, and what we can do to fight back. He spoke at Seattle’s Town Hall on March 15, 2013. The talk was moderated by Chip Giller, president and founder of Grist.

"The Vatican Diaries" With John Thavis

May 2, 2013

What happens behind the scenes at the Vatican? Journalist John Thavis has covered the Vatican for almost 30 years, and he hopes to offer insight into its power and politics in his new book, “The Vatican Diaries.”

Thavis was in Rome when Pope Benedict XVI resigned and when Pope Francis was elected. He spoke at the Elliott Bay Book Company on April 7, 2013.

Inside The Brains Of Animals

Apr 25, 2013
Sad chimp
Flickr Photo/Tom Holbrook

Some animals display very human behaviors: chimps grieve, rats love to be tickled, and moths remember living as caterpillars.

Science journalist Virginia Morell explores the complex minds of animals in her new book, "Animal Wise." From field sites to laboratories, Morell shows how animal cognition research has evolved, and how animals possess traits many feel are unique to humans.

She spoke at the Elliott Bay Book Company on April 8, 2013.

Rethinking The Idea Of Money

Apr 18, 2013

In the book "Rethinking Money," economist Bernard Lietaer and journalist Jacqui Dunne trace the beginnings of our monetary system, including its serious problems and hope for the future.

Peter Blair Henry
Courtesy/NYU

A handful of third-world countries have turned themselves around from numerous hardships in the past 30 years: China rose from seemingly hopeless poverty, Mexico bounced back from the Third World Debt Crisis, Brazil overcame hyperinflation. 

The Science Of Competition

Apr 4, 2013
Chess
Flickr Photo/Mary Beth Griffo Rigby

Can we all become more competitive? Journalists Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman argue yes. In their new book, "Top Dog," they use science to analyze the drive to win in each of us, including how to tip the scales in your favor.

Myths About Hearing Loss, And What You Can Do About It

Mar 28, 2013
Shouting Won't Help
Courtesy/Sarah Crichton Books

Katherine Bouton was going deaf by age 30. During meetings at The New York Times, where she was a section editor, she had trouble hearing what her colleagues were saying during meetings. Shouting, she says, didn't help her hear any better. 

“Fighting To Put Students First” With Michelle Rhee

Mar 21, 2013
Michelle Rhee
Flickr photo/The National Academy Of Sciences

As the chancellor of Washington, DC, public schools in 2007, implemented a variety of changes that made her a controversial figure in the education reform movement.

Madeline Albright
AP Photo/Gurinder Osan

Madeleine Albright was the first woman to hold the Secretary of State position for former president Bill Clinton. She became known as an advocate for peace in the Middle East and for bringing war criminals to justice. In her new memoir, she chronicles her traumatic early life in Prague during the Nazi occupation, through the end of World War II and the beginning of the Cold War.

Five Minutes Onstage At Ignite Seattle

Mar 7, 2013
Flickr Photo/Randy Stewart

If you had five minutes on stage, what would you say? That's the premise of Ignite Seattle, a regular worldwide event where presenters get five minutes and 20 slides to get a point across. Speakers at this month's event touch on a variety of topics, including viral videos, online dating and how to give up cheese. Ignite Seattle 19 took place at Town Hall on February 20, 2013.

The talk was moderated by The Seattle Times columnist Monica Guzman.

New Ways To Educate With Salman Khan

Feb 28, 2013
Salman Khan
Photo Courtesy/Wikipedia

    

Khan Academy started when Salman Khan posted a video online to help his 12-year-old cousin pass a math test. Today, Khan has made more than 3,000 videos about topics like organic chemistry and photosynthesis. Khan's videos have been viewed more than 200 million times, and in his new book he talks about how human interaction could be the root to solving America's education crisis.

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