Freethink

Rising Stars in Criminal Justice Reform

These key players are working from outside the system to lead the criminal justice reform movement.

Amanda Winkler and Lise Metzger April 17, 2019

The phenomenal progress of the criminal justice reform movement was built through the hard work of countless men and women over many years. We traveled around the country to meet with five of those people who are working from outside the system to ignite change.  

Desmond Meade (Florida Rights Restoration Coalition)

Photo by Lise Metzger

Desmond Meade lost his right to vote after he was sentenced to prison on multiple felony convictions. Although he was released early, Meade found life outside of prison hard. Addicted to drugs, unemployed, and homeless he attempted suicide in August 2005 while standing along the train tracks waiting for the train to come. It never did. Taking that as a sign, he turned his life around. He got sober - and he got a purpose: to make sure returning citizens like him get a say in how their government is run. Desmond Meade now serves as the President of the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition (FRRC), a group dedicated to restoring the voting rights of Florida's ex-felons.

Last year, the FRRC was instrumental in passing Florida’s Amendment 4, which automatically restored voting and civil rights to people convicted of most felonies after the completion of their sentences. Florida previously had one of the strictest voting laws in the country, barring 1 in 10 adults from voting due to a previous felony conviction. With its passage, Amendment 4 legalized the single largest voting block since the 19th Amendment, granting women the right to vote in 1920.

But Meade’s fight continues. Earlier this month, the Florida House of Representatives voted along party lines to defang Amendment 4 by mandating that ex-felons pay all fines and fees associated with their case before voting, essentially disenfranchising many of the 1.5 million convicted felons who had just regained their right. While nothing has formally passed the House or Senate yet, reformers are watching the debates closely to ensure their reforms are not watered down.

Freethink: Out of all the reform movements you could have led, what inspired you to focus on voter restoration?

Desmond: I live in Florida. When I started this work back in 2006 Florida was one of the worst states that permanently disenfranchised citizens. I felt the brunt of it as a returning citizen and wanted to do something about it.

Freethink: What’s the success you’re most proud of and how did you have to think differently to achieve it?

Desmond: That’s easy, getting Amendment 4 passed in Florida - it passed with 64 percent of the votes! Yes we had to think differently in order to win it. A lot of times when we talk about criminal justice reform, the type of person that we have in mind is normally a person of color who is incarcerated. Typically when you talk about felon disenfranchisement, most folks go straight to the disproportionate impacts that they have on African-Americans. And they stay there. Then felon disenfranchisement is a narrative of ‘it’s an African-American mission’ when it’s actually much broader than that.

The reality is that the criminal justice system impacts way more people than those that are actually incarcerated. And while there is a disproportionate impact on people of color, particularly African-Americans, it still impacts people from all races. So really speaking felon disenfranchisement from that perspective was an adjustment that we had to make.

Freethink: Did you ever think about quitting?

Desmond: Well, there were many times when this work was hard and I thought about giving up but I think the saving grace is that I couldn't give up because I was directly impacted. I think at its hardest point was when there was no support and no money. And, at times when I felt alone in this effort. You start to question, how much further can we go? How much can we take? But every time we'd get to that point, we saw somebody else who was a directly impacted returning citizen. And just hearing their stories provided me with the energy to keep pushing forward.

"Meade found life outside of prison hard. Addicted to drugs, unemployed, and homeless he attempted suicide in August 2005 while standing along the train tracks waiting for the train to come. It never did. Taking that as a sign, he turned his life around. He got sober - and he got a purpose."

Freethink: What is the biggest obstacle you’re currently facing?

Desmond: Politics. Partisan politics intrudes too much into the lives of everyday citizens. The hardest obstacle is to keep the issue elevated above partisan politics. And now that we've passed Amendment 4, partisan politics is asserting itself back into this movement and whenever there's partisan bickering the only people that suffer are the regular people, the voters. So we’re maintaining the focus on what's most important, and that's about the people. At the end of the day, our discussion is about real people’s lives. We’re not going to allow politicians to cause us to lose focus on that.

Freethink: What are the broader implications of your work?

Desmond: A more inclusive democracy is a more vibrant democracy and a more vibrant democracy is good for everybody. Elected officials should be held accountable whenever we get into a situation where our voices are being ignored. That is a direct attack against democracy.

And, I think that this is really an opportunity to get people who have never lost their rights but are not registered to vote, to really understand how tenuous the situation is now.

Freethink: What possibility of change are you most looking forward to this year?

Desmond: I’m looking forward to getting more people registered, more people educated, and more people engaged. I want to make civic engagement something that’s exciting and honorable to do. Politicians are going to be politicians and the only way we can change the trajectory is at the ballot box. 

Gabriel Leader-Rose, Jelani Anglin, Malik Reeves (Good Call NYC)

Photo by Lise Metzger

Good Call NYC focuses their reform efforts on improving the pre-trial detention process. Unfortunately, many people who are arrested and subsequently have their cell phones taken away don't have access to contact information for their loved ones - unless of course they've memorized the phone numbers - much less have the contact information for a lawyer. The inability to call for help in those critical hours after an arrest comes with devastating consequences: loss of jobs, wrongfully sent to jail, and perhaps even admitting to crimes they did not commit. Good Call NYC was created to solve this problem by acting as a 24/7 arrest hotline. By calling 1-833-3-GOODCALL, arrestees can be immediately linked up with an attorney as well as have their loved ones notified of their location.

Good Call now covers all five boroughs of NYC and has plans to expand nationally. Gabe Leader-Rose and Jelani Anglin serve as co-executive directors and Malik Reeves is the community engagement coordinator.

Freethink: Out of all the reform movements you could have led, what inspired you to focus on pre-trial detention?

Gabe: When we were figuring out how we wanted to contribute to the criminal justice reform movement, we really wanted to start with the most pressing issues facing the community and folks who have to deal with racism, over-policing and the criminal justice system on a daily basis. We went out into the community and talked to dozens and dozens of folks who have had these experiences and we heard over and over again stories about people being arrested for reasons that they shouldn't have been arrested for in the first place - trivial things like hopping a turnstile or drinking a beer in front of their apartment and then having to go through this really terrible process where it felt like being thrown into a black box.

So, we really tried to respond to that and focus on this critical 24 - 48 hours after an arrest where more often than not, people don't have access to the resources that they need.

Jelani: For me, growing up in New York City and being a young, black male, way too often I've heard stories of friends that have been arrested and their lives are changed significantly just because of an arrest for a trivial reason. as a black male, I deal with this issue every day as I walk out this door. Even today and now, I can walk out the door and be falsely arrested because of the color of my skin. It sucks. Thinking about that, we wanted to create a resource where folks have that layer of protection. I think it's imperative that we have the community onboard paving the way for this because the folks that have proximity understand what's going on.

Freethink: What is the biggest obstacle you're currently facing?

Jelani: Getting the word out to those who need us most has been an obstacle, but we're seeing a lot of organic growth in terms of folks being receptive to what we do because it works. We're in the community, we're grassroots. It's really having a friend tell a friend and getting that word of mouth out. It's a very interesting thing because when folks find out how lean we are, they always say we're punching above our weight because our team is lean but we're making sure that we're out there in the community. We launched two and a half years ago and just became city-wide this August.

Freethink: What's the success you're most proud of and how did you have to think differently to achieve it?

Gabe: We had a call a while ago where the cops showed up at an apartment and it was a single mom and her 17-year-old son and they accused her son of stealing a backpack. He was completely innocent, he complied because he wanted to clear it up. So they went into the precinct. His mom followed and went in and asked where her son was. She wanted to help him get through this process. The police at the precinct told her they did not know where her son was.

Luckily she had heard about Good Call's number from some of the community outreach that we had done. She was able to get a lawyer on the phone right away. He called around to a number of different precincts, found out where her son was, and actually physically went to meet with him. When he got to the precinct he was able to witness the police bring her son in a biased lineup where they basically showed her son to the victim first and suggested that that's who they thought committed this crime. Of course, the victim picked her son out because they led her to do so. Unfortunately, this happens all the time - but since his attorney witnessed it and claimed a violation of procedure, the young man was able to be released and go home that very night as opposed to being on a bus to Rikers Island.

When he got to the precinct he was able to witness the police bring her son in a biased lineup where they basically showed her son to the victim first and suggested that that's who they thought committed this crime. Of course, the victim picked her son out because they led her to do so.

Jelani: We've been able to bring a new thought process to looking at this problem. There's thinking within communities sometimes that the folks that look different from us are against us. We're actually changing that narrative by being a diverse team in the community who are really just there to help empower folks. We're seeing people unite from different colors, sexual orientations, to really help communities that are at risk of dealing with negative policing and lack of access to legal representation. Folks don't have to look like you in order to help you.

Freethink: Did you ever think about quitting?

Jelani: I think in the early days when we had a lot of folks that weren't as optimistic as we were about what we were doing. We did deal with some pushback there and folks being naysayers. As a non-profit, we went six and seven months with no pay and just had to get out there on our own and advocate to the community that this process worked. We put together pennies to support ourselves while running this organization. We really had to make some hard decisions. I think what brought us out of that is the fact that no matter how much we struggled in the office, there was hope on the streets.

Whenever we spoke to folks in the community, they were so happy that we were doing this. They believed that this was the right thing to do. I had somebody give me $100 in a parking lot once, out of their own pocket; meanwhile, we're trying to get money from foundations that were turning their nose up. I think that was a difficult time but I think our team was strong and the faith in the community really help us push through that.

Freethink: Why are you still in this fight?

Malik: The fight ain't over. It's a battle every day out here just getting the word out there. Folks need to know about this because this is a powerful resource.

"We put together pennies to support ourselves while running this organization. We really had to make some hard decisions. I think what brought us out of that is the fact that no matter how much we struggled in the office, there was hope on the streets." Jelani Anglin Good Call NYC

Freethink: What are the broader implications of your work?

Gabe: The sixth amendment guarantees everyone access to an attorney, to a fair process but the reality is that if you can't afford a private attorney, the process looks very, very different. Not being able to have legal representation when you need it most, in the critical moment after you've been arrested, really skews the whole process and makes the overall problem of over policing and mass incarceration that much worse.

We really want to use our organization and our model to be able to protect people's rights and really make that sixth amendment and just treatment a reality for everyone. We're also thinking about how we can use our platform to go beyond just offering a hotline but also supporting advocacy efforts and policy reform so that hopefully, one day, we can put ourselves out of business.

Freethink: What possibility of change are you most looking forward to this year?

Gabe:  While I think getting rid of some of these blatantly, horrific practices like cash bail or charging 15-year-olds as adults are a great starting ground, I really hope we can take that momentum to actually rethink what jail is and what prison is and what police are and their role in society. I think some of those issues that are really deeply rooted in our culture and in the system are what really needs to be changed to move to a truly fair and just society and system.

Jelani:  Criminal justice has become sexy in a certain type of way where folks advocate against cash bail but can't tell you the significance of it. What happens in pre-trial many times, is often why that person ends up needing bail because they didn't have access to legal representation. I'm really just interested to see how pretrial reform may develop because folks are working on shifting the focus from bail to pretrial.

Topeka Sam and Vanee Sykes (Hope House NYC)

Photo by Lise Metzger

Topeka K. Sam and Vanee Sykes met while incarcerated in federal prison in 2013. Since their release, they’ve dedicated their lives to changing the narrative of formerly incarcerated women to one of understanding and second chances.

Sam is the founder of The Ladies of Hope Ministries (LOHM) which focuses on helping marginalized women and girls reenter society through spiritual empowerment, education, entrepreneurship, and advocacy. One of the programs that LOHM provides for transitioning women is a place to stay and a community of support through Hope House NYC. Hope House is located in the Bronx and was founded by both Sam and Sykes as a way to provide affordable housing to transitioning women. Women are able to stay at Hope House for up to one year as they readjust to their family life, to their role in the community, to new employment and educational opportunities, and to healing themselves. At the conclusion of the year, Hope House staff helps the women move into permanent housing while retaining their connection to Hope House NYC for support.

Freethink: Out of all the reform movements you could have led, what inspired you to focus on re-entry reform for women?

Topeka: It was my experience as an incarcerated woman. I was in approximately five different prisons and jails in the country over the three years I was incarcerated, including a federal half-way house. During this experience, I saw the lack of services, programming, access of opportunity for women and young girls who were transitioning and felt that I could impact the field and the world by utilizing my experience to create change and movement around women.

Vanee: For me, re-entry began the minute I walked up the hill into Federal prison. I was able to self-surrender, which means the judge gave me three months to get my affairs in order because he knew that I had children. So, yeah to walk up the hill with the pillowcase - my real life, everything pushed into a pillowcase - I realized then that I had to take control of my life and that my life would expand. The pillowcase would not be confined to just those few things. I began to think in my head what would the next steps of my life look like because I knew I probably wouldn't be able to work back in city government. So I began to create for myself what I wanted my life to look like from day one.

It’s important for women to begin to think of re-entry while still in prison, not waiting for their counselor to call them 18 months before being released to put them in re-entry classes, but for them to start creating re-entry for themselves and knowing that whatever they put in their mind that it’s achievable. I wanted to help women who might not have thought about that process - not because of any fault of their own, maybe they just don’t know how to manage things or look for resources.

Freethink: What’s the success you’re most proud of and how did you have to think differently to achieve it?

Topeka: The success I'm most proud of is creating an organization that is led by and for impacted women and girls. This means that some women who are working with the organization have been incarcerated, some have had parents who were incarcerated, brothers who were incarcerated, and/or loved ones who were incarcerated. So we are 100% impacted.

The way I thought differently to achieve that success was understanding that everyone given an opportunity can thrive. I was told originally that I need to have a certain skill set, a certain level of education, a certain level of experience to build an organization. I chose not to do that initially because I felt there are no amount of degrees, no amount of work history that can lead to actually having this experience and being able to actually influence change. I had the opportunity to go back to school when I came home but the Spirit of God moved me to start Ladies of Hope Ministries and I decided not to look at a person’s educational background or experience when hiring - I look at their passion.

Vanee: I'm most proud of creating Hope House with my partner Topeka. Hope House is just not a beautiful space as you can see physically but it's a mental safe space for women and what I realize in this journey is that there are a lot of women who are hurting. In here it's okay to not be okay.

I sit at this table with young women who were victims of horrific sex trafficking crimes and it's okay for them to say, "You know Miss Vanee, this happened or that happened” and we can cry our way through things knowing that the tears are just a part of the process that we provide here. Just being in a space where women know that vulnerability is a strength. And when you can identify what those demons and those monsters are then you know how to attack them and that's the beauty of being in here. Being a victim of sexual molestation, I had to work through some things because I wanted to be able to trust again. I think that's what the beauty of this is, just being able to trust again and know that everyone doesn't mean you harm. And that's the beauty that I'm most proud of.

Through this, I realized is if women are in a beautiful space, they show up beautifully. And that’s something people don’t always think about. When I was incarcerated I knew that I wanted to live my life the way I did on the outside - meaning, I still got up at 5:30 in the morning like if I was going to my high paying job, I ironed my uniform because I wasn't going to wear a wrinkled uniform around the facility because that's not the way I dressed on the outside. I wanted to make sure my hair, my makeup was done every day. So I began to think that even though I'm in this situation, in a dreary building with hopelessness, I’m still going to look for life and beauty. So imagine if we come out of prison and we put women in a beautiful space. If women are able to thrive in that dreary spot, imagine what they could do if we give them a beautiful space and an opportunity of a second chance.

You see me walking down the street dressed up and with my nice clothes on you wouldn't think I'm a woman who was formerly incarcerated in federal prison and that's the narrative we have to change. I could be someone's mother, I could be someone's aunt, I could be someone's grandmother. Vanee Sykes Hope House NYC

Freethink: Did you ever think about quitting?

Topeka: The work became extremely hard when I began having more of a national profile. It wasn't by choice. Some people began trying to discredit the work we were doing, it was emotionally draining. It was difficult and I thank God for grace and for the understanding to pray and for having sisters like Vanee who I could talk to so I wasn't alone through that. But it was painful because as you began to build and want to change the injustices that are happening in the country, you realize that there is so much trauma that is intertwined in this work and this movement because people haven't been healed. Prisons don't heal people. People are hurt and they haven’t been healed.

Vanee: When we began to get opposition from the community board and from our neighbors, that was hard. Prior to them knowing that Hope House was going to be a place for women returning home they would see me and Topeka. And of course you see me walking down the street dressed up and with my nice clothes on you wouldn't think I'm a woman who was formerly incarcerated in federal prison and that's the narrative we have to change. I could be someone's mother, I could be someone's aunt, I could be someone's grandmother.

When the community found out that we were actually going to be a safe space for formerly incarcerated women they began to really attack us. They thought it was a great idea but they just did not want it in this section, in the Castle Hill section of the Bronx. So we began to explain to them that this area actually had the highest number of people who would be returning home.

The way I look at it if you know people are returning to your community wouldn't you want there to be services in place for these women so they don't re-offend? If they're coming back to your community, isn't it your responsibility to say, you know what let's try to get programs, let's try to make sure we keep them from doing whatever they did prior. They began to really say mean things about me and Topeka, they actually even called our parole officers, tried to get us put back into prison. That's when I was like, "is this worth it?" But then you begin to think about the women that you left behind who may not be as vocal as Topeka and I and who may not have the strength to endure. So that's when I knew that we can endure. We can stand because at the end of the day, me and Topeka had a strong support network, we had family support so our situation was not the norm. If we didn't continue to stand then who was going to stand for the sisters that we left behind?

Now, we're great with our neighbors. I think what happens is that you have to change the narrative. We don't hold anything against them, they just didn't know what to expect and we get that. I understand because prior to incarceration that's not something I thought about either. They just heard women and prison but what we showed them is that our house is probably the quietest house on the block. The women here, they sweep, they keep the yard clean. They all work, they're in school so I think what they realize is that these are just women who are just trying to have another go at life. They're very friendly. We even give food from our angel food project to some of our neighbors. So the community we see has changed and it's bigger than Hope House.

Freethink: Why are you still in this fight and hopeful about the future?

Topeka: I'm still in the fight because there are millions of people still incarcerated. I'm hopeful about the future because as we continue the fight we are helping to pass legislation around the country that are changing conditions of confinement. We are changing the narrative around the faces of women in prison. As long as there are people who are incarcerated and people who are coming home from incarceration we are going to continue to be in the fight.

Vanee: My oldest son graduated from Howard University while I was incarcerated and my daughter graduated from Middle School and was in High School. I missed five birthdays for each of them. I missed Christmases. So when they look at me and they say, "Mom, I'm proud of you" that's why I do it. And of course they're happy that Hope House was formed but if I was working anywhere they would say, "Mom, I'm proud of you". Because prior to incarcerated I suffered from depression and I didn't deal with things and mental illness. They're not proud of the Vanee that's the program director of Hope House - they're proud of Vanee, the mother who's able to get up out of bed every day and who can grasp a hold of life and who can make it through life in a healthy manner. And if I know what that pride does for me, then I know what it will do for every mother who comes to Hope House or for every mother that we encounter. I want them to be able to hear their children, the people that they gave life to, turn around and give them back that same life. It's like full circle.

Freethink: What is the biggest obstacle you’re currently facing?

Topeka: The biggest obstacle that I am facing with the organization I would say is fundraising. Unfortunately, people see direct service as not a fundable service. A lot of foundations want to fund advocacy work. For me, the most tangible service we have is Hope House and that is considered a direct service. So we may receive a grant or two toward housing but the money that we really need for direct services isn’t there. We have to change the narrative around what advocacy looks like. You cannot advocate for anyone, not even yourself if you do not have anywhere to sleep and have no food in your stomach. It's impossible to do. So the narrative that we are creating with Ladies of Hope Ministries and Hope House is that those are basic needs and when you have your basic needs met then you're empowered to begin to advocate for yourself.

Vanee: It’s an obstacle to change the narrative with landlords. That's our biggest thing, you know to dispel any myths about women who are coming out of prison. We know that they do background checks. It may come up that's she's formerly incarcerated but that should not be a criteria if she's working to have a safe space for her and the children to lay their head.

Freethink: What are the broader implications of your work?

Topeka: We are in the Bronx. If we are not here that means that there are several women who will become homeless. If we do not continue to raise funding to provide safe places for people then people are going to be homeless, back in the system and potentially back in prison. So everything is at stake.

Vanee: Generations and families' destinies are at stake here.

Freethink: What possibility of change are you most looking forward to this year?

Topeka: I'm hopeful that each state will be able to find alternatives to incarceration to stop the flow of women going into prison. I'm hopeful that we will understand that safe housing is a necessity and a human right for every single person in this country.

Vanee: I’m looking forward to more services on the outside before women get caught up in the system. A lot of women who are incarcerated should not be incarcerated. It would be great to get to these women before they feel like they have to make the choices they do. For a lot of women I met behind the wall, it came to a point of ‘where is my child going to be able to eat and am I going to have to do something that I may not necessarily want to do?’ So I think what needs to happen is before it gets to that point that resources and services should be available.

I’m also hopeful that we’ll get more services for women already behind bars. You have so many women who are in prison who are mentally hurting. Incarceration is not for those women. Because I know that when I got to prison I wanted to get mental health services and I was told that I wasn't crazy enough because on paper I present well. I'm well spoken and there were other women who needed the services more. I needed the services too because I was dying and screaming inside. 

Deanna Van Buren (Designing Justice + Designing Spaces)

Photo by Lise Metzger

After 12 years Deanna Van Buren left her job as a corporate architect to design spaces for a new type of criminal justice system. This approach, known as restorative justice, places an emphasis on restoring relationships broken by the crime instead of punitive sentencing. Her recent project has been designing Restore Oakland, a restorative justice center in Oakland, California slated to open this summer. She hopes this center will help “shift resources away from prisons and punishment and toward community reinvestment and restorative justice.”

She's the co-founder of Designing Justice + Designing Spaces, based in Oakland, California.

Freethink: What inspired you to marry your passion for architecture with the criminal justice system?

Deanna: I'd been practicing for a decade in corporate America and doing pretty high-end architectural work but I just didn't want to practice that way anymore. I was looking for a way to exit that mode of practice and I heard about restorative justice from Fawyna Davis and Angela Davis who are activist lawyers and I was totally ignited.

The infrastructure that we build as architects for criminal justice, supports and props up that [traditional] system and it has a certain look and feel to it that supports the values of that system. My advocacy is always what you believe you build. If you believe it you'll make it and you'll manifest it, and then once you manifest it, it exacerbates all the issues of that manifestation.

A rendering of the Restoring Oakland campus currently under construction. RestoringOakland.org

Freethink: What does architecture designed for restorative justice look like?

Deanna: Initially just finding a place that's a neutral territory, a place that's safe for all parties to come to where they feel both physically safe and emotionally safe. That can be challenging. You ideally have a creative environment where the natural world and the built world are intertwined and interconnected. We use a lot from what we've learned in evidence-based design in healthcare and education facilities. Daylight and the use of nature in the space is important.

We look at the work of Peter Levine who's created something called somatic experiencing which is a form of alternative therapy aimed at relieving the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. We use some of his techniques which center around the need to have objects in an environment to allow people to touch and rest their eyes. We allow cool off spaces so that people can get out of the dialogue if they need to go into an environment that's calming and soothing. That can be done through materials, colors, making sure people have views to outdoor environments. Furniture is important, the materials of the walls are important. So there's a lot of design criteria that is part of that experience.

Freethink: What’s the success you’re most proud of and how did you have to think differently to achieve it?

Deanna: The success that I'm most proud of is that the idea and concept of a restorative justice center has now emerged into the public realm. That was an idea that I came up with many, many years ago, and now people just use it. They don't know where it came from and it doesn't matter. What matters is that in the world is an idea about a place or a building type that never existed before and people are just saying, hey, I need one of these places. It's amazing to me. I think it's wonderful. I really am excited about it.

As a kid, we lived in Stafford County Virginia. We were the first African-American family in that community. We didn't fit in there so I think that experience had a lot to do with it and needing to be able to move in white spaces, black spaces, and everything in between in order to get where I wanted to be and do the things I wanted to do. This has enabled me to not always necessarily need to go along with the group. I question the system, I question things a little bit more.

Freethink: Why are you still in this fight and hopeful about the future?

Deanna: You can talk about restorative justice, but when you show it to someone and you create an environment where it can happen, that's powerful. That's a powerful move. To manifest something, physically, and you're in it, that's powerful.

It's as powerful as going to prison, except the opposite.

You can talk about restorative justice, but when you show it to someone and you create an environment where it can happen, that's powerful. That's a powerful move. To manifest something, physically, and you're in it, that's powerful. Deanna Van Buren Designing Justice + Designing Spaces

Freethink: What are the broader implications of your work?

Deanna: Our work is really seeking to reinvest in communities and see all the money we spend on criminal justice, disinvested and reinvested in communities and the environment is critical to the success of that. That's housing, that's re-entry facilities, that's workforce development opportunities. How do we rethink that issue and begin to invest in the communities that have been decimated, knowing that those communities are changing all the time, that gentrification is happening, that people are getting misplaced? How do people own the building? People need to own the infrastructure of their communities and have a role in what it looks and what gets built there as opposed to the past.

Freethink: What possibility of change are you most looking forward to this year?

Deanna: This year I'm looking forward to seeing more of our projects built. Restore Oakland will be completed, it'll be done at the end of this month. I'm looking forward to our first re-entry campus getting started and moving forward. I'm looking forward to us becoming developers. We will now own the buildings that we design so that we can make sure that they're getting done and that they are looking the way they need to and that people have places they can work and live and do.

Alex Busansky (Impact Justice)

Photo by Lise Metzger

Alex Busanksy is the founder and President of Impact Justice (IJ), a national criminal justice innovation and research center based in Oakland, California. IJ was launched in 2015 based on the idea that they would "imagine, innovate, and accept absolutely nothing about the status quo of our current justice system." The IJ team spends a significant amount of time looking at where reforms aren't happening, creating an innovative solution to the problem, and then following up with studies and impact testing. Data collection is a very important component of IJ's philosophy.

"We're doing things that are based on research, evaluation, and testing," says Busanksy. The tests allow them to mitigate the risks, allowing for more innovation. "For us, innovation is about risk and imagination. The reality is that some things are going to work and some things aren't. But if we're going to create the kind of bold change that I and many others want, we have to try some different things.

Among their many projects, IJ recently launched The Homecoming Project which helps returning citizens find affordable housing. Dubbed as the "Airbnb for the formerly incarcerated", the project provides subsidies to homeowners in exchange for renting a room at an affordable rate to a recently released prisoner.

Freethink: What inspired you to focus get involved with the criminal justice reform movement?

Alex: I was raised with the idea that I live in a community and that I'm connected to people whether I know them or not. You need to be attentive to give to people who don't have the same amount of privilege. I had parents who lived that philosophy. It's about partnering with people to try to improve our homes, our streets, our blocks, our neighborhoods, our communities.

We talk about the criminal justice problem as if it requires a criminal justice solution, but in many ways the criminal justice problem requires everybody to engage in the solution whether it be housing, maternal care, economic growth, mental health, education, all of that. If you do all these things well, you can fix up your criminal justice problem.

Freethink: What's the success you're most proud of and how did you have to think differently to achieve it?

Alex: One is the Homecoming Project. There was a problem that people didn't know how to address. We're all raised to think that when a conflict arises, we'll just go to criminal court and it'll get resolved. We know these roles so well - you and I could sit down right now and write a legal thriller involving a courtroom and we'd probably get it right. And yet when you talk to people who get engaged in the system, both those people who are prosecuted and those people who we see as victims, none of them are happy with the system. We're not solving the problem, right? Recidivism rates are high, the cost of incarceration outstrips that of what many states are putting into the educational programs they invest in, right? It's just not working. And yet we keep doing the same old bad, long thing over and over again. So we really had to think differently by pushing back and saying, "Let's just go outside the box for a second. If we had to start this all over again what would we do?"

We recognized that 30% of people leaving prison to become homeless at some point. You have a dramatically increased likelihood of being homeless if you've been incarcerated or in the criminal justice system. We know all of this and yet the housing program we have for the formerly incarcerated is we lock them up again. Super expensive. With the Homecoming Project, we created a win-win situation. Homeowners were able to enjoy extra income while returning citizens were able to gain a safe and stable environment to live in.

Freethink: Did you ever think about quitting?

Alex: You know you need to know this about me: I am hardwired as an optimist so giving up is a really difficult concept. I have been disappointed.

I'm 56 years old. I was born in 1962. When I was born there were roughly 200,000 people incarcerated in this country, 200,000. Today there are 2.3 million people. We didn't get to where we are overnight. It wasn't one policy, one moment, one anything, and so I've always seen this as a long ethics struggle. This is a long-term struggle. It's going to take years, decades to do what needs to be done.

"We recognized that thirty percent of people leaving prison become homeless at some point. With the Homecoming Project we created a win-win situation. Homeowners were able to enjoy extra income while returning citizens were able to gain a safe and stable environment to live in." Alex Busansky Impact Justice

Freethink: Why is it important that you don't fail?

Alex: People's lives will be forever changed depending on what happens. You know there are people, prison abolitionists who will say, "Don't spend any money prisons. Don't focus on prisons. Don't make them too nice, they'll be attractive for people to send other people to." And I get that. I want to starve the beast. But when I think of a loved one who is in prison, what am I going to say to them? 'This is a generational fight. Sorry, I can't really spend any time with you. I can't focus on your needs, hopes, and desires?' I have to and it makes it complicated, but I think that's the responsibility that we have. You have to both have a long game and what are we doing next week?

Freethink: What possibility of change are you most looking forward to this year?

Alex: I think we're slowly beginning to see a change in perception about how people see formerly incarcerated people. That the thing that they did, that's called the worst thing that they did, to use Bryan Stevenson's language, doesn't define who they are and that they're still people. It's not happening everywhere but you can see it happening in different ways in different places.

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Quieter, Faster, Stronger: The Next Jet Age Is Coming
Dispatches
Quieter, Faster, Stronger: The Next Jet Age Is Coming
Quieter, Faster, Stronger: The Next Jet Age Is Coming
Air travel takes longer today than it did 40 years ago. That's about to change.
Coffin-Building Club Helps Seniors Face Death and Enjoy Life
Episode 20180710
Coffin-Building Club Helps Seniors Face Death and Enjoy Life
These seniors are tackling the stigma around death by decorating their own coffins.
UV Robots Can Sterilize an ICU in 10 Minutes
Dispatches
UV Robots Can Sterilize an ICU in 10 Minutes
UV Robots Can Sterilize an ICU in 10 Minutes
UV light destroys bacterial DNA from the inside out, eradicating the toughest pathogens in minutes.
Will Probiotics Cure Cholera?
Dispatches
Will Probiotics Cure Cholera?
Will Probiotics Cure Cholera?
MIT scientists say eating good bacteria can prevent, cure, and diagnose cholera—cheaply.
Using Neuroscience to Talk to People in a Vegetative State
Science
Episode 20180704
Using Neuroscience to Talk to People in a Vegetative State
A scientist figures out how to talk to the brain when the body won't respond.
The Gut Microbiome Affects Brain Structure
Dispatches
The Gut Microbiome Affects Brain Structure
The Gut Microbiome Affects Brain Structure
What happens in your gut in childhood can change how your brain works later in life.
An Insulin Pill Could Change Everything for Diabetics
Dispatches
An Insulin Pill Could Change Everything for Diabetics
An Insulin Pill Could Change Everything for Diabetics
A pill instead of a needle would be the "holy grail" for diabetes treatment.
FDA Approves the First Marijuana-based Drug
Dispatches
FDA Approves the First Marijuana-based Drug
FDA Approves the First Marijuana-based Drug
The drug has been proven effective at reducing seizures from certain types of childhood epilepsy.
CRISPR Edits Out Autistic Traits in Mice
Dispatches
CRISPR Edits Out Autistic Traits in Mice
CRISPR Edits Out Autistic Traits in Mice
The technique could also open up treatments for Huntington's, schizophrenia, and epilepsy.
A New Brain Surgery Robot Can Work Inside an MRI
Dispatches
A New Brain Surgery Robot Can Work Inside an MRI
A New Brain Surgery Robot Can Work Inside an MRI
Metal robots and electric motors don't normally play well with giant magnets.
How Coffee Could Treat Diabetes
Dispatches
How Coffee Could Treat Diabetes
How Coffee Could Treat Diabetes
Someday, diabetics could use caffeine to trigger insulin production, thanks to specially designed kidney cells.
New Tech Makes Fresh Produce Last Twice as Long
Dispatches
New Tech Makes Fresh Produce Last Twice as Long
New Tech Makes Fresh Produce Last Twice as Long
The plant-based preservative could radically change the game on food waste.
Reprogramming Your Immune System to Fight Cancer
Superhuman
Episode 10
Reprogramming Your Immune System to Fight Cancer
Your T cells already know how to kill cancer. These doctors can train them to hunt it down.
Precision Medicine Cured  an “Untreatable” Stage IV Breast Cancer
Dispatches
Precision Medicine Cured an “Untreatable” Stage IV Breast Can…
Precision Medicine Cured an “Untreatable” Stage IV Breast Cancer
Two years ago, she had two months to live.
A Zero-Carbon Gas Power Plant Just Came Online in Texas
Dispatches
A Zero-Carbon Gas Power Plant Just Came Online in Texas
A Zero-Carbon Gas Power Plant Just Came Online in Texas
Hey, it works!
Does CRISPR Cause Cancer?
Dispatches
Does CRISPR Cause Cancer?
Does CRISPR Cause Cancer?
Two studies find that CRISPR'd cells tend to become cancerous. Here's what that means for biotech medicine.
Using Virtual Reality to Help Kids with Autism
Superhuman
Episode 9
Using Virtual Reality to Help Kids with Autism
A virtual world offers a new way to engage with kids on the spectrum.
The Cost of Sucking Carbon Out of the Air Just Fell By 85%
Dispatches
The Cost of Sucking Carbon Out of the Air Just Fell By 85%
The Cost of Sucking Carbon Out of the Air Just Fell By 85%
It's not there yet, but carbon capture just got interesting.
Study Shows Schizophrenia Begins in the Womb, Unraveling a Genetic Mystery
Dispatches
Study Shows Schizophrenia Begins in the Womb, Unraveling a…
Study Shows Schizophrenia Begins in the Womb, Unraveling a Genetic Mystery
Half of genes linked to schizophrenia are primarily involved in the placenta, not the brain.
Mental Training Can Heal Traumatic Brain Injuries (and Reduce Depression)
Dispatches
Mental Training Can Heal Traumatic Brain Injuries (and…
Mental Training Can Heal Traumatic Brain Injuries (and Reduce Depression)
Millions of people are dealing with traumatic head injuries; brain scans show that cognitive training could actually repair damaged neural connections.
Helping Kids Walk With Wearable Robots
Superhuman
Episode 8
Helping Kids Walk With Wearable Robots
Exoskeletons aren't just science fiction anymore. Wearable robots are helping kids with cerebral palsy walk.
Why Don’t Vaccines Work as Well in Poor Countries?
Dispatches
Why Don’t Vaccines Work as Well in Poor Countries?
Why Don’t Vaccines Work as Well in Poor Countries?
Our best tool for preventing disease is the least effective in the places where it's most needed.
Tesla Fixed Its Model 3 Brakes with Software – And Showed Us the Future of Cars
Dispatches
Tesla Fixed Its Model 3 Brakes with Software – And Showed U…
Tesla Fixed Its Model 3 Brakes with Software – And Showed Us the Future of Cars
Consumer Reports failed the Model 3's braking system. A week later, Tesla beamed a fix to the entire fleet.
Hunting Down His Son’s Killer
Superhuman
Episode 7
Hunting Down His Son’s Killer
For years, there was no diagnosis, no treatment, and no cure — because his son's disease had never been seen before. That wasn't going to stop this dad.
Genetic Tests Miss “Invisible” Mutations That Cause Disease and Neurological Disorders
Dispatches
Genetic Tests Miss “Invisible” Mutations That Cause Disease and…
Genetic Tests Miss “Invisible” Mutations That Cause Disease and Neurological Disorders
There's more to your DNA than just letters, and mutations can lurk in that genetic "dark matter."
Emergency Braking Was Disabled During Self-driving Uber Fatality: Feds
Dispatches
Emergency Braking Was Disabled During Self-driving Uber…
Emergency Braking Was Disabled During Self-driving Uber Fatality: Feds
Uber turned off the emergency braking function in its self-driving cars because of "erratic vehicle behavior."
Spraying Bacteria onto the Skin Can Treat Eczema
Dispatches
Spraying Bacteria onto the Skin Can Treat Eczema
Spraying Bacteria onto the Skin Can Treat Eczema
The bacteria in your microbiome ward off infections and help keep your skin healthy.
Your DNA Is Not the Same in Every Cell
Dispatches
Your DNA Is Not the Same in Every Cell
Your DNA Is Not the Same in Every Cell
Your body began with a single cell and a single genetic code. But it didn't stay that way for long.
Could Freezing Your Body Offer a Chance at Immortality?
On the Fringe
Could Freezing Your Body Offer a Chance at Immortality?
Could Freezing Your Body Offer a Chance at Immortality?
In a lab in Arizona, dozens of bodies sit preserved at 320 degrees below zero. They each paid $200,000 to be frozen on the hope that, one day, medicine will advance far enough to once again bring them back from the dead.
Can Genetically Modified Pigs Be the Key to Treating Rare Diseases?
Superhuman
Episode 6
Can Genetically Modified Pigs Be the Key to Treating Rare Diseases?
When it comes to rare diseases, doctors often don’t have enough patients to determine the effectiveness of various treatments. Now, scientists are breeding pigs with the same genetic code as people with a disease in order to create a pool of test "patients" unlike any before.
Robots Are Mass Producing Mini-Organs
Dispatches
Robots Are Mass Producing Mini-Organs
Robots Are Mass Producing Mini-Organs
Robots can make hundreds of tiny copies of your organs, allowing doctors to test many different treatments at the same time.
Scientists Physically "Transplant" a Memory in Snails
Dispatches
Scientists Physically "Transplant" a Memory in…
Scientists Physically "Transplant" a Memory in Snails
The experiment breaks the conventional wisdom about what memories are made of.
The Cause (and Possible Cure) for Most Infertility
Dispatches
The Cause (and Possible Cure) for Most Infertility
The Cause (and Possible Cure) for Most Infertility
Fertility medicine may be on the edge of a breakthrough.
Two Billion People Have TB. What Should We Do about It?
Dispatches
Two Billion People Have TB. What Should We Do about It?
Two Billion People Have TB. What Should We Do about It?
In the fight against TB, sometimes it's better to just get along.
Can Virtual Reality Help Fight the Opioid Crisis?
Superhuman
Episode 5
Can Virtual Reality Help Fight the Opioid Crisis?
VR has long been seen as an escape from the real world. But recently researchers have been putting an unexpected twist on that. They’re now exploring how VR could provide an escape from an unfortunate reality many face everyday: chronic pain.
CRISPR Can Diagnose Zika (and Ebola) with Just a Strip of Paper
Dispatches
CRISPR Can Diagnose Zika (and Ebola) with Just a Strip of…
CRISPR Can Diagnose Zika (and Ebola) with Just a Strip of Paper
We could be on our way to a fast, reliable, portable test for almost any virus or cancerous mutation.
We Found the Oldest Human Virus: It's Familiar (but Weird)
Dispatches
We Found the Oldest Human Virus: It's Familiar (but Weird)
We Found the Oldest Human Virus: It's Familiar (but Weird)
The discovery cracks open a 7,000-year history of human-virus warfare. And it's raising weird questions.
These Gloves Can Teach You to Play the Piano. And Maybe Heal Your Brain.
Superhuman
Episode 4
These Gloves Can Teach You to Play the Piano. And Maybe Heal Your Brain.
Through "passive haptic learning", these gloves can teach you how to play the piano in an hour. Braille in four hours. Now researchers want to see if victims of traumatic brain injuries can use these gloves to re-learn critical skills.
Bionic Prosthetic Grants Amputee Musician a Rocking Encore
Science
Bionic Prosthetic Grants Amputee Musician a Rocking Encore
Bionic Prosthetic Grants Amputee Musician a Rocking Encore
How might your life change if you lost an arm? After losing his right arm in an electrical accident, Jason wasn’t sure if he’d ever be able to drum again.
Neuroscientists Want to Beam Experiences Directly into Your Brain
Dispatches
Neuroscientists Want to Beam Experiences Directly into Your…
Neuroscientists Want to Beam Experiences Directly into Your Brain
It's a breakthrough for the blind and paralyzed, not the first step toward the Matrix. (Promise.)
Scientists Want to Rewrite the Entire Human Genome, from Scratch
Dispatches
Scientists Want to Rewrite the Entire Human Genome, from…
Scientists Want to Rewrite the Entire Human Genome, from Scratch
What if we could rewrite our entire genetic code to make us invincible against viruses?
Organic Solar Is (Finally) Efficient Enough to Compete
Dispatches
Organic Solar Is (Finally) Efficient Enough to Compete
Organic Solar Is (Finally) Efficient Enough to Compete
Reliable power straight from the sun looks more achievable than ever.
Glowing Cancer Cells Could Find Hidden Tumors (And Replace Mammograms)
Dispatches
Glowing Cancer Cells Could Find Hidden Tumors (And Replace…
Glowing Cancer Cells Could Find Hidden Tumors (And Replace Mammograms)
A new pill can make cancer cells glow under infrared light, and it could eliminate for mammograms.
How 3D-Printing Is Revolutionizing Heart Surgery
Superhuman
Episode 3
How 3D-Printing Is Revolutionizing Heart Surgery
When a young boy was facing a complicated and dangerous heart operation, his doctors created an exact model of his heart to plan the surgery. And it probably saved his life.
Unlike Smoking, Vaping Won't Mess With Your Microbiome
Dispatches
Unlike Smoking, Vaping Won't Mess With Your Microbiome
Unlike Smoking, Vaping Won't Mess With Your Microbiome
Smoking kills off good bacteria and upsets the balance of power your gut.
Babies Sometimes Trigger Preterm Labor to Escape Infections
Dispatches
Babies Sometimes Trigger Preterm Labor to Escape Infections
Babies Sometimes Trigger Preterm Labor to Escape Infections
A new discovery upends what we thought we knew about premature births and could point the way to entirely new solutions to prevent them.
Scientists Finally Get a Look at Enzyme that Protects DNA
Dispatches
Scientists Finally Get a Look at Enzyme that Protects DNA
Scientists Finally Get a Look at Enzyme that Protects DNA
We finally have a detailed picture of an enzyme that could play a key role in fighting both aging and cancer
These Doctors are Performing Brain Surgery ... Using Sound
Superhuman
Episode 2
These Doctors are Performing Brain Surgery ... Using Sound
Bonnie D'Ettorre suffers from a nerve disorder causing uncontrollable shaking. Doctors at Ohio State are about to "burn it out" using a thousand beams of ultrasound.
The Ebola Vaccine Is Still Working 2 Years Later
Science
The Ebola Vaccine Is Still Working 2 Years Later
The Ebola Vaccine Is Still Working 2 Years Later
The vaccine works great at preventing infection—let’s hope it can also prevent media panic too.
These Bacteria-Eating Sewer Viruses are Saving Lives
On The Fringe
These Bacteria-Eating Sewer Viruses are Saving Lives
These Bacteria-Eating Sewer Viruses are Saving Lives
The world discovered phages before antibiotics, but these lowly sewer viruses are getting renewed attention in the age of antibiotic resistance.
The World’s First Bionic Drummer
Superhuman
Episode 1
The World’s First Bionic Drummer
Jason Barnes lost his arm in a horrible accident. Then he became the fastest drummer in the world...
Linking Genes to Depression Could Revolutionize Treatment
Dispatches
Linking Genes to Depression Could Revolutionize Treatment
Linking Genes to Depression Could Revolutionize Treatment
Saying something is “genetic” used to be a fatalistic diagnosis. But with modern medicine, it could be the key to treatment.
For People in Prison, a Second Chance to Give Back
Sponsored
Episode 20180417
For People in Prison, a Second Chance to Give Back
50% of people released from prison return within three years. This program is changing that.
The Eternal Sunshine of the Stressed Out Mind
Dispatches
The Eternal Sunshine of the Stressed Out Mind
The Eternal Sunshine of the Stressed Out Mind
Researchers at Cambridge University have finally figured out how the brain stops stressful thoughts and memories from taking over our minds.
Researchers Want to Create A Traffic Cop for the Sky
Dispatches
Researchers Want to Create A Traffic Cop for the Sky
Researchers Want to Create A Traffic Cop for the Sky
A new kind of radar could direct drone traffic safely around city skies.
FDA Approves AI “Doctor” That Can See Disease in Your Eyes
Dispatches
FDA Approves AI “Doctor” That Can See Disease in Your Eyes
FDA Approves AI “Doctor” That Can See Disease in Your Eyes
How will artificial intelligence transform medicine?
23andMe Can (Finally) Tell You about Your Genetic Cancer Risk
Dispatches
23andMe Can (Finally) Tell You about Your Genetic Cancer…
23andMe Can (Finally) Tell You about Your Genetic Cancer Risk
23andMe has won the right to tell you what your genes say about you. It's a landmark legal achievement that could help usher in a new age of personalized medicine.
A Prosthetic Memory Can Help You Remember
Dispatches
A Prosthetic Memory Can Help You Remember
A Prosthetic Memory Can Help You Remember
Scientists have figured out how to hack the brain's memory.
Tesla and Uber Fatalities Show the Limits of “Semi-Autonomous” Cars
Dispatches
Tesla and Uber Fatalities Show the Limits of…
Tesla and Uber Fatalities Show the Limits of “Semi-Autonomous” Cars
How can we make humans pay attention when a machine is doing our job for us?
Self-driving Uber Fatality: Video Shows Tech Failure & Human Error
Dispatches
Self-driving Uber Fatality: Video Shows Tech Failure &…
Self-driving Uber Fatality: Video Shows Tech Failure & Human Error
The only way to make self-driving cars safer is to take the risk of more testing.
Why Prisons are Showing Nature Videos to Inmates
Innovation
Trailer
Why Prisons are Showing Nature Videos to Inmates
Watching nature videos in the unlikeliest of places
Is This the End of Language Barriers?
Technology
Episode 20180307
Is This the End of Language Barriers?
What if you could travel anywhere in the world and there was no language barrier?
Having Your Views Challenged is a Good Thing
Crossing the Divide
Episode 7
Having Your Views Challenged is a Good Thing
When we encounter ideas we don’t like, we often shut them down. Professor John Inazu explains why that’s a bad thing and what we can do to fix it.
Could Growing Vaccines in Plants Save Lives?
Science
Episode 20180219
Could Growing Vaccines in Plants Save Lives?
Vaccines for influenza, polio, smallpox, even Ebola have all be grown … in plants.
The Homemade Internet Service
DIY Science
Episode 5
The Homemade Internet Service
We all get tired of our internet service. But what if instead of just restarting your router, you started your own internet service?
Treating Diabetes with a DIY Pancreas
DIY Science
Episode 4
Treating Diabetes with a DIY Pancreas
A group of coders created an open source, DIY pancreas to help people with diabetes manage their condition.
Electrifying Classic Cars
DIY Science
Episode 3
Electrifying Classic Cars
Starting with the classics, this unique shop is converting existing cars into all-electric road warriors.
The Conservative Radio Host Urging People to Break Out of Their Bubbles
Crossing the Divide
Episode 8
The Conservative Radio Host Urging People to Break Out of Their Bubbles
Can Coding Prevent Overdoses?
DIY Science
Episode 2
Can Coding Prevent Overdoses?
A group of teenagers in Baltimore have created an app that can notify the public about heroin overdoses and save countless lives
The Violinist Playing for Freedom in Venezuela
Change Agents
Episode 20180117
The Violinist Playing for Freedom in Venezuela
Venezuelan violinist Wuilly Arteaga has been beaten and arrested, but it hasn’t stopped him from using music to help bring freedom to his country
Why Researchers Built a Robot Snake
Technology
Episode 20180116
Why Researchers Built a Robot Snake
Believe it or not, there's a good reason this robot snake exists
The Alzheimer's-Detecting Helmet
DIY Science
Episode 1
The Alzheimer's-Detecting Helmet
If we could detect Alzheimer’s earlier, we could treat it better. Two college students designed a device that may be able to do just that.
Freezing Bodies for the Future
On the Fringe
Episode 5
Freezing Bodies for the Future
Alcor CEO Max More knows most people don't believe cryonics will work. But More thinks we can't afford not to try.
The Robot Duck Helping Kids With Cancer
Sponsored
Episode 20180109
The Robot Duck Helping Kids With Cancer
Growing Human Organs in Pigs
On the Fringe
Episode 4
Growing Human Organs in Pigs
Can Snot Help Stop the Flu?
On the Fringe
Episode 3
Can Snot Help Stop the Flu?
How Drones are Changing Disaster Relief
Technology
Episode 20171222
How Drones are Changing Disaster Relief
As Hurricane Florence hits, here's a look at how drones are changing disaster relief.
A Stranger's Poop Could Save Your Life
On the Fringe
Episode 2
A Stranger's Poop Could Save Your Life
Searching for Cures in a Sewer
On the Fringe
Episode 1
Searching for Cures in a Sewer
Will Robots Take Our Jobs?
Wrong
Episode 5
Will Robots Take Our Jobs?
What Happened to the Beepocalypse?
Wrong
Episode 4
What Happened to the Beepocalypse?
Is Vitamin C a Total Sham
Wrong
Episode 3
Is Vitamin C a Total Sham
Did Rats Start the Drug War?
Wrong
Episode 2
Did Rats Start the Drug War?
Our Cyborg Future is Coming (And That’s Not a Bad Thing)
The Big Idea
Episode 20171113
Our Cyborg Future is Coming (And That’s Not a Bad Thing)
Hollywood loves to sensationalize merging the body with advanced tech. But will it really be so bad?
Did the Food Pyramid Make Us Fat?
Wrong
Episode 1
Did the Food Pyramid Make Us Fat?
How AI Could Revolutionize Coffee
Coded
Episode 5
How AI Could Revolutionize Coffee
Could the blockchain be used to make fair trade goods live up to their promise?
This Research Team Wants to Hack Your Car
Coded
Episode 4
This Research Team Wants to Hack Your Car
What happens when an SUV going 75 miles-per-hour down a highway is hacked from a remote computer?
The Tattooed, Skater Principal Making Education Fun Again
Relentless
Episode 20171024
The Tattooed, Skater Principal Making Education Fun Again
The Tattooed, Skater Principal Making Education Fun Again
Hacker Wins Election As Pirate Party Leader
Coded
Episode 3
Hacker Wins Election As Pirate Party Leader
Iceland's Pirate Party is trying to use a hacker mindset to improve their country and the world.
Hacker Hero Arrested by FBI
Coded
Episode 2
Hacker Hero Arrested by FBI
Was MalwareTech just doing research to stop criminal activity or engaging in criminal activity himself?
eSight Lets the Legally Blind See
Technology
Episode 20171011
eSight Lets the Legally Blind See
This legally blind man is seeing his wedding for the first time. 15 years after he got married.
The Lawyer Who Defends Anonymous
Coded
Episode 1
The Lawyer Who Defends Anonymous
3-D Printing Prosthetics for Kids
Superhuman
Episode 1
3-D Printing Prosthetics for Kids
The incredible movement of shared designs and tech that’s making prosthetics better and cheaper for everyone.
Father Creates Bionic Organ for Son
Superhuman
Episode 5
Father Creates Bionic Organ for Son
A father’s quest to help his son with diabetes could change the lives of millions of people who suffer from the disease.
How Virtual Reality is Changing Medicine
On the Cusp
How Virtual Reality is Changing Medicine
How Virtual Reality is Changing Medicine
From virtual hearts to immersive battlefields, doctors and scientists are using virtual reality to transform medicine
Father Makes 3D Heart for Daughter
Superhuman
Episode 4
Father Makes 3D Heart for Daughter
When a father’s daughter was diagnosed with a heart disease, he set out to design an innovative 3D model of a heart that doctors could explore in virtual reality to save her life and thousands more.
Stem Cells Give Paralyzed Man Movement
Superhuman
Episode 3
Stem Cells Give Paralyzed Man Movement
Could an injection of embryonic stem cells into the spinal cord reverse paralysis?
Brain Implant Gives Quadriplegic Movement
Superhuman
Episode 2
Brain Implant Gives Quadriplegic Movement
A brain implant connected to electrodes could offer hope to those who have lost function in their limbs.
Could This Revolutionary Football Helmet Protect Players and Save the Game?
Science
Could This Revolutionary Football Helmet Protect Players…
Could This Revolutionary Football Helmet Protect Players and Save the Game?
As more and more former football players exhibit symptoms of CTE, one company thinks their new helmet can address the problem of player safety.
The Business Fair for Children
Entrepreneurship
Episode 20170814
The Business Fair for Children
At this business fair, kids are the entrepreneurs...
The Exotic Zoo Run by Prisoners
Prison Reform
Episode 20170731
The Exotic Zoo Run by Prisoners
Could zookeeping turn an inmate’s life around? Jeanne Selander who runs the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office Animal Farm thinks so.
The Real Mother of Dragons
On the Cusp
Episode 20170721
The Real Mother of Dragons
Meet the scientists using dragon blood to fight superbugs
The Shipping Containers Used for Conversations
Technology
Episode 20170711
The Shipping Containers Used for Conversations
Would you talk to a stranger on the other side of the world?
Can an Algorithm Catch a Serial Killer?
Technology
Episode 20170710
Can an Algorithm Catch a Serial Killer?
A self-professed data nerd, Thomas Hargrove believes everything around us is following a mathematical formula...including murder.
Why Does This Cop Have a Million Instagram Followers?
Crossing the Divide
Why Does This Cop Have a Million Instagram Followers?
Why Does This Cop Have a Million Instagram Followers?
Officer Tommy Norman's work has drawn national attention recently, but his approach to policing is nothing new.
Making America Dinner Again
Crossing the Divide
Episode 6
Making America Dinner Again
What happens when you put people of all political persuasions together over dinner?
How to Negotiate the Nonnegotiable
Crossing the Divide
Episode 5
How to Negotiate the Nonnegotiable
Insights on working through conflict with Harvard's top negotiation expert.
A White Cop and Black Barber Team Up to Bring Peace to Their City
Crossing the Divide
Episode 2
A White Cop and Black Barber Team Up to Bring Peace to Their City
A local barber teams up with an officer to ease tensions in their community.
Can a Single Conversation Really Change Someone's Mind? This Research Says Yes.
Crossing the Divide
Can a Single Conversation Really Change Someone's Mind?…
Can a Single Conversation Really Change Someone's Mind? This Research Says Yes.
After studying a team of canvassers, two researchers found that a single conversation can have a significant and lasting impact on a person's opinion.
Maybe We Can All Get Along: 5 Reasons to Be Hopeful
Crossing the Divide
Maybe We Can All Get Along: 5 Reasons to Be Hopeful
Maybe We Can All Get Along: 5 Reasons to Be Hopeful
While the press tends to emphasize bad news, there are less covered stories of people from different backgrounds and beliefs coming together.
LGBT Rights: The Power of a Single Conversation
Crossing the Divide
Episode 3
LGBT Rights: The Power of a Single Conversation
Why a gay rights activist started a movement to talk to thousands who voted against gay marriage.
Where Muslims and Jews Worship Together
Crossing the Divide
Episode 4
Where Muslims and Jews Worship Together
When a Jewish community lost its place of worship, help came from an unexpected place.
Americans Are Divided. These People Are Doing Something About It.
Crossing the Divide
Americans Are Divided. These People Are Doing Something…
Americans Are Divided. These People Are Doing Something About It.
Amidst our most intense religious, political, and cultural conflicts, there are people around the country who are working tirelessly to forge connections
Crossing the Divide Trailer
Crossing the Divide
Trailer
Crossing the Divide Trailer
77% of people think the country is more divided than it’s ever been. We set out to meet the people trying to change that.
The Mom Who Will Stop at Nothing to Save Her Daughter's Life
Superhuman
Episode 20170512
The Mom Who Will Stop at Nothing to Save Her Daughter's Life
Afghanistan’s First Female Tech CEO
Technology
Episode 20170502
Afghanistan’s First Female Tech CEO
Despite getting death threats from the Taliban, Roya Mahboob realized her dream of a successful career in tech.
How Skate Punks are Ushering in a New Era of Freedom in Myanmar
Pop Revolution
How Skate Punks are Ushering in a New Era of Freedom in…
How Skate Punks are Ushering in a New Era of Freedom in Myanmar
For decades, Myanmar, also known as Burma, was ruled by a repressive military junta. Then, in 2011, things began to change.
Nico Sell on Recruiting Hackers for Good
Coded
Nico Sell on Recruiting Hackers for Good
Nico Sell on Recruiting Hackers for Good
Why we should teach kids how to hack and encourage them to use their new-found talents for good.
Skatepunks of Myanmar
Pop Revolution
Episode 20170422
Skatepunks of Myanmar
Is the booming skating scene in Myanmar a sign of a more hopeful future for the once isolated country?
5 Fascinating Ways Humans are Adapting to Cities
Rise
5 Fascinating Ways Humans are Adapting to Cities
5 Fascinating Ways Humans are Adapting to Cities
There’s a global transformation happening - millions of people are migrating to cities from the countryside.
The Untold Story of Rio’s Largest Favela
Rise
The Untold Story of Rio’s Largest Favela
The Untold Story of Rio’s Largest Favela
Meet the proud, hopeful, ambitious people determined to build the life they’ve dreamed of.
The Hidden Side of "Slum" Life
Rise
Episode 20170413
The Hidden Side of "Slum" Life
Teaser of The Hidden Side of “Slum” Life
Episode 20170412
Teaser of The Hidden Side of “Slum” Life
One of the most significant transformations in humankind is underway but largely going untold.
3 Times Our Brightest Minds Made Bad Predictions
Wrong
3 Times Our Brightest Minds Made Bad Predictions
3 Times Our Brightest Minds Made Bad Predictions
Some of the predictions might look outlandish now, but at the time they actually seemed quite plausible.
The Y2K Bug is Going to Bite!
Wrong
Episode 3
The Y2K Bug is Going to Bite!
Did we narrowly avoid the apocalypse because of some world-saving last minute de-bugging.
Beware the Frankenbabies!
Wrong
Episode 2
Beware the Frankenbabies!
Frightening predictions almost stopped the invention that has helped millions of families.
We’re All Gonna Starve!
Wrong
Episode 1
We’re All Gonna Starve!
A revolution in food production turned predictions of a population bomb into a worldwide boom.
How an Exiled Cryptographer is Protecting Journalists in His Native Ethiopia
Coded
Episode 7
How an Exiled Cryptographer is Protecting Journalists in His Native Ethiopia
An exiled blogger teaches journalists in his native Ethiopia how to avoid capture
Can This Robot Stop Violence at Traffic Stops?
Criminal Justice
Can This Robot Stop Violence at Traffic Stops?
Can This Robot Stop Violence at Traffic Stops?
A Duke robotics PhD student and his partner think they have a way ease tensions while deep-rooted differences are hashed out.
Meet the Artist and Activist Who Wants You to Erase Your DNA
Coded
Meet the Artist and Activist Who Wants You to Erase Your DNA
Meet the Artist and Activist Who Wants You to Erase Your DNA
Heather Dewey-Hagborg wants to make sure people understand the hidden secrets in the DNA they leave behind everywhere they go.
Erasing Your DNA
Coded
Episode 6
Erasing Your DNA
Is a spray that can mask your DNA the frontier of personal privacy or a tool for criminals?
From Multi-Millionaire Bitcoin Entrepreneur to Inmate and Back Again
Coded
From Multi-Millionaire Bitcoin Entrepreneur to Inmate and…
From Multi-Millionaire Bitcoin Entrepreneur to Inmate and Back Again
The story of how Charlie Shrem built his business as a Bitcoin pioneer, lost it all, and is now clawing his way back.
Disrupting Money
Coded
Episode 5
Disrupting Money
Can a bitcoin entrepreneur on house arrest convince the world it’s the currency of the future?
The App That Sniffs Out Censorship
The App That Sniffs Out Censorship
The App That Sniffs Out Censorship
Created by the Tor Project, the app gives internet users a new way to monitor and report online censorship around the world.
This Week in Ideas: Saying Goodbye to Lab Rats and Replacing Bees with Drones
On The Cusp
This Week in Ideas: Saying Goodbye to Lab Rats and…
This Week in Ideas: Saying Goodbye to Lab Rats and Replacing Bees with Drones
Breakthrough could mean the end of test animals, violent crime nearly cut in half, and drones that pollinate flowers.
Nico Sell on Recruiting Hackers for Good
Coded
Episode 20170209
Nico Sell on Recruiting Hackers for Good
Nico Sell, founder and chairman of the Wickr Foundation, on teaching kids how to hack and encouraging them to use their new-found talents for good.
Nico Sell Thinks Hackers Can Be a Force for Good
Coded
Nico Sell Thinks Hackers Can Be a Force for Good
Nico Sell Thinks Hackers Can Be a Force for Good
After criminals hijacked the term, Sell is on a mission to change our perception of hackers.
Hacking the Future
Coded
Episode 4
Hacking the Future
How do we make sure the next generation of hackers uses their talents for good?
This Week in Ideas: Building a Cheaper MRI, Reconciling God and AI, and The Next Einstein
On The Cusp
This Week in Ideas: Building a Cheaper MRI, Reconciling God…
This Week in Ideas: Building a Cheaper MRI, Reconciling God and AI, and The Next Einstein
Rethinking the MRI machine, how will Christianity handle advanced tech, and is this 7-year-old the next Einstein?
Meet the Digital Bodyguard for Investigative Journalists
Coded
Meet the Digital Bodyguard for Investigative Journalists
Meet the Digital Bodyguard for Investigative Journalists
Smári McCarthy discusses his job protecting the work of journalists investigating organized crime and corruption
It’s Time for Regular Americans to Think Differently About Cybersecurity
Coded
It’s Time for Regular Americans to Think Differently About C…
It’s Time for Regular Americans to Think Differently About Cybersecurity
If huge companies and government agencies can't manage the cyber threats, how can ordinary Americans?
The Hackers Exposing Government-Wide Crime and Corruption
Coded
The Hackers Exposing Government-Wide Crime and Corruption
The Hackers Exposing Government-Wide Crime and Corruption
Displaying the power of unique technological abilities combined with dogged investigative journalism
The People’s NSA
Coded
Episode 3
The People’s NSA
Hackers and journalists team up to expose crime and corruption around the world
This Week in Ideas: Embryonic People-Pigs, the Glories of the Hubble Telescope, and American Cyber-Security
On The Cusp
This Week in Ideas: Embryonic People-Pigs, the Glories of…
This Week in Ideas: Embryonic People-Pigs, the Glories of the Hubble Telescope, and American Cyber-Security
A step toward human organs in animal embryos, the Hubble Telescope was a game changer, and Americans aren't doing much to protect themselves online.
The Evolution of a Dissident: How Ladar Levison Became Someone Who Said "No" to the FBI
Coded
The Evolution of a Dissident: How Ladar Levison Became…
The Evolution of a Dissident: How Ladar Levison Became Someone Who Said "No" to the FBI
For Ladar Levison, founder of secure email service Lavabit, everything changed when the two FBI agents showed up at his door.
What We Mean When We Talk About Hacking
Coded
What We Mean When We Talk About Hacking
What We Mean When We Talk About Hacking
We've all heard it before: "I was hacked!" But that can mean a lot of things. We take a look at some of the big ones.
Meet the Programmer Who Defied the FBI
Coded
Meet the Programmer Who Defied the FBI
Meet the Programmer Who Defied the FBI
Ladar Levison spent 10 years building his business, then destroyed it all in one night when the FBI came knocking.
The Unhackable Email Service
Coded
Episode 2
The Unhackable Email Service
Edward Snowden’s email service of choice wants to make mass surveillance obsolete.
This Week in Ideas: How to Form Good Habits, the Case Against Empathy, and a Miracle Cure Derailed
On The Cusp
This Week in Ideas: How to Form Good Habits, the Case…
This Week in Ideas: How to Form Good Habits, the Case Against Empathy, and a Miracle Cure Derailed
From how to make good habits (and keep them) to a crisis at the NIH, it's a new edition of our week in ideas.
WATCH: Trailer for Our New Show, Coded
Coded
WATCH: Trailer for Our New Show, Coded
WATCH: Trailer for Our New Show, Coded
Meet the programmers on the frontlines of the war over security and privacy.
Coded Trailer
Coded
Trailer
Coded Trailer
Meet the programmers on the frontlines of the war over security and privacy.
Let's Talk About Failure
Challengers
Let's Talk About Failure
Let's Talk About Failure
Are we fetishizing failure? What are the costs of failing? How do we bounce back after it inevitably happens?
What Can We Learn From an Entrepreneur Whose Business Failed?
Challengers
What Can We Learn From an Entrepreneur Whose Business…
What Can We Learn From an Entrepreneur Whose Business Failed?
Luke Kenworthy put everything he had into making his business work. But it didn't pan out. Now he's sharing what he learned through it all.
Failure is Inevitable, But It Doesn't Have to Ruin Your Life
Challengers
Failure is Inevitable, But It Doesn't Have to Ruin Your Life
Failure is Inevitable, But It Doesn't Have to Ruin Your Life
Why learning to suck at something is the only way to get good at it.
This Week in Ideas: Good Things That Happened in 2016
Culture
This Week in Ideas: Good Things That Happened in 2016
This Week in Ideas: Good Things That Happened in 2016
Despite 2016 being widely panned, there were also truly good things that happened over the past year. Here are some of the big ones.
Four Crazy Uses for Virtual Reality (That Aren't Video Games)
Challengers
Four Crazy Uses for Virtual Reality (That Aren't Video…
Four Crazy Uses for Virtual Reality (That Aren't Video Games)
We’re now starting to scratch the surface of the true potential of virtual reality.
Five Insights: Linc Gasking On What Every Startup Should Be Shooting For
Challengers
Five Insights: Linc Gasking On What Every Startup Should Be…
Five Insights: Linc Gasking On What Every Startup Should Be Shooting For
Linc Gasking, co-founder of VR startup 8i, discusses the day-to-day grind and big picture excitement of being an entrepreneur.
Meet the Startup Creating Incredible Virtual Realities
Challengers
Meet the Startup Creating Incredible Virtual Realities
Meet the Startup Creating Incredible Virtual Realities
8i takes video and converts it into virtual realities that are nearly indistinguishable from real life.
How VR Could Change Your Life
Challengers
Episode 5
How VR Could Change Your Life
Virtual reality could alter the human experience forever.
Five Insights: Ryan Petersen on Tackling Problems That Feel Too Big to Fix
Challengers
Five Insights: Ryan Petersen on Tackling Problems That Feel…
Five Insights: Ryan Petersen on Tackling Problems That Feel Too Big to Fix
Flexport's founder discusses the personal and business side of building an ambitious startup.
This Week in Ideas: Why D.A.R.E. Didn't Work, the Future of Cities, and is Love Actually Actually Good?
On The Cusp
This Week in Ideas: Why D.A.R.E. Didn't Work, the Future of…
This Week in Ideas: Why D.A.R.E. Didn't Work, the Future of Cities, and is Love Actually Actually Good?
Our weekly take on the best stuff from around the web.
Five Insights from AltSchool Founder and CEO, Max Ventilla
Challengers
Five Insights from AltSchool Founder and CEO, Max Ventilla
Five Insights from AltSchool Founder and CEO, Max Ventilla
Max Ventilla on why he thinks its time for a new way to educate kids and how his startup could be a way to do it.
Can This Startup Build the School System of the Future?
Challengers
Can This Startup Build the School System of the Future?
Can This Startup Build the School System of the Future?
AltSchool wants to build a new school system based on a highly personalized education model that any school could join.
Building a Better School System
Challengers
Episode 4
Building a Better School System
A highly-personalized experience could be the foundation for the future of education.
Dr. Leslie Dewan on the Future of Nuclear Energy
Challengers
Dr. Leslie Dewan on the Future of Nuclear Energy
Dr. Leslie Dewan on the Future of Nuclear Energy
We dive into the viability and future of nuclear energy in the U.S. and around the world with Leslie Dewan, CEO of nuclear power startup Transatomic.
Four Crazy Ideas From the Golden Age of Nuclear
Challengers
Four Crazy Ideas From the Golden Age of Nuclear
Four Crazy Ideas From the Golden Age of Nuclear
For a couple decades people thought nuclear power was the answer to pretty much everything. And they came up with some ideas we’ll generously call visionary.
Three Reasons We Don't Have More Nuclear Power in the U.S.
Challengers
Three Reasons We Don't Have More Nuclear Power in the U.S.
Three Reasons We Don't Have More Nuclear Power in the U.S.
Many think of Chernobyl and Three Mile Island when they hear nuclear power. But nuclear's struggle to gain a foothold in the U.S. is more nuanced than isolated safety problems.
Can This Startup Power the World With Nuclear?
Challengers
Can This Startup Power the World With Nuclear?
Can This Startup Power the World With Nuclear?
Leslie Dewan and her team at Transatomic believe they've figured out a safe, scalable, cost-effective way to power the world with nuclear.
Leslie Dewan on Learning from Failure
Challengers
Episode 20161213
Leslie Dewan on Learning from Failure
Powering the World With Nuclear
Challengers
Episode 3
Powering the World With Nuclear
Transatomic believes they've figured out a safe, scalable, cost-effective way to power the world with nuclear.
This Week in Ideas: The End of Checkout Lines, Photoshopping Your Voice, and a New Way to Pay for a Ride
On The Cusp
This Week in Ideas: The End of Checkout Lines,…
This Week in Ideas: The End of Checkout Lines, Photoshopping Your Voice, and a New Way to Pay for a Ride
Amazon's new grocery store, Adobe's new tech can make you say anything, and pay for the bus by watching an ad.
You Should Start Learning About Artificial Intelligence. Here's How.
Challengers
You Should Start Learning About Artificial Intelligence.…
You Should Start Learning About Artificial Intelligence. Here's How.
There are a lot of different levels of artificial intelligence being applied in a lot of different ways. Here's a primer for starting to wrap your head around it all.
Five Insights: Scott Phoenix on Creating AI and Building a Company Around a Crazy Idea
Challengers
Five Insights: Scott Phoenix on Creating AI and Building a…
Five Insights: Scott Phoenix on Creating AI and Building a Company Around a Crazy Idea
Scott Phoenix, founder of Vicarious, shares insights on the development of artificial intelligence and why this is a great time to be alive.
Meet the Startup Developing Human-Level Artificial Intelligence
Challengers
Meet the Startup Developing Human-Level Artificial…
Meet the Startup Developing Human-Level Artificial Intelligence
The story of Vicarious' mission to build the world's first human-level artificial intelligence and use it to help humanity thrive.
Can AI Solve Our Biggest Problems?
Challengers
Episode 2
Can AI Solve Our Biggest Problems?
Vicarious believes smart machines could solve virtually every problem humans can’t.
This Week in Ideas: Fighting Addiction With Implants, Using VR to Educate, Amazon Prime Gets Primer
On The Cusp
This Week in Ideas: Fighting Addiction With Implants, Using…
This Week in Ideas: Fighting Addiction With Implants, Using VR to Educate, Amazon Prime Gets Primer
An arm implant to treat opioid addiction, teaching hair stylists with VR, and a potential Amazon Prime game changer.
An American Entrepreneur on the Importance of Chinese Manufacturing
Challengers
An American Entrepreneur on the Importance of Chinese…
An American Entrepreneur on the Importance of Chinese Manufacturing
Greg Shugar, founder of Tie Bar and Thread Experiment, discusses why his businesses wouldn’t have been possible without Chinese factories.
This Startup Wants to Make Everything You Buy Cheaper
Challengers
This Startup Wants to Make Everything You Buy Cheaper
This Startup Wants to Make Everything You Buy Cheaper
Flexport's app is built to make global trade easier. If they're successful, it could mean everything you buy will cost less.
An App for Global Trade
Challengers
Episode 1
An App for Global Trade
Flexport thinks bringing trade into the 21st century could improve lives around the globe.
This is The New Space Race
The New Space Race
This is The New Space Race
This is The New Space Race
It’s been 44 years since a human stepped on the moon, and a new generation of entrepreneurs is laying the groundwork for us to go back.
Challengers Trailer
Challengers
Trailer
Challengers Trailer
Fast Company presents a Freethink original series about entrepreneurs building companies that could transform entire industries and change the world.
This is Our Superhuman Future
This is Our Superhuman Future
This is Our Superhuman Future
With Thanksgiving winding down, take some time to join us on a journey to the frontier of medical technology.
Meet the Entrepreneurs Disrupting Industries and Changing the World
Challengers
Meet the Entrepreneurs Disrupting Industries and Changing…
Meet the Entrepreneurs Disrupting Industries and Changing the World
Fast Company and Freethink bring you powerful stories of a new generation of entrepreneurs.
This Week in Ideas: Unveiling Google Earth VR, China Goes All in on CRISPR, Cuba's Cancer Vaccine
Culture
This Week in Ideas: Unveiling Google Earth VR, China Goes…
This Week in Ideas: Unveiling Google Earth VR, China Goes All in on CRISPR, Cuba's Cancer Vaccine
Google releases some beautiful VR, human trials of gene-editing technology CRISPR, and importing Cuba's cancer vaccine.
What We Need Right Now Is a Little Bit of Hans Rosling
Culture
What We Need Right Now Is a Little Bit of Hans Rosling
What We Need Right Now Is a Little Bit of Hans Rosling
The Swedish public health researcher says that, contrary to most of what you hear, the world is actually moving in the right direction.
This Week in Ideas: A $1 Microscope, Healing Our Divisions, Planet Earth is Back
Culture
This Week in Ideas: A $1 Microscope, Healing Our Divisions,…
This Week in Ideas: A $1 Microscope, Healing Our Divisions, Planet Earth is Back
Democratizing microscopes, how we heal our political divisions, and BBC's Planet Earth returns. These are our favorite stories of the week.
Why the U.S. Government Treated Satellites and Machine Guns as the Same for 15 Years
The New Space Race
Why the U.S. Government Treated Satellites and Machine Guns…
Why the U.S. Government Treated Satellites and Machine Guns as the Same for 15 Years
Regulations forced companies that planned to sell satellites to other countries to register, in effect, as arms dealers.
How Do We Respond to Crimes in Space?
New Space Race
How Do We Respond to Crimes in Space?
How Do We Respond to Crimes in Space?
As talk of space colonization heats up, is it time to have a serious conversation about conflict resolution in a place where few rules or laws exist?
Preparing the First Space Colonizers for Life Off of Planet Earth
The New Space Race
Preparing the First Space Colonizers for Life Off of Planet…
Preparing the First Space Colonizers for Life Off of Planet Earth
It’s only a matter of time until the average person can explore space. But, will the average person be ready?
Preparing for Outer Space
The New Space Race
Episode 5
Preparing for Outer Space
As the tech side of space travel advances, an annual gathering focuses on life off of planet earth.
The Four Weirdest Things We've Sent to Space
Science
The Four Weirdest Things We've Sent to Space
The Four Weirdest Things We've Sent to Space
We take a look at a few of the not-so-obviously-bizarre things we've launched beyond the earth's atmosphere.
How a Sci-Fi Enthusiast Decided to Memorialize His Best Friend
Culture
How a Sci-Fi Enthusiast Decided to Memorialize His Best…
How a Sci-Fi Enthusiast Decided to Memorialize His Best Friend
The story of how one man gave his space-loving best friend a final resting place in the final frontier.
Who Owns the Moon?
The New Space Race
Who Owns the Moon?
Who Owns the Moon?
Throughout history, different organizations, governments, and even individuals have attempted to establish rules for, and ownership of, outer space.
Can This Startup Give Everyone Access to the Moon?
The New Space Race
Can This Startup Give Everyone Access to the Moon?
Can This Startup Give Everyone Access to the Moon?
With advanced navigational technology, Astrobotic wants to provide a routine, affordable, and accurate delivery service to the moon.
This Week in Ideas: Beer That Delivers Itself, Chatbots From Beyond, and How to Set a Very Strange World Record
Culture
This Week in Ideas: Beer That Delivers Itself, Chatbots…
This Week in Ideas: Beer That Delivers Itself, Chatbots From Beyond, and How to Set a Very Strange World Record
Uber's self-driving beer truck, how a chatbot can help the grieving process, and more of our favorite stories from the week.
Why Don't We Believe Extreme Weather Forecasts?
Science
Why Don't We Believe Extreme Weather Forecasts?
Why Don't We Believe Extreme Weather Forecasts?
Research shows people don't take extreme weather predictions seriously. And don't take the necessary precautions as a result.
The Market for Tiny Satellites Is Going to Be Huge
The New Space Race
The Market for Tiny Satellites Is Going to Be Huge
The Market for Tiny Satellites Is Going to Be Huge
Fleets of small satellites can gather far more accurate and timely data than conventional satellites. And investors are taking notice.
The Startup That May Be On the Cusp of Revolutionizing the Satellite Industry
The New Space Race
The Startup That May Be On the Cusp of Revolutionizing the…
The Startup That May Be On the Cusp of Revolutionizing the Satellite Industry
Spire's satellites fit in the palm of your hand, cost a fraction of their predecessors, and transmit more data than several behemoth satellites combined.
Tiny Satellites With a Huge Impact
The New Space Race
Episode 4
Tiny Satellites With a Huge Impact
Many satellites are nearing the end of their life. This is what could be next.
This Week in Ideas: Using Drones for Medicine, Fighting Zika, Re-Imagining Passwords
This Week in Ideas: Using Drones for Medicine, Fighting…
This Week in Ideas: Using Drones for Medicine, Fighting Zika, Re-Imagining Passwords
Reimagining how we get medicine to people, using genetically modified mosquitoes to fight Zika, and selfies as passwords. These are the stories that got us talking.
Here's What Happens to the Human Body in Outer Space
The New Space Race
Here's What Happens to the Human Body in Outer Space
Here's What Happens to the Human Body in Outer Space
As the idea of colonizing space becomes mainstream, it’s important to keep in mind that traveling in outer space does some crazy stuff to our bodies.
What Happens When Stuff Breaks in Space?
The New Space Race
What Happens When Stuff Breaks in Space?
What Happens When Stuff Breaks in Space?
Despite rigorous prep, astronauts often have to improvise when things go wrong in space. And a lot more duct tape is involved than you may expect.
Why This Startup Believes 3D Printing in Space Will Be a Game Changer
The New Space Race
Why This Startup Believes 3D Printing in Space Will Be a…
Why This Startup Believes 3D Printing in Space Will Be a Game Changer
Sending things into space is really expensive. But what if we didn't have to? What if everything in space was made in space?
Can We Make It In Space?
The New Space Race
Episode 2
Can We Make It In Space?
What if one day, everything in space was made in space? 3D printing may hold the answer.
What a Controversial Asteroid Mission Tells Us About U.S. Space Policy
The New Space Race
What a Controversial Asteroid Mission Tells Us About U.S.…
What a Controversial Asteroid Mission Tells Us About U.S. Space Policy
Billions spent on projects of questionable benefit - like the plan to capture an asteroid - raises the question: Should NASA take a back seat in the 21st century space race?
Where Did the Commercial Space Sector Come From?
The New Space Race
Where Did the Commercial Space Sector Come From?
Where Did the Commercial Space Sector Come From?
Private companies have worked with NASA for decades. Can the next generation of space companies get by without the government as their biggest customer?
Can XCOR Build the World's First Airline for Space?
The New Space Race
Can XCOR Build the World's First Airline for Space?
Can XCOR Build the World's First Airline for Space?
Out of a small hangar in the Mojave Desert, XCOR is developing a rocket ship designed to fly to space four times a day, five days a week.
This Week in Ideas: Rockets in Flight, Poverty in Decline, and Explaining the Unexplainable
Culture
This Week in Ideas: Rockets in Flight, Poverty in Decline,…
This Week in Ideas: Rockets in Flight, Poverty in Decline, and Explaining the Unexplainable
A step forward for space tourism, extreme poverty could be on its way out, and illustrating advanced tech. These are our favorite stories of the week.
The New Space Race is Here
The New Space Race
The New Space Race is Here
The New Space Race is Here
Our new show will introduce you to the people and the technology that could make humans a multi-planetary species in the coming century.
The Fake Disease That Saved Rome's Jews
Culture
The Fake Disease That Saved Rome's Jews
The Fake Disease That Saved Rome's Jews
Dr. Giovanni Borromeo dreamed up a brilliant scheme that saved dozens of Jewish families in Rome from Nazi persecution.
A Delivery Service for the Moon
The New Space Race
Episode 3
A Delivery Service for the Moon
This startup wants to offer the world insanely accurate shipping to the moon.
Four Flights a Day. Five Days a Week.
The New Space Race
Episode 1
Four Flights a Day. Five Days a Week.
At XCOR, the dream of taking regular commercial flights to space is alive and well.
New Space Race Trailer
The New Space Race
Trailer
New Space Race Trailer
Meet the next generation of explorers taking us higher and farther than ever before.
This Week In Ideas: An Artificial Pancreas, Google's New Translation Tech, and a Massive Mars Rocket
This Week In Ideas: An Artificial Pancreas, Google's New…
This Week In Ideas: An Artificial Pancreas, Google's New Translation Tech, and a Massive Mars Rocket
An incredible medical breakthrough, Google ups the ante, and the SpaceX Mars rocket. These are our favorite stories of the week.
What to Expect In a Post-Meat Future
Science
What to Expect In a Post-Meat Future
What to Expect In a Post-Meat Future
From advanced plant-based meat alternatives to real meat grown in a lab, the days of eating meat from once-living animals could be numbered.
Could Ugly Produce Change the World?
Change Agents
Episode 20160928
Could Ugly Produce Change the World?
Meet the startup that wants to sell you ugly fruits and veggies
Elon Musk Explains the Economics of Getting to Mars
Culture
Elon Musk Explains the Economics of Getting to Mars
Elon Musk Explains the Economics of Getting to Mars
The SpaceX founder gave a rousing presentation on his company’s long-term plan for getting to Mars and establishing a civilization there.
This week in ideas: How VR changes our dreams, a stem cell miracle, and the shoes of the future
This week in ideas: How VR changes our dreams, a stem cell…
This week in ideas: How VR changes our dreams, a stem cell miracle, and the shoes of the future
Virtual reality users experience more lucid dreams, a paralyzed man gets movement back, and self-lacing shoes. These are our favorite stories this week.
This Computer Can Write 2,000 Snarky Articles Per Second
This Computer Can Write 2,000 Snarky Articles Per Second
This Computer Can Write 2,000 Snarky Articles Per Second
What does it mean for the future of journalism when a computer can turn mounds of data into a cohesive narrative?
This Army Sergeant Started a 24-Hour Hotline For Service Members with PTSD
Culture
This Army Sergeant Started a 24-Hour Hotline For Service…
This Army Sergeant Started a 24-Hour Hotline For Service Members with PTSD
First Sgt. Landon Jackson battled with severe PTSD and turned his experience into a 24 hour hotline that gives service members an outlet whenever they need it.
Self-Driving Cars are Finally Here. Sort Of.
Self-Driving Cars are Finally Here. Sort Of.
Self-Driving Cars are Finally Here. Sort Of.
Uber rolled out self-driving cars in Pittsburgh, but they're not totally autonomous. Yet. Under Pennsylvania law, every car still needs an operator.
Meet the Wounded Veteran Using Bionics to Take Back His Independence
Superhuman
Meet the Wounded Veteran Using Bionics to Take Back His…
Meet the Wounded Veteran Using Bionics to Take Back His Independence
Jerral lost his left arm in Iraq. Now he's working with a team from Johns Hopkins to test a prosthetic arm that works by reading signals in his skin.
Gaining Independence with the World's Most Advanced Prosthetic Arm
Superhuman
Episode 6
Gaining Independence with the World's Most Advanced Prosthetic Arm
Jerral was hit by a roadside bomb in Iraq and left paralyzed. Now he's partnering with researchers to regain his independence. »
This Week in Ideas: Reasons to Feel Good About Humanity
Culture
This Week in Ideas: Reasons to Feel Good About Humanity
This Week in Ideas: Reasons to Feel Good About Humanity
A paralyzed woman runs a half marathon in an exoskeleton, Sri Lanka defeats malaria, incomes are rising. Here's some good news since most of what we hear is just the bad.
A Regulatory Fight Is Brewing Over Experimental Stem Cell Therapies
Science
A Regulatory Fight Is Brewing Over Experimental Stem Cell…
A Regulatory Fight Is Brewing Over Experimental Stem Cell Therapies
New proposed regulations from the FDA would effectively shut down private stem cell clinics in the U.S.
The Future of Sports and Human Performance
Science
The Future of Sports and Human Performance
The Future of Sports and Human Performance
Unpacking the science behind human performance with The Sports Gene author David Epstein
The Experimental Procedure That Can Reverse Blindness
Superhuman
The Experimental Procedure That Can Reverse Blindness
The Experimental Procedure That Can Reverse Blindness
Doctors told Vanna she was permanently blind. But thanks to an experimental procedure, she can see.
Reversing Blindness
Superhuman
Episode 5
Reversing Blindness
Vanna was legally blind. Now she can see. Hear her inspiring story and meet the amazing doctors who gave her back her sight.
Can Tech Giants Get Ahead of A.I.?
Can Tech Giants Get Ahead of A.I.?
Can Tech Giants Get Ahead of A.I.?
Companies gather to discuss impact of A.I. A possible neural lace breakthrough. And unmanned cargo ships. This is the coolest stuff we've read this week.
How Do We Scale Bionic Technology?
How Do We Scale Bionic Technology?
How Do We Scale Bionic Technology?
Right now, assistive bionic technology is really cool and really expensive. This is how it will get better and cheaper.
What to Expect at the First Cyborg Olympics
What to Expect at the First Cyborg Olympics
What to Expect at the First Cyborg Olympics
The event will seek to answer one of the most interesting technology questions of the early 21st century: How close are we to integrating humans with machines?
Could Your Brain Regenerate Like Skin?
Science
Could Your Brain Regenerate Like Skin?
Could Your Brain Regenerate Like Skin?
Brain regeneration used to be considered a medical fantasy. But research shows that fantasy could eventually become a reality.
Meet the Paralyzed Man Who Can Walk Again
Superhuman
Meet the Paralyzed Man Who Can Walk Again
Meet the Paralyzed Man Who Can Walk Again
Robert is paralyzed from the chest down. But now a robotic exoskeleton is giving him what he calls "a second chance at life."
A Life Changed by Robotic Legs
Superhuman
Episode 4
A Life Changed by Robotic Legs
Robert is paralyzed. But thanks to a robotic exoskeleton, he can walk again.
Will Robots Steal Our Jobs?
Will Robots Steal Our Jobs?
Will Robots Steal Our Jobs?
Could exoskeletons help us do our jobs? Should we actually be afraid of robots taking our jobs? These are the latest stories from the frontlines of the robotic world.
Assistive Tech Doesn't Have to be High Tech
Assistive Tech Doesn't Have to be High Tech
Assistive Tech Doesn't Have to be High Tech
The story of how 3D printing gave Ryan Hines a chance to regain his independence for $150. And how he's now offering the same chance to others.
Prosthetics Enter a New Age of Beautiful Form and Incredible Function
Technology
Prosthetics Enter a New Age of Beautiful Form and…
Prosthetics Enter a New Age of Beautiful Form and Incredible Function
For centuries, prosthetics didn't change much at all, but the past 10 years has seen an incredible leap forward in the way they look and work.
Everything You Wanted to Know About the World's Most Advanced Bionic Arm
Superhuman
Everything You Wanted to Know About the World's Most…
Everything You Wanted to Know About the World's Most Advanced Bionic Arm
A fascinating interview with Michael P. McLoughlin, the chief engineer of research and exploratory development at Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab.
Meet the Man with the Most Advanced Prosthetic Arm in the World
Superhuman
Meet the Man with the Most Advanced Prosthetic Arm in the…
Meet the Man with the Most Advanced Prosthetic Arm in the World
Johnny Matheny has been working with doctors at Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab to test a prosthetic arm that is controlled with your thoughts.
A Lay Person's Guide to Biohacking
A Lay Person's Guide to Biohacking
A Lay Person's Guide to Biohacking
We're living in a golden age of people exploring high and low tech methods to optimize our bodies.
How to Send Mail to a Person With No Address
Technology
How to Send Mail to a Person With No Address
How to Send Mail to a Person With No Address
Millions of people have no address. They can’t get mail, they can't vote, they can’t get aid, and they don’t have rights. One company wants to change that.
The Real Bionic Man
Superhuman
Episode 3
The Real Bionic Man
After losing part of his arm to cancer, Johnny now has one of the world's most advanced prosthetics.
How to Rebuild a Broken Brain
Science
How to Rebuild a Broken Brain
How to Rebuild a Broken Brain
The unbelievable story of the day Jordan Riley was declared brain dead and his journey of re-learning how to be human.
Conor Russomanno on Exploring Our Limits
Superhuman
Episode 20160823
Conor Russomanno on Exploring Our Limits
Could linking our brains to computers allow the mind to control the world outside of our bodies?
The 3D-printed helmet that can read your mind. Could it change the world?
Superhuman
The 3D-printed helmet that can read your mind. Could it…
The 3D-printed helmet that can read your mind. Could it change the world?
OpenBCI has developed technology that allows you to control the world outside your body with your brain waves.
Open Sourcing the Brain
Superhuman
Episode 2
Open Sourcing the Brain
Open BCI has developed a 3D-printed headset that allows your brain to interact with computers in amazing ways.
Karen Aiach on Doing the Impossible
Superhuman
Episode 20160820
Karen Aiach on Doing the Impossible
Meet the Mom Curing Her Daughter's Incurable Disease
Superhuman
Meet the Mom Curing Her Daughter's Incurable Disease
Meet the Mom Curing Her Daughter's Incurable Disease
Karen Aiach isn't a doctor and has never worked in medicine. But when doctors said her daughter wouldn't live past adolescence, she knew she had to get to work.
The Promise of Gene Therapy
Superhuman
Episode 1
The Promise of Gene Therapy
When Karen was told her daughter had an incurable disease, she started a gene therapy company to find a cure.
Superhuman Trailer
Superhuman
Trailer
Superhuman Trailer
Join us as we meet the innovators building our superhuman future.
The Fascinating Story of How AIDS Activism Helped Usher in a "Right to Try" Movement
Science
The Fascinating Story of How AIDS Activism Helped Usher in…
The Fascinating Story of How AIDS Activism Helped Usher in a "Right to Try" Movement
Should terminally ill patients be allowed to try experimental procedures? Hear the amazing, true story of the AIDS activists who fought for a "right to try." And won.
Is the Miracle Medicine of the Future About to Become the Totally Real Medicine of the Present?
Superhuman
Is the Miracle Medicine of the Future About to Become the…
Is the Miracle Medicine of the Future About to Become the Totally Real Medicine of the Present?
Gene therapy uses a virus to replace missing or defective genes. It sounds counterintuitive, but it could be the key to curing previously incurable diseases.
Three Women Who Changed the Way We Think About Medicine
Superhuman
Three Women Who Changed the Way We Think About Medicine
Three Women Who Changed the Way We Think About Medicine
From newborn health to AIDS treatment to DNA research, these brilliant women paved the way for incredible advances in the field of medicine.
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