Get stuck into the Uncharted podcasts, 29 episodes recorded at Berkeleyside’s Uncharted Berkeley Festival of Ideas, which ran from 2013 to 2018 — conversations with some of the world’s edgiest thinkers and creatives. Listen to The Three Michaels of Berkeley: Michael Chabon, Michael Lewis and Michael Pollan in conversation at a Berkeleyside fundraiser in December 2012. And check out our other podcasts on a variety of always fascinating local subjects. Subscribe to the Berkeleyside podcast on iTunes, or using your favorite podcasting app.
The Pipping Party
Berkeleyside talks to the falcon mavens Two peregrines, Annie and Grinnell, have made their nest in the clock tower of the UC Berkeley Campanile for three years running and a webcam tracks . Berkeleyside’s Tracey Taylor talks to Allen Fish, director of the Golden Gate Raptor Observatory, and Douglas Bell, wildlife program manager at the East Bay Regional Park District (who does outstanding falcon imitations). What makes wildlife webcams so mesmerizing, what happens after falcon eggs hatch and what is a pipping party anyway?
Uncharted Episode 29 Learning to be a black man in America
Mychal Denzel Smith in conversation with Helena Brantley. What’s the script for black manhood? Mychal Denzel Smith unapologetically upends assumptions about black masculinity, rewriting the script for black men so that depression and anxiety aren’t considered taboo, and feminism and LGBTQ rights become part of the fight. Denzel Smith, author of of Invisible Man, Got the Whole World Watching, talked with Helena Brantley about black manhood today and the heightened awareness of racism in Trump’s America. [Recorded in October 2017.] Subscribe.
Uncharted Episode 28: Equal justice for all?
Jon Rapping in conversation with Zachary Norris. Most of us are familiar with public defenders from TV shows, but do we really understand the crucial role they play in the justice system? In fact, they represent 80% of people charged in the system and provide legal representation to defendants who cannot afford private attorneys. However, they are often so overwhelmed by crushing caseloads that they’re unable to provide their clients with the bare minimum representation required by the Constitution. Jon Rapping founded Gideon’s Promise in 2007 to change the public defense landscape across America. His goal is to groom a generation of public defenders to rise up and fight systemic inequity, and provide higher quality legal representation to marginalized communities. [Recorded in October 2017.] Subscribe.
Uncharted Episode 27: Death 101
Jessica Zitter in conversation with Amy Tobin. Jessica Zitter describes herself as an “accidental evangelist.” As a doctor, she set out to save lives, not to focus on death. But her work has led her being committed to changing the current paradigm of end-of-life medical decision-making. Zitter, an ICU and palliative care physician at Highland Hospital in Oakland, spoke with Amy Tobin, CEO of the Jewish Community Center of the East Bay, about why we have to address the “End-of-Life Conveyor Belt” where the dying are intubated, catheterized, and die attached to machines, often without even knowing they are dying. Zitter also offered tips on how to have difficult, but necessary, conversations about death with our children. [Recorded in October 2017.] Subscribe.
Uncharted Episode 26: A neo-Nazi finds life after hate
Christian Picciolini in conversation with Wes Enzinna. When he was an insecure teenager, Christian Picciolini was part of a group of violent, skinhead neo-Nazis. Fast forward to today, and Picciolini spends his days helping people disengage from hate and violent extremism through his nonprofit, Life After Hate. Picciolini, author of the book Romantic Violence: Memoirs of an American Skinhead, sat down with Mother Jones senior editor and writer Wes Enzinna to talk about his personal journey and what it takes to de-radicalize a hate-filled extremist. [Recorded in October 2017.] Subscribe
Uncharted Episode 25: Class cluelessness
Joan Williams in conversation with Peter Leyden. The United States is sometimes described as a class-free society — a view not shared by Joan Williams, Distinguished Professor of Law, UC Hastings Foundation Chair and Director of the Center for WorkLife Law at the UC Hastings College of Law. Williams, also the author of White Working Class: Overcoming Class Cluelessness in America, argues that misconceptions about class — in particular how the “professional elite” class misunderstands and condescends to the middle, working class — explains much that is wrong with the country. [Recorded in October 2017.] Subscribe
Uncharted Episode 24: Don’t underestimate Trump
George Lakoff in conversation with Daphne White. Political messages gain added strength when they’re delivered in a way that matches how our brains process information. Pioneering cognitive linguist George Lakoff says that America’s leading progressive politicians have ignored the science, while Donald Trump and the right wing have connected with voters with dangerous effectiveness. Lakoff, a former distinguished professor at UC Berkeley, spoke with journalist Daphne White abou how so many people underestimated the man who became the 45th president of the United States. [Recorded in October 2017.] Subscribe
Uncharted Episode 23: Everything Trump Touches Dies
Rick Wilson in conversation with Peter Leyden. Rick Wilson is a Republican political strategist and media consultant with 30 years of experience. He has helped to elect Governors, U.S. Senators, statewide Cabinet officers and state legislators. He is also a vehement critic of the 45th President of the United States and is working on a film project titled ‘Everything Trump Touches Dies.’ In October 2017, at the fifth annual Uncharted Berkeley Festival of Ideas, produced by independent news site Berkeleyside, Wilson talked with media innovator Peter Leyden about his views on the present-day Republican party, how he has received death threats for his views on Trump, and what he thinks the future may hold. [Recorded in Oct. 2017.] Subscribe.
Uncharted Episode 22: Political journalism in the age of Trump
Jay Rosen in conversation with Kathy Kiely: The shortcomings of traditional political journalism have been visible for some time. But the unprecedented presidency of Donald Trump has graphically exposed journalism’s weaknesses. In 2016, before the November election, Jay Rosen, Professor of Journalism at New York University, sat down with journalist Kathy Kiely at the Uncharted Festival of Ideas in Berkeley to talk about the right frame for interpreting press coverage of the presidential campaign. Their conclusions hold just as true for journalists after the election, when the stakes have proven so much higher. [Recorded in Oct. 2016.] Subscribe.
Uncharted Episode 21: From ‘Hangover’ to criminal justice reform
Scott Budnick in conversation with Lance Knobel: Scott Budnick is best known as the executive producer of the Hangover movies, the highest grossing, R-rated comedies in history. But unknown to many, Budnick’s mission is to reform the criminal justice system. In October 2016 Budnick sat down with Lance Knobel, founder and curator of the Uncharted Festival of Ideas in Berkeley, to talk about why he founded the Anti Recidivism Coalition in 2013, an organization of very high-achieving, formerly incarcerated young adults who work to support one another while stopping the flow of men and women into the criminal justice system. [Recorded in Oct. 2016.] Subscribe.
Uncharted Episode 20: What can we do about Citizens United?
Daniel Newman in conversation with Kathy Kiely: With the conservative turn of the Supreme Court, overturning Citizens United looks unlikely. But Daniel Newman believes there are reforms that can be implemented even in the current political climate. In 2016, before the November election, Newman, co-founder and president of Maplight, sat down with journalist Kathy Kiely at the Uncharted Festival of Ideas in Berkeley, to talk about reforming the place of money in our political system. [Recorded in Oct. 2016.] Subscribe.
Uncharted Episode 19: Black elephants in the room
Corey Fields in conversation with Peter Leyden: What do you think about when you hear about African-American Republicans? Are they heroes fighting against the expectation that all Blacks must vote democratic? Or are they sell-outs, letting down their race? In 2016, before the November election, Corey Fields, Assistant Professor of Sociology at Stanford University, published a book titled Black Elephants in the Room: The Unexpected Politics of African American Republicans. In October 2016 Fields sat down with media innovator Peter Leyden at Uncharted Festival of Ideas in Berkeley to talk about what it’s really like to be a Black person in the Republican Party. [Recorded in Oct. 2016.] Subscribe.
Uncharted Episode 18: Assholes — A theory of Donald Trump
Aaron James in conversation with Dan Schifrin:When Aaron James sat down to write a popular philosophy book about assholes, he didn’t anticipate the candidacy — then the presidency — of Donald Trump. But then James found he had the perfect framework to explain the seemingly inexplicable. In October 2016, before the November election, James, a professor of philosophy at the University of California Irvine, sat down with writer Dan Schifrin at the Uncharted Festival of Ideas in Berkeley to talk about his book, Assholes: A Theory of Donald Trump, and attempt to explains the now President’s behavior. [Recorded in Oct. 2016.] Subscribe.
Uncharted Episode 17: The digital doctor
Robert Wachter in conversation with Peter Leyden: As healthcare has gone digital, Bob Wachter, Chairman of the Department of Medicine at UCSF, noticed plenty of problems. Why were doctors no longer making eye contact with their patients? How could one of America’s leading hospitals give a teenager a 39-fold overdose of a common antibiotic, despite a state-of-the-art computerized prescribing system? How can we make sure doctors and the digital world make things better for patients? Wachter addressed these questions and more in conversation with media innovator Peter Leyden at the 2016 Uncharted Festival of Ideas. [Recorded in Oct. 2016.] Subscribe.
Uncharted Episode 16: Why the pursuit of happiness is making us miserable
Ruth Whippman in conversation with Lauren Schiller: Ruth Whippman, the author of America the Anxious: How our Pursuit of Happiness is Making us a Nation of Nervous Wrecks, set out to explore the so-called happiness industry and, as she tells Lauren Schiller, host of the Inflection Point radio show and podcasts, found it was not delivering. In fact spending money and time on trying to be happy can be counter-productive, she says. Her research did offer some tips on the secret of happiness, however. [Recorded in Oct. 2016.] Subscribe.
Uncharted Episode 15: A perspective on the 2016 election
Jamelle Bouie in conversation with Lance Knobel: Jamelle Bouie is the Chief Political Correspondent of Slate. In October 2015 he sat down with Lance Knobel at the Uncharted Festival of Ideas in Berkeley to talk about the 2016 election. Rather than delve into the horse race of candidate nominations, Knobel asked Bouie to offer a framework for understanding this election — does the party actually decide who the nominees should be, how does campaigning and financing impact outcomes? [Recorded in Oct. 2015.] Subscribe.
Uncharted Episode 14: The globalization of education
Nicholas Dirks in conversation with Quentin Hardy: Nicholas Dirks is the Chancellor of the University of California Berkeley. He spoke with Quentin Hardy, deputy technology editor of the New York Times, about how UC Berkeley is planning to cement its position as one of the top public universities in the world with the launch of a global campus. [Recorded in Oct. 2015.] Subscribe.
Uncharted Episode 13: Climbing the learning ladder
Elñora Tena Webb in conversation with Julia Flynn Siler: Elñora Tena Webb is president of Laney College, a community college in Oakland, California. Every day, Webb grapples with the issues of how to get young, often disenfranchised, people into colleges and universities. She spoke with bestselling author Julia Flynn Siler about how her personal journey informs how she tackles the job, and has given her a strong faith in the power of education. [Recorded in Oct. 2015.] Subscribe.
Ethan Nadelmann in conversation with Frances Dinkelspiel: Described by Rolling Stone as “the real drug czar,” Ethan Nadelmann, the founder and executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, is widely regarded as the outstanding proponent of drug policy reform globally. He spoke with bestselling author and Berkeleyside co-founder Frances Dinkelspiel about viable alternatives to the war on drugs.[Recorded in Oct. 2015.] Subscribe.
Robin Sloan in conversation with Peter Leyden: Wherever he’s worked, Robin Sloan, author of “Mr Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore,” has been figuring out the future of media. Sloan and media innovator Peter Leyden here explore the difference between online writing — which, he says, can sometimes feel like consuming sugar — to publishing a book, which he compares to eating protein-heavy leafy greens. [Recorded in Oct. 2015.] Subscribe.
Vivienne Ming in conversation with Quentin Hardy: Vivienne Ming is a theoretical neuroscientist, a technologist, and an entrepreneur, and the scope of her work is more than impressive. Whether talking about research on lie-detection or face recognition to help refugee children, Ming’s studies of the brain are eye-opening. [Recorded in Oct. 2015.] Subscribe.
Masha Gessen in conversation with Lance Knobel: Masha Gessen calls Vladimir Putin a ‘playground bully’ and a ‘thug.’ She should know: Russian herself, she is one of the world’s leading experts on Putin and his regime. A journalist who writes for the New Yorker and the New York Times among others, and the author of several books, including The Man Without a Face: The Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin, Gessen spoke with Lance Knobel. [Recorded in Oct. 2015.] Subscribe.
Malo André Hutson in conversation with John King: Malo André Hutson is the Associate Director of the Institute of Urban and Regional Planning at UC Berkeley. His work focuses on neighborhood change, or, to use the more loaded term, gentrification. Hutson sat down with John King, the San Francisco Chronicle’s urban design critic to unpack what gentrification really means: is it economic progress or the death of thriving, diverse communities — or both? [Recorded in Oct. 2015.] Subscribe.
Brad DeLong in conversation with Peter Leyden: How are technology, artificial intelligence, robots and drones impacting our society and our economy? Brad DeLong says the disruptions and dislocations they prompt are nothing new. Think about Andrew Carnegie’s father in the 19th century being forced to abandon his Scottish handloom and move to America to work a telegraph operator — what was then the ‘high-tech’ sector. DeLong is a professor of economics at UC Berkeley. He spoke with media innovator Peter Leyden. [Recorded in Oct. 2015.] Subscribe.
Alice Dreger in conversation with Lance Knobel: Alice Dreger is a historian of medicine and science, a sex researcher, a mainstream writer, and an (im)patient advocate. Her most recent book is Galileo’s Middle Finger: Heretics, Activists, and the Search for Justice in Science. She also made headlines in 2015 when she resigned from her position at Northwestern University for what she said was a lack of academic independence. Dreger sat down with Lance Knobel, curator of the Uncharted Berkeley Festival of Ideas, for a spell-binding conversation. [Recorded in Oct. 2015.] Subscribe.
Timothy Caulfield in conversation with Lance Knobel: For his latest book, “Is Gwyneth Paltrow Wrong About Everything? How the Famous Sell Us Elixirs of Health, Beauty & Happiness,” health-science expert Timothy Caulfield of the University of Alberta set out to answer a simple question: why do we believe in the health and beauty treatments that celebrities tell us will transform our lives, when they have no scientific foundation? Caulfield is in conversation with the Uncharted Festival curator, Lance Knobel. [Recorded in Oct. 2015.] Subscribe.
Chris Anderson in conversation with Peter Leyden: Chris Anderson was Editor in Chief of Wired Magazine for 12 years, but he gave all that up to devote himself to drones after an epiphany brought on by playing with a Lego Mindstorms robotic kit one Friday afternoon with his kids. As the founder of 3D Robotics, a drone manufacturer based in the Bay Area, he sees exciting possibilities for how drones can be put to work to solve some of our most pressing problems, in areas like agriculture and climate change. He talked about them with journalist and media innovator Peter Leyden. [Recorded in Oct. 2015.] Subscribe.
Shannon Brownlee in conversation with Lisa Aliferis: Shannon Brownlee is a national leader in highlighting the scope and consequences of overuse in healthcare, and she explores many of these worrying issues in her book, “Overtreated -— Why too much Medicine is Making us Sicker and Poorer.” Millions of people in the U.S. are being harmed — and are even dying — by having unnecessary health interventions, as she discusses with KQED Health Editor Lisa Aliferis. [Recorded in Oct. 2015.] Subscribe.
Judge Alex Kozinski in conversation with William Turner: Ninth Circuit Judge Alex Kozinski, arguably the most outspoken judge on the federal bench, believes our criminal justice system is broken. He says we often rely on guesswork to convict people and suggests the firing squad is a more honest way of putting people to death than lethal injection. Judge Kozinski is in conversation with William Turner, a first-amendment expert who teaches at UC Berkeley. [Recorded in Oct. 2015.] Subscribe.
Uncharted Episode 1: What’s next for #BlackLivesMatter?
Pastor Michael McBride in conversation with Joshua Johnson: Shortly after Michael Brown was shot dead in Ferguson, Missouri, Pastor Michael McBride, a church and community leader in the Bay Area, went to Ferguson. He has since emerged as a spokesperson on gun violence prevention, boys and men of color and police-community relationships. McBride spoke to KQED news anchor Joshua Johnson about the roots of the Black Lives Matter movement, and where it goes from here. [Recorded in Oct. 2015.] Subscribe.