#29 Are College Students Too Emotionally Fragile? Hara Marano: How Do We Fix It?

From angry scenes over Halloween costumes at Yale to protests against racism at the University of Missouri, student activism is back.  More than at any time since the late 1960's, America is in the middle of a wave of college unrest. 

To what extent do students today have genuine grievances? Are at least some of them rebels without a cause - angry because their feelings have been hurt? 

Step by step colleges are being transformed into something more akin to mental health wards rather than citadels of learning,” says our guest, Hara Marano, Editor at Large of Psychology Today and author of the book, "A Nation of Wimps".  

While calls for greater diversity among college professors are an important cause, Marano tells us of fundamental changes in the student population. 

"Rising numbers of students are breaking down with anxiety and depression, self-mutilation, burning, cutting, binge drinking to obliterate all of their anxiety," says Marano. "Even the slightest disappointment pitches them into crisis mode."

"The American College Mental Health Association has been documented rises in all of these conditions." Many students "get so distressed so readily."

Are many young people over-protected and even narcissistic, demanding protection from ideas and concepts they find too uncomfortable to listen to?  This episode digs into these questions, suggesting fixes for colleges and parents.

#28 Walls, Barriers and Bans: The Cost of Panic Over Immigration & Terror: How Do We Fix It?

From Paris to San Bernardino, terrorist attacks have sparked an outcry from many politicians in Europe and the U.S. - including calls for new controls on immigration, refugees and the free movement of labor across national borders.

The leading Republican Presidential candidate, Donald Trump, called for a total and complete ban on Muslims entering the United States.  

Our guest in episode 29, Peter Coy, Economics Editor for Bloomberg Businessweek, makes a strong case for more - not less - immigration, as well as a greater exchange of ideas across the boundaries that divide us.   

"One of the treasures of democracy is freedom of thought, freedom of action, freedom of movement," says Peter.  "In putting up walls we actually lose what we treasure the most."

The 28-state European Union has been a triumph for economic growth and a peaceful transition from the wreckage of World War 2. 

"You can drive from France into Switzerland without even pumping the brakes at the border," Peter told us. "This has been hugely beneficial to Europe, creating a single Europe with more trade, wealth and commerce than we would have."

Europe is the top destination for U.S. exports, but many economists see a big cost to the economy and to our culture from erecting new barriers in the name of safety. 

#27 America's Sleep Crisis: Jeff Koyen. How Do We Fix It?

If you have at least seven hours of interrupted sleep each night, consider yourself very lucky indeed.  Problems with sleep are remarkably widespread. 

Many millions of adults and children either don't spend enough time in bed or suffer from sleep disorders, resulting in illness, obesity, depression, mood swings and loss of creativity.

Our guest is Jeff Koyen, Editor-in-Chief of Van Winkle's, a new website "obsessed with sleeping, waking and everything in between.  He shares the stories of scientists, artists, travel writers, child-care experts and many others who have a great deal to tell us about how we do - and don't - sleep.

"Sleep is a very complicated issue that touches probably everyone you know. It's not just adults," says Jeff. "We're talking about teenagers have sleep issues, even children."

Smartphones, tablets and other devices have made the problem even worse. "Ten years ago, five years ago you were not taking your phone with you to bed."

We look at fixes and what science tells us about how to get a better night's sleep. 

#26 The Trouble With Today's Toys: Richard Gottlieb: How Do We Fix It?

The holiday shopping season is underway and finding the right toy or game for his or her kids is the goal of every parent. A vast range of new toys has been introduced in recent months.

Joining us in this episode to look at the recent changes is consultant and branding expert, Richard Gottlieb, of Global Toy Experts.

"The toy industry is a nineteenth century industry that's trying hard to break into the twenty first," says Richard. "It's had a lot of difficulty dealing with the digital aspect of play that's become so popular."

On this show we ask whether today's technologically sophisticated toys are scripting the way kids play.  Do they force children into a pre-written narrative when they should be allowing for open-ended play? 

Toy stores have many traditional toys, such as blocks, construction sets and craft kits, but kids also have fun with "video games, apps and even social networking," says Richard. These new trends have "confronted the industry with a sort of existential crisis: Who are we, what is a toy and how do we play?"

Richard has many positive, playful and out-of-the-box ideas on how to view toys and the nature of play in a digital society. 

"I think it's wonderful that children has all these choices," he tells us. "I wish we had all these choices."

 

#25 Climate Change: Turning CO2 Into Rock: Peter Kelemen: How Do We Fix It?

The demand for energy around the world continues to grow each year.  And so does the amount of carbon dioxide that's pumped into the earth's atmosphere. 

What happens if the world fails to bring down CO2 emissions in the coming decades?  What if all the treaties and negotiations over climate change don't succeed in reducing the threat of global warming?

Our guest is Peter Kelemen, Chair of Columbia University's Earth and Environmental Sciences Department and Arthur B. Storke Professor of Geochemistry. Last year, Peter was inducted into the National Academy of Sciences. 

His research on carbon capture and storage may offer one exciting solution to a global crisis.  Our show looks at a tool that could fight climate change by taking carbon dioxide and literally locking it up in the earth's crust, right under our feet.  

Geology research could be used to find new ways to suck up carbon and keep it out of the atmosphere, harnessing a natural process and using some of the fracking techniques now common in oil and gas drilling.  We look at the costs as well as the potential offered by this form of breakthrough scientific research. 

#24 Why The Federal Reserve Is So Unpopular Roger Lowenstein: How Do We Fix It?

The Federal Reserve plays a fundamental role in our economy.  But many Americans loathe The Fed - furious that it bailed out banks and other huge financial firms during the 2008 financial crisis.

Our guest, Roger Lowenstein, is the author of "America's Bank - The Epic Struggle to Create The Federal Reserve." His book is a dramatic account of the chaotic years before The United States became the last major industrialized nation to form a central bank.

Our podcast features a lively discussion about American history as well as the present day, with Roger giving us insights that demystify the work of The Fed.

The job of the central bank is to ensure the smooth operation of the money supply, while keeping inflation and unemployment low.  But there are many who are suspicious of the Fed's independence and want to bring it under the tight control of Congress.  

According to opinion polls, only The IRS is a more unpopular government agency than the Federal Reserve. "You've got two candidates running for President - Rand Paul and Ted Cruz - who want to basically abolish The Fed," says Roger.

"Had the Fed failed to come in and be the lender of last resort and save the system (in 2008) I think the anger would be very understandable," Roger tells us. But in this case there was the equivalent of a big fire that nearly burned down the financial system, taking the economy with it.  

"The fireman comes. He puts out the fire and people want to do away with the fire department." 

Roger Lowenstein explains the need for The Federal Reserve and suggests how it could be less controversial in the future.

#23 The Dangers of Confirmation Bias with David McRaney: How Do We Fix It?

More than ever America is divided into political tribes.  One person's truth is somebody else's lie. This show is about confirmation bias and filter bubbles: How our brains play tricks on us as we try to make sense of the world.

David McRaney, host of the entertaining and popular podcast, "You Are Not So Smart", is our guest. His show is "a celebration of self-delusion."  David, who calls himself a psychology nerd, is passionate about the need for all of us to have some understanding of how our brains work. He is the author of two recent books:  "You Are Not So Smart" and "You Are Now Less Dumb."

Confirmation bias helps us separate into rival political and cultural camps.  "This is the thing almost from which everything else springs, because it is the natural default way that human beings tend to make sense of the world," says David.

With the growth of Google and social media site, such as Facebook and Twitter, it's easier for us to deny the truth of anything that challenges our preconceived view of the world. We can retreat into our own personal corner of the internet.

Behavioral economics, neuroscience and modern psychology challenge our sense that we make logical, sensible decisions.   Our show looks at what confirmation bias means to our democracy. 

#22 Gender Inequality at Work with Laura Vanderkam. How Do We Fix It?

Women in the workplace face huge challenges, including discrimination and low pay. The Pew Research Center says women's hourly wages are 84% those of men. The White House says the true number is lower. Many firms insist on rigid working hours, making it hard for many employees to balance work and family life.  

How Do We Fix It? Enter time management and productivity expert Laura Vanderkam, author of "I Know How She Does It: How Successful Women Make the Most of Their Time" and "What The Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast. "

Laura shares practical ideas for women and men to make the most of their free time and boost work productivity.  She has innovative fixes for working mothers, companies and government policy.  Flextime, paid parental leave and family-friendly reforms to Social Security should all be considered," she says. 

Gender discrimination is "definitely a problem in the workplace," says Laura.  "But there is also a personal side to it as well."

#21 Climate Shock: Global Warming Threat with Gernot Wagner. How Do We Fix It?

If you had a 10% of facing a flood or getting into a fatal car accident, you'd make sure you bought first-rate insurance coverage.  That's what our guest Gernot Wagner says we should do about climate change. 

Science tells us that if we do nothing, there is the risk of a global catastrophe.  We hear the argument for climate insurance. Gernot is the co-author of "Climate Shock - The Economic Consequences of a Hotter Planet," and lead senior scientist at the Environmental Defense Fund.

Even if climate skeptics are right and the risk of global warming is small,  that does not eliminate the need to plan for an extreme emergency.  Gernot Wagner makes the case for pricing carbon as a way of boosting the incentives for energy efficiency. "Unless we act, we will experience major disruptions. We already are experiencing them," says Gernot.  Our interview also looks the revolution in solar energy and ocean damage caused by rising levels of carbon dioxide.

For more information on what you can do to help: https://www.edf.org/action

 

#20 Insurance Errors: Are You Covered For A Disaster? Laura Adams: How Do We Fix It?

This show could save you a lot of money.  Many of us make potentially disastrous mistakes with insurance.  Either we don't have nearly enough coverage for see through an emergency, or we pay through the nose for duplicate options.

Insurance expert Laura Adams explains the basics of life, health and auto policies, with easy-to-follow solutions and smart buying tips. The author of several personal finance books, Laura hosts the popular "Money Girl" podcast. She is Senior Insurance Analyst for InsuranceQuotes.com

#19 Parents Going Nuts With Worry. Lenore Skenazy: How Do We Fix It?

In this episode, Jim and Richard re-visit their entertaining and provocative conversation with Lenore Skenazy, host of the cable TV show,  "World's Worst Momand founder of Free Range Kids. The movement was sparked by the huge response to Lenore's article about allowing her 9 year-old son to ride the subway alone in New York City.  She tells us that if you always protect your children from every possible danger they never get a chance to grow up.

#18 Stock Market Panic: Susan Schmidt, How Do We Fix It?

With recent worries about the global economy and stock market panic, investment expert Susan Schmidt, Senior Portfolio Manager at Westwood Holdings Group, has a simple message: keep calm.  55% of Americans have money in the market.  Most are long term savers.  She says the basic rules of investing are surprisingly simple.  Building wealth means savers should resist emotion and act as investors, not traders, ignoring the day-to-day changes in the market.

#17 We Send The Wrong Message To Kids About Jobs: Mike Rowe How Do We Fix It?

TV host, author and producer Mike Rowe says America needs to change its understanding about work and face up to the widening skills gap.  Many manufacturers can't fill find workers to do well-paid skilled technical and labor one jobs.  Mike argues that stereotypes about blue-collar work must change.  He's launched the mikeroweWORKS foundation to raise awareness and help young workers.  The third season of his popular CNN show, "Somebody's Gotta Do It," starts September 27th.

#16 Campus Free Speech Is Under Threat: How Do We Fix It?

We look at threats to free speech on college campuses with Greg Lukianoff, a constitutional lawyer and CEO of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE). Greg says there's been an alarming rise in trigger warnings and hypersensitivity, with a growing number of students demanding protection from words, ideas and emotions that they don't like. Is this a disaster in the making for education and for students themselves? 

#15 The Hysteria Over Sex Offenders: How Do We Fix It?

"Protecting Our Kids? How Sex Offender Laws Are Failing Us" is the provocative title of the new book by sociology professor Emily Horowitz.  She argues that America is in the grip of panic, saying that sex offender laws enacted over the past twenty years have failed to protect children and promote vigilante justice against alleged offenders.  Professor Horowitz is chair of sociology and criminal justice at St. Francis College in Brooklyn, New York.

#14 I Can't Find A Place To Live: Nela Richardson, How Do We Fix It?

Very strict lending standards by banks make it hard for tens of millions of Americans with skilled middle class jobs to get a mortgage.  Our financial markets are still gripped by fear. Time for a reality check with Nela Richardson, Chief Economist at Redfin, the real estate brokerage firm.  Nela gives us the low down on the future of the housing market and the U.S. economy, plus suggestions on how we can build a better future.

#13 My Child Has a Terrible Teacher. Elizabeth Green, How Do We Fix It?

How often have heard parents complain about their kids' teachers? Everyone, it seems, has opinions about education, test scores and schools. Who is to blame for poor teaching, and how do we fix it? What makes a teacher great?  Elizabeth Green, editor-in-chief of Chalkbeat, is the author of "Building a Better Teacher." She studied teaching methods in America and Japan, and has some innovative solutions.

#12 Sour Fight Over Sugary Sodas: Kelly Brownell, How Do We Fix It?

Coca-Cola, the world’s largest maker of sugary sodas, is under fire for giving millions of dollars to a group of  scientists who say that lack of exercise is much more important cause of obesity than poor diets. Are they right?  Is Coke using scientists to reverse the recent decline in soda sales? And what are the best ways to solve America's obesity crisis? Kelly Brownell, Dean of the Sanford School of Public Health at Duke University, is our guest.

#11 Will Google Throw The 2016 Election? Robert Epstein: How Do We Fix It?

How does Google play to our prejudices, and could its mighty search engine be used to change election results? 75% of all internet searches are done through Google. Our guest is well-known psychologist and author Dr. Robert Epstein, Founder of the Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies and former Editor-in-Chief Of Psychology Today. His recent research suggests search rankings can have a dramatic impact on voting intentions.

#10 Big Government Corruption: Glenn Reynolds, How Do We Fix It?

The "revolving door" is a corrupting influence on both government and industry.  So says University of Tennessee law professor Glenn Reynolds.  He's an outspoken critic of Washington insiders and the blogger behind Instapundit.com, one of America's most widely read political weblogs.  On our podcast, Reynolds talks about his intriguing solution to slow down the revolving door: a surtax that would be imposed on the earnings of high-paid former government officials.