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Important, Not Important

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Worried the world’s going to hell in a handbasket? There’s still hope!

Our weekly conversational podcast dives into a question affecting everyone on the planet right now or in the next ten years: climate change, clean energy, space exploration, autonomous cars, artificial intelligence, antibiotics, cancer, and bio-tech.

Our guests are on the front lines: scientists, doctors, engineers, politicians — even a reverend. We work towards action steps our listeners can take with their voice, their vote, and their dollar.

Hosted by Quinn Emmett and Brian Colbert Kennedy.
68 Episodes
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#55: What are the Energy Requirements of Well-being?
In Episode 55, Quinn & Brian ask: What are the energy requirements of well-being?Our guest is Julia Steinberger, a Professor of Social Ecology & Ecological Economics at the University of Leeds School of Earth and Environment. Her research examines the connections between resource use (energy and materials, greenhouse gas emissions) and societal performance (economic activity and human wellbeing) – or, what happens when you drive your car every damn day. She is interested in quantifying the current and historical linkages between resource use and socioeconomic parameters, and identifying alternative development pathways to guide the necessary transition to a low carbon society.Basically, all her research can be boiled down to one important question: are we going to make it and maintain our standard of living, given the resources available to us and the technology we have now? And, well... it’s possible, but it’s not going to be easy and some things are going to have to change. Fast.Trump’s Book Club:Doughnut Economics by Kate Raworth: https://www.amazon.com/registry/wishlist/3R5XF4WMZE0TV/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_ep_ws_2Gr8Ab6RS5WF3Links:Learn more about Prof. Steinberger: https://environment.leeds.ac.uk/see/staff/1553/professor-julia-steinbergerTwitter: https://twitter.com/jksteinbergerCheck out Living Well Within Limits: https://lili.leeds.ac.uk/Watch “Ayana Elizabeth Johnson: How to use the ocean without using it up”: https://www.ted.com/talks/ayana_elizabeth_johnson_how_to_use_the_ocean_without_using_it_upCars vs Bus vs Bikes: https://humantransit.org/2012/09/the-photo-that-explains-almost-everything.htmlListen to Doughnut Economics, Rethinking Economics for the 21st Century: Kate Raworth and Azeem Azhar in Conversation: http://exponentialview.libsyn.com/doughnut-economics-rethinking-economics-for-the-21st-century-kate-raworth-and-azeem-azhar-in-conversationConnect with us:Subscribe to our newsletter at ImportantNotImportant.com!Intro/outro by Tim Blane: timblane.comFollow Quinn: twitter.com/quinnemmettFollow Brian: twitter.com/briancolbertkenLike and share us on Facebook: facebook.com/ImportantNotImportantCheck us on Instagram: instagram.com/ImportantNotImportantFollow us on Twitter: twitter.com/ImportantNotImpPin This podcast is sponsored by Brandless and The Black Tux
Fun Talk: See You Later, Asgardia
In Fun Talk Episode 7, Quinn and Brian discuss the measles making a comeback, wiping negligent parents off of the planet, becoming old people who don’t listen to new music, the new music we (read: Quinn) actually are listening to (sometimes), a long-time-coming update on the space nation of Asgardia, the pros and cons of Spotify purchasing Anchor and Gimlet, the Green New Deal dropping like it’s hot, watching Free Solo on IMAX (go check it out if you can), and the ice cream we have to go take care of.Links:Have feedback or questions? Send a message to funtalk@importantnotimportant.comWatch Brian’s morning show on IGS: https://www.instagram.com/importantnotimportant/Read “Asgardia Micro-Nation to Launch 10,000 Satellites to Make Web Free”: http://www.spacedaily.com/reports/Asgardia_Micro_Nation_to_Launch_10000_Satellites_to_Make_Web_Free_999.htmlListen to StartUp: https://www.gimletmedia.com/startupCall your representatives about the Green New Deal: http://fivecalls.orgListen to Quinn’s Essential Albums Playlist: https://itunes.apple.com/us/playlist/essential-albums/pl.u-06ql3sPW6ZpConnect with us:Subscribe to our newsletter at ImportantNotImportant.com!Intro/outro by Tim Blane: timblane.comFollow Quinn: twitter.com/quinnemmettFollow Brian: twitter.com/briancolbertkenLike and share us on Facebook: facebook.com/ImportantNotImportantCheck us on Instagram: instagram.com/ImportantNotImportantFollow us on Twitter: twitter.com/ImportantNotImpPin us on Pinterest: pinterest.com/ImportantNotImportantTumble us or whatever the hell you do on Tumblr: importantnotimportant.tumblr.comImportant, Not Important is produced by Podcast Masters This podcast is sponsored by Brandless and The Black Tux
#54: The State That’s Not a State is a Hell of a Lot Greener Than Your State
In Episode 54, Quinn & Brian discuss: why the state that’s not a state is a hell of a lot greener than your state.Our guest is Jamie DeMarco, a State-Level Carbon Pricing Coordinator with our friends the Citizens' Climate Lobby (who are working to save our collective asses every single day, NBD). Jamie is dedicated to passing state-level legislation that will serve as a model and inspiration for future national lawmakers – so he definitely has his work cut out for him.Dealing with society’s environmental self-harm, it turns out, is a lot like acknowledging a toxic relationship with your significant other: you acknowledge the problem (maybe publicly), stop participating in the toxic behavior, and then move to being proactive about the problem. What can we do on both a micro and macro scale to begin influencing environmental policy for the better, and encourage others to do the same? We already have all of the technology we need to power our society from 100% renewable sources – we just lack the political will to get there. Luckily, we have people like Jamie out there creating will where there’s already a way.Trump’s Book Club:Les Misérables by Victor Hugo: https://www.amazon.com/registry/wishlist/3R5XF4WMZE0TV/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_ep_ws_2Gr8Ab6RS5WF3Links:Learn more at https://citizensclimatelobby.org/Find a chapter: https://citizensclimatelobby.org/about-ccl/chapters/Donate: https://citizensclimatelobby.org/donate/CCL on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CitizensClimateLobby/CCL on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/citizensclimate/CCL on Twitter: https://twitter.com/citizensclimateJamie on Twitter: https://twitter.com/jamiedemarco1Jamie on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jamie-demarco-402881118/Find and contact your representatives: https://www.house.gov/representatives/find-your-representativeRead “It's now cheaper to build a new wind farm than to keep a coal plant running”: https://www.cbsnews.com/news/its-now-cheaper-to-build-a-new-wind-farm-than-to-keep-a-coal-plant-running/Connect with us:Subscribe to our newsletter at ImportantNotImportant.com!Intro/outro by Tim Blane: timblane.comFollow Quinn: twitter.com/quinnemmettFollow Brian: twitter.com/briancolbertkenLike and share us on Facebook: facebook.com/ImportantNotImportantBrandless and The Black Tux
#53: How the Hell Do We Pull Clean Drinking Water Out of Thin Air?
In Episode 53, Quinn & Brian ask: How the hell do we pull clean drinking water out of thin air?Our guest is Dr. Shing-Chung “Josh” Wong, a professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Akron In addition to pursuing bio-inspired materials research, he has worked on mechanical behavior and functional properties of polymers, electrospinning, processing-structure-property relationships, coatings, bio- and nano-materials, and composites. Dr. Wong has authored and co-authored over 70 archived articles in book, journal, and patent literatures, and in 2007, he was selected as a recipient for the prestigious National Science Foundation CAREER Award.There are a lot of words you may not understand in that bio – don’t worry, you’re not alone – but the reason Josh is awesome and we wanted him on the show comes down to one simple fact: he has invented some very cool shit that benefits anyone who enjoys being alive on Earth. He comes from a place of such moral integrity, constantly striving to use his capacity for innovation and discovery to help other people... a trait that is almost staggeringly uncommon these days, to our detriment.Trump’s Book Club: Biography of a Chairman Mao Badge: The Creation and Mass Consumption of a Personality Cult by Professor Melissa SchriftLinks: Contribute to the University of Akron Foundation (with a note that it’s a gift to support water harvesting research by Professor Josh Wong): https://www.uakron.edu/treasurer/uaf.dot Check out Josh’s water harvester: https://www.uakron.edu/engineering/me/me-news-detail.dot?newsId=c1f0c8d5-a992-468b-bb91-7ba9e3ea4597&pageTitle=Recent%20Headlines&crumbTitle=Engineering%20professor%20to%20present%20freshwater%20research%20at%20ACS%20national%20meeting Brad Meltzer’s incredible books for kids: http://bradmeltzer.com/TV-Kids-and-More/Kids-BooksConnect with us: Subscribe to our newsletter at ImportantNotImportant.com! Intro/outro by Tim Blane: timblane.com Follow Quinn: twitter.com/quinnemmett Follow Brian: twitter.com/briancolbertken Like and share us on Facebook: facebook.com/ImportantNotImportant Check us on Instagram: instagram.com/ImportantNotImportant Follow us on Twitter: twitter.com/ImportantNotImp Pin us on Pinterest: pinterest.com/ImportantNotImportant Tumble us or whatever the hell you do on Tumblr: This podcast is sponsored by Brandless and The Black Tux
Fun Talk #5
In After Dark Episode 5 – AKA Fun Talk, AKA Not Not Important, AKA definitely not confusing at all – Quinn & Brian discuss Quinn’s potentially undiagnosed OCD, Brian declining “stupid” calendar invites (are they stupid? We’ll let you decide), getting cut doing the Deadpool workout, the one change each of us should make, the pressure Quinn puts on Brian for our 60-second morning show (check it out at https://www.instagram.com/importantnotimportant/), talking to a cat, extravagant Armenian weddings, getting your first tattoo, the big beautiful canvas of Brian’s back, and an update on the LA county schools.Links:Have feedback or questions? Send a message to funtalk@importantnotimportant.comWatch Brian’s morning show on IGS: https://www.instagram.com/importantnotimportant/Read: “Get Ripped Like Ryan Reynolds with the 'Deadpool 2' Full-Body Workout”Connect with us:Subscribe to our newsletter at ImportantNotImportant.com!Intro/outro by Tim Blane: timblane.comFollow Quinn: twitter.com/quinnemmettFollow Brian: twitter.com/briancolbertkenLike and share us on Facebook: facebook.com/ImportantNotImportantCheck us on Instagram: instagram.com/ImportantNotImportantFollow us on Twitter: twitter.com/ImportantNotImpPin us on Pinterest: pinterest.com/ImportantNotImportantTumble us or whatever the hell you do on Tumblr: importantnotimportant.tumblr.comImportant, Not Important is produced by Podcast Masters This podcast is sponsored by Brandless and The Black Tux

Fun Talk #5

2019-02-0200:47:08

#52: What’s the Deal With the Green New Deal?
In Episode 52, Quinn & Brian ask (using their best Seinfeld impression): What’s the deal with the Green New Deal?Our guest is Varshini Prakash, a founder of the Sunrise Movement, a veritable army of young folks fighting to stop climate change and create millions of good jobs in the process. We think Varshini will be, no exaggeration, one of the most instrumental people in American politics (and for the future health of our planet) over the next couple years.The Sunrise Movement’s army is comprised of ordinary people who are scared about what the climate crisis means for the people and places they love. They aren’t looking to the Left or the Right to solve the problem – they’re looking forward to unite millions of people and reclaim our democracy from the corrupting influence of fossil fuel executive and those who empower them. The cornerstone of this movement is the Green New Deal, a plan that will transform our economy and society at the scale needed to stop the climate crisis. So this summer, thousands of people from Sunrise will descend on one of the first Democratic Presidential debates to #ChangeTheDebate and make sure the #GreenNewDeal is a top issue in the 2020 election.Like our friends Elsa Mengistu and Emelly Villa from episode 33, Varshini recognizes that #thisisZeroHour – and the Green New Deal is our chance to turn back the clock.Trump’s Book Club:Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community? by Martin Luther King Jr.Links:Learn more at https://www.sunrisemovement.orgFind or start a local Sunrise Hub: https://www.sunrisemovement.org/hubsDonate to Sunrise: https://secure.actblue.com/donate/dec-dc-action?refcode=website-top-buttonInstagram: https://www.instagram.com/sunrisemvmtFacebook: https://www.facebook.com/sunrisemvmtTwitter: https://twitter.com/sunrisemvmtBlueprint for the Green New Deal: http://ocasio2018.com/gndCheck out https://5calls.org/Connect with us:Subscribe to our newsletter at ImportantNotImportant.com!Intro/outro by Tim Blane: timblane.comFollow Quinn: twitter.com/quinnemmettFollow Brian: twitter.com/briancolbertkenLike and share us on Facebook: facebook.com/ImportantNotImportantCheck us on Instagram: instagram.com/ImportantNotImportantFollow us on Twitter: twitter.com/ImportantNotImpBrandless and The Black Tux
Fun Talk #4
In After Dark Episode 4, Quinn & Brian discuss Brian’s new morning show (which you can find in our Instagram stories: https://www.instagram.com/importantnotimportant), curse like sailors, rebel against airbrushing photos, commiserate with LA county teachers, cover the #trumpshutdown, stop buying new clothes and eating meat, consider opening a coffee shop, and go for a run.Links:Have feedback or questions? Send a message to funtalk@importantnotimportant.comWatch Brian’s morning show on IGS: https://www.instagram.com/importantnotimportant/“#ShutdownStories: The impact of the government shutdown”: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-46739180Calculate your carbon footprint: https://www.footprintnetwork.org/The World Atlas of Coffee by James Hoffmann: http://www.theworldatlasofcoffee.com/“The Impossible Burger 2.0 is a plant-based beef replacement that's meatier than ever”: https://www.popsci.com/impossible-burger-2-taste-test-ces-2018Look at Brian’s pretty face: http://www.iambck.comConnect with us:Subscribe to our newsletter at ImportantNotImportant.com!Intro/outro by Tim Blane: timblane.comFollow Quinn: twitter.com/quinnemmettFollow Brian: twitter.com/briancolbertkenLike and share us on Facebook: facebook.com/ImportantNotImportantCheck us on Instagram: instagram.com/ImportantNotImportantFollow us on Twitter: twitter.com/ImportantNotImpPin us on Pinterest: pinterest.com/ImportantNotImportantTumble us or whatever the hell you do on Tumblr: importantnotimportant.tumblr.comImportant, Not Important is produced by Podcast Masters This podcast is sponsored by Brandless and The Black Tux

Fun Talk #4

2019-01-2500:42:41

#51: Are We Thinking About CRISPR All Wrong (& What the Hell is CRISPR)?
In Episode 51, Quinn & Brian ask: Are we thinking about CRISPR all wrong (and what the hell is CRISPR)?Our guest is C. Brandon Ogbunu, an evolutionary systems biologist working as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Brown University. Although the title is different, his role is almost identical to Brian’s here at INI: He uses experimental evolution, mathematical modeling, and computational biology to better understand the underlying causes and consequences of disease, across scales: from the biophysics of proteins involved in drug resistance to the social determinants underlying disease. In doing so, he aims to develop theory that enriches our understanding of the evolutionary and ecological underpinnings of disease, while contributing to practical solutions for clinical medicine and public health.So, like Brian, it’s pretty apparent why C. Brandon is vital to the survival of our species. (The similarities are just uncanny, aren’t they?)We’ve talked about CRISPR before on the show, but if you’re not familiar, here’s a brief and overly simplistic overview of this potentially world-changing technology: it’s scissors for DNA. It’s still a very young technology – it was only patented in 2012 – but it has the potential to do everything from eliminating genetic diseases from our lineage, to making our food supply more efficient and productive, to creating a real-life Jurassic Park. But what can’t we do with it – and perhaps more importantly, what shouldn’t we be doing with it? That’s what we’re going to find out today.Trump’s Book Club:From the War on Poverty to the War on Crime: The Making of Mass Incarceration in America by Elizabeth HintonLinks:Learn more at https://vivo.brown.edu/display/cogbunugTwitter: https://twitter.com/big_data_kaneInstagram: https://www.instagram.com/big_data_kane/Read C. Brandon’s writing: https://medium.com/ogplexusConnect with us:Subscribe to our newsletter at ImportantNotImportant.com!Intro/outro by Tim Blane: timblane.comFollow Quinn: twitter.com/quinnemmettFollow Brian: twitter.com/briancolbertkenLike and share us on Facebook: facebook.com/ImportantNotImportantCheck us on Instagram: instagram.com/ImportantNotImportantFollow us on Twitter: twitter.com/ImportantNotImpPin us on Pinterest: pinterest.com/ImportantNotImportantTumble us or whatever the hell you do on Tumblr: importantnotimportant.tumblr.com This podcast is sponsored by Brandless and The Black Tux
BEST OF 2018: New Antibiotics in a Post-Antibiotic Era
Back in Episode 19, Quinn & Brian asked: What’s the future of antibiotics?To find out, we sat down with bowtie enthusiast and professor of pathology and immunology and biomedical engineering Dr. Gautam Dantas. Dr. Dantas leads the Dantas Lab at the Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, where they work at the interface of microbial genomics, ecology, synthetic biology, and systems biology, to understand, harness, and engineer the biochemical processing potential of microbial communities.We had a lovely, not terrifying chat about designing new antibiotics in the post-antibiotic area. Topics covered include bacteria as the O.G., Thanos, precision medicine, cows, horror shows from the ancient past buried in ice cores, and your vote and where it should go. This was one of our favorite and most-downloaded episodes of all time, and we wanted to share it as we prepare for some exciting stuff to come in 2019.Trump’s Book Club:Doomsday Book by Connie Willis: https://www.amazon.com/registry/wishlist/3R5XF4WMZE0TV/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_ep_ws_2Gr8Ab6RS5WF3Links:Dr. Gautam Dantas on Twitter: http://twitter.com/VolatileBugDantas Lab: http://www.dantaslab.org/“Why Some Bacteria Eat Antibiotics,” NBC News: https://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-news/why-some-bacteria-eat-antibiotics-what-we-can-do-about-n870181“Antibiotic Resistance is Ancient,” Science Daily: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110831155334.htmConnect with us:Subscribe to our newsletter at ImportantNotImportant.com!Intro/outro by Tim Blane: timblane.comFollow Quinn: twitter.com/quinnemmettFollow Brian: twitter.com/briancolbertkenLike and share us on Facebook: facebook.com/ImportantNotImportantCheck us on Instagram: instagram.com/ImportantNotImportantFollow us on Twitter: twitter.com/ImportantNotImpPin us on Pinterest: pinterest.com/ImportantNotImportantTumble us or whatever the hell you do on Tumblr: importantnotimportant.tumblr.comImportant, Not Important is produced by Podcast Masters This podcast is sponsored by Brandless and The Black Tux
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