You may have seen Neil’s map before, where each of the US’s 50 states are redrawn to balance for population. It’s nice to see his project’s motivating ideas laid out like they are in this Paris Review interview:
I think that the biggest cultural change would be with the profusion of city-states. Many states overrepresent rural areas when it comes to divvying up funding for infrastructure projects and other spending. The alignment of metro areas and states would mean that decision-making power in land use and transportation would shift away from rural areas, which would probably mean less sprawl and more livable cities.
I like how straightforward Hawking is about climate change (about 48 minutes in).
Charlie Rose: What worries you most about the future of the universe?
Stephen Hawking: I am not worried about the future of the universe. The universe will continue whatever happens. But the future of the human race, and of life on earth, is much less certain. We are in danger of destroying ourselves by our great insensitivity.
CR: What are we not doing to prevent these disasters that we absolutely should be doing?
SH: Not acting with sufficient urgency about climate change.
CR: Do you think we will survive?
SH: Maybe. (smiles)
I went to a public lecture by Hawking at CalTech a few years ago and was blown away by the experience. The first 10-15 minutes I was keeping up, but then suddenly I realized I wasn’t getting the math. The Q & A period was also well over my head, but I was struck by Hawking’s humor and stage presence.
For my Multimedia 1 class tomorrow we’ll be covering audio, looking at interviewing as a form. I’m going to play an excerpt of an interview with Ira Glass from one of my longtime favorite podcasts, The Sound of Young America. I’m most interested in the last part, which starts around 33:38.
We’re really into the idea of subscribers giving us money in exchange for our product … I honestly, honestly do not say that we are doing it the right way, but I don’t believe people know the right way. We are doing it in an interesting way and we are not spending very much to make that happen.
There’s also a bit about his intention of creating a Metafilter-style community for subscribers. This is a wonderful idea and I hope to join it one day.