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Preview: Please Explain from WNYC New York Public Radio Podcast

Please Explain from WNYC New York Public Radio

From WNYC, New York Public Radio: Please Explain, where Leonard Lopate and a guest get to the bottom of one complex issue. History, science, politics, pop culture or anything that needs some explanation!

Copyright: Copyright 2007 WNYC New York Public Radio

The Truth Behind "Chinese Restaurant Syndrome"

Fri, 25 Sep 2015 11:34:49 -0400

Monosodium glutamate (more commonly known as MSG) is a commonly occurring non-essential amino acid found in everything from seaweed to tomatoes, potatoes, mushrooms, and Parmesan cheese. In the early 1900s, Japanese scientists were able to extract MSG from kombu seaweed into a crystalline form, thereby inventing an instant umami ingredient that became ubiquitous in Asian cuisine, including Chinese restaurants in the US. But with Americans complaining of "Won Ton Soup Headaches" beginning in the late 1960s, MSG earned a harmful reputation. On today's Please Explain, we'll learn about this history, why MSG got a bad rap, and whether or not it is safe to consume. We'll also learn how to use it in our own cooking, and why MSG can be so useful – and delicious – in the kitchen! We'll be joined by Red Farm owner and operator Ed Schoenfeld and Ian Mosby, a food historian and postdoctoral fellow at McMaster University.

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The Art of Dressing A Man

Thu, 17 Sep 2015 14:00:19 -0400

Our latest Please Explain is a master class in men's fashion! A renowned fashion expert on men's apparel, G. Bruce Boyer teaches us about the art of getting dressed. In his latest book, True Style: The History and Principles of Classic Menswear he lets readers know when a turtleneck is appropriate attire and that it isn't actually a sin to wear dress shoes without socks. He'll discuss the essential elements of the male wardrobe and how best to employ them.

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Cockroaches: They've Been Around Forever, And They Aren't Going Anywhere

Fri, 28 Aug 2015 00:00:00 -0400

Our latest Please Explain is all about cockroaches! Even as our efforts to exterminate them have developed into ever more complex forms of chemical warfare, roaches' basic design of six legs, two hypersensitive antennae, and one set of voracious mandibles has persisted unchanged for millions of years. In The Cockroach Papers: A Compendium of History and Lore, Richard Schweid explores their astonishing diversity, how they mate, what they'll eat.

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The Birds of New York City

Fri, 21 Aug 2015 13:56:29 -0400

For this week's Please Explain, we'll get a guided tour of New York's bird life, neighborhood by neighborhood. Leslie Day and Beth Bergman talk about the diverse birds living in the city, from Staten Island to the Bronx, from Central Park to Borough Park. Leslie is the author of Field Guide to the Neighborhood Birds of New York City, with photographs by Beth. Events: Leslie Day and Beth Bergman will be speaking at the NYPL Mid-Manhattan Library, 455 5th Ave, New York, NY, Monday, 24 August 2015 at 6:30 PM. Leslie Day will also be leading a street tree walk on Saturday August 29th 9:30- 11 starting at the entrance to fort Tryon Park at the Margaret Corbin Circle. Tell us what birds you see in your neighborhood. Share your your New York bird photos with @LeonardLopate on Twitter and Instagram! @LeonardLopate a Common Yellow Throat in #centralpark — LaBergholm (@lberghol) August 21, 2015 @LeonardLopate Tufted Titmouse in #centralpark — LaBergholm (@lberghol) August 21, 2015 @LeonardLopate An under appreciated Grackle in Green-wood Cemetery — LaBergholm (@lberghol) August 21, 2015 @LeonardLopate Duck on the rocks along the Hudson, in Weehawken, NJ — WNY Tara (@WNYTara) August 21, 2015 @LeonardLopate A Prothonotary Warbler who got lost and ended up in Green-wood Cemetery this spring! — LaBergholm (@lberghol) August 21, 2015 @LeonardLopate redtail hawk on the roof, Washington Heights June 2015: birds of New York — Nora Barnacle Joist (@lacunalingua) August 21, 2015 @LeonardLopate for the birds of New afternoon window view in Inwood — NoraQ (@NoraQuinonez) August 21, 2015 @Khantipala @LeonardLopate#Cardinal in my yard, Baldwin, N.Y.. — L.Parrish (@Purplemind36) August 21, 2015 @LeonardLopate for The Birds of New York ... a Cardinal in Prospect Park, April 2015 — dale fuller (@Khantipala) August 21, 2015 @LeonardLopate Here's a hawk having lunch in Central Park. More of my photos at — Michael Ortega (@artofparts) August 21, 2015 Producer @TimestepJess snapped this mom & duckling photo in the courtyard of @UnionSeminary — Leonard Lopate (@LeonardLopate) August 20, 2015

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Eight Armed Mischief: The Deeply Intelligent Octopus

Fri, 14 Aug 2015 14:34:55 -0400

There are around 300 species of octopuses and their strength and knowledge combine to make them a serious force to be reckoned with... instead of merely a summer appetizer. Sy Montgomery discusses her latest book The Soul of an Octopus for this week's Please Explain. Montgomery immersed herself in the world of octopuses at the New England Aquarium, the reefs of French Polynesia, and the Gulf of Mexico. She befriended several of these creatures, revealing their strikingly different personalities. She also discusses how scientists are learning more about the deep intellect of these creatures, despite having a hard time measuring this intelligence. Octopuses have been known to escape their enclosures or spray researchers that they don't like, and generally have a reputation for misbehaving. And don't forget to check out a compilation of the best octopus occupations, assembled by the Lopate team.

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