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Please Explain

A weekly feature on The Leonard Lopate Show; airs every Friday at noon

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.

Recently in Please Explain

Please Explain: Recycling Plastic

Friday, April 23, 2010

Our latest Please Explain is all about plastic recycling! Eric Goldstein, senior attorney in the Natural Resource Defense Council's New York office and co-director of NRDC's urban program, joins us to explain what happens after plastic is tossed into the recycling bin and goes through the process ...

Comments [30]

Please Explain: Food Labels

Friday, April 16, 2010

Sugary cereals claim to be "heart healthy" and packages that say a food is "all natural" still have a list of mysterious ingredients. On today’s edition of Please Explain, Marion Nestle, Paulette Goddard Professor in the Department of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health and Professor of Sociology at New ...

Comments [38]

Please Explain: Skin Care

Friday, April 09, 2010

On this week's Please Explain, we're looking into skin care and skin care products. There are numerous lotions and potions that promise to restore youthful skin, but us there any truth to the claims they make? Dr. Michelle Hanjani, assistant professor of clinical dermatology at Columbia University Medical Center joins ...

Comments [66]

Please Explain: The Science of Happiness

Friday, March 26, 2010

On today's Please Explain, we'll look into how happiness is studied, and what some recent research reveals about what makes people happy, and why it's sometimes not what they'd expect. Sonja Lyubomirsky, Department of Psychology, University of California Riverside joins us to discuss the psychology of happiness.

Comments [38]

Please Explain: Hypnosis

Friday, March 19, 2010

On today’s Please Explain we’ll look into how hypnosis works, and how it can be effective in treating people who want to stop smoking, lose weight, or calm their nerves before a test. We’re joined by Dr. Roberta Temes, hypnotist, psychologist, and author of The Complete Idiot’s ...

Comments [27]

Please Explain: Strange and Mysterious Plants

Friday, March 12, 2010

Today's Please Explain is all about botanical mysteries and wonders—from meat-eating plants to phosphorescence. Jamie Boyer, Director of Children's Education at the New York Botanical Garden, and Amy Stewart, author of Wicked Plants: The Weed That Killed Lincoln's Mother and Other Botanical Atrocities.

Events: Amy Stewart will ...

Comments [13]

Please Explain: Dust

Friday, March 05, 2010

Dust is everywhere: under our beds, on our computer screens, in cracks in the sidewalk, and on our skin. Particles from the Sahara can be found as far away as the Caribbean, and dust from melting glaciers can impact the Earth’s climate. On this week’s edition of ...

Comments [14]

Please Explain: 3D Technology and 3D Vision

Friday, February 26, 2010

Today’s Please Explain is about 3D technology—from the movies to the future of television. Lawrence Cormack, Associate Professor of Psychology, University of Texas at Austin, and Phil McNally, Global Stereoscopic Supervisor for Dreamworks Animation join us to explain how it works.

Comments [11]

Please Explain: Chiropractic

Friday, February 19, 2010

On today's Please Explain we’ll look into chiropractic, used to treat back pain with spinal manipulation and adjustment. We’ll also discuss why it’s controversial, and new research into how it works and how it could be used to treat TMJ, headaches, even high blood pressure. We’re joined by Christine Goertz, ...

Comments [33]

Please Explain: Invasive Species

Friday, February 12, 2010

Growing global trade means more bugs and plants end up where they don’t belong, causing widespread environmental damage. On today’s Please Explain, we’ll learn how invasive species—from Asian purple loosestrife to the Colorado potato beetle—can wreak havoc when they’re accidentally imported to a new environment. We’re joined by ...

Comments [17]

Please Explain: BPA

Friday, February 05, 2010

Bisphenol-A, known as BPA, is an important building block of several plastics and plastic additives. Concern about the use of BPA in consumer products has been growing, and questions about its safety and its effect of human health have led some retailers to remove products made of it from their ...

Comments [64]

Please Explain: Indian Classical Music

Friday, January 29, 2010

Hindustani music, a classical musical tradition of northern and central India, can be traced back to Vedic times, around 1000 BC. On today’s edition of Please Explain we’ll take a look at India’s rich culture of music and its trademark instruments. Tabla player Dibyarka Chatterjee, and sitar player ...

Comments [13]

Please Explain: The Soil

Friday, January 22, 2010

On today’s edition of Please Explain, we’ll look at what’s in the earth beneath our feet. Chris Smith National Leader for Technical Soil Services, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, and Michael A. Wilson, Research Soil Scientist, USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service Soil Survey Research and Laboratory, describe what soil is made ...

Comments [11]

Please Explain: Postpartum Depression and Perinatal Psychiatry

Friday, January 15, 2010

On today's Please Explain, we'll look into the causes and symptoms of postpartum depression, and the field of perinatal psychiatry, the evaluation and treatment of psychiatric disorders associated with female reproductive function. We're joined by Dr. Catherine Monk, Irving Assistant Professor of Clinical Psychology, Columbia University Medical Center, and Dr. ...

Comments [22]

Please Explain: My Cable Bill

Friday, January 08, 2010

On today’s Please Explain, Joel Kelsey, Associate Policy Analyst for Consumers Union, tells us about how cable television works, how fees are assessed, and explains the recent fights between cable networks and providers.

Comments [39]

Please Explain: Hibernation

Friday, December 18, 2009

Our latest Please Explain looks into why and how animals hibernate. We’re joined by Dr. Matthew Andrews, Professor and Head of Biology at the University of Minnesota Duluth, and Dr. Hannah Carey, Professor, Department of Comparative Biosciences, University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine.

Comments [17]

Please Explain: Digestion

Friday, December 11, 2009

After all this talk of food, we’ll learn how it’s processed by the body for this week’s edition of Please Explain. Dr. Ira Breite, Clinical Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology at the NYU Langone Medical Center, joins us, along with Dr. David Seres, nutrition ...

Comments [44]

Please Explain: Epigenetics

Friday, December 04, 2009

The new science of epigenetics is changing our understanding of heredity, identity, and disease. On today’s edition of Please Explain, we’ll find out how environmental factors can change the way our genes function, and how the epigenome—which can be seen as the software that tells our DNA how ...

Comments [13]

Please Explain: Strokes

Friday, November 20, 2009

On today’s Please Explain, we take a close look at strokes—the causes, effects, and therapeutic and medical advances that help people recover. We're joined by Dr. Randolph S. Marshall, chief of the Division of Stroke, Columbia University Medical Center, and Dr. Jay P. Mohr, Daniel Sciarra Professor of ...

Comments [16]

Please Explain: Eco-Labels

Friday, November 13, 2009

Your broccoli, shampoo, and air conditioner might bear labels declaring them to be organic, cruelty-free, or energy efficient, but what do those labels mean and are they true? On today’s edition of Please Explain, Dr. Urvashi Rangan, Project Director for Consumer Reports' GreenerChoices.org and Consumers Union’s ...

Comments [15]