Society And Culture
Monday, July 25, 2011
Public Radio’s Krista Tippett, host of On Being, discuss her upcoming six-part series “Civil Conversations,” which will explore new ways Americans can connect across the bitterest and most divisive issues of our time and offers a model for how to engage with our differences rather than trade easy answers.
Friday, July 22, 2011
Photographer Max Aguilera-Hellweg and Siddhartha Srinivasa, Professor at the Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University, talk about the future of robots and how robots are becoming more human. Max Aguilera-Hellweg took the photographs for the article “Making Robots Human,” in the August issue of National Geographic magazine, and Siddhartha Srinivasa is featured in the story. With advances in technology that allow robots to speak, blink, smile and perform such tasks as folding clothes and cooking, questions are being raised as to how human is too human. They explore how much everyday human function we want to outsource to machines, how the robot revolution will change the way we relate to each other, and if we’re ready for robots.
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
Pamela Constable, foreign correspondent and former deputy editor at The Washington Post, discusses Pakistan, a volatile nation at the heart of major cultural, political, and religious conflicts in the world today, and one that continues to struggle over its identity, alliances, and direction. Playing with Fire: Pakistan at War with Itself is based on Constable’s many years of reporting in the region. It explores Pakistan's contradictions, confusion, struggles with inequality and corruption, and how competing versions of Islam divide the country. She also discusses U.S.-Pakistan relations, the ISI, and why the country is so strategically and politically important.
Thursday, July 14, 2011
The gay bar has long been at the center of the social, and even political, lives of gays and lesbians. June Thomas, Slate’s foreign editor, talks about the gay bar’s history; its many incarnations and whether it remains relevant in today’s society. Her six part series for Slate is called The Gay Bar: Its Riotous Past and Uncertain Future.
Thursday, July 07, 2011
Les Standiford and Detective Joe Matthews describe the 1981 abduction and murder of six-year-old Adam Walsh—unsolved for over 25 years—and how it changed America. Before Adam Walsh there were no faces on milk cartons, no Amber Alerts, no National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, no federal databases of crimes against children, and no pedophile registry. Bringing Adam Home: The Abduction that Changed America reveals how this crime captured public attention and how its aftermath altered America and our ideas about childhood.
Wednesday, July 06, 2011
Rolling Stone contributing editor Janet Reitman discusses the history of the Church of Scientology. Her book Inside Scientology: The Story of America's Most Secretive Religion tells the story of the religion, created in 1954 by science-fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard. Scientology's celebrity members and the teams of “volunteer ministers” around the world keep its profile high, but its criticism of psychiatry, requirement that believers pay tens and even hundreds of thousands of dollars for salvation, and the Church's secrecy and use of litigation and intimidation have brought skepticism.
Friday, July 01, 2011
Sarah Vowell tells the history of the fiftieth state—Hawaii. Her latest book, Unfamiliar Fishes, gives an account of the transformation of the islands by New England missionaries who arrived in 1820, an incestuous princess pulled between her new god and her brother-husband, and also looks at sugar barons, lepers, con men, Theodore Roosevelt, and the last Hawaiian queen: a songwriter whose sentimental ode "Aloha 'Oe" serenaded Barack Obama, the first president from Hawaii, during his inaugural parade.
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
Nick Paumgarten, staff writer for The New Yorker, discusses the world of online dating. He looks at the ways programmers, mathematicians, and psychologists have made online dating sites more sophisticated, and investigates whether matchmaking can be reduced to a formula. His article “Looking for Someone” appears in the July 4, 2011, issue of The New Yorker.
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
Jeffrey Lyons shares stories from his father, Leonard Lyons, who wrote the famous newspaper column “The Lyons Den” from 1934 to 1974, and knew all the celebrities of the era—from Charlie Chaplin to Winston Churchill, from Ethel Barrymore to Sophia Loren, from George Burns to Ernest Hemingway, and from Joe DiMaggio to the Duke of Windsor. In Stories My Father Told Me: Notes from “The Lyons Den,” Jeffrey Lyons compiles anecdotes from his father’s best columns, and includes his own interviews with stars of today.
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Bill Irwin and Bryan Doerries, artistic director of Outside the Wire, discuss their very recent trip to Guantanamo Bay, where a four-star general there has made Prometheus Bound mandatory reading for detention workers. Outside the Wire uses theater and a variety of other media to address public health and social issues. Its most widely known project, Theater of War, has presented more than 150 readings of Sophocles’ Ajax and Philoctetes at over 50 military sites throughout the United States, Europe, and Cuba.
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Christopher Turner talks about science, sex, and postwar America. In Adventures in the Orgasmatron: How the Sexual Revolution Came to America, Turner tells the story of the orgone box—which was thought to elevate one’s “orgastic potential”—and its creator, Wilhelm Reich, a psychoanalyst and disaffected disciple of Freud who brought his theories of sexual energy to America during World War II.
Monday, June 27, 2011
Brian Powell talks about how Americans’ definitions of family are changing and what that means for public policy. Counted Out: Same-sex Relations and Americans' Definitions of Family broadens the scope of previous studies of how Americans view their own families to examine the way Americans characterize the concept of family in general. Although such issues as same-sex marriage and gay adoption remain at the center of a cultural divide, Counted Out demonstrates that American definitions of family are becoming more expansive, not less.
Monday, June 20, 2011
TV talk show legend and New York Times columnist Dick Cavett talks about his return to public life and his shows with Dave Hill at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater and other venues. He’ll also explain the art of interviewing, comedy, and he’ll be performing magic tricks on the air! Dick Cavett’s latest book is Talk Show: Confrontations, Pointed Commentary, and Off-Screen Secrets.
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
France is seductive in its elegance, its beauty, its sensual pleasures, and its joie de vivre. Elaine Sciolino, the longtime Paris bureau chief of the New York Times, explains that seduction is not just a game to the French: it is the key to understanding that country. In La Seduction, Sciolino demystifies the French way of life through a personal narrative that carries us from the neighborhood shops of Paris to the halls of government to the agricultural heartland.
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
The price of gold has risen steadily over the last decade. Harper's magazine columnist Thomas Frank takes a look at the mindset of “goldbugs” and others who invest in precious metals as a hedge against instability and the perception that governments can’t manage currencies or chaos. His latest monthly column “Easy Chair” is called “Gold Faithful: Profiting from Paranoia with Precious Metals.”
Monday, June 06, 2011
David McCullough tells the untold story of the adventurous American artists, writers, doctors, politicians, architects, and thinkers who set off to work in Paris between 1830 and 1900, and how their achievements there profoundly altered American history. The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris tells the stories of these pioneers, including Elizabeth Blackwell, the first female doctor in America; James Fenimore Cooper and Samuel F. B. Morse; pianist Louis Moreau Gottschalk; Oliver Wendell Holmes; writers Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Mark Twain, and Henry James; and painters Mary Cassatt and John Singer Sargent, among others.
Monday, May 16, 2011
University of North Carolina history professor David Goldfield, discusses the Civil War, the "fiery trial" that transformed the country. While others have viewed the war as a triumph of freedom, Goldfield sees it as America's greatest failure: the result of a breakdown caused by the infusion of evangelical religion into the public sphere. In America Aflame: How the Civil War Created a Nation, he outlines the price of that failure and shows how the war accomplished what statesmen could not: It made the United States one nation and eliminated slavery as a divisive force in the Union.
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Actor, writer, and stand-up comedian Paul Reiser talks about his career and shares his observations on parenting, marriage, and mid-life. His new book Familyhood, which follows his bestselling books Couplehood and Babyhood, looks at the experience of raising kids, and gives his trademark perspective on the universal truths of life, love, and relationships.
Tuesday, May 03, 2011
Joshua Kendall talks about the life and legacy of Noah Webster, In The Forgotten Founding Father: Noah Webster's Obsession and the Creation of an American Culture, he reveals that there’s more to his story than the dictionary he created—he was a young confidant of George Washington and Benjamin Franklin, he started New York City's first daily newspaper, he influenced early copyright law, he helped found Amherst College, served as a representative for both Connecticut and Massachusetts, and was an ardent supporter of a unified, definitively American culture.