Kelley Vlahos joins Tim to talk about how big tech companies are starting to use your data to grade you in ways that may surprise and shock you. The focus of our discussion is your Social Credit Score and how China may be illustrating just how alarming its applications can be. Kelley is a senior advisor at the Quincy Institute and editorial director at Responsible Statecraft. She’s written about this population monitoring tool that before now was unthinkable in America. That’s the focus of this episode, which was originally released on May 3, 2021.
Author and journalist Michael Dolan joins Tim to tell the story of the American front porch. He’s the editor of American History magazine and the author of a book entitled, “The American Porch: An informal history of an informal place.” In this episode, he talks about how the front porch shaped life in America for well over 200 years. You could say that when it comes to our homes, the front porch was the original social media. This encore episode was originally released May 24, 2021.
Powerball winner Tim Schultz joins Tim O’Brien to talk about what it’s like to win the lottery, and what you should do if you ever hit the jackpot for that big lottery prize. Tim is a YouTuber and the host of a podcast called Lottery, Dreams and Fortune. While working in a gas station to put himself through college, Tim won the $28 million Powerball prize in 1999 and his life hasn’t been the same since.
Nobel Prize recipient Frances Arnold joins Tim to talk about winning a Nobel Prize honor for her pioneering work in “directed evolution,” which harnesses the power of evolution to enhance products throughout society – from biofuels and pharmaceuticals, to agriculture, chemicals, paper products and more. Directed evolution was in the news this week tied to Covid jab research. We talk with Frances about her journey and her work that is changing the world for the better. This episode was originally released November 5, 2018.
Former Soviet KGB undercover spy Jack Barsky joins Tim to tell his story, and his long journey from Soviet Cold War operative to American citizen. Jack spent ten years in America as an undercover agent for the Soviet Union at the height of the Cold War. He’s the author of a book called, “Deep Under Cover: My Secret Life & Tangled Allegiances as a KGB Spy in America.” And he’s the subject of the podcast called The Agent.
Bloomberg BusinessWeek reporter and author Matt Campbell joins Tim to talk about the story behind his new book, “Dead in the Water,” and what that story tells us about some of the darker sides of the international shipping industry. Matt Campbell co-authored the book with Kit Chellel. It’s a true story of hijacking, murder and a global maritime conspiracy.
Nadine Strossen joins Tim to talk about how to fight “hate speech” or harmful speech without censorship. She’s a best-selling author and a Professor of Constitutional Law at New York Law School. She’s also the first woman national President of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). In this episode, she talks about private company censorship, the challenges, some solutions and all of it as addressed in her book “Hate: Why we should resist it with free speech, not censorship. This episode was first released April 12, 2021.
Former FBI Cyber Special Agent Chris Tarbell joins Tim to talk about cyber crime and some of his most groundbreaking cases, including the Silk Road that centered on crypto currency and drug trafficking. And they talk about the take-down of the “Anonymous” hacktivist collective. Chris’s specialty is cyber investigations. He was the lead investigator on some of the more notorious cyber security crime cases in recent memory.
Princeton University professor, researcher and author Nic Voge joins Tim to talk about procrastination, and more to the point, why we procrastinate every year just after we come up with those New Year’s resolutions. Nic directs Princeton’s McGraw Center Learning Programs. This includes the undergraduate learning program, and the graduate learning program.
This week is Hanukkah and Christmas. We’re in the peak of the American holiday season, which started at Thanksgiving. So, it is with this in mind that I thought I’d take to the streets of Pittsburgh once again and talk to people about their holiday memories. That’s what this special holiday edition of the Shaping Opinion podcast is about.
Writer, editor, producer and actor Jason Liebig joins Tim to talk about the Sears Wishbook. Jason is the creator of a website called WishbookWeb.com, which has archived complete, high-quality scans of Sears Wishbooks and other holiday catalogues going back to 1933. In this episode, we talk about a holiday tradition sure to bring a smile to your face. This episode was first released on December 10, 2018.
New York Times bestselling author Martin Dugard joins Tim to talk about his newest book called “Taking Berlin: The Bloody Race to Defeat the Third Reich.” It’s the story of the Allies’ campaign across Europe during World War II as seen through the eyes of five key figures. This book is part of the “Taking” trilogy on World War II, and follows Martin’s work with Bill O’Reilly on the popular “Killing” series of books.
Hallmark artist and creator Tammy Haddix joins Tim to talk about one of America’s more lasting holiday traditions, our holiday ornaments and decorating the Christmas tree. Tammy tells her own story as a member of the Hallmark Keepsake Ornament Studio, as a mother and a wife, and how all of that comes to play when she helps make the holidays that much more special for Americans across the country. This encore episode was originally released November 30, 2020.
Gaming expert Sal Piacente joins Tim to talk about casino cheaters, scammers, and how casinos watch for and catch them. But that’s just the beginning. Sal has some great stories about his career in gaming. He is a consultant and a trainer for casinos and regulators around the world on gaming security.
Anthony Shore is one of the few people in the world who makes a living at naming things like companies, brands, products or services. He joins Tim to talk about the magic in a name, and the work that goes into creating the right name so that the right brand identity can become a household name. Anthony is an expert in naming products, branding, services and organizations. For the past 30 years, he’s introduced more than 250 product and company names to the world. Many are well-known to this day.