tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN October 2, 2014 1:58am-4:01am EDT
panels from the 2014 ideas festival in new york. we'll start with the discussion on technology and social media. then we'll hear from a nasa scientist, working on mars exploration. later cancer biologist, andrew z hestle looks at cancer research. and thin we'll look at virtual currency. this weekend on the cspan networks, friday night at 10:00 eastern on cspan, a conversation with retired justice john paul stevens, the founder and former chair of microsoft bill gates on the ebola outbreak in west africa. and the director of the museum of african art, and friday night on cspan 2, authors talk about war and the constitution. saturday night at 10:00 on become tv's afterwards, author
heather cox richardson, and live at noon, on book tvs, legal affairs and editor in charge at reuters and supreme court biographer. friday at 8:00, on american history the on cspan 3, historians and authors talk about world war i, 1 one years 4r5er9. and former fbi director on catching -- the 100th anniversary of the panama canal. find our television schedule at cspan.org and let us know what you think about the programs you're watching, call us at inñg 202-626-3400. e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org. like us on facebook, follow us on twitter. know a conversation on technology and social media, and we'll hear from an executive from lincoln and the founders of change.org and the magazine
mental cross, the atlantic and the aspen institute co-hosted this hour-long event. please welcome to the stage megan garver, christina lewisid halperin and nicholas missoula. >> hi. >> hi. >> good morning. >> good morning. >> today it's my honor to welcome this great group of people. i want to get right to the conversation. so i'm going to do a lightning introduction of all of them. to my right is christina lewis halperin. next to her, the senior technical manager at aol, who he
both manages product and team management. howard has also been coding since he was 14 years old. and last but not least, nicholas who ask a sophomore at the early technologies high school in brooklyn, and he has been on the robotics team. i would love to start with christina, can tell you us a little bit about program code and also in particular why you wanted to focus on young men. >> sir, all star code is ---we attract, prepare and place young men of color by teaching them computer science and coding in one-stay workshops as well as an intensive 10-day program.
we feel this is the recipe for success in job growth in this country and it reveals extremely undiverse. it features 3% of our workers are black and latino and fewer than 1% of startups have an african-american on the starting team. we give them extra skills and intensive career training so we can place them in our career pipeline. we will give them other guidance in choosing their path in an advisory role. the reason we're focused on boys, this program is so successful, there's already two national programs working with girls in the states. i spoke with the directors of those two organizations and they felt that minority boys need programs like this too and there's no need to duplicate their efforts.
we have been open two months and are piloting our first summer program this year in new york city. we just selected our first class. >> nice. how many people? >> 20 students and we got over 130 applications. >> wow, that's amazing, that's let's talk about some of the particulars of the program. nicholas, can you tell us a little bit about your experience, did you have a favorite of the four you have attended? >> i have only been to one so far, and from it, i received a whole bunch of education when i went, they showed me how they took a problem and used coding to solve it in a way that was unknown to me when i went, they stay stated the problem to a whole group of people and they decided how they would use -- they would use this certain apis to solve the problem and it was just cool, i have never seen anything like it.
>> that's really awesome. application program interface. >> what we can offer these students is exposure to the tech industry, even students like nicholas, who already gnknew he wanted to go into tech and is studying it at his school and is on the robotics team, have so little access to fall technology professionals, has never visited a technology company in new york. in fact the first company that we brought you to was spotify and nicholas said i thought spotify was just overseas in europe. he didn't know that they have their u.s. headquarters is5m he in the city. and that's where we can really make a difference. because if you can't see it, if you can't see how and understand how what you learn in school can be used in the real world, and that path, we feel that you can't dream it and you can't follow that path. so that's what we expose our
students to. >> awesome. let's talk about this idea that you do hiring. et cetera, at aol. >> care and feeding. >> care and feeding, yes. let's just, i guess, dig into this idea of sort of net working, and what net working itself, i know that's a dirty word and maybe rightfully so in some perspectives, but it can be also beneficial? >> absolutely, a lot of what attracted me to the program was net working these kids with professionals. i found that i benefitted a lot from mentors in my own social and professional network. so i thought it was intriguing to be able to offer that to these up and coming technologists. >> mentoring is so restrictive,
it's mostly about being available. and that's one of the things i enjoy, let me bring you to the different teams, let me explain some of the things that give you quizzical looks, it's interesting because you're not quite clear about what you know and you can convey until you're asked about it. >> that's awesome. what's been your favorite moment of mentorship so far? >> i have found when teams have that internal spark, it's limitless what can be created, so when you see that spark in the kids, you know they're on a particular path and there's very little that they can't accomplish at that point. >> nicholas, i know this might change like tomorrow or in a year, but at this point, what do you want to do later on? >> at this point, i would like to do a little web design and i would like to start learning a little bit more about photography. >> oh, awesome, cool, cool, and integrated within technology?
>> yes. >> that's great, awesome. one of these ideas that i would love to get your perspective on, this idea of sort of culture fit, it's a term we use a lot in hiring in the silicon valley and tech in general. it can be a good thing because people want to hire people who can work well with the team and who can integrate and work well and that kind of stuff but at the same time it can be sort of an excuse to hire people that look likes you and act like you. so what sort of, a, is the ideal hiring approach that you guys would like to see and b, what do you think of this particular idea of culture fit? >> my idea was originally as a professional journalist, i reported for "the wall street journa journal", i was very familiar with different businesses, but i was not familiar with the tech industry until i went to a convention a couple of years ago. it was a different world with a different set of expectations from the corporate world that i need. so culture fit is indicative of
that. and i saw at the same time that there were very few minorities. and i could see that things like culture fit, an emphasis on technology, an emphasis on being a self taught learner, is something that black and latino students weren't familiar with and needed exposure to. things like culture fit are a fact of life in the tech industry and what we're doing is supporting our students in educating them so that when they do pioneer into this and we fully expect our students to be able to do that, they won't feel so different when they arrive. >> yeah. >> so we have to prepare them for -- can i talk a bit about the inge picture ration for all star code? >> yes. >> well, my father, regional lewis was a pioneer on wall street, he was born in 1942 and in 1942, in segregated baltimore
and went to all black schools all his life until he went to an early prep program that was run by harvard law schoer÷ç and tha program opened the world to him and gave him the education and credentials to springboard him on to wall street, where he went to the law firm and ended up being extremely successful as a finan financeir, which was a typical white boys club in the 70s and 80s. because of that, i have firsthand experiencing on seeing how early access programs can have a huge affect on the lives of interested in talented students if they're exposed to a stage where they can really take advantage of it. that's why i feel confident that with this program, our students can innovate and pioneer into >> that's wonderful.
>> my father unfortunately passed away 21 years ago. this is a wonderful tribute to him, i think. >> wonderful, well, this idea of sort of education in general, you know, it had come up a lot. and what would you guys like to see about sort of the education system as it currently stands, what should we sort of change if there could be something changed about the way that we sort of approach teaching skills versus teaching approaches. ? >> everything in our teachers and in our mentors is project based, in terms of our learning, our students are taught ---are exposed to video game design, to wearables to of course web development, mobile apps and a focus on a final project. and our students demo what they have learned and actually put together a product instead of working one-on-one where a teacher assigns the students
work and they do it, they work informally in teams, so that they always understand that they have to collaborate, workingr"d formally put something together and i think that -- and many people feel that schools have to do more of that with their students in terms of lab work and other things that help students give them the skills, the holistic set of skills. >> what was your final product? >> final productx:,z in all sta code? >> yes. >> before we started working on the robots, we worked on -- they gave us three problems and i believe i chose -- yes, i chose the problem that there's a rundown park in the neighborhood and what are you going to do to get your community to come and fix the part? and what my team and i did was we photo shopped a bunch of posters and we said we were
going to put it all over the neighborhood and get the word spread. >> awesome. >> i was going to talk about tom from the first workshop. >> spotify, we had to build a place where people could lempb about music and learn about the knew music that is coming up. and so i coded a website and it was basically a prototype of what it would look like, and it was a whole bunch of articles where you could talk to the or pianists and learn what they're trying to make. >> that is amazing. >> that site is live right now? >> i have it, but it isn't up on a domain. >> i hope it gets up soon because i could totally use that site. thank you for sharing your time, this has been wonderful, thank you. >> thank you.
please welcome to the stage deep nashar.,z3 >> thank you. wow, that's loud. it's great to see everyone here÷ you know, i was a little worried getting on the stage because for those of you who were here at 9:00 a.m., you saw the -- then you had theebñ fountain water g. has anyone done moderation, any of your friends phone it? there was one in california this past weekend, and i saw some pictures, it's pretty gruesome. the thing that people pay $100
each, not only slide through mud, but at the end, you have to go through a wall of live wires. you actually get jolted with electrical shocks. some people will go to any extremes. so i found that i had to notch it up a bit. i will talk about not economic empowerment, but bare hands and feet rock climbing with 50-pound knapsacks on their back. that's my next multimillion-dollar business idea. no, i'm just kidding. i do climb for fun. but that's not what i'm going to talk about today, i'm going to talk about economic e0#ñempowe. i'm going to bring you back a few years and talk about a communication device that is quite expensive. you're awake in line for a long time to get one and it was only available in one color.
can anyone guess what that is? i heard someone say the iphone, you had to wait in line for months. there are friends of mine who waited in line for about 48 hours or so in palo alto. i'm talking about the big black board. anyone remember this. it's going to be an exhibit at the museum. this phone was a very important device, when i was growing up in india, it was one of those phones that made that sound, and it goes by, the rotary dial. it was a very important device. the reason was it cost 10,000 rupees to get, it was in the '80s. that's about six months salary for an average person in india at that time. we had to wait in line sometimes for five to ten years to get
one. and it was only available in the color black. this phone was so important that most of the time it would be under lock and key, it would be in available. it was a very expensive, hard to get, important device. '800s mumbai where i grew up, looked like this, lots of tenement housing, i grew up in a place like this. me and my parents and -- we shared an outside toilets with a bunch of other tennants that shared the same floor. you got running water for 30 minutes every evening between 9:00 and 9:30, we would fill it up in a bucket so we could use that water for the next 24 hours. in other words we had a very happy existence, in the 80s,
that's what middle class used to be like. most of us also aspire to go do something different. and as i was growing up, in the early '80s i was in high school. and i was a science major, and one year that i really wanted to do for the science fair was to create electricity out of geo thermal energy. and my concept was the following. there's a lot of extra energy that comes out of the earth. a lot of eruptions, geysers, i wonder if you can harness this energy and use steam turbines and convert that into electricity. and the way i wanted to demonstrate that is to have a little light bulb glow. my partner and i spent six
months making this work. we spent months of research at the library, there was no internet then. at practice sessions, all this was working. and finally the big day arrived, the judges came by, we're presenting our project to them. and then that exact moment happened, about showcasing the demo. i knew that i was going to become an engineer. because i had that moment that every great engineer has, at least once if not multiple times in their life. their demo fails at the big moment. the light bulb did not light up. and i was crushed. thankfully, the judges saw the power of what we could do, they were excited by our enthusiasm and we placed second. and not only did we place second, we showed up in the
national newspaper the next day. i was famous. loved it. i never got over the fact that the first place winner was some kid who copied a popular mechanics thing about creating a robot from bicycle chains. i'm like, really, people? i'm just kidding. i was on cloud nine, if i only had one regret, it was that i did not parlay this fame into a hot date. because i went to an all boy's school, couldn't really do anything like that. the person who was behind a lot of this work was really my middle school and high school science teacher, let's call her mrs. j. mrs. j. not just taught us the principles of science inquiry, but she also was a disciplinary,
she was the person who brought you back on track. she would make you think about the problems you were facing. she would try and connect the theory that we learned in the classroom to what we were trying to do in our projects. to teach us why on paper the geo thermal energy project, which always worked flawlessly, but in reality is implications and the uq not always what the books tell you and it didn't quite work. she went a couple of steps further. our school was crowded, we didn't have space or time sometimes to work on the projects we were doing. she literally opened up here home and we would work on the project on evenings and weekends and holidays in her living room. she enabled us to go beyond where we were. once i had a bunch of questions that she couldn't answer and she said, why don't you go call
someone? here's the person, here's the number, go talk to her. you can imagine, i'm 12, 13 years old. i barely use the phone, i didn't have one at home. there were only two such phones in our entire school. one was on the principal's desk and the other one was in a drawer with the school clerk under lock and key. so i go up, i go to the school office, i ask the school clerk, mr. dyers, i said i need to make this call, he reluctantly hands me the phone, i make the call, a short call, i get my answer. and something changed for me. for this scrawny little -- as i walked out, i felt an inch suddenly i found a connection with the world that was beyond the 1 kilometer radius between my home and my school.
it's almost like mrs. j, the mentor in my life had shown me the art of the possible. beyond the confines of where i lived, and where i studied. and she did this not just for me, but for hundreds of other folks like us. and we have gone on a lot of us to become doctors and lawyers and in some small way tried to make the world a better place. she gave us the key that opened the lock. i have been thinking about this quite a bit recently because even as the world is becoming increasingly connected, and nowadays, this is a cybercafe in my old neighborhood, i can walk in there, you know, kids like me, 30 years ago and walk in there and instantaneously be connected to all sorts of information, all sorts of people around the world.
you still have a fundamental disconnect. and the disconnect is what andy mccaffrey who is going to speak this afternoon, i highly recommend listening to him. he talked about the second half of the chess board. what we are teaching our young people these days is about how to sol technical problems, the challenge is, the computers are already soling these technical problems, what we need to teach them is also how to construct these problems together. and that is something that needs to be really embraced through something called steam. steam stands for science, arts and -- we need to learn how to construct the right problems. if you can't construct the right
problems to solve, you're not going to solve them correctly. and at the same time, computers are becoming better and better, technology is becoming better and better, and we can solve these problems very easily. the phone we have in our pockets today, has more power than supercomputers had just 20 years ago. but what indeed blue and watson, therybq computers that are the d masters on chest cannot do is they cannot go solve and genetic code. but they were programmed to do a certain thing. but as we programmed computers on each one of these problems, it will solve all of them. we need to bring together the disciplines of science and art. countries that have embraced this, countries like china, india, israel, they're seeing this economic prosperity, that we're seeing in the growth rates of the gdp. this is important to me personally as well.
not justn as the person who ca from mumbai to silicon valley, but also as a father. i have twoaged kids, and as they start on academic and professional lives, the one thing that we all experience, what do they do? will they have a job? will they have a future in this age where all of our skills are becoming quickly obsolete. these problems are not easy problems and they may even feel daunts, unemployment, unequality, poverty. but all of us, at some level or the other have overcome big problems in our lives and we have helped to make the world a better place, to our work, to our communities, to our professional work. so as i think about these issues, specifically the issue around unemployment, i feel like
there are three distinct problems that together we can tackle, something i learned from my days growing up in mumbai. the first issue is that of the skills gap. we have come out of one of the worst recessions that we have known historically. there are 3.9 politicalon open jobs in the u.s. right now.pfx/ñ even as 30% of young people under the age of 21 in the city of detroit are without jobs. we cannot fill the jobs in silicon valley, there are 30,000 open jobs as we speak there. a new college graduate with a computer science degree is getting $100,000 in signing bonus alone in skill con vilico today. yet there are tens of thousands of people in america that don't have a job. it's because we don't understand
the skills that are needed in silicon valley to what is being taught to all these people whether in high school or in college. we are teaching young people the kinds of things they need to know in order to be successful in tomorrow's economy. we need to do more of that.ññ the second issue is that about greaterbiç thinking, what i was talking about earlier, if picasso once famously said that commuters are useless, they only give answers. and he was half right. they do give answers. they aren't useless, in the completely useless. but they are giving us answers that we -- this is that left brang and the right brain, this is the scheme disciplines, that is what gives us the iphones,
the teslas, the amazon buying abilities. this is what's inherent in all of us that technology cannot mimic, and which have to teach this to our young people. the final thing is dpi versity. -- diversity. most of the jobs, these high paying jobs are held by white males. nothing against them, it's not their fault. it really isn't, they are capable, they are available to get the jobs. the challenge is that since 1984, when we had 38% women representation in the commuter science disciplines in university, we have come down to 12% today. the trend is going in the wrong direction. if you don't have enough diversity in the universities don't reflect the -- university
breeds creativity, there's lots of research that's happening there. this is where programs that folks like the president of the harvey muck college put in place are -- i just put on a discussion with her about how she has actually increased enrollment in the last few years because the education instituti institutions, from 10% to 40% has gone in the other direction. and she's done it using some very well known techniques and following suit. but the challenges clearly are big. the problems are big. but as i think back on that little backbone and mrs. j, i think we also have possible solutions in our grasp. the first is connecttivity. when you think about the skills
gap, the challenges that no one is telling a 20-year-old in detroit, they should not be taking shop class. because a lot of the automotive manufacturing jobs are changing, they're either going to robots, or they're going overseas. however, as we speak, there's a power plant in georgia, that's been delayed because there aren't a sufficient number in that country. we thought ios programming because there are 3,000 devices in the world and there are millions of apps and people want to build more of those. we also have a disinstinct advantage. we have hundreds of thousands of jobs, over 3 million companies, a lot of professional knowledge. educational institutions, all of these can come together and
programically we can figure out where the skills are needed and we can start pointing people, not just individually, but also through pollipolicy, public poln the u.s. we're all right working with veterans, but we can do a lot more. the second, the human connection, i have had dozens of mentors during my 30-year career. and i'm really thankful for that.j1,$@r(t&ho but all of us are paying it forward, all of us could be mentoring the young people. we have to create more institutions like all-star code, like metro net, another organization that we have recently gotten involved at lincoln and me personally. mary fernandez, the founder and chief executive at mentor net, is a great example of how mentoring can help. she was a computer science student who almost dropped out in college from that discipline and went to do something
this makes difficult and arcain tech system subjects very, very accessible elsewhere in the world. we also need to use the -- there are 30,000 nonprofit boards right now, they are nonprofit boards that are 30,000 board memberships available that are -- at the same time there are so many folks who have accomplished so much who can give back to the community and they don't know about these cr :,x)euj. we can do the same for any discipline that we choose to. this world is a very daunting world. it doesn't matter that i was 14 '80s and feeling like the doors were lock ed if you ask any young person
today whether they live in silicon valley, whether they live in mumbai or sal palo. they all have insecurities about what the future holds for them. just like my mentors, who connect med to the outside world, who gave me the use of that big black phone, we can also enable the young people in our lives that we want to help and see them, help them see the power of the big, beautiful world full of opportunities in front of them. i hope we can take these ideals back to at least one person in our lives and make the world a better place, thank you. >> please welcome to the stage,
justin brown and ben wrathway. >> well, thank you very much to new york ideas, it's a pleasure be here. my name is justin brown, i'm one and ceo of change.org, which is the world's largest petition platform. they have got over 65 million &háhp &hc% world. ben, can you help us understand what a petition is by giving us an example of a successful campaign from your platform? >> yeah, thanks and ghareat to
here. a lot of people have been skeptical of the power of petitions an i think understandably so because historically they have been run in a way that is not strategic and not effective. and we're seeing a transformation in the efficacy of online torvbú offline moveme. a 10-year-old girl who had cystic fibrosis who had two lungs that were failing and needed a double trance plant to live. except there's this ole archaic law restriction that keeps young people under the age of 12 off the transplant list. she couldn't get the transplant despite the recommendation of her doctors and many more given her size. so her parents try to go lobby internally, try to change the policy over a number of months, they are unsuccessful 57 it looked like she was going to die. they got 300,000 people to join,
got the endorsements of her senators in pennsylvania, then the huge national media covers it and after just a week of campaigning and hundreds of thousands of people mobilized, the government ended up changing the regulations, saves her life and changes it for all kids who hope to experience the same. we see this thing all the time. it's not an option even just a case that it's around government stuff, it's a lot of corporate stuff as well. in fact just yesterday coke and pepsi announced for the first time they're going to remove a very controversial chemical from all of their products. and the reason is because of a 15-year-old girl, literally, this girl sarah cavanaugh last year decides to petition gatorade to remove this chemical, it's a fire retard danlt, remonthed in japan, but the lobby of the soft drink
industry has prevented it from and after just a few weeks of campaigning in the con text of never having addressed the issue, gator announced that they're going to remove the chemical and other kids start campaigns around other coke products and other pepsi products and they changed entirely and removed all this toxin from their soft drinks literally baud of a 15-year-old girl. this seems remarkable to people who don't track the country, but it literally happens every day, thousands of victories jiflt like that every day. >> i think that's absolutely amazing to hear the specific examples of campaigns. what we're seeing today is a real explosion of these campaigns, particularly on change.org. why are we seeing this explosion and what do you think explains theo04tñ success of these campa? >> you know, historically, one of the biggest impediments to social movements has been the expenls of organizing people together rapidly for a common
cause, which is very expensive in time and in money and that has him paided the number of -- structurally disadvantaged, large numbers of people and advantaged small groups of muddied interests. where you have a situation of private interests often times overcome the public good. but what's happening now -- the x times or five times, but hundreds of times of campaigns that ever existed before. and when you have the incredible ease with which to start campaigns, they start to look different as well. instead of campaigns around changing the health care system. it's a consistent campaign around a single girl 10 years old to -- it's not añç campaigno change and all toxins in all products, it's actually a particular campaign to get a particular chemical out of a particular company's products, coke and pepsi. while they look small, because
of the capacity for massive scale, not one or two campaigns, campaigns, you end up having greater national impact than the small number movement that people have tried to run nationally. >> so what would you say would be the specific components of a successful campaign. the most important thing that we see is that the campaign is achievable and specific within a small, short period of time, traditionally, the reason petitions haven't worked online historically, they're mostly targeted at the u.n., the president, and the congress, the )jjr' the c a campaign that's targeting individual mayors or city councils or school boards or individual counties, that ends up being much more effective, not because of the aspiration of the movement you're trying to run, it's the necessary step to build from person to person to city to city.
it's not as if we have innovated on how to run social movements, historically the fact that the most powerfuléq&]s cigarettes movement in american history was started in no small part, narrative speakings because a woman refused to walk in the backs of a buck, there's a spark necessary to move from city to c> so would you say that change.org and the citizen movements leading us towards a direct form of democracy? >> if you look at traditionally speaking how -- there's a very small communication between elected officials and their elected representatives. it's literally some private communication, e-mail sometimes, but mostly not for most campaigns or most pieces of legislation, and the result is, for every single piece of legislation, there's a lobby group that's up pressed because
of muddied interests. but as you have an increasing percentage of the constituencies of every elected representative that are mobilized, we'll have in the next few days, literally half of the voting public on taking action. u you increasingly provide insentives for -- which is a radical transformation regretingly in the world bethink. this is an exciting thing and i think it properly insent vises elected officials. many state reps dofblt don't want to spend -- resources to buy attention during elections which buys votes. and if you can actually more directly go to constituents and have access to a much larger percentage of your electorate, you actually have insechtives to engage effectively and that's what's going to happen more and more. >> can you provide us an example of a petition campaign on your
platform that went directly to elected officials and led to a change in government? >> one of my favorite and it starts with a very tragic story. there's a loophole in the department of transportation authority bill that was passed in early 2000, that made it such that rental car companies were not legally required to return recalled cars. so literally dangerous cars were not required, it's expensive to enterprise and hurtz lobbied to make that change. a pt cruiser had been recalled three months before, was not returned, per the loophole in the law, it ends up catching on fire per the concern of the recall on the highway, hits a st semi, they die. their mom understandably, distraught wants to fight them and she files a civil lawsuit against enterprise and she wins in 2011. but the law has ngn't changed.
this was an incredibly obscure thing. and there were a number of lobbyiers that wanted to maintain this. but the momgfé in this case enp starting a change petition gets 100,000 people wan 24 hours, gets on the "today" show and the staid snow calls enterprise for comment and literally after a decade of lobbying for this policy, turns and and announces a change in their position and supports a law which has just recently passed in the names of these two incredible young women. it's an opaque situation that advantaged muddied groups appears in a massive mobilization of people who will paying much more attention in no small part because we are personalizing issues that once seemed abtrablstract and levera the empathy that human beings have. and that engages them in
politics that didn't happen previously. >> creating change all around us in the local context. but i guess there's a huge role for the traditional media, in helping us advance change, can you tell us a little bit about the role of traditional media in the petitions on the website, change.org and how it actually creates these successful campaigns? >> i think there's a lot of members of the media who lament what looks to be their inevitable demise, i think the media has far more potential power than ever before. historically the power of media been transparency, revealing things that lead ultimately to accountability. but the effectiveness of the kind of immediate what that is actually trance parent is -- then mobilize to enforce that accountability that it requires. so you used to have a lot of articles that ended up being investigate i reports that÷apons
to reveal awful practices, after which the issue adjust falls flat, that's not subsequent action and it just dies. what happens now is you have this reader base mobilize a campaign that ends up extendsing that into a citizen movm that drags it out over a period of time. the one example i'll give here that i love recently is so the guardian has been writing in the past about this tragic issue of female genital mutilation, or fgm, which happens a lot in the uk, largely because of somalia immigrants coming into the country, it's illegal. the guardian had been writing about it but it's hard to get people really engaged in the issue. so they partnered with a 17-year-old somali born garl who is now a uk citizen. she starts a petition on change.org, she gets over
covered seven times over the period of that month. she ends up getting it endorsed by ban ki-moon, after ignoring the issue entirely gets a meeting with the education minister, and the next day, in the context of trying to avoid this issue, for many,sa-e many years, because of a 17-year-old girl, announces they're going to educate 100,000 teachers to educate the girls at threat and their friends who can identify a solution for it. and that you would not have happened in the guardian. it would not have happened without the amplification the guardian provided. >> that's amazing. there's been a picture painted of the future in which citizen engagement, direct democracy and technology are helping us all create that bit of future together. what words would you say to those of us in the audiezdpg tht would like to bring that future a little closer towards us, so that we can a little
more active and create that change at an accelerated pace? >> i would say a couple things. one, a very pragmatic level. lot of people in the audience who are a part of members and influences of the institutions that are going to be responsive to citizen movements. while i think it's ineftable this will happen and unfold over time, we do see they're pioneering elected officials and companies that are embracing the reality we now live in a different time consumers and constituents have more power than ever before and they hold the brand of these politicians and these companies in their hands. we started to establish former channels through which elected officials can engage with constituents. elizabeth warren and paul ryan both committed to responding to their own constituents through their site and companies are now doing the same thing. so to the extent that you work for a company or a politician or a member of the media that can actually start to embrace this new reality, to respond directly to constituents and consumers or
amplify those in public, there's immense opportunity there. then the second thing i would say is the remaining thing that we see as a primary impediment to social change isn't actually the tools necessary to make it happen, it's a belief that it's possible. and so one of the things we q%%m5 that people have that everyday people cannot make a difference. and so as citizens, which we are all, as sit chens the passionate belief, the suspension of cynicism and skepticism, the recognition this is not some random change, but the technology is transformative change in the structure of relations between everyday people and large institutions and our belief and our ability and our commitment to engage in that as citizens and not workers and politicians is powerful thing. i hope to see more people do it. >> thank you, ben. i think we've had a wonderful picture painted
is changing the world. we often do hear about social media and how it will lead to massive change. it's really[èww tools that change.org that put these into action. thanks ben. [ applause ]. please welcome to the stage, derek thomas, william pearson and david beersteen. hello, guys, hello everyone. i hope you find a seat. we're here to talk about young
people and reading habits. how young people read and how we ñ screens that are ewe bik kwi us to. david has a difficult job of speaking on behalf of 86 million people, the millennial generation and will and mangash have the easier job of speaking among two people. david is quite good. my first question) mental floss guys. facebook has become the home page of news for news publishers, the atlantic has seen this, facebook now drives more of our traffic than our home page. it is literally our most important page for news. but it's not necessarily a home page for news for most people. a pew study found that just 10% for the purpose of reading news. and i was looking at a piece i wrote recently a few months ago of the most viral stories of that were most successful on facebook in the
buzz feed network which covers a lot of different publishers. here they are. how y'all use and you guys talk, new york times. two years after she passed away, a woman gives her family an unforgettable christmas, buzz feed. it's thanksgiving so we ask the brits to label the u.s., we're so sorry, america. buzz feed. 30 signs you're almost 30. buzz feed. you go through this entire list. there are practically no news stories. there are, however, lots of interesting stories. what mental floss seems to me discovered very early on, there's something about the curiosity for content, that doesn't necessarily prize timeliness or newsworthiness, the journalistic principles, but rather interestingness. tell me a little bit about how that's animated your philosophy at mental floss and how maybe you've seen an evolution in reader behaviors since social media has really picked up in the last few year. >> sure. well i know obviously facebook has made a number of changes to the algorithm and really trying
to feature these interesting stori stories. i wouldn't look at facebook necessary as an outlet for news or conversation around that news. so what we found is an interesting challenge is that when ever something huge is going on, that's what everyone is going to be talking about. so as a news source or information source, if you were to just repost or tell the story of what just happened, you're not going to get any pickup from that. so the key is to cut through the clutter in an interesting way. one interesting example i can give, during the presidential debates a few years ago, you have obama and romney up on stage and the left and the right are bashing each other on social media. romney then brings up sesame street. rather than having any common tear on that or telling the story of why he would have said what he said about sesame street, our social media editor, jason english, simply tweets the fact that big bird is 8'2", period, end of story. it becomes one of the most retweeted comments of the evening. and it's that -- it's that key
that people want to be able to share that most interesting thing that happened that night and it's not usually just the story itself. >> and for mental floss really started as this very selfish endeavor, sfliegt it started in a storm room. it was this mixture of cocky and naive that you were in college and we thought, you know, there's no magazine like this, we'll start it so we started a print publication in 2001, which wasn't the best time to start a print publication. but it was also some necessity, right? this was a gut feeling that we had that you could create a magazine that was optimistic, very encollusive that could educate in a very quick and fun way. but it also hadded to have a shelf life and had to stay on stands for three to four months. and so we concentrated on interesting. it really was what felt natural to us and what we wanted to read. >> i love the description of a mix of cockiness and nigh yefty.
some combination of that. david, you know, there's a sense, i think, that millennials are like this post-human tech utopia when it comes to news habits. and it's weird because there was a pew study that looked at exactly how young people read and it was surprisingly conservative. they were exactly as likely to use their smart phones and tablets for news as 40 somethings and 50 somethings. and 60% of them, the same share they preferred print-style reading experiences over these graphics-rich, snowfallesque reading experiences. so, should this surprise us? tell us a little bit about how we like to consume information. >> well, you know, it's really interesting because when you think about millennials, one of the sort of suppositions as you said is that it's this generation that is, you know, that is unlike any -- just wants to do things online. and when you think about the
tactile experience of leaving through ablp magazine or leavin through a print publication, there's something about that experience that is about a sense of curiosity. and that there's a sense of seriousness that young people want to consume their news with. and i think there's been a lot of assumptions to think this generation doesn't want serious content because we're younger, we're not seeking that. in fact, this is a generation that cares deeply about the world, that cares about importance issues that wants to be engaged with that. they want their experience to mirror that. while we enjoy going on a site like buzz feed and looking at catalyst kals -- >> we do. >> and we certainly do. there's a sense that we really do care about the world. we want to consume that news in that kind of way. if you look at how everybody wants to consume news, the kindle, for instance, and there's more and more emphasis on trying to emulate the print experience as people read. so when we think about millennials, those trends on how millennials are consuming news are not dissimilar to other generations but millennials do
care much more about where that information comes from. and, you know, it's more likely their friends will share something in that format. that's one of the big dirnss that it matters much more to us where the information comes from, who gives it to us and that is one of the biggest changes that that trust is really, really important. >> quickly pushing back. when you say who gives it to us, the publisher, the name between w-w-w and.com oro67ñ person who is sharing that piece information on facebook or on twitter? so that @5sx sharer becomes somewhat sin nom mouse with a publishing brand. >> that's exactly it. the sharer is becoming more important than the actual source of the information. do i trust this person? if this is one of my most trusted friends and they post something, the chances i read that and highly of it are greater than a person i met one drunken night in college and i friended accidentally. >> right. although they can actually -- >> let's talk about that. can we talk more about that? >> right.
you know, pivoting to sort of media strategy, you guys have an extremely successful youtube channel. this is interesting because right now in media, as people are beginning to see that display advertising on regular articles doesn't necessarily scale terrific well, it's difficult to have hy-c pns, they're turning to video as a savior. the trouble as i see it, in order to have margin, in order to make profit on video, you but it tends to look like cheap, quick video. make really, expensive, lux yours youly created video, that expensive, so you lose money on that. where what have you figured out about video that people in the audience working with advertisers would love to know? >> just before we answer that, i was thinking like part of the reason our video works is because it's sort of simple and authentic, i feel. and when you talk about things like snowfall, i think it is this very elegant experience but it's sort of the same learning
that you keep getting over and oth over, right? when everyone moved to create websites in '96 and '97, every publisher put all these bells and whistles and craziness. oh, yeah, it's this remembrance that this great story sells. ipad, everyone put these apps and loaded them with craziness. and people are reading the pdf readers over all these applications that you can lift the ipad and see a million bones in a hand or whatever. >> people just want the words. >> right. or the elegance of stories. that's part of what we do with video is that we found someone who relies information in an authentic way. we packaged it in a list of a bundle. and it's told very simply. and it's just the hooks of good information. and i feel like because people do want to be able to read their -- digest their news in a
way if they're standing at a cross-walk they can see a story or if they're sitting and relaxing that they can read a longer piece, you want to give them information any way they can absorb it, are lists on video are, you know, these little hooks where people can break at any point but are engaged enough that they want to watch a nine-minute video. the completion rate on these tremendously long videos in the youtube space is interesting. >> that was one of the biggest in creating these videos is the question of, will people sit down and watch a ten-minute video because that's the average length of most of our youtube videos. what we found is that people are looking to fill every moment of their day consuming content when they have any free moment. whether that's 30 seconds at the cross-walk, three minutes in line at starbucks, ten minutes during a break at their computer and we look into to find multiple things we can do to fill each of those gaps. when you mentioned the high quality, you know, there's high quality production and then
there's high quality content. that's the part that we really focus on is saying, let's not just crank out a-0ñcontent, let focus on doing a great show every week and looking to add more shows to that but each one of those should be very well researched, well scripted and that doesn't cost a fortune to do that. >> who is the mental floss reader? is it college graduates, young versus old, people passings out of the bars. >> i sure hope so. bar exams. mostly passing on bar exams, i think. so, you know, it's really not quite -- there are a number of -- especially as we've done more video, number of teenagers and college students. little bit more kind of the young professional, late 20s, early 30s is who we're finding. it's busy professionals that do have those gaps to spend some time to read. and so, we're killing productivity across america with mental floss. >> fantastic. >> david, this is a tough question. but i hope a good question. the internet, when it was coming about, was ignored for a while
by a lot of publishers and now it's the dominant source of revenues for all sorts of publishers, including the new york times. twitter came along and people said it was stupid and now news. the facebook news feed wasg$< lambasted and now it's potentially the home page for content on the internet. in terms of our reading habits, is there something right now that we think is stupid that five years from now will think we were stupid to think it was stupid? >> well, i don't know if this is something that we think is stupid, but i think it's something that's bd underrealized or sort ofo as sort of not serious. i think there is a difference between being not serious and being stupid. but it's sort of data visualization and infragraphics. right now we're in the early days of that world of news content and people who have been in traditional news are looking at that stuff is interesting, a novelty, let's play around with
that. but i think we're living in an incredibly, incredibly complicated age. being able to break down issues, being able to break things down in a way that's more easily digestible and bringing those experiences right now that are very, very expensive, very hard to replicate on mobile devices, but i think that as that field grows, it's going to become a bigger and bigger part of mainstream news coverage and how we take issues and how we deliver them to people. there's one thing, if i may, is serious now that i think will be silly later, which is sort of niche media t>l+sites. things that are focussed exclusively on one audience. lot of sites that are p young people advertised as young people want to come here and read young people news. >> feel free to use names. >> i think that that world -- is going to change. lot of these sites that are targeted for a specific audience more and more are viewing
ourselves as wants to view3 lñ news that everyone is viewing. that will start to change over the next decade. >> what do you guys think? >> i mean, well, infragraphics are easy, you can see they have a long shelf life. but i think that there's always a good idea in how people are communicating and always a better way to use a medium, even something like gifts, which seem like jokes of a property of like a cat falling or badger waiving or something can also be instructions on how to tie a tie or like things -- >> how to waive. >> but to be able to see complicated ideas very quickly is something that is valuable. and i feel like people don't always see the kernel or the elegance of how something can be used. >> yeah. it's interesting how they were used for animating animals doing human-like things. now you see a lot of serious
pieces actually sort of trying to explain serious issues but animating the serious issue -- >> with sport. you see it talked about on -- >> absolutely. >> i think -- it's whether or not people embrace a platform, more to me than whether or not they're worth in a way of communicating way of information. >> that's great. thank you, guys very much. thank you. [ applause ]. couple of live events to tell you about here on c-span3. reince priebus talks to the rnc chair. president obama attends the congressional hispanic caucusfó dinner. we'll have his remarks and you can watch live coverage here on
c-span3. more now from the 2014 ideas festival in new york. we'll hear from a nasa scientist working on mars exploration, later cancer biology fist talks about medical research technology. the atlantic and the aspen institute co-host this 50-minute event. we're going to talk about mars for the next few minutes. this is adam sneltzer who is an engineering fellow in pasadena california at the jet propulsion laboratory. he invented that crazy contraption that helped to land the curiosity rover on mars. how do you beat that? what have you been doing since the landing? >> yeah. well, great. couple things. no one person ever invents anything. it's always a great team effort and actually that's one of the beauties of engineering it's a
collaborative art. the ideas for many, many people combined to make these great things that look breakthrough and look crazy but are fantastic come out of the minds of many folks. so what i've been doing lately is working with a new group of -- a different group of great people, which is fantastic to me because i always love the interaction with new groups of bright talent. and we've been working on developing a system to sample the surface of mars and containerize it very safely for potential return to earth at a later date. so, for our investigations to date on mars, we have packed the science instruments into miniaturized form and taken a lot of effort to get them on to the surface of mars. we think, or certainly the science community believes, that to answer the final questions of
mars we'll probably have to do it backwards, which is go and to earth to use the science instruments and the various scientists on earth to do the investigation. and i'm helping develop the first piece of that puzzle which is the sampling system. >> that's great. what are the final questions of mars? >> is it alive? was it ever alive? are we alone? those are some of the questions that we're asking of mars. >> and why do we ask those questions in particular? it seems 6- like, you know, whet comes to space travel, space exploration we could take so many roots and justifications, we could say we want to explore for exploration sake, we want to, you know, get a broader scientific understanding of the universe, why do we focus on life itself? >> well, i think life is very profound question, right? we see life all around us on earth, but when we look out into the stars, we don't see it as obvious certainly and we don't really see it at all and could
we really be alone? could all of this, all of our experiences be a unique moment in a unique location in our universe? it's a profound question, it has religious implications. it's something that we've considered perhaps the dawn of our self awareness. so we do explore for many reasons. i think we're driven by our own curiosity to explore. exploration is a fundamental expression of our humanity, but the question that we tend to ponder more frequently than any other is, are we alone? >> right. and what if we find out that we're not? >> well, i kind of am already there just on the math of the thing, right? just on the billions and billions to, quote, good old carl seguin. i think for various people -- i mean, it is, i hope we're not alone, it would be -- if we were
alone, i would immediately freak out. everybody stop doing everythingz right? we might break it. we might be the only thing that the universe has% so, it would be good for all of us to have a chance to acknowledge whether there's life in other places in the solar system and to understand that life can evolve in other places and may also help us understand our own evolution and some of the processs that support us here on earth. >> along those lines, what do you think of the idea of tear forming mars or basically making own image in some sense? >> right. that's a great question. you know, folks ask that a lot, space exploration, where is it going? will we go to colinization,
they're worried about what we're doing to this earth. that's the tear forming paradox for me. ñ skills, the ee care, the discipline necessary to shape a planet for us are the same skills and engineering and care needed for us to keep this planet good for us. so, i don't think teraforming is a solution to our own lack of discipline or our own lack of care and understanding. now, there are other risks to humans other than ourselves. we are by far the greatest risk. but, you know, if you think very deep, long time horizons, you can imagine threats the sun going out, billions of years
from now, black hole wondering into our solar system, there are ast row nom kal threats to the human species. so you can imagine in deep time us thinking about diversifying our real estate portfolio, but for right now, for solving the threats that we pose to ourselves, i think we should not >> okay. okay. well, when it comes to the actual work that you're doing with the sampling of mars, i want to get back to that a little bit. how do you sort of -- because you're essentially retraining yourself for a new mission, right? >> right. >> how do you go about that? how do you sort of go about the educational aspects of it as well as the sort of social aspects? >> great. great question. i happen to love doing different things, so this is -- previously i was land -- helping the team developing a landing system and now we're talking about sampling system, very different set of physics involved it's not
burning up in the atmosphere, it's drilling holes into rocks and preserving the science that's found within it. i love that. i love learning about new fields, learning about new areas of intellectual endeavor and i do it sort of by reading, by talking to people, by talking to people smarter than myself and who hopefully are smarter than this new field. i try to make the team environment full of play because my daughter -- i have kids and i notice they learn through play and i think actually you can choose to never stop learning through play. so that's how i try to do it. and it makes it a little more fun for me and i think it makes tteam. >> that's awesome. how does that manifest. >> not taking things of great gravity too seriously.
>> and enjoying each other. word play. trying different techniques of looking at a problem, trying to think about all of thet%z opposites. you know, sometimes when i -- when we're in a development and team members want to bring an idea forward or a change to something that we're doing forward, i ask them to come with the through central reasons for the change. >> okay. >> and the three central arguments against the change to sort of help separate yourself from the ideas you're bringing forward so you can be warm and respectful to each other but brutal on the ideas you're playing with. >> yeah. >> by having that objective distance. whole different techniques we use to try to make it fun and make it fertile for innovation. >> how does that fit in with the overall sort of infrastructure of jpl and nasa? is there a bureaucracy to be dealt with or do you have asm; of freedom? >> there's lots of folks who
work at nasa. many, many, 5,000 people who work at the jet propulsion laboratory and doing something like building curiosity and getting her safely to the of those folks at the laboratory andecá about 10,000 people spre over 30 different states the better part of a decade. you cannot do all of that in free association word play frolic. there's a time in the beginning where you're developing ideas, you're understanding what you're going to do and that's when that open time exists. that's when you want to use those tools that bring in ideas from all sorts of different directions. and then there's an have the thing you're doing and you have to make it happen. that becomes much more structured. much more regimented and more higher ark kal and involves lot more people and fair number of dollars. >> a fair number. yeah. what about the public facing
in the era of nightly news, they tell you five things. if you're thing number six that happened that day, you didn't happen. now, this era is very different. social media, many different multiple parallel paths of information transmission mean that people can become interested and spread the word themselves. and i've noticed huge difference with respect to curiosity, her landing, her landing system was even wackier looking maybe and she is big by the way. the version downstairs just in case everybody knows is half scale. the real curiosity, might be third scale. i can't quite tell. the real curiosity's head sits slightly above the george washington bus that sits down in the lobby. you can go and look up at george washington and get a sense of the real size of her. so she was huge. she was a little bit outlandish in the way we -- in the way we
landed her. >> just a little bit, yeah. >> but more importantly i think there was a whole bunch of conduits, parallel conduits for information and4ahl contact wite engineers through social media and i think that's made a huge difference. >> that's great. is that something you think of on an on going basis? how do we portray this work that's not in full existence yet but how do we get the public excited about it? >> so i don't. my strategy, which i hope is a good one, it's slightly dangerous, is to just be honest. and available. because i think that connecting with the public, who frankly are paying for these efforts and giving them insight as to why we do it and what drives us and who we are who do these things is important and useful. >> right. >> i think the idea that we engage the youth of this nation, which we do, i can tell you that i'm engaged all the time by
young kids, young3fx adults acr the country who are motivated and turned on frankly by curiosity and exploration. i think it's one of the gre rqu services that we provide to the nation. and so, i believe in it. so i welcome opportunities to share. >> yeah. do you think that's common throughout jpl, at least? >> in general, i think there's a lot of folks who understand the value of it. i can tell you it's quiteñ19z frightening to share yourself openly with people. >> yeah. >> and so to the degree you can be less guarded varies from person to person. and i may be on the oversharing side of that spect strum. >> would you ever want to go to space yourself? >> so the more i look at space and the more i am involved in
building robots that virtually explore space for all of us, the more i think of how delightfully warm and loving this planet is. i've got a very nice garden in the backyard of my shous. i have two lovely daughters. and i'm very happy to stay right here. >> that's wonderful. and i want to circle back you call curiosity she. can you just explain why you do that? >> yeah. that's a good question. um, i'm not the only one. we tend to do that at the lab and it may be that sort of the tradition of ocean-going vessels, naval vessels or it may be thatsznu we think of her in of a protective way -- >> interesting. >> i certainly do. by the way, curiosity is the better name for a girl than the boy, don't you think? i do.
so, yeah, some collection of that we just organically, unintentionally without organization call her a she. >> interesting. very interesting. i think the socialñu media team was run by women as far as i know? >> yes, it is actually all women. that's true. >> this is going to have to be our last question. what's next for space exploration? >> great. right. there are other places to explore other than mars. there's the outer planets of jupiter, saturn, ewe rain us, neptune, et cetera, those places are quite interesting. they're harder to get to. they take a longer time to get there and they have some interesting moons about jupiter and saturn. europa, titan, these are places that ast row biologists think might have the conditions that would allow life to exist today. maybe great examples for us -- great places for us to go search for signs of a living universe.
and so i'm hopeful that we will be doing some work not only at mars, i love mars, been doing a lot of work on mars, but also beyond mars to the icy moons of the outer planets. >> wonderful. thank you. actually i think we have one more question. yep. from mr. steve clemens here. >> hi, folks. i'm steve clemens. i've been obsessed with having you here. i am so excited. this is not a commercial for seemens but i'm thrilled we were so obsessed. when they brought curiosity here and said they will do it, i've been obsessing -- what's the pipeline like of younger adam stelter ins out there? is the country getting it right in doing that? semens donated a few billion of dollars of this software you use÷i&é to do the landings. they've gone to uhcleveland, o. they're going to richmond to try to give young people an opportunity to play around this w this fancy software that you
used. it made me think about is the pipeline of young talent like you there and what should we do it should be and then we'll wran it up and then i get to interview the next guy on the next stage. so megan, thank you. >> you're welcome. >> great. great question. more people like me -- actually i do that -- not cloning but my wife and i have a whole program based on that. but i'm sure my wife trisha is loving that right 'honow. oversharing, right? i think the most important thing that we can give our young people is a thirst, a drive to search for that which is awesome, that which brings awe and wonderment to them.
whether they find that in the visual arts, in music, in politics, in literature, or in the sciences and engineering, i'm not very concerned because our nation, filled with inspired young people who are driven to see what they can do will be a great nation and will make the world a better place. so, to the extent that our efforts, exploring /&júmars, pug a rover named curiosity as our curiosity helped touch that in youth. it makes me very happy and very humbled to be part of it. so i look forward to any effort that we put forward to create awe and inspire our nation's youth. >> awesome.zúñ thanks so much. [ applause ]aznñ. please welcome to the stage, steve clemens and anund
gerdardus. >> nice to see all of you again. >> how are you doing? >> great. >> i think we should bring this conversation back down to earth. >> thank you so much for joining us today. noticed, but in the lobby, not only do we have curiosity down there, but we have copies of anon's book, the true american murder and mercy in texas. it's a deep -- it is a deep book. i know i had mentioned to you before for me it was kind of a life of pie meets truman capote's in cold blood. can you give us a quick overview of what the true american hits and what it's about? >> so all of you remember 9/11 and the feverish days after 9/11 when we were all kind of in a
frenzy and that loop of the planes hitting the towers was over and over again on the tv and you will also remember that in the weeks after that, a few unsophisticated, perhaps deranged, angry people went around arab hunting, as some of them called it. and this book is about one of those self-styled true american as he called himself arab slayers. and he went to three different gas stations in dallas, texas, shot the clerk behind each of these three counters in the month after 9/11. two of them died. and the third one was spared by a bird-hunting gun that blinded him in one eye but spared his life. and this book begins with that and -- >> his name is rice buyon. >> and mark stroeman is the
attacker. and the reason it's a book is ten years later inspired by his own ability to rebuild america and realizing the man who shot him actually came from this very different america that had failed him in ap%,fw of ways, rice re-enters the man's life by publicly forgiving him and then fighting a legal campaign against the state of texas, the governor of texas, rick perry who was announcing for president that month and fights to save his attacker from the death penalty and get him commuted to a life sentence. >>qlq you know, there is -- it' fascinating story -- >> and a true story, i should say. >> when i was reading it andkg# thinking about race's real obsession with saving him. i mean, it's not that he just tried casually to save him. that would have been an interesting story. te trying to explain/yk saying thae couldn't feel whole as a person unless he overcame this by both
having an encounter with stroeman so that he could understand when stroeman was there taking lives and about to take his own life what was in his mind and whatnot and being able to forgive him and move on and have that encounter. and they did have -- there's a time here where he had had a conversation he said, race kept replaying one moment of a phone call he had with stroeman in his mind. once he said that word, i love you, bro. i could feel already my tears were coming out of my eyes. the same person ten years back z kill me for no reason for my skin color, because of my islamic faith and now after ten years this same person is telling me he loves me and calling me his brother. it's a profound story. when i was thinking about it, you write the letter from american column for ""the new york times" ". i asked myself, is this a beautiful boutique story that has no echo effects?
what are we supposed to gain and what are the echo effects you're hoping to gain from this story? >> in a way, it was the opposite. i was not particularly interested in texas. i wasn't interested in the death penalty. i wasn't interested especially in these crimes which were actually ten years before my getting involved in this story. i was really -- i had been in india for severalwb:dx years as foreign correspondent. i gone back to the country my was in india in a time of optimism and came back to america the reverse process happening here. the loss of faith in the american dream. that was the thought swirling around. and i found in this story, two men who embody an america that actually still works better than it has ever worked and better than any other place in the world has ever worked. for all the declinist talk, a lot of it is hogwash. you know, most of the people in this room, whatever they're
doing, whatever institutions they're part of are probably functioning better than they have ever functioned and that any other country has produced. but a lot of us don't live in this america. in a shooting, in a weird way, it was the victim of the shooting who came to see himself, despite being an immigrant, despite being shot, despite being half blind as part of a fortunate america that still works and still works for people like him and still allowed him to rebuild a life, get a job at the!#-q olive gard learn it and make six figures. he belonged to a america that stopped working a long time ago. in this particular case, a white-working class, ex-urban, texas existence, every dad is come, lot of moms are in prison or addicted, everybody is raised by grandparents or great grandparents, jobs are scarce
and once race got to know about the world that had produced that man, his argument actually became that this man's life should be saved, should not be executed because he didn't have the same shot despite being born pvqps that i did as an outsider. >> so tell us a little bit about mark stroeman. i hope i'm not stealing his story. he was executed. one of the other profound moments somewhere in here is something along the lines that stroeman loved all the love that he was getting from race and everyone and the attention, the effort. but at the same time, he was ready to be done with it and that he secretlyhnl9 hoped rac would fail, that he had come to terms with what he had done and wanted to die. but what was his -- i mean, i sort of sense that happened he involved in this but what was his evolution? >> this is a guy who at one level the book begins with the shooting and almost anything you learn about him at the beginning
or maybe even ever makes you say, this guy is just bone rotten, nothing redeemable in him. but the more you learn, you learn something from his trial where in a capital murder trial lot of trial is about the kind of person's character rather than simply what they did. and then through what he writes when he's in prison, you also learn that -- you kind of learn two different ideas. one is that he's bone rotten. the other is that he had no shot of being anything other than what he was. you have to hold both those ideas. you cannot say he had no shot therefore no big deal, you killed a few people. but we have to recognize that in young man that he knew whose name i could track down from hi? childhood also went to jail for violent crimes. this is not inner city, in our movies and culture we think it's black people in the bronx. this is white america in texas.
and we need to broaden our sense of where our social fabric is fraying. and he grew out of this world that -- where everybody has no one. and he had no one. and he was abused by the few people he sort of had. his mother told him she was $50 short of the money required to abort him and she wishes she had it. and yet that never excuses killing people, but for me, it raised profound questions about how do we as a society draw the line between personal responsibility and collective responsibility for people like that. >> you know, it occurred to me that just recently i had written a piece in "the atlanta" on the reaction or the situation where three young guys allegedly killed a young australian jogger in oklahoma and they were out there saying they were bored so they decided to kill someone. and that was also going through my mind as i was reading this and saying, what insights have
you gained in terms of deconstructing what was going on in the heads of these various people about the larger social dynamics of what i think you call the undernation, this hurting undernation? beyond this story here, what should we all be doing tocy be worried about those kids who are bored so they decided allegedly again to go kill someone? >> in4ppy last third of the book, since you mentioned the execution happened, it did happen. the last third of the book is all after the execution. and it was very important to me to not have this only hang on stroeman because he is clearly an extreme figure, so i spend time with his children, his children are much more normal. they've not done capital murder. but two of the three have been -- had felony convictions. they've struggled with meth and alcohol. and they live in a world in which everybody seems to have those problems also. and i think what i learned -- you see today's headline or yesterday's on staten island's
the bottom of the island not the top that was connected to manhattan. you see this thing in vermont where the governor devoted the full state to addiction and those places. this is a sort of different problem, i think, than our inner city crack problems that we've talked about, for example. this is something where i think boredom is actually a part of it and there's been stories about kentucky. we all know these stories and they kind of come up individually. but there's something going on about a combination of a lack of work, a real collapse of men, a real collapse of men. i mean, a lot of men -- millions of men who require the bodies of men but don't ever leave being boys, who spend their lives rotating in and out of prison, this is such a massive thing going on. it's starting to affect the marriage market. i spend time (g!owith, you kno these daughters of mark stroeman. and i said, what do you think of this whole -- are people getting
married in your community? what do you think of this idea that marriage is going down? in some abstract level i believe in marriage, but if you look at n my words, the men i kind of have access to, they are all much more unstable. i'm pretty unstable. they're much more unstable than me. >> are you okay? >> i'm glad you were so moved by this story. that happens at all the events actually. [ inaudible ]. >> i hope you're okay. can we make sure -- can we get someone over here, please? is anyone on my team here? logan? okay. in any case, go ahead. >> and you have an entire world that feels like it's just imploding. and part of%s]# what's interest
is when these inner city problems were the big story, they were three miles away from the biggest media center in the world. this is very different. if things -- if kentucky is just imploding, it takes a long time before word arrives here. we're just not in it. we're not7ráqqr'g it everyday te way we saw the bronx everyday. and there's also a lot more people who live in the kinds of places i'm talking about than live in the american inner city. and i think it's -- if anything, kind of grows out of this in terms of documenting something that i hope other people who know how to solve problems as i do not deals with. it's this particularly among white working class kind of just complete fabric fraying. >> this may be a completely unfair question, but what struck me again thinking about this slice of time that you've looked at from 9/11 where there was so much palpable national anger that opened up for people a real rage, and in that, lots of things filled that basket.
you know, disappointment and anger about their own personal conditions, you know, you saw this in terms of various other impacts i've seen in joblessness and the anger at the outsider, the other that came on. i think a lot of this is out there. i'm wondering, if you were to sort of grade this, truman ka coat pi's book came to mind. there's other cases of just horrific moments where we've seen this sort of bigotry explode. is the country getting better or is it getting worse? do you have a sense of things that have come in to sort of be useful correctives? there's another way to read this book and say, this story is a naive story that race was a naive guy that he wasted a lot of time trying to help someone who is an awful creten escape justice for some vein moment he had and that's not a healthy thing. that's a dark side of reading it but you could read that. >> iñkx% think that would have
the correct interpretation if race's conclusion was mark stroeman was a fluke. i think it's completely wrong to think mark stroeman was a fluke. he was an extreme expression -- most people don't do this even if they are as angry as he did, but he grew out of something. he grew out of something that is not working. and in the world he came from, a lot of people's lives are not working. and i think we need to kind of deal with -- you know,d were having this conversation in the french -- in the paris ideas event at the french historical society, i think the issue would be more a kind of generalized decline of the country, or in most western countries. america is actually very different from all these other western declining countries, in my view. because the capacity at the top, again, lot of people in this room and what you do and the institutions you belong tob actually still world beating and that's not true of even most other western countries.
most of the be4'h things that ae done at the world in any field are still done in america, for all the talk of china and india and this and that, right? where is that mars thing happening? that mars thing is not happening in a lot of other places. so we have the capacity. the issue is can we connect the capacity that those of us that are a part of and the institutions of those that us are a 5.vn of to the 72% of the americans who are absolutely not a part of that america. >> we're right at the end. is race comfortable, happy, comfortable with the book? what's his story just today really quickly? >> he is doing great. he is comfortable with it. i was nervous. he was nervous. he read it a few weeks ago right note saying he was crying and was stunned that it seemed like i was in the room for some of these things where i was not. in his childhood and his past. it's an amazing gift, i have to say, for both the stroemans and race to allow someone like me to
kind of come into your world and not knowing what i'm going to do or say and let your story be told because without that we wouldn't know very much about our condition. >> ladies and gentlemen, check out his book, the true american murder and mercy in texas. are you going to be downstairs signing some copies? >> i will. i will sign copies of this book. if you prefer other books, i'll sign copies of those books, too. áh you efore lunch, i'll giveqpá. a quick rundown of some of my world. i'm a cancer biologist, i'm a genetic scientist. i'm going to run through a few things about cancer, about drug developments, about some of the work that i've been doing that i think you'll find pretty interesting. i'm with a group auto desk, it's normally known for design with a brand new group in that company cancer is a relatively straight-forward disease, even though we really accumulated a large body of information on it.
penicillin was a game changer in the world of medicine. it still took a while to get it up to production at commercial -- in commercial volumes, but once penicillin and its chemical cousins became available, suddenly we didn't die from microbial infections anywhere near as much. unless you have a very resistant bar tear ya. today we don't get a day off of work. but this was a major life-threatening disease. cancer is treated in a completely different way. we carpet bomb any cell that's growing fast. the look of a cancer patient, the hair falling out, the iv poll, that's actually the treatment. it's not necessarily the cancer. so, we completely obliterate cells in a nondiscriminate way
that are growing quickly. more modern medicines are targetive. medicines like her septemberen in the cell. they're very focussed. they tend to be used alongside chemo therapy. but when they work, when those targets exist in the cancer, it's as phenomenally different in treatment outcomes as penicillin and bacteria. phenomenal response. unfortunately it's -- we don't have a lot of these magic bullets, so to speak. we all want more of them. but we're not going to get them. and here is why -- this is a 60-year trend in the outputs of drug development. graphed out as billions of dollars invested in r&d per new
drug. this is an exponential graph, but it's not the exponential graph we like to see in digital, moore's law. this is a negative exponential. what this means is that over the last 60 years we're getting dramatically less drugs per dollar invested in drug development. this isn't one company. this isn't one business. this is an industry that is not able to make its products faster and better and cheaper. this is something we expect from every digital technology. even though drug development is very high-technology, it's really not giving us the medicines we need. last year only 27 new drugs were approved.
cancer. the business model of the pharma companies isn't hard to understand. it's the same one used by hollywood. they go out and find interesting projects. they bring them in house. they polish them. they get them through censers. the fda and the drug case drug development and then they're marketing and advertising teams start to work to deliver it to the public. it's really long. it's really risky. it's really expensive, which is why like hollywood, drug companies choose to seek block busters. when you think about it, targeted medicines are more like those little indy arts films. ty#eu a big audience. the problem is, it costs about the same amount of money to make a little indy art film as it does to make a hollywood blockbuster and get it through the drug process. if you're naking a targeted drug, a niche drug, the result is it becomes phenomenally
expensive. the more expensive it, the harder to get your insurance companies to pick up and pay for for it. the best medicines end up helping the fewest people. it's kind of ironic. i started thinking about this a lot. how could this trend be reversed? how could we make a drug company that truly made faster, better, cheaper medicines? and start to generate lots of cancer drugs? my philosophy is simple, you want to beat cancer, make better drugs. so i'm kind of a yin-yang kind of guy. if i see everybody going one way and a whole industry is over on this way, mass-market drugs, for profit, et cetera, i go the other way. and i ended up creating an experimental drug company that was completely different than anything else. it was a cooperative drug company. it was completely open source. taking some inspiration from lenux which went on to challenge major software need any money.
i don't want any money. that's not the case. for me. but i really wanted to focus on one person at a time. .í;@hw rather than a mass market. and for me, this was important. one, because no two cancers are the same. the cancer is your cells, r no two people have the same cancer. it's not an infectious disease. . . the second thing i wanted to focus on one person at a time was because if you make a drug for one person, all the really expensive and time consuming parts of drug making getting it through phase clinical trials, it's irrelevant. . risk and benefit reduces to a single individual, not a societal threat. it's simply a drug for one person and one cancer. and that's actually a much easier problem to solve."sñ
and genetic engineering is getting really cheap. can i make the most advance medicines in the world using genetic engineering for the lowest price possible. ideally free. and don't think free is so cr y crazy. remember, 1995,c:t7ñ giving awa free e-mail account seemed strange and today we all take it for granted. i had this problem cancer that hadn't been solved yet. what drug could i possibly make that was cheap enough to do for one person at a time? then a friend of mine dropped a paper on my desk on viruses that breaks apart cancer cells.
and there's been a about 30 years of r & d. it'sg,$áqp&ly, really weak virus. it's really weak. a common one usually. the normal cell just shuts it down. it's so weak that a normal cell has the viral defenses and just says, yeah, go away. cancer cells are broken cells, they're corrupted. turns out some of those corruptions lead them vulnerable.
your immune system tends to shut them down. so the real breakthrough in oncolytic is we learn how to make it escape the eimmune system. and some of these companies developing these drugs are getting a lot of success. really, at the end of the day cancer cells just get a cold. it's really, really gentle. you don't get all of the dramatic effects. but i wanted to find atk[gñ way make> i was inspired by a nobel prize winner named ham smith.++m
but we also used the same tools and technologies that we do for dna. took these brilliant scientists ten years ago to do and it turns out they could. in some cases they have to push their synthesis machines to the limit. i was able to boot up with some colleagues these synthetic viruses. this is a growth plate wherever you see a spot there, a synthetic virus has booted up and started killing the e. coli
cells around it. this is a synthetic genome booted up by a company, a software company because viruses are really little biological software. and i didn't have to go into the lab to do this. it was all digital. so here's what i see happening in the future of cancer. we already have this digital diagnostics and the ability to get cells out of a patient. that's very straightforward. today we can sequence a cancer genome in less than a day. that's so much information. but it can feed into an auto design program. auto drug. from that design program, it can go to a printer to print that viral genome. and we can get that in two weeks now. for $1,000 in print costs. and that allows us to make a virus that we could actually test on one person person's cell. if it kills the cancer cell, it passes.
that could be used as a treatment. we're testing this now. that's our next step. we'd love to do veterinary studies. but we think this type of approach could get into humans very quickly. because there's a foundation in oncolytic viruses. and because we can open source the entire design process. it's just software. you don't need a lab to do this. and the amazing part is the cost of writing synthetic dna like the cost of genome sequencing is falling so rapidly that it's actually really remarkable. oh, i'm sorry, it's not going back very well. the cost is falling so low, it costs $1,000 to make that virus. next year, it'll cost about $10. year after that, maybe $1. which allows us to explore new business models in drug development instead of just making one drug for $1 billion and taking 10 or 15 years.
why not a netflix model for an individual where you can have all the cancer drugs you want made specifically for you for one low price. change the fda requirements single drug. instead prove a drug development process. and if these tools keep opening up and keep getting cheaper, there's nothing to stop people from actually just making their own drugs. today we see phenomenal amounts of creativity coming into the 3d printing space. all generally starting with one individual. i want to see every drug maker, you know, come from the maker community. i want to see it done fast and cheap. i want to see these best -- these amazing medicines be available for everyone. and i think if we do that, we'll actually beat cancer. we've been fighting it for so long, we actually forget we just might win. thank you.
>> in nebraska, democrat faces pete ricketts for governor. the current governor is term limited. we'll have live coverage thursday evening at 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span 2. here are some of the ads running in that race. >> you know, all across our state, i see people facing the same tough challenges. nebraskans want a fair shot. i stood up for family farmers and ranchers, and we helped 10,000 small businesses and secured tuition assistance for young nebraskans. i'll invest in our future by expanding early childhood education and training nebraska workers for good-paying jobs. i'm running for governor because when nebraskans work together, we succeed. >> typical politicians are at it again. they're losing, so they're falsely attacking pete ricketts. but pete, he's staying positive. a proud nebraska businessman
endorsed by sarah palin with a plan to cut property taxes. >> typical politicians don't get it. i'm pete ricketts. when i started with the family business, we had 150 people working in omaha and now there's more than 2,000 here in nebraska. i know how to create jobs, set priorities and produce results. and that's what i'll do as governor. >> pete ricketts is making false attacks, but ricketts tried to avoid paying his own taxes. but his organization proposed a plan that would raise taxes for family farmers and 80% of nebraskans. ricketts would lower taxes for corporations like the one owned by him and his family. ricketts wants higher taxes for us, but lower taxes for rich people like him. nebraska needs a governor who fights for the middle class. and that's just not pete ricketts. >> the nebraska i grew up in expects people to take responsibility, to treasure faith and family. those are nebraska values. >> pete ricketts. >> my faith guides me, from
raising my family to running our business. i believe god gave us fundamental rights and our constitution protects them. that we have to be a culture that protects life and inspires responsibility. i'm pete ricketts. as your governor, i'll work to make you proud and lead nebraska with shared values. >> watch live debate coverage with chuck hassellbrook and pete ricketts at 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span 2. >> more now from the 2014 ideas festival in new york. coming up, a conversation about the future of finance with executives from hbo, kickstarter, and donors choose.org. the atlantic and the aspen institute cohost this event. it's about 2 hours and 45 minutes. >> and the universe parts.