Stewart Theatre, N.C. State Campus—Sylvia Nasar won fame as the author of the bestselling biography A Beautiful Mind, about the fascinating career of the brilliant but tormented mathematician John Nash. And Nasar is herself no slouch—economist, former New York Times and Fortune reporter, visiting scholar at Cambridge and the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton, and now director of the business journalism program at Columbia University, she's possessed of a keenly wide-ranging intellect.
Her current talk, titled "Globalization Then and Now: How Nations Create Their Destinies," debunks several myths about globalization: that it is a new phenomenon, that it is inevitable and that it diminishes the importance of local economies. She's particularly well suited to the topic; born in Germany to a German mother and Uzbek father and raised in the U.S. and Turkey, she's both a critic and a product of globalization. The talk starts at 7 p.m., followed by a question and answer session and a book signing. —Marc Maximov
Red Fang, Early Man
The Pour House—Portland's Red Fang, a no-bullshit quartet built around heavy riffs and accessible song-structure, is the quintessential shoulda-been band. Sounding a bit like a heavier Foo Fighters, or an easy complement to Queens of the Stone Age's bluesy riffage, Red Fang could appeal to radio rock fans as much as the Mastodon-lovers this sort of crossover metal is likely to reach. Similar assertions could be made for Early Man, though the former Matador recording artists take maybe a little too much from Judas Priest and Iron Maiden in constructing its revivalist (necrophilic?) heavy metal. Eight bucks gets you in the doors, which open at 8 p.m. because, after all, it is a school night. —Bryan Reed
Regulator Bookshop—Everyone knows that the American health care system, if you can even call it a system, is broken. We spend twice as much as any other country on medical care with no better results, and we're saddled with a WWII-era arrangement in which, preposterously, our employer is expected to hand over medical coverage with our paycheck. And if they don't—well, best of luck to you.
This arrangement gets worse every year, for more and more Americans, yet we've been stuck with it for so long, and the moneyed interests it benefits are so entrenched, it's hard to imagine real change even being proposed, much less enacted (the last attempt at a fix, spearheaded by Hillary Clinton in 1994, was denied due to a pre-existing insurance-lobby condition). And it's not just a problem of distribution, according to UNC-Chapel Hill professor of medicine Nortin Hadler. In his recent book, Worried Sick, he argues that the larger issue is the underlying assumption that expensive treatments and pharmaceuticals are required just to keep us healthy. With our entirely profit-driven medical-industrial complex, it's not hard to figure out where that idea came from.
If President Obama's speech before Congress last Wednesday is to be believed, we're shortly due for another rare attempt at systemic overhaul. It's vitally important that this time around, policy proposals are debated in public, not behind closed doors, like in '94, and it's up to us citizens to educate ourselves and make our voices heard. To that end, Dr. Hadler will lead a discussion about his eye-opening book and the prospects for real health care reform, in Obama's first 100 days and thereafter. Starting time is 7 p.m. —Marc Maximov