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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: 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, ...

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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 [63]

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.

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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]

Please Explain: Alcohol

Friday, November 06, 2009

Our latest Please Explain is all about alcohol--what it is, how it works and the ways it affects our bodies. We'll be joined by Dr. Rueben Gonzales, Professor of Pharmacology and Toxicology at the University of Texas and by Dr. Henry R. Kranzler, Professor of Psychiatry and Genetics ...

Comments [25]

Please Explain: Electricity

Friday, October 30, 2009

How does electricity get from its source into your home and to your cell phone charger, television, or microwave? We’ll find out on today’s Please Explain. Michael Caramanis, Boston University Professor of Mechanical and Systems Engineering, joins us, along with Dr. Robert Thomas, professor in the Department ...

Comments [32]

Please Explain: Sleep

Friday, October 23, 2009

Sleeping is something all of us do every day, but exactly what happens to us when we sleep isn’t completely understood. On today’s edition of Please Explain, we’re looking into why we sleep, why we sometimes can’t sleep, and why many of us aren’t sleeping enough. Dr. Allan Pack, Chief ...

Comments [31]

Please Explain: Regional Accents

Friday, October 16, 2009

You can tell a lot about someone from the way they speak. On today’s edition of Please Explain we’ll look at the different accents found around the United States and find out where they come from and why they persist. Joining us are Natalie Schilling-Estes, Associate Professor of ...

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Chat and Chew

Friday, October 16, 2009

Former New York Times restaurant critic William Grimes leads us on a tour of the history of restaurants in New York. And today’s Please Explain is all about regional accents in the United States.

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Please Explain: Prions

Friday, October 09, 2009

On today’s Please Explain we're looking at prions and how they can cause infectious diseases such as Mad Cow disease and the Chronic Wasting disease that’s been affecting deer, elk, and moose herds in the West and Midwest. Dr. David Westaway, Professor of Neurology and Director of the ...

Comments [14]

Please Explain: Animal Migration

Friday, October 02, 2009

The days are growing shorter and colder, and birds, butterflies, and other animals are starting to head to warmer climates for the winter. These journeys are often thousand of miles—monarch butterflies can fly as far as 3,000 miles to winter in Mexico. On today’s Please Explain, we’ll find ...

Comments [4]

Please Explain: Sharks

Friday, September 25, 2009

There are some 440 species of sharks, and the fish have been swimming in the oceans for 420 million years, before dinosaurs existed. On today's Please Explain we'll find out about sharks, from hammerheads to great whites, and look at how they are becoming threatened. We're joined ...

Comments [19]