Satisfy your hunger for new ideas with this interview show that explores the cutting edge of contemporary thinking in politics, religion, economics, science, the arts, and popular culture. Host Anne Strainchamps talks to some of the greatest thinkers, figures, and artists of our time. It's a radio salon where a playwright and a scientist, a theologian and a rock critic might all offer their views on, say, revenge. Inviting a diverse group of people with very different backgrounds to approach a subject creates a kind of depth and richness that's positively riveting.
"Sometimes great, very uneven"
H.P. Lovecraft's weird tales of cosmic horror loom large 125 years after his birth. His literary tentacles 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?
Do you believe that the government is keeping secrets from us? That the military is hiding evidence of alien visitations? Maybe you have a hard line to the truth - or maybe you're a sucker for conspiracy theories. Today, we explore why we love conspiracy theories and why we believe them.
Whatever happened to psychoanalysis? It used to be the most influential science of the mind, but today its founder, Sigmund Freud, just looks like a sex-obsessed old man. Analyst Adam Phillips says we got Freud all wrong; he remains a radical thinker if we know how to read him. This hour explores the connections between therapy and art.
Back in the sixties, LSD was all the rage — not just in the counterculture but also in psychiatric clinics. Then psychedelics were outlawed and decades of research vanished. Now, psychedelic science is back — and the early results are extraordinary. A single dose of psilocybin can help people with addictions, PTSD and end-of-life anxiety. We'll examine this revolution in medicine, and explore the connections between psychedelics and mystical experience.
It's Oscar season and Hollywood is once again celebrating the best films of the year. It would seem we're a nation that's obsessed with movies, spending billions of dollars to watch them every year, and celebrating them with a variety of awards ceremonies. But what separates a classic from a box office disaster? This hour, we turn to a few of the people who know film best – the critics, actors and directors who've devoted their lives to the silver screen.
Why are we so obsessed with the future? Is it because we can't handle the present and all of our current problems, like climate change, racism and terrorism? That's one theory. We explore our fascination with the future in this hour.
Do you miss turntables, vinyl records, cassette tapes, landline phones? Welcome to the analog revival – a movement to roll back digital dominance. This week, how headphones and MP3s ruined music, the pleasure of listening to old 78's, and the politics of nostalgia. The broadcast of this episode also featured a conversation with poet Fady Joudah for our series the News from Poems.
Wherever you turn, it seems like someone’s angry -- on Facebook and cable news, in street marches and congressional town halls. It would seem that we’ve entered a new era of increased hostility. But how did we, as a nation, get here? Is it possible we’re addicted to outrage? This hour, we explore the advantages and perils of getting mad as hell.
What's your compulsion? That thing you can't stop doing or can't live without. Whether it's nail biting or handwashing, most of us have some kind of behavior we just can't give up. But while compulsions can be a mild annoyance for some, for others, they can be marshalled as a strength, inspiring them to achieve great things. This hour, we explore the upside to compulsions. The broadcast of this episode also featured a conversation about the poem "WTF" with poet Laura Kasischke for our series the News from Poems.
It used to be easy to get lost in a good book, but now lots of people say reading is boring. Scientists say all that skimming and surfing on electronic screens is actually rewiring our brains. So we examine the new science of reading, and meet celebrated New Yorker book critic James Wood.
As the Zika virus continues to make headlines, consensus is slowly growing among scientists that it's showdown time for the mosquito. Time to marshal the technology to wipe them off the face of the earth. Which seems pretty extreme. Doesn't it? So, should we bio-engineer mosquitoes out of existence? Remember, it's not just about making picnics more pleasant… it's about Zika, malaria, dengue – human lives. Mosquitoes. Should they live, or die?
A garden, a tree, an apple, and a serpent. The story of Adam and Eve is as old as sin. But it's a lot more than a Bible story. The doctrine of original sin shaped Christianity but also left its mark on everything from gun control to how we vote. In this episode, we consider the impact of original sin on politics, capitalism, psychology, and beyond.
Computer scientists are closing in on the next frontier in artificial intelligence - machines that can create. Make art. Write stories. Compose music. The dream is to open the door to a whole new kind of creativity. But don't throw away your paintbrush yet - in this hour, we explore the dream and the limits of artificial creativity.
In this show, we explore storyworlds - the fictional universes that continue to enchant us. Like the ghostly supernatural realm in which Abe Lincoln's dead son, Willie, finds himself and the surreal Pacific Northwest town of Twin Peaks, the home of some damn fine coffee.
There's arguably no greater mystery than who we fall for. Why do some romances fizzle out, while others flourish, and grow into lifelong companionship? What can science reveal about lust, romance, and compassion? In a live show recorded onstage from the Majestic Theater in Madison, To the Best of Our Knowledge, in partnership with the Center for Humans and Nature, explored the science of love.
Light has long been a powerful metaphor for holiness and truth, and rightly so. From the stars in the sky to the bulbs in our homes, light touches every facet of human life. This hour, a look at the natural, artificial, and symbolic light that colors our history – and our future.
We're exploring love by the numbers, this week. Thirty-six questions, 40 first dates, and 43 equations - it's all part of the new mathematical science of love.
Do scientists see the world in a different way? Not really, says Neil deGrasse Tyson, as long as you have insatiable curiosity and a passion to experiment and measure the stuff around you. We'll get a lesson in science literacy from Tyson and Hope Jahren. And legendary physicist Freeman Dyson reflects on a lifetime in science. The broadcast of this episode also featured a conversation with poet Nick Lantz for our series the News from Poems.