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
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, ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
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
Friday, April 04, 2008
Get out your tissues - Please Explain
is all about crying. What are tears made of? How did crying evolve? Is it a uniquely human phenomenon? Does it have health benefits? Vassar psychology professor Randy Cornelius
has been developing an evolutionary theory of weeping that focuses on tears. Tom Lutz
Friday, March 28, 2008
We look into how children play games of make believe, and whether kids’ imaginations have changed along with trends in technology and education. Dr. Susan Linn
is Associate Director of the Media Center of the Judge Baker Children's Center, Instructor in Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, and the author of ...
Friday, March 21, 2008
NPR says that its mission is to present "fair, accurate and comprehensive information and selected cultural expressions for the benefit of, and at the service of our democracy." That's easier said than done.
Find out how NPR shapes its news and political coverage, who makes judgment calls on a daily ...
Friday, March 07, 2008
Parkways are a kind of road common in the New York City area, but more rare in the rest of the USA. Find out what parkways are, and how they fit in to the American transportation system. Dr. Timothy Davis
is Lead Historian for Park Historic Structures & Cultural Landscapes ...
Friday, February 29, 2008
"Carbon footprint" has become a catchphrase in the last year or two. We find out just what a carbon footprint is, how it’s calculated, and how much it matters. Mark Z. Jacobson
is Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Stanford University and Catherine S. Norman
Friday, February 22, 2008
We look into the fascinating lives of ants. For example: some ant species can form floating rafts in order to survive floods. Another species, weaver ants, build nests in trees by sewing leaves together.
Brian L. Fisher is the Chairman of Entomology at the California Academy of Sciences and creator ...
Friday, February 15, 2008
Roger Clemens's Congressional testimony has put pro athletes' steroid use on center stage. On Please Explain
, find out what exactly steroids and human growth hormones are, how they affect the body, and why they can be so dangerous.
Leonard speaks with Dr. Timothy Hewett of The Sports Medicine Biodynamics Center ...
Friday, February 08, 2008
Friday, February 01, 2008
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (aka Mormonism) is the fastest-growing religion in the world. On Please Explain, find out about the basic tenants of the Mormon faith...and how the church's history has influenced its culture. Also: how the recent death of church president Gordon B. Hinckley ...
Friday, January 25, 2008
Stock markets around the world seem to be going haywire in recent weeks. We find out how global stock markets work, and why they’re so interconnected. John Authers
is the Investment Editor for the Financial Times
; David Weidner
is Senior Columnist for Marketwatch
Weigh in: Do ...
Friday, January 18, 2008
This year’s batch of presidential hopefuls are fighting over delegates as much as they’re fighting over voters. On Please Explain
, find out who the delegates are, how the system works, and what superdelegates are.
Stephen Wayne is Professor of Government at Georgetown University and author of The Road to ...
Friday, January 11, 2008
The first coins were invented in the seventh century BC! Please Explain
looks into the history of money...from the earliest lumps of metal, to modern-day virtual money. Numismatist Douglas Mudd
is the curator of The American Numismatic Association's Money Museum and author of All the Money in the World