A monthly rendezvous into a wide array of subjects with over 100 expert guests. Our second season is underway, offering even more captivating conversations on a plethora of subject matters. New episodes drop the last Tuesday each month — follow, subscribe, review, spread the word, join our exploration!
Skipper talks to Karen Faith, founder and CEO of Others Unlimited — an empathy training company based on ethnographic research — in a wide-ranging conversation about living in the modern world, the differences between empathy and compassion, unconditional love, and practicing non-judgment and acceptance. Other topics include:
Karen's personal and professional journey exploring different forms of art, including classical music (violist) and site-specific contemporary performance art
Empathy and storytelling in design — perspective taking as well as perspective shaping — and how empathy doesn't always lead to caring, but can result in understanding and expanded perspective
The struggle with showing empathy towards themselves, finding it easier to show empathy towards others while bridging the gap between understanding and empathy, using non-judgment as a key part of the practice
The idea of being an "a*****e" is not inherently bad or immoral, but rather a matter of intentional adjustment in social situations
The unintended consequences of Karen's work on compassion and caring, and whether these traits come naturally or occur normally
Patience — along with many virtues — is about the absence of something, more about a circuit of opposites that create oneness
Practicing love involves accepting all things, including what we love and don't love, without hierarchy or morality
The notion of helpful and not helpful versus right and wrong — Skipper brings up an example about a deer originally heard from Alex Bogusky in an interview with Debbie Milman on Design Matters (link available below)
The tagline for Others Unlimited is around empathy, training for research (how to be a professional), collaboration (how to be a teammate), and citizenship (how to be a person in the world)
Exploring the idea of mercy and its relationship to justice, recognizing that sometimes the right thing may not feel good in the moment but can be helpful in the long run
Karen's metaphor of a gem to illustrate the process of perspective taking, suggesting that it's like polishing a rough gem to reveal its shine as well as the importance of perspective-taking in their life, using the metaphor of a sparkly gem to describe how they view their problems
Empathy, active listening, and the importance of the concept, "Be here now"
Karen emphasizes the importance of accepting others as they are, without the need for change or improvement while embracing the entire truth of subjects, even difficult ones, for insight and personal growth
The second season of FX's "The Bear"
Watching television as a kind of babysitter
A surprising answer from Karen to the question, "Imagine you unexpectedly had a day off, money was no object, you could bend the laws of space and time, what would you do?"
Stay tuned for a bit of tape at the end where Karen and Skipper talk about one's "need to be right."
Note from TED: The talk linked below contains a discussion of suicidal ideation. If you are struggling with suicidal thoughts, please consult a mental health professional and/or support organization, as this talk is not a substitute for mental health advice.
If you are struggling with self-destructive or suicidal thoughts, call or text 988 to connect with someone who can help.
Special Guest: Karen Faith.
Others UnlimitedKaren's TEDx talk, "How to talk to the worst parts of yourself" around the subject of Unconditional WelcomeKaren's recorded workshop session on Empathy for A**holes at CreativeMorningsDesign Matters with Debbie Millman: Alex Bogusky and John BielenbergKaren talks to Joe Reichert on More Wiser about ethnography and everything else
Zolt Levay is a photographer who has produced astronomical images from the Hubble Space Telescope and has spent a career describing the process of producing engaging color images from Hubble data. Now, he has his sights set on matters closer to home, working on more terrestial matters.
During this conversation, Skipper and Zolt talk about how images are produced from the Hubble Space Telescope, the importance of being curious, how professional telescopes don't "see" in color, the size of 24 million soda straws, Ansel Adams, the notion of time travel, and his more recent hobby of astrophotography.
Stay tuned until the end for a clip on how to pronounce Zolt's first and last name the Hungarian way.
Special Guest: Zolt Levay.
Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI)The NASA Hubble Space TelescopeRGB color modelThe Pillars of CreationCarina NebulaAnsel AdamsSky & Telescope - astrophotography tipsCloudyNights.comMauna Kea ObservatoriesCerro Tololo Inter-American ObservatoryAurora at Yellowknife, CanadaThe NASA James Webb Space TelescopeZolt Levay's photography siteZolt Levay's 2015 TEDx talk
Dr. Peter Chin-Hong
The last time we talked with Dr. Peter Chin-Hong, it was Dec 2020. Now, it's May 2022 — 17 months later. A lot has changed and in some ways it feels like nothing has changed. This time around, we get into current details around coronavirus/COVID, what's happening now/the current state, and what the future looks like.
We recorded this episode over two sessions and along the way we get into many topics, including the notion of reinfections (more and more common with Omicron), how the testing numbers may not reflect actual cases with more and more home testing (and some people not testing at all), how an at-home test is different than a PCR test, and the current slate of variants — BA.1, BA.2, BA2.12.1, BA.4, BA.5, XE, etc. We also touch on COVID therapies including Paxlovid, an oral antiviral treatment, and Evusheld, monoclonal antibodies. As well, we talked about some of what Dr. Chin-Hong is concerned about in the future — including avian flu and influenza along with the idea that diseases like valley fever (coccidioidomycosis) have been creeping up over the last few years because we as humans are settling into areas (more rural, for instance) that large groups of us haven't been before. And then, we end the show by talking about his work as a professor of medicine and educator at University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) — what teaching medicine has looked like the last few years with students (and teachers) as little blobs on a screen.
Stay tuned until the end of the episode for a longer bit about the flu that didn't really have a place anywhere else.
Special Guest: Dr. Peter Chin-Hong.
SF Chronicle: How California’s COVID numbers compare to the last time its mask mandate was liftedPBS News Hour: Dr. Fauci on why the U.S. is ‘out of the pandemic phase’ — Originally posted Apr 26, 202213 things to know about Paxlovid, the latest COVID-19 pillThe Guardian: Why are there so many new Omicron subvariants, like BA.4 and BA.5? Is the virus mutating faster?The Commonwealth Fund: Impact of U.S. COVID-19 Vaccination Efforts: An Update on Averted Deaths, Hospitalizations, and Health Care Costs Through March 2022Evusheld Antibody Treatment for COVID-191918-1920 flu epidemicFaculty Interview: Peter Chin-Hong, MDPeter Chin-Hong Explores Identity and History in 2021 Last Lecture
Skipper Chong Warson
Recorded in their child's bedroom on a weekday, Laura and Skipper chat about his academic background in writing (English literature, playwriting) as well as his professional background as a product design director (think desktop and mobile apps among other mediums) and how that plays into storytelling, most recently resulting in the creation of How This Works, this podcast.
They also talk about their life together — newsflash: they're married and living in the San Francisco Bay area, having moved from New York City a couple of years ago. Along the way, they get into some of the differences between life in SF and NYC. They also talk about their upcoming wedding anniversary after getting married next to Jane's Carousel in Brooklyn Bridge Park.
Along with talk about his name change from Starr to Skipper (and not Optimus Prime) at the age of seven, they bring in a few questions posed from the listening audience including lessons learned from the first season of the show, calling people the name they want to be called, how crucial listening is in making a podcast, the ubiquity of imposter syndrome, using the five (5) whys to get to the root cause of a challenge as developed by Sakichi Toyoda at the Toyota Motor Corporation, team falling asleep during movies versus team staying awake during movies, and why Skipper color codes versus alphabetizing the books in his background — see photo below.
View of the three shelves behind Skipper's standing desk
Laura and Skipper also reference the following previous episodes, in order of being published, including:
Jack Kahana, the first episode
Dr. Peter Chin-Hong, the third episode
Selena Rosanbalm, the sixth episode
Cassandra Carlopio, the 15th episode
Kat Hantas and Nicole Emanuel from 21Seeds, the 17th episode
Sally McRae, the 18th episode
Piper Payne, the 20th episode
Stay tuned after the outro music for a bit of tape where Skipper pauses for a bit of background noise and how from where Laura's sitting, the microphone makes it looks like his nose is a black bit of foam.
Special Guest: Skipper Chong Warson.
American Museum of Natural History in New York CityHow to move across the country with design thinking, pt. 1 of 2How to move across the country with design thinking, pt. 2 of 2Making "Black Sabbath" and "Paranoid"Design Voices from FjordFjord Fika on Apple podcastsImposter syndromeStarbar"Outliers: The Story of Success" by Malcolm GladwellJane's Carousel1922 Ohio carousel in Brooklyn besieged by SandyDetermine The Root Cause: 5 WhysWhy do many mistakenly think human blood is sometimes blue?SNL season 46 finale cold open - What I Remember About this YearJohn Wick (2014)The Matrix (1999)Keanu ReevesThe Mosquito Coast on Apple TV+The Mosquito Coast (1986)The Mosquito Coast by Paul TherouxThe Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)Wireframe with Adobe’s Khoi VinhInvisibilia from NPR99% InvisibleAdrianne Lenker (from Big Thief)PrinceJapanese BreakfastBillie EilishBTSBTS performs 'Fix You' (Coldplay cover) from MTV UnpluggedBLACKPINKCustom lathe cut vinyl records from Vinylus"St. Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves" by Karen RussellIntro and outro song: "Zombie Nation" by Jose Travieso
Call for questions
Tomorrow, we're recording the last episode of the first season where we turn the tables and Skipper's wife Laura asks him the questions. Go to Instagram @howthisworksshow to reply directly to the story or email us at email@example.com.
Thanks so much!
Skipper talks to Sarah Sudhoff about how she works as an artist, her background as a photographer, arts administrator, and photo editor — and how all of that plays into her work today.
Recorded late on a Sunday night, Skipper and Sarah talk about her identity as being half Cuban, how she got her first camera in the fifth grade, how being in a military family influenced her world and personality at a young age, being both the science nerd and the jock, and how she studied astronomy in college before she decided to pursue photography as her bachelor's degree — though she'd really like to work with NASA still. Following that, she worked for Citysearch before landing at Time magazine and received a M.F.A. in Photography from Parsons School of Design in New York.
We get into how she wears many hats as an artist, how she multi-tasks as a single parent in her home life, how she collaborates in her work with others, and the necessary resilience of applying for as well as receiving/being rejected for exhibitions, grants, endowments, and fellowships. She and Skipper also talk about the notion of making daunting life decisions at 19 versus 29 or 39. We also talk about several of her works in particular: Point of Origin, her most recent El Recuerdo project which started as a response to Deborah Brown’s paintings but then evolved to be a tribute to her grandmother and Sarah's biracial heritage, The Reading Brain, 60 Pounds of Pressure, Will You Hug me Forever, and her upcoming work Labor Pains.
Video from El Recuerdo: Rope by Sarah Sudhoff
Video from El Recuerdo: Water by Sarah Sudhoff
Sarah says that she's finally feeling worthy to apply for a Guggenheim and MoMA this year — to which we say, Break a leg!
When pressed, she talks about how art is hard and her advice for her two children if they wanted to go into some kind of artistic profession.
Stay tuned for a bit after the outro music where after Skipper rambles on for a bit and Sarah asks simply, What's the question?
Special Guest: Sarah Sudhoff.
WAVESErika BlumenfeldRick WilliamsThe Daily TexanRick StengelParsonsSorority RushAnnie LeibovitzJames NachtweyAndrew HetheringtonPoint of OriginDr. James "Red" DukeDeborah Brown: Nomad ExquisiteEl RecuerdoEl Recuerdo: RopeWill You Hug Me Forever60 Pounds of PressureThe Reading BrainNancy Littlejohn Fine ArtJohn Simon Guggenheim Foundation - How to Apply"Contract with the Skin: Masochism, Performance Art, and the 1970s" by Kathy O'Dell Audiobook of "Becoming Supernatural" by Dr Joe DispenzaAudiobook of "Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself" by Dr Joe DispenzaSarah SudhoffIntro and outro song: "Zombie Nation" by Jose Travieso
When you just need "something different."
Tired of news, routines, and quarantine? Programs like "How This Works" are a great momentary escape because it's different every time, with topics you wouldn't have thought to look into but are very glad you did after each episode. Thanks Skipper!