StarTalk Live! Let’s Make America Smart Again (Part 2)

“StarTalk Live! Let's Make America Smart Again” on stage at the Count Basie Theatre. L to R: Eugene Mirman, Ophira Eisenberg, John Holdren, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Jo Handelsman, Sen. Cory Booker, Baratunde Thurston. Credit: Elliot Severn.

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About This Episode

Rejoin our mission to Make America Smart Again with the conclusion of our StarTalk Live! show recorded at the Count Basie Theatre, in Red Bank, New Jersey on 4/17/17. Neil deGrasse Tyson was joined by comic co-host Eugene Mirman, U.S. Senator Cory Booker, John Holdren, former Science Advisor to President Obama, Jo Handelsman, former Associate Director for Science at the White House Office of Science and Technology, and comedians Ophira Eisenberg of NPR’s Ask Me Another, and Baratunde Thurston of The Daily Show. In Part Two, you’ll dive into the unseen world of the human microbiome (a collection of microorganisms in the human body) and its ability to control behavior and combat disease. Explore gene-editing tools like CRISPR, how we might genetically modify people to live on Mars, and the ethical grey areas that come with human gene modification. Find out why the government ends up conducting most basic research, while private companies tend to shy away from this critical activity. John also explains why not knowing the outcome is a major part in the process of discovery. You’ll learn about DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, and ARPA-E, the Advanced Research Project Agency-Energy, which focuses on investments in alternative energy. Discover the possibility that a naturally occurring electromagnetic pulse could knock out the electrical grid of the United States. Investigate the dangers of Superfund sites and how data is reshaping the way we approach solving problems. You’ll also learn about connecting human biology to the internet, government investments in artificial intelligence, and why John thinks the dangers of AI are being overstated. All that, plus, each member of our panel gives parting thoughts on what it takes to Make America Smart Again. #LMASA

NOTE: All-Access subscribers can watch or listen to this entire episode commercial-free here: StarTalk Live! at the Count Basie Theatre: Let’s Make America Smart Again (Part 2). You can also listen to a replay of the original live stream of the full performance, which was included in All-Access subscriptions.

In This Episode

  • Host

    Neil deGrasse Tyson

    Neil deGrasse Tyson
    Astrophysicist
  • Co-Host

    Eugene Mirman

    Eugene Mirman
    Comedian
  • Guest

    Cory Booker

    Cory Booker
    United States Senator
  • Guest

    John Holdren

    John Holdren
    Former Science Advisor to President Obama, Former Head of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, Professor of Environmental Policy and Professor of Environmental Science and Policy at Harvard University
  • Guest

    Jo Handelsman

    Jo Handelsman
    Former Associate Director for Science at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, Director of the Wisconsin Institute of Discovery
  • Guest

    Ophira Eisenberg

    Ophira Eisenberg
    Comedian
  • Guest

    Baratunde Thurston

    Baratunde Thurston
    Comedian

Music in This Episode

Episode Topics

  • Pea Oat

    I think Ophira Eisenberg should educate herself about meditation and the importance of building a stronger mind. Head Space itself is just a tool that derives from the basic meditation practice. Most of its sessions focus on the right kind of relationship of self with the world around it. “Kindness”, “Patience”, “Generosity” are only few of the themes.
    Without strengthening self there is no way of helping others. I don’t think Ophira spends a 100% of her time on contributing to others without taking a breather. No one could pull that off. Very unfair!

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Music in This Episode