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August 8, 2020
When things don't go the way they're supposed to — viruses, star systems, presidents, even fish — we're often desperate to explain the chaos. In this episode, we search for order in the universe. Original Air Date: August 08, 2020 Guests: Patrik Svensson — Lulu Miller — Alexander Boxer — Margaret Wertheim — S. James Gates Jr. Interviews In This Hour: The Weird World Of Eels — We Call Them Fish. Evolution Says They're Something Else. — The Original Algorithm Was Written In The Stars — Seeing The World With A Mathematician's Eyes Further Reading: Nautilus: Eels Don’t Have Sex Until the Last Year of Their Life—NYAS: The Mystery of Our Mathematical Universe
August 1, 2020
Bees stir each one of our senses — the zen-like hum, the sweet honey, the waxy smell of wildflowers mixed with hard work, the vibrant orange and black bodies attached to window-paned wings.  If they land on us, and we are calm, say beekeepers, it will be a gentle touch; they will sting only to save their lives.  Bees are endangered, but all over the world, people are stepping up to save them — in backyards, science labs, and the abandoned lots of urban Detroit. We explore the art to building a relationship with bees, and the science of how they thrive and what we might do to preserve them for future generations. Original Air Date: July 28, 2018 Guests:  Heather Swan — Nicole Lindsey — Timothy Paule — Thor Hanson — Christof Koch — Tania Munz — Stephanie Elkins — Peter Sobol — Anne Strainchamps Interviews In This Hour:  Falling In Love With Bees — Listening To The Mood Of The Hive — 'Medicine' — Why We Ought to Live a 'Pro-Bee Lifestyle' — Rebuilding Detroit, Hive by Hive — 'Honeybee' — How Do We Wrap Our Minds Around Bee Consciousness? — Waggle Dancing with Karl von Frisch — 'To make a prairie it takes a clover and one bee'
July 25, 2020
If you had to travel 500 miles across country, on foot, with no map, no GPS, without talking to anyone — to a destination you've never seen, could you do it? It sounds impossible, but millions of creatures spend their lives on the move, migrating from one part of the Earth to another with navigation skills we can only dream of. How do they do it — and what can we learn from them? Original Air Date: July 25, 2020 Guests: Moses Augustino Kumburu — David Wilcove — Stan Temple — David Barrie — Sonia Shah Interviews In This Hour: The Serengeti's Great Migration, Up Close — Why Do Animals Migrate? — Sandhill Cranes Make The Long Journey South — The Greatest Navigators on the Planet — The High Costs — And Potential Gains — Of Migration, Both Animal And Human
July 18, 2020
Scientists and explorers have found a whole new world, ripe for discovery, under our feet. The earth's underground is teeming with life, from fungal networks to the deep microbiome miles below the planet's crust. It's an exciting place, and it's changing what we know about the planet and ourselves. Original Air Date: November 02, 2019 Guests: Robert Macfarlane — Jill Heinerth — Ben Holtzman — Werner Herzog — Christine Desdemaines-Hugon Interviews In This Hour: Why We Descend Into Darkness — A Cave Diver's Treks Through The Veins Of The Earth — How To Listen To An Earthquake — Why Werner Herzog Is Awe-Struck — Finding Our Ancestors in Ancient Cave Art 
July 10, 2020
What if the most unselfish thing you could do was to pursue pleasure? To look for delight? To feel joy? We make the case for the transformative power of joy, pleasure and delight. Original Air Date: October 12, 2019 Guests:  Ross Gay — Kathryn Bond Stockton — Laurie Santos — Lynne Segal Interviews In This Hour:  365 Days Of Delight: A Poet's Guide To Finding Joy — A Queer Theorist On Ecstatic Kissing — Laboratory of Joy: A Psychologist On The Science of Feeling Good — The Revolution Will Be Joyful: Feminist Lynne Segal On Fighting Power With Pleasure — The People Power Of Happiness
July 3, 2020
Music crosses boundaries between traditional and modern, local and global, personal and political. Take jazz — a musical form born out of forced migration and enslavement. We typically think it originated in New Orleans and then spread around the world. But today, we examine an alternate history of jazz — one that starts in Africa, then crisscrosses the planet, following the movements of people and empires -- from colonial powers to grassroots revolutionaries to contemporary artists throughout the diaspora. This history of jazz is like the music itself: fluid and improvisatory.   In this hour, produced in partnership with the Consortium of Humanities Centers and Institutes (CHCI) — a global consortium of 270 humanities centers and institutes — we hear how both African and African-American music have shaped the sound of the world today.   Original Air Date: July 04, 2020 Guests:  Meklit Hadero — Valmont Layne — Gwen Ansell — Ron Radano Interviews In This Hour:  How Meklit Hadero Reimagined Ethiopian Jazz — So You Say You Want A Revolution — Reclaiming the Hidden History of South African Jazz — 'We Are All African When We Listen' Further Reading: CHCI Ideas from Africa Hub
June 26, 2020
Millions of people are caring for someone with severe memory loss, trying to find ways to connect. One of the best ways anyone has found is music. We examine the unexpected power of song to supercharge the human mind. Original Air Date: August 17, 2019 Guests: Shannon Henry Kleiber — Oliver Sacks — Francine Toder — Anne Basting Interviews In This Hour: The Power Of Music And Memory: 'Music Was Waking Up Something Within Each Of Them' — The Deep Connections Our Brains Make To Music — It's Never Too Late To Learn To Play — MacArthur Fellow Anne Basting On Asking People With Dementia 'Beautiful Questions'
June 20, 2020
America is in the midst of what seems like a race revolution. Street protests are continuing across the country. Police departments are enacting changes. Confederate statues are coming down. What's next in the fight for Black equality? We take a hard look at how racism infects not only the police, but the entire criminal justice system. Original Air Date: June 20, 2020 Guests: Michelle Alexander — Bryan Stevenson — Ruth Wilson Gilmore — Malcolm Gladwell — Khalil Gibran Muhammad — Connie Rice — Colson Whitehead Interviews In This Hour: 'The New Jim Crow'? Our Criminal Justice System — The Violence of a Violent Justice System — Can Capitalism Reduce Mass Incarceration? — Fearing the Black Man — Malcolm Gladwell on 'When Police Kill' — 'Why Do Police Do Traffic Stops?' Journalist Malcolm Gladwell On Rethinking Law Enforcement — Reforming The LAPD
June 13, 2020
We play them to pass the time at family functions, or to relax after a long day of work or school. But board games say so much more than we think — about our relationships, our politics, our histories. We learn the storied history of Mahjong, play a few classic games with some modern twists, and consider the mental brutality that is competitive chess. *Original Air Date: * November 30, 2019 **Guests: ** Angelo Bautista — Eric Thurm — Brin-Jonathan Butler — Annelise Heinz — Linda Feinstein — Jeff Yang **Interviews In This Hour: ** Picking Up The Pieces Of Mahjong — What You Learn In The 'Magic Circle' — Chess, A Perfect Game for Crushing Your Opponent’s Ego
June 6, 2020
The line between free speech and hate speech isn't always clear. When college students shout down a campus speaker, when a woman yells racial slurs in a parking lot, or when HR calls with a reprimand — when does free speech violate safe space? When does sensitivity become censorship? This weekend’s program "Filtering Free Speech" examines the difficult subject of censorship and free expression. In our first interview, acclaimed writer Walter Mosley uses the "N-word" four times to describe a very troubling experience when he was reprimanded for using this word in a Hollywood writers’ room. Mosley, who himself is black, was so angered by the exchange that he resigned from his job. The "N-word" is intrinsic to his story — not gratuitous — so we have chosen not to bleep the word. On the broadcast our host provides a very clear warning to alert listeners to what they will hear. If you'd prefer to listen to a censored version, you can listen to one here. Original Air Date: September 28, 2019 **Guests: ** Walter Mosley — Jonathan Haidt — Dorothy Kim — Alissa Quart — David Maraniss **Interviews In This Hour: ** An Uncomfortable Conversation In The Writers' Room — Who Decides Who Should Speak On Campus? — White Supremacists Are Embracing Symbols Of The Middle Ages. What's A Medieval Scholar To Do? — So You've Been Cancelled — What Can We Learn About Today From The McCarthy Era Blacklist? — Who Decides Who Should Speak? The Past And Present Of Free Speech On College Campuses
May 30, 2020
It's easy to take seeds for granted, to assume that there will always be more corn or wheat or rice to plant. But as monocropping and agribusiness continue to dominate modern farming, are we losing genetic diversity, cultural history, and the nutritional value of our food? We speak to farmers, botanists and indigenous people about how they are reclaiming our seeds. *Original Air Date: * September 14, 2019 **Guests: ** Bob Quinn — Robin Wall Kimmerer — Seth Jovaag — Cary Fowler **Interviews In This Hour: ** Where Did We Go Wrong With Wheat? — The Wisdom of the Corn Mother — The Seeds Of Tomorrow: Defending Indigenous Mexican Corn That Could Be Our Future — Saving Seeds For Future Generations — Ancient Grains, Native Corn, And The Doomsday Seed Vault: How Growing Food Might Survive Disaster
May 23, 2020
We’ve all been changed by the experience of living through a pandemic. We figured out how to sanitize groceries, mute ourselves on Zoom and keep from killing our roommates. But we’re also tackling bigger, existential questions — how can we, individually and collectively, find meaning in the experience of this pandemic? *Original Air Date: * May 23, 2020 **Guests: ** David Kessler — Tyrone Muhammad — Nikki Giovanni — John Kaag — Alice Kaplan **Interviews In This Hour: ** Grief Is A Natural Response To The Pandemic. Here’s Why You Should Let Yourself Feel It. — 'You Smell Death': Being A Mortician In A Community Ravaged By COVID-19 — Nikki Giovanni Reads a Poem of Remembrance — Does Philosophy Still Matter In The Age Of Coronavirus? — Why Camus' 'The Stranger' Is Still a Dangerous Novel
May 16, 2020
Not everyone has a nice, big yard to stretch out in while sheltering in place from COVID-19. But maybe you don't need one. People are using virtual spaces to live out the real experiences they miss — like coffee shops, road trips, even building your own house on a deserted island, or Walden Pond. In a world where we're mostly confined to our homes and Zoom screens, does the line between virtual and real-life space mean much anymore? Original Air Date: * *May 16, 2020 *Guests: * Mark Riechers — Tracy Fullerton — Simon Parkin — Jane McGonigal — Donald D. Hoffman — Suzanne O’Sullivan *Interviews In This Hour: * There's No Pandemic In Animal Crossing — I Went To The Woods To Level Up Deliberately — The Most Boring Video Game Ever Made — Want to be Happier? Turn Everyday Tasks Into a Game — How We Fool Ourselves With The Concept of 'Reality' Further Reading: NYAS: Reality Is Not As It Seems
May 9, 2020
Rustling of leaves, sploshing of water, birds calling, bees buzzing. Wherever you live — city or country, East coast, West coast, or in between — we share common, contemplative experiences on our walks outside. In this hour, we assemble a sonic guide to finding solace in nature. Original Air Date: * *May 09, 2020 *Guests: * William Helmreich — David Rothenberg — Laura Dassow Walls — Robert Moor — Nate Staniforth — Andreas Weber *Interviews In This Hour: * The Great Urban Nature Explorer — Why The Walden Pond Experiment In Self-Reliance Is More Relevant Than Ever — The Wisdom of Trails — Lose Yourself In The Sky — Finding Love In The Ecosystem
May 2, 2020
We owe our past and future existence on Earth to fungi. Some can heal you, some can kill you, and some can change you forever. And the people who love them are convinced that mushrooms explain the world. Original Air Date: * *June 08, 2019 *Guests: * Lawrence Millman — Paul Stamets — Eugenia Bone — Michael Pollan — Dennis McKenna — Robin Carhart-Harris *Interviews In This Hour: * Humanity? It All Started With The Raven and Fungus Man — The Soil-Cleaning, Insect-Warding, Smallpox-Curing Power of Mushrooms — From Candy Caps To Morels: Notes From A Mushroom Hunter's Cookbook — John Cage, Vaclav Halek and the Marvels of Mushroom Music — Did Magic Mushrooms Shape Human Consciousness? — 'Fantastic Fungi' And How To Film Them
April 25, 2020
In times of crisis, we need music. We look at how far people will go — even under quarantine, during a pandemic — to find ways to make music together. Original Air Date: * *April 25, 2020 *Guests: * Lisa Bielawa — Varttina — Bobby McFerrin — Moken — Vijay Iyer — Brandy Clark — Nicole Paris — Edward Cage *Interviews In This Hour: * Putting The Mood Of COVID-19 To Music — The Haunting Finnish Acapella of Värttinä — The 50 Voices of Bobby McFerrin — A Bold and Beautiful Voice from Cameroon — Vijay Iyer on Jazz, Improvisation and the Origins of Music — Country Singer Brandy Clark on a Big Day in a Small Town — Beatboxing With My Dad
April 18, 2020
Your skin protects you from the outside world, but it can also be the way germs enter your body. It can be a source of pride, but also trigger fear. We explore the science, politics, and beauty of your skin. Original Air Date: April 18, 2020 *Guests: * Angelo Bautista — Tiffany Field — Alissa Waters — Nina Jablonski *Interviews In This Hour: * My Problem With Skincare — Even During Quarantine, You Need A 'Daily Dose Of Touch' — Reclaiming Scars As Works Of Art — The Science Of Skin Color
April 11, 2020
We all tell stories about our lives: funny stories, happy stories, sad stories. But are they true stories? In an age of “alternative facts” and “fake news,” we’re all thinking harder about why truth matters – not just in politics, but in our personal lives. A biographer, a poet, a memoirist and a filmmaker describe the moral struggle and personal cost involved in telling not just the truth, but the whole truth. Original Air Date: * *November 10, 2018 *Guests: * Caroline Fraser — Terese Marie Mailhot — Karl Ove Knausgård — Errol Morris *Interviews In This Hour: * Little Lie in the Big Woods — When It's Real, The Stakes Are Higher — 'This Novel Has Hurt Everyone Around Me': A Frank Conversation with Karl Ove Knausgaard — Errol Morris: Thomas Kuhn Threw an Ashtray at Me
April 4, 2020
Why do people turn to poetry during troubled times? We saw it after 9/11 and we're seeing it now as the coronavirus travels around the world. When the world seems broken, poetry is often the one kind of language that helps. Original Air Date: * *April 04, 2020 *Guests: * Kitty O'Meara — Jericho Brown — Edward Hirsch — Alice Walker — Ken Nordine — Li-Young Lee — Jimmy Santiago Baca *Interviews In This Hour: * A Viral Poem For A Virus Time — Can A Poem Be A Prayer? — Poetry In A Time Of Grief And Loss — Hope Rises. It Always Does. — Li-Young Lee's Love Poetry — Ken Nordine's 'Yellow' — Words Can Change Your Life
March 28, 2020
This week, To the Best of Our Knowledge comes to you from our kitchens and homes. We’re safe, but we’ve all been thinking about the people on the front lines of the pandemic — doctors, nurses and hospital staffs. We’ve been seeing them on social media — the nurses in NYC wearing garbage bags because there aren’t enough sterile gowns.  Doctors figuring out those weird new face masks. Those incredibly brave doctors and nurses in Italy, Spain, France, the U.S. This hour we tell some remarkable stories of doctors and scientists who are saving lives. *Original Air Date: * March 28, 2020 **Guests: ** Larry Brilliant — Josh Mezrich — Missy Makinia — Manu Prakash **Interviews In This Hour: ** The Hippie Doctor Who Helped Eradicate Smallpox — Would You Give Your Kidney to a Stranger? — Could a 50 Cent Microscope Change the World?
March 21, 2020
Even with all the music available today, most of us still listen primarily to just a few comfy genres. But there’s so much more out there — and so much of it defies neat, algorithm-friendly categorization. Original Air Date: * *June 01, 2019 *Guests: * Kevin Gift — Wendel Patrick — Philip Glass — Robert Glasper — Toni Blackman — Clarice Jensen — Evelyn Glennie — Nikka Costa *Interviews In This Hour: * How One Man Became Two Musicians — Philip Glass Asks 'Where Does Music Come From?' — Jazz That Smells Like Teen Spirit — Hip Hop as Diplomacy — A Former Child Pop Star Performs America’s Songbook — An Acclaimed Cellist Goes Rogue — Touching The Sound Of Everyday Objects
March 14, 2020
Before the time of commercial flights and road trips, we traveled to far off places without taking a single step. All you had to do was open a book. From Africa to England, to a kamikaze cockpit, and to realms of fantasy. Books aren’t just books. They’re passports to anywhere. This hour, we’re traveling by book. Original Air Date: * *March 14, 2020 *Guests: * Philip Pullman — Ruth Ozeki — Robert Macfarlane — Petina Gappah *Interviews In This Hour: * Philip Pullman on 'The Pocket Atlas of the World' — 'His Dark Materials' Author Philip Pullman On The Consciousness Of All Things — A Diary Becomes A Time Capsule — Ruth Ozeki on 'Kamikaze Diaries — Petina Gappah on 'Persuasion' — The Empire Writes Back: Author Discusses Explorer David Livingstone's Complicated Legacy — Robert Macfarlane on 'The Living Mountain'
March 7, 2020
How well do you sleep? Every night, millions of us turn out the lights hoping and praying for a good night’s sleep. And every night, millions of us lie awake in the dark. We explore what keeps us up, and what happens when we embrace the times when we just can't seem to rest. Original Air Date: March 07, 2020 Guests: Steve Paulson — Guy Leschziner — Daniel Pink — Marina Benjamin — Ada Calhoun Interviews In This Hour: A Shadow Self Emerges from the Darkness — Tales From The Wee Hours — Kicking Your Nap Up A Notch...With Coffee — The Best Time Of Night For Big Ideas — The Things That Keep Gen X Women Up At Night
February 29, 2020
We're always online but still have an innate need to meet in person. How can we make gatherings, from dinner parties to work meetings, more meaningful? *Original Air Date: * June 22, 2019 **Guests: ** Priya Parker — Mamie Kanfer Stewart — Angelo Bautista — James Ogude **Interviews In This Hour: ** When We Gather, We Need Rituals — That Completely Pointless Meeting Is Entirely Preventable — Watching RuPaul's Drag Race In The Best Way Possible — In A Gay Bar — 'I Am Because We Are': The African Philosophy of Ubuntu
February 22, 2020
Restaurants, bars, coffee shops — is there any public place left that doesn’t play background music? Loudly? In this show, we’re making the case for more silence. Because perhaps some need the drone of TVs, traffic and Muzak, to drown out the pesky sound of thinking, but others go to great lengths to find respite from a blaringly loud world. Original Air Date: December 09, 2017 Guests: Erling Kagge — Gordon Hempton — George Michelsen Foy — Kyle Gann — Shawn Wen — Jennifer Egan Interviews In This Hour: The Contemplative Silence Of A Cold, Lonely Journey — A Nature Preserve For The Quiet Of Nature — The Volume Of Absolute Silence — The Tale of a Mute Piano Performance — A Silent Soliloquy From The World's Greatest Mime — The Pauses Between Chords of Iconic Rock and Roll Further Reading: One Square Inch of Silence, from the documentary "Soundtracker"
February 15, 2020
Are there new ways to treat depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder? We explore some unconventional treatments for mental illness, including exercise, psychedelics and even horror films. Need to talk? Contact the National Alliance for Mental Illness at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264). If you or someone you know may be considering suicide, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (En Español: 1-888-628-9454; Deaf and Hard of Hearing: 1-800-799-4889) or the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741. Original Air Date: February 15, 2020 **Guests: ** Eliza Smith — Claudia Reardon — Shira Erlichman — Rosalind Watts — Charles Raison — Roland Griffiths — Robin Carhart-Harris **Interviews In This Hour: ** Treating Anxiety With Horror Films — Do 10 Burpees And Call Me In The Morning — How Psychedelic Experiences Might Treat Depression — The Power in Naming an Illness
February 8, 2020
Exchanging glances with the natural world happens more often than you’d think. It can be so profound, there’s a name for it: eye-to-eye epiphany. Original Air Date: February 08, 2020 *Guests: * Gavin Van Horn — Jenny Kendler — Ivan Schwab — Jane Goodall — Alan Lightman *Interviews In This Hour: * In The Eye Of The Osprey: A Physicist's Wild Epiphany — 100 Bird Eyes Are Watching You — The Look That Changed Primatology — Watching the Fierce Green Fire Die: Animal Gazes That Shaped Conservation Movements — The 600 Million Year History Of The Eye — 'We Are The Feast' — A Feminist Philosopher's Life-Changing Encounter With A Crocodile — How Do You Practice Kinship? A Brief Meditation
February 1, 2020
Hope means believing there’s a future. But can hope co-exist with cataclysmic realities like climate change, or disruptive technological advances like artificial intelligence?  Original Air Date: May 04, 2019 *Guests: * Roy Scranton — Anne Lamott — Amy Webb — Victor LaValle — Robert Zubrin *Interviews In This Hour: * Can We Have Hope If The World Is 'Doomed'? — Hope Is Faith In Life Itself — 'Our Best Futures Never Come Fully Formed, Or Automatically' — Tales of Dragons That Fight Segregation, and AI That Fights Transphobia — How A Colony On Mars Would Change Everything On Earth
January 25, 2020
This hour we talk with people who’ve turned that around and made hope real, whether it’s through political activism, faith, music, or reading a life-changing novel. Original Air Date: April 27, 2019 *Guests: * DeRay Mckesson — Lydia Hester — Serene Jones — Megan Stielstra — Common *Interviews In This Hour: * To Make Big Social Change, Start With The PB&J Sandwiches — Teens Don't Want Hope. They Want Action. — Hope, Where Faith Becomes Action — Megan Stielstra On 'The Chronology of Water' — Making Hope In Verse
January 18, 2020
Original Air Date: April 20, 2019 Is hope something we’re innately born with, or something we can choose to have? We talk with people who tell us where they think hope lives in ourselves and our communities. *Guests: * Andre Willis — Steven Pinker — Tali Sharot — Alice Walker — Chigozie Obioma — Claire Peaslee *Interviews In This Hour: * Defining A New Grammar Of Hope — The Science Of Looking On The Bright Side — A Naturalist's Hopeful Pilgrimage — Everything Is Actually Awesome — Why Nigerians Are So Much Happier Than Americans — Hope Rises
January 11, 2020
What drives us toward armed conflict? And what does it take for peace activists to face down tyrants and military leaders? **Guests: ** Scott Anderson — Samantha Power — Benjamin Ginsberg — David Shields — Leymah Gbowee **Interviews In This Hour: ** In The Case Of Iran, Who Decides What Constitutes 'War'? — An Idealist Wrestles With The Ethics of Military Intervention — The Worth of War — War is Beautiful? — Is War Inevitable?
January 4, 2020
Clocks and calendars chop time into increments. It’s efficient, and it helps us get to meetings on time. But what does time feel like when you stop counting it? Guests: Alexander Rose — Douglas Rushkoff — Wade Davis — Brian Swimme — Laura Williams — Rachel Sussman Interviews In This Hour: Alexander Rose on The Clock of the Long Now — Reclaiming Time — The Eternal Moment — Brian Swimme on Organic Time — Laura Williams on a Tidal-Powered Moon Clock — What It Looks Like To Live For 600K Years
December 28, 2019
What if the guiding principle we used in cooking, eating and growing food was love? From an Iranian-American kitchen to the chocolate forests of Ecuador, we explore new ways to express deep flavors and personal identity through food and cooking. *Guests: * Simran Sethi — Samin Nosrat — Michael Twitty — Josh Noel *Interviews In This Hour: * The Frightening Sameness Beneath Hundreds of Flavors — A Little Grammy, A Little Bubbe: A Writer Embodies Family History Through Food — Anyone Can Cook—With the Right Elements — Does 'Selling Out' Make a Difference You Can Taste? — Two Dishes, Two Tastings: A Dinner Party with Simran, Michael, Samin and Josh
December 21, 2019
On this Winter Solstice, what can we learn from the natural world — from animals, from the water — about surviving and even celebrating the cold? Guests: Douglas Quin — Piers Vitebsky — T.C. Boyle — Bernd Heinrich — Lucy Jane Bledsoe — Lynne Cox Interviews In This Hour: How Animals Sound in Winter — Piers Vitebsky on 'The Reindeer People' — T.C. Boyle Recommends 'Winter World' — Ingenuity of Animals in Winter — Lucy Jane Bledsoe's Antarctic Novel — Swimming to Antarctica
December 14, 2019
Africans are moving into cities in unprecedented numbers. Lagos, Nigeria, is on track to have 100 million people. So how and why do cities thrive? *Guests: * Dagmawi Woubshet — Julie Mehretu — Emily Callaci — James Ogude — Ato Qyayson — Teju Cole — Meskerem Assegued *Interviews In This Hour: * Rediscovering the Indigenous City of Addis Ababa — 'People As Infrastructure' — A Tour Of The Networked City — 'I Am Because We Are': The African Philosophy of Ubuntu — How Pan-African Dreams Turned Dystopic — Decoding Global Capitalism on One African Street — Life in the Diaspora: How Teju Cole Pivots Between Cultures — Can Artists Create the City of the Future?
December 7, 2019
Even the most welcome gift can spark guilt, resentment, obligation or vulnerability. This hour, unwrapping the tangled emotions behind giving — and getting. Guests: Megan Costello — Haddayr Copley-Woods — David Graeber — Anand Giridharadas — Elizabeth Dunn Interviews In This Hour: In A Medical Crisis, Small Gestures Are Life-Changing — The Problems With Help You Didn't Ask For — There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Gift — The Strings Attached To Big-Ticket Donations — Giving Happiness That Lasts, Rather Than Things That Take Up Space
November 30, 2019
The board games we play tell us so much more about ourselves than we think — our history, our politics and our inner psychology. Guests: Angelo Bautista — Eric Thurm — Brin-Jonathan Butler — Annelise Heinz — Linda Feinstein — Jeff Yang Interviews In This Hour: Picking Up The Pieces Of Mahjong — What You Learn In The 'Magic Circle' — Chess, A Perfect Game for Crushing Your Opponent’s Ego
November 23, 2019
It creeps into everything: guilt that we're not good enough, fit enough, smart enough. As we peruse Instagram, all we see is the perfection of others reflecting our own failures back at us. Why do we spend so much time feeling guilty? Should we? Guests: Devorah Baum — Lucas Mann — Thomas Curran — Stephen Greenblatt — Susan Bandes  Interviews In This Hour: Why Do We Still Feel Guilty? — Reality TV And Other Things We Secretly Love — Perfectionism Is Making Young People Miserable. Here’s How To Help.— Original Sin And The Genesis Of Guilt — Should Judges And Juries Look For Remorse?
November 16, 2019
Is there a book you can’t forget? A book that left a mark on you? We celebrate books and reading with an eclectic cast of writers from around the country. Guests: Chloe Benjamin, Anne Lamott, Rebecca Traister, Natalia Sylvester, Tommy Orange, Pamela Paul, Shannon Henry Kleiber, Jericho Brown, Susan Orlean
November 9, 2019
Trees talk to each other, and even form alliances with other trees or other species. Some are incredibly old — the root mass of aspens might live 100,000 years. In this hour, we explore the science and history of trees. Guests: Mark Hirsch, Richard Powers, Suzanne Simard, Amos Clifford, Daegan Miller
November 2, 2019
Scientists and explorers have found a whole new world under our feet. It's an exciting place, and it's changing what we know about the planet and ourselves. Guests: Robert Macfarlane, Jill Heinerth, Ben Holtzman, Werner Herzog, Christine Desdemaines-Hugon
October 26, 2019
What if experiencing dread — the horror of it all — is good for you? Guests: Amy Stewart, Kathryn Harkup, Gemma Files, Dan Chaon, Blanche Barton
October 19, 2019
Whether you know it or not, your closets are filled with personal information. Do you think about what are you saying with your clothes? Guests: Angelo Bautista, Avery Trufelman, Carolyn Smith, agnès b., Jo Paoletti
October 12, 2019
What if the most unselfish thing you could do was to pursue pleasure and joy? We make the case for the transformative power of joy, pleasure and delight. Guests: Ross Gay, Kathryn Bond Stockton, Laurie Santos, Lynne Segal
October 5, 2019
Sometimes, we take our body for granted. But even the everyday things it can do – keep our heart beating, fight off illness – are pretty extraordinary. Do you know what your body can do? Guests: Josh Mezrich, Missy Makinia, Porochista Khakpour, Gavin Francis
September 28, 2019
The line between free speech and hate speech isn't always clear. When does sensitivity become censorship? Guests: Walter Mosley, Jonathan Haidt, Dorothy Kim, Alissa Quart, David Maraniss
September 21, 2019
Where does creativity come from? And what exactly is going on in your brain when the Muse descends? Guests: Heather Berlin, Siri Hustvedt, Jim Holt, Mary Sharrat, Nathaniel Mary Quinn
September 14, 2019
As monocropping and agribusiness continue to dominate modern farming, we speak to farmers, botanists and indigenous people about how they are reclaiming our seeds. Guests: Bob Quinn, Robin Wall Kimmerer, Seth Jovaag, Cary Fowler
September 7, 2019
Every so often, a new literary movement coalesces. A new generation of writers finds a voice. This time they’re young, gifted, and Native American. Guests: Jennifer Foerster, Tommy Orange, Terese Marie Mailhot, David Treuer, Kevin Goodan, Tall Paul
August 31, 2019
It's not easy in America today to find work that matters, that’s meaningful, and that pays enough to live on. Which is the one thing we don’t talk about. What’s wrong with work — and how do we fix it? Guests: Alissa Quart, David Graeber, James Livingston, Niki Okuk, Studs Terkel
August 24, 2019
You're thinking about hitting “delete” on all of it — Facebook, Twitter. But is that the answer, or should we resolve to stick around and make things better? Guests: Jaron Lanier, Ethan Zuckerman, Whitney Phillips, DeRay Mckesson, Yuval Noah Harari
August 17, 2019
Millions of people are caring for someone with severe memory loss, trying to find ways to connect. One of the best ways anyone has found is music. Guests: Shannon Henry Kleiber, Oliver Sacks, Francine Toder, Anne Basting
August 10, 2019
What makes someone want to walk into a ring and hit someone? Choose to take a punch? Why men — and women — fight. And why so many of us like to watch. *Guests: * Kate Sekules, Jonathan Gottschall, Ronda Rousey, Thomas Page McBee, Charles Monroe-Kane, Steve Paulson
August 3, 2019
We’ve been taught to ignore, stifle, or just get over anger for many years — but what if we embraced it? Guests: Rebecca Traister, Cristen Conger, Caroline Ervin, Richard Davidson, Alice Walker
July 27, 2019
Your voice is unique. It's how your friends and family know you. But how comfortable are you with your voice? And how freely do you use it? Guests: David Thorpe, Keith Powell, Susan Stamberg, Ann Friedman, Veronica Rueckert, Bernie Krause
July 20, 2019
It's a long walk from the truth to the whole truth. A biographer, a poet, a memoirist and a filmmaker describe the moral struggle and personal cost involved. Guests: Caroline Fraser, Terese Marie Mailhot, Karl Ove Knausgård, Errol Morris
July 13, 2019
Summer reading lists are full of so-called "beach books." But if you’ve got enough time to lounge by a pool or swing in a hammock, why not tackle something more substantial? Guests: Colleen Leahy, Makini Allwood, Jorge Luis Borges, Orhan Pamuk, Maryanne Wolf, Codex Seraphinianus, Emily Parker, Junot Diaz, Ricardo Pitts-Wiley, Charles Miers
July 6, 2019
What's the essence of religion? God? Scripture? Moral codes? Or is it really about something more unexplainable — primal spiritual experiences? Guests: Elizabeth Krohn, Jeff Kripal, Elaine Pagels, Jericho Brown
June 29, 2019
Covert spies painting nerve agents on doorknobs? It's not the only way to poison someone. We hear stories of radioactive paint, formaldehyde-spiked baby formula, and a beautiful garden full of plants that could kill you. Guests: Deborah Blum, Kathryn Harkup, Amy Stewart, Kate Moore
June 22, 2019
We're always online but still have an innate need to meet in person. How can we make gatherings, from dinner parties to work meetings, more meaningful? Guests: Priya Parker, Mamie Kanfer Stewart, Angelo Bautista, James Ogude
June 16, 2019
The first birth is when you arrive here, as a wet, wiggling newborn. But there may be other transitions in your life that feel just as difficult and profound. Some people actually call those passages re-birth.  Guests: Arlene Stein, Wendy Kline, Benn Marine, Greg Cootsona
June 8, 2019
We owe our past and future existence on Earth to fungi. Some can heal you, some can kill you, and some can change you forever. Guests: Lawrence Millman, Paul Stamets, Eugenia Bone, Michael Pollan, Dennis McKenna, Robin Carhart-Harris
June 1, 2019
Even with all the music available today, most of us still listen primarily to just a few comfy genres. But there’s so much more out there — and so much of it defies neat, algorithm-friendly categorization.Guests:Kevin Gift, Wendel Patrick, Philip Glass, Robert Glasper, Toni Blackman, Clarice Jensen, Evelyn Glennie, Nikka Costa
May 24, 2019
Over-tourism is ruining some of our favorite places on earth. Maybe it’s time to think more carefully about where and why we go places. This show was produced in partnership with AFAR Magazine, whose May/June 2019 issue on ethical traveling inspired this episode. Guests: Elizabeth Becker, Dave Eggers, Kathryn Kellogg, Anu Taranath, Barry Lopez
May 18, 2019
Bees are endangered, but all over the world, people are stepping up to save them — in backyards, science labs, and the abandoned lots of urban Detroit. Guests: Heather Swan , Nicole Lindsey , Timothy Paule , Thor Hanson , Christof Koch , Tania Munz , Stephanie Elkins , Peter Sobol , Anne Strainchamps
May 11, 2019
Cities can be cacophonous and loud, a chaos of sonic discord. If, that is, you don't really focus your listening. People who’ve trained their ears to hear urban soundscapes in new ways hear something different. That’s what David Rothenberg is doing. He’s a composer and an environmental philosopher who’s made a career of listening to and performing music in the wild, with birds, animals and insects. Lately he’s been giving himself a crash course in the art — and science — of urban listening. His experience made us wonder: what else can you hear from a city when you really listen closely? People's patterns and everyday experiences emerge in detail, along with their struggles against prejudice and abuse. Some people hear pain, others hear art emerging from the chaos of sound. In this hour, we make the case for exploring your city sonically. Guests: David Rothenberg, David Haskell, Aaron Henkin, Wendel Patrick, Jennifer Stoever, Pierre Schaeffer, Vivienne Corringham
May 4, 2019
Hope means believing there’s a future. But can hope co-exist with cataclysmic realities like climate change, or disruptive technological advances like artificial intelligence? What’s ahead for future generations? Guests: Roy Scranton, Anne Lamott, Amy Webb, Victor LaValle, Robert Zubrin
April 27, 2019
We’ve all been there, that place where we feel hope slipping away. Maybe we’ve even lost hope. This hour we talk with people who’ve turned that around and made hope real, whether it’s through political activism, faith, music, or reading a life-changing novel. Guests: DeRay Mckesson, Lydia Hester, Serene Jones, Megan Stielstra, Common
April 20, 2019
Is hope something we’re innately born with, or something we can choose to have? We talk with people who tell us where they think hope lives in ourselves and our communities. The first of a three-part series on hope. Guests: Andre Willis, Steve Pinker, Tali Sharot, Alice Walker, Chigozie Obioma, Claire Peaslee
April 14, 2019
We’re living in a time of despair and desperation. It would be easy to give up. But what if, instead, we looked for hope?  We’re not talking about sugarcoating the situation. And hope — real hope — is not going to be simple to find. To the Best of Our Knowledge producers talked to some of the greatest artists, scientists, authors and thinkers of our time to ask them where they find hope, and how we can get some, too. Airdates April 20, 2019 April 27, 2019 May 04, 2019 Learn more at ttbook.org/hope.
April 13, 2019
Milwaukee is a city on water, right on the shore of Lake Michigan, split by the historic Milwaukee River. How did all that water shape the city's history, politics, culture, and people? We went on a roadtrip (and boat trip) looking for answers. Then we did a live show at Milwaukee's historic Turner Hall, talking with journalists, brewmasters, historians, comedians, spiritual leaders and one awesome DJ to get at some big underlying questions. If you're a model freshwater city, how do you sort out the politics of water scarcity? Milwaukee became the "Brew City" because of its easy access to freshwater. How do you celebrate that history while still creating new and different brews for beer lovers to enjoy? And since we all depend on water, how do we honor its spiritual significance? Guests: John Gurda, Dan Egan, Jenny Kehl, Chastity Washington, Ben Barbera, Russ Klisch, David Dupee, Tarik Moody, Siobhan Marks, Venice Williams, Kim Blaeser, Melanie Ariens
April 6, 2019
Look around the political landscape and you see something we haven’t seen for decades — politicians proudly identifying as socialists. In New York, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez came out of nowhere to steamroll an incumbent and seize the national stage. Bernie Sanders is leading the early crop of Democratic presidential hopefuls. And for the first time in a long time, membership in the Democratic Socialists of America is surging. What used to be political poison is now catnip for a new generation of voters. So, are we living in a socialist moment? Guests: Cheryl Blue, Andrew Haug, Erik Olin Wright, Bhaskar Sunkara, Sean Wilentz, Brother Ali
March 30, 2019
Shuttered businesses line the familiar streets of producer Charles Monroe-Kane’s hometown in the Rust Belt in northeastern Ohio. The steel mill where his father worked is shut down, locked behind chains. Opioid abuse is rampant, poverty is high, jobs are scarce. But people remain. What keeps them going? What do they hope for? Charles went back to talk with friends, family and community members in a journey to the Center of the World, Ohio. We leave the lives of Ohioans to travel back in time into the lives of Koreans in Japan with Min Jin Lee. Then we head to Brooklyn (well, "Another Brooklyn") with Jacqueline Woodson. Guests: Charles Monroe-Kane Min Jin Lee Jacqueline Woodson
March 23, 2019
They say "don't feed the trolls" — but why do they get to own the web? Was it built for them, or for all of us? We look at who built the internet, how it became an at times toxic space for women, and how we might build online spaces that are more inclusive to all. Guests: Claire Evans, Zoë Quinn, Roxane Gay, Sara Wachter-Boettcher, Emily Temple-Wood
March 16, 2019
Whether you know it or not, your closets are filled with personal information. About your identity, your values, your personality. And every day, you wear it all right out the door for the whole world to see. Do you think about what are you saying with your clothes? Guests: Angelo Bautista, Avery Trufelman, Carolyn Smith, agnès b., Jo Paoletti
March 9, 2019
Why is the world so damn cynical? Rather than surrendering to corrosive, hopeless snark, we look to some unexpected sources — video games, the lives lead by those who leave hate groups, and the optimism of the Afrofuturist art and culture movement — to make the case for sincerity. Guests: Jason Rohrer, Christy Wampole, Christian Picciolini, Ingrid LaFleur
March 2, 2019
Debates over immigration are raging all over the world, but sometimes it’s hard to sort out the political posturing from the actual problems. Should we be doing things differently? In a highly connected world, does the idea of a national border even make sense anymore? Guests: Mariela Shaker, Wolfgang Munchau, Molly Crabapple, Parag Khanna, Jose Angel N, Sunjeev Sahota
February 23, 2019
Sometimes, we take our body for granted. But even the everyday things it can do – keep our heart beating, fight off illness – are pretty extraordinary. Do you know what your body can do? We explore a kidney transplant, a chronic illness and a common fever, and find the mystery and the familiar in the anatomy of ourselves. Guests: Josh Mezrich, Missy Makinia, Porochista Khakpour, Gavin Francis
February 16, 2019
It creeps into everything from exercise to pore size, from diet to personal finance, from relationships to parenting style: guilt that we're not good enough, fit enough, smart enough. And as we peruse Instagram, all we see is the perfection of others reflecting our own failures back at us. Why do we spend so much time feeling guilty? Should we? Guests: Devorah Baum, Lucas Mann, Thomas Curran , Stephen Greenblatt, Susan Bandes
February 9, 2019
Human creativity — whether it’s solving a tough problem or writing a novel — is one of our defining traits. It’s also deeply mysterious. Where does that creative spark come from? Guests: Heather Berlin, Siri Hustvedt, Jim Holt, Mary Sharrat, Nathaniel Mary Quinn
February 2, 2019
What makes food "authentic"? Do we need to feel close to where it's made? Know the complete history of where it comes from? Be able to diagram the chemistry of how it dances along our taste buds? How can we quantify the romance between eaters and the food they love? In this hour, we talk about what it means to truly love what you eat and drink — and we ask why it matters. Guests: Simran Sethi, Samin Nosrat, Michael Twitty, Josh Noel
January 30, 2019
Remember virtual reality? Back in the 1990’s, it was going to be the technology of the future.  Today, it’s here. But we're still figuring out what to do with it. Storytellers and even journalists have begun experimenting — and at forefront is Will Smith. He recently created a virtual reality talk show called “The Foo Show,” in which he interviews game developers inside the environments from their favorite games. Will thinks that eventually virtual spaces will go way beyond games into theater, science, and beyond.  Guests: Will Smith, Simon Parkin
January 26, 2019
Every so often, a new literary movement coalesces. A new generation of writers finds a voice. This time they’re young, gifted, and Native American. Guests: Jennifer Foerster, Tommy Orange, Terese Marie Mailhot, David Treuer, Kevin Goodan, Tall Paul
January 19, 2019
Where do you go to find models of powerful women? Hatshepsut, Circe, Antigone — the ancient world was full of them, real and mythic. For thousands of years, women ruled the world. Today we barely know their names. Why? This week we rediscover the women of ancient myths and legends. Guests: Kara Cooney, Madeline Miller, Natalie Haynes, Emily Wilson, Serenity Young, Romare Bearden
January 12, 2019
All over the country, a chorus of hope is coming from an unexpected group — teenagers. They are marching, protesting and demanding a better future as we – the adults – watch them with a kind of heartbreaking pride. These teenagers are not waiting for adults to figure things out for them. They have superpowers — innocence, idealism, and Instagram — and they aren't waiting for permission to use them to reshape the conversation around everything from gun control to education to climate change. What can we learn from teenagers today? What do they have that the rest of us don't? Guests: Angie Jiang, Kevin Coval, Luis Carranza, Kee Stein, Frances Jensen, Angie Thomas, Tyler Ruzich
January 5, 2019
If life is a play, what happens during the last act? What’s it like to live knowing you have a limited amount of time left? This week, we’re talking about how to face, and in some cases, embrace your third act, whenever it arrives. Whether you’re looking at retirement, a late-life job change, an illness or just a lot of birthday candles on the cake — how do you live differently when you reach what’s likely to be your final act? Guests: Sabrina Frey, Daniel Pink, Maureen "Ma Dukes" Yancey, Martin Amis
December 29, 2018
New Years celebrations are all parties and hats, songs and champagne. No one ever seems to talk about the fact that something big just ended. An entire year of life, come and gone. Shouldn’t we pause to mourn, or mark its passing with a little reverence? We don’t handle endings well, in general. So this hour, let’s learn about how to make a good ending — whether leaving a lover, quitting a job, or getting ready for the end of life itself. Guests: Steve Almond, Ilana Gershon, Sean Hemingway, Simon Critchley, David Giffels
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