Conversations with a series of people who have nothing in common except that program host Robert Wright is curious about what they’re thinking.
Wag the Submarine (Robert Wright & Mickey Kaus)
Mickey proposes a parking garage-based theory of everything ... Bob’s plan for passing Biden’s "soft infrastructure" bill ... Mickey does some Monday morning quarterbacking for Larry Elder ... Bob’s near-death experience with British food ... Was Mickey truly “in it to win it” in his Senate race? ... Were Mark Milley's calls to China justified? ... The perverse incentives of the anti-China nuclear sub deal ... Mickey’s exhaustion-induced supermarket hallucination ... Would Biden’s budget really transform American life? ... Parrot Room preview: Facebook’s whitelist, the Dixie Chicks "cancellation," loneliness, a Las Vegas shooting rabbit hole, Bob's push to get Mickey on a dating app, the US Open, Elizabeth Holmes on trial, the mystery of Trump’s attraction to Putin, and that Nicki Minaj tweet (you know the one) ...
Contesting Determinism (Robert Wright & Oliver Burkeman)
Oliver's new book, Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals ... Oliver outlines “compatibilism,” the idea that free will and determinism can coexist ... Bob: Everyone should be a free will agnostic ... The occasionally dramatic consequences of arguments against free will ... Would determinism require us to reform our approach to criminal justice? ... A (possible) quantum hack for free will vs. determinism ... Bob thinks compatibilism is b******t ... ... ... but Oliver tries to persuade him there's something to it ... Oliver: No position on free will and determinism is free of contradiction ...
A Mandate for All Seasons (Robert Wright & Mickey Kaus)
Mickey: Biden’s weakness is his strength ... Is Biden’s vaccine mandate constitutional? And will it work? ... A reason to root for the Delta variant? ... JD Vance urges people to resist the vaccine mandate ... Looking back at 9/11-inspired fears ... Did the Iraq War give a critical boost to 9/11 Trutherism? ... We may actually see a vote on the hard infrastructure bill soon ... Mickey complains about Ezra Klein, Bob pushes back ... Parrot Room preview: Why Bob has been talking about the Weinsteins so much, The Chair, Bob tries to talk Mickey into using a dating app (or maybe the Parrot Room itself is a dating app?), the US Open, is rock dead?, Mickey’s Fred Barnes Crossfire story, and a general theory of inflation derived from staying in crappy hotels ...
The Trouble with Quantum Mechanics (Robert Wright & John Horgan)
John's recent bout of fever-induced hallucinations ... Does math actually help you understand QM? ... What experiments in QM have and have not verified ... John: All interpretations of QM are bad ... What do we want from science? ... "An operating system for reality" ...
A Vortex of Failure (Robert Wright & Mickey Kaus)
Bob and Mickey’s most erotic cold open yet ... Mickey mildly critiques Bob’s latest Afghanistan piece ... Eight ways Biden messed up the Afghanistan withdrawal (according to Mickey) ... Will Pelosi get the infrastructure bill she wants? ... Will the Texas abortion law backfire on pro-lifers? ... Mickey: If Newsom loses his recall vote, it could tank the infrastructure bill ... The jury’s still out on the lab leak hypothesis ... Bob: The jury’s still out on Ivermectin but not on Bret Weinstein ... Parrot Room preview: A hit piece on JD Vance, crime rates among Afghan refugees, the NYT’s editorial practice, the (possible) millennial conspiracy to oust boomers, wokeness at Princeton, an Ivermectin tweet storm, Pierre Kory, the possible postmodernism of the Weinsteins, how Mickey turned Bob into Led Tasso, Bob gets the Ezra Klein bump, and Ed Asner ...
Realism and International Law (Robert Wright & John Mearsheimer)
What is "realism" in international relations? ... How John predicted the disastrous outcome of the Iraq invasion ... How to convince neocons to respect international law ... John: Sometimes nations just have to break the law ... Bob: The US should establish a norm of strict compliance with international law ... John's Hobbesian view of international relations ... Is China an existential threat to the US? ... International law's evolutionary trajectory ...
Bob Wright is a unique combination of dry wit and genius. Micky’s no slouch too. They brighten up my week, so many thanks guys.
Consistently great… Robert Wright - thank you.
My favourite podcast. I’ve been listening since 2010. Robert Wright is a balanced charming and knowledgeable host who always brings the best out of his guests but also challenges them constructively.