the Thinker

Here are three things to know about this week's show:

1. Men are more optimistic about how much money their companies will make. Which may explain why there are so few women running companies in Silicon Valley.

2. Mix some Milton with your molecular biology. According to Walter Isaacson, Steve Jobs’ biographer, people at the intersection of the humanities and technology are uniquely positioned to develop great products and come up with breakthrough solutions.

3. Think you know where Obamacare came from? It didn’t start with politicians - or even voters. Think tanks shape the government to a greater extent than most people realize.

old books

Are Chaucer and Milton destined to disappear? As college students increasingly gravitate towards STEM fields, fewer are majoring in the humanities. Pulitzer Prize winners and Harvard professors Stephen Greenblatt and Louis Menand discuss evolving college curriculums. Read More...


English major? That’s no excuse not to learn the language of code, says Walter Isaacson, president and CEO of the Aspen Institute. Read More...

U.S. Capitol

Think tanks are a quiet, powerful player that continue to shape American government and public opinion. We look at where they come from - and how they get their money - with Andrew Selee of the Wilson Center. Read More...

student in lab

How do we get more women into the tech sector? SupportPay CEO Sheri Atwood and venture capitalist Eurie Kim discuss strategies to help more women find success in the cutthroat world of Silicon Valley. Read More...


Here are three things to know about designing your life:

1. Forget flashy record labels and high-tech recording studios. You can become a pop star from the basement.

2. Your kitchen is about to become a manufacturing plant. Some are arguing that the Maker Movement will upend our economy, and democratize creative production.

3. Trust your gut when it comes to weight loss. Vanderbilt researchers have discovered that certain bacteria help mice keep their weight now on a high-fat diet.


The news may be depressing, but what if the world is actually getting better? Matt Ridley, author of The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves (P.S.), talks about poverty, Earth’s resources, and why Americans are so down on themselves. Read More...

ASCII design

It takes more than code to sell gadgets and apps. The secret may be in sleek and sexy design, says John Maeda, design partner at Kleiner Perkins and former president of RISD. Read More...

Katy Perry

Forget recording studios and mega-endorsement deals. Would-be pop stars can record music in their basements and find fame through an online following. Read More...


Researchers at Vanderbilt may have discovered a tool that will help fight the obesity epidemic: gut bacteria. Read More...

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