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, July 20, 2012
Early this month, researchers at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, announced that they found convincing evidence of a new particle called the Higgs boson. Sometimes called the “god particle,” the Higgs boson gives mass to the elementary particles that make up the universe. Brian Greene, Professor of Mathematics and Physics and author of The Elegant Universe, The Fabric of the Cosmos, and The Hidden Reality, and Kyle Cranmer, Assistant Professor of Physics at New York University, help us decipher what the Higgs is and why it matters, and explain how the Large Hadron Collider works.
Friday, July 13, 2012
Artificial sweeteners are thought to be a billion dollar industry. On today's Please Explain, Dr. Maudene Nelson director of Community Outreach at Columbia University Institute of Human Nutrition, talks about how these non-sugars work. We'll find out about artificial sweeteners and low- and no-calorie sugar substitutes like aspartame, saccharin, and sucralose and why they still taste sweet on the tongue.
Friday, June 29, 2012
Obsessive-compulsive disorder is characterized by anxiety and unreasonable thoughts and fears that lead to repetitive behaviors. Trying to ignore or stop these thoughts often only increases distress and anxiety, and people who suffer from OCD feel driven to perform compulsive acts to reduce or ease feelings of stress and anxiety. Dr. Helen Blair Simpson, Professor of Clinical Psychiatry at Columbia University Medical Center and the Director of the Anxiety Disorders Clinic at the New York State Psychiatric Institute, and Dr. Tamar Chansky, Founder and Director of the Children’s Center for OCD and Anxiety in Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania, join us to explain symptoms, treatment, and how to cope with the disorder. Dr. Chansky is the author of Freeing Your Child from Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder.
Friday, June 22, 2012
Dr. Lita Proctor, program director for the Human Microbiome Project, and Dr. Martin Blaser, Professor of Internal Medicine and of Professor of Microbiology at NYU School of Medicine, talk about the 100 trillion good bacteria that live in the human body and the five-year federal project to sequence the genetic material of the bacteria taken from 250 healthy individuals. They’ll explain what they found, how healthy bacteria works in the body, and why it’s important for good health.
Friday, June 15, 2012
Tattoo artist Scott Campbell, of Saved Tattoo in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and Dr. Lars Krutak, of the Department of Anthropology at the Smithsonian Institution, discuss the history of tattoos and body decorations, the mechanics of getting a tattoo, the art of tattoo design, and how they can be removed.
Friday, June 08, 2012
Tax-advantaged accounts like the 401(k), 403(b), and 457 plans are popular ways to invest money for retirement, but unlike traditional pension plans, these plans require people to manage their investment strategies yourselves. Eleanor Laise, Editor, Kiplinger's Retirement Report, and Anthony Webb, research economist at the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, discuss how these plans work, how best to manage them, and how to plan—and save—for retirement.
Friday, May 18, 2012
Friday, May 11, 2012
This week we'll find out about credit reports and credit scores and how to manage them effectively. Jeffrey Blyskal, senior editor of Consumer Reports, joins us to explain how they work and what they mean.
If you have a question, call 212-433-9692 or leave a comment below.
Friday, May 04, 2012
John Sparks, associate curator and curator-in-charge, department of Ichthyology at the American Museum of Natural History, and David Gruber, assistant professor at the City University of New York and a research associate at the museum, discuss the variety of bioluminescent organisms—from fungus to dinoflagellates to jellyfish—and explain the various ways they glow, the functions of bioluminescence, and how scientists study it. The exhibition Creatures of Light: Nature’s Bioluminescence is on view at the American Museum of Natural History through January 6, 2013.
Friday, April 27, 2012
It's estimated that over $3 billion was spent on lobbying efforts last year. On this week's Please Explain, Alex Blumberg from NPR's Planet Money describes how lobbying works, the role that all that money plays in politics, and what kind of influence that money buys. Call us at 212-433-9692 with your questions, or leave them in a comment below!
Friday, April 20, 2012
Dr. Doug Roble, the Creative Director of Software at Digital Domain, the multiple Academy Award-winning visual effects studio in Venice, California, talks about the history of special effects in filmmaking and explains the art and science of creating them.
Friday, April 13, 2012
Friday, April 06, 2012
For this week's Please Explain, Jonathan McDowell, astrophysicist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Boston, and Laura Grego, senior scientist in the Global Security Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists, tell us how satellites are designed, launched, and how they to make things like GPS and cable television possible.
Friday, March 30, 2012
Bullying is commonplace in schools, but in recent years cyber-bullying, suicides, and school shootings have shown bullying to be a very serious issue. On this week’s Please Explain we’ll find out what constitutes bullying and aggression among children (and adults), its repercussions, and how parents, children, and schools should address it. We’re joined by Elizabeth Englander, Professor of Psychology and Director of the Massachusetts Aggression Reduction Center at Bridgewater State University, and Jessie Klein, Assistant Professor of Sociology and Criminal Justice at Adelphi University, and author of The Bully Society: School Shootings and the Crisis of Bullying in America’s Schools.
Friday, March 23, 2012
Friday, March 16, 2012
Barb Stuckey, professional food developer and author of Taste What You're Missing: The Passionate Eater's Guide to Why Good Food Tastes Good, explains the science of taste, and shows how our individual biology, genetics, and brain create a personal experience of everything we taste.
Friday, March 02, 2012
This week’s Please Explain takes a look at something familiar (yet still mysterious) to every New Yorker: the subway. John Tauranac, architecural historian and designer of city and transit maps, and Andrew Sparberg, former Long Island Railroad manager and director of the railroad technology program at Technical Career Insitutes, talk about how the subway was built and how it transformed the metropolitan area.
Friday, February 24, 2012
This week's Please Explain is the final installment of our series How to Save the World. Jeffrey Sachs discusses whether it's possible to achieve world peace. He's Director of The Earth Institute at Columbia University and Special Advisor to United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. His most recent book is The Price of Civilization.