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 principles of complicated issues across a broad range of topics — history, politics, science, you name it.
The devotion to coffee verges on a religion for many people. Here's why.
All living things need to eat, but only humans cook...and how we cook has evolved and grown more sophisticated since our earliest days. We have nonstick skillets, automatic espresso machines, digital meat thermometers, and high-speed blenders. But in our earliest days, we didn't even have pots to cook in. On this week’s Please Explain, Bee Wilson, author of Consider the Fork: A History of How We Cook and Eat, tells us all about the history of our cooking tools—when and how they were invented and how they’ve changed the foods we make.
Julia Collin Davidson, of America's Test Kitchen, talks about the versatility of the slow cooker. It’s not just for beef stew anymore. On this week’s Please Explain she talks about how to roast, poach, and even make cakes and custards in the slow cooker. Julia Collin Davidson is one of the editors of America’s Test Kitchen’s Slow Cooker Revolution.
Just in time for Halloween, this week’s Please Explain is all about candy! Samira Kawash tells the story of how candy evolved from a luxury good to a cheap, everyday snack. In Candy: A Century of Panic and Pleasure she explores the history and cultural history of candy and examines how candy became the most loved and loathed of processed foods.
Humans have been drinking wine for 8,000 years. On this week’s Please Explain Paul Lukacs tells us all about wine and its long, rich history. He’s the author of Inventing Wine: A New History of One of the World’s Most Ancient Pleasures.
Food is measured in calories. People sometimes count calories and cut calories, and this week’s Please Explain is all about what calories are, how they’re measured, how we burn them, and if they differ from food to food. Joining us are: Dr. Kelly D. Brownell, Dean of the Sanford School of Public Policy and Professor of Public Policy at Duke University. And Russell Rising, Research Associate in the Metabolic Laboratory at the Obesity Research Center at St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital.
Chutzpah, glitch, klutz, schlep, and tchotchke are all Yiddish words that have entered into everyday usage. On this week’s Please Explain, we’ll find out all about the Yiddish language—where it comes from, how it’s influenced our culture, and its resurgence.
This week's Please Explain is about the largest mammals on earth: whales. Joining us are: Dr. John J. Flynn, the Frick Curator of Fossil Mammals at the American Museum of Natural History and the Dean of the Museum's Richard Gilder Graduate School. He's also the curator of the exhibition "Whales: Giants of the Deep," on view at the museum through January 5. And Dr. Mark Baumgartner, Marine Biologist and Associate Scientist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts.
There are more ticks in more places than ever before, and over the past two decades tick-borne illness has increased, especially in the northeast. Dr. Thomas Mather, director of the University of Rhode Island’s Center for Vector-Borne Disease and its TickEncounter Resource Center, and Dr. Thomas Daniels, Associate Research Scientist and Co-Director of the Vector Ecology Laboratory at Fordham University’s Louis Calder Center, tell us all about ticks, the blood-sucking arachnids that can spread disease and how to protect against tick bites and prevent tick-borne disease.
This week we're following up on Please Explain: Pain to find out more about pain killers. Barry Meier, New York Times reporter and author of A World of Hurt: Fixing Pain Medicine’s Biggest Mistake, talks about how pain medications work, how over the counter analgesics compare to prescription pain killers, and the problems of pain killer addiction.
If you snore loudly and you wake up feeling tired even after a full night's sleep, you may have sleep apnea, is a potentially serious disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts. On this week’s Please Explain two sleep specialists talk about what sleep apnea is and what problems and complications it may cause. We’re joined by Dr. David M. Rapoport, Professor and Medical Director of NYU Sleep Disorders Center; and Dr. Susan Redline is Professor of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School, Senior Physician, Division of Sleep Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, and Physician, Division of Pulmonary Medicine, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.
Complaining is a favorite pastime for some people, but it is possible to complain in order to get results and prompt change?
After a Florida man disappeared into a sinkhole that swallowed his bedroom, many people began wondering how stable the ground beneath our feet really is. On this week's Please Explain, Randall Orndorff, Director of the USGS Eastern Geology and Paleoclimate Science Center, explains what sinkholes are, why they form, where and when they are most likely to occur and how best to prevent them or predict and prepare for them.
Dr. Jerome Groopman, Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, Chief of Experimental Medicine at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, and staff writer for The New Yorker, explains new approaches to Alzheimer’s research for this week’s Please Explain. Three decades of Alzheimer’s research has brought few results in changing the course of the disease, and there have been few developments in drugs to reverse or slow cognitive decline. In his latest article, “Before Night Falls,” in the June 24 issue of The New Yorker, he looks at the potential of new studies.
This week we’ll explore how the body perceives pain—what causes it, how it affects us, and how to treat it. We're joined by Dr. Denise Chou, Assistant Professor of Neurology, Columbia University Headache and Facial Pain Center; and Dr. Jing Wang, Assistant Professor of Anesthesiology, NYU School of Medicine, and director of research and education at NYU Langone’s Center for the Study and Treatment of Pain.
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The America Psychiatric Association’s newly updated and revised Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) is the result of more than 10 years of effort by hundreds of international mental health experts. The DSM is used by clinicians and researchers to diagnose and classify mental disorders in order to improve diagnoses, treatment, and research. Dr. Michael First, Professor of Clinical Psychiatry at Columbia University and Research Psychiatrist at the Biometrics Department at the New York State Psychiatric Institute, explains how clinicians use the DSM, how it’s put together, and why this edition has been controversial.
Pasta is a staple of Italian food, but noodles are also an important part of Asian cuisine. Pasta is versatile, comes in hundreds of shapes and sizes, and on this week’s Please Explain we’ll find out how it’s made and ways to cook with it. Joining us: Ron Palladino, pasta expert and Fresh Pasta counter general manager at Eataly, and Jack Bishop, editorial director of America’s Test Kitchen and author of several cookbooks, including The Complete Italian Vegetarian Cookbook, Pasta e Verdura, and the editor of Pasta Revolution.