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Preview: KERA's Think Podcast

KERA's Think

Published: Thu, 08 Dec 2016 20:50:46 +0000

Last Build Date: Thu, 08 Dec 2016 20:52:10 +0000

Copyright: Copyright 2016 KERA

Staying Calm In A Crisis

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 20:50:46 +0000

Much of the time, we have little control over events that negatively affect our lives. We do, however, have some say in how we react to our worlds being turned upside down. This hour, we’ll talk about how to think clearly and keep our feelings in check during a crisis with Harvard Medical School psychologist Susan David. She’s the author of “Emotional Agility: Get Unstuck, Embrace Change, and Thrive in Work and Life” (Avery).

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Why We Need Rest

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 20:49:13 +0000

We all feel more productive when well-rested. So why is our downtime such a low priority? This hour, we’ll talk about the idea of “deliberate rest” – and about strategies to incorporate it into our busy schedules – with Alex Soojung-Kim Pang, a visiting scholar at Stanford. He writes about the topic in “Rest: Why You Get More Done When You Work Less” (Basic Books).

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The Search For The Chibok Girls

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 20:28:47 +0000

Two years ago, 276 school girls were kidnapped in Nigeria by Boko Haram. Since then, some have been freed, others escaped and at least six have died. This hour, we’ll talk about how the kidnapping has affected families – and about ongoing efforts to rescue the remaining students – with Helon Habila. He’s the author of “The Chibok Girls: The Boko Haram Kidnappings and Islamist Militancy in Nigeria” (Columbia Global Reports).

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The Politics Of The White Working Class

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 20:27:19 +0000

In the 20th Century, the white working class occupied the political and economic middle in both the United States and Great Britain. This hour, we’ll talk about how many in this demographic have come to feel disenfranchised and taken up positions on the political margins with George Mason University’s Justin Gest. He’s the author of “The New Minority: White Working Class Politics in an Era of Immigration and Inequality” (Oxford).

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The Consciousness Of Cephalopods

Tue, 06 Dec 2016 20:43:00 +0000

Dolphins, chimpanzees and other mammals are among the smartest creatures on Earth. Deep in the ocean, though, lives another class of highly intelligent animals – cephalopods. This hour, we’ll talk about how the octopus and its close relatives were likely the first to develop a complex nervous system – and about how that evolution took place independent of land animals – with City University of New York professor Peter Godfrey-Smith. He’s the author of “Other Minds: The Octopus, the Sea, and the Deep Origins of Consciousness” (Farrar Straus and Giroux).

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The Casino Trap

Tue, 06 Dec 2016 20:40:03 +0000

When a gambler steps into a casino, nearly every element of these buildings is designed to keep the player playing. This hour, we’ll talk about how this can be particularly tough on gambling addicts with John Rosengren. His story “How Casinos Enable Gambling Addicts” appears in the December issue of The Atlantic magazine.

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The Distracted Mind

Mon, 05 Dec 2016 20:23:33 +0000

The ability to multitask is a virtue in our plugged-in society. That’s not how our brains are built to function, though. This hour, we’ll talk about strategies for working on one task at a time – and about how we can block out the interference that keeps us from getting things done – with Adam Gazzaley, director of the Neuroscience Imaging Center at UC-San Francisco. He writes about the topic in “The Distracted Mind: Ancient Brains in a High-Tech World” (MIT Press).

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How To Overcome Passive-Aggression

Mon, 05 Dec 2016 20:22:02 +0000

When we hide or anger from friends, family and co-workers, we set ourselves up for larger problems going forward. This hour, we’ll talk about how to deal with conflict directly with Dr. Tim Murphy, co-author of “Overcoming Passive-Aggression: How to Stop Hidden Anger from Spoiling Your Relationships, Career, and Happiness” (Da Capo).

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The Republic Of Spin

Thu, 01 Dec 2016 20:22:21 +0000

Woodrow Wilson held the first presidential press conference in the White House in 1913. This hour, we’ll talk about how every administration since then has used these interactions as opportunities to craft the messages they want the American public to hear with Rutgers University presidential historian David Greenberg. He writes about the topic in “Republic of Spin: An Inside History of the American Presidency” (W.W. Norton and Co.).

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How To Save Money

Thu, 01 Dec 2016 20:21:06 +0000

This month, shoppers across the country are hitting stores and online retailers in search of holiday deals. This hour, we’ll get practical advice for stretching our dollars from David Pogue. His newest book is called “Pogue’s Basics: Money – Essential Tips and Shortcuts (That No One Bothers to Tell You)” (Flatiron Books).

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Hidden Minds

Wed, 30 Nov 2016 20:42:43 +0000

When a person suffers a severe head injury, finding signs of brain activity is a challenge. This hour, we’ll talk about how doctors search for brain function – and about the moral imperative to keep looking – with Dr. Nicholas D. Schiff and Dr. Joseph J Fins of Weill Cornell Medicine. Their story “In Search of Hidden Minds” appears in the current issue of Scientific American Mind.

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Navigating Your Office Enemies

Wed, 30 Nov 2016 20:40:57 +0000

We all have co-workers who sometimes make our jobs difficult. This hour, we’ll talk about how to navigate those office mates who complain, undermine and even bully us with Amy Cooper Hakim, author of “Working with Difficult People: Handling the Ten Types of Problem People Without Losing Your Mind” (TarcherPerigee).

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Inside The Fish Market

Tue, 29 Nov 2016 21:06:19 +0000

This hour, we’ll talk about the commercialization of fishing and the effect it’s had on the seafood we consume with journalist Lee Van Der Voo, who writes about the topic in “The Fish Market: Inside the Big-Money Battle for the Ocean and Your Dinner Plate”

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A Chat With NEA Chair Jane Chu

Tue, 29 Nov 2016 21:05:41 +0000

This hour, we’ll talk with National Endowment for the Arts chair Jane Chu about how her organization distributes its funding and about the intersection of politics and the arts.

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The Investigation Of Crocker Land

Mon, 28 Nov 2016 21:54:11 +0000

This hour, we’ll talk about how a team of explorers endured everything from blizzards to disease to a drunken sea captain with University of Central Arkansas history professor David Welky, author of “A Wretched and Precarious Situation: In Search of the Last Arctic Frontier.”

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The Use And Abuse Of Stop And Frisk

Mon, 28 Nov 2016 21:53:16 +0000

This hour, we’ll talk about the history of the stop and frisk – and about if it’s even possible to hunt for criminals without racial profiling. We’ll be joined by Arizona State criminology professor Michael D. White, co-author of “Stop and Frisk: The Use and Abuse of a Controversial Policing Tactic.”

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A Lesson In Table Manners

Wed, 23 Nov 2016 21:05:32 +0000

Sitting across the Thanksgiving table from certain family members might be particularly tricky this year, post-election. This hour, we’ll talk about maintaining common courtesy even when we disagree with people – and we’ll make sure we’re squared away with which side of the plate to place the knife and fork. We’ll be joined by Jeremiah Tower, author of “Table Manners: How to Behave in the Modern World and Why Bother” (Farrar, Straus and Giroux).

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A Fresh Take On Thanksgiving

Wed, 23 Nov 2016 21:04:30 +0000

If your Thanksgiving table will feature another year of dry turkey, lumpy mashed potatoes and can-shaped cranberries, it’s probably time for a menu makeover. This hour, we’ll talk about freshening up these staples – and about how to accommodate guests with dietary restrictions – with Dallas Morning News restaurant critic and Cooks Without Borders blogger Leslie Brenner and television chef and restaurateur Tiffany Derry.

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Speaking American

Tue, 22 Nov 2016 20:27:00 +0000

As many of us board planes for the Thanksgiving holiday, we’ll run into people from across the country who don’t exactly sound like us. This hour, we’ll talk about how one nation developed so many regional dialects – and about how to navigate these sub-languages – with Josh Katz, author of “Speaking American: How Y’all, Youse, and You Guys Talk: A Visual Guide” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt).

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The Secret Life Of Hair

Tue, 22 Nov 2016 20:25:36 +0000

When we’re having a good-hair day, everything seems to just fall into place. And when that same hair starts to turn gray, we wonder where we go from here. This hour, guest host Lauren Silverman will talk about why we value our hair so much – and why cultures throughout history have done the same – with University of London anthropologist Emma Tarlo. Her new book is called “Entanglement: The Secret Lives of Hair” (OneWorld Publications).

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The Power Of Faith

Mon, 21 Nov 2016 20:35:15 +0000

Diet and exercise are obvious physical contributors to our overall health. But what about what’s going on inside our minds? This hour, guest host Lauren Silverman will talk about how scientists are studying how our thoughts, feelings and faiths contribute to our well-being with Erik Vance. His story “The Healing Power of Faith” appears in the December issue of National Geographic magazine.

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Preventing Child Abuse

Mon, 21 Nov 2016 20:33:54 +0000

Each year, the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services investigates about 200,000 cases of possible child abuse. This hour, guest host Lauren Silverman will talk about the possibility of using technology to predict when these abuses might happen in order to stop them before they occur. We’ll be joined by Dyann Daley, executive director of the Center for Prevention of Child Maltreatment, and David Sanders, chair of the Presidential Commission to Eliminate Child Abuse and Neglect Fatalities.

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Home Beyond Earth

Thu, 17 Nov 2016 20:26:28 +0000

Most of the recent conversation about space exploration has centered on Mars. This hour, we’ll talk about why the Red Planet may not be the most viable option for a space colony – and we’ll talk about the place that is: Titan, a moon orbiting Saturn. We’ll be joined by planetary scientist Amanda Hendrix, co-author of “Beyond Earth: Our Path to a New Home in the Planets” (Pantheon).

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Racism On Campus

Thu, 17 Nov 2016 20:25:06 +0000

In the last week, incidence of racism and harassment have taken place on Texas high school and college campuses. This hour, we’ll talk about counseling young adults on how to deal with these situations – and what to do when these lessons are being learned at home. We’ll be joined by Dr. Summer Rose of Momentous Institute, SMU student senator Naomi Samuel and Alia Salem, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

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Treasures Of The Earth

Wed, 16 Nov 2016 20:37:16 +0000

Gemstones, metals and natural resources are all found right beneath the ground we walk on. This hour, we’ll talk about how humans throughout time have turned to the Earth for the materials that power our civilization, the subject of the new NOVA series “Treasures of the Earth: Gems, Metals and Power,” which airs tonight on KERA-TV. We’ll be joined by producer Doug Hamilton.

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What Words Mean

Tue, 15 Nov 2016 21:05:46 +0000

This hour, we’ll talk with the former chief editor of the Oxford English Dictionary John Simpson about how new words are added, how meanings evolve and about the effect technology has on how we speak.

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Is Medicare Over?

Tue, 15 Nov 2016 21:05:04 +0000

This hour, we’ll talk about how Medicare will be funded going forward – and about how it relates to the Affordable Care Act – with health journalist Trudy Lieberman. Her story “Is Medicare on Its Last Legs” appears in the current issue of Harper’s magazine.

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The Latinos Of Asia

Mon, 14 Nov 2016 20:45:01 +0000

Filipino Americans are classified by the U.S. Census as Asian. But because of Spanish colonialism in the Philippines, many Filipinos also feel part Latino. This hour, we’ll talk about how skin color, history and other factors contribute to cultural identity with sociologist Anthony Christian Ocampo, author of “The Latinos of Asia: How Filipino Americans Break the Rules of Race” (Stanford University Press).

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Twilight Warriors

Mon, 14 Nov 2016 20:42:58 +0000

Intelligence has arguably overtaken sheer force as the key to military success. This hour, we’ll talk about how the CIA, FBI and military special forces share information and increasingly work together to fight terrorism. We’ll be joined by James Kitfield, senior fellow at the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress and author of “Twilight Warriors: The Soldiers, Spies, & Special Agents Who Are Revolutionizing the American Way of War” (Basic Books).

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A History Of Arab American Lives

Thu, 10 Nov 2016 20:28:11 +0000

Much of the last 50 years of American foreign policy has centered on the nation’s relationship to the Arab world – from the 1973 oil embargo to 9/11 and the present day. This hour, we’ll talk about how Americans of Arab descent have viewed these events – and about their relationship with their fellow non-Arab Americans – with Alia Malek, author of “A Country Called Amreeka: U.S. History Re-Told Through Arab American Lives” (Free Press). She’s in town to receive the Hiett Prize from the Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture.

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A Man’s Quest To Recover From Success

Thu, 10 Nov 2016 20:26:41 +0000

Paul English accomplished every tech entrepreneur’s mission when he sold Kayak to Priceline for $2 billion. He was set for life, yet figuring out what to do next was a more complicated question than he expected. This hour, we’ll talk about what to do when your dreams come true with Tracy Kidder, who tells English’s story in “A Truck Full of Money: One Man’s Quest to Recover from Great Success” (Random House). Kidder will be in town tonight for an event benefiting the Dallas Public Library.

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The Future Of Both Parties

Wed, 09 Nov 2016 20:33:48 +0000

Republican State Rep. Jason Villalba was initially reluctant to support Donald Trump in the presidential race. This hour, we’ll talk with him about what changed his mind – and about what Trump’s victory says for the GOP going forward. And we’ll also talk with Democratic State. Sen. Royce West about how his party will move forward following its surprise defeat at the top of the ticket.

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Election 2016 Recap

Wed, 09 Nov 2016 20:32:14 +0000

Donald Trump’s historic upset victory caught many by surprise. This hour, we’ll talk about why the polls showing a Clinton win got it wrong with UTD polling expert Harold Clarke. We’ll also talk about what we can expect for the next four years with with TCU political science professor James Riddlesperger and UNT assistant political science professor Andrea Silva.

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The World’s Greatest Footrace

Tue, 08 Nov 2016 20:55:59 +0000

In 490 BC, Pheidippides ran from Athens to Sparta to seek help in the Battle of Marathon, inspiring the race that millions of runners attempt each year. This hour, we’ll talk with ultramarathoner Dean Karnazes, who traced Pheidippides’ 153-mile path using only the comforts available during the original run. He writes about the experience in “The Road to Sparta: Reliving the Ancient Battle and Epic Run that Inspired the World’s Greatest Footrace” (Rodale).

Media Files:

The Politics Of Black Republicans

Tue, 08 Nov 2016 20:54:23 +0000

Eighty percent of African Americans lean toward the Democratic Party according to the Pew Research Center. This hour, we’ll talk about the 10 percent who say they lean Republican – and about how they reconcile black identity with conservative principles. We’ll be joined by Corey D. Fields of the Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity at Stanford, who writes about the topic in “Black Elephants in the Room: The Unexpected Politics of African American Republicans” (University of California Press).  

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How To Get Rid Of Email Anxiety

Mon, 07 Nov 2016 20:19:39 +0000

On average, people check their e-mail 11 times an hour. And all of that time spent in our inboxes is eating up our productivity. This hour, we’ll talk about how we can tame our e-mail habits with Jocelyn K. Glei, who writes about the topic in “Unsubscribe: How to Kill Email Anxiety, Avoid Distractions and Get Real Work Done” (PublicAffairs).

Media Files:

Transplanting Organs

Mon, 07 Nov 2016 20:18:09 +0000

People in need of a heart or lung transplant are forced to wait until a potential donor organ is found. Researchers are hard at work, though, developing an alternative. This hour, we’ll talk about the possibility of growing replacement human organs inside cows, pigs and other animals – and we’ll talk about the ethics of the practice – the subject of a story in the November issue of Scientific American. We’ll be joined by Christine Gorman, the magazine’s senior editor for health, human biology and medicine.

Media Files:

Tacos, Tamales And Tex-Mex

Thu, 03 Nov 2016 19:45:43 +0000

One of the best things about living in Texas is the food. This hour, we’ll talk specifically about Tex-Mex with two experts: Mando Rayo, co-author of “The Tacos of Texas” (UT Press) and Sylvia Casares, author of “The Enchilada Queen Cookbook: Enchiladas, Fajitas, Tamales, and More Classic Recipes from Texas-Mexico Border Kitchens” (St. Martin’s Press). Both authors will talk about their books this weekend at the Texas Book Festival.

Media Files:

The Life And Work Of Elliott Erwitt

Thu, 03 Nov 2016 19:43:35 +0000

In a career that spanned seven decades, Elliott Erwitt photographed Jacqueline Kennedy, Marilyn Monroe and other icons, as well as everyday people living in Eastern Europe and the Jim Crow South. This hour, we’ll talk about one of the most significant photographers of the 20th Century with Jessica McDonald, who curated “Elliott Erwitt: Home Around the World,” currently on display at UT’s Harry Ransom Center.

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A Talk With The Texas Secretary Of State

Wed, 02 Nov 2016 19:47:09 +0000

As Texas Secretary of State, Carlos Cascos also serves as the state’s Chief Election Officer. This hour, we’ll talk with him about the steps Texas takes to ensure a clean election – and about what happens if voter fraud is suspected.

Media Files:

The 2016 Presidential Election

Wed, 02 Nov 2016 19:45:21 +0000

A week from today, we’ll know if the country will be led by the first President Trump or the second President Clinton. This hour, we’ll talk about the messages that candidates are getting out to voters – and about whether Texas might actually be up for grabs – with UT Austin political scientists Juliet Hooker and Eric McDaniel.

Media Files:

The Resegregation Of America

Tue, 01 Nov 2016 19:30:25 +0000

America’s racial unrest has manifested itself this year in everything from #OscarsSoWhite to Black Lives Matter. This hour, we’ll talk about where we go from here with Jeff Chang, executive director of the Institute for Diversity in the Arts at Stanford University. He’ll visit the Texas Book Festival this weekend to talk about his new book, “We Gon’ Be Alright: Notes on Race and Resegregation” (Picador).

Media Files:

The 2016 Texas Lyceum Poll

Tue, 01 Nov 2016 19:25:54 +0000

Each year the Texas Lyceum commissions a survey to get a better understanding of how people across the state think about the issues of the day. This hour, we’ll walk through what Texans think about immigration, the Affordable Care Act, voter ID laws and other hot topics with Texas Lyceum president Dave Shaw and Daron Shaw, who conducted this year’s poll.

Media Files:

The General Vs. The President

Mon, 31 Oct 2016 19:31:28 +0000

After the atomic bomb helped end World War II, many wondered if the U.S. would also deploy the world’s most-feared weapon in the Korean War. This hour, we’ll talk about how that question drove a wedge between the White House and the military with H.W. Brands, chair of the history department at UT-Austin. His new book is called “The General vs. The President: MacArthur and Truman at the Brink of Nuclear War” (Doubleday).

Media Files:

The Bats In Austin

Mon, 31 Oct 2016 19:29:46 +0000

Most nights around sunset, a thick, black cloud emerges from under Austin’s Congress Avenue Bridge. That’s when a swarm of Mexican free-tailed bats heads out into the night to hunt. This hour, we’ll take in the scene from the bridge with bat experts from the non-profit Austin Bat Refuge. And later in the hour, we’ll talk about new research into how bats use sonar with Mike Ryan, professor of integrative biology at UT-Austin, and UT graduate student May Dixon.

Media Files:

The Evolving Science Of Human Evolution

Thu, 27 Oct 2016 20:40:57 +0000

Humans are continuously evolving, just as our earliest ancestors did. The difference is, through medical advancements we’re also contributing artificially to our natural progress. This hour, guest host Lauren Silverman talks about why this combination makes the future more unpredictable than ever with Rice University evolutionary biologist Scott Solomon. He’s the author of “Future Humans: Inside the Science of Our Continuing Evolution” (Yale University Press).

Media Files:

Treating Mental Health

Thu, 27 Oct 2016 20:39:20 +0000

Actress Mariel Hemingway has become an advocate for mental health and addiction services after surviving a childhood surrounded by people who needed help. This hour, guest host Lauren Silverman talks with her about overcoming “The Hemingway Curse,” and we’ll learn more about how people with alcoholism, depression and other conditions are treated with Dr. Harold Urschel, chief medical strategist for Enterhealth.  

Media Files:

The Battle Of Chosin

Wed, 26 Oct 2016 19:55:34 +0000

The two-week fight at the Chosin Reservoir was one of the decisive battles of the Korean War – and one of the seminal moments in the history of the Marine Corps. This hour, we’ll talk about how the battle helped set the course for American foreign policy with historian Hampton Sides. He contributed to the American Experience documentary “The Battle of Chosin,” which airs Nov. 1 on KERA-TV.

Media Files:

The Rise Of Populism

Wed, 26 Oct 2016 19:53:55 +0000

In the last year, populist movements have pushed unlikely candidates Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump to the forefront of American politics and forced the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union. This hour, we’ll talk about how populists movements form and gain momentum with John B. Judis, author of “The Populist Explosion: How the Great Recession Transformed American and European Politics” (Columbia Global Reports).

Media Files:

The Future Of Urban Life

Tue, 25 Oct 2016 19:20:13 +0000

By 2050, 80 percent of the world’s population will live in cities. That means these urban centers will carry the burden of climate change, income inequality and other side effects of a growing population. This hour, we’ll talk about how cities can answer these challenges with Jonathan Rose, author of “The Well-Tempered City: What Modern Science, Ancient Civilizations, and Human Nature Teach Us About the Future of Urban Life” (Harper Wave). He’s in town for an event tonight at the Dallas Institute for Humanities and Culture, and he’s the keynote speaker at the Urban Land Institute national convention at the Hutchison Convention Center.

Media Files:

How Autonomous Cars Work

Tue, 25 Oct 2016 19:18:30 +0000

This month, Tesla announced that its electric cars will be the first in the nation to be outfitted with the hardware needed to control themselves. This hour, we’ll talk about the technological advancements that have us on the brink of self-driving cars, and we’ll discuss the many logistical questions inherent with autonomous driving. We’ll be joined by Nick Gans, who researches self-driving cars at UT-Dallas.  

Media Files:

Change For Cuba

Mon, 24 Oct 2016 19:35:50 +0000

In March the Obama administration authorized Americans to once again travel to Cuba. This hour, we’ll talk about what it’s like to visit the country today – and about if Cuba is ready for the influx of tourists – with Cathy Gorney. Her story “Here Comes a Wave of Change for Cuba” appears in the November issue of National Geographic magazine.

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How Polls Work

Mon, 24 Oct 2016 19:34:16 +0000

With each passing day it seems a new poll is released letting us know who’s up or down in the presidential race. This hour, we’ll talk about how polling data is collected – and about how we should interpret the results – with UT-Dallas political science professor and polling expert Harold Clarke.

Media Files:

A Talk With Bryan Cranston

Thu, 20 Oct 2016 19:37:10 +0000

Bryan Cranston’s mantel is home to four Emmys for playing Walter White, plus a Tony for portraying President Lyndon Johnson. This hour, we’ll talk with him about “Breaking Bad” and “All the Way” – and about his funnier roles on “Seinfeld and “Malcolm in the Middle.” He writes about all of them in his new memoir, “A Life in Parts” (Scribner).

Media Files:

The Final Presidential Debate

Thu, 20 Oct 2016 19:35:46 +0000

Wednesday night, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump will made their cases to voters in the third and final presidential debate. This hour, we’ll recap the night – and talk about the strategies for each candidate through Nov. 8 – with presidential historian Jon Meacham. He’s the author of biographies on Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson, and he’ll be in town Sunday to talk about his latest effort, “Destiny and Power: The American Odyssey of George Herbert Walker Bush” at Highland Park United Methodist Church.

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Confronting Colorism

Wed, 19 Oct 2016 20:14:09 +0000

“Colorism” is a “cousin to racism” according to Lori. L. Tharps. And as a mother of three mixed-race children – with three distinct skin colors – she’s seen firsthand the many ways that people are judged based on the lightness or darkness of their skin. This hour, we’ll talk with Tharps, an associate professor at Temple University, about her book “Same Family, Different Colors: Confronting Colorism in America’s Diverse Families” (Beacon Press).

Media Files:

A Muslim Girl’s Coming Of Age Story

Wed, 19 Oct 2016 20:12:34 +0000

Amani Al-Khatahtbeh was a 9 year-old living in New Jersey on Sept. 11, 2001. And in her young life, she’s only known a world filled with Islamophobia. This hour, we’ll talk about growing up surrounded by hate, and about how she created an oasis for other women like her through her website, She writes about her experiences in her memoir “Muslim Girl: A Coming of Age” (Simon & Schuster).

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The Last Laugh

Tue, 18 Oct 2016 19:50:14 +0000

Given enough distance from a tragedy, some comedians will try to add levity to the situation. This hour, we’ll talk about if it will ever not be “too soon” to crack a joke about the Holocaust with Ferne Pearlstein. She explores one of comedy’s most taboo topics with Mel Brooks, Louis C.K., Chris Rock and other comedians in her documentary “The Last Laugh,” which screens Thursday as part of Videofest.

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What Constitutes Sexual Assault?

Tue, 18 Oct 2016 19:48:28 +0000

This month, a series of women have accused Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump of inappropriately touching or kissing them without their consent. This hour, we’ll talk about consent, what constitutes sexual harassment and assault and what people should do if they feel they’ve been assaulted. We’ll be joined by Amy Jones, senior director of programs and client services with Genesis Women’s Shelter;  Heather Snow, dean of students and associate vice president for student affairs at UT-Arlington; and Monica Urbaniak, clinical director for Dallas Area Rape Crisis Center. We’ll also speak with Sophia Dembling, a Dallas writer who tells her story of being sexually assaulted as a 19-year-old.

Media Files:

Stalin’s Last American Spy

Mon, 17 Oct 2016 19:39:03 +0000

In the 1930s, Noel Field was an Ivy League-educated American working for the U.S. State Department. This hour, we’ll talk about how Field betrayed his country to become one of Joseph Stalin’s top spies – only to have the tables turned on him by the KGB. We’ll be joined by Kati Marton, who tells the story in “True Believer: Stalin’s Last American Spy” (Simon & Schuster). Marton will be in town Nov. 3 to talk about her book at a World Affairs Council of Dallas-Fort Worth event.

Media Files:

Fighting Terror In Europe

Mon, 17 Oct 2016 19:36:05 +0000

After terrorist attacks in Belgium and France this year, Europe is a key battleground in the fight against ISIS. This hour, we’ll talk about what top security officials on the continent are doing to ward off future attacks with Sebastian Rotella. His reporting appears in the Frontline documentary “Terror in Europe,” which airs Tuesday on KERA-TV.

Media Files:

The Book Of Isaias

Thu, 13 Oct 2016 19:29:38 +0000

Children of modest means often have a tough choice to make: pursue a college education and its requisite debt or join the workforce. This hour, we’ll talk about that decision through the story of one young man who had to make it. We’ll be joined by Daniel Connolly, who tells the story of Isaias Ramos in his book “The Book of Isaias: A Child of Hispanic Immigrants Seeks His Own America” (St. Martin’s Press).

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Esperanto: A Universal Language

Thu, 13 Oct 2016 19:26:38 +0000

What if everyone in the world spoke a common language? That was Ludwig Lazarus Zamenhof’s dream when he set out to create a universal language near the end of the 19th Century. This hour, we’ll talk about the invention – and ultimate failure – of Esperanto with Princeton professor Esther Schor, author of “Bridge of Words: Esperanto and the Dream of a Universal Language” (Metropolitan Books).

Media Files:

What It Means To Be An American

Wed, 12 Oct 2016 19:26:54 +0000

Each year, about 680,000 immigrants become naturalized U.S. citizens. This hour, as part of a national coordinated conversation organized by NPR, we’ll talk about what it means to be an American with a panel of Americans who began life as citizens of other countries.

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A More Sustainable Food System

Wed, 12 Oct 2016 19:24:50 +0000

Regulations on the food industry are designed to keep us safe. This hour, we’ll talk about why some of these regulations may have unintended consequences – and about how we can more efficiently feed the country – with food lawyer Baylen J. Linnekin. He’s the author of “Biting the Hands That Feed Us: How Fewer, Smarter Laws Would Make Our Food System More Sustainable” (Island Press).

Media Files:

General Marquis de Lafayette

Tue, 11 Oct 2016 19:53:59 +0000

When the Marquis de Lafayette returned to the U.S. in 1824, more than 75 percent of New Yorkers turned out to greet him. This hour, we’ll talk about the integral role the Frenchman played in the American Revolution – and about his close friendship with George Washington – with Sarah Vowell. She’s the author of “Lafayette in the Somewhat United States” (Riverhead Books).

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What Third Party Voters Want

Tue, 11 Oct 2016 19:52:33 +0000

It will likely take a miracle for Gary Johnson or Jill Stein to become our next president. And yet, each candidate has amassed a small – and loyal – band of supporters. This hour, we’ll talk about the many reasons these voters have for sticking by candidates who have little chance of winning with Emma Roller. Her opinion piece “Third-Party Voters Know What They Want” appeared recently in The New York Times.

Media Files:

A Boy’s Gift To Science

Mon, 10 Oct 2016 19:31:46 +0000

In 2010, Sarah Gray received the news expectant mothers fear most – one of the twin sons she was carrying wasn’t going to live. In her tragedy, though, she saw opportunity for others and arranged for Thomas’ organs to be donated to medical research. This hour, we’ll talk with her about visiting labs at Harvard, Duke and elsewhere to witness the potentially lifesaving studies Thomas’ body was a part of. She writes about the experience in, “A Life Everlasting: The Extraordinary Story of One Boy’s Gift to Medical Science” (HarperOne).

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The Second Presidential Debate

Mon, 10 Oct 2016 19:30:11 +0000

Sunday night, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton squared off in the second presidential debate. This hour, we’ll talk about what they talked about with a panel of political scientists: UTA political science professor Rebecca Deen and Matthew Wilson, associate professor of political science at SMU.  

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Being A Dog

Thu, 06 Oct 2016 19:40:17 +0000

Humans rely primarily on sight and sound to navigate the world. Our canine friends, though, prefer sniffing to seeing and hearing. This hour, we’ll talk about the incredible amount of information dogs collect through their noses with Alexandra Horowitz, author of “Being a Dog: Following the Dog Into a World of Smell” (Scribner).

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Why Children Should Get Dirty

Thu, 06 Oct 2016 19:35:29 +0000

Anyone who’s spent five minutes with a toddler knows that kids can be a grimy bunch. This hour, we’ll talk about how exposure to some germs is actually good for a child’s health with Brett Finlay, a microbiologist specializing in bacterial infections at the University of British Columbia. He writes about the idea in “Let Them Eat Dirt: Saving Your Child from an Oversanitized World” (Algonquin Books).

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The Power Of Pride

Wed, 05 Oct 2016 19:48:27 +0000

Pride is an unusual emotion in that everyone should have some of it but having too much can be dangerous. This hour, we’ll explore how pride can push us to great achievements – and make us do terrible things in the process – with University of British Columbia psychology professor Jessica Tracy. She writes about the pluses and minuses of pride in “Take Pride: Why the Deadliest Sin Holds the Secret to Human Success” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt).

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The Black Panther Party

Wed, 05 Oct 2016 19:46:36 +0000

The Black Panther Party was founded 50 years ago this month. This hour, we’ll talk about what the organization was able to accomplish – and about its relevance in the age of Black Lives Matter – with Yohuru Williams, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Fairfield University. He’s co-editor of “The Black Panthers: Portraits from an Unfinished Revolution” (Nation Books).

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The Human Odyssey

Tue, 04 Oct 2016 19:54:02 +0000

Humans inhabit nearly every corner of the Earth. It wasn’t always that way, though. This hour, we’ll talk about how early humans developed the skills to cross land and sea with Larry Klein. He’s the producer of the NOVA documentary “Great Human Odyssey,” which airs Wednesday night at 8 on KERA-TV.

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The Terror Years

Tue, 04 Oct 2016 19:52:12 +0000

Lawrence Wright won the Pulitzer Prize for his 2005 book “The Looming Tower: al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11.” This hour, we’ll talk with the New Yorker staff writer about shifts in power in the Middle East over the last decade, the subject of his new book, “The Terror Years: From al-Qaeda to the Islamic State” (Knopf).

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Rules Of The Game

Mon, 03 Oct 2016 21:45:58 +0000

Baseball may look nothing like soccer – or even chess for that matter. Each of these games has at least one thing in common though: clearly defined rules. This hour, we’ll talk about why these rules are actually essential to making games fun – and how we can use parameters to make everyday life more enjoyable – with Georgia Tech professor Ian Bogost. He writes about the idea in his new book, “Play Anything: The Pleasure of Limits, the Uses of Boredom & the Secret of Games” (Basic Books).

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A Look At Substitute Teaching

Mon, 03 Oct 2016 21:44:07 +0000

With little training under his belt, Nicholson Baker signed up to become a substitute teacher in Maine. This hour, as a part of KERA's American Graduate initiative, we’ll talk with him about the unique view substitute teachers have into our public schools – and about how to improve daily life in the classroom – which he writes about in “Substitute: Going to School With a Thousand Kids” (Blue Rider Press)

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Remembering Pearl Harbor

Thu, 29 Sep 2016 21:12:35 +0000

Dec. 7 marks the 75th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. This hour, we’ll talk about how the passage of time has altered how we think about that day that left 2,403 Americans dead with Craig Nelson. He’ll talk about his new book, “Pearl Harbor: From Infamy to Greatness” tonight as part of Highland Park United Methodist Church’s Authors Live! series.

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A Conversation With Maureen Dowd

Thu, 29 Sep 2016 21:10:23 +0000

Americans have a tough choice in November, in part because so many voters dislike both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. As a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for The New York Times, Maureen Dowd has written about each candidate for two decades. This hour, we’ll talk with her about the path for each to the White House – and whether a third party candidate could actually have a chance. Her newest book is called “The Year of Voting Dangerously: The Derangement of American Politics” (Tw

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The Making Of Winston Churchill

Wed, 28 Sep 2016 19:21:36 +0000

Winston Churchill’s steely resolve was instrumental in seeing Britain safely through World War II. This hour we’ll talk about how Churchill developed that toughness as a soldier fighting in South Africa with Candice Millard. She’s the author of “Hero of the Empire: The Boer War, a Daring Escape, and the Making of Winston Churchill” (Doubleday),” which she’ll talk about tonight as part of DMA Arts & Letters Live.

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When Strangers Meet

Tue, 27 Sep 2016 20:18:26 +0000

Every day we cross paths with dozens of strangers, doing our best to not make eye contact as we hurry along. This hour, we’ll talk about what could actually happen if we just said “hello” to that person behind us in the checkout line with Kio Stark. She writes about the idea in “When Strangers Meet: How People You Don't Know Can Transform You” (TED Books).

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The Choice 2016

Tue, 27 Sep 2016 20:13:48 +0000

For more than a year, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have crisscrossed the country telling voters about themselves. This hour, we’ll hear what those closest to the candidates have to say about them from Michael Kirk. His Frontline documentary “The Choice 2016” airs tonight on KERA-TV.

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Ageism In The Workplace

Mon, 26 Sep 2016 21:04:36 +0000

Nearly 20 percent of Americans 65 and older are working – and counted among them are the Republican and Democratic presidential nominees. This hour, we’ll talk about the knowledge and experience veteran workers bring to their jobs – and about why so many of them find those jobs hard to come by – with Ashton Applewhite. Her opinion piece “You’re How Old? We’ll Be in Touch,” appeared earlier this month in The New York Times.

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The Cultural Equity Of Dallas

Mon, 26 Sep 2016 21:01:47 +0000

The North Texas arts community is currently in a deep discussion about the idea of cultural equity. The conversation centers on how the arts are funded – and how that funding impacts the diversity of our cultural experiences. This hour, we’ll talk about leveling the artistic playing field with Jennifer Scripps, the director of the Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs; David Lozano, executive artistic director of Cara Mia Theatre; and Clyde Valentin, director of Ignite/Arts Dallas.

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The Hamilton Cult

Thu, 22 Sep 2016 19:56:47 +0000

“Hamilton” has pulled in more than $100 million at the box office and turned Lin-Manuel Miranda into a household name. This hour, we’ll talk about the extent to which the Tony-winning musical has rewritten history and altered our understanding of its namesake. We’ll be joined by Robert Sullivan, whose story “The Hamilton Cult” appears in the October issue of Harper’s.    

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Building The Republic Of Texas

Thu, 22 Sep 2016 19:55:03 +0000

The Republic of Texas was built upon two pillars: cotton and slavery. This hour, we’ll talk about how this important crop and the labor that fueled it led to the Texas revolution – and about how Texas provided a blue print for the Confederacy – with UNT assistant history professor Andrew Torget. He writes about the topic in his book “Seeds of Empire: Cotton, Slavery, and the Transformation of the Texas Borderlands, 1800-1850”(University of North Carolina Press).    

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How To Pay For College

Wed, 21 Sep 2016 19:38:24 +0000

Americans owe nearly $1.3 trillion in student loans. This hour, as part of KERA’s One Crisis Away: Drowning in Debt series, we’ll talk about strategies for paying for college and about how much debt is reasonable to take on. We’ll be joined by Ron Elsenbaumer, interim provost and vice president for academic affairs at UT-Arlington; and Cynthia Butler, executive director of financial aid for Dallas County Community College District.

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Telling War Stories Through Images

Wed, 21 Sep 2016 19:36:36 +0000

Photographs from Vietnam to Afghanistan to Iraq capture the agony of war in an instant. This hour, we’ll talk about how war photographers tell stories of conflict through their images with a panel of Pulitzer Prize-winners: David Hume Kennerly, Carol Guzy and David Leeson. Tonight, they’ll take part in “Illusion and Disillusion: A Panel Conversation on Violence and War” at the Texas Theatre, presented by 29 Pieces.  

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The Legacy Of Willie Velasquez

Tue, 20 Sep 2016 20:47:30 +0000

Between 13 million and 16 million Latinos are expected to vote in this year’s presidential election. And many of those voters can thank San Antonio native Willie Velasquez when they cast their ballots. This hour, we’ll talk about the founder of the Southwest Voter Registration and Education Project, who launched more than a thousand voter registration drives in the 1970s and ’80s. We’ll be joined by Hector Galán, director of the PBS documentary “Willie Velasquez: Your Vote Is Your Voice,” which airs Oct. 3 on KERA-TV. KERA will also host special advance screenings of the film in Dallas on Thursday and Fort Worth on Sept. 29.  

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The Wolf Boys

Tue, 20 Sep 2016 20:42:20 +0000

Gabriel Cardona and Bart Reta were once teenagers with bright futures growing up in Laredo. Their lives took an abrupt turn, though, when they fell under the spell of the Zetas. This hour, we’ll talk about how the Mexican drug cartel turned one of the boys into a feared assassin – and about what their transformations say about the perilous prospect of growing up on the border – with Dan Slater. He tells their story in “Wolf Boys: Two American Teenagers and Mexico’s Most Dangerous Drug Cartel” (Simon & Schuster).

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The ADHD Epidemic

Mon, 19 Sep 2016 20:19:07 +0000

One in seven American children is diagnosed with ADHD and put on Adderall or similar medications. This hour, we’ll talk about why these diagnoses are on the rise – and if there’s cause for concern – with Alan Schwarz, author of “ADHD Nation: Children, Doctors, Big Pharma, and the Making of an American Epidemic” (Scribner).

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Ann Patchett’s ‘Commonwealth’

Mon, 19 Sep 2016 20:17:32 +0000

Ann Patchett received the PEN/Faulkner Award for her novel “Bel Canto.” This hour, we’ll talk with her about her new book, “Commonwealth” (Harper), which tells the story of how a chance romantic encounter ripples through two families over multiple generations.

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How To Raise A Genius

Thu, 15 Sep 2016 20:23:18 +0000

For 45 years, the Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth has tracked 5,000 participants to better understand gifted children. This hour, as part of KERA’s American Graduate initiative, we’ll talk about identifying high achievers at a young age – and how we can foster learning in kids – with Tom Clynes. His story “How to Raise a Genius” appears in the journal Nature.

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A Primer On Over-The-Counter Meds

Thu, 15 Sep 2016 20:21:35 +0000

The cure for most of our everyday maladies can be found at the drugstore. The trick is deciding which medicine is right for you. This hour, we’ll walk through our over-the-counter choices – and talk about when a trip to the doctor’s office might be necessary – with Dr. Roger Khetan, an internist with Baylor Scott & White.

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The Rise Of Isis

Wed, 14 Sep 2016 19:50:13 +0000

The swift emergence of ISIS has military and security experts across the world rethinking how we wage war and fight terrorism. This hour, we’ll talk about how we got to now with Joby Warrick, who won the Pulitzer Prize for his book “Black Flags: The Rise of ISIS” (Doubleday). Warrick speaks tonight to the World Affairs Council of Dallas-Fort Worth.

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The Politics Of College Rape

Wed, 14 Sep 2016 19:42:22 +0000

A sexual assault scandal at Baylor University this year cost the school its president and head football coach and left many wondering how the Baptist school lost sight of its values. This hour, we’ll talk about how Baylor and many other universities turn a blind eye to sexual assault claims – and about how these schools can address the issue – with Jessica Luther. Her book is called “Unsportsmanlike Conduct: College Football and the Politics of Rape” (Edge of Sports). Luther speaks tonight at 6:30 at Deep Vellum Books.  

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The Environmental State Of Texas

Tue, 13 Sep 2016 19:41:58 +0000

Five Texas cities are among the top 15 in the nation in terms of population growth. That’s great for the tax base and a strain on natural resources. This hour, we’ll talk about how the state can best cope with the environmental impact of a growing population with David Todd, co-author of “The Texas Landscape Project: Nature and People” (Texas A&M Press).

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Separating Fact From Fiction

Tue, 13 Sep 2016 19:40:40 +0000

In the run-up to the presidential election, we’re showered on an hourly basis with new poll numbers and other data. And there’s so much of it that it can be difficult to separate fact from fiction. This hour, we’ll talk about how we can identify the truth with Daniel. J. Levitin, author of “A Field Guide to Lies: Critical Thinking in the Information Age” (Dutton).  

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Why Writing Matters

Mon, 12 Sep 2016 21:14:20 +0000

In the age of social media and 140-character limits, writing that can pass as prose feels like a thing of the past. This hour, we’ll talk about why a dedication to putting pen to paper is as important as ever with University of Virginia professor Mark Edmundson. He writes about the topic in “Why Write?: A Master Class on the Art of Writing and Why it Matters” (Bloomsbury).

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How Minority Groups Relate To Each Other

Mon, 12 Sep 2016 21:12:30 +0000

Aaron Mak was a newspaper intern this summer sent to cover a Black Lives Matter protest in Milwaukee. As an Asian-American, he was surprised to become a target of violence – and equally surprised when his race saved him from further damage. This hour, we’ll talk with him about his experience, which he recently wrote about for Politico. And later in the hour, we’ll further examine how minority groups relate to one another with Kat Chow of NPR’s “Code Switch” podcast.

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