The Big Q

Questions - Ideas - Scholarship - Debates

Project for Public Interest Media

Why are we killing our rivers? ▶

In the first video of our new “big question” series Daniel Hikuroa from Māori and Pacific Studies at the University of Auckland talks about his big question, “Why are we killing our rivers?”

Will cryptocurrency profoundly alter the monetary system? 🔊

Will cryptocurrency profoundly alter the monetary system? What is the future of cryptocurrency? What are the pros and cons? And what do they mean for economics, for power, and for society? Maria Amoudian discusses the questions around cryptocurrency with David Golumbia, Gina C. Pieters, Lee W. McKnight, and Emin Gun Sirer.

How did Stephen Hawking change physics?

After the recent passing of world-renowned physicist Stephen Hawking, Maria Armoudian talked with Peter Galison, physics professor at Harvard, and Priya Natarajan, professor of astronomy and physics at Yale, about the work and legacy of Hawking within the context of physics.

Politics & Society

Why are we killing our rivers? ▶

In the first video of our new “big question” series Daniel Hikuroa from Māori and Pacific Studies at the University of Auckland talks about his big question, “Why are we killing our rivers?”

Are we living in an age of excess?

America has entered an age of excess, according to Jay Slosar. Driven by a maddening quest for perfection, technology, deregulation, and a superficial, and often inaccurate mass media, America’s national psychology has become increasingly narcissistic. Maria Armoudin discusses whether we are living in an age of excess with Slosar. 

What are the root causes of genocide? 🔊

What are the root causes of genocide? What do historical genocides have in common? How does small-scale violence against targeted groups become genocidal? And what we can learn from the three forgotten genocides? Maria Armoudian chairs a live panel on genocide featuring experts Tracey McIntosh, Panayiotis Diamadis, and Chris Wilson.

Is food security in flux?

Honorary academic Ken Jackson explores whether food security is currently in a state of flux.

Science & Technology

Why are we killing our rivers? ▶

In the first video of our new “big question” series Daniel Hikuroa from Māori and Pacific Studies at the University of Auckland talks about his big question, “Why are we killing our rivers?”

How bad is oxygen depletion for our oceans?

A major University of Otago-led study into an ancient climate change event that impacted a significant percentage of Earth’s oceans has brought into sharp focus a lesser-known villain in global warming: oxygen depletion.

How are robots changing human care?

Robots are not part of some science fiction future, they’re here now and being used in ever more interesting and adventurous ways. Julianne Evans discusses the ways robots are changing human care in New Zealand with Elizabeth Broadbent and Bruce MacDonald. 

How did Stephen Hawking change physics?

After the recent passing of world-renowned physicist Stephen Hawking, Maria Armoudian talked with Peter Galison, physics professor at Harvard, and Priya Natarajan, professor of astronomy and physics at Yale, about the work and legacy of Hawking within the context of physics.

What’s the cost of dissing science?

Science is no longer cool, according to Chris Mooney. This could have huge consequences for the world, which needs science to help resolve many crises facing us today. But people are paying less attention and giving less credence to science and scientists due in part to politics, mainstream media, religion, and anti-intellectualism. How did we get so far off the scientific track, and what should we do now?

Business & Economics

How did Netflix become the world’s biggest online TV network?

How did Netflix become the world’s biggest online TV network? Nicola Shepheard speaks with business graduate Pau Rataul and University of Auckland management and international business lecturers Dr. Dan Tisch Dr. Peter Zamborsky about the success of Netflix. 

Will cryptocurrency profoundly alter the monetary system? 🔊

Will cryptocurrency profoundly alter the monetary system? What is the future of cryptocurrency? What are the pros and cons? And what do they mean for economics, for power, and for society? Maria Amoudian discusses the questions around cryptocurrency with David Golumbia, Gina C. Pieters, Lee W. McKnight, and Emin Gun Sirer.

Does the “Charitable Industrial Complex” help or hinder humanity?

Between 2001 and 2011 the number of non-profit charities increased by 25 percent. $316 billion was given away in 2012 in the United States alone. Yet inequality has grown, and nations are struggling to deal with a refugee and migration crisis. This is part of what Peter Buffett, son of billionaire investor Warren Buffett and head of the NoVo Foundation, provocatively calls the “charitable-industrial complex” – and it may be perpetuating global poverty.

Is food security in flux?

Honorary academic Ken Jackson explores whether food security is currently in a state of flux.

Do free markets camouflage their real cost to our society?

Do free markets camouflage their real cost to our society? Blinded by prices and the so-called free market, Raj Patel says market theory has not only failed, but has also acted as a camouflage for activities that are not about markets at all, and that prices have little correspondence with their value or even their cost. Maria Armoudian discusses how to reshape market societies with Patel. 

Arts & Culture

How did Netflix become the world’s biggest online TV network?

How did Netflix become the world’s biggest online TV network? Nicola Shepheard speaks with business graduate Pau Rataul and University of Auckland management and international business lecturers Dr. Dan Tisch Dr. Peter Zamborsky about the success of Netflix. 

Does New Zealand’s history matter?

New Zealand historian Dr. Felicity Barnes takes exception to the idea that New Zealand’s past is somehow “too small, too parochial” to compete with bigger, global stories.

Are we living in an age of excess?

America has entered an age of excess, according to Jay Slosar. Driven by a maddening quest for perfection, technology, deregulation, and a superficial, and often inaccurate mass media, America’s national psychology has become increasingly narcissistic. Maria Armoudin discusses whether we are living in an age of excess with Slosar. 

History as battleground: How does memory shape today’s politics?

How people remember historical events helps to shape the future of the world. Some facts may be conveniently dropped, or information may be framed in a way that creates a different mythological memory of the past. In this way memory is itself a battlefield where competing narratives seek to become the official ones, and then they affect the politics and policies of the future. Several scholars have begun to study what they call memory entrepreneurs and how those entrepreneurs use historical memory to forward their political agendas.

Who really was Martin Luther King Jr? 🔊

While much of the country remembers Martin Luther King, Jr. as primarily a leader of civil rights and a great orator, others say he stood for so much more. As America pays tribute to King fifty years after his death, many aspects of his life, legacy & philosophy remain either unknown or conveniently forgotten. Maria Armoudian discusses the life and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. with David Garrow, Joshua Inwood, and Thomas Jackson.

Is Google dangerous?

How has internet titan Google changed our knowledge, our politics, and our lives over the last two decades? Siva Vaidhyanathan argues that Google affects the information we gather, jeopardises our personal privacy, and hinders public projects.