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Preview: KERA's Think Podcast

KERA's Think

Published: Fri, 28 Apr 2017 19:35:31 +0000

Last Build Date: Fri, 28 Apr 2017 19:39:11 +0000

Copyright: Copyright 2016 KERA

The Peoples Temple

Fri, 28 Apr 2017 19:35:31 +0000

In 1977, Jim Jones convinced more than 900 people to move from their base in Northern California to the South American country of Guyana. Jeff Guinn joins us to talk about how this charismatic cult leader from Indiana controlled his followers lives – and delivered them to their deaths – which he writes about in “The Road to Jonestown: Jim Jones and Peoples Temple” (Simon & Schuster). Guinn will take part in this weekend’s Dallas Book Festival at the Dallas Public Library’s Central Library.  

Media Files:

Crafting Cartoons

Thu, 27 Apr 2017 19:18:58 +0000

Since 2000, Stephan Pastis has delighted newspaper readers nationwide with his “Pearls Before Swine” comic strip. The lawyer-turned-cartoonist joins us to talk about employing anthropomorphic animals to crack mildly edgy jokes ahead of his public appearance tonight at The Dallas Morning News.  

Media Files:

The Cost Of Sloppy Science

Thu, 27 Apr 2017 19:18:26 +0000

“Would you like to donate a dollar to [fill in the blank] research?” The question is asked to us constantly. And while some of these funds power medical advancements, science journalist Richard Harris reports that often these dollars are thrown away on ill-conceived experiments. He joins us to talk about the problem, which he writes about in “Rigor Mortis: How Sloppy Science Creates Worthless Cures, Crushes Hope, and Wastes Billions” (Basic Books).  

Media Files:

The Making Of The Gulf Of Mexico

Wed, 26 Apr 2017 19:12:38 +0000

America relies on the Gulf of Mexico for everything from oil to food to recreation. University of Florida environmental history professor Jack Davis joins us to talk about the relationship between this important body of water and the people who live nearby, which he writes about in “The Gulf: The Making of an American Sea” (Liveright).  

Media Files:

What ISIS Wants

Wed, 26 Apr 2017 19:11:55 +0000

Each day brings increasingly disturbing news as ISIS wreaks havoc on the Middle East. This hour, we’ll talk about what the organization is actually trying to accomplish with Graeme Wood, who explores the question in his new book, “The Way of the Strangers: Encounters with the Islamic State” (Random House).  

Media Files:

A Conversation With Chelsea Clinton

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 19:23:41 +0000

As the daughter of both a president and a party nominee, Chelsea Clinton has had an inside look at politics her entire life. On Sunday, she visited Dallas to talk about her life in and out of the spotlight – and about her latest book, “It’s Your World: Get Informed, Get Inspired & Get Going!” (Puffin Press). We’ll listen to the conversation, which was conducted by Krys Boyd in front of a live audience as part of DMA Arts & Letters Live.  

Media Files:

Mirror Touch

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 19:19:58 +0000

Joel Salinas experiences a rare form of synesthesia that causes him to feel the emotional and physical experiences of others. And what might be annoying for some is actually fascinating when you’re a neurologist like Salinas. He joins us to talk about using this sixth sense to help patients, which he writes about in “Mirror Touch: Notes from a Doctor Who Can Feel Your Pain” (HarperOne).  

Media Files:

Inside The World Of Competitive Spelling

Mon, 24 Apr 2017 19:34:41 +0000

For the past two decades, the Scripps National Spelling Bee has been dominated by Indian-American competitors. Vauhini Vara was once a champion speller herself. She joins us to talk about why these youngsters make such formidable competitors – and about the role the contest plays in their assimilation into American culture. Her story “Bee-Brained” appears in the new issue of Harper’s.  

Media Files:

Why We Like What We Like

Mon, 24 Apr 2017 19:34:04 +0000

Have you ever wondered why you like the things you like? Tom Vanderbilt joins us to talk about how we develop our personal preferences – and about the many outside forces that guide us to these favorites. His new book is called “You May Also Like: Taste in an Age of Endless Choice” (Knopf). He speaks Tuesday night at DMA Arts and Letters Live.  

Media Files:

The Modern Artists Of Mexico

Fri, 21 Apr 2017 19:18:13 +0000

Work by some of the biggest names in the history of Mexican art is on display at the Dallas Museum of Art. New DMA director Agustín Arteaga gives us a tour of “México 1900–1950: Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, José Clemente Orozco, and the Avant-Garde” and then joins us in studio to talk about the lasting importance of the artists included in the show.  

Media Files:

Chasing Coral

Thu, 20 Apr 2017 19:08:20 +0000

The Great Barrier Reef is currently under duress due to a widespread underwater heat wave. In the documentary “Chasing Coral,” a team of divers sets out to study reefs around the world to find out how we can take better care of them. Producer Larissa Rhodes joins us to talk about what the divers discovered. “Chasing Coral” screens tonight and Saturday at the Music Hall at Fair Park as part of EARTHxFilm 2017.  

Media Files:

The Making Of A Movement

Wed, 19 Apr 2017 19:25:13 +0000

From Occupy Wall Street to Black Lives Matter, we’re living in the age of grassroots protests. Eric Liu is a former adviser to President Clinton who has studied these movements through the years. He joins us to talk about what makes a movement effective, which he writes about in “You’re More Powerful than You Think: A Citizen’s Guide to Making Change Happen” (PublicAffairs).  

Media Files:

How We Should Deal With North Korea

Wed, 19 Apr 2017 19:24:32 +0000

Since assuming power in 2011, Kim Jong-un has ramped up North Korea’s nuclear weapons program – including a missile test earlier this month. We’ll talk about how the Trump administration should address this growing threat with Amanda Schnetzer, director of the Bush Institute’s Global Initiative, and Lindsay Lloyd, deputy director of the Human Freedom Initiative.  

Media Files:

What Divides America

Tue, 18 Apr 2017 21:12:29 +0000

Abortion, gun control, the death penalty, gay rights – the list of issues that divide Americans feels never ending. And Mugambi Jouet of Stanford University says these issues combine to make the U.S. the most polarized nation in the Western world. He joins us to talk about the cultural factors unique to our country that have paved the way for our disharmony, which he writes about in “Exceptional America: What Divides Americans from the World and from Each Other” (University of California Press).

Media Files:

Stephen Tobolowsky’s Adventures With God

Tue, 18 Apr 2017 21:10:19 +0000

Stephen Tobolowsky has built a career being “that guy from that movie” – more than 200 of them and counting. The Dallas native and SMU grad joins us to talk about the life of a character actor – and about his ever-evolving thoughts on spirituality, which he writes about in “My Adventures With God” (Simon & Schuster).

Media Files:

The Gatekeepers Of The White House

Tue, 18 Apr 2017 21:07:41 +0000

Aside from the president himself, Chief of Staff Reince Priebus is arguably the most powerful person in the White House. Chris Whipple joins us to talk about the many roles these presidential assistants play – from pushing out their bosses’ agendas to negotiating with Congress. His new book is called “The Gatekeepers: How the White House Chiefs of Staff Define Every Presidency” (Crown).

Media Files:

A Conversation With Temple Grandin

Thu, 13 Apr 2017 21:10:19 +0000

By talking about her autism, Temple Grandin has helped people around the world live better lives with the condition. She joins us to talk about her path to becoming an advocate – and about how we can better understand autistic people we know in our own lives.  

Media Files:

How The Baby Boomers Betrayed America

Thu, 13 Apr 2017 21:09:35 +0000

The futures of Social Security, Medicare and other government programs are all in danger. And Bruce Cannon Gibney says Baby Boomers are to blame. The venture capitalist and author joins us to talk about why he thinks younger generations will soon pay the price for selfish decisions made by the boomers, which he writes about in “A Generation of Sociopaths: How the Baby Boomers Betrayed America” (Hachette).  

Media Files:

Memories Of Syria

Wed, 12 Apr 2017 19:52:54 +0000

Alia Malek traces her roots to Syria – specifically to an apartment owned by her grandmother in Damascus. In her new book, “The Home That Was Our Country: A Memoir of Syria” (Hachette), she tells the story of how dictatorship has affected the lives of the everyday Syrians who lived in the building. She joins us to talk about the book – and about the current climate in the country following the recent chemical weapon attacks and U.S. response. She speaks to the World Affairs Council of Dallas-Fort Worth on April 18.  

Media Files:

The Impact Of Early Life Trauma

Wed, 12 Apr 2017 19:52:11 +0000

Ever wonder why some people are cool as a cucumber when others fly off the handle at the slightest provocation? University of Michigan psychology professor Daniel Keating joins us to talk about how experiencing trauma at an early age can set us up for a stressful life. He writes about the idea in “Born Anxious: The Lifelong Impact of Early Life Adversity – and How to Break the Cycle” (St. Martin’s Press).  

Media Files:

The Science Of Learning

Tue, 11 Apr 2017 20:51:37 +0000

With the ubiquity of the internet, memorizing facts and figures is less important for 21st Century students. As part of KERA’s American Graduate series, Ulrich Boser joins us to talk about new research into the science of learning, which he writes about in “Learn Better: Mastering the Skills for Success in Life, Business, and School, or, How to Become an Expert in Just About Anything” (Rodale).

Media Files:

The Architecture Of Peter Walker

Tue, 11 Apr 2017 20:50:21 +0000

If you’ve ever visited the gardens of the Nasher Sculpture Center, you’re familiar with the work of landscape architect Peter Walker. He joins us to talk about creating outdoor public spaces that are both functional and beautiful.

Media Files:

The Great War

Mon, 10 Apr 2017 19:41:26 +0000

Fifteen million people lost their lives during the First World War. Stephen Ives joins us to talk about how the conflict vaulted the U.S. into a world power – and about the individual soldiers, nurses, aviators and others who paved the way to victory. He’s a producer of “The Great War,” an American Experience documentary airing tonight on PBS stations.  

Media Files:

The Journey Of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

Mon, 10 Apr 2017 19:39:37 +0000

In 2005, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf became the first democratically elected female president in African history. Helene Cooper joins us to talk about the extraordinary life of the woman who’s led Liberia ever since, who she writes about in “Madame President: The Extraordinary Journey of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf” (Simon & Schuster). She speaks tonight at 6:30 to the World Affairs Council of Dallas-Fort Worth.  

Media Files:

A Conversation With Bassem Youssef

Fri, 07 Apr 2017 19:10:09 +0000

Bassem Youssef has been called “The Jon Stewart of the Arabic World,” a distinction that landed him several appearances on “The Daily Show.” He joins us this hour to talk about taking a satirical approach to the very serious situation in the Middle East, which he writes about in “Revolution for Dummies: Laughing Through the Arab Spring” (Dey St.).  

Media Files:

The Future Of Human Evolution

Thu, 06 Apr 2017 19:34:40 +0000

Humans are the products of millions of years of evolution. And now we must face the question of how we handle our continued growth now that we’re smart enough to play a hand in it. DT Max joins us this hour to talk about where we go from here, which he writes about in the April issue of National Geographic magazine.  

Media Files:

The Polygamist’s Daughter

Thu, 06 Apr 2017 19:32:47 +0000

As the leader of a polygamist cult, Ervil LeBaron had 13 wives and more than 50 children. One of his daughters, Anna LeBaron, joins us to talk about how she felt alone even while surrounded by so many siblings – and about living in constant fear as her dad was wanted for murder. Her new memoir is called “The Polygamist’s Daughter” (Tyndale).  

Media Files:

The Truth About Men And Women

Wed, 05 Apr 2017 19:33:17 +0000

From the dawn of time, men and women have engaged in a struggle over how to peacefully coexist. Stephen Marche joins us to talk about the many places that members of the opposite sex interact – from the office to the dinner table to the bedroom – and how those interactions have evolved in the age of feminism. His new book is called “The Unmade Bed: The Messy Truth About Men and Women in the 21st Century” (Simon & Schuster).  

Media Files:

Protecting Urban Populations From Climate Risk

Wed, 05 Apr 2017 19:32:03 +0000

Later this year, the Trump administration will unveil a $1 trillion infrastructure plan to address the nation’s aging highways, bridges, airports and electrical grid. University of Southern California economics professor Matthew Kahn joins us to talk about how replacing these items can also help fight climate change. His paper “Protecting Urban Places and Populations from Rising Climate Risk” was recently published by the Brookings Institution.  

Media Files:

Rediscovering Mercy

Tue, 04 Apr 2017 19:35:37 +0000

In her previous books, Anne Lamott has taught readers about grace (“Small Victories”) and about a simple approach to prayer (“Help, Thanks, Wow”). She joins us to talk about how taking a merciful approach to our relationships can help us to make honest connections with others, which she writes about in her latest book, “Hallelujah Anyway: Rediscovering Mercy” (Riverhead Books).  

Media Files:

The Life Of Simon Wiesenthal

Tue, 04 Apr 2017 19:33:57 +0000

Simon Wiesenthal was known as the “Jewish James Bond” – a nickname he earned by bringing more than a thousand Nazi war criminals to justice. His story is captured in the one-man show “Wiesenthal,” written by Tom Dugan, who plays the title character in a performance Wednesday night at the Hockaday School. He joins us to talk about his protagonist’s extraordinary life.  

Media Files:

Remembering Sandy Hook

Mon, 03 Apr 2017 19:29:02 +0000

In 2012, 20 elementary school students and six educators were gunned down in Connecticut. Kim Snyder joins us to talk about the aftermath of the shooting and how it changed the lives of the parents, siblings and teachers of the people who were killed. Her documentary “Newtown” airs tonight on PBS stations as part of Independent Lens.  

Media Files:

The Wealth Gap In America

Mon, 03 Apr 2017 19:26:42 +0000

The U.S. is already one of the most diverse nations in the world – and that diversity is increasing. One thing that’s staying the same, though, is the lack of wealth in non-white populations. Brandeis University law professor Thomas Shapiro joins us to talk about the connection between economic opportunity and race, which he writes about in “Toxic Inequality: How America’s Wealth Gap Destroys Mobility, Deepens the Racial Divide and Threatens Our Future” (Basic Books).  

Media Files:

Inside The White House

Fri, 31 Mar 2017 19:19:01 +0000

As a member of President Obama’s advance team, Alyssa Mastromonaco was responsible for making meetings with royals and heads of state go off without a hitch. She joins us to talk about the inevitable behind-the-scenes predicaments that arise when powerful people meet – and how time and again she managed to save the day. She writes about her experiences in “Who Thought This Was a Good Idea? And Other Questions You Should Have Answers to When You Work in the White House” (Twelve).  

Media Files:

Why Childcare Should Be Federally Subsidized

Thu, 30 Mar 2017 19:29:59 +0000

Sixty percent of families with young children require childcare so that one or both parents can work. That care costs on average $10,000 per year – per child – or more. Grover Whitehurst joins us to talk about the idea of federally subsidized childcare, the subject of a recent paper he wrote for The Brookings Institution.  

Media Files:

A Conversation With Lindy West

Thu, 30 Mar 2017 19:29:19 +0000

Lindy West is a large woman with even larger opinions. The humorist and feminist joins us to talk about how she ultimately learned to navigate a world that doesn’t value all body types the same, which she writes about in her memoir, “Shrill” (Hachette).  

Media Files:

Making Mental Health Care Accessible

Wed, 29 Mar 2017 19:20:38 +0000

For many people suffering from mental health problems, the biggest obstacle to recovery is simply access to a mental health professional. Dr. Vikram Patel joins us to talk about how we can expand access to mental health services by empowering non-specialized healthcare workers to deliver them. He’s the recipient this year of Austin College’s Posey Leadership Award.  

Media Files:

War Crimes

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 20:03:07 +0000

Prosecuting world leaders for war crimes and genocides requires coordination across borders. We’ll talk about how these legal investigations work – and about how some of the most notorious war criminals of the last century were eventually brought to justice. We’ll be joined by Allan Ryan, producer of the documentary “Dead Reckoning: War, Crime, and Justice from WW2 to the War on Terror,” which airs tonight on PBS stations.  

Media Files:

Breaking Bad Habits

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 20:02:31 +0000

If breaking bad habits was easy, none of us would have them. As an associate professor in medicine and psychiatry at UMass Medical School, Dr. Judson Brewer has spent more than 20 years researching addiction. He joins us to talk about how we can regain control of our impulses, which he writes about in “The Craving Mind: From Cigarettes to Smartphones to Love – Why We Get Hooked and How We Can Break Bad Habits” (Yale University Press).  

Media Files:

When Facts Won’t Change A Mind

Mon, 27 Mar 2017 19:35:54 +0000

We’ve all been in the position where we really want something to be true that we ultimately find out is not. So why do some of us move on when others double down? Julie Beck joins us to talk about why some of us have such a problem with cognitive dissonance. Her story “This Article Won’t Change Your Mind” appears in The Atlantic.  

Media Files:

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).  

Media Files:

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.  

Media Files:

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).  

Media Files:

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).  

Media Files:

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).  

Media Files:

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).  

Media Files:

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).  

Media Files:

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).  

Media Files:

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).  

Media Files:

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.  

Media Files:

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.  

Media Files:

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.  

Media Files:

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).  

Media Files:

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).  

Media Files:

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.  

Media Files:

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.  

Media Files:

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.  

Media Files:

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).  

Media Files:

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.  

Media Files:

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).  

Media Files:

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.”  

Media Files:

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).  

Media Files:

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).  

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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.  

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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.).  

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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).  

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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.  

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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.  

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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.  

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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.  

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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.”  

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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.  

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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).  

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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.  

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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.  

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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.  

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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.  

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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.  

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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.  

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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).

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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.  

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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.  

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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.  

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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.  

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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).  

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