Speakers Forum

Thursday, 9:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m. 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Money
Flickr Photos/Kevin Dooley

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. 

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.

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. 

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.

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