H.P. Lovecraft's weird tales of cosmic horror loom large 125 years after his birth. His literary tentatcles have oozed their way into movies, books, games and graphic novels. We explore Lovecraft's life, work and legacy. Was he a literary master or a monster?
Who are you? A man? A woman? Are you a success? A parent? An athlete? A wallflower? A Christian? A baker? If we are only a collection of stories about ourselves... what's the truth of who "we" are?
Daniel Kahneman is a Nobel laureate psychologist. So he’s the perfect person to give us a new way of thinking about thinking, which is exactly what he does in his new book, Thinking, Fast and Slow. In this hour, Kahneman tells us about the two systems that drive the way we think.
Lynda Barry rules the pages of the alternative press as the Queen of Comics. Her new books is about liberating the creative process. Barry believes that deep down we're all artists, if we could just get out of our own way. In this hour, we'll talk about channeling creativity, whether we play the piano, plan advertising campaigns, or keep a journal. And we'll visit with a rock n' roll muse.
In this hour, we ask what exactly Einstein concluded about religion. First, a discussion with Richard Dawkins, Elaine Pagels, and Einstein biographer Walter Isaacson (Einstein: His Life and Universe). Next, Jungian analyst David Lindorff (Pauli and Jung: the Meeting of Two Great Minds). Then, author David Leavitt, (The Indian Clerk). Finally, mystic Father Thomas Keating.
Everything you know about running is wrong. At least, that's the view right now according to some of the latest science in fitness and exercise. Think running is bad for your knees, that prescriptive running shoes tailored to your feet help avoid injury? That stretching is good for you before you run? New research is challenging some of our most trusted advice about running and exercise. In this hour, re-thinking running. Also, the barefoot revolution.
In this hour, we'll explore the mystery of consciousness. First, artificial intelligence pioneer Marvin Minsky. Next, physicist Roger Penrose. Then, philosopher Daniel Dennett and New Age guru Deepak Chopra. Neuro-psychiatrist Louann Brizendine (The Female Brain) will join us, followed by former Buddhist monk Alan Wallace (Contemplative Science). Finally, author Daniel Tammet (Born on a Blue Day: Inside the Extraordinary Mind of an Autistic Savant).
China Mieville’s new novel, Embassytown, features sentient beings famous for their unique language and a woman who’s a living simile. Ursula K. LeGuin says that Embassytown is “a fully-achieved work of art.” We’ll meet China Mieville, as we explore the language of science fiction. Also, the far-out, cosmic poetry of Sun Ra.
Henry Alford believes that old people are wise. And to prove it, he interviewed many people over the age of seventy, including Phyllis Diller, Harold Bloom and a retired aerospace engineer who eats food out of the garbage. The result is Alford's new book, How to Live: A Search for Wisdom from Old People (While They Are Still On this Earth). In this hour, Henry Alford shares the age-old wisdom he received.
Have you ever thought about disappearing? Wiping out your old identity and starting fresh, with a new name, a new life… a new self? In this hour of To the Best of Our Knowledge, how to disappear completely. Join us for a crash course! You too can vanish without a trace. And we have the founder of the Federal Witness Protection Program to tell us how the professionals do it.
First, philosopher Ken Wilber, socio-biologist E.O. Wilson, popular writer on the history of religion Karen Armstrong (The Great Transformation), and evolutionary biologist and atheist Richard Dawkins (The God Delusion). Then, authors Rebecca Goldstein (Betraying Spinoza: The Renegade Jew Who Gave Us Modernity) and Francis Collins (The Language of God).
A star-studded group of award-winning nonfiction authors and journalists provides something for every listener, all aligned with the Common Core State Standards. Compiled and edited by real-life literature legend Jon Scieszka, Guys Read: True Stories is a mind-blowing collection of essays, biographies, travelogues, and more, all proving that the truth is most definitely out there.
This special To The Best of Our Knowledge collection contains 13 interviews.
Forty years ago, the U.S. ended its war in Vietnam, but we're still fighting over its legacy - in foreign policy and military strategy, and also in books and movies. But there's one question Americans rarely ask: what does the war mean to the Vietnamese themselves? We'll hear several perspectives, and Errol Morris reflects on his classic documentary about Robert McNamara and the Vietnam War.
Emerging insights from the new science of astrobiology paints a picture of a universe seeded with potential life. While astronomers discover new exoplanets every other week or so, biologists are finding unexpected life in some of the most inhospitable environments on earth. Together, their work is leading to a discovery most believe is inevitable: biological life on another planet.
Why do Americans suck at math? And why do so many claim to hate math? In a recent survey, a third of respondents said they'd rather clean the bathroom than solve an equation. In today's show, mathematicians tell us what we're missing.
“The medium is the message.” “We shape our tools and thereafter our tools shape us.” “We look at the present through a rear-view mirror. We march backwards into the future.” Those are just a few of Marshall McLuhan’s famous quotes. McLuhan is one of the most influential media thinkers of all time, yet he’s also one of the most misunderstood. In this hour, we’ll explore Marshall McLuhan’s big ideas as we salute the centenary of his birth.
In this hour, Washington Post science writer Shankar Vedantam is the author of The Hidden Brain. He tells Jim Fleming how a great deal of our thinking is shaped by our unconscious minds, such as routine tasks we do automatically.
A little laugh goes a long way. This week, we’re taking a crash course in how to be funny. From Chicago’s famous Second City, to a humor research lab, this hour's a laugh riot. We also talk with a laughter coach, Canadian comic Mary Walsh, and longtime New Yorker humorist Ian Frazier. Giggle on!
He's been described as "the most remarkable mind on the planet" and one of the world's"100 living geniuses." Daniel Tammet lives with high-functioning autistic savant syndrome. He's able to recite the mathematical constant Pi to over 22,500 decimal places from memory. But Tammet says that the differences between savant and nonsavant minds are exaggerated. In this hour, Daniel Tammet explains how his amazing mind works. Also, philosophy professor Ian Hacking on "Humans, Aliens and Autism."