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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: How Sun Affects Skin

Friday, July 23, 2010

On today’s edition of Please Explain, Dr. Monica Halem, Clinical Associate Professor of Dermatology at Columbia University New York Presbyterian Hospital, discusses what happens to our skin when it’s exposed to too much sun, and how UV rays can cause irreversible damage.

Comments [55]

Please Explain: Lyme Disease

Friday, July 16, 2010

Lyme disease is the most common tick-borne illness in North America, and the number of reported cases has been steadily climbing over the last decade. We’re joined by Dr. Brian Fallon, associate professor of clinical psychiatry and director of the Lyme and Tick-borne Diseases Research Center at Columbia University Medical Center, and Dr. Carolyn Britton, associate professor of clinical neurology at Columbia University Medical Center, and chief neurologist for the Lyme research studies conducted by Columbia’s Lyme and Tick-borne Diseases Research Center. They’ll discuss how the disease is spread, diagnosed, and treated, and how we can protect ourselves while we’re outside this summer.

Comments [38]

Please Explain: Poisonous Plants

Friday, July 09, 2010

Leaves of three, let them be! Today’s Please Explain is all about poisonous plants. We're joined by Dr. Michael J. Balick, Vice President for Botanical Science and Director and Philecology Curator at The New York Botanical Garden Institute of Economic Botany, and Dr. Lewis Nelson, Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine at New York University School of Medicine, and Director of the Fellowship in Medical Toxicology at New York University School of Medicine and the New York City Poison Control Center.

Comments [21]

Please Explain: Algorithms

Friday, June 25, 2010

Algorithms are used to solve problems. They’re used in math, computer programming, and on Wall Street, but we also use algorithms to tie our shoes or to bake a loaf of bread. On this week’s Please Explain, Daniel Bienstock, Professor of Industrial Engineering and Operations Research, at Columbia University, and Harry Lewis, Gordon McKay Professor of Computer Science at Harvard, tell us what algorithms are and how they work to solve problems both simple and complex. Harry Lewis is the author of Blown to Bits and Excellence without a Soul: Does Liberal Education Have a Future.

Blown to Bits: Your Life, Liberty, and Happiness After the Digital Explosion

Comments [7]

Please Explain: Batteries

Friday, June 18, 2010

Batteries help power our world. They’re in everything from watches to iPods to smoke detectors to electric cars. On today’s edition of Please Explain, we’ll find out what they’re made of and how they work. We're joined by Jeremy P. Meyers, Assistant Professor, Mechanical Engineering/Materials Science & Engineering, University of Texas at Austin; and M. Stanley Whittingham, Professor of Chemistry and Materials Science & Engineering, and Director, Institute for Materials Research, SUNY at Binghamton.

JEREMY P. MEYERS
Assistant Professor, Mechanical Engineering/ Materials Science & Engineering
University of Texas at AustinJ

Comments [10]

Please Explain: Food-Borne Illness and Food Safety

Friday, June 11, 2010

Summer brings barbeques, potato salads, and lots of leafy green salads—and the potential for food-borne illness. On this Please Explain, we’ll find out where these bugs come from and how can we avoid getting sick from the foods we eat.

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Please Explain: Cake Baking

Friday, June 04, 2010

We’ll look into the science of baking the perfect cake on today’s Please Explain! We'll be joined by  John Barricelli , owner of the SoNo Baking Company and author of the SoNo Baking Company Cookbook . We'll also talk with  Nick Malgieri the author of many books including,Perfect Cakes , he also teaches at the Institute of Culinary Education in New York.

 

Comments [24]

Please Explain: Lying

Friday, May 28, 2010

With the recent disclosures that Richard Blumenthal did not serve in Vietnam, Adam Wheeler tricked his way into Harvard, and Columbia's valedictorian plagiarized his commencement speech, this week's Please Explain is all about lying.

Comments [20]

Please Explain: Matter, Anti-Matter, and Dark Matter

Friday, May 21, 2010

Please Explain is all about matter, anti-matter, and dark matter. Lisa Randall, Professor of Theoretical Physics at Harvard University; Michael Tuts, Professor of Physics at Columbia University and Mordecai Mark Mac-Low, Chair of the Department of Physics at the American Museum of Natural History tell us all about what it is and what it means.

Comments [18]

Please Explain: Art Conservation

Friday, May 14, 2010

On this week’s Please Explain we’re looking at the art and science of art conservation.

Comments [13]

Please Explain: Fat

Friday, May 07, 2010

We’ll find out the difference between brown body fat and white, how fat forms and functions, where its stored, how its burned, and how much is too much. Maudene Nelson, registered dietitian, New York State Certified Dietitian-Nutritionist, and a Certified Diabetes Educator at the Institute of Human Nutrition, joins us.

Comments [22]

Please Explain: Off-Shore Oil Drilling

Friday, April 30, 2010

With the recent explosion on an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico and the oil slick heading toward the shore, on today's Please Explain, we're looking into how offshore drilling is done how much oil might be discovered under the Atlantic now that the Obama administration is ...

Comments [17]

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]