In this episode of Little Atoms from 2009, Noam Chomsky examines the Obama administration and asks what has really changed.
Chomsky describes the first term of the Bush administration as “off the spectrum” in both aggression and arrogance. US international prestige sank to the lowest pointsince measured. It is hardly surprising therefore that the next candidate should have moved towards the centre.
Violent interventionism has gone hand in hand with American exceptionalism for centuries, says Chomsky. Obama’s ideology, according to Chomsky has been “less extreme but basically hasn’t changed.”
Chomsky explores the history and dangers of humanitarian intervention.
“You can’t say it can never be benevolent but there is a heavy burden of proof. It makes sense to talk about the responsibility to protect, but it should not be left in the hands of violent, aggressive powers”.
The internet played a prominent role in changing popular activism and proliferating conspiracy theories under the Bush regime. Through the internet, the 9/11 movement diverted people away from activism on serious issues.
“It stopped questions on things the administration would rather keep secret.”
But Obama has found the internet useful. Chomsky argues has it been “a very effective cult generator” and crucial in the construction of Brand Obama.
Obama, like Bush, used the internet to distract activists from protesting state crimes.
Johann Hari is a journalist who has written for the New York Times, the LA Times, the Guardian,Le Monde, Slate, the New Republic and The Nation among others. He was a columnist on the Independent for nine years and was twice named Newspaper Journalist of the Year by Amnesty International UK. He has also been named Cultural Commentator of the Year by the Editorial Intelligence awards and Gay Journalist of the Year by Stonewall.
This is the biography from Johann Hari's new book Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs. It leaves out rather a lot. In this interview Neil Denny talks to Johann about the book, but not before he has apologized to some other friends of Little Atoms.
Alex Cox is a film director, screenwriter, actor, and author. Among his features are Repo Man, Sid & Nancy, Walker, and Revengers Tragedy. Between 1998 and 1994 he hosted the BBC2 cult film series Moviedrome. He currently teaches film production and screenwriting at the University of Colorado. He is also the author of 10,000 Ways to Die: A Director's Take on the Spaghetti Western and most recently The President and The Provocateur: The Parallel Lives of JFK and Lee Harvey Oswald. Also this week, critic Miranda Sawyer on her love for the suppressed Rolling Stones documentary Cocksucker Blues.
First broadcast on 23rd November 2013.
Danny Dorling is Halford Mackinder Professor in Geography at the University of Oxford. He has worked both with the British government and the World Health Organization and is frequently asked to comment on current issues on TV and the radio. He has published more than twenty-five books, including Injustice: Why Social Inequality Exists and So You Think You Know About Britain? His latest book is All That is Solid: The Great Housing Disaster. Also this week, writer Naomi Alderman on Teach us to Sit Still by Tim Parks.
Interview one first broadcast on 25th June 2010.
Emily Anthes is a science writer whose work has appeared in Discover, the Wall Street Journal, Scientific American, and many other publications. She is also the founder of the Wonderland blog, part of the Public Library of Science. Emily's first book is Frankenstein's Cat: Cuddling up to Biotech's Brave New Beasts.
First broadcast on 10th May2013.
Henry Nicholls is a freelance science journalist writing regularly for Nature, New Scientist and BBC Focus as well as the broadsheets. His first book Lonesome George told the story of the last giant tortoise of Pinta in the Galapagos and was shortlisted for the 2007 Royal Society General Book Prize. Henry's latest book is The Way of The Panda: The Curious History of China's Political Animal.
First broadcast on 25th February 2011.
In 1999 Josie Long won the BBC New Comedy Award at the age of just 17 - making her too young for the champagne that came as part of the prize. Despite the boost the award would have given to her comedy career, she took time off performing to complete her English degree at Oxford university, returning in 2003.
Following the break, she was named best newcomer in the Chortle awards in 2005, and best breakthrough act the following year. In 2006, she also scooped best newcomer in the if.comeddie awards for her solo Edinburgh debut, Kindness and Exuberance. Her next show, Trying is Good, is available on DVD. Josie is currently touring All of The Planet's Wonders (Shown in Detail) which is about "...the magic of learning and making sense of the world. It's about the little and big things in life. It covers the stars, wildlife, animals and museums, being inspired by books she has read and people she's met along the way".
First broadcast on 9th January 2009.
Marina Keegan (1989 - 2012) was an author, journalist, playwright, poet, actress and activist, and for two years a research assistant to Harold Bloom, all before she graduated from Yale in May 2012. She had a play that was to be produced at the New York International Fringe Festival and a job waiting for her at the New Yorker. Then five days after graduation, Marina died in a car crash. In the aftermath of her death, while her family and friends grieved, last essay for the Yale Daily News, 'The Opposite of Loneliness', went viral, receiving more than 1.4 million hits. A collection, The Opposite of Loneliness: Essays and Stories has been published in the UK by Simon & Schuster, In this interview Neil talks about both Marina and the book with Beth McNamara, Marina's former high school English teacher, and Kevin and Tracy Keegan, Marina's parents. This is the 350th episode of Little Atoms.
First broadcast on 29th October 2014
Mark Forsyth is a writer, journalist and blogger and pedant. Every job he's ever had, whether as a ghost-writer or proof-reader or copy-writer, has been to do with words. He started The Inky Fool blog in 2009 and now writes a post almost every day. The blog has received worldwide attention and enjoys an average of 4,000 hits per week. Mark is the author of The Etymologicon: A Circular Stroll Through the Hidden Connections of the English Language.
First broadcast on 2nd December 2011.
Mark Lynas is an author and environmental activist who focuses on climate change. He is a Visiting Research Associate at Oxford University's School of Geography and the Environment. In 2009 he was appointed advisor on climate change to the President of the Maldives, which aims to be the first carbon neutral country on Earth by 2020.
Mark is the author of The God Species: How the Planet Can Survive the Age of Humans, published by Fourth Estate in July 2011. He has previously written two major books on climate change – High Tide: News from a warming world and Six Degrees: Our future on a hotter planet.
Katie Roiphe is a professor at the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute at New York University. She writes a column on life, literature, and politics for Slate and writes for The New York Times, Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Paris Review, and other publications. She is the author of numerous books including The Morning After: Sex, Fear and Feminism and Uncommon Arrangements: Seven Marriages in Literary London 1910-1939. Her latest book is a collection of essays, In Praise of Messy Lives.
First broadcast on 5th July 2013.
Mark Stevenson formerly worked as an expert in both prime number cryptography and computer aided systems engineering. Today he combines two other careers – one as a successful writer/ comedian (writing for TV, radio and print) and another as a speaker and consultant on future narratives, institutional innovation, engineered serendipity and learning.
He is co-founder and director of the cultural learning agency Flow Associates and the science communication agency ReAgency. A new mobile project, engendering conversations and stimulating learning and direct action within an audience of 30 million users, The Age of Smart, is coming in mid 2011. Mark is a fellow of the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce.
Mark is the author of An Optimist's Tour of the Future.
First broadcast on 18th March 2011.
Mark Vernon is a writer, broadcaster, journalist, blogger and an honorary research fellow at Birkbeck College. He has a PhD in Philosophy from Warwick University. Mark was a priest in the Church of England between 1994-96, but quit the church as a conviction Atheist. Mark now sees himself firmly as an Agnostic. His books include What Not To Say, The Philosophy of Friendship and After Atheism: Science, Religion and The Meaning of Life. Mark recently edited the latest edition of Chambers Dictionary of Beliefs and Religions. Mark's most recent book is Plato's Podcasts: The Ancients' Guide to Modern Living. Mark has been our guest on Little Atoms twice.
First interview broadcast on 4th April 2008.
Second interview broadcast on 30th October 2009.
Lynn Barber's interviews have won five British Press Awards and a What the Papers Say award. There are two published collections, Mostly Men and Demon Barber, both from Viking. She has also written books on Victorian naturalists, and sex - her first book was called How To Improve Your Man in Bed. Born in l944, she read English at Oxford before working for Penthouse magazine for seven years, then the Sunday Express, The Independent on Sunday, Vanity Fair, The Daily Telegraph and the Observer. She currently writes for the Sunday Times. Lynn's memoir, An Education, was recently turned into a film, with script by Nick Hornby.
First broadcast on 3rd September 2010.
J. Courtney Sullivan is the author of the New York Times bestselling novels Commencement, Maine and The Engagements. Maine was named a Best Book of the Year by Time magazine, and a Washington Post Notable Book for 2011. The Engagements was one of People Magazine's Top Ten Books of 2013 and an Irish Times Best Book of the Year. It is soon to be a major motion picture produced by Reese Witherspoon. Courtney's writing has also appeared in The New York Times Book Review, The Chicago Tribune, New York magazine, Elle, Glamour, Allure, Real Simple, and the New York Observer, among many others. She was a co-editor, with Courtney Martin, of the essay anthology Click: When We Knew We Were Feminists. Also this week, critic Robert Hanks talks about Comedians by Trevor Griffiths.
First broadcast on 18 January 2014.
Duncan Watts is a principal research scientist at Yahoo! Research, and a former professor of sociology at Columbia University. His research on social networks and collective dynamics has appeared in a wide range of academic journals, including Nature, Science, and the American Journal of Sociology. He is also the author of two previous books, Six Degrees: The Science of a Connected Age; and Small Worlds: The Dynamics of Networks between Order and Randomness. Duncan's latest book is Everything is Obvious* *Once you Know The Answer: How Common Sense Fails.
First broadcast on 29th July 2011.
Christopher T. Marsden is Professor of Law at the University of Sussex School of Law. He is the author of Net Neutrality: Towards a Co-Regulatory Solution, Internet Co-Regulation, and three other books. Ian and Chris are the join authors of Regulating Code: Good Governance and Better Regulation in the Information Age.
This week's Little Atoms is presented by Becky Hogge, with special guest presenter Bill Thompson.
First broadcast on 17th May 2013.
Martin Rees is Professor of Cosmology and Astrophysics and Master of Trinity College at the University of Cambridge. He was the President of the Royal Society until 2010, and is the Astronomer Royal. A member of the House of Lords, he is a foreign associate of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and is an honorary member of the Russian Academy of Sciences. His awards include the Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society, the Einstein Award of the World Cultural Council and the Crafoord Prize (Royal Swedish Academy). He was the recipient of the 2011 Templeton Prize. Martin's latest book is From Here to Infinity: Scientific Horizons, which expands on hIs 2010 BBC Radio 4 Reith Lectures.
THIS PROGRAM WAS THE 200TH EDITION OF LITTLE ATOMS.
First broadcast on 3rd June 2011.
Mary Roach has written for the Guardian, Vogue, GQ, Salon, Wired, National Geographic and the New York Times Magazine. She is the author of Stiff: The Curious Life of Human Cadavers, Six Feet Over: Adventures in the Afterlife, Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Sex and Science, and Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in Space. Her latest book, which we talk about in this interview, is Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal.
Little Atoms interview one first broadcast on 27th June 2008.
Little Atoms Road Trip Interview with Mary Roach can be found here.
Little Atoms interview two first broadcast on 26th April 2013.
Martin Rowson is a multi-award winning cartoonist whose work appears regularly in the Guardian, the Independent on Sunday, the Daily Mirror and many other publications. His books include graphic adaptations of T.S. Eliot's The Waste Land and Laurence Sterne's Tristram Shandy. Among his other books are The Dog Allusion and Stuff, a memoir longlisted for the 2007 Samuel Johnson Prize. His latest book is an updated version of Gulliver's Travels. In 2001 Martin was made Cartoonist Laureate of London by Mayor Ken Livingstone. He is also a former vice-president of the Zoological Society of London. Martin has been our guest on Little Atoms twice. The first time with...
Padraig Reidy was Deputy Editor of New Humanist, which celebrated its 120th anniversary in 2005. He's now News Editor of Index on Censorship and a presenter of an Internet Radio Show. His work has also featured in the Guardian, the Independent, Tribune, the Irish Examiner and the Irish Post, and he has made frequent appearances on BBC Radio, including The Moral Maze.
Interview one first broadcast on 9th December 2005.
The second time Martin appeared on the show Padraig had graduated to the interviewer's chair.
Interview two first broadcast on 23rd March 2012.
Masha Gessen is a journalist who has written for Slate, Seed, the New Republic, the New York Times, and other publications. Her previous books include Blood Matters: A Journey Along the Genetic Frontier, and her latest is Perfect Rigour: A Genius and the Mathematical Breakthrough of the Century.
First broadcast on 22nd April 2011.
Matthew Kneale studied Modern History at Oxford University. He is the author of several novels, including English Passengers which won the Whitbread Award and was shortlisted for the Booker Prize. His latest book is An Atheist's History of Belief: Understanding Our Most Extraordinary Invention. Also this week, columnist Suzanne Moore on A Book of Dreams by Peter Reich.
First broadcast on 1st February 2014.
Matthew Sweet is a writer and broadcaster. He presents Night Waves and Free Thinking on BBC Radio 3 and The Philosopher's Arms and The Film Programme on BBC Radio 4. He is the author of Inventing the Victorians and Shepperton Babylon: The Lost Worlds of British Cinema - which he adapted as a film for BBC Four. His TV programmes include Silent Britain, A Brief History of Fun, The Age of Excess, Truly, Madly, Cheaply and The Rules of Film Noir. Matthew's latest book is The West End Front.
First broadcast on 10th February 2012.
London-based, Iranian-Canadian journalist and filmmaker Maziar Bahari was reporting for Newsweek magazine when he was arrested without charge during the 2009 Iranian Election Protests. He was held for 118 days until the Iranian state was forced by international pressure to release him. Maziar's book, Then They Came for Me, co-written with Aimee Molloy, tells the story of his incarceration.
First broadcast on 16th March 2012.
Misha Glenny is a distinguished journalist and historian. As the Central Europe Correspondent first for the Guardian and then for the BBC, he chronicled the collapse of communism and the wars in the former Yugoslavia. He won the Sony Gold Award for outstanding contribution to broadcasting. The author of four books, including the acclaimed McMafia, he has been regularly consulted by the US and European governments on major policy issues and ran an NGO for three years, assisting with the reconstruction of Serbia, Macedonia and Kosovo. Misha's latest book is DarkMarket: CyberThieves, CyberCops and You.
Nessa Carey has a PhD in virology from the University of Edinburgh and has worked in the biotech industry for nearly ten years. She was previously a Senior Lecturer at Imperial College School of Medicine in London.
In this episode of Little Atoms, two philosophical interviews:
Rebecca Newberger Goldstein received her doctorate in philosophy from Princeton University. Her award-winning books include the novels The Mind-Body Problem, Properties of Light, and 36 Arguments for the Existence of God: A Work of Fiction and nonfiction studies of Kurt Gödel and Baruch Spinoza. She has received a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, has been designated a Humanist of the Year and a Freethought Heroine, and is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Her latest book is Plato at the Googleplex: Why Philosophy Won't Go Away.
Kenan Malik is a writer, lecturer and broadcaster. He is a presenter of Analysis of BBC Radio 4, and a panellist on The Moral Maze. He has taught at universities in Britain, Europe, Australia and the USA, presented many TV documentaries and writes regularly for newspapers across the world including the New York Times , the Guardian, and the Australian. His books include Man, Beast and Zombie, Strange Fruit and From Fatwa to Jihad, which was shortlisted for the 2010 Orwell Prize. His latest book is The Quest for a Moral Compass: A Global History of Ethics.
First broadcast on 19th November 2014
Nicholas Carr is the author of The Big Switch: Rewiring the World, from Edison to Google. He is a contributor to the New York Times, Guardian, Financial Times and Wired and was formerly the executive editor of the Harvard Business Review. In 2008 he wrote an article for The Atlantic called Is Google Making Us Stupid? This was recently expanded into a book, The Shallows: How the Internet is Changing the Way We Think, Read and Remember, published on 1st September by Atlantic Books. Nick blogs at www.roughtype.com.
First broadcast on 24th September 2010.
Marlene Zuk is a professor of biology at the University of Minnesota, her main research interest being behavioural ecology, the study of the evolution of behaviour. Her research centres on sexual selection and the effects of parasites on mate choice and the evolution of secondary sex characters. Marlene Zuk is the author of Sexual Selections: What we Can and Can't Learn about Sex from Animals, and Sex on Six Legs: Lessons on Life, Love and Language from the Insect World. Her latest book is Paleofantasy: What Evolution Really Tells us About Sex, Diet and How we Live.
First broadcast on 2nd August 2013.
Andrew Mueller was born in Wagga Wagga, Australia in 1968, and has lived in London and hotels since 1990. He currently writes on various subjects for the Independent, Independent on Sunday, Guardian, Monocle, Arena, Uncut, High Life, New Humanist and anyone else who'll have him. Andrew was previously the author of Rock & Hard Places and a contributing editor of Robert Young Pelton's The World's Most Dangerous Places. His latest book is I Wouldn't Start From Here: The 21st Century and Where it All Went Wrong.
According to Little Atoms regular Jonathan Meades, "Mueller is a gung-ho Candide with a taste for places that it is wiser to avoid. His book is graphic comic, bemused and properly contemptuous of faith and ideology" (Books of the Year, Evening Standard).
First broadcast on 7th August 2009.
Naomi Alderman grew up in London and attended Oxford University and UEA. Her first novel, Disobedience, was published in ten languages; like her second novel, The Lessons, it was read on BBC radio's Book at Bedtime. In 2006 she won the Orange Award for New Writers. In 2007, she was named Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year, and one of Waterstones' 25 Writers for the Future.
Her prize-winning short fiction has appeared in Prospect, on BBC Radio 4 and in a number of anthologies. In 2009 she was shortlisted for the BBC National Short Story Award. Naomi broadcasts regularly, has guest-presented Front Row on BBC Radio 4 and writes regularly for Prospect and the Guardian. Her third novel, The Liars' Gospel, was published by Penguin in August 2012 an in 2012 she was selected by Margaret Atwood as her mentee as part of the Rolex Mentor and Protege Arts Initiative.
First broadcast on 22nd February 2013.