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Episode Five - Steven Brams

This year, the whole world watches as Americans will choose a new president. In order to do so, the political preferences of millions of Americans must be aggregated in order to decide a single winner, the next President. This is known as a social choice and there are many ways to accomplish the task. However, many of these ways are dramatically flawed, including the ones that are the most widespread. For example, plurality voting in a multi-candidate election may choose a minority candidate such as Donald Trump in the recent Republican primary election who is not widely approved of by many voters in the election. My guest today is Steven Brams, Professor of Politics at New York University. Prof. Brams is credited with the discovery of an alternative form of making a social choice known as Approval Voting. 

 

 

 

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Episode Four - Esra Burak Ho

Social scientists, for various purposes are interested in measuring the collective opinions of a society involving a range of issues, often in order to make policy recommendations and to predict the outcomes of elections and referendums. The most prominent technique for discovering the public opinion is the sample survey, where a subset of individuals are selected to give their personal opinions which are then aggregated into a public collective. My guest this episode is Dr. Esra Burak Ho, Assistant Professor of Sociology and Social Policy at Lingnan University in Hong Kong.  Esra works in the fields of income inequality, distributive justice, executive compensation, and attitudes. Her current work examines attitudes toward executive compensation in the U.S., Hong Kong, and mainland China. She primarily uses population based survey experiments in her research. In this episode she tells us about some of the challenges in using sample surveys to collect public opinion and some of the clever ways social scientists overcome those challenges. You can learn more about Esra's work on her website www.esraburak.com 

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Episode Three - Gray Kochhar-Lindgren

Money facilitates trade of goods and services and powers the global economy in many ways, ranging from a child’s lunch money to the world of international finance. Most discussions of money focus on the study of it from a rational standpoint, using the study of economics and statistics to decipher the relationship between currency and value and to predict future trends.  Despite its connection to economics and rationality, money operates as an abstract concept. Its value arising from trust and belief in its exchangeability. However, we seldom stop to ask what money is, and what gives it its power.
This week features Professor Gray Kochhar-Lindgren, Director of the Common Core Curriculum at the University of Hong Kong. Gray has recently published a scholarly article entitled "Trans-Rational Cash: Ghost-Money, Hong Kong and Nonmodern Networks" in which he uses a concept of "ghost money" to explore how traditional and modern practices are connected through the concept of nonmodern networks.
 By looking at money this way, we can explore the translations between money to ethics, morality, emotion, and status. We can also explore  the ways in which money is legitimized against its ephemeral value.

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Episode Two - Diana Lemberg

This episode's guest is Dr. Diana Lemberg, Assistant Professor of History at Lingnan University. Professor Lemberg is an expert in the history of freedom of information and its relationship to the United States’ global engagements after 1945. Her book Barriers Down: Freedom of Information and American Power is forthcoming from Columbia University Press. 

We live in an information age. For centuries information has been recorded, distributed and preserved through the medium of paper. The past century has seen movements away from paper as an information storage medium in favor of microfilm and digital resources. Dr. Lemberg shares her experience as an historian to highlight some of the costs of this transition from paper to other media--such as the practical and creative difficulties of dealing with non-paper resources, and the potential loss of information contained in historic papers as artefacts in and of themselves. 

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Episode One - Liz Jackson

In this first episode, I sit down with Dr. Liz Jackson, Assistant professor of Education at the University of Hong Kong and the author of Muslims and Islam in US Education: Reconsidering Multiculturalism. Professor Jackson has recently presented work about Last Week Tonight with John Oliver that explores the use of humor in moral education.

Dr. Jackson points out both the potential benefits and the potential downfalls of using humor in moral education. We also discuss the ‘John Oliver Effect’ and question whether changes in the world can be ascribed directly to the comedian or indirectly through the dialogue he may produce. She is critical of Last Week Tonight, arguing that in this case, humor may serve to alleviate the viewer from complicity in social ills and responsibility for social change, instead of inspiring them to action. We discuss the issues arising from ignorance, leaping to action, self-righteousness, and seeing oneself as better than others.

This is my first podcast production and I’m still working at getting some of the kinks out so please forgive some rough edits and some poor audio quality.  

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