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Preview: PRI: To the Best of Our Knowledge Podcast

To the Best of Our Knowledge

To the Best of Our Knowledge cracks open the world and the ideas that fuel it through interviews with the world's luminaries, from experts to cultural icons. Each show revolves around a theme where we explore these ideas and the people who consider them.

Last Build Date: Mon, 21 Aug 2017 18:27:11 -0500

Copyright: Copyright 2017 by Wisconsin Public Radio

Striving To See In A Vast, Invisible Universe

Sat, 19 Aug 2017 00:00:00 -0500

On Monday, August 21, a total solar eclipse will cross the United States for the first time in a hundred years. For millions of people in its path, it’ll be like opening a window directly onto the broader universe. Besides chasing eclipses, how else can we see what's out there, beyond our skies? For a full list of segments from this show, visit our beta version of our new website.

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Imagining Climate Change

Sat, 12 Aug 2017 00:00:00 -0500

“The climate crisis is a crisis of culture and thus of imagination,” says writer Amitav Ghosh. So what changes in our conversation about global warming when we tap into the imaginative worlds of novelists and artists? How Bad Can Climate Change Really Get?; Where’s the Great “Climate Change Novel”?; Let’s Get Serious About the Anthropocene; Zulu Time; Lidia Yuknavitch’s Dream World.

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In the Company of Wolves

Sat, 05 Aug 2017 00:00:00 -0500

This hour, we'll explore our complicated relationships with our canine cousins -- wolves, coyotes, and dogs -- and the feelings they evoke -- fear, hatred and also love. What If Your Best Friend Is A Wolf?; How Coyotes Won The War We've Waged On Them; A Lesson in Resilience From Markoe's Best Friend; Revealing the Aristocratic Lifestyles of "Monster Dogs".

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Can An Evil Man Be A Decent Person?

Sun, 30 Jul 2017 00:00:00 -0500

How can someone be a monster — a brutal dictator, a mass murderer, a serial killer — and up close seem like a decent, caring person? What happens when you find yourself liking someone who’s done terrible things? The American Guards Who Kept Saddam Hussein Safe Until His Execution; Paul Beatty on "The Nazi and the Barber"; What Can Americans Learn from a Norwegian Massacre?; Your Archenemy Turned Out To Be a Hero. Now What?; Can Literature Make You More Empathetic? ; Michael Tisserand on “My Friend Dahmer”.

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Check Your Privilege

Sun, 23 Jul 2017 00:00:00 -0500

Privilege checking has become a mainstay of a certain kind of conversation about race or identity. One person reminds -- or accuses -- another of enjoying all kinds of unearned advantages, thanks to their skin color, gender, class or sexual orientation. Checking someone else’s privilege can be a form of hostility. Checking your own can be an act of humility. Either way, it can oftentimes be painful. But does anyone actually benefit from talking about privilege? This hour, the benefits and drawbacks of talking about privilege. A Primer On Exploring White Privilege; Let's Stop Talking About Privilege; Sensitivity Or Censorship: How Language Policing On College Campuses Is Shaping America's Future; The Case For Teaching Children About The Origins Of Diversity; What Organizations Get Wrong About Diversity; The Moral Argument For Human Cloning, Genetic Enhancement.

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Get Happy

Thu, 20 Jul 2017 00:00:00 -0500

Can science tell you how to "get happy?"  This hour,  the psychology and history behind the very idea of happiness. Plus some practical advice for how to live well. Want to be Happier? Turn Everyday Tasks Into a Game; A Little Less Feeling, A Lot More Action; A History of Happiness; How to Find Happiness in Everyday Life and Language; David Morris Recommends “Solo Faces” by James Salter; Rediscovering Henry David Thoreau.

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The Art of Reinventing Yourself

Sun, 16 Jul 2017 00:00:00 -0500

Do you ever wish you could reinvent yourself? This hour, we hear from four noted artists who experienced pivotal turns in their own lives: artist Rashid Johnson, writer/photographer Teju Cole, singer Nikka Costa, and musician Michael Nesmith. Artist Rashid Johnson Explores Race, Yearning and Escape; How Temporary Blindness Taught Teju Cole To See; Why Not Abolish Literary Genres?; From Child Pop Star to Jazz Singer; From the Monkees to Country Rock.

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When Is A Road Trip Something More?

Sun, 09 Jul 2017 00:00:00 -0500

We take road trips and endless highways for granted, but there are other countries where people can pay a heavy price just for getting behind a wheel. Put It In Boogie Gear On the Backslide; Driving While Female; What If We Forget How to Get Lost?; A Guidebook to the 'Blackest Road Trip Ever'; Traveling Between Worlds Apart.

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The Real Ways That "Fake News" Shapes What We Believe

Sun, 02 Jul 2017 00:00:00 -0500

You can tell the difference. Or can you? A Reporter's Journey to the Epicenter of Liberal Fake News; Who Shares A Fake Story? Fake Users; When Is It Prudent To Be Paranoid?; Poison in the Soda Pop, and Other Conspiracies That Spring From A Grain of Truth; Radioactive Clocks And The Women Poisoned By Them.

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Locked Up

Sun, 25 Jun 2017 00:00:00 -0500

Most of us will never know what really happens behind bars. Prisons are generally off limits to the public and press, but a national prisoner strike on the 45th anniversary of the Attica Prison riot is drawing new attention to the conditions in many of our nation's jails. This hour, what should a prison be? How The Attica Prison Riot Fueled Mass Incarceration in America; Working Undercover As A Private Prison Guard; In Defense of Flogging; Norway's Unusual Approach to Imprisonment; How To Reduce Mass Incarceration; Exploring the Emotional Roots of Justice.

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Peak Performance

Sun, 18 Jun 2017 00:00:00 -0500

Scaling El Cap, where Alex Honnold and Tommy Caldwell stunned the world with their dazzling climbs. The Audacity of the World's Most Daring Climber; Hanging Out On Top of Cliffs Is My Happy Place ; Alex Honnold’s Most Dangerous Adventure; The Science of Peak Performance; The Myth of the “Dumb Jock”; The Ultimate Long-Distance Race.

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Gateway Moments: Live from St. Louis

Sun, 11 Jun 2017 00:00:00 -0500

We’ve all had them—the big, significant, transformations that take your life in a new direction. And even though those gateway moments present new and exciting opportunities, they are almost always by definition uncomfortable.    This hour, in partnership with St. Louis Public Radio, To The Best Of Our Knowledge explores various examples of crossing over, to racial understanding, to recovery and to greater unity and love. A City of Gates That Do Not Swing Wide; Adventures on the Woke Spectrum; Shadowball; The Last Game I Make Before I Die; Beatboxing With My Dad; Black At Home, White At Work.

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Extra: One Woman Who Sounds Like Twenty

Fri, 09 Jun 2017 00:00:00 -0500

Low-fi artist Syna So Pro loops with love.

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This Will Shock You

Sun, 04 Jun 2017 00:00:00 -0500

The virtues of transgressive, subversive, rule-breaking art, both as an aesthetic and as a way of life. A Matter of (Bad) Taste; Two Tape Recorders and Twenty Knives; Classical Doesn't Have To Mean Dead; Hiding Yourself Behind Characters.

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Extra: Changing A Place By Documenting It

Thu, 01 Jun 2017 00:00:00 -0500

Filmmaker Laura Stewart on how being filmed affects documentary subjects, and how that affects the truth you can tell.

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Parks and Recreation

Sun, 28 May 2017 00:00:00 -0500

"We live by wild mercy," Terry Tempest Williams writes. In this hour, she takes us to some of her favorite national parks, from Big Bend to Arches. We also explore the desert wilderness of Utah's Escalante area, and hear about a father and daughter's remarkable adventure into the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Lauret Savoy says the American landscape also has a complicated history that can't be separated from the country's racism. And Robert Moor talks about the wisdom of trails. A Father and Daughter Venture Into the Alaskan Wild; Terry Tempest Williams on National Parks; Desert Mind; Land, Race, Memory; The Wisdom of Trails.

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Extra: David Byrne is Thinking About How Music Works

Thu, 25 May 2017 00:00:00 -0500

David Byrne talks about how music works.

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Forgiving the Unforgivable

Sun, 21 May 2017 00:00:00 -0500

Are there certain acts, certain people who are beyond forgiveness? When you’re hurt and the only way out of toxic bitterness and resentment is to let go, how do you summon the resolve to reach out to the person who hurt you most? This hour, the keys to living a more forgiving life. Reconciling With My Rapist; How Does It Feel To Forgive?; The Four Key Steps To Forgiveness; Making Peace With My Father, With Help From Dante; Hari Kunzru on American Guilt.

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Extra: Mark Frost Takes Us Deep Inside the Secret History of Twin Peaks

Thu, 18 May 2017 00:00:00 -0500

Mark Frost takes us deep inside the secret history of Twin Peaks.

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Worshipping Waterfalls: The Evolution of Belief

Fri, 12 May 2017 00:00:00 -0500

Do chimpanzees have spiritual experiences? A remarkable discovery in West Africa suggests they might. Do Chimpanzees Have Spiritual Experiences?; How “Big Gods” Transformed Human History; An Evolutionary Biologist Searches for God; What Bliss Looks Like In Your Brain.

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Extra: The Evolutionary Advantage of Faith

Thu, 11 May 2017 00:00:00 -0500

Is there an inherent conflict between science and religion? Jeff Schloss doesn’t think so. He’s a biologist who studies the evolutionary origins of religion. He’s also an observant Christian.

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Frankly, I Don't Give a Damn

Sun, 07 May 2017 00:00:00 -0500

In this hour, we explore what the superpower of not giving a f--- might allow you to do. Breaking Out of The "Feedback Loop from Hell"; Menefreghismo; Resisting the Self-Improvement Craze; The Impossibility of Actually ‘Having It All’.

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The News From Poems: “November Eyes on Main Street”

Thu, 04 May 2017 00:00:00 -0500

Richard Blanco’s poem begins the day after the November election, as he struggles to make sense of a new political mood.

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Center of the World, Ohio

Sun, 30 Apr 2017 00:00:00 -0500

Amidst economic devastation, producer Charles Monroe-Kane asks what it takes to survive in the Rust Belt.

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The News From Poems: “WTF”

Thu, 27 Apr 2017 00:00:00 -0500

A near-accident has poet Laura Kasischke marveling at the fearlessness of young adults and also worrying about their future.

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Repeat When Necessary

Sun, 23 Apr 2017 00:00:00 -0500

Whether it’s nail biting or handwashing, most of us have a compulsion we can’t give up. Maybe that’s a good thing? The Psychology of Why You Can’t Stop Checking Your Phone; Tracing the Patterns of an Obsessive Mind; When Obsessive Thoughts Take Control Of Your Life; How Obsession and Compulsion Powered American Genius.

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The News From Poems: “Ode To the Dead of Bowling Green”

Thu, 20 Apr 2017 00:00:00 -0500

Poet Nick Lantz has been thinking about political spin and how his poems can play off the language of politics. 

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Extra: "Fargo" Showrunner Noah Hawley

Tue, 18 Apr 2017 00:00:00 -0500

Noah Hawley talks about turning the Coen Brothers' film, "Fargo," into a critically-acclaimed TV series

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How To Think Like a Scientist

Sun, 16 Apr 2017 00:00:00 -0500

Do scientists see the world in a different way? Not really, as long as you have insatiable curiosity and a passion to experiment. The World Is Your Lab; Could a 50 Cent Microscope Change the World?; Cooking With Neil deGrasse Tyson; Freeman Dyson, at 93, Looks Back on a Legendary Career in Science.

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The News From Poems: “Brush With Cymbals”

Thu, 13 Apr 2017 00:00:00 -0500

In his new poem, Fady Joudah explores questions about exile, suffering and the language of nation states.

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