The Gray Area with Sean Illing

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Date Title & Description Contributors

  The world after nuclear war

A mile of pure fire. A flash that melts everything — titanium, steel, lead, people. A blast that mows down every structure in its path, 3 miles out in every direction. Journalist Annie Jacobsen spent years interviewing scientists, high-ranking military...
  Vox author

  Gaza, Camus, and the logic of violence

Albert Camus was a Nobel-winning French writer and public intellectual. During Algeria’s bloody war for independence in the 1950s, Camus took a measured stance, calling for an end to the atrocities on each side. He was criticized widely for his so-call...
  Vox author

  This is your kid on smartphones

Old people have always worried about young people. But psychologist Jonathan Haidt believes something genuinely different and troubling is happening right now. He argues that smartphones and social media have had disastrous effects on the mental health...
  Vox author

  Life after death?

Sebastian Junger came as close as you possibly can to dying. While his doctors struggled to revive him, the veteran reporter and avowed rationalist experienced things that shocked and shook him, leaving him with profound questions and unexpected revela...
  Vox author

  The world after Ozempic

Ozempic and other new weight loss drugs are being touted as potential miracle cures for diabetes and obesity. Journalist Johann Hari experimented with the drug and dropped 40 pounds. In his new book, Magic Pill, Hari discusses his experience with Ozemp...
  Vox author

  UFOs, God, and the edge of understanding

Religious studies professor Diana Pasulka was a total nonbeliever in alien life, but she began to question this after speaking with many people who claim to have had otherworldly encounters. She also noticed how these accounts parallel the foundational...
  Vox author

  How to listen

Most of us don’t know how to truly listen, and it’s causing all sorts of problems. Sean Illing is joined by journalist Kate Murphy, the author of You’re Not Listening: What You’re Missing and Why It Matters, to discuss what it means to be a good listen...
  Vox author

  Everything's a cult now

The internet has fractured our world into a million little subcultures catering to the specific identities and habits of everyone online. Writer Derek Thompson believes this has led to a widespread cult-like mentality that has crept into all facets of ...
  Vox author

  Fareed Zakaria on our revolutionary moment

Is it possible that we are living through one of the most revolutionary periods in human history? CNN’s Fareed Zakaria believes that we are and argues that the convergence of AI and the global backlash against liberal democracy are upending political o...
  Vox author

  Life is hard. Can philosophy help?

Philosophy may seem like a theoretical or abstract discipline in which unanswerable questions are debated to the point of tedium. But MIT professor Kieran Setiya believes that philosophical inquiry has a very practical and applicable purpose outside of...
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