Making Better Episode 13: Amber D. Miller Dean of USC Dornsife

Amber D. Miller is the 22nd dean of the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences. She holds the Anna H. Bing Dean’s Chair and a faculty appointment in the Department of Physics and Astronomy. Click here to read her full biography and click here to read a transcript of this episode.

Making Better Episode 12: Jennifer Michael Hecht

Jennifer Michael Hecht is a poet, historian, and commentator. She is the author of the bestseller Doubt: A History, a history of religious and philosophical doubt all over the world, throughout history. Her newest book is Stay: A History of Suicide and the Arguments Against It (Yale University Press, 2013).

Read some of Hecht’s writings on the blog at her website,
Read Hecht’s bio and enjoy some of her quotes at Wikipedia,
Follow Hecht on Twitter and finally Read a transcript of Episode 12 of Making Better.

Making Better Episode 11 James O’Malley

Making Better Episode 10: SciBabe

Yvette d’Entremont, also known as SciBabe, is a public speaker, science blogger, and former analytical chemist.

She has a background in forensics and toxicology. Her blog, SciBabe, is dedicated to “clearing up misinformation about science, food and nutrition.”

She also works to debunk falsehoods in alternative medicine, the anti-vaccination movement, and the anti-GMO (genetically modified organisms) movement.

D’Entremont started blogging in 2014.[7] She believes that using “snarky humor” is an important tool for communicating science and has been influenced by the style of Penn & Teller’s show, Bullshit.[8] She began to get wider recognition in April 2015, when her Gawker article about Vani Hari, titled The ‘Food Babe’ Blogger is Full of Shit went viral.

Like SciBabe on Facebook

As with all episodes of Making Better, this one is transcribed so that everyone can enjoy it. Click here to read the full transcript of Episode 10.

Making Better Episode 9: Howard Bloom

Howard Bloom has been called “next in a lineage of seminal thinkers that includes Newton, Darwin, Einstein,[and] Freud,” by Britain’s Channel4 TV , “the next Stephen Hawking” by Gear Magazine, and “The Buckminster Fuller and Arthur C. Clarke of the new millennium” by Buckminster Fuller’s archivist. Bloom is the author of The Lucifer Principle: A Scientific Expedition Into the Forces of History (“mesmerizing”—The Washington Post), Global Brain: The Evolution of Mass Mind from the Big Bang to the 21st Century (“reassuring and sobering”—The New Yorker), The Genius of the Beast: A Radical Re-Vision of Capitalism (“Impressive, stimulating, and tremendously enjoyable.” James Fallows, National Correspondent, The Atlantic), and The God Problem: How A Godless Cosmos Creates (“Bloom’s argument will rock your world.” Barbara Ehrenreich). Click here to read his full biography, find Howard on Wikipedia, read Howard’s writings on Medium, follow Howard on Twitter and finally watch Howard on YouTube.

As always, there is a transcript available for this episode. Click here to read Episode 9 in its entirety.

Making Better Episode 8: Hayley Stevens, Parranormal Researcher

Hayley Stephens is a paranormal researcher and she lives in what she refers to as “Weird Wiltshire” in the United Kingdom. she is studying towards a BSc (Hons) Psychology. she works full time and in between working and studying, she researches paranormal claims and phenomena. Hayley hosts The Spooktator podcast and is also active on Twitter. Click here to read Hayley’s full biography and feel free to browse her website, which she updates frequently. As with all Making Better episodes, this one is fully transcribed. Click here to read a full transcript of Episode 8.

Making Better Episode 7: Penny Arcade

Since first climbing out of her bedroom window at age 14 to join the fabulously disenfranchised world of queers, junkies, whores, stars, deviants and geniuses she has become one of the most influential performers in the world. By fearlessly displaying her singular brand of feminist sexuality and personal conflict she has garnered countless fans worldwide with an emotionally and intellectually charged performance style. Internationally revered as writer, director and actress, she has influenced generations of artists around the world.

(Click here to read a rather lengthy biography of Penny Arcade). Click here to follow Penny Arcade on Twitter in English, and click here to read a complete transcript of Making Better Episode 7: Penny Arcade.

Making Better episode 6: Jim Fruchterman #a11y

Jim Fruchterman is a leading social entrepreneur, a MacArthur Fellow, a recipient of the Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship, and a Distinguished Alumnus of Caltech. Jim believes that technology has the power to improve—even transform—the lives of people around the world. As Founder and CEO of Benetech, he focused on bringing Silicon Valley’s technology innovations to all of humanity, not just the richest five percent. He is a former rocket engineer who also founded two successful for-profit technology companies. Under Jim’s leadership, Benetech created and scaled multiple software for social good enterprises spanning education, human rights, and environmental conservation. Jim has recently founded a new nonprofit, Tech Matters, to provide strategic technology services that maximize impact, not profit. Jim is active on Twitter as @JimFruchterman

As with all of our episodes, this one also is accompanied by a transcript so that everyone can enjoy it. Click here to read a transcript of Episode 6.

Making Better Episode 5: M. E. Thomas

Making Better Episode 4: Richard Stallman

Richard Matthew Stallman leads the Free Software Movement, which shows how the usual non-free software subjects users to the unjust power of its developers, plus their spying and manipulation, and campaigns to replace it with free (freedom-respecting) software.
Born in 1953, Stallman graduated Harvard in 1974 in physics. He worked at the MIT Artificial Intelligence Lab from 1971 to 1984, developing system software including the first extensible text editor Emacs (1976), plus the AI technique of dependency-directed backtracking, also nown as truth maintenance (1975).
In 1983 Stallman launched the Free Software Movement by announcing the project to develop the GNU operating system, planned to consist entirely of free software. Stallman began working on GNU on January 5, 1984, resigning from MIT employment in order to do so. In October 1985 he established the Free Software Foundation, of which he is president as a full-time volunteer.
Stallman invented the concept of copyleft, “Change it and redistribute it but don’t strip off this freedom,” and wrote (with lawyers) the GNU General Public License, which implements copyleft. This inspired Creative Commons.
Stallman personally developed a number of widely used software components of the GNU system: the GNU Compiler Collection, the GNU symbolic debugger (gdb), GNU Emacs, and various others.
The GNU/Linux system, which is a variant of GNU that also contains the kernel Linux developed by Linus Torvalds, is used in tens or hundreds of millions of computers. Alas, people often call the system “Linux”, giving the GNU Project none of the credit.
Their versions of GNU/Linux often disregard the ideas of freedom which make free software important, and even include nonfree software in those systems.
Nowadays, Stallman focuses on political advocacy for free software and its ethical ideas. He spends most of the year travelling to speak on topics such as “Free Software And Your Freedom” and “Copyright vs Community in the Age of the Computer Networks”. Another topic is “A Free Digital Society”, which treats several different threats to the freedom of computer users today.
In 1999, Stallman called for development of a free on-line encyclopedia through inviting the public to contribute articles. This idea helped inspire Wikipedia.
Stallman is officially a Visiting Scientist at MIT.
Free Software, Free Society is Stallman’s book of essays. His semiautobiography, Free as in Freedom, provides further biographical information.
He has received the following awards:
• 1986: Honorary life time membership in the Chalmers Computer Society
• 1990: MacArthur Foundation Fellowship
• 1990: The Association for Computing Machinery’s Grace Murray Hopper Award “For pioneering work in the development of the extensible editor EMACS (Editing Macros).”
• 1996: Doctorate honoris causa from Sweden’s Royal Institute of Technology
• 1998: Electronic Frontier Foundation’s Pioneer award
• 1999: Yuri Rubinsky Memorial Award
• 2001: The Takeda Techno-Entrepreneurship Award for Social/Economic Well-Being
• 2001: Doctorate honoris causa from the University of Glasgow
• 2002: United States National Academy of Engineering membership
• 2003: Doctorate honoris causa from the Vrije Universiteit Brussel
• 2003: Honorary professorship from the Universidad Nacional de Ingeniería del Perú
• 2004: Doctorate honoris causa from the Universidad Nacional de Salta, in Argentina
• 2004: Honorary professorship from the Universidad Tecnológica del Perú
• 2005: Fondazione Pistoletto prize
• 2007: Honorary professorship from the Universidad Inca Garcilaso de la Vega, in Peru
• 2007: First Premio Internacional Extremadura al Conocimiento Libre
• 2007: Doctorate honoris causa from the Universidad de Los Angeles de Chimbote, in Peru
• 2007: Doctorate honoris causa from the University of Pavia
• 2008: Doctorate honoris causa from the Universidad Nacional de Trujillo, in Peru
• 2009: Doctor of Science honoris causa from Lakehead University in Canada
• 2011: Doctorate honoris causa from the Universidad Nacional de Córdoba, in Argentina
• 2012: Honorary professorship from the Universidad César Vallejo de Trujillo, in Peru
• 2012: Doctorate honoris causa from the Universidad Latinoamericana Cima de Tacna, in Peru
• 2012: Doctorate honoris causa from the Universidad José Faustino Sanchez Carrión, in Peru
• 2013: Inducted into the Internet Hall of Fame
• 2014: Doctorate honoris causa from Concordia University in Canada
• 2015: Doctorate honoris causa from Universidad las Américas in Peru.
• 2016: The Association for Computing Machinery’s Software and Systems Award for development of GCC, the GNU Compiler Collection. Click here to read a full biography of Richard Stallman. Click here to read a full transcript of this episode.