Parlor Chats: Honest, Essential Discussions

March 22-25

The Strand’s Rare Book Room will play host to the premiere of Parlor Chats, an exciting new event series from Idea Distillery, run by two TED veterans. Each program pairs brilliant thinkers for in-depth conversations. Join us this week as experts in medicine, global politics, genetic engineering, and internet culture discuss essential questions about our world.

All events will take place in our Rare Book Room accessible by elevator on the third floor of the Strand. Tickets for each event are $12 or all 4 for $40 and include a free drink! Ticket links below.

What don’t we know about Zika (and all viruses)?

To understand the scope of human ignorance, neuroscientist Stuart Firestein interviews top scientists about the big mysteries in their fields. Tuesday, Firestein will talk with virologist Vincent Racaniello regarding the unknowns about viruses, and asks vital questions about Zika.

Stuart Firestein is the Chair of Columbia University’s Department of Biological Sciences, where he and his colleagues study the vertebrate olfactory system. He is the author of Ignorance: How it Drives Science and Failure: Why Science Is so Successful.

Vincent Racaniello (@profvrr), Professor of Microbiology at Columbia University Medical Center, has done laboratory research on viruses for over 35 years. He produces podcasts on viruses, parasites, bacteria, and more, and is “Earth’s Virology Professor” at the Virology Blog.

Ticket Info

What is America's role in the world?

Michèle Flournoy and Bret Stephens dive into the 250-year-old debate about how the US should influence the lives and politics of people around the globe, a conversation which will prove a substantive preview of the greater dialogue we’ll have as a country during the upcoming election.

Michèle Flournoy served as the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy from 2009 to 2012, advising Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta on national security and defense policy. She is also the co-founder of the Center for a New American Security, a nonpartisan think tank dedicated to developing national security policies, and serves as a foreign policy adviser for Hillary Clinton.

Bret Stephens (@StephensWSJ) is the foreign affairs columnist and deputy editorial page editor of The Wall Street Journal. He is the winner of the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for commentary and the author of America in Retreat: The New Isolationism and the Coming Global Disorder.

Ticket Info

Should we re-engineer humanity?

In 2015 we saw a revolution in genetic science. New techniques have drastically simplified bioengineering, raising urgent questions about what genes we should and shouldn’t modify. In this conversation, Carl Zimmer and Daniel Kevles will explore the past, present, and future of biotech ethics.

Carl Zimmer (@carlzimmer) is a science columnist for the The New York Times, and has also been published in Discover, National Geographic, Quanta, among many others. He’s written 13 books, the most recent of which is Evolution: Making Sense of Life. His next book will be on the science of heredity.

Daniel Kevles explores the interactions between society and science. He is an historian of science at Yale University, and has written extensively about a wide range of topics, including physics, eugenics, scientific fraud, and intellectual property. His most recent book is Living Properties: Making Knowledge and Controlling Ownership in the History of Biology.

Ticket Info

How has the internet changed us?

Will the second generation to grow up with the internet be different from the first? Is the real you the one on Facebook, the one on Twitter, or the one Snapchat? And what happens to the one with flesh and bones? In this discussion, Tricia Wang and Nathan Jurgenson will shed light on culture after the digital revolution.

Tricia Wang (@triciawang) researches global internet culture and has done extensive ethnographic research in China and Mexico. She holds positions at Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society and at Data & Society, a research center in New York. She is writing her first book on the internet and personal identity.

Nathan Jurgenson (@nathanjurgenson) is a sociologist and social media theorist. He is the co-founder and chair of the Theorizing the Web conference, an editor of The New Inquiry, and is also a researcher at Snapchat.

Ticket Info

All 4 Events for $40

Idea Distillery creates live experiences for curious people. Over the next few months we’ll be announcing more original events around New York City and more ways to connect with interesting ideas online.

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