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  • Eric Lewis is an open portal, a wonderful friend and one of the most important pianists in the world by our measure. As such, we will not bother with further notes for this episode. If you love the quest of the show as well as authentic soulful music, this is your guy. We simply sat down at a famous Yamaha grand piano at The Village recording studio in Los Angeles and this is the interview that transpired. 

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  • In this second episode of the Portal to be released during shelter-in-place restrictions during the Corona Virus Pandemic, we release an older discussion with Daniel Shmachtenberger on whether there is any plausible long term scenario for human flourishing confined to a single shared planet. 

    Daniel is seen as a leader of the growing Game B subculture of the human potential movement. This group bets that there is a second evolutionary stable strategy for cohabiting not based on conflict or rivalry, even for life raised in Game A (i.e. standard evolutionary and economic environments based on scarcity and rivalrous goods. Eric asks Daniel about where the bright spots and progress might be in this movement which refuses to accept the fate that that Eric has elsewhere put forward as the Twin Nuclei Problem of having unlocked the power of both Cell and Atom in the early 1950s without the wisdom to use it. 

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  • James O'Keefe is a dangerous man. He records people without their knowledge and publishes the results using the full power of our technological toolkit. He is well versed in the details of the law as to what can and cannot be legally recorded and/or published without the consent or even awareness of his targets. He is willing to risk prison to capture his stories and he has developed a policy of not settling out of court, even when it would be financially advantageous to do so. Clearly, he is willing to risk ruin and hatred for what he is doing, and is therefore not a man to be lightly trifled with. 

    In this episode, Eric sits down with James to try to understand the mutant future of journalism as it reckons with the power of new technology, while continuing to move away from traditional newspapers and reporting. Eric tries to discover what is truly motivating O'keefe and why he would want to come on a show that has been so openly critical of his organization. 

    James has many who see him as a crusading hero. He has also been accused of unethical deception, trespassing, entrapment, selective editing, and an entire litany of ethics complaints from traditional media. Oddly, however, more standard reporters working for traditional news desks openly discuss among themselves the professional need to deceive their targets in order to get the truth, or at least the story. Such strategies include using disingenuous flattery, pretending to be the source's friend, threats, the lure of fame, and a host of other edgy techniques to get people to say things that the reporter knows will likely be personally disastrous for the person being quoted. 

    This raises the question of just what it is that makes James O'Keefe different from a more mainstream reporter. Is it his method, more than his chosen targets? Is it that he really doctors his footage or instead that he has revived older journalistic techniques to hunt new journalists? This interview may not answer all of these questions, but we hope it may prove to be a conversation unlike any you have previously heard on this topic.

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  • Over half a year ago, immediately following the reported death of Jeffrey Epstein, Eric recorded a solo episode that he never released in hopes that its subject matter would be overtaken by investigative journalism. As this has not happened, it is being released with some trepidation in March of 2020 due to the issue of state involvement with Jeffrey Epstein.  

    Eric discusses his memories of his single bizarre meeting (circa 2004?) with Jeffrey Epstein in Epstein's 71st St townhouse in Manhattan. While at that meeting, Eric was surprised by Epstein's strange behaviors and came to the conclusion that it was highly unlikely that Epstein was likely to be the money manager he claimed. Instead, Eric came to the conclusion that the person with whom he was sitting was more probably a construction of one or more intelligence agencies, interested alternatively in powerful actors and scientists.

    This 15 year hypothesis and Epstein's mysterious death lead to Eric's four questions: 

    A) Where are the newspaper stories tracking the financial records from the Villard House offices on Madison Avenue of Jeffrey Epstein's hedge fund and financial management firm J. Epstein & Co.? Who holds these records? What trades do they show? Who were the prime brokers? Where are any former employees who executed trades? Was there never a hedge fund at all? If not, is the inexplicable Epstein fortune and the missing Robert Maxwell fortune actually one and the same fortune? 

    B) Where are the newspaper stories detailing the known border crossings where Ghislaine Maxwell's passports were last presented to the immigration agents of any government? Where was her last known social engagement? Is she continuing to file and pay taxes? Why is she not being sought by law enforcement and where is the government request for any information as to her last whereabouts? How did this person simply vanish in a world where Tech tracks everyone at all times? Where did her digital trail run cold? 

    C) Where are the newspaper stories asking whether Jeffrey Epstein was known to be connected to any US or foreign intelligence agencies? Where are the on-the-record stories asking if the US and its allies categorically deny refusing to work with any known child sex traffickers? Why has have such questions not terminated in at least a categorical denial or "no comment" response or even a refusal to discuss "sources and methods"? 

    D) Why is there no routine call from Journalists, Senators, Congressmen and women, Academics, Clergy or Business leaders for hearings into the intelligence communities in the wake of Epstein and related affairs, as there was during the 1970s when the Church and Pike committees uncovered dirty tricks campaigns against lawful citizens? Why are these agencies now protected and immune in a way that they were not previously? 

  • In a world which is often slow-moving and even stagnant, there are always sectors and individuals who buck the trends. In this episode of The Portal, Eric sits down with his favorite surfing hero Kai Lenny who is pioneering a new approach to big wave surfing. By availing himself of the latest technology and dedicating his life to innovation and discipline, all-around waterman Kai Lenny is redefining what is possible with boards and waves. Whether it is kite surfing, hydrofoils, paddle boards or towing into monster waves, Kai is not only riding, but playing in the biggest surfable waves as if they were up to an order of magnitude smaller. Eric attempts to understand Kai's approach to innovation and how he can be so carefree and seemingly casual when he is always flirting with death within some of the most powerful structures and forces nature can through at a single individual from Jaws in Maui to Nazaré in Portugal.

    Please Subscribe to the Podcast wherever you listen to The Portal and make sure to check out our YouTube channel and click the bell icon to be notified when our next episodes appear! Hope you enjoy this.  

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  • Philosopher and University of Chicago Professor Agnes Callard sits down with Eric on this episode of the portal. Agnes is a champion of the philosophical tradition of attempting to detach the capacity for inquiry and reason from the fog of feelings and societal taboos that often keep us from delving deeper into the questions that animate our lives. 

    Agnes began this unusual back and forth by writing an article about status negotiation in first meetings shortly after the pair first met. Eric and Agnes then use the opportunity of this episode to continue this line of thought by exploring the limits of courage and meta-cognition within the examined life of a modern Philosopher. This results in a real-time exploration by two people who mutually respect each other as to whether they can actually negotiate a detached discussion in real time on the very issues of status, feeling, and taboo that may divide them and/or arise between them. 

    As Agnes has written thoughtfully about the many layers of anger, the conversation culminates by exploring dyadic feelings of hurt and indignation with which we all struggle and suffer in our relationships. Ultimately the two finish this experimental conversation with good cheer, together with a wish to continue the discussion at a later date under continuing mutual fondness and admiration.

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  • Eric sits down with leading fitness geek, guru, thinker and human guinea-pig Ben Greenfield to learn how one of the world's most highly regarded trainers and fitness experts cuts through the nightmare that is our medical literature. 

    The academic and medical literature in health and medicine is a disaster. Studies are performed and reported in non-standard and idiosyncratic ways which are then further distorted by a press often looking more for headlines and scoops than facts and rigor. In this episode we get to ask one of the most sought after fitness optimizers how ordinary people can better understand their own minds, brains and bodies in light of the cacophony of 'expert' opinion. Ben, here in his role of master pedagogue, gives detailed implementable answers as well as simple to follow priorities that sum up his years of study and training for the mere mortals who wish to better everything in their lives by tackling health at the fundamental level.  

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  • Historically, fighting obscenity and indecency charges has always been a central part of the free speech movement. Jim Morrison, Mae West, Lenny Bruce and George Carlin have all been arrested for exciting the public in ways that authorities have found threatening. Recently, however, the erotic and comedic arts have undergone more cryptic attacks via Operation Chokepoint, "cancellation", "no platforming", and inadequate press coverage given to cases of legal intimidation (e.g. the federal case under Miller v California standards brought against director John Stagliano).

     

    In this episode, Eric sits down with the business woman who created the enduring character of the unlikely top pornstar Riley Reid. Continuing the theme of the DISC (Distributed Idea Suppression Complex) we discuss issues like Operation Chokepoint and obscenity law as well more subtle issues like the difficulty of finding vendors willing to cross the Rubicon to work with legal erotic businesses. 

    Ashley, in the role of the Riley Reid character, has defied all pornographic convention by embracing body positivity, forgoing plastic surgery and opting for natural body hair at times. Additionally she has made a social statement by doing a popular artistic scene which makes a political and business case for greater transsexual acceptance. Her main tool appears to be a palpable human decency and sweetness coupled to an uncanny ability to assess, manage and survive extreme business risk within a poorly understood industry that has confounded all expectations. 

    While this episode is generally not explicit, it is not for everyone given the content and so listener discretion is advised. 

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  • Roger Penrose is arguably the most important living descendent of Albert Einstein’s school of geometric physics. In this episode of The Portal, we avoid the usual questions put to roger about quantum foundations and quantum consciousness. Instead we go back to ask about the current status of his thinking on what would have been called “Unified Field Theory” before it fell out of fashion a couple of generations ago. In particular, Roger is the dean of one of the only rival schools of thought to have survived the “String Theory wars” of the 1980s-2000s. We discuss his view of this Twistor Theory and its prospects for unification. Instead of spoon feeding the audience, however, the material is presented as it might occur between colleagues in neighboring fields so that the Portal audience might glimpse something closer to scientific communication rather than made for TV performance pedagogy. We hope you enjoy our conversation with Prof. Penrose.

  • All of our Mice are Broken. On this episode of The Portal, Bret and Eric sit down alone with each other for the first time in public. There was no plan.

    There was however, a remarkable story of science at its both best and worst that had not been told in years. After an initial tussle, we dusted off the cobwebs and decided to reconstruct it raw and share it with you, our Portal audience, for the first time. I don't think it will be the last as we are now again looking for our old notes to tighten it up for the next telling. We hope you find it interesting, and that it inspires you younger and less established scientists to tell your stories using this new medium of long form podcasting. We hope the next place you hear this story will be in a biology department seminar room in perhaps Cambridge, Chicago, Princeton, the Bay Area or elsewhere. Until then, be well and have a listen to this initial and raw version.

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  • This "housekeeping" (cough cough) episode of The Portal is only for the hard core listeners who launched this experiment with us. This year we begin to take on the idea of the Distributed Idea Suppression Complex or "DISC". 

    From "Terms of Service" changes, to selective enforcement of rules, peer review, "Strategic Silence", 'authoritative sources only', deboosting, shadow banning, down ranking, "unbiasing", "Good Censorship", 'diversity and inclusion' oaths, 'cancel culture', no-platforming, mob shaming, certification requirements, "trust and safety" and quality control, we are surrounded by others interested in various forms of idea suppression who would prefer to work in private. Obviously some, but not all, of those ideas are truly dangerous. But many of those ideas never reached us because they threatened institutional players rather than public safety. 

    This is the year we begin to do the unthinkable: attempt to fully reveal and slip the DISC. Stay tuned to the Portal for 2020. Or feel free to unsubscribe right now before we change it up...hope to see you soon.

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  • Somewhere on the road between Stalingrad and Forever21, something essential got misplaced amidst the bathos. Eric works through a bottle of Red wine on air with social, literary and artistic theorist Anna Khachiyan (co-host of the explosive and popular Red Scare podcast) to find out what is brewing on the anti-woke Left among the intellectual daughters of Camille Paglia. Anna takes us through her project of the reconstructed feminine combining irreverent intellectual dominance with a return to valuing motherhood informed by her claims on Soviet & American heritage. The intellectual foundation of the intersectional “oppression Olympics” and reparations discussion is further dissected amidst the twin specters of the Armenian & Jewish genocides which mysteriously appear not to register at all with today’s progressives. 

    No puppies were eaten during this podcast, but an ambient trigger warning is otherwise in order for those with exquisite sensitivities. Caveat emptor and welcome to the Grand Finale of the inaugural year of “The Portal.” 

    See you all again in 2020!

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  • In this episode, Eric sits down with Tyler Cowen to discuss how/why a Harvard educated chess prodigy would choose a commuter school to launch a stealth attack on the self-satisfied economic establishment, various forms of existential risk, tech/social stagnation and more. On first glance, Tyler Cowen is an unlikely candidate for America's most influential economist. Since 2003, Cowen has grown his widely read and revered economics blog Marginal Revolution with lively thought, insight and prose resulting in a successful war of attrition against traditional thinking. In fact, his well of heterodox thinking is so deep that there is an argument to be made that Tyler may be the living person with the most diverse set of original rigorous opinions to be found in any conversation. The conversation takes many turns and is thus hard to categorize. We hope you enjoy it. 

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  • Garrett Lisi, the so called "Surf Bum with a Theory of Everything (or T.O.E.)", is a PhD theoretical physicist who has refused to be captured by the theoretical physics community. By making shrewd investments, he has avoided holding meaningful employment for his entire adult life. Instead, he lives in Maui and travels the world chasing the perfect wave.

    In this episode Garrett and Eric sit down to discuss the current status of Garrett's ideas for a final theory based on a mysterious object called E8, perhaps the oddest of mathematical symmetries to be found in the universe. 

    Garrett and Eric have held each other in mutual “contempt” for over a decade. By vacationing together and staying in each others' homes, they had hoped to hone and deepen their mutual disgust for each other's ideas. However, as the theoretical physics community moved away from actually trying to unify our incompatible models of the physical world, it became intellectually unmoored, and drifted toward a culture of performative Cargo Cult Physics. The antagonists were thus forced by necessity to develop a begrudging admiration for each other's iconoclasm and unwillingness to give up on the original dream of Einstein to unify and understand our world. 

    The discussion is rough but a fairly accurate depiction of scientific relationships belonging to a type that is generally not shown to the public. This may be uncomfortable for those who have been habituated to NOVA, The Elegant Universe, or other shows produced for mass consumption. We apologize in advance.

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  • What happened to the Mathematical and Scientific art movement after MC Escher? It went underground. 

    In this episode of the Portal, Eric begins tracking down the leaders of this hidden movement; one that is smuggling higher level science into transcendent art forms. Eric had to coax one the movement’s foremost members, London Tsai, to come out of obscurity where he had been preserving his mathematical art in sarcophagi of unopened bubble wrap sitting for decades in various New York City studios. 

    London is just the first of these New Escherians we’ll be profiling. These modern day Prometheans are stealing higher level mathematics from the professorial priesthood replacing the Seraphim and Cherubs of antiquity with topological paintings, protein sculptures, and light symphonies that speak to our hearts, minds and desires for transcendence. The podcast will be released later with video showing a taste of Tsai's groundbreaking work. 

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  • In this cordially combative episode, Eric sits down with Russian chess legend, multiple-year champion and (inarguably) one of the greatest players of all time, Garry Kasparov. The two discuss transcending AI-induced demotivation, AI brilliancy (and lack thereof), the perilous time for global democracy in Russia, America and globally and Garry's penchant for risking his life for what he believes in. Beyond Chess, Garry is an active political dissident and truth seeker; founding the Russian "United Civil Front" and speaking out against Putin since his retirement from the game in 2005, he's an ardent defender of democracy in Russia and abroad. 1997 was also a watershed year for Garry; it was the year that AI - in the form of IBM's Deep Blue - was able to beat the best chess player in the world (Kasparov). Since then, Garry's been thinking deeply about the role of a newly positioned mankind in the world of a rising AI. From tech displacement to political unrest, please enjoy this wide ranging episode covering some of the most crucial issues of our time. 

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  • In this episode, Vitalik Buterin sits down with Eric to discuss ethereum, the wider world of crypto and heterodox economics.

    Taking note of the new development of blockchain in 2010, Eric wrote an essay called “Go Virtual Young Man”. A few years later, a Thiel Fellow named Vitalik created a virtual machine with an idiosyncratic smart contract system and a currency. Ironically, Eric had recently become a Managing Director at Thiel Capital. Perennially circling each other intellectually, the two now sit down in person to discuss economic paradigm shifts, crypto and the future of online sovereignty and social coordination. 

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  • On this episode of The Portal, Eric talks to one of his closest friends, neuroscientist, philosopher and meditation-guru, Sam Harris. When Sam and Eric sit down they generally agree about a large number of things. So in this experiment of a session, Eric attempts to push the relentlessly reasonable and methodical Sam out of his comfort zone to highlight their genuine differences. These include: beliefs on religion, the logic of voting for unreasonable candidates, Jeffrey Epstein's demise, the competence of the press, the ethics of immigration and more. 

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  • Eric sits down with Julie Lindahl, author of "The Pendulum". What happens when an ethnically German girl growing up in Brazil gets curious to finally make sense of her family history to stop the cycle of dysfunction? Julie Lindahl’s new book "The Pendulum" shows us what it can take to find a portal out of inter-generational trauma. Eric welcomes his house-guest Julie Lindahl to tell her extraordinary story on this episode of The Portal. The episode is raw and recorded at home on a hand held device; there will be no video.

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