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Preview: KERA's Think Podcast

KERA's Think

Published: Fri, 21 Jul 2017 20:46:08 +0000

Last Build Date: Fri, 21 Jul 2017 20:47:32 +0000

Copyright: Copyright 2016 KERA

Burning For Love: Arson In Rural America

Fri, 21 Jul 2017 20:46:08 +0000

Earlier this decade, a string of dozens of arsons left a rural Virginia county on edge wondering when the next house would burn. Washington Post reporter Monica Hesse visited Accomack County to cover the case, and the more she learned about the culprit, the weirder the story got. She tells it in her new book, “American Fire: Love, Arson, and Life in a Vanishing Land” (Liveright).

Media Files:

America’s Battle With The Bottle

Thu, 20 Jul 2017 21:17:09 +0000

From the Founding Fathers to today, America has struggled with its complicated relationship with alcohol. Christopher Finan joins us to tell the stories of Iroquois leader Handsome Lake, prohibitionist Carrie Nation, AA founders Bill Wilson and Bob Smith and others who’ve tried to get America sober. His new book is called “Drunks: An American History” (Beacon Press).

Media Files:

Redefining “Rich”: Not Just The 1%

Wed, 19 Jul 2017 21:15:27 +0000

The conversation around income inequality typically focuses on the 1 percent vs. the rest of us. Brookings Institution economist Richard Reeves joins us to talk about why the division is really between the top 20 percent of earners – the upper middle class – and everyone else. His new book is called “Dream Hoarders: How the American Upper Middle Class is Leaving Everyone Else in the Dust, Why That is a Problem, and What to Do About It” (Brookings).  

Media Files:

A Journey Through The Secret Struggle Of Mental Illness

Wed, 19 Jul 2017 21:14:46 +0000

When Stephen Hinshaw was growing up, his father mysteriously left the family for months at a time. And it wasn’t until he was an adult that he learned the truth. Hinshaw – now a psychology professor – joins us to talk about the dangers of keeping mental illness a secret, which he writes about in “Another Kind of Madness: A Journey Through the Stigma and Hope of Mental Illness” (St. Martin’s Press).  

Media Files:

National Parks In Peril

Tue, 18 Jul 2017 19:43:03 +0000

More than 330 million people visited a national park last year. And many more are headed to one this summer. Environmentalist Terry Tempest Williams joins us to talk about how we can better care for these natural wonders, which she writes about in “The Hour of Land: A Personal Topography of America’s National Parks” (Picador). She speaks tonight at 7:30 as part of DMA Arts and Letters Live! at the Dallas Museum of Art.  

Media Files:

Why Humans Imagine

Tue, 18 Jul 2017 19:42:07 +0000

Human advancement – whether in the arts, the sciences or even in our relationships with one another – hinge on one quality: creativity. Columbia College Chicago professor Stephen Asma joins us to talk about how creativity works in the brain – and about how we can visualize a reality that doesn’t yet exist. His new book is called “The Evolution of Imagination” (University of Chicago Press).  

Media Files:

How Science Gets Women Wrong

Mon, 17 Jul 2017 22:15:19 +0000

Throughout history, scientists have theorized that women are the fairer sex – better suited for nurturing roles while men think the big thoughts. And it’s no coincidence that most of the scientists making those claims were men. Science journalist Angela Saini joins us to talk about how gender bias has clouded our understanding of women, which she writes about in “Inferior: How Science Got Women Wrong – and the New Research That’s Rewriting the Story” (Beacon Press).

Media Files:

A Young Doctor Learns The Ropes

Mon, 17 Jul 2017 22:13:56 +0000

As Republicans in Congress debate the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, one of the ongoing conversations about health care centers on how we provide it for those who struggle to pay. Dr. Rachel Pearson joins us to talk about learning to practice medicine on poor patients visiting a free clinic in Galveston – and about what the experience taught her about inequality in the healthcare system. Her memoir is called “No Apparent Distress: A Doctor’s Coming-of-Age on the Front Lines of American Medicine” (W.W. Norton and Co.).

Media Files:

What Makes Us Curious

Fri, 14 Jul 2017 20:39:27 +0000

Our curiosity is what drives us to innovate and make connections with others. Astrophysicist Mario Livio joins us to talk about our urge to know what we don’t and how our brains are wired to want to learn. His new book is called “Why: What Makes Us Curious” (Simon & Schuster).  

Media Files:

Finding Hope After Heroin

Thu, 13 Jul 2017 19:59:22 +0000

For nearly a decade, Tracey Helton Mitchell lived on the streets of San Francisco addicted to heroin. She joins us to talk about how she eventually became a stable mother of three after getting clean – and about how our rehab system can be improved. Mitchell is the author of “The Big Fix: Hope After Heroin” (DaCapo).  

Media Files:

The Culture Of The Modern Workplace

Thu, 13 Jul 2017 17:49:51 +0000

Even if we retire at 65, that means for more than 40 years of our lives we’ll get up and go to work five days a week. We’ll talk this hour about the time we spend in the office with a Wall Street Journal reporter, a researcher who focuses on office humor and the author of a book about the changing relationship between companies and their employees.  

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Solving North Korea: The World’s Biggest Problem

Wed, 12 Jul 2017 20:33:59 +0000

A nuclear missile launched from North Korea would take about half an hour to reach Los Angeles. And making sure that never happens is one of the top priorities of the Trump administration. Mark Bowden joins us to walk through four strategic options for dealing with Kim Jong Un. His story “The Worst Problem on Earth” appears in The Atlantic.  

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How “Thelma & Louise” Redefined The Roles Of Women In Hollywood

Wed, 12 Jul 2017 20:31:51 +0000

In the 1991 movie “Thelma & Louise,” Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon leave their uninspired domestic lives behind for a crime spree out on the open road. Becky Aikman joins us to talk about the film’s unlikely path from script to screen – and about why more than 25 years later Hollywood is still gun shy when it comes to female-led casts. Her new book is called “Off the Cliff: How the Making of Thelma & Louise Drove Hollywood to the Edge” (Penguin). She speaks tonight as part of Authors Live at Highland Park United Methodist Church.  

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A Million Miles And Counting: A Trucker’s Tale

Tue, 11 Jul 2017 20:21:31 +0000

If not for truckers, we wouldn’t have food in our grocery stores, fuel in our cars or the ability to move an entire house worth of stuff across the country. Finn Murphy has logged more than a million miles back and forth across the United States driving trucks. He joins us to talk about all those hours at the wheel, which he writes about in “The Long Haul: A Trucker’s Tales of Life on the Road” (W.W. Norton).  

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Accepting Yourself When Others Won’t

Mon, 10 Jul 2017 20:45:30 +0000

Lizzie Velasquez became an Internet sensation – though not in a way anyone would want – when she was the subject of the video “World’s Ugliest Woman.” She joins us to talk about living with the rare genetic condition that has affected her appearance – and about how we can have a positive attitude despite setbacks in our lives. Her new book is called “Dare to be Kind: How Extraordinary Compassion Can Transform Our World” (Hachette).  

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Rwandan Women Rising

Mon, 10 Jul 2017 20:44:12 +0000

In 1994, Rwanda witnessed a genocide that left more than a million people dead. And in the aftermath, the country entrusted the job of rebuilding to women – in fact, more than 60 percent of its elected leaders in Parliament are women. Swanee Hunt joins us to talk about the lessons we can learn from these women, which she writes about in “Rwandan Women Rising” (Duke University Press).  

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The DEA, The Zetas And A Massacre In Mexico

Thu, 06 Jul 2017 19:27:14 +0000

In March 2011, gunmen from the Zetas cartel descended on the Mexican town of Allende to exact revenge on a suspected source working with the DEA. When they were done, dozens and dozens of men, women and children were dead. Ginger Thompson joins us to detail the leak that lead to the killings – and to talk about what life in Allende is like now. Her story “How the U.S. Triggered a Massacre in Mexico” is a co-production of ProPublica and National Geographic.  

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The Dallas Police Shootings: A Year Later

Thu, 06 Jul 2017 19:03:07 +0000

A year ago today, demonstrators gathered in downtown Dallas to protest the killings by police officers of Philando Castile, Alton Sterling and others. And by the end of the night, five of the officers who were assigned to protect those protesters were killed in a shootout that also left a gunman dead. During this special episode of Think, we’ll look back at the night of July 7, 2016, we’ll hear from one of the officers who was wounded in the attack and we’ll talk about how Dallas has changed – and stayed the same – since that night.  

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Due For An Upgrade: Engineering A Better Human Body

Thu, 06 Jul 2017 16:49:41 +0000

Researchers are hard at work studying ways to extend the reach of the human body – from figuring out how to regenerate lost limbs to developing telepathic communication. Adam Piore joins us to talk about rethinking the limits of our existence, which he writes about in “The Body Builders: Inside the Science of the Engineered Human” (Ecco).  

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Abstinence Ed In Texas

Wed, 05 Jul 2017 20:23:08 +0000

A majority of Texas schools offer abstinence-only sex education or no sex education at all. At the same time, Texas has one of the highest teen-pregnancy rates in the nation. We’ll talk about the many factors at play when it comes to teaching the state’s young people about sex with Cynthia Osborne of the Center for Health and Social Policy at the University of Texas and Jessica Chester, a former teen mom who now advises people on family planning.  

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A.I. In The E.R.: Artificial Intelligence In Health Care

Wed, 05 Jul 2017 20:22:27 +0000

Facebook uses artificial intelligence to recognize faces in photos. IBM is putting it to work for businesses with its Watson platform. And now health researchers are confident A.I. is the next frontier in diagnosing patients and curing diseases. We’ll talk about the promise of artificial intelligence in health with Dr. Ruben Amarasingham of the Parkland Center for Clinical Innovation and Venkatesh Hariharan, CEO of Dallas-based HealthNextGen.  

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Getting Grief Right

Mon, 03 Jul 2017 20:04:55 +0000

Patrick O’Malley is a psychotherapist by trade – yet that training didn’t fully prepare him to deal with the death of his infant son. O’Malley joins us to talk about how grief is not something to be cured – rather, it’s part of our lasting connection to the ones we’ve lost. His new book is called “Getting Grief Right: Finding Your Story of Love in the Sorrow of Loss” (Sounds True).  

Media Files:

Everything But The Taste: How Other Senses Shape Our Love Of Food

Mon, 03 Jul 2017 19:35:01 +0000

Eating is an experience that requires all of our senses. And the color of the plate, the sound of the music and the feel of the fork in our hands can enhance – or distract from – how the food actually tastes. Charles Spence, head of Oxford University’s Crossmodal Research Laboratory, joins us to talk about how our senses work together to create a memorable meal, which he writes about in “Gastrophysics: The New Science of Eating” (Viking).  

Media Files:

The Fate Of The American Revolution

Mon, 03 Jul 2017 17:12:27 +0000

There may be no two contemporaries in American military history who are remembered more differently than George Washington and Benedict Arnold. Historian Nathaniel Philbrick joins us to talk about how the relationship between these two changed during the war, which he writes about in “Valiant Ambition: George Washington, Benedict Arnold, and the Fate of the American Revolution” (Penguin). Nathaniel Philbrick on … … the role Benedict Arnold played in America’s origin story:  “We had George Washington as this great hero, but if you’re going to create a myth of origins you also need a villain, and enter Benedict Arnold. By attempting to surrender West Point to the Brittish, he was a traitor not only to George Washington and the Continental Congress but to every American. Suddenly, we had the hero and we had the villain. We had the snake in the Garden of Eden. And so the genesis of the country could move beyond an act of betrayal when it came to King George and look to the defense of our own personal freedoms.” This episode originally aired on May 15, 2017. 

Media Files:

The Osage Murders

Mon, 03 Jul 2017 17:11:53 +0000

In the 1920s, members of the Osage tribe were some of the richest people in the world after oil was discovered on their land. New Yorker writer David Grann joins us to tell the story of how these newly-minted millionaires were suddenly being killed off – and how a former Texas Ranger was brought in to solve the mystery. His new book is called “Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI” (Doubleday). Get prepared for our conversation by reading this review by The Dallas Morning News. This episode originally on May 2, 2017. 

Media Files:

Beauty, Evolution And Darwin’s Forgotten Book

Fri, 30 Jun 2017 19:58:45 +0000

Physical attraction is usually one of the first traits that draws couples together. And it’s no different in the animal kingdom. Yale ornithologist Richard Prum joins us to talk about how various creatures have changed their physical appearances in order to attract a mate – and about what animal courtship has taught us about human sexuality. His new book is called “The Evolution of Beauty: How Darwin’s Forgotten Theory of Mate Choice Shapes the Animal World – and Us” (Doubleday).  

Media Files:

Kumail Nanjiani On Turning A Crisis Into Comedy

Thu, 29 Jun 2017 19:46:54 +0000

The first time Kumail Nanjiani met the parents of his future wife, Emily Gordon, was in her hospital room as Emily lay motionless in a coma. She eventually recovered, and the pair have turned the experience into the critically acclaimed romantic comedy “The Big Sick.” The film opens in Dallas this weekend, and Nanjiani joins us to talk about finding humor in one of the darkest times of their lives.  

Media Files:

The Stock Market Meltdowns That Defined Our Nation

Thu, 29 Jun 2017 19:46:10 +0000

America has survived five major crashes of the stock exchange – though each one left scars. Scott Nations joins us to detail the first in 1907, the most recent in 2010, as well as the ones in between. Plus, we’ll talk about what we learned from these disasters. His new book is called “A History of the United States in Five Crashes: Stock Market Meltdowns that Defined a Nation” (William Morrow).  

Media Files:

The (Un)natural Lakes of Texas

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 21:03:46 +0000

Texas is home to more than 150 lakes. And these bodies of water serve a number of functions. Andrew Sansom, executive director of the Meadows Center for Water and the Environment at Texas State University, joins us to talk about how our lakes are managed, the role they play in supplying water to the state, and why the majority of our large lakes are manmade.  

Media Files:

How To Pick A Podcast

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 21:03:00 +0000

Hundreds of thousands of podcasts are available for us to listen to. And deciding which ones are worth our time is hard work. As host of the WAMU radio show “The Big Listen,” Lauren Ober reviews new podcasts for a living. She joins us to talk about the ones we should be listening to this summer.  

Media Files:

A Doctor Faces Death

Tue, 27 Jun 2017 22:08:31 +0000

In his bestseller “When Breath Becomes Air,” Paul Kalanithi documented his transition from rising neuroscientist to deteriorating cancer patient. Along that path, he wrestled with many of life’s difficult questions. His, wife, Dr. Lucy Kalanithi, was by his side as he worked on the book until his death in 2015. She joins us to talk about that experience.

Media Files:

The Push To Replace Obamacare

Tue, 27 Jun 2017 22:07:40 +0000

This week, the Senate will debate the details of its bill that would replace the Affordable Care Act. The legislation is opposed by all Democratic senators – and a handful of Republicans, including Texas Sen. Ted Cruz. Vann Newkirk is covering the story for The Atlantic. He joins us to talk about what’s in the bill, how it differs from its counterpart passed by the House – and about the politics surrounding the discussion.

Media Files:

Life After High School With Autism

Mon, 26 Jun 2017 19:50:34 +0000

Young people diagnosed with autism have access to special programs and schools to help them through their early years. But what happens to these people as they age out of these support systems? We’ll talk about preparing people to thrive as autistic adults with Gary Moore, co-founder of the nonPareil Institute, Susan Wood, executive director of Hope Center for Autism, and Jack Winters, a young man with autism.  

Media Files:

How To Watch Movies

Fri, 23 Jun 2017 20:38:29 +0000

As the movie critic for the Washington Post, Ann Hornaday analyzes movies for a living. In the thick of summer blockbuster season, she joins us to talk about how we can better understand the sights and sounds of the big screen, the subject of her book “Talking Pictures: How to Watch Movies” (Basic Books).  

Media Files:

A Saudi Woman Takes The Wheel

Thu, 22 Jun 2017 19:52:00 +0000

Manal al-Sharif grew up in Mecca as a member of a fundamentalist family. And when she went to work as a computer security engineer, her eyes were opened to the sexist policies of her homeland. She joins us to talk about being a feminist in a patriarchy, which she writes about in her memoir, “Daring to Drive: A Saudi Woman’s Awakening” (Simon & Schuster).  

Media Files:

In The Shadow Of The Moon

Thu, 22 Jun 2017 19:51:19 +0000

On Aug. 21, a total solar eclipse will trace a line stretching from Oregon to South Carolina. A similar event happened in July of 1878, which helped astronomers of the day to better understand our solar system. David Baron joins us to tell the story of the scientists who chased the eclipse, which he writes about in “American Eclipse: A Nation’s Epic Race to Catch the Shadow of the Moon and Win the Glory of the World” (Liveright Publishing).  

Media Files:

What Women Need After Prison

Wed, 21 Jun 2017 19:43:40 +0000

Following the death of her son, Susan Burton struggled with drugs for 15 years – an addiction that resulted in multiple prison stints. Once she finally got clean, she founded A New Way of Life, an organization that supports former female inmates. She joins us to talk about the impact incarceration has on people – and about the challenges of re-entering society – which she writes about in “Becoming Ms. Burton: from Prison to Recovery to Leading the Fight for Incarcerated Women” (The New Press).  

Media Files:

Earth’s Extinctions: Past And Future

Wed, 21 Jun 2017 19:41:23 +0000

Earth has endured five mass extinctions due to extreme heat, cold, asteroids and other factors. Science journalist Peter Brannen joins us to talk about the common threads that run through these disasters – and about what they can tell us about our future. His new book is called “The Ends of the World: Volcanic Apocalypses, Lethal Oceans, and Our Quest to Understand Earth’s Past Mass Extinctions” (Ecco).  

Media Files:

When Everyone Is Your Friend

Tue, 20 Jun 2017 20:11:00 +0000

People who live with Williams syndrome are biologically incapable of distrusting others. Jennifer Latson joins us to talk about what it’s like to move through your day thinking everyone is your friend. That’s the life of 12-year-old Eli D’Angelo, who Latson profiles in her book “The Boy Who Loved Too Much: A True Story of Pathological Friendliness” (Simon & Schuster).  

Media Files:

The Psychology Of Poverty

Tue, 20 Jun 2017 20:10:19 +0000

When people live in poverty, the financial challenges are obvious. What researchers are learning, though, is that feeling poor is problematic, too. University of North Carolina psychology professor Keith Payne joins us to talk about how perception of economic standing influences the brain, which he writes about in “The Broken Ladder: How Inequality Affects the Way We Think, Live, and Die” (Viking).  

Media Files:

Party Loyalty Vs. Ideology

Mon, 19 Jun 2017 19:35:20 +0000

Among those active in the political conversation, it feels as if we’re as divided as ever. Many Americans, however, aren’t as invested in the day-to-day business of Washington as cable news would make us think. LSU political scientist Nathan Kalmoe joins us to talk about how voters who are only casually engaged with politics make up their minds on Election Day. He’s a co-author of “Neither Liberal nor Conservative: Ideological Innocence in the American Public” (University of Chicago Press).  

Media Files:

How College Works (Or Doesn’t)

Mon, 19 Jun 2017 19:34:36 +0000

When parents shell out tens of thousands of dollars for their children to attend prestigious colleges, oftentimes the classes are led not by tenured professors but by teaching assistants. Georgetown University professor Jacques Berlinerblau joins us as part of KERA’s American Graduate initiative to talk about how universities function – and about how students can get more out of their education dollars. His new book is called “Campus Confidential: How College Works, or Doesn’t, for Professors, Parents, and Students” (Melville House).  

Media Files:

A Friendship Forged In Forgiveness

Fri, 16 Jun 2017 20:15:59 +0000

Novelist Rachel Kadish’s grandparents survived the Holocaust in Poland. Novelist Jessica Shattuck’s grandparents were members of the Nazi party in Germany. More than 70 years after the end of World War II, the fellow writers join us to explore what it means to be friends given their family histories – and what role forgiveness plays in their relationship.  

Media Files:

Are America And China Destined For War?

Thu, 15 Jun 2017 19:46:31 +0000

Athenian historian Thucydides theorized in the 5th Century B.C. that a rising power will eventually always challenge the ruling one. Graham Allison of Harvard’s Kennedy School joins us to talk about how this theory is playing out today, which he writes about in “Destined for War: Can America and China Escape Thucydides’s Trap” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt).  

Media Files:

How The U.S. Is Making The World Less Democratic

Thu, 15 Jun 2017 19:39:05 +0000

Since World War II, Western nations have been the world’s biggest proponents of democracy. Brian Klaas studies democratization and political violence as a fellow at the London School of Economics. He joins us to talk about the ways in which the U.S., Britain and other nations are actually hindering democratic efforts across the globe. His new book is called “The Despot’s Accomplice: How the West is Aiding and Abetting the Decline of Democracy” (Oxford University Press).  

Media Files:

The Creation Of The U.S. Army

Wed, 14 Jun 2017 19:48:42 +0000

Following the Revolutionary War, George Washington and Alexander Hamilton favored the creation of a standing army. Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and others did not. Historian William Hogeland joins us to talk about how Washington and Hamilton won out to create the Legion of the United States, the topic of his book, “Autumn of the Black Snake: The Creation of the U.S. Army and the Invasion That Opened the West” (Farrar, Straus and Giroux). He’s in town to speak tonight and Thursday to the World Affairs Council of Dallas-Fort Worth.  

Media Files:

The Death Of Advertising

Wed, 14 Jun 2017 19:47:58 +0000

At times, it feels as if we’re constantly bombarded with advertising. Yet with DVR’s, ad-blocking software and other tools, we’ve never had more ways to avoid being marketed to. Former advertising executive Andrew Essex joins us to talk about how advertisers are rethinking how they reach consumers, which he writes about in “The End of Advertising: Why It Had to Die, and the Creative Resurrection to Come” (Spiegel & Grau).  

Media Files:

A Conversation With Jonathan Safran Foer

Tue, 13 Jun 2017 20:03:53 +0000

Jonathan Safran Foer is known for his novels “Everything is Illuminated” and “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.” He joins us to talk about his latest effort, “Here I Am” (Picador), which focuses on a family in crisis living in Washington. He speaks tonight as part of DMA Arts and Letters Live!  

Media Files:

Understanding The Crisis In Venezuela

Tue, 13 Jun 2017 20:02:53 +0000

Venezuela was once known as the country with the world’s largest oil reserves. Today, though, the nation is in a financial crisis that’s forced it to borrow money at astronomical rates. Kejal Vyas is a foreign correspondent for The Wall Street Journal who’s been covering the country’s downward spiral. He joins us to talk about what went wrong and how every day Venezuelans are struggling to survive.  

Media Files:

A Prescription For America’s Healthcare System

Mon, 12 Jun 2017 21:15:20 +0000

As a health policy adviser to President Obama, Ezekiel Emanuel helped to craft what would become the Affordable Care Act. He joins us to talk about ways to deliver higher quality healthcare at a lower cost, the subject of his new book, “Prescription for the Future: The Twelve Transformational Practices of Highly Effective Medical Organizations” (Public Affairs).  

Media Files:

How A Basic Income Could End Poverty

Mon, 12 Jun 2017 21:14:41 +0000

One of the ideas that’s frequently floated as a solution to poverty is a universal basic income. Jesse Walker joins us to talk about how the concept could work – and about how some thinkers from across the political spectrum are intrigued by the idea. His story “The Indestructible Idea of the Basic Income” appears in the July issue of Reason magazine.  

Media Files:

The Quest To Discover Where Babies Come From

Fri, 09 Jun 2017 20:47:28 +0000

Before the late 19th Century, scientists actually understood very little about human reproduction. Edward Dolnick joins us to talk about the often-times hilarious lengths early researchers went to in their search for the origins of life. His book is called “The Seeds of Life: From Aristotle to da Vinci, from Shark’s Teeth to Frogs’ Pants, the Long and Strange Quest to Discover Where Babies Come From” (Basic Books).  

Media Files:

What We Learned From James Comey’s Testimony

Thu, 08 Jun 2017 19:31:44 +0000

This morning, former FBI Director James Comey will testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee about his interactions with President Trump concerning the bureau’s investigation into links between the Trump campaign and Russia. We’ll talk about what we learned and where we go from here with Rebecca Deen, chair of the political science department at UT-Arlington and Dale Carpenter, chair of constitutional law at the SMU Dedman School of Law. KERA will provide live NPR coverage of the testimony beginning at 9 a.m.  

Media Files:

A Talk With David Brown

Thu, 08 Jun 2017 19:10:12 +0000

Last summer, Dallas Police Chief David Brown was thrust into the national spotlight as he teamed with Mayor Mike Rawlings to lead the city through the aftermath of a shooting spree that left five officers dead. The now retired chief joins us to talk about helping to heal the department he once lead – and about his lifelong commitment to his hometown – which he writes about in his new memoir, “Called to Rise: A Life in Faithful Service to the Community That Made Me” (Ballentine Books).  

Media Files:

The Power Of Likability

Wed, 07 Jun 2017 20:24:21 +0000

During our high school years, most of us had a pretty good sense of where we stood in the social pecking order. University of North Carolina psychology professor Mitch Prinstein joins us to talk about how childhood popularity influences happiness and success as adults. He writes about the topic in “Popular: The Power of Likability in a Status-Obsessed World” (Viking).  

Media Files:

The Legacy Of Loving

Wed, 07 Jun 2017 20:23:34 +0000

Fifty years ago this month, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down laws banning interracial marriages. Georgetown law professor Sheryll Cashin joins us to talk about how the ruling continues to pave the way for a more inclusive society. Her new book is called “Loving: Interracial Intimacy in America and the Threat to White Supremacy” (Beacon Press).  

Media Files:

The Sperm Donor Generation

Tue, 06 Jun 2017 19:46:37 +0000

At least a million children living in the U.S. can thank a sperm donor for their very existence. Jacqueline Mroz joins us to talk about how the circumstances of their birth affect these children – and the parents who raise them – which she writes about in “Scattered Seeds: In Search of Family and Identity in the Sperm Donor Generation” (Hachette Books).  

Media Files:

A Look At Ramadan

Tue, 06 Jun 2017 19:46:01 +0000

Muslims are a little over a quarter through the holy month of Ramadan, which commemorates the revelation of the Quran to the prophet Muhammad. Ahmed Ali Akbar, host of Buzzfeed’s “See Something, Say Something” podcast, joins us to talk about the customs that make up Ramadan – and about how his participation in them has evolved through his life. His essay “I Don’t Know Why I Pray But I Keep Trying” appears on Buzzfeed.  

Media Files:

The Fall Of Syria

Mon, 05 Jun 2017 19:39:10 +0000

It seems every day brings new stories of the horrors of life in Syria. Sebastian Junger joins us to detail how the country got to the state it’s in. His documentary “Hell on Earth: The Fall of Syria and the Rise of ISIS” airs Sunday on National Geographic Channel.  

Media Files:

The Science Of Human Behavior

Mon, 05 Jun 2017 19:38:27 +0000

Many of us have experienced split-second decisions that drastically alter the directions of our lives. Stanford professor Robert M. Sapolsky joins us to talk about the many internal and environmental factors that come together and push us to act swiftly. He writes about the topic in “Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst” (Penguin Press).  

Media Files:

A Conversation With Elizabeth Strout

Fri, 02 Jun 2017 19:31:15 +0000

Legions of readers know Elizabeth Strout from her bestselling novels “My Name is Lucy Barton” and “Olive Kitteridge.” She joins us to talk about her latest work of fiction, “Anything is Possible” (Random House). To get ready for the interview, check out the review of “Anything is Possible” in The Dallas Morning News.  

Media Files:

When Your Child Is A Psychopath

Thu, 01 Jun 2017 19:53:47 +0000

One of the scariest scenarios parents can face is the possibility that their child is mentally disturbed. Barbara Bradley Hagerty joins us to talk about new therapies available to these children. Her story “When Your Child is a Psychopath” appears in the June issue of The Atlantic.  

Media Files:

Job Stability In America

Thu, 01 Jun 2017 19:53:06 +0000

In the post-World War II era, American companies ensured the stability of the middle class through pensions and high wages. Rick Wartzman joins us to talk about why this social contract didn’t last – and how it’s lead to present day instability – which he writes about in “The End of Loyalty: The Rise and Fall of Good Jobs in America” (PublicAffairs).  

Media Files:

The U.S. Government’s Secret Doomsday Plan

Wed, 31 May 2017 20:39:23 +0000

Since the earliest days of the Cold War, the U.S. government has continuously revised a plan that would ensure continuity in the event of a nuclear attack. Garret M. Graff joins us to talk about the inner-workings of the plan – and how it’s evolved in the last six decades – which he writes about in “Raven Rock: The Story of the U.S. Government’s Secret Plan to Save Itself — While the Rest of Us Die” (Simon & Schuster). He speaks tonight to the World Affairs Council of Dallas-Fort Worth.  

Media Files:

What Big Data Reveals About Us

Wed, 31 May 2017 20:38:32 +0000

One of the beauties of the internet is we can search for the answers to questions we’re too embarrassed to ask out loud. Seth Stephens-Davidowitz joins us to talk about how when we combine all of those millions of queries, we get a better understanding of what’s on our collective minds. His new book is called “Everybody Lies: Big Data, New Data, and What the Internet Can Tell Us About Who We Really Are” (Dey St.).  

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The ABCs Of ZZZs

Wed, 31 May 2017 16:16:13 +0000

On this Memorial Day, many of us will use the three-day weekend for rest and relaxation. We’ll listen back this hour to conversations we’ve had with experts on the subject. Joining us are Emory University professor Benjamin Reiss, author of “Wild Nights: How Taming Sleep Created Our Restless World” (Basic Books); Alex Pang, author of “Rest: Why You Get More Done When You Work Less” (Basic Books); and Arianna Huffington, author of “The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life, One Night at a Time” (Harmony).  

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The Upside Of Worry

Tue, 30 May 2017 21:32:03 +0000

Excessive worry can lead to depression and even poor physical health. There are, however, some benefits to worrying. Kate Sweeny, associate professor of psychology at the University of California, Riverside, joins us to talk about how worrying can both motivate us and serve as an emotional buffer. Her recent study “The Surprising Upside of Worry” appears in the journal Social and Personality Psychology Compass.

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The Search For Alien Life

Tue, 30 May 2017 21:30:59 +0000

Who among us hasn’t looked at the night sky and asked, “Is there anybody out there?“ Theoretical physicist Jim Al-Khalili joins us to bring us up to date on the search for life in other parts of the universe. He’s the editor of a new collection of essays by scientists writing on the topic, “Aliens: The World’s Leading Scientists on the Search for Extraterrestrial Life” (Picador).

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The Best Barbecue In Texas

Fri, 26 May 2017 20:26:23 +0000

Every four years, Texas Monthly takes on the enviable task of naming the top 50 barbecue joints in the state. The new rankings are unveiled this week, and Texas Monthly barbecue editor Daniel Vaughn joins us to talk about who made the cut – and about the tricks these pit masters use to smoke the competition.  

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A Conversation With Chuck Klosterman

Thu, 25 May 2017 20:13:00 +0000

Over the many years he’s spent writing for GQ, The New York Times, ESPN and other outlets, Chuck Klosterman has developed into one of America’s foremost cultural critics. He joins us to talk about his best writing from the past decade, which he’s collected in “Chuck Klosterman X: A Highly Specific, Defiantly Incomplete History of the Early 21st Century” (Blue Rider Press).  

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Van Cliburn’s Cold War Victory

Thu, 25 May 2017 20:12:26 +0000

In the midst of the Cold War, a young Texan visited Moscow and turned the classical music world upside down. Stuart Isacoff takes us back to 1958 to relive Van Cliburn’s stunning victory at the Tchaikovsky International Piano Competition. His new book is called “When the World Stopped to Listen: Van Cliburn’s Cold War Triumph, and Its Aftermath” (Knopf). The 15th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition begins today in Fort Worth.  

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Why We Lie

Wed, 24 May 2017 19:58:36 +0000

Honesty may be the best policy – but that doesn’t mean we always stick to it. Yudhijit Bhattacharjee joins us to talk about how humans are actually wired to occasionally venture from the truth. His story “Why We Lie” appears in the June issue of National Geographic magazine.  

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Inherit The Wind

Wed, 24 May 2017 19:56:05 +0000

In “Inherit the Wind,” a high school teacher faces trial for teaching Darwin’s Theory of Evolution. The Dallas Theater Center is currently staging the play, and we’ll talk about its theme of science vs. faith with director Kevin Moriarty. “Inherit the Wind” runs through June 18 at the Kalita Humphreys Theater.  

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Steve Bannon’s War

Tue, 23 May 2017 19:25:10 +0000

The most controversial figure in President Trump’s cabinet is arguably chief strategist Steve Bannon. Documentary filmmaker Michael Kirk joins us to talk about Bannon’s days operating Breitbart News – and about how his views on race and nationalism have shaped the president’s policies. Kirk’s Frontline documentary “Bannon’s War” airs tonight at 9 on KERA-TV.  

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Islamophobia In America

Tue, 23 May 2017 19:24:32 +0000

Islamophobia has made it difficult for many Muslim immigrants to fit into American society. Sociologist Erik Love studies civil rights and joins us to make the case that bolstering universal civil rights – rather than seeking protection for vulnerable groups – is actually the most effective way to help Muslim Americans. He writes about the ideas in “Islamophobia and Racism in America” (NYU Press).  

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A Talk With Paul Theroux About ‘Mother Land’

Mon, 22 May 2017 19:36:19 +0000

Paul Theroux is one of America’s foremost travel writers. And he’s also an accomplished novelist. He joins us to talk about his latest work of fiction, which centers on a brood of siblings doing their best to free themselves from the grip of an overbearing mother. The book is called “Mother Land” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt).  

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The Trouble With Reality

Mon, 22 May 2017 19:31:15 +0000

As a co-host of the public radio show “On the Media,” Brooke Gladstone analyzes how the way in which we consume the news shapes our worldview. She joins us to talk about how our perception of even basic facts has changed of late, which she writes about in “The Trouble With Reality: A Rumination on Moral Panic in Our Time” (Workman).  

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Every Body Yoga

Fri, 19 May 2017 19:41:01 +0000

Jessamyn Stanley doesn’t have the body you’d typically see in an ad for yoga clothes. And that hasn’t kept her from becoming an accomplished yogi. She joins us to talk about how people like her are expanding the world of yoga, which she writes about in “Every Body Yoga: Let Go of Fear, Get On the Mat, Love Your Body” (Workman Publishing). She’s in Dallas to talk more about the book Friday and lead a yoga class Saturday at Sync Yoga & Wellbeing.  

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A Conversation With Paula Poundstone

Thu, 18 May 2017 19:31:13 +0000

As a comedian and panelist on “Wait Wait … Don’t Tell Me!” Paula Poundstone makes people happy for a living. And that got her wondering – aside from laughter – what are other keys to happiness? She joins us to talk about her research, which she writes about in “The Totally Unscientific Study of the Search for Human Happiness” (Algonquin Books). She performs Friday night at the Majestic Theatre in Dallas.  

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Confronting Medical Uncertainty

Thu, 18 May 2017 19:30:30 +0000

Six weeks after giving birth, Elizabeth Silver got the news every new mother dreads – her infant daughter had suffered a serious brain injury and would need months of specialized care. She joins us to talk about what it’s like as a parent to feel helpless when your child’s future is up in the air. Her memoir is called “The Tincture of Time: A Memoir of (Medical) Uncertainty” (Penguin Press). She speaks tonight at 7:30 at Wild Detectives.  

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How To Be More Self-Aware

Wed, 17 May 2017 19:41:41 +0000

“Know thyself” is an aphorism that dates to the Ancient Greeks. Psychologist Tasha Eurich joins to talk about why that advice is still relevant in the 21st Century. She’s the author of “Insight: Why We’re Not as Self-Aware as We Think, and How Seeing Ourselves Clearly Helps Us Succeed at Work and Life” (Crown Business).  

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Caring For The Mentally Ill

Wed, 17 May 2017 19:39:41 +0000

Three years into Mark Lukach’s marriage, his wife, Giulia, suffered the first in a series of debilitating psychotic breakdowns. He joins us to talk about what it takes to care for a mentally ill spouse, a story of devotion which he tells in “My Lovely Wife in the Psych Ward” (Harper Wave).  

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The Power Of The Unfocused Mind

Tue, 16 May 2017 19:42:25 +0000

The conventional line of thinking is that the ability to focus is the key to getting things done. Neuroscientist Dr. Srini Pillay joins us to make the case for the opposite – that allowing our minds to wander can actually increase our productivity. His new book is called “Tinker, Dabble, Doodle, Try: Unlock the Power of the Unfocused Mind” (Random House).  

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The Changing Battlefield

Tue, 16 May 2017 19:40:15 +0000

Cyber attacks and strikes from ISIS and other nonstate organizations are forcing the U.S. military to rethink how it operates in battle. Retired Admiral Patrick Walsh joins us to talk about how our armed forces are preparing for 21st Century-style warfare. Walsh is the former commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet and senior fellow in the Tower Center Program in National Security and Defense at SMU. He discusses possible strategies in the newest issues of The Catalyst.  

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The Fate Of The American Revolution

Mon, 15 May 2017 19:30:56 +0000

There may be no two contemporaries in American military history who are remembered more differently than George Washington and Benedict Arnold. Historian Nathaniel Philbrick joins us to talk about how the relationship between these two changed during the war, which he writes about in “Valiant Ambition: George Washington, Benedict Arnold, and the Fate of the American Revolution” (Penguin). He speaks tonight at DMA Arts & Letters Live!  

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Why We Need To Fix The Tax System

Mon, 15 May 2017 19:30:19 +0000

The U.S. tax code underwent major overhauls in 1922, 1954 and 1986 – once every 32 years. T.R. Reid joins us to talk about why we’re due for another adjustment – and about what lawmakers should consider in the next update. He writes about the topic in “A Fine Mess: A Global Quest for a Simpler, Fairer, and More Efficient Tax System” (Penguin Press).  

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A Conversation With NPR’s Code Switch Team

Fri, 12 May 2017 20:29:57 +0000

How do race, ethnicity and culture intersect? And how do these distinctions affect the ways in which we interact with one another? Finding the answers to these questions is the mission of NPR’s Code Switch team. We’ll talk about reporting on race with team members Gene Demby, Adrian Florido and Juleyka Lantigua-Williams.  

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The Legends Of NPR

Thu, 11 May 2017 19:55:23 +0000

In 1972, Susan Stamberg became the first full-time female anchor of a daily news broadcast when she began work on NPR’s “All Things Considered.” She joins us to talk about her career at the network – including her distinguished career in arts journalism. And later in the hour, we’ll be joined by another NPR legend – “Weekend Edition Saturday” host Scott Simon. His latest book is called “My Cubs: A Love Story” (Blue Rider Press).  

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The U.S.-Mexico Relationship

Thu, 11 May 2017 19:54:46 +0000

U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke’s 16th Congressional District covers El Paso and far West Texas. He joins us to talk about his views on border security – and his plans to run against Sen. Ted Cruz in 2018. And later, Franklin Foer joins us to talk about the many retaliatory moves Mexico could make as relations with our southern neighbors devolve. His story “Mexico’s Revenge” appears in the May issue of The Atlantic.  

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A Look At President Trump’s First 100 Days

Wed, 10 May 2017 19:26:19 +0000

President Trump’s first few months in office have included executive orders on immigration, a Supreme Court confirmation and now a second attempt at repealing the Affordable Care Act. We’ll talk about how these sweeping changes and others affect Texas and the nation with Molly Ball of The Atlantic and Abby Livingston of the Texas Tribune.  

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How America Became Segregated

Wed, 10 May 2017 19:25:24 +0000

Beginning in the 1920s, many American cities began to institute racial zoning policies, the effects of which can still be felt today. Richard Rothstein of the Economic Policy Institute joins us to talk about the cumulative impact of these local laws, which he writes about in “The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America” (Liveright).  

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Why Many Americans Remain Homeless

Tue, 09 May 2017 19:27:12 +0000

The United States spends billions of dollars each year trying to house the poor. NPR reporter Laura Sullivan joins us to talk about why so many Americans – including many Texans – remain homeless despite these efforts. She teamed with Frontline on the documentary “Poverty, Politics and Profits,” which looks at the affordable-housing crisis – it airs Tuesday on PBS stations. Our conversation is a part of KERA’s One Crisis Away: No Place To Go series.  

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Remembering World War I

Tue, 09 May 2017 19:25:46 +0000

One hundred years ago this spring, Congress voted to declare war on Germany, thrusting the nation into World War I. The Smithsonian is looking back on the conflict and its lasting impact, and this hour we’ll talk about some of the highlights. We’ll be joined by Diane Wendt, who curated the “Modern Medicine and the Great War” exhibition at the National Museum of American History. And we’ll also talk with Lynn Heidelbaugh, who curated “My Fellow Soldiers: Letters from World War I” at the National Postal Museum.  

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A Conversation With Michael Eric Dyson

Tue, 09 May 2017 01:50:04 +0000

Michael Eric Dyson has become one of the country’s leading voices on racial issues. The Georgetown University sociology professor joins us to talk about the difficult conversations that need to happen in order to heal these divides, the topic of his book “Tears We Cannot Stop: A Sermon to White America” (St. Martin’s Press).

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The Measure Of Genius

Tue, 09 May 2017 01:47:46 +0000

Extraordinary intelligence is the most obvious sign of genius. Scientists are discovering, though, that true geniuses possess more than just high IQs. Claudia Kalb joins us to talk about how Einstein, Michelangelo and others harnessed their creativity, perseverance and other traits to become the towering minds of their times. Her story on geniuses appears in the May issue of National Geographic.

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The Power Of Profanity

Sat, 06 May 2017 02:45:35 +0000

We’ve all let a swear word slip at one time or another. This hour, we’ll talk about the complex set of rules that guide our usage of these words – and about why some words get declared off limits. Joining us for the conversation will be linguist Randall Eggert, psychology professor Timothy Jay, rapper Sam Lao and Jabari Asim, author of “The N Word: Who Can Say It, Who Shouldn’t, and Why” (Houghton Mifflin Books).  

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Why DNA Is Not Destiny

Thu, 04 May 2017 19:16:02 +0000

One of the things in life we can’t change is our DNA. Yet that hasn’t kept thousands of people from having their genomes sequenced. University of British Columbia psychology professor Steven Heine joins us to talk about why some of us put entirely too much stock into what genetic testing reveals, which he writes about in “DNA is not Destiny: The Remarkable, Completely Misunderstood Relationship Between You and Your Genes” (W.W. Norton and Co.).  

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Why We Keep Secrets

Thu, 04 May 2017 19:15:28 +0000

The people we think we know best – our friends, our parents, our children – all have secrets they’re keeping from us. It’s a skill that humans develop from the age of 4 and common across cultures. Carlin Flora joins us to talk about why we keep secrets – and the effect these inner thoughts have on our relationships. She writes about the topic for Psychology Today.  

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Why We Never Think Alone

Wed, 03 May 2017 19:12:56 +0000

Imagine that you had to know how every single thing you owned worked – from telephones to toilets. It’s a wonder we get by with actually knowing so little. Brown University professor Steven Sloman joins us to talk about how we tap into the vast intelligence of those around us in order to navigate our worlds. He writes about the topic in “The Knowledge Illusion: Why We Never Think Alone” (Riverhead Books).  

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The Aryan Brotherhood Of Texas

Tue, 02 May 2017 19:34:41 +0000

Since its founding in the 1980s, the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas is believed to have committed at least 100 murders. Reigning over the prison gang was James “Skitz” Sampsell – the prize that the Justice Department hoped to bag during a years-long investigation. Dallas Morning News reporter Scott Farwell joins us to talk about how the woman closest to Sampsell ultimately brought him down – the subject of his seven-part series “My Aryan Princess.”  

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