Ben Smith, Buzzfeed

With just 10 days to go until our nation comes together to choose our next President, we already have a winner in this election: Social media and crowdsourced news. The days of waiting for a bunch of editors or TV talking heads to tell us what is important are gone. Today, information trends – and the news that gets the most likes, posts, plus 1’s… in other words, the more information goes viral, that’s what the headlines will be. And it’s driven much of the political coverage, just as it will once the election is through. And the leader in this trending form of trending information is BuzzFeed. They have reported on the election from the start, and their editor is Ben Smith. (Originally broadcast 10-27-12 on The John Batchelor Show)


Dr. Robert Cantu, Professor of Neurosurgery at Boston Univ. on Concussions

From pro football to the pee wees, international soccer to girls youth leagues and beyond, the latest concern in sports has nothing to do with competition,  sportsmanship or even TV money. It’s concussions. As quickly as we realized that seat belts save lives and texting while driving kills, a whole new consciousness exists around what happens when your brain shakes violently. This sociological and medical shift occurred seemingly overnight, faster than cigarettes were snuffed from resataurants or calorie counts appeared on menus. If you’re not aware of the issues around concussions, then you may not have listened to Dr. Robert Cantu, professor of neurosurgery at Boston University, senior consultant to the National Football League and co-author of “Concussion and Our Kids: American’s Leading Expert on How to Protect Young Athletes”. As much as anyone, Dr. Cantru drove the concussion discussion, and he joins us now. (Originally broadcast 10-27-12 on The John Batchelor Show)

Hari Sreenivasan, The Digital Campaign, PBS Newshour

A conversation on the new ways the political campaigns — particularly President Obama’s — use data to target likely voters and encourage them to get to the polls. Reporter Hari Sreenivasan hosted “The Digital Campaign” for PBS NewsHour and Frontline. (Originally broadcast 10-27-12 on The John Batchelor Show)

Robert Wright, Writer & Editor of

It seems there are no small issues in Robert Wright’s world. From the “Evolution of God” and the role of religion in social order to the philosophical connections between science and how we behave, Wright has taken on some of the biggest questions of our time. Robert Wright is editor of Bloggingheads.TV, author of several best-sellers, contributor to The Atlantic and, in 2009, was named by Foreign Policy magazine as one of the Top 100 Global Thinkers. Tonight, we start between the big and the small, with the upcoming elections. (Originally broadcast 10-27-12 on The John Batchelor Show)

Graham Allison, Harvard University

It’s hardly an exaggeration to say that 50 years ago tonight, we sat on the edge of World War III. We were nearing the end game of the Cuban Missile Crisis, a who-blinks-first nuclear stand off between the Soviet Union and the United States. Thankfully, we know how that ended, a masterstroke of diplomacy and brinksmanship by President Kennedy. Now, looking back on the anniversary, what did we really learn? And, on the eve our the Presidential elections, what lessons should be applied to our current international crises? Harvard University’s Graham Allison wrote the seminal analysis on the Cuban Missile Crisis: Essence of Decision. He has served our country in the Defense Departments under Presidents Reagan and Clinton and he has twice earned the DOD’s highest civilian award: The Distinguished Public Service Medal. (Originally broadcast 10-27-12 on The John Batchelor Show)

Tom Jensen, Director, Public Policy Polling

If you look just at the numbers, folks, this one is too close to call. After nearly two years of campaigning, we’re down to 10 days – and the race to determine our next president will come down to a handful of states: Colorado; Florida; Iowa; Nevada; New Hampshire, North Carolina; Ohio; Virginia, Wisconsin. Who is trending where? Tom Jensen is Director of Public Policy Polling and he’s here to tell us. (Originally broadcast 10-27-12 on The John Batchelor Show)

Emma Macdonald, Research Director, Cranfield Customer Management Forum, UK

Who is more fickle than consumers? Fads come and go. Tastes change. As a result, marketers spend billions to keep their fingers on the pulse of consumer sentiment. Research. Analysis. Insights. And the holy grail of consumer insight is real-time analysis. How can I learn – at exactly the right moment – what the customer wants so I can offer exactly the right product? Dr. Emma Macdonald is a Senior Lecturer in Marketing at Cranfield School of Management – one of the oldest, most prestigious business schools in the UK. She is also Research Director of the Cranfield Customer Management Forum, that brings together pioneering thinkers from academia and industry to share best practice. She has devised new ways to understand customer thought and behavior, as close to the point of purchase as possible. If successful, it could change not just the way we buy, but the way we’re sold to. (Originally broadcast 10-27-12 on The John Batchelor Show)

Jeremy Waldron, Philosophy of Law, Oxford & NYU; Author, “The Harm in Hate Speech”

Few ideas are as ingrained in what it means to be an American as the right to free speech. Short of shouting “fire” in a crowded theater, we feel — on the right and the left — we can say anything. Violence is one thing; words are another. As every pre-schooler knows: sticks and stones may break our bones, but words can never hurt me. However, now comes an argument from NYU and Oxford Philosophy of Law Professor Jeremy Waldron that words, in fact, CAN hurt. Specifically, hate speech. It should be regulated, as he says in “The Harm in Hate Speech“: “As part of our commitment to human dignity and to inclusion and respect for members of vulnerable minorities.” And now he’ll tell us why. (Originally broadcast 9-8-12 on The John Batchelor Show)

Callum Borchers, Boston Globe

With just 10 days to go before the election, any political junkie would want to be on the campaign trail. Eating bad food, sleeping in cheap hotels, chasing so-called undecided voters and getting yelled at by partisans. This is where elections get won. Callum Borchers is covering the race for the Boston Globe and he joins us now. (Originally broadcast 10-27-12 on The John Batchelor Show)

Steve Bonadio, InnoCentive, on Crowdsourcing

We all know the drill: A problem comes up at the office — A new sales area, new potential product, new customer segment. The boss says, I don’t want the same old solutions; we need to be more innovative. And so you get a couple of colleagues, and you innovate. At least you try to. But what if instead of sharing your challenge with a couple of colleagues and benefiting from just their feedback, you shared your challenge with more than 200,000 innovators around the world. And they thought about your problem – for free – until you chose a solution from this global pile of solutions and then — and only then — you paid for the service. It’s called Crowdsourcing and it drives something called open innovation. And one company has created a marketplace to drive this organized Crowdsourcing. It’s called InnoCentive. Steve Bonadio is a vice president there, and he joins me now. (Originally broadcast 10-27-12 on The John Batchelor Show)