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Preview: Please Explain from WNYC New York Public Radio Podcast

Please Explain (The Leonard Lopate Show)



In Please Explain, we set aside time every Friday afternoon to get to the bottom of one complex issue. Ever wonder how New York City's water system works? Or how the US became so polarized politically? We'll back up and review the basic facts and principl



Last Build Date: Fri, 16 Jun 2017 00:00:00 -0400

Copyright: WNYC
 



Protecting Yourself From Ticks and Lyme Disease

Fri, 23 Jun 2017 00:00:00 -0400

Dr. Richard S. Ostfeld, Senior Scientist at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, joins us for our latest Please Explain on ticks and Lyme disease. As global temperatures rise, there is an increasing prevalence of ticks, and tick-borne diseases, across the country. Dr. Ostfeld is part of The Tick Project, a five-year study to determine whether neighborhood-based prevention can reduce human cases of Lyme and other tick-borne diseases. He will speak about the prevalence of ticks, why they are spreading and preventative measures we can take. 




The Shocking Truth About Lightning

Fri, 16 Jun 2017 00:00:00 -0400

For this week’s Please Explain, we are joined by meteorologist Ronald Holle to understand how lightning works. Holle has spent decades studying lightning in places like Colorado and Florida. He explores lighting strikes, how they impact different parts of the world and why the number of lightning-related fatalities in the U.S. has dropped dramatically over the last century. 

The Shocking Truth About Lightning


Media Files:
https://www.podtrac.com/pts/redirect.mp3/audio.wnyc.org/lopate/lopate061617dpod.mp3




The Science Of Success

Fri, 09 Jun 2017 10:55:55 -0400

Eric Barker is the author of Barking Up the Wrong Tree: The Surprising Science Behind Why Everything You Know About Success Is (Mostly) Wrong. He joins us for our latest Please Explain on the Science of Success. In his book, he details the counterintuitive strategies that can lead to success, and he challenges conventional wisdom about how to achieve success.

Got a question about becoming successful? Leave us a comment below!

The Science Of Success


Media Files:
https://www.podtrac.com/pts/redirect.mp3/audio.wnyc.org/lopate/lopate060917dpod.mp3




How Climate Change Will Alter Tides

Fri, 02 Jun 2017 00:00:00 -0400

For this week’s Please Explain, we’ll be talking about the mystery and magic of ocean tides with Jonathan White. He’s a marine conservationist, surfer and author of a new book called, Tides: The Science and Spirit of the OceanWhite explores how tides shape lives and communities, including stories of an Inuit tribe in the Arctic that watches the tides in order to find food, and how a group of French monks live in a monastery surrounded by tidal waters. He also looks at how tides will change with the effects of climate change and how communities are preparing for those changes. 

Note: Jonathan Capehart guest-hosted this segment of "The Leonard Lopate Show."

How Climate Change Will Alter Tides


Media Files:
https://www.podtrac.com/pts/redirect.mp3/audio.wnyc.org/lopate/lopate060217dpod.mp3




How Daydreaming Can Help You Focus

Fri, 19 May 2017 10:14:42 -0400

Harvard psychiatrist and brain imaging researcher Dr. Srini Pillay will join us for this week’s Please Explain on focus, creativity and productivity. His latest book is Tinker Dabble Doodle Try: Unlock the Power of the Unfocused Mind. In the book, he discusses his research on the helpful benefits of daydreaming, taking breaks, and even leaving work incomplete.

How Daydreaming Can Help You Focus


Media Files:
https://www.podtrac.com/pts/redirect.mp3/audio.wnyc.org/lopate/lopate051917cpod.mp3




The Buzz Around Honey And Beekeeping

Fri, 12 May 2017 00:00:00 -0400

We end Food Fridays on a sweet note with a Please Explain all about honey and beekeeping! We’ll learn about the many different varieties and flavors of honey, and find out why raw honey - although twice as sweet as sugar - is filled with nutrients. We’ll also get recipes and tips for cooking with honey, and advice for aspiring beekeepers from Kim Flottum, veteran beekeeper, editor-in-chief of Bee Culture (the preeminent American beekeeping magazine) and author of The Backyard Beekeeper's Honey Handbook: A Guide to Creating, Harvesting, and Baking with Natural Honeys. He’ll be joined by Amelie Tremblaya beekeeper from Tremblay Apiaries in the Finger Lakes region of upstate NY.

The Buzz Around Honey And Beekeeping


Media Files:
https://www.podtrac.com/pts/redirect.mp3/audio.wnyc.org/lopate/lopate051217dpod.mp3




Exploring Spanish Cuisine

Fri, 28 Apr 2017 00:00:00 -0400

Our latest Please Explain is all about the variety and enduring creativity of Spanish food, including Basque food. We'll be joined by Alexandra Raij and Eder Montero, New York City-based chefs and owners of El Quinto Pino, La Vara, Tekoá, and Txikito, which is New York's only Basque restaurant. They are also the authors of The Basque Book: A Love Letter in Recipes from the Kitchen of Txikito.

This episode of "The Leonard Lopate Show" is guest hosted by Deb Perelman. Perelman is a self-taught home cook, photographer and creator of SmittenKitchen.com. Her first book, The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook, was a New York Times bestseller. She lives in New York City with her husband and their two children, and is currently at work on her second cookbook, which is due out this fall.

Exploring Spanish Cuisine


Media Files:
https://www.podtrac.com/pts/redirect.mp3/audio.wnyc.org/lopate/lopate042817dpod.mp3




The Secrets Of Pie Making

Fri, 21 Apr 2017 13:52:37 -0400

Our first Food Fridays Please Explain will be all about pies and pie making with Ron and Melissa Silver, co-owners of Bubby’s. Bubby's opened over 25 years ago as a wholesale pie business, but it has grown into a string of restaurants. They’ll share their secrets to the art of pie making, from the making the perfect filling to rolling out a flaky crust. Ron is also the author of Bubby's Homemade Pies

Bubby's Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie (Courtesy of Bubby's) 

Makes One 9-inch Double-crust Pie

It’s serendipitous and practical combination: Sour rhubarb heightens the flavors of the strawberries, while the berries add flavorful natural fruit sugars to the rhubarb.

Pastry for a 9-inch double crust pie,chilled, such as bubby’s All-butter pastry pie dough or basic butter and shortening pastry pie dough
3 cups strawberries, halved or thickly sliced
3 cups (1 ½ pounds) rhubarb, cut into ½ to 1/3 - inch pieces
1 cup sugar, plus extra for sprinkling on the top crust
4 ½ tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon orange zest
⅛ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed

Roll out the pastry and line a 9-inch pie tin with the bottom crust. Roll out the remaining dough for the top crust. Rechill the pastry if necessary.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine the strawberries, rhubarb, sugar, flour, zest, and salt. Mix the ingredients briefly by tossing them as you would a salad. Scrape the fruit into the pastry- lined pie tin. Dot the fruit with the butter and cover it with the top crust. Trim and crimp the crust; chill the pie for 10 minutes in the freezer. Cut vent slits if not using a lattice and sprinkle the top crust lightly with sugar.

Bake the pie on a lipped baking sheet for 10 minutes, or until the crust looks dry, blistered, and blonde. Turn the oven down to 375 degrees F, and bake for at least 30 minutes more, or until the crust is golden brown and visible juices are thickened and bubbly slowly through the slits in the top crust.

Cool the pie completely before cutting it, at least a few hours. Serve it at room temperature. Store the pie uncovered at room temperature in a pie safe or cover the pie with a layer of cheesecloth (so that the pastry can breathe) up to 3 days.

The Leonard Lopate Show needs your help! We’re conducting an anonymous 5-minute survey to learn a bit about you and the podcasts you love. You can find it at wnyc.podcastingsurvey.com.  We would really appreciate your help - knowing more about you helps us put together more of the shows you enjoy.

Thank you from all of us at The Leonard Lopate Show!

The Secrets Of Pie Making


Media Files:
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Making Cents Of America's Tax Code

Fri, 14 Apr 2017 00:00:00 -0400

Ever wonder how your tax dollars are spent? Or why the American tax code is filled with loopholes and special interest provisions that serve the interests of tax lawyers, accountants and huge corporations? T. R. Reid, a longtime correspondent for The Washington Post and bestselling author, joins us for this week’s Please Explain about the American tax code. His latest book is A Fine Mess: A Global Quest for a Simpler, Fairer, and More Efficient Tax System. He’ll explain how our tax code works, how it differs from the rest of the world and how we can make it better.

Making Cents Of America's Tax Code


Media Files:
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Understanding Psychosomatic Illness

Fri, 07 Apr 2017 00:00:00 -0400

For this week’s Please Explain, we discuss psychosomatic illnesses and the mind-body connection with Dr. Suzanne O’Sullivan. O'Sullivan is a neurologist and author of the book, Is It All in Your Head?: True Stories of Imaginary Illness. In her book, O’Sullivan chronicles the world of psychosomatic illnesses and shows how it can take over people’s lives.

Understanding Psychosomatic Illness


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How To Navigate the Open Seas

Fri, 24 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0400

Our latest Please Explain is all about navigating the high seas and using water to help you find direction in your everyday life. We’ll hear from explorer and natural navigation expert Tristan Gooleyauthor of How to Read Water: Clues and Patterns from Puddles to the Sea.

Do you have a question, or a story, about navigating through open water? Leave us a comment!

How To Navigate the Open Seas


Media Files:
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Spring is Coming. So Are Allergies.

Fri, 17 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0400

‘Tis the season for sniffles. Millions of Americans suffer from allergies, seasonal and otherwise. For this week’s Please Explain, Dr. Clifford Bassett, the founder and medical director of Allergy and Asthma Care of New York, joins us to explain what an allergy is (and isn’t), identify key triggers - from nuts to gluten to the nickel commonly used in cell phones - and offer both medical and nonmedical alternatives to treatment. Dr. Bassett’s book The New Allergy Solution: Supercharge Resistance, Slash Medication, Stop Suffering is out on March 21.

Spring is Coming. So Are Allergies.


Media Files:
https://www.podtrac.com/pts/redirect.mp3/audio.wnyc.org/lopate/lopate031717dpod.mp3




What's At Stake With Clean Water Regulation Rollbacks?

Fri, 10 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0500

Dave Owen, Professor of Law at U.C. Hastings, joins us for this week's Please Explain to discuss the history of clean water legislation and what's at stake as the EPA attempts to roll back established water regulations. A recent executive order issued by President Trump instructed the EPA to review the "Waters of the United States" rule, an Obama-era clean water act that the president criticized for it's "horrible" treatment of small farmers and small businesses. Owen will discuss that 2015 water regulation, as well as the history and impact of the Clean Water Act of 1972 and the Safe Drinking Water Act of 1974.

Have questions about clean water regulations? Leave us a comment below, or let us know on Twitter or Facebook.

What's At Stake With Clean Water Regulation Rollbacks?


Media Files:
https://www.podtrac.com/pts/redirect.mp3/audio.wnyc.org/lopate/lopate031017dpod.mp3




Pulling the Curtain Back on NASA

Fri, 03 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0500

This week's Please Explain is all about the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)! We pull back the curtain on the institution that explores the mysteries of our universe. Dr. Valerie Neal, curator, chair of the Space History Department at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum and author of Spaceflight: A Smithsonian Guide and Where Next, Columbus? The Future of Space Exploration, joins us to talk about the inner-workings of NASA and to answer questions from listeners. 

Have questions about NASA? Leave us a comment below, or let us know on Twitter or Facebook.

Pulling the Curtain Back on NASA


Media Files:
https://www.podtrac.com/pts/redirect.mp3/audio.wnyc.org/lopate/lopate030317bpod.mp3




Understanding CRISPR, the Sci-Fi-Esque Gene Editing Tool

Fri, 24 Feb 2017 13:58:21 -0500

Science journalist Jennifer Kahn joins us for this week’s Please Explain, which is all about CRISPR, an incredible tool that makes precise gene editing cheaper and easier than ever before. Researchers have used CRISPR to genetically engineer malaria-resistant mosquitoes and manipulate the genes so that they copy-and-paste themselves, making it more likely that the new generation of mosquitoes will also be resistant. Kahn will discuss CRISPR, how it can be used in humans, the ethical questions it presents, gene drives and the recent CRISPR patent decision. 

Have questions about CRISPR and genetic engineering? Leave us a comment below, or let us know on Twitter or Facebook.

Understanding CRISPR, the Sci-Fi-Esque Gene Editing Tool


Media Files:
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Why Can't You Just Stop?

Fri, 17 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0500

Sharon Begley, the senior science writer for STAT, joins us for our latest Please Explain on compulsions to discuss her latest book Can’t Just Stop: An Investigation of Compulsions. She explores the spectrum of compulsions afflicting many people, from checking your smartphone frequently to the people who hoard and exhibit symptoms of OCD. Begley finds that the root of compulsion lies in the areas of the brain that triggers anxiety.

Have questions about compulsions? Leave us a comment below, or let us know on Twitter or Facebook.

Why Can't You Just Stop?


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Demystifying That Four-Letter Word (Hint: It Starts with L)

Fri, 10 Feb 2017 10:40:55 -0500

Why do we fall in love with one person and not another? Is there such a thing as love at first sight? Today’s Please Explain is all about love and attraction! Dr. Helen Fisher, author, biological anthropologist and chief scientific advisor to Match.com, joins us to discuss romance, dating, and marriage. We'll be taking calls from listeners with questions about love.

Have questions about dating and love? Leave us a comment below, or let us know on Twitter or Facebook.

Helen Fisher will be talking about the anatomy of love, with Jenny Santi, on Tuesday, February 28th at Deepak HomeBase at 888 Broadway. The pre-reception begins at 6:30pm and the discussion begins at 7:00pm. For more information, click here.

 

 

Demystifying That Four-Letter Word (Hint: It Starts with L)


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How You Can Have a Say, In Politics and Your Community

Fri, 03 Feb 2017 13:27:40 -0500

Itching to do something that makes a real change, but not sure where to begin? This week's Please Explain with Ami Dar, founder and executive director of Idealist, and Alex Kouts, chief product officer at Countable, is all about social activism. We'll be answering your questions about ways to become politically active, whether that means simply educating yourself on bills, participating in town halls, or contacting your representatives. We'll also be discussing ways to find volunteer opportunities that match your interests, skills, and availability. 

Have questions about social activism and/or volunteering? Send us your questions in a comment below, or let us know on Twitter or Facebookor leave us a message on Anchor.  

How You Can Have a Say, In Politics and Your Community


Media Files:
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Listening to Body Language

Fri, 27 Jan 2017 11:31:36 -0500

When is a shrug just a shrug? What are you really saying when you fold your arms across your chest? Whether we know it or not, we’re constantly conveying signals to other people through our body language and facial expressions. On this week’s Please Explain, we’re decoding body language and non-verbal communication, and looking at the psychology behind why we communicate this way with Dana Carney, Associate Professor at the UC Berkeley Haas School of Business. 

Have questions about body language? Send us your questions in a comment below, or let us know on Twitter or Facebook! 

Listening to Body Language


Media Files:
https://www.podtrac.com/pts/redirect.mp3/audio.wnyc.org/lopate/lopate012717cpod.mp3




Oh, the Things Our Bodies Would Say

Fri, 13 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0500

Jonathan Capehart guest hosts today!

This week’s Please Explain is all about the weird and wonderful human body with James Hamblin, author of If Our Bodies Could Talk: A Guide to Operating and Maintaining a Human Body. Hamblin, an M.D., is also a writer and senior editor for The Atlantic. He’ll answer all of our most pressing questions including, “If I lose a contact lens in my eye, can it get into my brain?” and “When I shave or cut my hair, does it grow back faster?”

Have questions (strange or otherwise) about the workings of the human body? Leave us a comment!

Oh, the Things Our Bodies Would Say


Media Files:
https://www.podtrac.com/pts/redirect.mp3/audio.wnyc.org/lopate/lopate011317dpod.mp3




Why Fat Is So Misunderstood

Fri, 06 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0500

Our latest Please Explain is all about fat with Dr. Sylvia Tara, author of The Secret Life of Fat: The Science Behind the Body's Least Understood Organ and What It Means for You. Dr. Tara argues that fat, an endocrine organ that’s critical to our health, is one of the least understood parts of the body. She’ll explain how fat can use stem cells to regenerate; increase our appetite if it feels threatened; and use bacteria, genetics, and viruses to expand itself.

Have questions about fat? Send us your questions in a comment below, or let us know on Twitter or Facebook! 

Why Fat Is So Misunderstood


Media Files:
https://www.podtrac.com/pts/redirect.mp3/audio.wnyc.org/lopate/lopate010617dpod.mp3




Finding Light on the Darkest Day: The Winter Solstice & Yuletide

Fri, 23 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0500

It's widely known that the modern celebration of Christmas has its origins in Pagan traditions. The Roman Saturnalia was celebrated by exchanging gifts and candles. But there's much more to the story than that. On this week’s Please Explain, we’re looking at the pagan origins of holiday traditions rooted in the celebration of the Winter Solstice. Linda Raedisch, author of The Old Magic of Christmas:Yuletide Traditions for the Darkest Days of the Year, discusses the history, folklore, traditions, botany and recipes of yuletide and explains why they linger in our modern holiday celebrations.

Have questions about Christmas traditions and the Winter Solstice? Send us your questions in a comment below, or let us know on Twitter or Facebook! 

Finding Light on the Darkest Day: The Winter Solstice & Yuletide


Media Files:
https://www.podtrac.com/pts/redirect.mp3/audio.wnyc.org/lopate/lopate122316cpod.mp3




A Deep Dive into Aquariums

Fri, 16 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0500

As many of us know from childhood goldfish experiences, there’s a lot that can go wrong when it comes to keeping fish fed, safe, healthy and stimulated. Imagine how much effort it takes to run a successful aquarium, where thousands of gallons of water housing everything from anemones to sharks and seals are at stake! On today's Please Explain, we're going behind the scenes at aquariums with two experts from the Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk in Norwalk, CT: Publicist Dave Sigworth and John Lenzycki, their animal curator. 

Have questions about aquariums? Send us your questions in a comment below, or let us know on Twitter or Facebook!

A Deep Dive into Aquariums


Media Files:
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What's Keeping You Up at Night?

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0500

Why can’t we sleep? The CDC estimates that 50 to 70 million U.S. adults have a sleep or wakefulness disorder, caused by "broad scale societal factors such as round-the-clock access to technology and work schedules, but sleep disorders such as insomnia or obstructive sleep apnea also play an important role." 

Dr. Rafael Pelayo, Clinical Professor, Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Stanford Center for Sleep Sciences and Medicine, joins us for this week's Please Explain about insomnia and sleep disorders. 

Have questions about insomnia and sleep disorders? Send us your questions in a comment below, or let us know on Twitter or Facebook! 

What's Keeping You Up at Night?


Media Files:
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Behold the Wonders of Butter

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0500

Julia Child once said, "With enough butter, anything is good." Wise words because after all, where would we be without butter, the building block of hundreds of recipes, from flaky croissants to rich buttercream frosting?

On this week’s Please Explain, we are talking all about butter, with award-winning writer and former pastry chef Elaine Khosrova, author of Butter: A Rich History. She traveled across the world to uncover the social and culinary history of butter, from Ireland to Tibet and everywhere in between. She also shares cooking tips and the best butter-centric recipes. 

Have questions about butter? Send us your questions in a comment below, or let us know on Twitter or Facebook! 

Event: Elaine Khosrova will be doing a reading, Q&A and book signing on Saturday, December 3 at 4 p.m. at The Golden Notebook (29 Tinker Street, Woodstock, NY). 

Behold the Wonders of Butter


Media Files:
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Have a Seat: The History of Chairs

Fri, 18 Nov 2016 10:34:56 -0500

This week's Please Explain has us on the edge of our seats! From the Klismos, to the Eames, we're talking about the history of chairs and chair design with Witold Rybczynski, an architect, writer and an emeritus professor of architecture at the University of Pennsylvania. He’s the author of, Now I Sit Me Down: From Klismos to Plastic Chair: A Natural History.

Have questions about chairs or chair design? Send us your questions in a comment below, or let us know on Twitter or Facebook!

Have a Seat: The History of Chairs


Media Files:
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How the Electric Guitar Revolutionized Music

Fri, 11 Nov 2016 13:22:34 -0500

Where would music be without the electric guitar, the instrument that gave us everything from the quintessential rock n' roll sound of the 1960s, to hardcore punk, and face-melting metal? On this week's Please Explain, Brad Tolinski, former the editor-in-chief of Guitar World, and author of Play it Loud: An Epic History of the Style, Sound, and Revolution of the Electric Guitarintroduces us to the inventors and musicians who developed the instrument that defines so many genres. Also joining us is Roger Sadowsky, the owner of Sadowsky Guitars who’s made instruments for Bruce Springsteen, Prince, Paul Simon, Lou Reed and Joan Jett, among others. 

Event: Brad Tolinksi and musical guest, Lez Zeppelin, will celebrate Play It Loud at Rizzoli Bookstore (1133 Broadway, between 25th and 26th Street) on November 11th at 6 p.m. 

Have questions about electric guitars? Send us your questions in a comment below, or let us know on Twitter or Facebook!

 What are some of your favorite electric guitar songs? We've made a playlist, and we want your contributions! Send us your favorite songs, and we might add them to the playlist. Check out the playlist here or below.

frameborder="0" height="380" src="https://embed.spotify.com/?uri=spotify%3Auser%3Aandresop%3Aplaylist%3A4gsLqDdCXWflhYieELsd75" width="300">

How the Electric Guitar Revolutionized Music


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The Science of Cheese

Fri, 04 Nov 2016 13:01:03 -0400

Ever wonder why Swiss cheese has holes? Why are so many types of cheese yellow in color? Or, what kinds of milk are best for making cheese? Chemist Michael Tunick has spent almost three decades working with the USDA's Agricultural Research Service creating new dairy products and improving existing ones. On our latest Please Explain, he’ll address the chemistry, physics and biology that results in cheese! He's the author of The Science of Cheese.

Have questions about cheese? Send us your questions in a comment below, or let us know on Twitter or Facebook!

The Science of Cheese


Media Files:
https://www.podtrac.com/pts/redirect.mp3/audio.wnyc.org/lopate/lopate110416epod.mp3




Beyond Butternut: A Guide to Squash, Gourds, Pumpkins & More!

Fri, 28 Oct 2016 00:00:00 -0400

Tis the season for squash! Although most of us are only familiar with a handful of squashes, there are 150 varieties of heirloom pumpkins, squash, and gourds. For this week's Please Explain, Chef Alfred Portale, executive chef and co-owner of the Gotham Bar and Grill, shares his favorite ways to cook different kinds of squash. Zaid Kurdieh, a professor and partner operator of Norwich Meadows Farm, LLC, a certified organic, diversified vegetable farm in Norwich, NY, also joins us to discuss squash varieties and share growing tips.  Recipes (Courtesy of Alfred Portale) Butternut Squash Soup with Spiced Crème Fraîche         Makes 6 servings The porridge like consistency of this soup preserves all the distinguishing characteristics of butternut squash, to which hints of nutmeg, allspice, and cinnamon are added for a soul-warming autumnal starter that’s as comforting and nurturing as an evening in front of a roaring fire. To coax out as much flavor as possible, the squash is first cut into cubes that are heated slowly in butter until thoroughly caramelized and just beginning to break down around the edges. When shopping, look for a butternut squash with a long neck and pick it up to gauge its weight: if it feels heavy for its size, it will have a small seedbed, which means more usable flesh inside. The crème fraîche behaves almost like a condiment here; swirl it in, or let it rest decoratively on top. Thinking Ahead: The soup and the crème fraîche can be made a day in advance; if you do this, do not enrich the soup with butter until reheating the next day. SOUP: ¼ cup unsalted butter 4 pounds fresh butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and diced into 1-inch cubes Coarse salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste 2 shallots, peeled and sliced 2 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced 2 sprigs fresh thyme 1 bay leaf 2 cups White Chicken Stock In a 12-inch saute pan, heat 1 tablespoon of the butter over medium-high heat. Add the squash and season it with salt and pepper. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until nicely caramelized but still firm. When the squash is nearly cooked, heat 1 more tablespoon of butter in a soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and cook for about 2 minutes, stirring, until translucent. Add the garlic, thyme sprigs, and bay leaf, and stir for about a minute. Add the squash and chicken stock. Raise the heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered, for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the squash is tender. Using a slotted spoon, remove and discard the thyme and bay leaf. Transfer the soup to a blender or food processor fitted with a metal blade, and purèe until smooth. Return the soup to the pot to keep warm. Stir in the last 2 tablespoons of butter to enrich and thicken the soup. Ladle it into bowls and garnish each serving with a swirl of crème fraîche. Variations: You can vary the squash, using buttercup or sugar pumpkin if you prefer their flavor. SPICED CRÈME FRAICHE 1/3 cup crème fraiche 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg Coarse salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste In a stainless-steel bowl, whisk together the crème fraîche, cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg. Season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately or cover and re[...]


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Please Explain: The Leonard Lopate Show!

Fri, 21 Oct 2016 00:00:00 -0400

We're taking you behind the scenes at The Leonard Lopate Show on today's Please Explain with Executive Producer Melissa Eagan! She and Leonard will talk about the history of the show, share some of their favorite stories and look back at a few of our most memorable guests.

What have you always wanted to know about the show? Give us a call at 212-433-9692, send us your questions in a comment below, or let us know on Twitter or Facebook!

 

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Please Explain: The Leonard Lopate Show!


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The History of Restaurants Revealed

Fri, 14 Oct 2016 00:00:00 -0400

Centuries before the restaurant became a dining destination, a "restaurant" was actually a medicinal broth that contained ingredients like capon, gold ducats, rubies and other precious gems. So how did restaurants become what they are today? When did eating become an enjoyable, leisurely activity?

Rebecca Spang, author of The Invention of the Restaurant: Paris and Modern Gastronomic Culture, joins us for today’s Please Explain all about the history of restaurants! Dr. Spang is a Professor of History, Director of the Liberal Arts + Management Program and Director of the Center for Eighteenth-Century Studies at Indiana University Bloomington. 

Do you have questions about restaurant history? Give us a call at 212-433-9692, send us your questions in a comment below, or let us know on Twitter or Facebook!

The History of Restaurants Revealed


Media Files:
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How to Define 'Creepiness'

Fri, 07 Oct 2016 00:00:00 -0400

Reports of sinister clowns in the news have us thinking about creepiness. Why are some things simply scary, and other things genuinely creepy? On today's Please Explain, David Livingstone Smith, Professor of Philosophy at the University of New England, offers some insight in an essay for Aeon called, "A theory of creepiness." He tells us how scientists and researchers have attempted to measure and classify creepiness - from robots that are designed to look like humans (but something isn't quite right), to being put off by physical traits like "unkempt hair, bulging eyes, [and] abnormally long fingers."

David Livingstone Smith is the author of seven books, most recently, Less Than Human: Why We Demean, Enslave and Exterminate Others.

How to Define 'Creepiness'


Media Files:
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Bees, Wasps, Ants, Scorpions... Whose Stings Hurt the Most?

Fri, 30 Sep 2016 00:00:00 -0400

Is it worse to be stung by a scorpion or a bee? Ask Justin O. Schmidt, a biologist at Southwestern Biological Institute, who’s also affiliated with the Department of Entomology at the University of Arizona and the author of The Sting of the Wild. Dr. Schmidt has let more than 83 different species of stinging insects from all over the world attack him... all in the name of science!

Schmidt is the inventor of the eponymous “Schmidt Sting Pain Index,” which ranks the relative pain caused by insect stings on various parts of the body. On this week’s Please Explain, he’ll explain why insects sting in the first place, and what happens to them (and us) when they do it. 

Have questions about insect stings? Send us your questions in a comment below, or let us know on Twitter or Facebook!

Bees, Wasps, Ants, Scorpions... Whose Stings Hurt the Most?


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Sweet Dreams (and Nightmares) Are Made of This

Fri, 23 Sep 2016 00:00:00 -0400

Dreams are a natural part of life, and throughout human history, people have tried to interpret their dreams. But dreaming, in many ways, still remains mysterious. On this week’s Please Explain, we’ll find out what happens in our brains while we dream, what causes nightmares and lucid dreaming, and why some of us talk and walk in our sleep. We’ll also learn about the many ways psychologists interpret dreams.

Joining us is Dr. Michael Breus, a Clinical Psychologist, Diplomate of the American Board of Sleep Medicine and a Fellow of The American Academy of Sleep Medicine. He's the author of several books, most recently, The Power of When: Discover Your Chronotype--and the Best Time to Eat Lunch, Ask for a Raise, Have Sex, Write a Novel, Take Your Meds, and More and Dr. Kelly Bulkeley, a dream researcher and Visiting Scholar at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California, Senior Editor of the APA journal Dreaming and the author of Big Dreams: The Science of Dreaming and the Origins of Religion.

Have questions about dreaming? Send us your questions in a comment below, or let us know on Twitter or Facebook!

Events: Kelly Bulkeley will be part of a panel at the New York Academy of Sciences on December 7th, talking about dreams and new research on the unconscious. He'll be giving a talk at the National Arts Club on January 30th about the film "Pan's Labyrinth" and lucid dreaming in Guillermo del Toro's childhood.

Sweet Dreams (and Nightmares) Are Made of This


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The Secret Life of Ballerinas

Fri, 16 Sep 2016 00:00:00 -0400

The best ballerinas make it look effortless, gracefully dancing and leaping across the stage in beautiful costumes. But what do ballet dancers really go through, given the physical demands, in addition to the hours of practice, preparation and dedication? On today's Please Explain, we're looking at the secret life of ballerinas with Ashley Bouder, principal dancer in the New York City Ballet, and Tiekka Tellier, who spent 16 years as a professional ballerina and founded Everyday Ballet

Have questions about ballet? Send us your questions in a comment below, or let us know on Twitter or Facebook!

Event: The New York City Ballet Fall Gala opens NYCB’s 2016-17 season on Tuesday, September 20.  Ashley Bouder will give her first performance since giving birth to her daughter, Violet, on Friday, September 23 in Balanchine’s Vienna Waltzes. For ticket's and performance information, visit the NYCB website

The Secret Life of Ballerinas


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Is Cursive Obsolete? The Writing May be on the Wall

Fri, 09 Sep 2016 17:45:00 -0400

Handwriting has helped shape culture ever since the ancient Sumerians created an alphabet on clay tablets. But are digital communication and the internet threatening to make handwriting obsolete? Anne Trubek , author of The History and Uncertain Future of Handwriting, joins us for this week's Please Explain all about handwriting!

Do you have questions about handwriting? Send us your questions in a comment below, or let us know on Twitter or Facebook! 

Is Cursive Obsolete? The Writing May be on the Wall


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We've Got the Scoop on Ice Cream!

Fri, 26 Aug 2016 10:54:53 -0400

The summer is not over yet, and to prove it, we’re talking all about ice cream! We’ll look into the history of the beloved frozen treat, as well as the many variations on flavor, sweetness and texture that have developed over the years. We’ll also find out how to make ice cream (with and without dairy) and the science behind the perfect scoop from Laura O’Neill, Co-Founder Van Leeuwen Ice Cream, based in Greenpoint, and Ben Van Leeuwen, Co-Founder. They’re the co-authors of the Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream cookbook.  Do you have questions about ice cream? Write in the comments section below, write to us on Twitter or Facebook, or call us at 212-433-9692.  Recipes Roasted Banana Ice Cream (Reprinted with permission from Van Leeuwen's Artisan Ice Cream, published by Ecco Books, 2015.)  Believe it or not, even people who say they don’t like bananas love this ice cream—it tastes just like banana bread pudding. We roast the bananas with dark brown sugar and butter until they are golden and caramelized, and then we fold them into our ice cream base. The ice cream that comes out is elegant and luscious, rich with caramelized bananas, and is one of our favorite winter flavors to make. The roasting of the bananas gives the ice cream such a creamy, almost burnt-caramel flavor; we can’t think of a better way to round out a Christmas dinner. MAKES ABOUT 1 QUART SPECIAL EQUIPMENTImmersion blender FOR THE ROASTED BANANAS4 medium bananas, preferably somewhat speckled but not brown, peeled and cut into1/4 inch thick slices2 tablespoons (28 grams) unsalted butter2 tablespoons (14 grams) dark brown sugarPinch of kosher salt FOR THE ICE CREAM BASE2 cups heavy cream1/2 cup whole milk3/4 cup (150 grams) granulated sugar1/2 teaspoon (2 grams) kosher salt6 large egg yolks 1. To make the roasted bananas, preheat the oven to 400˚F; position the rack in the middle. Line a shallow baking sheet with parchment paper. 2. In a large bowl, toss the bananas, butter, sugar, and salt. Spread the ingredients on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until caramelized. Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool completely. 3. To make the roasted banana ice cream, pour the cream and milk into a double boiler or a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water (the bottom of the bowl should not touch the water). Whisk in 1⁄2 cup (100 grams) of the sugar and the salt and stir until they have dissolved. Warm the mixture until you see steam rising from the top. 4. Meanwhile, prepare an ice bath in a large bowl and set another bowl over it. Set aside. 5. In a medium bowl, with a kitchen towel underneath it to prevent slipping, whisk together the egg yolks with the remaining 1⁄4 cup (50 grams) sugar until uniform. While whisking, add a splash of the hot dairy mixture to the yolks. Continue to add the dairy mixture, whisking it in bit by bit, until you’ve added about half. Add the yolk mixture to the remaining dairy mixture in the double boiler. Set the heat under the double boiler to medium and cook the custard, stirring continuously with [...]


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Satisfying Our Sweet Tooth

Fri, 19 Aug 2016 00:00:00 -0400

From white sugar and brown sugar, to raw sugar and sugar cane… Not to mention agave, simple syrup, and molasses, there's an abundance of options when it comes to choosing an agent that’s going to make your desserts and drinks pop. But which are the best for what purpose… and which are the healthiest? 

Joining us to talk about all things sweet is Shauna Sever, author of three cookbooks, including Real Sweet:More Than 80 Crave-Worthy Treats Made with Natural Sugars. We'll also find out how sugar and sweeteners affect our health with Rebecca Blake, a nutritionist, registered dietitian, and Administrative Director for Medicine at Mount Sinai Beth Israel. 

Satisfying Our Sweet Tooth


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Dim Sum: Dumplings & Buns that Make the Perfect Bite

Fri, 12 Aug 2016 00:00:00 -0400

From the cavernous Chinatown restaurants where carts of dumplings are wheeled around, waiting to be pointed to and picked up like an eager single teenager at the prom, to foie gras, flank steak and braised duck chins, dim sum is a changing force in Chinese cuisine in this country. Dim sum takes years to master, seconds to eat, and contains within its tapioca wrapper the history of waves of Cantonese immigration.

Ed Schoenfeld, restaurateur, Chinese food aficionado and owner-operator of Red Farm, a Zagat top rated Chinese restaurant in New York, and a New York Times critics-pick.

Dim Sum: Dumplings & Buns that Make the Perfect Bite


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Our Indispensable Guide to Buying Eggs!

Fri, 05 Aug 2016 00:00:00 -0400

Now that you're equipped with a variety of new egg recipes, today's Please Explain will answer all of your egg-buying questions! Omega-3, Free Range, Cage Free, Organic… What do these labels mean? Why do eggs come in different colors? Why don’t you have to put farmers market eggs in the fridge? 

Here to answer all these questions and more is Cathy ErwaySerious Eats contributor and author of The Art of Eating In: How I Learned to Stop Spending and Love the Stove. She also blogs at Not Eating Out In New York and has a podcast called Eat Your Words on Heritage Radio. She wrote this article about egg labeling.

We'll also be joined by Mary Carpenter, owner and operator of Violet Hill Farm in West Winfield, NY. She keeps poultry and supplies a wide variety of eggs to the Union Square and McCaren Park greenmarkets. Matt Kaplan, who works at the Violet Hill greenmarket stalls, will stop by our studio and bring some eggs for show and tell!

 

Our Indispensable Guide to Buying Eggs!


Media Files:
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Finding Our Way: A Guide to Trails

Fri, 29 Jul 2016 00:00:00 -0400

This week’s Please Explain is all about trails - from the ancient nomadic paths that travelers relied on for survival, to modern hiking trails that help us find our way in the wilderness. Robert Moor began writing his book, On Trails: An Exploration, while thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail in 2009. He’ll talk about animal trails (ants, buffaloes, elephants), long-lost Cherokee trails, and discuss the colonial origins of American hiking trails.  

Finding Our Way: A Guide to Trails


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Collecting Data on Mass Shootings in the U.S.

Fri, 22 Jul 2016 10:09:33 -0400

With many people still trying to come to terms with the news from Orlando, Baton Rouge, Falcon Heights, and Dallas, the conversations around gun control, racial profiling, and police tactics, are front and center. But one element missing from these conversations is concrete data, largely because the federal government does not collect it.

For this week’s Please Explain, we are going to discuss the data behind the high profile shootings in the news: how it’s being collected, and what it reveals. Jamiles Lartey, reporter for Guardian US will talk about their project, The Counted, which is tracking the number of people killed by law enforcement in 2015 and 2016. Ben Casselman, Senior Editor and Chief Economics Writer at 538, will discuss his site’s series “Gun Deaths in America” which goes far broader and analyzes all gun deaths in the U.S.

Collecting Data on Mass Shootings in the U.S.


Media Files:
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How to Make Arguments... And Win!

Fri, 15 Jul 2016 00:00:00 -0400

Sometimes it's impossible to avoid an argument. That's why on today's Please Explain, we're learning how to make a convincing case with Stanley Fish, law professor and dean emeritus of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Illinois at Chicago. His latest book, Winning Arguments: What Works and Doesn't Work in Politics, the Bedroom, the Courtroom, and the Classroomis a guide to using wit, observation, logic and rhetoric to win the toughest arguments, whether at the workplace or at home. 

 Need to win an argument? Send us your questions in a comment below, or let us know on Twitter or Facebook!

How to Make Arguments... And Win!


Media Files:
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Diving into the Mysterious World of Dolphins

Fri, 08 Jul 2016 11:22:34 -0400

Dolphins have long been regarded for their remarkable intelligence and social skills. When the dolphin genome was first sequenced in 2011, scientists learned that the beloved aquatic mammals are even more like us than we previously thought.

This week's Please Explain is all about dolphins, their remarkable intelligence and their relationship to humans, with journalist Susan Casey, author of Voices in the Ocean: A Journey into the Wild and Haunting World of Dolphins. She embarked on a two-year global adventure to explore the nature of dolphins. 

Have questions about dolphins? Send us your questions in a comment below, or let us know on Twitter or Facebook!

Diving into the Mysterious World of Dolphins


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Weaving Together the Science and Social History of Hair

Fri, 24 Jun 2016 00:00:00 -0400

We’re untangling the science and cultural history of hair on this week’s Please Explain with a leading expert on the fascinating fiber, Kurt Stenn, the author of Hair: A Human History. He served for over 20 years as a Professor of Pathology and Dermatology at the Yale University School of Medicine, in addition to working as the Director of Skin Biology at Johnson & Johnson where he helped found a biotech startup on hair follicle regeneration. He’ll talk about the evolutionary history of hair, in addition to its role in art, fashion, cultural identity and even the economy. 

Do you have questions about hair? Ask us in a comment below, or let us know on Twitter or Facebook!

Weaving Together the Science and Social History of Hair


Media Files:
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The Psychology Behind Violence and Mass Shootings

Fri, 17 Jun 2016 10:48:00 -0400

After the shooting in Orlando, and mass shootings in the past, there is intense focus on mental illness, and questions of whether mental illness can be linked to mass shootings. On this week's Please Explain, David Kessler, former FDA Commissioner of 20 years, will discuss mental illness and emotional anxiety, and explain how certain stimuli can capture our attention, and even control our actions. Dr. Kessler’s latest book is “Capture: Unraveling the Mystery of Mental Suffering.” He'll reveal how the psychological phenomenon of "capture" influences addiction, abuse, and can even lead to violence, like mass shootings.

 

The Psychology Behind Violence and Mass Shootings


Media Files:
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Unwrapping the History of Paper

Fri, 10 Jun 2016 13:43:35 -0400

For the past 2000 years, paper has been the essential object that fuels education, art, commerce, dissemination of ideas… and the list goes on and on. In his new book, Paper: Paging Through History, the bestselling author of Cod and Salt, Mark Kurlansky writes, “Studying the history of paper exposes a number of historical misconceptions, the most important of which is this technological fallacy: the idea that technology changes society. It is exactly the reverse. Society develops technology to address the changes that are taking place within it.”  He joins us to talk about the history of paper on today's Please Explain. We'll also be joined by paper-maker Donna Koretsky, co-founder and owner of Carriage House Paper in Brooklyn, as well as co-curator of the International Paper Museum in Boston.

Have questions about paper? Give us a call at 646-829-3985!

Unwrapping the History of Paper


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Why Bird Brains Are Smarter Than You Think

Fri, 03 Jun 2016 13:57:06 -0400

New research reveals that some birds rival primates in terms of intelligence, according to science writer Jennifer Ackerman. She joins us for today's Please Explain, which is all about birds and their remarkable intelligence! Her new book The Genius of Birds uncovers little-known facts about the powerful bird brain. She traveled the globe for her research -- from laboratories in Barbados and New Caledonia, to the mountains of central Virginia.

Do you have questions about birds? Send us your questions in a comment below, or let us know on Twitter or Facebook!

Events:  Jennifer Ackerman will be participating in this year’s World Science Festival from June 1 through 5. She'll be speaking at the Science Story and Café at the NYU Kimmel Center  on June 4th from 12:30 p.m.- 4:00 p.m. She'll also speak at Science and Story on June 4 from 8:00 p.m. - 9:30 p.m. at the NYU Kimmel Center, Eisner & Lubin Auditorium. 

 

Why Bird Brains Are Smarter Than You Think


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A Farm Grows in Brooklyn

Fri, 20 May 2016 00:00:00 -0400

Spring is finally here, and we're kicking off the growing season with a Please Explain that’s all about urban agriculture and city gardens! Find out the best ways to maximize your green space - whether it’s a window box, rooftop plot or a community garden. We’ll also look at the city’s growing rooftop-farm movement, discuss public garden spaces and find out why rooftop gardens are an ecological necessity in our urban landscape.

Joining us is Annie Novak, co-founder and head farmer of the nation’s first commercial green roof row farm, Eagle Street Rooftop Farm in Brooklyn. She’s also the manager of the Edible Academy at New York Botanical Garden, founder and director of Growing Chefs and author of The Rooftop Growing Guide. We’ll also be joined by Gerard Lordahl, Director of Open Space Greening Program at GrowNYC, a non-profit which operates local environmental programs, including the city Greenmarkets. 

Send us your questions in a comment below, or let us know on Twitter or Facebook!

A Farm Grows in Brooklyn


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From Medieval England to Lingua Franca: The Evolution of English

Fri, 13 May 2016 00:00:00 -0400

The English language is spoken by millions of people around the world, and despite that fact, it remains relatively fluid. Because it’s so adaptable, who knows what the future will hold in store for English? On today's Please Explain, we’ll attempt to find out with Simon Horobin, Professor of English Language and Literature at the University of Oxford and a Fellow of Magdalen College. He's the author of How English Became English: A Short History of a Global Language. We’ll also learn how modern English developed and became standardized, in addition to how it has evolved through the centuries and in different global communities.

Do you have questions about the history and future of English? Send us your questions in a comment below, or let us know on Twitter or Facebook!

 

From Medieval England to Lingua Franca: The Evolution of English


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