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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: Wall Street Crisis

Friday, September 19, 2008

What a week it’s been in the markets. Find out what’s behind the recent financial crisis of the past few days, and what the credit woes could lead to. Greg Ip is U.S. Economics Editor for the Economist; Andrew Caplin is an Economics Professor at NYU.

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Please Explain: Microchips

Friday, September 12, 2008

Happy 50th birthday to the microchip! On Please Explain, find out how microchips work, what they do for us in our everyday lives, and how far they’ve come since they were first introduced 50 years ago. Dr. Simha Sethumadhavan is Assistant Professor of Computer Science & Director of ...

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Please Explain: Satellites

Friday, September 05, 2008

Please Explain is all about satellites – find out what they are, how they work, and what role they play in your everyday life – from cellphones to the weather report. Dr. Christopher Small is a geophysicist at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University; Dr. Scott E. ...

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Please Explain: Waste Management

Friday, August 29, 2008

New York City generates about fifty thousand tons of garbage every day. Find out what's in New York City’s trash, how it gets taken out of the city, and where it's dumped! Benjamin Miller is a Senior Fellow at the CUNY Institute for Urban Systems and author of Fat ...

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Please Explain: Jellyfish

Friday, August 22, 2008

From Spain to New York, jellyfish are becoming more numerous, and they’re showing up in places where they have rarely been seen before. Scientists say this explosion can be attributed to a combination of overfishing, rising sea temperatures, and pollution. Find out all about jellyfish, why they’re thriving, and whether ...

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Please Explain: Light Pollution

Friday, August 08, 2008

Most Americans can’t see the Milky Way in the night sky…and here in New York, we’re lucky if we can see any stars at all! Find out why light pollution is a growing problem, and how it may even endanger your health. Leonard talks to Pete Strasser of the

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Please Explain: Muscles

Friday, August 01, 2008

Please Explain is all about muscles! Find out how they function, how to strengthen them, and how they can break down. Dr. E. Todd Schroeder teaches clinical exercise physiology at the University of Southern California.

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Please Explain: BBQ

Friday, July 18, 2008

Barbecue guru Steve Raichlen, whose The Barbecue! Bible has been revised and re-released on its 10th anniversary, and world-class pitmaster Chris Lilly of Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q in Decatur, Alabama tell us how the best BBQ is made, and whether you can find the authentic stuff ...

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Please Explain: Hamburgers

Friday, July 11, 2008

Please Explain is all about America's favorite sandwich - the hamburger! Find out how German hamburg steak became a classic meal all over the world. We'll also hear about the best burgers available, from fast food versions to grass-fed beef on brioche buns. George Motz has been called America's foremost ...

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Please Explain: Solar Power

Friday, June 27, 2008

With the price of oil going higher and higher, alternative sources of energy like solar power are becoming much more attractive! Find out how solar power works, and whether it could help solve our energy problems.

Stephen A. Hammer is Director of the Urban Energy Project at Columbia University's

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Please Explain: Brainwashing

Friday, June 20, 2008

Brainwashing has been used throughout history to manipulate, coerce, and torture. Dominic Streatfeild is the author of Brainwash: The Secret History of Mind Control. Oxford research scientist Dr. Kathleen Taylor is the author of Brainwashing: The Science of Thought Control.

Have you ever been brainwashed? When did you ...

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Please Explain: Snoopology

Friday, June 06, 2008

What can you find out about a friend, a colleague, a lover, or yourself by inspecting everyday objects? Snoopology is the study of what the stuff we own reveals about our psychological truths. Sam Gosling is Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of Texas at Austin and author of ...

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Please Explain: Futures

Friday, May 30, 2008

Have no idea what a futures market is, and how it affects your life? Tune in to Please Explain to find out! Charles M. Jones is Associate Professor of Finance and Economics at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Business.

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Please Explain: Hot Dogs

Friday, May 23, 2008

During Hot Dog Season – from Memorial Day to Labor Day – Americans typically consume 7 billion hot dogs. That’s 818 hot dogs consumed every second during that period! And New Yorkers consume more hot dogs than people in any other city. Find out about the history of hot dogs, ...

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Please Explain: Hybrid Cars

Friday, May 16, 2008

As gas prices rise, more consumers are turning to hybrid cars like the Toyota Prius. Find out how hybrid cars work, which ones are the most efficient, the potential risks to the owner and to pedestrians, and the future of hybrid cars -- especially the 100mpg hybrid plug-in vehicles. John ...

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Please Explain: Farm Subsidies

Friday, May 09, 2008

Find out how farm subsidies work, who gets them, and how they affect the prices of the food that reaches our tables. Dan Morgan is an investigative reporter for the Washington Post and co-author of Harvesting Cash, a year-long series on waste and abuse in the farm-subsidy program ...

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Please Explain: Malaria

Friday, May 02, 2008

Malaria kills more than 1 million people each year, many of them children. Yet the disease is preventable. Find out how malaria spreads, why it’s so devastating in Africa, and how it can be stopped. Nobel laureate Dr. Peter Agre is director of the Johns Hopkins Malaria Research ...

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Please Explain: DNA

Friday, April 25, 2008

DNA testing has been in the news lately, thanks to the raid on the FLDS compound in Eldorado, Texas where authorities don’t know which children belong to which parents. We find out what DNA is, how it defines us, and how DNA testing works. Dr. Timothy Bestor is Professor of ...

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Please Explain: Plastic

Friday, April 18, 2008

It’s virtually impossible to get through the day without using plastic, but it’s only been widely available to consumers for about 100 years. We find out what plastic is, why it’s so useful, and whether we should be concerned about its widespread use. Dr. Mark Michalovic is Educational Consultant with ...

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Please Explain: Foreclosure

Friday, April 11, 2008

Find out about the different types of foreclosures, the legal process by which a property can be seized, how the real estate collapse has is affecting New Yorkers, and the industry that is thriving on America’s housing woes. Michael MacKenzie is US Markets Correspondent for the Financial Times. ...

Comments [12]