Massive Change Radio was broadcast on the University of Toronto’s CIUT 89.5 FM from September 2003 to June 2004. Created and hosted by Jennifer Leonard, co-author with Bruce Mau of Massive Change (Phaidon Press, 2004) and former Institute without Boundaries team member, the entire season of multidisciplinary interviews is archived for download.
Carol Burns. February 24, 2004.
Carol Burns is a principal at Taylor & Burns Architects in Boston and a Housing Fellow at the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies. She has been a member of the faculty at the Harvard Design School for 12 years, and in 1999 was awarded by Harvard students with the teaching prize. She speaks about the short but volatile history of manufactured housing, places it in the context of site specificity and chaos theory (using Karl Popper’s notions of “clocklike” and “cloudlike” systems), and projects the profession of architecture into a sustainable future.
Michael McDonough. November 18, 2003.
Award-winning architect and industrial designer Michael McDonough speaks about his e-House 2000, the confluence of high-tech and sustainable materials, and designing homes that behave more like humans. In urban planning, he urges architects to consider the implications beyond the singular, to embrace density, and go green.
Hernando de Soto. October 21, 2003.
Peruvian economist Hernando de Soto, President of the ILD and best-selling author of The Mystery of Capital: Why Capitalism Triumphs in the West and Fails Everywhere Else, discusses the origin of capital, the capitalist system, and how it has helped and hindered developing and post-communist nations. De Soto, who was recently inducted into the International Democracy Hall of Fame, says the function of a market economy is to exchange but, startlingly, five-sixths of the global population is outside of the capitalist game due to legal systems that do not grant property rights over assets. De Soto says, “Until the system gives everyone the same break, it’s very hard to tolerate the Bill Gates of the world.”
Dean Kamen. September 30, 2003.
Dean Kamen is the director of DEKA and FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), a program to inspire kids to become scientists, engineers, or inventors. Dean is best known as the inventor of the Segway Human Transporter. He describes the magic of the gyroscope technology used in the Segway and his other life-changing innovations: the stair-climbing iBOT and the portable kidney dialysis machine.
Jaime Lerner. May 26, 2004 (pre-recorded).
Jaime Lerner is an architect, urban planner, and United Nations consultant for urban issues. He is the president of the Union of International Architects (UIA) and the former (three-time) mayor of Curitiba, Brazil, and (two-time) governor of the state of Paranà, Brazil. Lerner led the urban revolution that put Curitiba and, most notably, its public transit system on the world map. His three operating principles: keep it simple, begin it now, and don’t rush to have all the answers. In 2003, he published his first book, Urban Acupuncture.
Robert Freling. March 16, 2004.
Robert Freling is the Executive Director of The Solar Electric Light Fund (SELF). He talks about the power of photovoltaics and the solar rural electrification programs he was responsible for developing and coordinating in Brazil, China, Indonesia, South Africa, and in the Solomon Islands. He says it’s unacceptable that two billion people on this planet still live without electricity - and turning this around is possible. We all need to participate in the energy revolution that’s afoot and ensure there’s the political will to support it.
Richard Smalley. November 25, 2003.
Rick Smalley is a Nobel prize-winning chemist and the director of the Center for Nanoscale Science and Technology at Rice University. He explains his work with the C60 molecule (buckminsterfullerene) and, in particular, its tubular form: the single-walled carbon nanotube, which might be the answer to our current energy challenge. In cooperation with a much needed Apollo-style program in the physical sciences, the nanotubes have potential to one day create a global power grid.
Lawrence Lessig. January 20, 2004.
WIRED magazine wrote this about Lawrence Lessig in the Fall of 2002: “In the realm of Internet politics and law, no one even approaches Lessig’s stature. He is the chief theorist, the most respected mind, the most passionate speechifier. He is cyberlaw.” He talks on MC Radio about the current war on free code and free culture, the Creative Commons, his books Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace and The Future of Ideas, and how rearchitecting the Net is destroying innovation and creativity.
Ian Foster. December 9, 2003.
Ian Foster is the Associate Director of the Mathematics and Computer Science Division at Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois. He talks about the evolving nature of grid computing to use large-scale networks, standard protocols, languages, and devices to provide on-demand computing. Ian explains his work with The Globus Project, its current applications - from large-scale mapping projects at NASA to the Sloan Digital Sky survey - and how companies like IBM, Hewlett Packard and Sun are already supporting these services.
Stewart Brand. March 2, 2004.
Stewart Brand is the President of the Long Now Foundation, co-founder of the All Species Inventory and the Long Bets Foundation, works quarter-time with the Global Business Network, and serves as a trustee with the Santa Fe Institute. He speaks in this interview about the Whole Earth Catalog, happily discovers he’s a “biomimic” and contemplates aloud the future of war. Brand’s books include The Media Lab: Inventing the Future at MIT and How Buildings Learn: What Happens After They’re Built. Join his current project: help social entrepreneur George Soros get nominated for a Nobel Prize! Tune in for details.
Felice Frankel. February 10, 2004.
Felice Frankel is a science photographer, author (Envisioning Science and On the Surface of Things, with George Whitesides of Harvard) and research scientist at MIT. She collaborates with scientists to create compelling research images to better communicate ideas in science to the general public and has received awards from many national organizations including the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Science Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts. She talks about still photography in a world of moving images, digital alteration of images, and the continuum - from nano to macro - along which scientific instruments have enabled the visualization of the invisible.
Hazel Henderson. September 9, 2003.
Futurist Hazel Henderson talks about her involvement in Brazil at the World’s Social Forum in Porto Alegre and her time spent with Buckminster Fuller, Jonas Salk and Marshall McLuhan. Hazel predicts worldwide cooperation and the shift afoot towards the Age of Light - powered by fuel cells, hydrogen, photovoltaics, and fibre optics. She discusses The Ethical Marketplace, via3.net (a barter and exchange service for NGOs and her “four-layer cake with icing.”
Philip Ball. March 9, 2004.
Philip Ball is a freelance science writer and a Consultant Editor for Nature. He is the author of several popular books on science, including works on the nature of water, pattern formation in the natural world, colour in art, and the science of social and political philosophy. He speaks in this interview about materials as superheroes - superlight, supersmart, supersmall and superb! Each is now “made to measure” for desired outcome. Materials are no longer passive objects; materials are now active subjects.
Janine Benyus. October 14, 2003.
Janine Benyus, a self-described “biologist at the design table,” talks about the case studies in her book Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired By Nature, such as spider silk, purple bacteria, rhino horns and more. She describes the work of inspiring scientists, who are “opening the lab door and stepping outside again,” like Wes Jackson, of the Land Institute in Kansas, known for its prairie agriculture; Ray Anderson, of Interface, who has created “imperfect” modular carpets, inspired by patterns from nature; and the late Michael Conrad, former head of the Biocomputing Group at Wayne State University.
Gwynne Dyer. May 26, 2004 (pre-recorded).
Gwynne Dyer is as a freelance journalist, broadcaster and lecturer. His syndicated columns on international affairs appear in a dozen languages in nearly 200 newspapers published in more than 40 countries around the world. He received his PhD in military and Middle Eastern history from the University of London. He speaks in this interview about the military fantasy of conventional warfare in a world with nuclear arms, his distate for “future warriors,” and the fate of the Pax Americana project.
James Der Derian. June 1, 2004.
James Der Derian is Professor of Political Science at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and Professor of International Relations (Research) at Brown University, where he directs the InfoTechWarPeace project. In this interview, he talks about the effect of tech-mediated war, the impact of virtual reality training simulations, and the role IT plays in the prevention, mediation, and resolution of conflicts through infopeace. He is the author of Virtuous War: Mapping the Military-Industrial-Media-Entertainment Network.
Arthur Kroker. June 3, 2004 (pre-recorded).
Arthur Kroker is Canada Research Chair in Technology, Culture and Theory at the University of Victoria, Canada, and co-editor with Marilouise Kroker of CTHEORY, an international journal of theory, technology, and culture. In this interview, he shares his views on viral warfare, the militarization of imagination, and the power of blogs. His most recent book is The Will to Technology and the Culture of Nihilism: Heidegger, Nietzsche and Marx.
John Broughton. June 3, 2004 (pre-recorded).
John Broughton is Associate Professor of Psychology and Education at Columbia University and the interim Director of Cultural Studies. In this interview he talks about the symbolism of contemporary weaponry, pop cultural motifs that reflect the militarization of our leisure time, and the effect of the military system on education.
Bruce Sterling. December 2, 2003.
Bruce Sterling, futurist, author, and cultural critic, shares his thoughts on what it means to be a futurist. He says, “The future is not a noun. It’s not a destination. It’s a process.” His most recent book, Tomorrow Now: Envisioning the Next Fifty Years, is the starting point from which he elaborates further on such topics as biotechnology, information, blobjects, the military, and the future of healthcare.
Seymour Melman. December 16, 2003.
Seymour Melman is Professor Emeritus of Industrial Engineering at Columbia University, author of several books on the conversion project - from a military to civilian economy. He talks about the trend towards trade union operations and the massive deindustrialization that accompanies a permanent war economy. Seymour believes it is possible to conduct international life without a war system, and we need look only to the model of Western Europe today.
William McDonough. March 23, 2004.
William McDonough is an internationally renowned designer, the former dean of the School of Architecture at the University of Virginia, and co-author of Cradle to Cradle, with German chemist Michael Braungart. He speaks of the unintended negative consequences of the take-make-waste Industrial Revolution and “The Next Industrial Revolution” - where waste equals food. Eco-effective corporations, thanks to his cradle-to-cradle consultation, now include Nike, Herman Miller, Steelcase, BASF, Ford, and Pendleton.
Matt Ridley. January 6, 2004.
Matt Ridley, former Chairman of the Centre for Life, is a science writer and acclaimed author (Nature via Nurture, Genome, The Origins of Virtue and The Red Queen). He talks about the mapping of the human genome and that, remarkably, the human species is the first species in over four billion years on this planet to read its own recipe. Our genome can be read like a book, he suggests; although, its length is equivalent to 800 bibles, compressed into the nucleus of every cell! Matt, a self-described techno-optimist, hopes the dichotomies between the environmentalists (who are against genetic engineering) and the scientists promoting it can one day soon be transcended. Why? There’s great hope in science and much to celebrate.
Freeman Dyson. November 4, 2003.
Freeman Dyson, Professor Emeritus of Physics at the Institute for Advanced Study, talks about public misconceptions of biotechnology and nuclear power, indulges our sci-fi fantasies with stories of warm-blooded life forms in space, and speaks very seriously about gene-sequencing the entire biosphere. He recounts his days on the Orion Project and comments thoughtfully on the Gaia Hypothesis, adaptive optics, and technological solutions for the developing world.
Bob Langer. January 13, 2004.
Dr. Robert Langer, “the smartest man in Boston” (The Boston Globe Magazine, May 2003) discusses on this show his innovative work in drug delivery, bio-polymers and the engineering of human tissue - a budding new field he pioneered with friend and colleague Dr. Jay Vacanti. Bob has over 400 patents, leads a multidisciplinary research team at MIT, and is a winner of both the Lemelson prize for innovation and the D*censored*r, considered the Nobel prize for engineers.
Eugene Thacker. June 8, 2004.
Eugene Thacker is assistant professor in the School of Literature, Communication, and Culture at Georgia Institute of Technology. He has written extensively on the cultural, social, and political aspects of biotechnologies and speaks with me in this interview about the integration of molecular biology and computer science, the notion of open source DNA, and Biotech Hobbyist. He is the author of Biomedia and the forthcoming The Global Genome: Biotechnology, Politics, and Culture.
Ashok Gadgil. November 11, 2003.
Environmental physicist Ashok Gadgil speaks of his work at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the development process of his UV Waterworks water purifier, and the water crisis the world is facing today (with approximately 2 billion people without access to safe drinking water). The answer, he says, will come from public-private partnerships.
Wealth and Politics:
Bill Drayton. June 3, 2004
Bill Drayton, a former McKinsey & Co. consultant, founded Ashoka in 1980, an entrepreneurial organization that recognizes the power of individual innovation in addressing social problems. A corporate consultant for nearly 10 years and Assistant Administrator at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Drayton has extensive experience in both the private and public sectors. He speaks about the power of individual changemakers, the transformation of the citizen sector, and the potency of global collaboration.
Stephen Browne. June 15, 2004.
Stephen Browne is Director of the ICT for Development Group of the UN Development Programme, New York. He joined the UN in 1976 in Thailand. He has spent over 15 years in fieldwork for the UN, including assignments in Thailand and Somalia, and Æ as UN Resident Coordinator Æ in Ukraine and Rwanda. From 1999 he became Director of the Poverty Reduction Programme for UNDP and moved to his present position at the end of 2002. He speaks in this interview about bridging the digital divide, in an effort to alleviate global poverty.
Nancy Padian. September 23, 2003.
Nancy Padian is the executive director of WGHI (Women’s Global Health Imperative). She is also Director of International Programs at the University of California, San Francisco’s (UCSF) AIDS Research Institute (ARI), co-founder of the Center for Reproductive Health Research and Policy at UCSF, and a Professor in the UCSF Departments of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences. She talks about the importance of available technology for the developing world, such as the diaphragm, in the case of her HIV/AIDS studies with women in Zimbabwe. She hopes for continued private/public cooperation in an effort to fund research and treatment, as well as global coalitions in the fight against HIV/AIDS.
Jeffrey Sachs. March 16, 2004.
Jeffrey Sachs is the Director of The Earth Institute and Special Advisor on Millennium Development Goals to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan. He speaks about what we ought to do as global citizens to meet these goals, which were put forth in September 2000, the misplacement of current spending (on military v. health), and the structural forces in the global economy that keep poor countries poor.
Andrew Zolli. February 17, 2004.
Andrew Zolli is a futurist, designer and author, working at the intersection of culture, design technology, and futures research. A lead partner of Z+Partners, Andrew specializes in helping people and institutions see, understand and act upon complex change. In this interview, he talks about the image of the future, global identities, demographics, biomimetic architecture, the shift towards natural gas (before we reach a “hydrogen economy”), and the effect of increasingly sustainable practices among corporate giants.
Patrick Moore. February 3, 2004.
Patrick Moore has been a leader in the international environmental field for over 30 years. He is a founding member of Greenpeace and, since 1991, has been the president of Greenspirit, a consultancy focusing on bringing logic and science to the table for global environmental policy. He speaks about the controversial “golden rice,” global warming, the early days of enviro-activism, forestry, energy and aquaculture.
Wade Davis. Oct 22, 2004.
Wade Davis is an explorer-in-residence at the National Geographic Society. He holds degrees in Anthropology and Biology and received his Ph.D. in Ethnobotany, all from Harvard University. He has spent over three years in the Amazon and Andes as a plant explorer, living among fifteen indigenous groups in eight Latin American nations while making some 6,000 botanical collections. His work later took him to Haiti to investigate folk preparations implicated in the creations of zombies, an assignment that led to his writing Passage of Darkness (1988) and The Serpent and The Rainbow (1986), an international best-seller which appeared in ten languages and was later released as a motion picture. His other books include The Clouded Leopard, Shadows in the Sun, and One River, which was nominated for the 1997 Governor General’s Literary Award for Nonfiction. His most recent book is Light at the Edge of the World.
Fritjof Capra. October 28, 2003.
Physicist and author Fritjof Capra explains sustainable design, systems thinking, complexity theory, and the notion of emergence, in the social context. Fritjof sees eco-literacy as the key to our future, a subject he teaches at The Center for Ecoliteracy, a school he co-founded in 1995.
Leonard Shlain. October 7, 2003.
Dr. Shlain, author of Art and Physics, The Alphabet vs. the Goddess and most recently, Sex, Time, and Power, discusses the evolution of female sexuality and its relationship to both the human brain and size of our pelvis! He explains the difference between western and eastern notions of time and the difference between our current visual culture and previous text-based cultures.
Steven Squyres. September 2, 2003.
Professor of Astronomy at Cornell University, Steven Squyres, describes his new mission to Mars and the design methodology behind the twin Mars Exploration Rovers (MER). He discusses his passion for space exploration, the extensive team of scientists he oversees and collaborates with through JPL (NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory), and the cost of previous mistakes. [Editorial note, Jan 2004: both Mars Exploration Rovers landed safely. Congratulations, Steve et al.!