show episodes
 
The Science series presents cutting-edge research about biology, physics, chemistry, ecology, geology, astronomy, and more. These events appeal to many different levels of expertise, from grade school students to career scientists. With a range of relevant applications, including medicine, the environment, and technology, this series expands our thinking and our possibilities.
 
The Arts & Culture series enriches our community with imagination and creativity. Whether reinventing the classics for a new audience or presenting an innovative new art form, these events are aimed at expanding horizons. From poetry to music to storytelling, this series leaves our audiences inspired, encouraged, and seeing the world with new eyes.
 
The Civics series at Town Hall shines a light on the shifting issues, movements, and policies, that affect our society, both locally and globally. These events pose questions and ideas, big and small, that have the power to inform and impact our lives. Whether it be constitutional research from a scholar, a new take on history, or the birth of a movement, it's all about educating and empowering.
 
Listen in on the latest Town Hall conversation, wherever you are! In the Moment is a weekly podcast featuring in-depth interviews curated by Town Hall’s Digital Media Manager, Jini Palmer. Senior Correspondent Steve Scher, along with a host of Seattle journalists and thought leaders, take on topics ranging from science and health, civics and culture, to the arts—and beyond! Join us, In the Moment, for expansive talks from Town Hall’s digital stage.
 
Max Holmberg (drums, percussion) and Josh Hou (accordion, keyboards) talk about the Seattle jazz scene: music they’re listening to and stuff to check out in Seattle. Tune in to find out who’s playing in town, who’s releasing new music, and all about the latest jazz that Seattle (and its periphery) has to offer!
 
Join University of Washington professor Jeff Shulman for a seventh season exploring the far-reaching impacts of Seattle's physical and cultural transformation. Notable guests from earlier seasons of Seattle Growth Podcast include Hall of Famer Lenny Wilkens, 3-time NBA All-Star Detlef Schrempf, NBA champion Wally Walker, Sonics legend Slick Watts, Pete Nordstrom, Craig Kinzer, Port Commissioner John Creighton, Paul Lawrence, City Councilmember Tim Burgess, SDOT director Scott Kubly, Tim Burg ...
 
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show series
 
In 2007, Azia Kim pretended to be a Stanford freshman and even lived in the school’s dormitory for several months. In 2010, Jennifer Pan hired a hitman to kill her parents after they found out she had been deceiving them about her educational successes. Why would someone make such an illogical choice? And how do they stage such convincing lies for …
 
We know we have to do something about climate change, and we know we need to move immediately. The mere thought of it tends to make people freeze in their tracks from sheer overwhelm. Thousands of ideas exist, but there’s no clear, collective plan. Try as some people might, jumping on a rocket to the next planet isn’t the answer. But what if we don…
 
Elizabeth Cady Stanton is a famous suffragette who demanded a woman’s right to vote. Margaret Sanger was a sex educator who popularized the term “birth control” and helped establish the precursor of Planned Parenthood. Sheryl Sandberg is the COO of Facebook and has told women to pursue their dreams by leaning in. They’re all celebrated feminists. H…
 
In May of 1935, nine-year-old George Weyerhaeuser, heir to one of the wealthiest families in America, disappeared on his way home from school. Snatched off the streets just two blocks from his home in Tacoma, the kidnapping plays out with the twists and turns of a Hollywood movie, complete with ransom notes, a bizarre scavenger hunt of sorts, and d…
 
Fannie Lou Hamer was born in 1917, the youngest of 20 children in a family of Mississippi sharecroppers. Black, poor, disabled by polio, and forced to leave school early to support her family, she lived what seems like a lifetime of oppression by the time she reached young adulthood. As she continued to work and live in the south during the 1950s a…
 
The year 2050 once felt like a far-off speck on a distant horizon. But with less than three decades left before we reach the halfway point of the 21st century, that faraway mote doesn’t feel quite so distant. Is it possible to avoid the worst effects of climate change by then? What efforts can we focus on to truly make an impact? In The Decarboniza…
 
From 1937 to 1954, renowned Italian conductor Arturo Toscanini led weekly radio performances of the NBC Symphony Orchestra, broadcasting the music of legendary composers across the airwaves. Violinist Samuel Antek played in the orchestra during its 17-year lifespan, experiencing Toscanini’s relentless dedication to music firsthand. In This Was Tosc…
 
Escaping infectious disease and managing its spread has long been at the forefront of the human mind; it’s certainly taken front and center in the minds of today’s humans as the globe continues to wade through the COVID-19 pandemic. In an especially timely and fascinating look at the story of disease past and present, historian Kyle Harper explaine…
 
In the 1973 landmark Roe v. Wade legal case, the United States Supreme Court voted 7-2 to affirm the right to get an abortion. Despite both the colossal impact of the case and her famous pseudonym, few know the full story of Norma McCorvey: the “Jane Roe” in Roe v. Wade. Joshua Prager, a journalist with a penchant for writing about historical secre…
 
Whether we can see it or not, the impacts of Monsanto— the agrochemical giant best known for creating the herbicide Roundup and the genetically engineered seeds that resist it— are everywhere. Monsanto has shaped and reshaped the farms that provide food to people worldwide; and while we might not be able to see the breadth of the company’s impacts,…
 
The best-selling Boeing 737 plane took its first commercial flight in 1968. Since then, the aircraft has been updated and modified across four generations; the most recent being the 737 MAX, officially put into service in 2017. Not long after, in 2018 and 2019, two tragic crashes resulted in the deaths of 346 people, and flights of the 737 MAX were…
 
Ryan Busse is an avid hunter, outdoorsman, conservationist, and gun owner. He built a successful career as a firearms executive and helped grow one of the biggest gun companies in the country. But he claims that something in the gun industry shifted — so much so that Busse walked away from his 30-year career to address the intolerance, internal pol…
 
When it comes to human reproduction, particularly from a Western perspective, there’s no shortage of physical things involved. Pregnancy tests. Maternity clothing. Pacifiers. Baby carriers. Reproduction and parenting involve a plethora of objects, each designed with a purpose in mind and each contributing to the reproductive experience, for better …
 
Marina Albero is a composer, educator, pianist... I'd list all the instruments she plays but I'd run out of room here. Seattle jazz fans are certainly no stranger to her music. We're excited to have her as this month's guest. Tune it to hear all about her latest record, "A Life Soundtrack", all that went into it, and just how many instruments she a…
 
All the observable stuff of the universe — the stars, planets, and other bits of so-called “normal matter” that we can see with various instruments — make up less than 5% of the universe. What about all the other…stuff? The remainder, a mix of dark energy and dark matter, is undetectable by even the most powerful telescopes. The acceptance of the p…
 
We’ve pondered the puzzles of the human body for millennia, questioning the function of both the visible parts and the parts hidden away behind layers of skin, muscle, and bones. When it comes to the human body— and the bodies of many other living creatures— the heart is an organ that’s long been central to our understanding of life. How did humans…
 
In 1962, Summit Magazine tantalized readers with a tale of the Riesenstein peaks, a majestic (and untamed) mountain range in British Columbia. The article described the lofty granite walls and wondered allowed who would be the first to attempt to climb it. If you’ve never heard of the Riesenstein peaks, it’s because they don’t exist. Three mountain…
 
Many of our current public institutions are trying to solve today’s problems by using outdated, cumbersome tools of the past. It’s no wonder that many of our public institutions are failing; the tools needed to tackle the complex societal challenges of today, from climate change to systemic racism, require a long-overdue upgrade. In Solving Public …
 
All human beings are 99.9 percent identical in their genetic makeup. All our differences are found in the remaining .1 percent. Our DNA makes us different in our personalities and in our health, and both matter when it comes to educational and economic success in our current society. In The Genetic Lottery, clinical psychology professor Paige Harde…
 
Humans navigate death in very different ways. Dying is a natural and inevitable part of the cycle of life; however, the process looks very different depending on geographic location, cultural traditions, access to and type of medical care, and myriad other factors. Dr. Nicole Piemonte argues that Western Medicine often views death as a medical fail…
 
Plastic is everywhere, and it lasts forever. But humans have a hard time grasping “forever”— the scope is far greater than our comprehension. That’s precisely the problem that Allison Cobb explored in her new book, Plastic: An Autobiography. Cobb aimed to give shape to behemoths like climate change, nuclear technologies, and racism, using plastic w…
 
Town Hall is thrilled to once again partner with Gage Academy of Art to bring audiences a series of talks that explore the remarkable creative work of four Washington artists. Annie Han and Daniel Mihalyo of Lead Pencil Studio are known for building entirely new worlds that explore the limits of physical space and challenge human perception. Conduc…
 
The Trump-era Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) was passed in December of 2017; the tax code hadn’t seen such a massive overhaul in over 30 years. Bobbing along in a sea of sweeping changes sits the unassuming, pleasant-sounding “Opportunity Zone”— a type of investment with the potential to spur economic growth and job creation in “economically-distress…
 
The Sahara desert, once upon a time, wasn’t a desert at all. It was green. It was a pleasant place, fed by rivers and lakes. It was home to crocodiles, hippos, turtles, and fish of all stripes. Prehistoric hunters and gatherers came to the lush land, as well, to partake of its rich bounty. It’s now the largest hot desert in the world, equal in size…
 
Oceans cover about 71% of the earth’s surface. Can something so vast and fluid be governed? Humanity has long attempted to create rules for the oceans of the world while honoring the “freedom of the seas” — a maritime principle first introduced in 1609 that stresses the freedom to navigate the oceans in times of peace. But as David Bosco describes …
 
The web of life is sometimes freezing. Take, for instance, what’s happening in the Alaska Arctic. In one of the largest remaining wilderness ecosystems on the planet, the frigid place is home to the Western Arctic Caribou Herd, and is also a hotspot to study the effects of climate change. What becomes of the caribou if climate change continues unab…
 
The human face is a marvel. Just try to imagine the map of information contained in its creases and folds: the face holds stories of history, heritage, and emotion. Yet, despite the reverence deserved by such a wondrous bit of human biology, there are countless ways to try and “fix” faces. Digital filters smooth and blur; surgical procedures tighte…
 
The police cannot be reformed. This is the assertion of human rights lawyer Derecka Purnell. Instead, she believes, new systems need to be created to address the root causes of violence. Since the police cannot be reformed, they should be abolished. In Becoming Abolitionists, Purnell highlighted social movements and activists through time and space…
 
What’s a little lizard to do when another ferocious hurricane comes tearing through its homelands? Grow larger toe pads to grip more tightly. Where are the long-spined urchins going? South, to find cooler homes. How come the aggressive butterflyfish isn’t fighting anymore? The coral they loved is no longer worth fighting for. Thor Hanson, who last …
 
Like it or not, crows are our neighbors. Whether you’ve been dive-bombed by one, heard them swarming in the trees at sunset, or watched them gather ominously on the power lines à la The Birds, everyone in Seattle has a corvid story— often in the form of a complaint. But crows are remarkable, highly intelligent creatures who have much to teach us ab…
 
American football emerged in the last decades of the 19th century; today it is the most popular sport in the country, watched and played by millions of people — and at the professional level, generating billions of dollars in revenue — each year. While women’s involvement in football has grown in more recent years, it is historically a sport played…
 
Alex Tizon (1959-2017) was a Pulitzer Prize-winning writer who built a career telling the stories of people at the margins. The underdogs. The forgotten ones. Everyday people. Immigrants, criminals, and folks on the fringe. Tizon believed that every human had a story to tell; they only needed to be invited to share it. In Invisible People: Stories …
 
Did you get to work on an e-bike? Go to meet your friends at the restaurant on a scooter? Go to your vacation get-away on an air taxi? There are more and more ways to get from point A to point B. But what impact do all these new technologies have? What are the benefits and the costs? Transportation expert Todd Litman tried to answer these questions…
 
Methuselah lived to 969 years old, according to the Bible. In our recent age, Jeanne Calmet holds the title of the oldest person who ever lived. She lived to be 122 years and 164 days old. There’s a woman in Japan, Kane Tanaka, who is currently 118. Jiroemon Kimuri, also from Japan, is the oldest man of all time, living to 116 years and 54 days. Ho…
 
Visual art holds the extraordinary power to connect the dots between ideas or emotions, the person thinking or feeling them, and the outside viewer; but how might the viewer go beyond simply looking to experiencing art, in all its joys and especially in its challenges and discomforts? In the 114th episode of Town Hall’s In the Moment podcast, Elish…
 
Did video really kill the radio star? There’s no doubt that the expansion of visual technology played a huge role in the evolution of communications and entertainment, but consider the modern successes of podcasts and music streaming services. With over 2 million podcasts in existence and over 400 million people worldwide subscribers to some form o…
 
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, women still make 82 cents for every dollar earned by a man. The gap is even wider for women of color. Black women were paid 63% of what non-Hispanic white men were paid in 2019. It takes a Black woman 19 months to earn what the average white man takes home in 12 months. In her new book, Career and Family, …
 
Bigfoot, Sasquatch, Harry. Whatever name you know him by, he is ubiquitous in the greater Seattle area, spotted everywhere from bumper stickers to roadside landmarks. In an otherwise skeptical city replete with “science is real” lawn signs, it seems that many of us believe— or at least want to believe— in Bigfoot. As part of the Beasts of Seattle p…
 
Want to have a tooth pulled? There’s a risk in doing so. Need to have an X-ray because you broke your femur? There’s a risk in doing that, too. Chemotherapy? Having your appendix removed? Getting the COVID-19 vaccine? There’s risk in all of it. From risk, however, can come innovation and solutions. In You Bet Your Life, Dr. Paul Offit gave a long-r…
 
Vietnamese American musician Julian Saporiti grew up in Nashville, surrounded by music made by people who didn’t look like him. Determined to dig deeper into the definition of American Folk music as part of his extensive doctoral studies, Saporiti began to explore his own family’s history, pore over archival material, and conduct interviews; what h…
 
When tackling topics of systemic racism, it’s all too easy to build narratives centered around white men and toxic masculinity. But white women have long held seats at the table— from their pre-Civil War ability to buy and sell enslaved people to the million-plus women members of the KKK, and beyond— as systems of white supremacy were built and mai…
 
The orca is an apex predator, and yet, without Chinook salmon to feed on and silent waters to hunt in, Seattle’s most famous animal cannot survive. There are only 73 Southern Resident killer whales remaining, and the population will have a hard time growing unless we change our behavior to accommodate them. As part of the Beasts of Seattle podcast …
 
Four crises have faced America in the recent past: the Covid-19 pandemic, the sweeping economic downturn because of it, the strengthening Black Lives Matter movement, and the shaky foundations of democracy under the Trump administration. All those crises came to a head in the murder of George Floyd. He was infected with Covid-19 at the time of his …
 
Barney is a friendly purple Tyrannosaurus rex. Dino, everyone’s favorite pet from The Flintstones, is a “Snorkosaurus.” Godzilla is a “Godzillasaurus.” Dinosaurs have fascinated us all for as long as we first discovered dinosaurs. From Jurassic Park to the sitcom The Dinosaurs, we’ve been enthralled by Stegastauruses, Velociraptors, Brontosauruses,…
 
What might a post-capitalistic world look like? Can money, jobs, and politics be truly democratized? Will banks cease to exist? Globally recognized economist Yanis Varoufakis dreams up an alternative reality to give us a glimpse of what such a world might look like in his new work of science fiction, Another Now. Varoufakis, the former finance mini…
 
Anatole France once said, “Until one has loved an animal a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.” Susan Orlean’s soul has been awake for a very long time, indeed. The award-winning author brings forth On Animals, a collection of writings about our relationship with animals, done throughout her illustrious career. Orlean brought a keen eye and a wa…
 
Horse poop propelled us into automobiles. In the early 20th century there were health concerns over all the manure taking up urban streets. That said, we shifted from an actual horse’s power to shifting into Fords and all sorts of other mechanical personal vehicles. By doing that, we reshaped cities and, further, human society. In A Brief History o…
 
There are famously more dogs in Seattle than there are children—a function of the city’s high cost of living, perhaps, or a sign that our transient tech workforce craves furry friendship. But canines are so much more than modern-day apartment-dwelling companions; long ago, the Salish Wool Dog provided blankets for Coast Salish peoples and today, wo…
 
Love isn’t the only thing that hurts. Leigh Cowart knows. Eating the world’s hottest pepper hurts. Ballerinas dancing on broken bones hurts. A sideshow performer electrocuting themself hurts. Ultramarathon running, jumping into an icy lake, and tattooing all hurt. Why are we doing all of this to ourselves on purpose? This question, and many others,…
 
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