In the first half, comedian, actor, and author Richard Belzer talked about his latest work exposing the wrongful acts perpetrated by corporations, and their ensuing cover-ups. The world, he contends, is full of facts that aren't generally known but should be. "Mass shootings and autism, this perpetual war we're in, the prison-industrial complex, fracking, there's a lot to swallow...but I've learned there's much we can do," he remarked. Discussing the death of his friend Robin Williams, he noted that certain psychiatric prescriptions are associated with a higher suicide risk.
The corporatization of America has gone beyond what anyone would have dreamed of, he lamented, citing how "car companies like General Motors knew that an ignition switch was faulty, but they computed that they'd rather pay for wrongful deaths than reequip the cars." The big oil and gas companies are "horrific criminals," as well, who have been dragged "kicking and screaming" into the green age, he continued. Monsanto, with its various products that can be toxic to the environment, such as the pesticide Round Up, has one of the worst reputations, he added. Among the solutions Belzer proposed are eliminating loopholes for banks, and elaborate tax breaks for corporations, as well as returning to reasonable limits for campaign contributions.
In the latter half, professor of theoretical physics, author, and BBC TV and radio broadcaster, Jim Al-Khalili, spoke about the search for intelligent life in the universe, and what science has to say about it. People tend to think of alien life in our own image, but there's no reason that they would need to resemble us-- look at how life on Earth comes in so many weird varieties, he noted. If ETs were to visit us, they would likely be friendly, he conjectured, as they would probably not be coming here to plunder our resources, which they could get more readily closer to their home.
Their motivations for visiting us might be like that of an anthropologist studying a tribe that hasn't been exposed to modern civilization, he said. Al-Khalili has not found convincing scientific evidence that aliens have already visited Earth. He pointed out that Drake's Equation (a calculation to determine how many intelligent civilizations might exist in our galaxy) was based on unreliable numbers. Yet, the universe is so vast that it's almost inconceivable that Earth is the only place where life has formed, Ak-Khalili concluded. Realistically, we hope to find in our lifetimes whether some simple microbial life exists on other planets, or at least detect the chemical signatures of them, he added.