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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: Yiddish

Friday, September 13, 2013

Chutzpah, glitch, klutz, schlep, and tchotchke are all Yiddish words that have entered into everyday usage. On this week’s Please Explain, we’ll find out all about the Yiddish language—where it comes from, how it’s influenced our culture, and its resurgence.

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Please Explain: Whales

Friday, September 06, 2013

This week's Please Explain is about the largest mammals on earth: whales. Joining us are: Dr. John J. Flynn, the Frick Curator of Fossil Mammals at the American Museum of Natural History and the Dean of the Museum's Richard Gilder Graduate School. He's also the curator of the exhibition "Whales: Giants of the Deep," on view at the museum through January 5. And Dr. Mark Baumgartner, Marine Biologist and Associate Scientist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts.

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Please Explain: Ticks

Friday, August 16, 2013

There are more ticks in more places than ever before, and over the past two decades tick-borne illness has increased, especially in the northeast. Dr. Thomas Mather, director of the University of Rhode Island’s Center for Vector-Borne Disease and its TickEncounter Resource Center, and Dr. Thomas Daniels, Associate Research Scientist and Co-Director of the Vector Ecology Laboratory at Fordham University’s Louis Calder Center, tell us all about ticks, the blood-sucking arachnids that can spread disease and how to protect against tick bites and prevent tick-borne disease.

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Please Explain: Pain Medication

Friday, August 02, 2013

This week we're following up on Please Explain: Pain to find out more about pain killers. Barry Meier, New York Times reporter and author of A World of Hurt: Fixing Pain Medicine’s Biggest Mistake, talks about how pain medications work, how over the counter analgesics compare to prescription pain killers, and the problems of pain killer addiction.

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Please Explain: Sleep Apnea

Friday, July 19, 2013

If you snore loudly and you wake up feeling tired even after a full night's sleep, you may have sleep apnea, is a potentially serious disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts. On this week’s Please Explain two sleep specialists talk about what sleep apnea is and what problems and complications it may cause. We’re joined by Dr. David M. Rapoport, Professor and Medical Director of NYU Sleep Disorders Center; and Dr. Susan Redline is Professor of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School, Senior Physician, Division of Sleep Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, and Physician, Division of Pulmonary Medicine, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

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Please Explain: How to Complain Effectively

Friday, July 12, 2013

Complaining is a favorite pastime for some people, but it is possible to complain in order to get results and prompt change?

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Please Explain: Sink Holes

Friday, June 28, 2013

After a Florida man disappeared into a sinkhole that swallowed his bedroom, many people began wondering how stable the ground beneath our feet really is. On this week's Please Explain, Randall Orndorff, Director of the USGS Eastern Geology and Paleoclimate Science Center, explains what sinkholes are, why they form, where and when they are most likely to occur and how best to prevent them or predict and prepare for them.

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Please Explain: Alzheimer's Disease and New Alzheimer's Research

Friday, June 21, 2013

Dr. Jerome Groopman, Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, Chief of Experimental Medicine at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, and staff writer for The New Yorker, explains new approaches to Alzheimer’s research for this week’s Please Explain. Three decades of Alzheimer’s research has brought few results in changing the course of the disease, and there have been few developments in drugs to reverse or slow cognitive decline. In his latest article, “Before Night Falls,” in the June 24 issue of The New Yorker, he looks at the potential of new studies.

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Please Explain: Pain

Friday, June 14, 2013

This week we’ll explore how the body perceives pain—what causes it, how it affects us, and how to treat it. We're joined by Dr. Denise Chou, Assistant Professor of Neurology, Columbia University Headache and Facial Pain Center; and Dr. Jing Wang, Assistant Professor of Anesthesiology, NYU School of Medicine, and director of research and education at NYU Langone’s Center for the Study and Treatment of Pain.

Ask a question: Call us at 212-433-9692 or leave a comment below.

Comments [35]

Please Explain: The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition

Friday, June 07, 2013

The America Psychiatric Association’s newly updated and revised Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) is the result of more than 10 years of effort by hundreds of international mental health experts. The DSM is used by clinicians and researchers to diagnose and classify mental disorders in order to improve diagnoses, treatment, and research. Dr. Michael First, Professor of Clinical Psychiatry at Columbia University and Research Psychiatrist at the Biometrics Department at the New York State Psychiatric Institute, explains how clinicians use the DSM, how it’s put together, and why this edition has been controversial.

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Please Explain: Pasta

Friday, May 17, 2013

Pasta is a staple of Italian food, but noodles are also an important part of Asian cuisine. Pasta is versatile, comes in hundreds of shapes and sizes, and on this week’s Please Explain we’ll find out how it’s made and ways to cook with it. Joining us: Ron Palladino, pasta expert and Fresh Pasta counter general manager at Eataly, and Jack Bishop, editorial director of America’s Test Kitchen and author of several cookbooks, including The Complete Italian Vegetarian Cookbook, Pasta e Verdura, and the editor of Pasta Revolution.  

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Please Explain: Olive Oil

Friday, May 10, 2013

Lou DiPalo, third-generation expert olive oil importer and the co-owner of Di Palo Fine Foods in New York City, and Nancy Harmon Jenkins, a writer and food historian who’s the author of The New Mediterranean Diet Cookbook, tell us all about olive oil--from its history to to how it's made to its many varieties.

 

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Please Explain: The Science of Cooking

Friday, May 03, 2013

For Please Explain, Curious Cook Harold McGee talks about the science of cooking—from how heat changes meat to the differences between baking powder and baking soda. He’s the author of a number of books, including Keys to Good Cooking, and On Food and Cooking.

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Please Explain: Mushrooms and Fungi

Friday, April 26, 2013

Eugenia Bone, author of Mycophilia: Revelations of the Weird World of Mushrooms, talks about the world of mushrooms and other fungi. She’ll cover how to forage for mushrooms, how to identify the good and the poisonous, how fungi grow, and how to eat them.

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Please Explain: Fertilizer

Friday, April 12, 2013

Fertilizer is crucial for food—plants need it in order to grow and thrive. Harold Van Es, professor in the Department of Crop and Soil Sciences at Cornell University, explains what fertilizer is made of, why it's so important, and how to manage it.

Let us know if you have a question! Leave it as a comment or call us at 212-433-9692.

 

Comments [8]

Please Explain: Grains

Friday, April 05, 2013

Grains have been a cornerstone of the human diet since the dawn of civilization. We'll find out about the wide variety of grains and the difference between whole, refined, and enriched grains.Abdullah A. Jaradat, USDA Department of Soil Management Research, and Maria Speck, author of Ancient Grains for Modern Meals, explain.

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Please Explain: Natural and Artificial Flavors

Friday, March 22, 2013

If you look at many packaged food, you’re likely to find the words “natural flavors” and “artificial flavors” on the ingredients list. These terms seem ambiguous, but they explain why much of the foods Americans eat tastes the way it does. For today’s Please Explain, explain Dr. Gary Reineccius, professor and head of the Flavor Research and Education Center in the Department of Food Science and Nutrition at the University of Minnesota, and Barb Stuckey, professional food developer and author of Taste: Surprising Stories and Science about Why Food Tastes Good, explain what natural and artificial flavors are, how they’re made, and why they’re used in everything from cough syrup to candy to French fries to frozen yogurt.

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Please Explain: Cheese and Making Cheese

Friday, March 15, 2013

Sascha Anderson, Director of Education at Murray’s Cheese, and Gianaclis Caldwell, cheesemaker at Pholia Farm and author of Mastering Artisan Cheesemaking, talk about the wide variety of cheeses, how to select cheeses, and how to make cheese.

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Please Explain: The Science of Baking

Friday, March 08, 2013

Shirley Corriher, author of BakeWise: The Hows and Whys of Successful Baking, and Chef Scott McMillan, a pastry art Instructor at the Institute of Culinary Education in New York City, explain the particulars of baking—from different flours to measuring by weight to the differences between baking powder and baking soda.

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Please Explain: Superfoods

Friday, March 01, 2013

This week’s Please Explain is all about so-called superfoods—natural, whole foods that are superior sources of anti-oxidants and essential nutrients. Dr. Drew Ramsey, assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at Columbia University, and co-author of The Happiness Diet and the forthcoming Fifty Shades of Kale, explains which foods are healthiest—from nuts to fish to olive oil to grass-fed beef—for our bodies and our brains.

Comments [44]