409: Gernot Wagner
Science & Medicine

409: Gernot Wagner

This climate economist is surprisingly optimistic about onrushing environmental catastrophe. “Things are dire, yes, but things are moving much much faster in the positive direction than anyone would have imagined five, ten years ago.” A ray of hope! “Now, is it fast enough? No.” A ray of gloom. Produced with the New-York Historical Society’s Climate … Continue reading »

408: Robin Nagle
Scholars

408: Robin Nagle

“It’s grand, it’s palatial, it’s beautiful,” says the anthropologist-in-residence for the NY Department of Sanitation about a garage.  She is happy in her work. A scholar looks at what we throw away and what it says about us. Presented with the Sanitation Foundation.  Music: John Sherman. Photo: Harry Wilks. Continue reading »

Television

407: J. J. Sedelmaier

This animator—you don’t know his name, but you know his work for MTV and SNL—is fascinated by Samuel Insull, Thomas Edison’s former assistant, who brought electricity to Chicago, achieved global fame, and whose name you (and I) also didn’t know. “There’s no reason he shouldn’t be up there with Carnegie and J. P. Morgan.” Music: … Continue reading »

Music

406: Tod Machover

This composer, much admired for his operas, contemplates a happy dichotomy: “These two places are perfectly balanced for the kind of work I do and the kind of life I lead.” Heaven and Hell? New York and Texas? No! His old-fashioned barn-studio and the newfangled MIT Media Lab. Technology, music, and more. Continue reading »

Music

404: Peter Dugan and Charles Yang

As music students, they were sequestered in Juilliard’s fourth-floor rehearsal rooms. “The fourth floor is all dungeony and without sunlight,” says pianist Dugan. “It’s one of the worst, most magical places ever,” says violinist Yang. Today they have flourishing careers among other human beings. That’s the magic. A conversation at the Kaufman Music Center with … Continue reading »