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Preview: KERA's Think Podcast

KERA's Think

Published: Fri, 24 Mar 2017 19:14:40 +0000

Last Build Date: Fri, 24 Mar 2017 19:14:55 +0000

Copyright: Copyright 2016 KERA

Life As An American Muslim

Fri, 24 Mar 2017 19:14:40 +0000

Muslim Americans face a unique set of challenges that their fellow Americans don’t. We’ll talk with a pair of American Muslims about having to regularly justify their right to even live in the U.S. – and about being associated with those who would harm others in the name of religion. We’ll start the show talking with Khizr Khan, who spoke about the death of his son – U.S. Army Captain Humayun Khan – during the Democratic National Convention last summer. And we’ll continue the conversation with Omar Suleiman, an Irving imam who’s president of the Yaqeen Institute for Islamic Research  

Media Files:

A Passover Haggadah

Thu, 23 Mar 2017 19:43:18 +0000

Passover is a little less than a month away. Humorist Alan Zweibel grew up attending his share of Seders, and he joins us for a lighthearted look at the rituals that surround the holiday. His new book, which he co-wrote with Dave Barry and Adam Mansbach, is called “For This We Left Egypt?: A Passover Haggadah for Jews and Those Who Love Them” (Flatiron Books).  

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The Myth Of Conscious Consumerism

Thu, 23 Mar 2017 19:42:02 +0000

Every time we make a purchase, our decisions affect people we’ll never meet and places we may never visit. Alden Wicker joins us to talk about “conscious consumerism” and how we can make the most ethical and environmental choices when we spend our money. She writes about the topic for Quartz.  

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The Life Of Louis Kahn

Wed, 22 Mar 2017 20:10:33 +0000

Louis Kahn devoted much of his career to designing public buildings – including a pair of museums on the Yale campus and the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth. Wendy Lesser joins us to talk about the architect’s life and work, which she writes about in “You Say to Brick: The Life of Louis Kahn” (Farrar, Straus and Giroux). Lesser will take part in a symposium focusing on Kahn this weekend at the Kimbell.  

Media Files:

The Power Of Less

Wed, 22 Mar 2017 20:09:31 +0000

Most organizations are trying to build up resources while also making the most of what they have. Scott Sonenshein, a management professor at Rice, joins us to talk about why focusing on frugality over acquisition is the smarter approach. His new book is called “Stretch: Unlock the Power of Less – and Achieve More Than You Ever Imagined” (Harper Business).  

Media Files:

The Reach Of The First Amendment

Tue, 21 Mar 2017 19:31:29 +0000

The First Amendment is most closely associated with freedom of speech. And that freedom actually extends to works of visual art, music, poetry and other forms of expression. Harvard Law professor Mark Tushnet joins us to talk about the many freedoms covered at the top of the Bill of Rights, which he writes about in “Free Speech Beyond Words: The Surprising Reach of the First Amendment” (NYU Press).  

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Eyes Wide Open

Tue, 21 Mar 2017 19:30:48 +0000

Isaac Lidsky was a teenager when he began to lose his eyesight. His pending blindness, though, actually drove him to graduate early from Harvard, clerk for a Supreme Court justice and build a family. He joins us this hour to talk about staying positive when life throws us a curve, which he writes about in “Eyes Wide Open: Overcoming Obstacles and Recognizing Opportunities in a World that Can’t See Clearly” (Tarcher Perigee).  

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From MBA To Minimum Wage

Mon, 20 Mar 2017 19:42:36 +0000

Deepak Singh moved from India to the U.S. with an advanced degree – so he was surprised when he was only able to land a low-paying job. He joins us to talk about his struggle to adapt to his new life in America – and about how his American co-workers also found it difficult to get by – which he writes about in “How May I Help You?: An Immigrant’s Journey From MBA to Minimum Wage” (University of California Press).  

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The Hunt For The Lost Franklin Expedition

Mon, 20 Mar 2017 19:41:42 +0000

In 1845, explorer John Franklin led an expedition from England to discover the Northwest Passage. Both ships were lost in the Arctic ice, leading to a decades-long search for the wreckage. Paul Watson joins us to talk about how marine science mixed with Inuit folklore lead to the discovery, which he writes about in “Ice Ghosts: The Epic Hunt for the Lost Franklin Expedition” (W.W. Norton and Co.). He’s in town for DMA Arts & Letters Live! Tuesday night at the Dallas Museum of Art.  

Media Files:

How The 2016 Election Happened

Fri, 17 Mar 2017 19:40:13 +0000

Political satirist P.J. O’Rourke is known nationwide as a diehard Republican. So even he was surprised when he endorsed Hillary Clinton during the presidential election. He joins us to talk about a top-to-bottom rethinking of how we as a country choose our leaders, which he writes about in “How the Hell Did This Happen?: The Election of 2016” (Atlantic Monthly Press).  

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A Conversation With Amy Dickinson

Thu, 16 Mar 2017 19:15:31 +0000

Public radio listeners know Amy Dickinson has a regular panelists on “Wait, Wait … Don’t Tell Me!” The popular advice columnist joins us to talk about how experiences in her own life have helped her to guide readers through relationships, parenting and even death. Her new book is called “Strangers Tend to Tell Me Things: A Memoir of Love, Loss, and Coming Home” (Hachette).  

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History’s Greatest Buildings

Thu, 16 Mar 2017 19:13:59 +0000

Grand buildings provide frozen moments that help us to understand the life and times of the people who built them. And when these structures are destroyed, so, too, is part of our collective history. James Crawford joins us to talk about how the Tower of Babel, the Library of Alexandria and other important buildings were used and abused, which he writes about in “Fallen Glory: The Lives and Deaths of History’s Greatest Buildings” (Picador).  

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An Intersex Life

Wed, 15 Mar 2017 19:22:00 +0000

People born intersex have reproductive organs, hormones and chromosomal patterns that aren’t distinctly male or female. Hida Viloria was born in that space between genders, the beginning of a decades-long quest to understand what it’s like to be both male and female. Hida joins us to talk about that journey, the subject of “Born Both: An Intersex Life” (Hachette).  

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The Scene Along The Border

Wed, 15 Mar 2017 19:21:26 +0000

As the United States ramps up its efforts to deport people in the country without permission, Reynosa is taking the brunt of that activity. The U.S. regularly sends busloads of undocumented Mexicans and Central Americans to the Mexican border city, where those people often interact with others gearing up to cross the borders themselves. NPR’s John Burnett has spent time recently in the city, and he joins us to talk about what life is like there.  

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Exit West

Tue, 14 Mar 2017 19:35:04 +0000

Mohsin Hamid’s novel “Exit West” (Riverhead Books) follows a young couple in an unnamed war-torn country who decide to leave their homeland behind to make a new life in an unfamiliar place. Hamid joins us to talk about how his own childhood move from Pakistan to California and back again ingrained in him what it’s like to feel like a foreigner. He’s in town to talk about his book tonight as part of DMA Arts & Letter Live! at the Dallas Museum of Art.  

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Hope For The Rest Of Us

Tue, 14 Mar 2017 19:34:23 +0000

Twenty-five years ago, Krissi Caldwell and her boyfriend, Bobby Gonzales, shot Krissi’s mother, Roz, to death. Her father, Buz, survived the attempt on his life and pushed for the killers to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Jennifer Emily recently revisited the story for The Dallas Morning News, finding a family has made peace with that awful night. She joins us to talk about how a father found a way to forgiveness – and about how the case could change the way we think about prosecuting young offenders.  

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A Conversation With Richard Haass

Mon, 13 Mar 2017 19:22:33 +0000

Between Britain’s “Brexit” and President Trump’s “America First” philosophy, two of the world’s strongest allies have moved toward a position of nationalism. Richard Haass, president of the non-partisan Council on Foreign Relations, joins us to make the case for globalism and the important role the U.S. plays in keeping the world running smoothly. His new book is called “A World in Disarray: American Foreign Policy and the Crisis of the Old Order” (Penguin Press).  

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The Rise Of Addictive Technologies

Mon, 13 Mar 2017 19:21:46 +0000

The smartphone is one of the most useful creations of the last decade. For many of us, though, our use of them borders on compulsion. Adam Alter, a professor of psychology and marketing at NYU, joins us to talk about how the makers of smartphones and other products have cracked the code of behavioral addiction – and how we can gain control of our impulses. His new book is called “Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technologies and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked” (Penguin Press).  

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Chasing Portraits

Thu, 09 Mar 2017 20:56:50 +0000

Moshe Rynecki was a Polish-Jewish artist with hundreds of paintings to his name before he was ushered off to the ghetto during World War II. Decades later, his great-granddaughter went on a quest to find these missing family treasures. Elizabeth Rynecki joins us to talk about the difficult task of rebuilding the collection, which she writes about in “Chasing Portraits: A Great-Granddaughter’s Quest for Her Lost Art Legacy” (New American Library). She’s in town to speak tonight at 7 at the Aaron Family Jewish Community Center.  

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The Changing Face of Schools

Wed, 08 Mar 2017 20:26:27 +0000

Schools in the U.S. have been formally desegregated for more than 60 years. That doesn’t mean that race doesn’t remain a part of education, though. As part of KERA’s American Graduate series, we’re partnering with the public radio show Houston Matters for a discussion of how students’ racial backgrounds affect the quality of their schooling. We’ll be joined by University of Pittsburgh professor H. Richard Milner, author of “Rac(e)ing to Class” (Harvard Education Press), as well as Linda McSpadden McNeil of the Rice University Center for Education.  

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Turning Texas Blue

Tue, 07 Mar 2017 20:48:20 +0000

In November, Hillary Clinton won Harris County by 160,000 votes. And that margin of victory has some Democrats hoping that Houston can be a leader in turning Texas blue. Andrew Cockburn joins us to talk about how the Texas Organizing Project delivered the victory by reaching out to black and Latino voters. He writes about the strategy in Harper’s.  

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How Taming Sleep Created Our Restless World

Tue, 07 Mar 2017 20:47:21 +0000

Most of us are in a constant search for that elusive, uninterrupted eight hours of sleep. And we’re not alone. Emory University professor Benjamin Reiss joins us to talk about humanity’s centuries-old struggle to rest as the world continues to spin. His new book is called “Wild Nights: How Taming Sleep Created Our Restless World” (Basic Books).  

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Lincoln In The Bardo

Mon, 06 Mar 2017 20:15:37 +0000

In 1862, President Lincoln’s 11-year-old son, Willie, died after an illness. Acclaimed writer George Saunders imagines the supernatural moments that immediately follow young Willie’s death in his first novel, “Lincoln in the Bardo,” Saunders will talk about the book Wednesday night as part of DMA Arts and Letters Live! at the Dallas Museum of Art.  

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Life In The Perpetual Now

Mon, 06 Mar 2017 20:14:58 +0000

In 2007, Lonnie Sue Johnson contracted encephalitis. The disease left her with almost no memories and no ability to form new ones. Michael Lemonick joins us to talk about Johnson’s story – and about how memory works in the brain – which he writes about in “The Perpetual Now: A Story of Amnesia, Memory, and Love” (Doubleday).  

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The Legacy Of Roe V. Wade

Fri, 03 Mar 2017 20:14:10 +0000

Norma McCorvey – the Dallasite better known as Jane Roe – died in February. Though the Supreme Court ruled in her favor in the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion, the case has remained a topic of public and legislative debate for more than 40 years. We’ll look back at McCorvey’s complicated life with Moira Donegan who recently wrote about McCorvey for the New Republic. We’ll talk with researcher Sarah Roberts who studies how women feel about their decision to have an abortion. We’ll also talk with Destiny Herndon-De La Rosa, the leader of a pro-life feminist organization and Kassi Underwood, author of “May Cause Love: An Unexpected Journey of Enlightenment After Abortion.”  

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A Conversation With John King

Thu, 02 Mar 2017 20:31:58 +0000

In 2015, President Obama named John King the 10th U.S. Secretary of Education. As part of KERA’s American Graduate series, he joins us to talk about the government’s role in education – and about how changing U.S. demographics are affecting our schools. He’s in town for the release today of the Commit! Partnership’s Community Achievement Scorecard at Dallas City Performance Hall.  

Media Files:

The Gene Machine

Thu, 02 Mar 2017 20:31:11 +0000

Doctors are increasingly able to diagnose medical conditions in utero that may affect a child’s entire life. Science journalist Bonnie Rochman joins us to talk about the many ethical questions that arise from the knowledge gained by pre-birth testing. She writes about the topic in “The Gene Machine: How Genetic Technologies are Changing the Way We Have Kids – and the Kids We Have” (Scientific American).  

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The Causes Of Mass Incarceration

Wed, 01 Mar 2017 20:23:47 +0000

About 5 percent of the world’s population lives in the United States. However, one in four of the world’s prisoners is incarcerated here. Fordham Law School professor John Pfaff joins us to talk about why the U.S. has such a high rate of imprisonment – and about ways to curb that population. He writes about the topic in “Locked In: The True Causes of Mass Incarceration and How to Achieve Real Reform” (Basic Books).  

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An Inside Look At The Federal Reserve

Wed, 01 Mar 2017 20:23:06 +0000

The Federal Reserve is one of the most powerful – and least understood – institutions in America. Danielle DiMartino Booth – a former analyst with the Dallas Fed – joins us to talk about the inner workings of the Fed and why its policies often harm some Americans. Her new book is called “Fed Up: An Insider’s Take On Why the Federal Reserve is Bad for America” (Portfolio).  

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Presidential Secrets

Tue, 28 Feb 2017 20:26:58 +0000

When it comes to military strategy and diplomatic negotiations, it’s easy to understand why U.S. presidents feel they can’t share everything they know with the public. Mary Graham, co-director of the Transparency Policy Project at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, joins us to talk about how presidents balance national security and the people’s right to know how they are being represented. Her new book is called “Presidents’ Secrets: The Use and Abuse of Hidden Power” (Yale University Press).  

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The Health Of Newcomers

Tue, 28 Feb 2017 20:26:20 +0000

When wealthy nations craft healthcare policy, they often neglect the needs of immigrants. Northeastern University law professor Wendy Parmet joins us to talk about how a healthy immigrant population contributes to a nation’s overall health. She writes about the idea in her book “The Health of Newcomers: Immigration, Health Policy, and the Case for Global Solidarity” (NYU Press)  

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The Value Of Slaves

Mon, 27 Feb 2017 20:26:33 +0000

During America’s domestic slave trade, the values of enslaved people changed over the course of their lives. Daina Ramey Berry, UT-Austin associate professor of history and African diaspora studies, joins us to talk about how slave owners tried to maximize the values of their slaves – and about how slaves responded to being appraised. Her new book is called “The Price for Their Pound of Flesh: The Value of the Enslaved, from Womb to Grave, in the Building of a Nation” (Beacon Press).  

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Why Millennials Reject Political Careers

Mon, 27 Feb 2017 20:25:17 +0000

Millennials are now at the age when they are taking on positions of power across the country. Shauna L. Shames, who teaches political science at Rutgers University-Camden, joins us to talk about why young adults increasingly feel they can contribute to society more effectively outside of government. She writes about the idea in “Out of the Running: Why Millennials Reject Political Careers and Why It Matters” (NYU Press).  

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A Conversation With Bill Paxton

Mon, 27 Feb 2017 15:16:06 +0000

We'll spend this hour with veteran actor Bill Paxton. A native of Fort Worth, Paxton famously set out for Hollywood at the age of 18 to get his start. He succeeded. 

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The Rise Of Long-Term Solitary Confinement

Fri, 24 Feb 2017 20:45:50 +0000

Solitary confinement in U.S. prisons was originally intended for the most extreme circumstances. Keramet Reiter of the UC-Irvine law school joins us to talk about how the practice has become more widely used – and about the effect it has on prisoners. She writes about those topics in “23/7: Pelican Bay Prison and the Rise of Long-Term Solitary Confinement” (Yale University Press).  

Media Files:

The Spread Of Antigay Ideology

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 20:32:30 +0000

Last year, Masha Gessen visited Tbilisi, Georgia, to attend the World Congress of Families. The conservative organization opposes gay marriage; Gesson is married to a woman with whom she shares children. She joins us to talk about trying to find common ground with people whose way of thinking she opposes. Her story “Family Values: Mapping the Spread of Antigay Ideology” appears in the March issue of Harper’s.  

Media Files:

The Art Of Grace

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 20:30:05 +0000

As the Pulitzer Prize-winning dance critic for the Washington Post, Sarah Kaufman knows what graceful movement looks like. She joins us to talk about how we can incorporate elegance into our everyday existence, which she writes about in “The Art of Grace: On Moving Well Through Life” (W.W. Norton and Co.).  

Media Files:

The Death Of Expertise

Wed, 22 Feb 2017 20:40:12 +0000

With the Internet, nearly any fact or figure is just a click away. That democratization of information comes with downsides, though – including everyday people thinking they understand complex concepts as well as doctors, lawyers and other experts. Tom Nichols, a professor at the Naval War College, joins us to talk about the dangers of assuming we know it all, which he writes about in “The Death of Expertise: The Campaign Against Established Knowledge and Why it Matters” (Oxford University Press).  

Media Files:

The Russian Revolution

Wed, 22 Feb 2017 20:37:24 +0000

One hundred years ago this month, the Russian Empire collapsed with the abdication of Emperor Nicholas II. Daniel Orlovsky, George Bouhe Research Fellow in Russian Studies at SMU, and Boris Kolonitsky, Russian Revolution History Chair at the European University in St Petersburg, Russia, join us to talk about how the Russian Revolution brought about the Soviet Union and eventually the Russia of today. They’ll speak at “The Russian Revolution of 1917: A Centennial View,” a symposium at SMU.  

Media Files:

A Conversation With Glynn Washington

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 20:25:32 +0000

Each week on “Snap Judgment,” Glynn Washington brings public radio listeners stories centered on a common theme. He joins us to talk about the art of storytelling ahead of a live taping of the show at the Majestic Theatre in Dallas on Friday. Do. Not. Miss it.  

Media Files:

The Teenage Brain

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 20:23:07 +0000

Anyone who’s around teenagers often knows that they can be hard to pin down – mature and independent one minute, impulsive and emotional the next. Adriana Galván of the UCLA Brain Research Institute joins us to talk about how the teen mind develops. She’s in town for “The Brain: An Owner’s Lecture Series” tonight at UTD’s Center for Brain Health.  

Media Files:

Tackling Concussions

Mon, 20 Feb 2017 20:35:02 +0000

UT Southwestern Medical Center’s O’Donnell Brain Institute recently launched the Con-Tex Registry, a statewide database to track concussions among middle- and high-school athletes. Dr. Munro Cullum and Dr. Hunt Batjer – who operate the data base – join us to talk about what we can learn from collecting data on a large scale. And we’ll also talk with Reid Forgrave, whose profile of a young football player who committed suicide after suffering from CTE appears in the current issue of GQ.  

Media Files:

Lessons From A Workologist

Mon, 20 Feb 2017 20:34:22 +0000

Many of us spend more time with our co-workers on a given day than with our spouses and friends. Rob Walker joins us to talk about how we can get along better with our colleagues, be better managers to our employees and develop a rapport with our bosses. He gives workplace advice as the Workologist columnist for The New York Times. And we’ll also talk with Brad Bitterly, a doctoral student at the University of Pennsylvania, about a recent workplace study he authored called “Risky Business: When Humor Increases and Decreases Status.”  

Media Files:

The Other Slavery

Fri, 17 Feb 2017 20:15:44 +0000

Slavery is the great stain on American’s history – and while African Americans bore the brunt of the practice, they weren’t the only ones. Andrés Reséndez joins us to talk about the tens of thousands of Native Americans who also served as slaves dating back to the times of Columbus. He writes about the topic in “The Other Slavery: The Uncovered Story of Indian Enslavement in America” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt). He’s in town to participate in the symposium “Indians at the Center: Rethinking U.S. History and Geography,” sponsored by the UTA Center for Greater Southwestern Studies.  

Media Files:

Modern Death

Thu, 16 Feb 2017 20:17:10 +0000

Death is an experience that every human who ever lives will go through. And yet our understanding of the mechanics of death is relatively limited. Dr. Haider Warraich of Duke University Medical Center joins us to talk about how technological advances are giving scientists a better understanding of how we die, which he writes about in “Modern Death: How Medicine Changed the End of Life” (St. Martin’s Press).  

Media Files:

A 2,000 Mile Journey

Thu, 16 Feb 2017 20:16:21 +0000

Of the thousands of people who attempt to “thru-hike” the Appalachian Trail each year, only one in four complete the trip. About 25 percent of those hikers are women, and last year, Rahawa Haile become one of the few women of color to finish the 2,000 mile trek. She joins us to talk about how books by black authors helped her along the way. Her essay “How Black Books Lit My Way Along the Appalachian Trail” appears on BuzzFeed.  

Media Files:

The Anti-Vaccination Movement

Wed, 15 Feb 2017 20:48:02 +0000

As of last fall, more than 45,000 Texas students have received nonmedical exemptions for their school vaccinations. That makes the state a prime location for an outbreak of measles – one of the most contagious and lethal of all diseases. That’s according to Dr. Peter J. Hotez, a pediatrician at Baylor College of Medicine and director of the Texas Children’s Hospital Center for Vaccine Development. He joins us to talk about how the anti-vaccination movement is gaining ground nationwide, which he wrote about recently in The New York Times.  

Media Files:

The History Of The U.S.-Mexico Border

Wed, 15 Feb 2017 20:46:49 +0000

For decades, Mexico has ranked as one of America’s top trading partners, thanks in part to NAFTA. In recent years, though, there have been calls to tighten border security and even build a wall along the border, straining the alliance between the two countries, Eric Meeks, senior fellow at SMU’s Clemens Center for Southwest Studies, joins us to talk about our relationship with Mexico. On Feb. 21, he’ll deliver a lecture entitled “Bridges and Barricades: A History of the U.S.-Mexico Border” on the SMU campus.  

Media Files:

A Conversation With Elliot Ackerman

Tue, 14 Feb 2017 20:39:44 +0000

Elliot Ackerman is a decorated Marine who served five tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. And since 2013, he’s reported on the war in Syria from Istanbul. He joins us to talk about tapping into that firsthand knowledge of the world’s most dangerous places for his novels, the latest of which is called “Dark at the Crossing” (Knopf). Ackerman speaks to the World Affairs Council of Dallas-Fort Worth on February 24.  

Media Files:

How We Consume Online News

Tue, 14 Feb 2017 20:38:58 +0000

The proliferation of fake news online has troubled legitimate members of the media as well as those who rely on the media for information about the world. Amy Mitchell, director of journalism research for the Pew Research Center, joins us to talk about how people consume news online – the subject of an expansive new study conducted by Pew.  

Media Files:

Active Shooters On Campus

Mon, 13 Feb 2017 20:54:01 +0000

The documentary “Tower” revisits the day Charles Whitman ascended UT-Austin’s iconic tower and unleashed a shooting spree that left 14 dead and more than 30 injured on the mall below. The film airs on PBS stations tomorrow night. Pete Blair, executive director of the Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training (ALERRT) Center at Texas State University joins us to talk about how the authorities handle active shooter situations. And we’ll also talk with “Tower” director Keith Maitland and Claire Wilson, who was struck by one of Whitman’s bullets.  

Media Files:

How Darwinism Changed America

Mon, 13 Feb 2017 20:53:06 +0000

Charles Darwin’s “On the Origin of Species” is arguably the most important book of the 19th Century. University of Tulsa professor Randall Fuller joins us to talk about how the book’s argument for a common ancestry for all creatures was used as a potent argument against slavery. He writes about the idea in “The Book That Changed America: How Darwin’s Theory of Evolution Ignited a Nation” (Viking). Study up for the conversation by reading Chris Vognar’s Dallas Morning News review of the book.

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An Investigation Of Compulsive Behavior

Fri, 10 Feb 2017 22:02:24 +0000

Compulsive behavior can take many forms – from double checking that the door’s locked to extreme, irrational habits that derail people’s lives. Science writer Sharon Begley joins us to talk about the relationship between these behaviors and anxiety, which she writes about in “Can’t. Just. Stop.: An Investigation of Compulsion” (Simon & Schuster).

Media Files:

Norse Mythology

Thu, 09 Feb 2017 20:31:26 +0000

Neil Gaiman is the rare author whose talents translate from short stories, to comic books, to screenplays and, of course, novels. He joins us to talk about dipping into ancient history for his newest book, “Norse Mythology,” which takes its inspiration from the cultural stories of ancient Scandinavia.  

Media Files:

The Mayan World Revealed

Thu, 09 Feb 2017 20:30:43 +0000

When David Stuart was 15 years old, he deciphered a piece of the Mayan code that unlocked the ancient culture’s system of hieroglyphics. That was just the beginning of his lifelong study of the Maya, a passion that lead him to the leadership of the Mesoamerica Center at the University of Texas at Austin. He joins us to talk about the people who once dominated parts of Mexico and Central America – the subject of the exhibit “Maya: Hidden Worlds Revealed” at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science.  

Media Files:

Building An Autocracy

Wed, 08 Feb 2017 20:46:03 +0000

Our democracy is designed for the three branches of government to keep each other in check. As the nearly three-week-old Trump Administration puts policies into place, many are wondering how President Trump and his team will steer the future of the United States. David Frum joins us to talk about what it would take for the executive branch to wrestle power from the U.S. Judiciary and Congress and fundamentally alter our democracy. His story “How to Build an Autocracy” appears in the March issue of The Atlantic.  

Media Files:

30 Seconds Closer To Midnight

Wed, 08 Feb 2017 20:45:00 +0000

Each year, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists updates its Doomsday Clock – a measurement of the threat posed by nuclear weapons, climate change and other existential threats to humanity. And the news this year was not good. Kennette Benedict, former executive director and publisher of the Bulletin, joins us to talk about why last year we ticked forward another 30 seconds closer to the end of the world – and about if there’s anything we can do to turn back the clock.  

Media Files:

The Science Behind Living Longer

Tue, 07 Feb 2017 20:16:27 +0000

Dr. Elizabeth Blackburn won the Nobel Prize for her research into telomeres, the structure that protects our chromosomes and, in turn, our genetic heritage. She joins us to talk about how telomeres contribute to how we age, the subject of her book “The Telomere Effect: A Revolutionary Approach to Living Younger, Healthier, Longer” (Grand Central Publishing).  

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Why We Underprepare For Disasters

Tue, 07 Feb 2017 20:15:43 +0000

The probability of any of us being affected by a tornado, earth quake or other natural disaster is relatively low. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t prepare for them, though. Wharton school professor Robert Meyer joins us to talk about how we should plan for traumatic events – and why many of us choose to just hope for the best. His new book is called “The Ostrich Paradox: Why We Underprepare for Disasters” (Wharton Digital Press).  

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Democracy In Black

Mon, 06 Feb 2017 20:52:56 +0000

Princeton professor Eddie S. Glaude Jr. argues that America was founded on a “value gap,” in which white lives are valued more than others. He joins us to talk about how that gap has yet to be bridged – and about why a total remaking of our democracy is the only path to equality. His new book is called “Democracy in Black: How Race Still Enslaves the American Soul” (Broadway Books).  

Media Files:

The President’s Use Of Executive Orders

Mon, 06 Feb 2017 20:51:19 +0000

President Trump has wasted no time making good on campaign promises through the use of executive orders. It’s a strategy President Obama also employed in his first few weeks in office. Daniel Gitterman, chair of the University of North Carolina Department of Public Policy, joins us to talk about how presidents use executive orders. He writes about the topic in “Calling the Shots: The President, Executive Orders, and Public Policy” (Brookings Institution Press).  

Media Files:

Mindful Medicine

Fri, 03 Feb 2017 22:23:13 +0000

Sometimes a trip to the doctor’s office – or even the emergency room – can feel like a ride along a conveyor belt with no real human connection between patient and physician. Dr. Ronald Epstein joins us to talk about restoring a personal touch to healthcare, which he writes about in “Attending: Medicine, Mindfulness, and Humanity” (Scribner).  

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A Conversation With George Takei

Thu, 02 Feb 2017 20:57:08 +0000

George Takei will always be best known for playing Sulu on “Star Trek.” In the decades since, though, he’s also become a prominent advocate for LGBTQ rights and other humanitarian causes. He joins us to talk about his life on and off the screen ahead of his participation tonight in the Upstander Speaker series at McFarlin Auditorium in association with the Dallas Holocaust Museum Center.  

Media Files:

Here Comes the Sun

Thu, 02 Feb 2017 20:56:32 +0000

Nicole Dennis-Benn received rave reviews for her debut novel, “Here Comes the Sun” (Liveright). She joins us to talk about her story of a pair of sisters whose very existence is threatened by a new luxury hotel planned for their Jamaican village. Dennis-Benn is in town to speak tonight at the African Diaspora: New Dialogues series at the South Dallas Cultural Center.  

Media Files:

Designing Your Life

Wed, 01 Feb 2017 20:47:32 +0000

With our day-to-day responsibilities, it’s tough to find the headspace to actually construct a plan for how our lives will unfold. Stanford lecturer Dave Evans joins us to talk about how we can borrow strategies from designers to create a more meaningful existence, which he writes about in “Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life” (Knopf). Evans is in Dallas to speak tonight at DMA Arts & Letters Live! at the Dallas Museum of Art.  

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The Challenges Of Change

Wed, 01 Feb 2017 20:46:52 +0000

The most successful CEOs and executives distance themselves from competitors through innovative thinking. The reality, though, is that many business leaders are prone to sticking to the well-worn path rather than taking a risk. Jennifer Mueller of UC-San Diego joins us to talk about strategies for stepping out of our comfort zones, which she writes about in “Creative Change: Why We Resist It … How We Can Embrace It” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt).  

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Why Time Flies

Tue, 31 Jan 2017 20:26:56 +0000

Ever notice that time drags on when you’re bored and flies by when you’re having fun? New Yorker staff writer Alan Burdick joins us to talk about the many ways that we perceive time. He writes about the topic in “Why Time Flies: A Mostly Scientific Investigation” (Simon & Schuster)  

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The Self-Segregation Of White America

Tue, 31 Jan 2017 20:26:02 +0000

Many people say they would like to live in diverse neighborhoods. In practice, though, white Americans generally stick to traditionally white areas. Alvin Chang joins us to talk about this disconnect. His piece “White America is Quietly Self-Segregating” appears on the website Vox.  

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A Look At President Trump’s Travel Ban

Mon, 30 Jan 2017 20:32:15 +0000

President Trump’s executive order banning travel for refugees and others from seven predominantly Muslim countries led to protests at airports across the country. We’ll talk about what happened over the weekend and what the order means going forward with KERA reporter Stella Chavez and Houston Public Media reporter Laura Isensee. And we’ll also be joined by UT-Dallas political scientist Idean Salehyan and Alia Salem, executive director for the DFW Chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.  

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How To Beat Generosity Burnout

Mon, 30 Jan 2017 20:31:27 +0000

Generous people are usually among the most important members of any organization because of their ability to motivate others and get things done. Reb Rebele of the Wharton School has studied these individuals and found that the most generous among are also at a higher risk for burnout. He joins us to talk about how we can be selfless without running out of steam, the topic of his article “Beat Generosity Burnout” in the Harvard Business Review.  

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How Retailers Track Us

Fri, 27 Jan 2017 21:04:31 +0000

Imagine a future in which body implants communicate with retailers about our personal preferences for products and services. University of Pennsylvania professor Joseph Turow joins us to talk about how companies monitor our purchases both in-store and online in order to get a better picture of our wants and needs. His new book is called “The Aisles Have Eyes: How Retailers Track Your Shopping, Strip Your Privacy, and Define Your Power” (Yale).  

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State Of Execution

Thu, 26 Jan 2017 20:46:01 +0000

All this week, public radio stations across Texas are reporting on the state’s use of the death penalty. We’ll talk about how Texas’ use of the punishment compares with other states with Robert Dunham, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center. And later in the hour, we’ll talk with Tim Cole, an assistant professor at UNT Dallas College of Law who previously served four terms as the District Attorney of Texas for the 97th District.  

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The Christians

Thu, 26 Jan 2017 20:45:13 +0000

In “The Christians,” a pastor sees his small church grow into a mega-church, inspiring him to deliver a sermon that shakes up his congregation. The Dallas Theater Center opens the play tonight, and director Joel Ferrell joins us to talk about the play’s theme of how religion can both unite and divide. We’ll also be joined by Mark Wingfield, associate pastor at Wilshire Baptist Church, who consulted on the production. “The Christians” runs through Feb. 19 at the Kalita Humphreys Theater.  

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The Science Behind Psychosomatic Disorders

Wed, 25 Jan 2017 20:24:59 +0000

We’ve all had symptoms that make us think something is wrong, only to be told by a doctor that everything seems fine. Neurologist Suzanne O’Sullivan joins us to talk about what to do when we experience these psychosomatic events – and to explain what our bodies might be trying to tell our minds. Her new book is called “It’s All In Your Head: True Stories of Imaginary Illness” (Other Press).  

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Asking The Right Questions

Wed, 25 Jan 2017 20:24:13 +0000

Who, what, when, where, why and how form the building blocks of the questions we ask. From there, skilled questioners know how to frame questions to get the answers they seek. Frank Sesno joins us to talk about how we should think through what we ask other people. He writes about the topic in “Ask More: The Power of Questions to Open Doors, Uncover Solutions, and Spark Change” (AMACOM Books).  

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A Conversation With Emma Donoghue

Tue, 24 Jan 2017 23:10:22 +0000

Emma Donoghue earned critical praise – and an Oscar nomination – for her novel “Room,” which she later adapted into a screenplay. She joins us to talk about her newest effort, “The Wonder,” the story of an 11-year-old girl who becomes a sensation when news gets out that she’s lived without eating for months.

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The Power Of Speculation

Tue, 24 Jan 2017 23:02:14 +0000

When a risky investment pays off, we applaud the shrewd move. And when a big bet goes south, we collectively wonder if more regulation is necessary. UCLA law professor Stuart Banner joins us to talk about balancing bold moves and protecting our assets, which he writes about in “Speculation: A History of the Fine Line Between Gambling and Investing” (Oxford University Press).

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The Unbanking Of America

Mon, 23 Jan 2017 21:07:00 +0000

About 13 percent of Texans don’t use a bank, going through life without a checking or savings account. University of Pennsylvania professor Lisa Servon joins us to talk about why people choose to go without a bank – and about what banks can do to earn their business. She writes about the topic in “The Unbanking of America: How the New Middle Class Survives” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt).  

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How We Read

Mon, 23 Jan 2017 21:06:08 +0000

Teachers are encouraged to promote a love of literacy to students. It’s an important lesson, but it doesn’t give young readers the tools they need to succeed. Cognitive scientist Mark Seidenberg joins us to talk about taking a more scientific approach to teaching reading, the subject of his book “Language at the Speed of Sight: How We Read, Why So Many Can’t, and What Can Be Done About It” (Basic Books).  

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Trump And Texas

Thu, 19 Jan 2017 20:25:33 +0000

During his campaign, Donald Trump made several trips to Texas. So what did he learn during his trips? As part of NPR’s “A Nation Engaged” inauguration week conversation, we’ll talk about what Texans would like the president-elect to know about our state with William McKenzie of the Bush Institute and O. Ricardo Pimentel, columnist for the San Antonio Express-News.  

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The Medical Data Industry

Thu, 19 Jan 2017 20:24:45 +0000

Every day, medical data is traded among healthcare providers, insurance companies, drug manufacturers and other entities. Adam Tanner joins us to talk about how we can balance the benefits that big data provides while also preserving patient privacy. He writes about the topic in “Our Bodies, Our Data: How Companies Make Billions Selling Our Medical Records” (Beacon Press).  

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Divided States Of America

Wed, 18 Jan 2017 21:00:00 +0000

Many Americans are looking to Inauguration Day with hope, while others are filled with dread. Michael Kirk joins us to talk about how the extreme partisanship from the recent election cycle has infiltrated nearly every area of our lives. He explores the topic in the two-night Frontline documentary “Divided States of America,” which airs on PBS stations Jan. 17 and 18.  

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A Look At The Refugee Crisis

Tue, 17 Jan 2017 20:45:50 +0000

Unrest in the Middle East and Africa has forced tens of thousands of refugees to flee their homelands in search of a peaceful existence. As the migration correspondent for The Guardian, Patrick Kingsley has traced their paths and documented their stories of survival. He joins us to talk about why the rest of the world can’t afford to ignore this humanitarian emergency, which he writes about in “The New Odyssey: The Story of the Twenty-First-Century Refugee Crisis” (Liveright).  

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The Power Of Microdosing

Tue, 17 Jan 2017 20:45:04 +0000

LSD may trigger euphoria and joy in some, and anxiety, paranoia and delusions in others. In very small doses, though, some people have found it can boost productivity while providing a sense of calm. That was Ayelet Waldman’s experience. She joins us to talk about her monthlong experiment with microdosing – and about the history and mythology of LSD – which she writes about in “A Really Good Day: How Microdosing Made a Mega Difference in My Mood, My Marriage, and My Life” (Knopf).  

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The New Civil Rights Movement

Mon, 16 Jan 2017 20:46:02 +0000

Martin Luther King Jr. emphasized nonviolent protests during the Civil Rights era. On MLK Day, Columbia University journalism professor and New Yorker staff writer Jelani Cobb joins us to talk about how Black Lives Matter, Occupy Wall Street and other groups are following Dr. King’s model. He’s in Dallas to deliver the keynote address at tonight’s Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture MLK Symposium.  

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The Mismanagement Of Hospitals

Mon, 16 Jan 2017 20:45:18 +0000

Many hospitals are nonprofits or owned by large chains. Some facilities – particularly in smaller towns – though are owned by individuals who see them as a source of easy cash. And with little regulation, it’s common for these hospitals to fall into disarray. Dallas Morning News reporter Miles Moffeit joins us to talk about how mismanagement of these facilities is leaving some communities short on healthcare and jobs.  

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The Migrant Journey

Fri, 13 Jan 2017 20:59:48 +0000

For many undocumented immigrants, crossing the border into the U.S. is the culmination of a journey that can last hundreds or even thousands of miles. We’ll talk about what that trek is like with Texas Tribune reporter Alexa Ura, who followed refugees from Central America. We’ll also talk with Marco Malagón, who crossed the border from Mexico as a teenager, as well as immigration attorney Paul Zoltan.  

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Saying Sorry

Thu, 12 Jan 2017 22:08:24 +0000

For many of us, the two hardest words to say in the English language are “I’m sorry.” Psychologist Harriet Lerner joins us to talk about why it’s so tough to admit when we’re wrong – and why making amends is good for everyone. Lerner is the author of “Why Won’t You Apologize? Healing Big Betrayals and Everyday Hurts” (Touchstone).  

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How To Be Bored

Thu, 12 Jan 2017 22:07:41 +0000

With Netflix, smart phones and an endless Internet, there’s really no excuse for boredom. And yet it’s in that downtime – when we pause to reflect – that we actually grow. Eva Hoffman joins us this hour to talk about the importance of regularly unplugging and disengaging with life, which she writes about in “How to be Bored” (Picador).  

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A Conversation With Zadie Smith

Wed, 11 Jan 2017 22:51:49 +0000

As the author of “White Teeth,” “On Beauty” and other novels, Zadie Smith is one of Britain’s most significant writers. She joins us to talk about her newest effort, “Swing Time,” which follows two girls who dream of becoming dancers only to see their lives branch in dramatically different directions. Smith is in town Saturday for Arts & Letters Live at the Dallas Museum of Art.  

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The Teacher Gap

Wed, 11 Jan 2017 22:46:28 +0000

Teacher attrition sits at about 8 percent a year. The discouraging piece of that statistic, though, is that two-thirds of those teachers are leaving the business out of dissatisfaction rather than retirement. We’ll talk about efforts to bridge the teacher gap with Kelly Kovacic, director of regional educator initiatives for Commit!; John Gasko, dean of the School of Education at the University of North Texas at Dallas; and DISD deputy superintendent Ivan Duran. They’ll take part in today’s Extra Yard For Teachers Legacy Summit in Dallas.  

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Stress Yourself

Tue, 10 Jan 2017 20:47:25 +0000

We all know people who freak out in even the most trivial situations.  And we’re in awe of those who tackle great challenges without breaking a sweat. UT-Dallas psychology professor Ian Robertson joins us to talk about the mental and physical benefits of embracing tension. He writes about the idea in “The Stress Test: How Pressure Can Make You Stronger and Sharper” (Bloomsbury USA).

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The Spy Who Couldn’t Spell

Tue, 10 Jan 2017 20:37:53 +0000

In 2000, the FBI received a credible threat that a U.S. government agent was close to a deal to sell a huge cache of military secrets to Libya. Special Agent Steven Carr was assigned the task of tracking down the suspect, and Yudhijit Bhattacharjee joins us tell the story of how Carr eventually identified the traitor. Bhattacharjee’s book is called “The Spy Who Couldn’t Spell: A Dyslexic Traitor, an Unbreakable Code, and the FBI’s Hunt for America’s Stolen Secrets” (NAL).

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The Prisoner

Mon, 09 Jan 2017 21:17:05 +0000

As a 12-year-old boy, Edwin Debrow shot and killed a cab driver in San Antonio. He was sentenced to 40 years and remains in prison. Skip Hollandsworth writes about him in the current issue of Texas Monthly, and he joins us to talk about how Debrow’s experience opens up a new conversation about the balance between justice, mercy and rehabilitation.

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Containing Our Nuclear Waste

Mon, 09 Jan 2017 21:16:14 +0000

More than a million gallons of radioactive sludge and other products of the Cold War have governments around the world wondering how they can protect future generations from some of the deadliest substances ever made. Harvard professors Robb Moss and Peter Galison join us to talk about the effort to contain this waste long-term, the subject of their Independent Lens documentary “Containment,” which airs on PBS stations tonight.

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Overcoming Extreme Adversity

Thu, 05 Jan 2017 22:58:12 +0000

In 2014, Hilaree O’Neill led a team of explorers in an attempt to determine the highest peak in Southeast Asia. She joins us to talk about how depleted supplies, freezing temperatures and internal squabbles fractured the team and nearly cost O’Neill her life. She’s in town for a National Geographic Live! event at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science.

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The Case Against Empathy

Thu, 05 Jan 2017 22:57:15 +0000

In order to help others, we generally try to put ourselves in their shoes. That’s a step in the wrong direction, says Yale researcher Paul Bloom. He joins us to make the case that empathy actually leads us to terrible decisions in everything from relationships to medical care to criminal justice. He writes about his findings in “Against Empathy: The Case for Rational Compassion” (Harper Collins).

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Rethinking Gender Identity

Wed, 04 Jan 2017 22:16:24 +0000

Traditionally, gender was thought to be binary – children were born girls or boys. Robin Marantz Henig joins us this hour to talk about how scientists are adopting a more fluid understanding of gender and rethinking identity in the process. She writes about the topic in the January issue of National Geographic magazine.

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The Legacy Of Barack Obama

Wed, 04 Jan 2017 22:15:25 +0000

As President Obama prepares to leave the White House this month, it’s time to take stock of his time in office. Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Michael D’Antonio joins us to talk about the ups and downs of the last eight years – and about which of Obama’s achievements may be in danger under a Trump administration. D’Antonio’s new book is called “A Consequential President: The Legacy of Barack Obama” (Thomas Dunne Books).

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The Burden Of Debt At HBCUs

Tue, 03 Jan 2017 22:04:25 +0000

Students at Historically Black Colleges and Universities borrow on average about $26,000 to pay for school. Their peers at other schools take on only about half that amount of debt. Katherine M. Saunders, senior researcher for the United Negro College Fund’s Frederick D. Patterson Research Institute, joins us to talk about how this extra burden affects black students in the long run.

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