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Aspen Ideas Festival 2018

Ryer Gardenswartz / Aspen Public Radio News

Acoustics, intimacy, clarity: One could argue that how and where we listen to music is as important to the experience as the music itself. “The orchestra has to feel the audience, the audience has to feel the orchestra,” said architect Frank Gehry on his design of the Pierre Boulez Saal in Berlin, which opened in 2017. “When they do that, the orchestra plays better, and the audience hears better.” What is it about design that brings music to life?  

  

Aspen Ideas Festival

The spring of 2013 marked the 15th anniversary of the US invasion of Iraq, and the war in Afghanistan has gone on long enough that children born after 9/11 are now old enough to enlist in the military. Is there any path out of conflict for Iraq and Afghanistan — for the United States, or for the citizens of the war-weary countries?

Elizabeth Stewart-Severy / Aspen Public Radio

For centuries, humans’ relationship with animals has been related to use and utility. Scientists are now delving into more complex understanding of our fellow creatures. Seeing birds of prey up close offers a chance to appreciate both the evolutionary science — and the emotional beauty of raptors.

Aspen Ideas Festival

   Atlanta-based defense attorney and #BillionDollarLawyer Drew Findling shares the stage with his client, international hip-hop star Kiari Cephus — known onstage as Offset, one third of the music trio Migos — to discuss the intersection of criminal justice, race, and hip-hop. These issues, common themes in hip-hop music, reflect deeply rooted societal schisms which play out endlessly in the collateral consequences of criminal conviction and mass incarceration.  

For its annual, signature event in the Benedict Music Tent, the 2018 Aspen Ideas Festival hosts former secretary of state John Kerry in a candid conversation about geopolitics with Andrea Mitchell.

Aspen Institute

The Founders created a representative republic rather than a direct democracy, designed to slow down deliberation so that majorities could rule based on reason rather than passion. But in the age of Facebook and Twitter, new social media technologies have unleashed populist passions and accelerated public discourse to warp speed, creating the very mobs, demagogues, echo chambers, and factions that Madison and Hamilton feared. Is the American idea in crisis, and if so, what can we do about it?

In the US marketplace, 11.6 million businesses are owned by women. Growth in this sector has increased by 114 percent since 1997 — 2.5 times the national average — but male-led firms are still more likely to get start-up funding. That’s not simply unfair, it’s stupid, because it turns out firms started by women regularly outperform those founded by men.

Aspen Ideas Festival

Charlottesville, the iconic home of Thomas Jefferson, James Monroe, and the University of Virginia, is now also permanently associated with the 2017 white supremacist hate rallies — and their tragic outcome. Why did those groups choose Charlottesville? What was the impact of the violence on the community, and how has the city worked to move forward? What has Charlottesville learned, and what can it teach America about healing and resilience in a time of resurging hate and divisiveness?

 

Despite repeated attempts, Congress has not repealed the Affordable Care Act, although the Trump Administration has chipped away at some of its provisions. The requirement that all insurance plans offer “ten essential benefits” has been softened and the individual mandate to carry a minimum level of coverage has been repealed.

The states shoulder a significant amount of responsibility for tackling the opioid epidemic, reversing obesity trends, and reducing tobacco use within their borders. They also have policy decisions to make about expanding Medicaid, developing health exchanges under the Affordable Care Act, serving undocumented residents, and strengthening their public health systems.

More than 2,000 children have been separated from their parents at the Mexico-U.S. border in recent weeks. Housed in tent camps, converted warehouses, and other shelters, they have had no idea when they will see their parents again. The Trump Administration may end the enforced separation by indefinitely detaining families together, but that is unlikely to eliminate enduring health impacts.

Christin Kay / Aspen Public Radio

The Aspen Ideas Festival starts Thursday, and there is new art on the campus of the Aspen Institute. Slogans like “End the draft!” and “Vote yes for peace!” are stamped in giant letters on Vietnam-era protest posters in the Paepcke Gallery.