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On Being with Krista Tippett is a public radio project delving into the human side of news stories + issues. Curated + edited by senior editor Trent Gilliss.

We publish guest contributions. We edit long; we scrapbook. We do big ideas + deep meaning. We answer questions.

We've even won a couple of Webbys + a Peabody Award.

The Dalai Lama and Compassion Science: A Twitterscript

by Trent Gilliss, senior editor

During our trip to Emory University this past October, we sat in on several conversations between the Dalai Lama and leading scientists. We tweeted some of our favorite comments and now are aggregating them into this transcript:

  1. Excited to be able to tweet scientists (including R. Davidson + Frans de Waal) discussing the latest research on mindfulness with @DalaiLama
    8:33 AM Oct 18th
  2. @DalaiLama conference and had been joking about buying HHDL swag. It ends up there’s a Tibetan Bazaar setup in the lobby!
    8:57 AM Oct 18th
  3. Autistic children yawn as much as other children, but they do not have yawn contagion - Frans de Wall http://is.gd/g6N2N
    8:59 AM Oct 18th
  4. "If you look at Blair and Bush, each time Blair went with Bush to Texas he would walk like a cowboy" - Frans de Waal on human mimicry
    9:01 AM Oct 18th
  5. To get from empathy to compassion, you have to be able to get past the intense emotion empathy creates. - Frans de Waal
    9:21 AM Oct 18th
  6. Davidson shows just two-weeks of compassion practice makes someone behave more altruistically. http://is.gd/g6PZc
    9:42 AM Oct 18th
  7. Compassion is taking empathy into action. - Richard Davidson
    9:43 AM Oct 18th
  8. 6 weeks of loving-kindness meditation improves body’s vagal tone: controls heart rate + creates positive emotions to others -Dr. Fredrickson
    9:57 AM Oct 18th
  9. Science is starting to show the more we love, the healthier we become at a physical level…perhaps also at a wisdom level. -Dr. Fredrickson
    9:59 AM Oct 18th
  10. Mother crocodiles will come to defense if their babies are in trouble…but turtles are not that way - @DalaiLama
    10:20 AM Oct 18th

Our Twitterscript with Poet Elizabeth Alexander

by Trent Gilliss, senior editor + Shubha Bala, associate producer

Poet Elizabeth AlexanderOn December 1, Krista interviewed Elizabeth Alexander, a poet probably best known for her poem "Praise Song for the Day", which she delivered at the inauguration of President Barack Obama. We’re producing this show for release on January 6, our first show of the new year!

We live-tweeted the 90-minute conversation and have aggregated them here for those of you who don’t do Twitter, or those of you who do but don’t follow @Beingtweets, or those of you who follow us but missed the stream because a) you were working or studying or b) because you follow so many people that your stream flows as rapidly as a spring thaw during flood season:

  1. Krista is starting an interview with Elizabeth Alexander, Obama’s inaugural poet, essayist and teacher http://is.gd/i357R (9:02 AM Dec 1st) 
  2. "Art arrests us. It makes us stop in the midst. It makes us contemplate" - Elizabeth Alexander (9:06 AM Dec 1st)
  3. "I was the proverbial child with the jug ears - I was a listener" - Elizabeth Alexander (9:10 AM Dec 1st)
  4. Poet Elizabeth Alexander on being a voracious reader: “Why would you like to make things you also wouldn’t consume?” (9:18 AM Dec 1st)
  5. "We crave truth tellers. We crave real truth. There is so much bologna all the time." - Elizabeth Alexander (9:20 AM Dec 1st)
  6. "Children know when they’re being bamboozled. And they are drawn towards language that shimmers." - Elizabeth Alexander (9:21 AM Dec 1st)
  7. Elizabeth Alexander tells us about the ‘I’ in poetry by reading us “Ars Poetica #100: I Believe” http://is.gd/i391u (9:24 AM Dec 1st)
  8. "I look at my children and think as much as I know you I do not know what’s in your head..and yet I crave knowing you that deeply" Alexander (9:27 AM Dec 1st)
  9. Elizabeth Alexander shares a story about reading this favorite poem on the Mall for a soundcheck before the inauguration http://is.gd/i3axu (9:33 AM Dec 1st)
  10. "Poems are fantastic spaces to arrive at conundrum-y questions." -poet Elizabeth Alexander (9:36 AM Dec 1st)
  11. There has to be such a thing as love that doesn’t have to preempt grievance. - Elizabeth Alexander (9:37 AM Dec 1st)
  12. "Poems are living organisms - they’re so yeasty. They become more than what they are." - poet Elizabeth Alexander (9:41 AM Dec 1st)
  13. "Much to my amazement I’ve been publishing poems for 20 years. And much to my amazement, I’m a middle-aged woman!" -poet Elizabeth Alexander (9:44 AM Dec 1st)
  14. "We speak out of what we know and what we have lived. Hopefully from that comes something we call universal." -poet Elizabeth Alexander. (9:53 AM Dec 1st)
  15. "My poet self - she’s all intuition.There’s no program. She’s doing as Adrienne Rich said: ‘Diving into the the wreck." -Elizabeth Alexander (9:56 AM Dec 1st)
  16. "Communities, tribes, people have always told the story of who they are in song." - poet Elizabeth Alexander (10:00 AM Dec 1st)
  17. "You can snatch time to make a poem…They are like grass or flowers coming up in the sidewalk cracks." -poet Elizabeth Alexander (10:04 AM Dec 1st)
  18. Elizabeth Alexander describes poetry as “a poor people’s art form.” She says, “You can’t write a novel without a lot of time to yourself.” (10:12 AM Dec 1st)
  19. "We crave radiance in this austere world, light in the spiritual darkness." - poet Elizabeth Alexander reading from "Allegiance." (10:19 AM Dec 1st)

The Dalai Lama’s Left-Hand Man: A Twitterscript of Geshe Thupten Jinpa Interview

by Shubha Bala, associate producer

While at Emory University for The Summit on Happiness a few weeks ago, Krista sat down with Geshe Thupten Jinpa, the Dalai Lama’s chief English translator, for a one-hour interview. We live-tweeted the conversation and collated them into this Twitterscript for you. Look for our produced show of this interview on our website and podcast this Thursday.

  1. Ten minutes until Krista’s interview starts live video streaming with Thupten Jinpa, the @DalaiLama's chief translator: http://bit.ly/cQCSfc (3:18 PM Oct 18th)
  2. Excited to be live tweeting Krista’s interview with the humble and intelligent Thupten Jinpa (3:44 PM Oct 18th)
  3. From Sanskrit, #meditation is a reflective exercise involving repetition of the mind in a directed way - Thupten Jinpa (3:57 PM Oct 18th)
  4. "In #Buddhism, philosophical inquiry is done through ethical motivation, for a spiritual goal”- Thupten Jinpa (4:00 PM Oct 18th)
  5. We begin with knowledge but need to process it through cultivation so that acting goodly becomes 2nd nature. -Jinpa (4:05 PM Oct 18th)
  6. "One should honor their classmates as much as their teachers." -Jinpa on debate as a main means of education for Tibetan Buddhist monks (4:09 PM Oct 18th)
  7. "The fact that he embodies what he says is what makes his talks so powerful." -Jinpa on the @DalaiLama (4:13 PM Oct 18th)
  8. The fact that murder, etc makes headlines means we don’t expect humans to behave this way. Humans are naturally good. -Thupten Jinpa (4:18 PM Oct 18th)
  9. Krista is conducting a brilliant interview with Thupten Jinpa, the @DalaiLama's chief translator. Watch here: http://bit.ly/cQCSfc #Buddhism (4:19 PM Oct 18th)
  10. "I can’t quite see how in the end consciousness can be entirely reduced to physical processes." - Thupten Jinpa (4:21 PM Oct 18th)
  11. Physical phenomena is characterized by measurability where the mental’s primary characteristic is subjectivity. - Thupten Jinpa (4:27 PM Oct 18th)
  12. I can’t reduce Thupten Jinpa’s explanation of #Buddhist reincarnation to 140 characters. You have to hear it from him. http://bit.ly/cQCSfc (4:35 PM Oct 18th)
  13. "One thing that surprised me a bit was how challenging relationships can be."- Jinpa Thupten who left monastic life to get married (4:42 PM Oct 18th)

Understanding Happiness with the Dalai Lama, a British Rabbi, an Episcopal Bishop, a Muslim Scholar: A Twitterscript

by Shubha Bala, associate producer

His Holiness the Dalai Lama

On October 17 of this year, Krista led a lively conversation with four dynamic religious leaders: the His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama, Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, Rev. Dr. Katharine Jefferts Schori, and Seyyed Hossein Nasr on “Understanding and Promoting Happiness in Today’s Society.”

Trent and I sat in the media section of the Woodruff Physical Education Center at Emory University and our live-tweeted some of the special gems from discussion. You can also listen to the event’s full audio.

  1. We’ll be live-tweeting Krista’s panel w/ @, @RabbiSacks, Rev. Schori, + Seyyed Hossein Nasr. Intros are beginning; discussion to start soon.
    17 Oct
  2. Krista and religious leaders have taken the stage, followed by the @DalaiLama. All are standing in silence with one pair of hands clapping. 
    17 Oct
  3. The topic of this session: understanding and promoting happiness in today’s society. Smiles everyone! 
    17 Oct
  4. "The reason different religious traditions developed is not for misery but for deep satisfaction (happiness). That’s very clear."-@DalaiLama 
    17 Oct
  5. The @DalaiLama finally put on his classic deep red visor. He said to Krista - “Now I can see you clearer. There is a bright light in here.” 
    17 Oct
  6. "If we could learn 1 thing from you - how to laugh the way you do - it would increase the happiness in the world." @rabbisacks to @dalailama 
    17 Oct
  7. "Simha tells us that happiness is part of the tenure and texture of relationships." @rabbisacks on Jewish definition of a shared happiness 
    17 Oct
  8. "Consumerism making us feel bad for what we lack is the most efficient system for the manufacturing+distribution of unhappiness" @rabbisacks 
    17 Oct
  9. "The paradox of the world is that to listen to a lecture on #happiness people have to stand in line unhappily for 2 hours to get in.” -Nasr 
    17 Oct
  10. #Happiness comes from this right relationship - from knowing you are not God and therefore not putting yourself in the center.” -Rev Schori 
    17 Oct
  11. Some people have the idea that just following the truth is enough. #Islambelieves what’s important is to attain #happiness.”-Seyyed H. Nasr 
    17 Oct
  12. "The environmental crisis is due to this substitution - believing #happiness is to have, want more and more.” - Seyyed Hossein Nasr 
    17 Oct
  13. "Once it was asked to a great #Sufi master ‘What do you want?’ He said ‘I want not to want?’ That’s the epitome of #happiness.” -Seyyed Nasr 
    17 Oct
  14. "Happiness is a permanent state of the soul, and we are here to attain it." -Seyyed H. Nasr to the @DalaiLama 
    17 Oct
  15. "That’s why all the pain can lead to #happiness when you say to the bad times: I will not let you go until you bless me.” - @rabbisacks 
    17 Oct
  16. "Happiness is not finding joy in death. It’s taking what is, and insisting that great happiness for all is possible." - Rev. Schori 
    17 Oct
  17. RT @EmoryUniversity ”Say to the bad times, I will not let you go until you bless me.”—-Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks 
    17 Oct
  18. "In Arabic, beauty and virtue — and the word goodness — are all the same word." -Seyyed H. Nasr 
    17 Oct
  19. "The #Arabic word for beauty, virtue, and goodness is the same. Beauty drives us to the divine…Beauty makes the soul happy.” - Seyyed Nasr 
    17 Oct
  20. "Just by existing, we’re responsible towards other creatures, humans, nature, and God himself." -Seyyed Hossein Nasr 
    17 Oct
  21. "Buddhism is in some ways atheist, but some say atheism means anti-God. In that sense, #Buddhism has respect for all traditions.” @DalaiLama 
    17 Oct
  22. "Sometimes we don’t have to pursue happiness, we have to pause and let it catch up to us." - @rabbisacks 
    17 Oct
  23. "There is a religious challenge in things that don’t look beautiful." -@RabbiSacks 
    17 Oct
  24. "Happiness is a right. The purpose of our life is happiness. It may be simple but it’s what I think!" @DalaiLama 
    17 Oct
  25. "When a person lives with hopelessness, they commit suicide. So our life depends on hope for happiness." @DalaiLama 
    17 Oct
  26. A nice segue by Krista from @RabbiSacks' fabulous point about slowing down for happiness to the @DalaiLama's teachings on meditation. 
    17 Oct
  27. "I almost drowned on my honeymoon, so when I wake up, I know what it means to pray: Thank you #God for giving me back my life.” @RabbiSacks 
    17 Oct
  28. "We can face the future of fear if we know we do not face it alone." @RabbiSackson praying to #God and knowing God is with you 
    17 Oct
  29. Just realized there’s a person signing this wonderful discussion at Emory. Her just to hear + translate must be incredibly difficult. Kudos. 
    17 Oct
  30. "Our modern culture makes it very hard to fail." -@RabbiSacks at The Interfaith Summit on Happiness 
    17 Oct
  31. "Train the body so the mind, the self, and the soul can do it’s job more effectively." - Rev. Schori on #running as body meditation 
    17 Oct
  32. #Judaism has a whole approach on the physical dimension of the spiritual life - it’s called food.” @RabbiSacks on #happiness and the body 
    17 Oct
  33. "If you want a summary of all the #Jewish holidays it can be done in 3 sentences: they tried to kill us, we survived, let’s eat” @RabbiSacks 
    17 Oct
  34. "Someone elses’ material needs, are my spiritual duty" @RabbiSacks on the responsibility to help others who are lacking 
    17 Oct
  35. @DalaiLama is asked: Where does body fit into happiness? HHDL: Without a body, there’s no longer a brain. Then it’s difficult to think. 
    17 Oct
  36. "You have to let go of hate if you want to be free" - @RabbiSacks 
    17 Oct
  37. "A #Muslim friend said ‘jihad’ is combating the negative forces within yourself. So then, the whole Buddhist philosophy is Jihad” @DalaiLama 
    17 Oct
  38. "After Buddhism there is no religion that speaks more of compassion than #Islamdoes.” - Seyyed Hossein Nasr 
    17 Oct
  39. "I’m out of my medium. I’m used to being in a recording studio where people aren’t applauding after comments" - Krista Tippett 
    17 Oct

Richard Mouw: A Twitterscript with an Evangelical Leader on Civility

by Trent Gilliss, senior editor

Richard MouwThis coming week we will be releasing our latest show, which focuses on the topic of incivility in political, religious, and civic culture with one of the leading Evangelical Christian leaders in the United States today. On September 8, 2010, Krista interviewed Richard Mouw, president of Fuller Theological Seminary and a professor of Christian philosophy and ethics, which we live-tweeted (@softweets) from behind the glass of Studio P at Minnesota Public Radio. Here’s a compilation, our Twitterscript if you will, of all those tiny nuggets, and a few exchanges with our followers:

  1. Tweeting Krista Tippett’s interview on civility with @richardmouw
    Wed Sep 8 14:11:57 2010
  2. "The antichrist has changed across my lifetime…in the 1980s it shifted towards Islam" - @richardmouw
    Wed Sep 8 14:12:47 2010
  3. On civility, @RichardMouw quotes the Hebrew prophet Jeremiah: “Seek the shalom of the city in which God has placed you.”
    Wed Sep 8 14:18:06 2010
  4. "What does it mean for me to honor the Muslim..the Mormon..the people of unbelief who are hostile towards Christianity?" - @richardmouw
    Wed Sep 8 14:18:22 2010
  5. "What I owe to my mother and friends, I also owe to the stranger. And that’s more than toleration." -@richardmouw on going beyond tolerance
    Wed Sep 8 14:19:11 2010
  6. "Evangelicalism goes back + forth between alienation to a takeover mentality - but alternate between two theologies." -@RichardMouw
    Wed Sep 8 14:26:32 2010
  7. "I do think Jesus is a model of civility - of convicted civility." -@RichardMouw, president of Fuller Seminary
    Wed Sep 8 14:32:48 2010
  8. "For starters concentrate on your own sinfulness and the other person’s humanness." Evangelical leader @richardmouw on gentle Christianity
    Wed Sep 8 14:32:55 2010
  9. "Glenn Beck + anti-Islam have revived the Evangelical sense that they’re taking something away and we need to get it back." - @richardmouw
    Wed Sep 8 14:36:42 2010
  10. "It’s very important for a leader to approach people having a hard time controlling their fears." -@RichardMouw on conservatives’ concerns
    Wed Sep 8 14:42:13 2010
  11. @mindywithrow You’re welcome! It’s tough keeping up. in reply to mindywithrow
    Wed Sep 8 14:42:52 2010
  12. "We have to be careful that we not sin in the process of acting on those concerns." @richardmouw on “Glenn Beck followers’” moral concerns
    Wed Sep 8 14:45:42 2010
  13. "We’re not messiahs. And God isn’t going to hold us responsible for righting all the wrongs in the world." -@RichardMouw
    Wed Sep 8 14:48:27 2010
  14. "Instead of telling Mormons what they believe, asking them what they believe." @richardmouw on a “gentle” approach w/ those we disagree with
    Wed Sep 8 14:51:19 2010
  15. "GK Chesterton once said, ‘It’s bad to have false gods. But it’s also bad to have false devils.’" -@RichardMouw
    Wed Sep 8 14:52:44 2010
  16. "Seeing other people is a kind of exercise in art appreciation." - @richardmouw on the realization that all people are a work of art
    Wed Sep 8 14:53:02 2010
  17. "Even in expressing our differences we’re dealing with people that are precious works of divine art" @richardmouw
    Wed Sep 8 14:57:41 2010
  18. "One of my stories about learning in civility was going to a gay Mass at an Episcopal church." -@RichardMouw
    Wed Sep 8 14:58:38 2010
  19. "I’m gratified by a growing Christian subculture of the more conservative side that are willing to think some new thoughts." -@RichardMouw
    Wed Sep 8 15:04:05 2010
  20. "There’s a common life. There’s something that bonds human beings together that politics can’t create and shouldn’t destroy." -@RichardMouw
    Wed Sep 8 15:07:58 2010
  21. RT @expatminister: ah yes, the oft-quoted Jeremiah 29. Much more complex, much harder than “I know the plans…” bumper sticker. Good tho…
    Wed Sep 8 15:09:57 2010
  22. "I think more and more we’re committed to bringing people in (@FullerATS)… It’s important to create these kinds of spaces.” -@RichardMouw
    Wed Sep 8 15:11:51 2010
  23. "We need safe places. The problem is that there aren’t safe places any more." -@RichardMouw
    Wed Sep 8 15:13:21 2010
  24. "If more people who have influence and leadership positions can give their blessing to this [civility] and encourage this…" -@RichardMouw
    Wed Sep 8 15:19:56 2010
  25. "In many ways, we are living in a world that’s much like some of the best years in Christianity in the past." -@RichardMouw
    Wed Sep 8 15:23:50 2010
  26. "We have to bracket those kinds of [social] issues and live with more mystery on that." -@RichardMouw
    Wed Sep 8 15:26:29 2010
  27. "We need to see He [Jesus] calls us to go out to identify with the things he cares about." -@RichardMouw
    Wed Sep 8 15:31:00 2010
  28. And that concludes our live-tweeting of Krista’s interview with evangelical leader @RichardMouw. Thanks for reading!
    Wed Sep 8 15:32:35 2010

Nicholas Kristof: A Twitterscript

by Anne Breckbill, associate web developer

Nicholas KristofOn September 3, 2010, Krista interviewed New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof for our show "Journalism and Compassion." Following is the complete behind-the-glass Twitterscript of that conversation:

  1. Krista is interviewing NYT writer Nicholas Kristof right now: http://twitter.com/nickkristof We’ll be live tweeting for the next 90 mins.
  2. "Some of the biggest human rights issues have to do with society rather than with governments."
  3. "People connect with stories that are positive and triumphant…People are turned off by unremitting despair."
  4. Kristof on one of the counter-intuitive things he’s learned as a reporter: “…it turns out that victims lie, just as perpetrators lie.”
  5. "I want to understand what it is that drives some people to butcher children…what makes them tick." — Nicholas Kristof on perpetrators
  6. "You can’t begin to address other human needs until you address security." @NickKristof on what makes a difference in humanitarian crisis.
  7. "Helping people is a lot harder than it looks."
  8. "Right now our views of Islam are so much shaped by its most venal elements."
  9. "Tradeoffs are part of the human condition. We have to struggle and search for answers." @NickKristof on the ideas of Isaiah Berlin.
  10. "Any kind of encounter with mortality…makes you conscious about what your own legacy will be." @NickKristof on the death of his father.
  11. "Dad, all my friends go to vacation in France and Italy. Can’t we just go to a beach?" @NickKristof quoting his 12-year-old daughter.
  12. "As parents we not only want to read bedtime stores to our kids but we also want to model empathy, compassion, and engagement."
  13. "For all of human history…people have lived in poverty. In this century we have the capacity to end extreme poverty."

Joanna Macy: A Twitterscript

by Trent Gilliss, senior editor

For nearly all of Krista’s interviews nowadays, we live-tweet (@softweets) the verbal gems and meaningful points of the conversation so that we can provide some type of real-time dialogue with our online friends. But, we realize many of you either don’t use Twitter or just simply miss our tweets because of the busy pace of a day at work or home so we’re creating a catalog of those submissions for you to read in one place.

Following is our “Twitterscript” of Krista’s interview with Joanna Macy that took place over an ISDN line on July 13, 2010. As you may know, it was a wonderful conversation that made for an instant classic titled "A Wild Love for the World." A former CIA agent and translator of Rainer Maria Rilke, a Buddhist teach and a philosopher of ecology, this octogenarian had many wise things to share that were wonderful nuggets for our Twitterstream:

    Joanna Macy
  1. Krista is about to interview eco-philosopher and Buddhist scholar Joanna Macy: http://bit.ly/c48Bkk - Stay tuned for live Tweets!
    1:01 PM Jul 13th
  2. "I had a sense of the world as big and wise and intelligent. I had an appetite to disappear into it." -Macy on her childhood summers
    1:18 PM Jul 13th
  3. While we’re fixing technical issues Krista says: “You wouldn’t believe how beautiful Rilke’s German is. It sounds nothing like Hitler.”
    1:26 PM Jul 13th
  4. "The human drama involved in the Stalinist oppression of Eastern Europe moved us deeply." -Joanna Macy on taking in Hungarian refugees, 1956
    1:31 PM Jul 13th
  5. Macy is about to read one of the Rilke poems she translated. It begins: “I live my life in widening circles…”
    1:31 PM Jul 13th
  6. "Our human minds are too small to make pronouncements and definitions around the source of the sacred." -Joanna Macy
    1:35 PM Jul 13th
  7. "My world itself is sacred. I don’t need to put all my notions of what is holy into a big daddy God…" -Joanna Macy
    1:35 PM Jul 13th
  8. Macy on the parallels between Rilke and Buddhist notions of God: “We must not portray you in kings’ robes.” -Joanna Macy translating Rilke
    1:40 PM Jul 13th
  9. "There’s this opening up with reverence and appreciation to the gift of life itself." - Macy on current religious thinking across traditions
    Tue Jul 13 13:46:43 2010
  10. "What batters you becomes your strength." -Joanna Macy reading her translation of Rilke’s Sonnet to Orpheus.
    Tue Jul 13 13:54:32 2010
  11. "I’m not insisting that we be brimming with hope. It’s OK not to be optimistic." -Joanna Macy, on the current environmental crisis
    Tue Jul 13 14:00:46 2010
  12. "Buddhist teaching says that a feeling that you have to maintain hope can wear you out." -Joanna Macy
    Tue Jul 13 14:01:17 2010
  13. "Song itself cannot happen without time." -Joanna Macy, during her interview with Krista
    Tue Jul 13 14:07:18 2010
  14. "We are the weaver, and we are the web; we are the flow and we are the ebb" - Joanna Macy quoting a chant
    Tue Jul 13 14:09:08 2010
  15. "Being spiritual is in now, but it also generates a lot of silliness…escapism and a whole lot of new manufactured products" - Joanna Macy
    Tue Jul 13 14:10:03 2010
  16. "It’s linked back to all the hands of the ages. Every atom in this hand goes back to..the beginning of space-time."- Macy observing her hand
    Tue Jul 13 14:15:44 2010
  17. ”..death does not wound us without at the same time lifting us toward a more perfect understanding of this being and of ourselves” - Rilke
    Tue Jul 13 14:20:44 2010
  18. "There’s no excuse for making love for our world dependent on whether we think it’s going to go on forever..this moment you’re alive." -Macy
    Tue Jul 13 14:23:52 2010

Alan Rabinowitz: A Twitterscript

by Anne Breckbill, associate web developer

Alan Rabinowitz Rides an ElephantOn June 30, Krista interviewed Alan Rabinowitz for this week’s show "A Voice for the Animals" — discussing topics ranging from his severe stutter, Dawi (the last pure Mongoloid pygmy), large wild cats, genetic corridors, and his recent cancer diagnosis. We live-tweet (SOFtweets) all of our interviews now. Here is the Twitterscript of that interview:

  1. In 10 minutes, we’ll be live-tweeting Krista’s interview with Alan Rabinowitz, dubbed the “Indiana Jones” of wildlife science.
  2. As Alan Rabinowitz sits in his chair, he says, “Grabbing a taxi on 5th Avenue is much more challenging that tracking a tiger in Bhutan.”
  3. Rabinowitz — “What turned me away from religion is what people were saying or reading did not go along with their actions.”
  4. Rabinowitz on his childhood stuttering — “Most stutterers can do two things: sing, and you can speak to animals.”
  5. Rabinowitz — “Over and over, I swore to myself as a child if I ever found my voice that I’d be there for them [animals].”
  6. Rabinowitz — “…[I found that] when I could speak fluidly, most people didn’t have that much to say that’s interesting.”
  7. Rabinowitz — “I associate myself with those who pit themselves against environmental hardships than I do with pure scientists.”
  8. Rabinowitz — “Science is a language of truths that would be there whether humans would be there or not.”
  9. Alan Rabinowitz is talking about a pivotal moment of his life when he found the Taron in the Himalayan foothills.
  10. Dawi, a Taron tribal elder asking Alan Rabinowitz why isn’t a father — “You act like a man who still has this deep, deep hole inside of him.”
  11. Rabinowitz — “We had to save the last tigers. Tigers are just plummeting.”
  12. Rabinowitz — “The dictatorship in Burma consists of several dozen generals. The one man on top is the controlling influence.”
  13. Rabinowitz — “Being among these remote communities showed me a model how people can live w/ their environment and can move forward.”
  14. Rabinowitz — “You can tell a person from Churchill because they’re always looking around the corner.”
  15. Rabinowitz — “You can tell a person from Churchill because they’re always looking around the corner.”
  16. Rabinowitz — “I rarely meet a Mayan now carrying a gun..’if we see a jaguar we stop on our bicycle and watch it now.’”
  17. Engineer Chris Heagle summarizing Alan Rabinowitz talking with Krista Tippett — “Marriage is like confronting a wild leopard”
  18. Rabinowitz — Genetic corridors for large cats vital to saving them - more than conservation parks http://is.gd/daooj
  19. Rabinowitz — “Stuttering gave me my life. I’m so pleased to be born a stutterer, because that’s how I got to where I am.”
  20. Rabinowitz — “As I get older and have thoughts of slowing down, I get told ‘I have cancer” and that has the opposite effect.”
  21. Rabinowitz — “I don’t see myself as a hero..I see myself as lucky for being able to..pursue the things I love that made me feel whole.”
  22. Rabinowitz on his son’s stuttering — “Seeing my son sad is painful. Although stuttering gave me my life it’s not something I wish on anyone else.”
  23. Rabinowitz on continuing adventures despite having cancer — “I had to live the life that defined me the best, both to myself and to my family”
  24. Rabinowitz — “I truly believe when you attempt to do good things for good reasons a lot of positive energy gets out there in the world.”
  25. Rabinowitz — “It doesn’t matter if life is short or long, it matters if there’s meaning for you personally.”

Arthur Zajonc: A Twitterscript

Colleen Scheck, senior producer

Arthur Zajonc and His Holiness the Dalai Lama"ReTweets By Others," "ReTweets by You," "Your Tweets, Retweeted" — try saying it ten times in a row! After live-tweeting (@softweets) our interview with Arthur Zajonc, we wondered what you found interesting enough to retweet. The top vote-getter:

Zajonc - If science is born from epiphanies, then reflection and contemplation (from meditation) is useful as a mode of inquiry

And here’s the complete Twitter transcript:

  1. About to listen to an interview between Krista and Arthur Zajonc (http://www.arthurzajonc.org/) quantum physics, mindfulness, science…
  2. Zajonc - dad’s Polish family illiterate, mom’s Southern family very literate… both have influenced me
  3. Zajonc - Went into college excited that science would be able to answer the Truth with a capital T
  4. Zajonc - So I decided to flunk out! A bit dangerous during Vietnamese war era..if not in school then you’d have to join the army
  5. Zajonc - Before he flunked out, a professor got him interested in ways of thinking, meditation & introducing him to Goethe http://bit.ly/dXRGj
  6. Zajonc- ppl think you calculate your way towards a discovery but..insight comes in a flash-Newton seeing apple fall & saying same as moon
  7. Zajonc - then after the insight you begin the calculations to see if that’s true. Goethe was interested in the first part
  8. Zajonc-one can have that epiphanal moment in science, art, AND faith..this is common ground between these areas-sourced from common well
  9. A brief web exhibit highlighting Newton and Goethe’s color theories: http://www.webexhibits.org/colorart/ch.html
  10. Zajonc-theory of relativity made us realize even most basic thing-size-is not absolute and is based on relative to other things
  11. Zajonc-Even in classical physics observer effects experience, just like trying to see if a baby is sleeping..you can try tiptoing
  12. Zajonc-Difference is in classical you can reduce your impact on experiment, but in quantum it’s irreducibly participatory
  13. Wikipedia’s brief overview of this observer effect: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Observer_effect_%28physics%29
  14. FYI: Zajonc blogs about meditation and mindfulness for @PsychToday at http://psychologytoday.com/blog/the-meditative-life.
  15. Zajonc - He has been a meditator for a long time. Thought he was alone but then found 35 courses in his college that including meditation
  16. Zajonc - Contemplative traditions very effective in cultivating attention which is the best thing we have to offer world, esp in education
  17. Zajonc-Contemplative tradition separated from spirituality has HUGE place in education for attention reasons and as a way of reasoning
  18. Zajonc-If science is born from epiphanies, then reflection and contemplation (from meditation) is useful as a mode of inquiry
  19. Ricard is example of highly trained scientist who went to live with Dalai Lama & bridges both side http://bit.ly/3pekim
  20. Zajonc-teachers can do a competent job of posing technical theories with questions-what it means to know, exist, etc
  21. Zajonc-Discovered Steiner http://www.anthroposophy.org/ and his path of inquiry. Known now for his Waldorf School
  22. Zajonc - the paradox of light is that it makes everything visible and yet it itself is invisible
  23. Zajonc-For Steiner that wasn’t a metaphor, but pointed to something spiritual
  24. Behind the glass we hear Zajonc’s squeaky chair. Technical director Chris will be able to clean some-not all-of it in post-production
  25. Zajonc says that the word technology comes from the word “techne” which means “art.”
  26. Zajonc says the clarity that comes from a reflective life brings clarity… you see things you didn’t see before…a responsibility/burden
  27. Zajonc says the clarity that comes from a reflective life brings clarity… you see things you didn’t see before…a responsibility/burden
  28. Zajonc was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease a year ago. KT asks how his contemplative practice has overlapped with this.
  29. Zajonc has had family members with Parkinsons. He’s seen its progression in others. “learn to hold your life even more consciously.”
  30. Zajonc quotes Mary Oliver - “What are you going to do with this one wild precious life?”
  31. Zajonc speaks about his friends-not just how he’s holding his Parkinsons but how they hold it too.
  32. When Zajonc sleeps, his Parkinson’s tremors disappear.
  33. Zajonc: “The question I pose to myself is it possible to be alive…and have such calm…that one can lead a life…”
  34. Zajonc: “…expression of that quality of meditative quiescence…alert and at rest. Bringing sleeping life into day life.”
  35. KT’s last question is about mystery and Zajonc’s take on it.
  36. Zajonc says that mind/body/spirit - each requires cultivation. “Bring all of who we are to what the world is.”
  37. Zajonc ends w/favorite William James quote 1909. “Let empiricism once become associated with religion…” http://bit.ly/bWUDoE

Astrophysicist Mario Livio: A Twitterscript

Shubha Bala, associate producer

For the past few interviews, we have been diligently tweeting away while Krista converses with our guests. We hope that this is a unique way for you to experience some of the highlights — and get the conversation started — before you experience the full edited (or unedited!) show.

After our interview with Mario Livio, we all sat down to discuss what constitutes a good tweet. So, this week, we ask you: seeing the entire tweeting transcript below, what tweets are helpful? Do links help? Is it too much to break information between tweets?

  1. For the next 90 minutes, we’ll be live-tweeting Krista’s ISDN interview with Mario Livio, a Romanian astrophysicist who grew up in Israel.
  2. Mario Livio’s latest book is “Is God a Mathematician?”
  3. Livio asks if mathematics discovered or is it an invention of the human mind. Picks up from Krista’s interview with two Vatican astronomers.
  4. "Mathematics turns out to be too powerful in describing all these things." -Mario Livio
  5. Mario Livio: Newton takes observations that aren’t so accurate, + his mathematical equations are more accurate than the observations!
  6. Livio: the theory of knots are very important application for string theory even though it was initially thought to have no application.
  7. Livio: The conclusion I reached about math being discovered or invented is that the question is being posed wrong. It’s a mixture.
  8. Ex. of mixture: imaginary numbers like square root of -1. We invent the concept and then we discover the relationships among these concepts.
  9. Ancient Greeks invented concept of prime numbers. And then the discoveries were forced upon us.
  10. Livio: Roger Penrose, mathematical physicist: three worlds and three mysteries - physical world, consciousness, mathematical forms.
  11. Penrose’s 3 mysteries: 1) out of the physical word, consciousness 2) consciousness gives access to math forms 3) math explains phys. world
  12. Livio: Chomsky will tell you that there is more universality to languages than we think.
  13. Livio “The Microsoft Effect”: once a particular OS starts to dominate, all have to adapt it. Mathematical notation is a little bit of that.
  14. Mario Livio: “Our perception system is universal. This had to help in inventing natural numbers like 1,2,3,4,5…”
  15. "Like beauty in the arts, it is somewhat more vaguely defined [in mathematics] …but perhaps it is a little bit more defined." -Mario Livio
  16. We try to formulate a few laws of physics + try to explain all phenomena. We do the same thing in mathematics - like in symmetry. -M. Livio
  17. "I have heard very few people think that Einstein’s general theory of relativity is not beautiful." -Mario Livio, astrophysicist
  18. Mario Livio: You could argue that the principal behind Einstein’s general relativity is simpler than Newton’s gravity.
  19. M. Livio: Symmetry is a quantity that does not change. Mathematicians came up with a system to describe ALL these symmetries. Group Theory.
  20. Funny moment where Krista starts to ask Livio about his love of art and Mario Livio responds, “You seem to be well prepared.”
  21. Mario Livio, in response to Krista’s question: “I don’t have a good explanation for my passion for art.”
  22. Livio: “…it would be false to say that science + art have influenced each other. Or that science + religion have influenced each other.”
  23. M. Livio: “A person who feels a need for God does not want a God that created the universe and then left the universe to its own devices.”
  24. M. Livio, picking up on that last point: “Science has nothing to say about this. … People try to force the connection.”
  25. M.Livio-ppl who try to say Genesis is completely accurate scientifically does science & religion a disservice
  26. M.Livio-Is God a Mathematician? “I mean God as an Einsteinian God-synonym to the working of the cosmos.”
  27. M.Livio-Physics has changed over time but “Mathematics has evolved, but the math the ancient greeks did is still true today.” Eternal truth?
  28. M.Livio-As physics became more predictive, people went away from religion to talk about nature - talked about precise sciences
  29. M.Livio-cont. a development of 20th century-with quantum physics, things are no longer deterministic, can only calculate probabilities
  30. M.Livio-“Biology today is..at the state physics was…..-many of the major breakthroughs are yet to be made”
  31. Krista tells a funny story of Goedel, accompanied by Einstein, applying for US citizenship - http://www.ias.edu/people/godel/institute
  32. M. Livio - About math and life… well “in science, unless you have a well defined problem it is virtually impossible to try to answer it”
  33. Livio-“Things like life these are inherently complex situations where..often I don’t..know what question to pose, let alone find the answer”
  34. Livio-April 24 is Hubble 20 year anniversary. He talks about the importance of Hubble images - http://hubblesite.org/gallery/album/
  35. Krista and M. Livio recall SOF interview about human & mathematical limits with Janna Levin - http://bit.ly/axpPBy
  36. M.Livio-pushing boundaries-we used to think the earth was the center of a universe, and now “200 galaxies like ours just in the observable”
  37. M.Livio - but each discovery we make, we find out there’s something “even more mysterious”
  38. M.Livio-In all this, our physical selves seem more&more minuscule, but our minds making the discoveries are more&more important & central
  39. Thank you Mario Livio! For more information on him and his book : http://www.mariolivio.com/