Please Explain: Rubber

Friday, October 01, 2010

Rubber is all around us: from sneakers to tires to basketballs. On today’s Please Explain, we'll find out where rubber comes from, how it’s created and used, and how it changed the world. We're joined by John Loadman, analytical chemist and author of  Tears of the Tree: The Story of Rubber--A Modern Marvel, and Joe Jackson, author of The Thief at the End of the World: Rubber, Power, and the Seeds of Empire.


Joe Jackson and John Loadman
News, weather, Radiolab, Brian Lehrer and more.
Get the best of WNYC in your inbox, every morning.

Comments [8]

caitlin from nyc

how natural and safe are rubber binkies for babies?

Oct. 01 2010 01:57 PM
Amy from Manhattan

While I was on the phone, I found the website of the co. that makes "neogreene." It's called GreenSmart (

Oct. 01 2010 01:56 PM
Jose from Queens

To whomever said that "tapioca" is related to rubber.

1. Tapioca is not a plant.

2. Tapioca is the starch that you can extract out of yuca, which is a root.

Oct. 01 2010 01:55 PM

tapioca is starch taken from the cassava root.

Oct. 01 2010 01:55 PM
Amy from Manhattan

Have the working conditions of rubber workers improved any since the days of Chucho Mendes & the abuses they were protesting?

Oct. 01 2010 01:54 PM
Ash in Chelsea

How does the impact of rubber on our environment compare with that of plastic?

Oct. 01 2010 01:46 PM
RJ from brooklyn

I read Joe Jackson's "World on Fire," about oxygen, and it was *wonderful,* so I'm looking forward to reading this.

Oct. 01 2010 01:44 PM
Tom from the Poconos

I saw a documentary ( years ago )that said that tapioca was related to the rubber tree - is that true ?

Oct. 01 2010 01:38 PM

Leave a Comment

Register for your own account so you can vote on comments, save your favorites, and more. Learn more.
Please stay on topic, be civil, and be brief.
Email addresses are never displayed, but they are required to confirm your comments. Names are displayed with all comments. We reserve the right to edit any comments posted on this site. Please read the Comment Guidelines before posting. By leaving a comment, you agree to New York Public Radio's Privacy Policy and Terms Of Use.