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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

The Stuff That Dreams (and Nightmares) Are Made Of

Friday, April 11, 2014

On this week's Please Explain, we'll find out what goes on inside our brains as we sleep.

Comments [26]

Every Night I'm Shufflin'

Friday, April 04, 2014

Insomnia, snoring, restless leg syndrome, sleepwalking. A lot of things can prevent us from getting good sleep. Find out what causes sleep disturbances — and how to treat them.

Comments [20]

Please Explain: Arthritis

Friday, March 28, 2014

More than 40 million Americans have arthritis, and it's the leading cause of disability for people who are 65 and older. Almost everyone over 70 has some form of arthritis, but it can affect much younger people too. Dr. Clark Smith, an Assistant Clinical Professor of Rehabilitation and Regenerative Medicine at Columbia University Medical Center, explains what causes arthritis and how to treat it.

Comments [29]

Please Explain: Medical Marijuana

Friday, March 21, 2014

Medical marijuana is legal in 20 states, and is used to treat symptoms of multiple sclerosis, AIDS, side effects of chemotherapy, as well as pain, glaucoma, epilepsy, insomnia, and anxiety. Dr. Igor Grant, Distinguished Professor and Executive Vice-Chair of the Department of Psychiatry at UCSD School of Medicine and Director of the UC Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research, tells us about his research into the possible utility of cannabis compounds in the amelioration of certain severe manifestations of disease. And Jim Rendon, author of Supercharged: How Outlaws, Hippies, and Scientists Reinvented Marijuana, talks about the changing attitudes toward marijuana and how the increasing acceptance of medical marijuana is changing the legal and commercial landscape.

Comments [18]

Please Explain: Glaciers

Friday, March 14, 2014

During the last ice age, glaciers covered the entire northern part of our continent, shaping mountains and carving valleys. Today, most of the earth's glaciers are found in Antarctica and Greenland, but there are glaciers on every continent, including Africa, most commonly above the snow line. Tim Creyts, a glaciologist with the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Earth Institute, Columbia University, explains what glaciers are, how they move and sculpt the landscape, and how climate change is affecting glaciers around the world.

Comments [6]

How Sitting Too Much is Reducing Your Lifespan

Friday, March 07, 2014

Research shows that sitting for more than 2 hours a day is directly linked to health problems, and people who sit all day don't live as long. So how about a program of chairlessness?

Comments [59]

Please Explain: Hypnosis

Friday, February 28, 2014

"We are in trances – every single one of us – every single day."

Comments [16]

Please Explain: Breast Cancer

Friday, February 21, 2014

A recent long-term study questioning the benefits of annual mammograms for older women. This week’s Please Explain is about breast cancer. Dr. Larry Norton, Deputy Physician-in-Chief for Breast Cancer Programs at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, describes how the disease is detected and the ways it can be treated.

Comments [20]

Please Explain: Genius

Friday, February 14, 2014

This week’s Please Explain is all about genius. Dean Keith Simonton, professor of psychology at the University of California, Davis, talks about what exceptional intelligence is and how it can influence creativity, leadership and achievement. And we’ll find out how genius and intelligence are measured.

Comments [18]

Please Explain: Shipping Containers and How Cargo Moves around the World

Friday, February 07, 2014

Container shipping began 50 years ago and developed into a huge industry that has made the boom in global trade possible. Marc Levinson, author of The Box: How the Shipping Container Made the World Smaller and the World Economy Bigger, tells us how cargo moves around the works, and looks at the sweeping economic consequences containerization brought about.

Comments [14]

Please Explain: Cats

Friday, January 31, 2014

“We can’t reason with cats,” but maybe we can understand them. Hear a little bit of history on domestic cats and how you can be more feline-friendly.

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Please Explain: Dogs

Friday, January 24, 2014

This week's Please Explain is all about dogs. We'll find out the evolutionary roots of domestic dogs, what it means when your dog wags its tail, and why some breeds are easier to train than others. Veterinarian Dr. John Ciribassi, who was one of the editors of Decoding Your Dog, and pet expert and journalist Steve Dale, who contributed to the book, take your calls and questions about man's best friend.

Comments [22]

Please Explain: Apps

Friday, January 03, 2014

Find out how apps are created and get recommendations for must-haves — tools that can help find parking, find a ride, track calories, and more.

Comments [20]

How to Get Organized for the New Year

Friday, December 27, 2013

From cleaning out closets and clearing clutter to the tangle of wires behind your television and stereo, Maxwell Ryan, CEO and founder of Apartment Therapy, gives advice and answers questions about how to get organized for the new year. Now you have no excuse!

Comments [16]

Please Explain: The Politics of Food

Friday, December 20, 2013

On this week’s Please Explain, Marion Nestle, author of Eat, Drink Vote: An Illustrated Guide to Food PoliticsFood Politics: How the Food Industry Influences Nutrition and HealthWhat to Eat, among other books, talks about the politics of food.

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Please Explain: Butchery

Friday, December 13, 2013

Sam Garwin and Ryan Fibiger from Saugatuck Craft Butchery in Westport, Connecticut, talk about the importance of local, humanely raised meats. They explain the various cuts of meat, how they’re best prepared, whole-animal butchery, knife skills, and how the sausage is made.

Comments [10]

Please Explain: Coffee

Friday, December 06, 2013

The devotion to coffee verges on a religion for many people. Here's why.

Comments [48]

Please Explain: Kitchen Tools

Friday, November 15, 2013

All living things need to eat, but only humans cook...and how we cook has evolved and grown more sophisticated since our earliest days. We have nonstick skillets, automatic espresso machines, digital meat thermometers, and high-speed blenders. But in our earliest days, we didn't even have pots to cook in. On this week’s Please Explain, Bee Wilson, author of Consider the Fork: A History of How We Cook and Eat, tells us all about the history of our cooking tools—when and how they were invented and how they’ve changed the foods we make.

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Please Explain: Beer

Friday, November 08, 2013

Garrett Oliver, the brewmaster of The Brooklyn Brewery, editor-in-chief of The Oxford Companion to Beer and author of The Brewmaster’s Table, talks about beer—where it comes from, how it's made, and the wide varieties of brews.

Comments [13]

Please Explain: The Slow Cooker

Friday, November 01, 2013

Julia Collin Davidson, of America's Test Kitchen, talks about the versatility of the slow cooker. It’s not just for beef stew anymore. On this week’s Please Explain she talks about how to roast, poach, and even make cakes and custards in the slow cooker. Julia Collin Davidson is one of the editors of America’s Test Kitchen’s Slow Cooker Revolution.

Comments [10]