Albert Camus was many things: war hero, Nobel Prize-winning novelist, and one of the 20th century’s most fascinating public thinkers. We examine the life and legacy of Camus on his 100th birthday: how a poor kid from Algeria became a revered French writer, hungry to find meaning in an absurd world, and why Camus still has a lot to tell us about a world mired in political violence.
The Meaning of Life in 5 Easy Lessons.
How do we know what's real? Can science tell us, or is there an unseen reality we'll never understand? We explore the borderlands of knowledge and reflect on some remarkable episodes in the history of science: Nobel laureates who investigated ghosts and a pioneer of quantum physics who found messages in his dreams.
When’s the last time you were wonderstruck? Would your life be richer for more wonder? What wonder is, how to make it, where to find it and what it does for us... we all get gently awed in this hour.
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.
Did you hear? There's a death movement going on in America. After decades of sanitized death, with dying, funerals, burial and grief shielded from public view, some people are now working to make death a greater part of life. In this hour, we talk with experts about how to begin these difficult conversations, and how they can transform both the dying and the surviving.
How do you win friends and influence people if you're an immigrant from Leningrad who's bullied at school? You write your way to friendship. That's what Gary Shteyngart did. We meet him in this hour as we explore creative writing. Also, the connection between alcohol and creativity. And how The Trickster can help you discover your true creative potential.
Physicist Lawrence Krauss says science can finally explain the age-old mystery: How can something come out of nothing? Or, to be more specific, how can the Big Bang pop out of empty space? Krauss also set off an intellectual brawl by saying theologians and philosphers have nothing useful to say about our cosmic origins. We’ll talk with Krauss and other physicists about science, religion and the meaning of life.
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!
Buried scrolls, clay tablets, priceless artifacts and expensive forgeries – this week, we bring you stories from the strange and amazing world of biblical archeology.
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?
Does death gives life meaning? You might think so, looking at the prominence of death and the afterlife in so many religions. For millennia, people have dreamed about immortality, and now transhumanists are trying to extend life by merging our selves with machines.
Meet Peter Reinhart, a lay brother in an Eastern Orthodox Christian service order and the leader of the American artisanal bread movement, and 13 other unusual food experts.
Something's bubbling in American kitchens: a resurgence of interest in cultured and fermented foods. Fermentation revivalists share a slow food philosophy, a DIY approach to foodcraft, and a deep interest in the health of the American gut. Today, we explore fermentation culture in food, technology, art and science.
Neuroscientists have made remarkable discoveries about the brain, but so far, no one's come close to cracking the biggest mystery of all - the connection between the brain and the mind: how a tangle of neurons inside your skull produces...you.
Suppose neuroscientists map the billions of neural circuits in the human brain... are we any closer to cracking the great existential mysteries - like meaning, purpose, or happiness? Scientists, contemplatives and religious thinkers are now exploring the connections between neuroscience and contemplative practice, and creating a new science of mindfulness.
We explore the fine art of comedy writing with Simon Rich, Bob Odenkirk and Megan Amram. And we dissect a cultural icon The New Yorker cartoon with the magazine's cartoon editor, Bob Mankoff.
This five-part series from To The Best of Our Knowledge series examines the conflict between science and religion, featuring conversations with many of the world's leading figures in this debate.
Topics include evolution vs. creationism; the relationship between brain and mind; God and the origins of the universe; and more.
In this hour, "the beast in me". M. E. Thomas talks about her book Confessions of a Sociopath: A LIfe Spent Hiding in Plain Sight. Lauren Beukes discusses her recent novel The Shining Girls. And Chuck Klosterman tells us about his new book I Wear the Black Hat: Grappling with Villains (Real and Imagined). Finally, Patricia Churchland details her book Touching a Nerve: The Self as Brain.