The Eighth

Guest List

Robert Lang: a physicist who has worked at NASA, with optoelectronics, but is currently well-known for his work in origami. His designs are not only focused on origami as an art but as an opportunity for engineering. He has developed folding patterns for rockets and airbags.

Dr. David Vaughan: the Executive Director of the Mote Tropical Research Laboratory in Summerland Key, Florida, and the manager of the Coral Restoration program. In fact, Dr. Vaughan and his team grow coral for planting on dying reefs. The technique can be used to restore the dead and dying coral reefs which are known to be a major environmental emergency. Additionally, the work could reveal valuable insight about cancer and its treatment.

Trae Crowder: a comedian and writer most known for his portrayal of the “Liberal Redneck” in videos on social media. The exaggerated “redneck” manner in which he presents his views on political topics has caused him to go viral. In an interview with the host of the MSNBC show, The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell, Mr. Crowder described growing up in “abject poverty” in rural Tennessee and went on to discuss his political alignment.

Nicholas Carlson: the Editor-in-Chief of INSIDER and the author of several books including “Marissa Mayer and the Fight To Save Yahoo!” Mr. Carlson is invited because his role in INSIDER is highly important and yet he tends to be a person “behind the scenes.” I am interested to hear about his experiences in the media. His LinkedIn introduction statement is: “I’m a business journalist. The industry I cover most is the technology industry, but I’ll write about whatever interests me and readers.” Yet, INSIDER, launched in August of 2015 “is a publication for, by, and about people who believe life is an adventure.”

Mark Lilla: a political scientist, historian, journalist, and professor of humanities at Columbia University. In regards to his book titled “The Shipwrecked Mind: On Political Reaction,” The Guardian wrote: “A controversial thinker targets the nostalgia behind our political moment – from Trump to Brexit, Putin to militant Islam.” He is notable for his political insight and corresponding commentary. I would enjoy hearing his thoughts regarding the Trump Administration and its work (or lack thereof) within the past few months.

Jim Denevan: an artist based in Santa Cruz, California, who creates temporary art in sand, earth, and ice. These works are often quite large in scale. Documentation of his work has been featured in a number of exhibitions and in major media outlets. Recently, live drone footage of his work has been available on Facebook.

Jade Chynoweth: an 18-year-old actress, singer, and dancer, most known for her hip-hop dancing on social media, particularly Instagram where she has over 735,000 followers.

Molly Prottas: the owner of Instagram sensation, Wally the Bunny, an angora rabbit with distinct grooming. Wally recently passed away from a liver lobe torsion, as Molly shared on the Wally and Molly Instagram account. Another bunny named Suki is featured on the account as well. Wally was known for his spunky personality which brightened the spirits of his 330,000 followers and all who knew him.

Each of these guests is forward-thinking. Each is enterprising and innovative, as most, if not all, HDP guests are. This group is unique and likely one of the most diverse in terms of occupation. I imagine that conversation over dinner would reflect the diversity. I believe that each guest would be eager to hear from the others because they all seem to display a hunger for knowledge. Scholars, artists, and others who do good in the world are sure to be marvelous company. Trae Crowder and Mark Lilla would probably engage in a deep discussion regarding politics. Yet, I am always far more curious about the unforeseen discussions. What if Ms. Chynoweth and Mr. Lang began to talk about politics instead? What if they began to talk about a seemingly irrelevant topics like the agricultural practices found in Zimbabwe? What if Ms. Prottas and Dr. Vaughn both play the same musical instrument? These are the conversations which connect us when we least expect.

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