Amy Pearl

Amy Pearl appears in the following:

The Wisdom (or not) of Twitter

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

David Pogue, the personal technology writer for The New York Times, visited The Brian Lehrer Show to talk about his new book The World According to Twitter.

Listen to the whole intervew:


UNDP Report Reveals Unemployment, Malnutrition in Arab World

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Seven years ago, the United Nations conducted a study of human development in the Arab world. Now it has released a follow up and there’s not a lot of good news for the 330 million ...

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Dan Klores on Black Magic

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

In his documentary "Black Magic", filmmaker Dan Klores looks at how African-American players and coaches changed the game of basketball. The film won a Peabody and has just been released on DVD.

Listen to the ...


Studio 360's Kurt Andersen on "Casino Economy"

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

According to Studio 360's Kurt Andersen, the economic crisis might have an upside. His latest book is called Reset.

Listen to the whole interview:


Cracking Your Knuckles: Annoying But Doesn't Cause Arthritis

Friday, August 14, 2009


Should you wait an hour after eating before you jump in the pool? Do you lose most of your body heat through your head? Dr. Aaron Carroll is the co-author of Don't Swallow Your Gum! Myths, Half-Truths, and Outright Lies ...


Do The Right Thing 20 Years Later

Friday, August 14, 2009


Spike Lee's 'Do The Right Thing' came out 20 years ago. Kai Wright, senior writer for The Root, and Dayo Olopade, political reporter for The Root, talk about the impact of the movie with Brian Lehrer.

Listen to the whole ...


Uh Oh! Babies May Be Smarter Than We Think

Thursday, August 13, 2009


Alison Gopnik, a professor of psychology and philosophy visited The Brian Lehrer Show today to talk about her new book The Philosophical Baby: What Children's Minds Tell Us About Truth, Love, and the Meaning of Life. She spoke with guest host Mike Pesca.

Listen to the whole interview:

Here's an excerpt from their conversation:

Mike Pesca: What’s interesting or significant about “uh oh”?

Alison Gopnik: It turns out that “uh oh” is one of the very first things that young children say which is sort of surprising. When you actually look carefully at how they use it, which is what I did when I was in graduate school, it turns out that they’re actually using 'uh oh' to talk about the fact that they’re trying to do something, that they have vision of the world and it's not working out. That’s a very abstract thing for very young babies to be talking about.

Pesca: Maybe it’s overstating it, but your premise is that babies are not only smarter than we thought they were, they may in some ways be smarter than we are. What do you think of that?

Gopnik: Babies and young children are really designed for learning. One of the puzzles about human beings is, why do we have this long period of childhood at all? Why are we immature for so long and dependent on our parents for so long?

One of the ideas that has come out of both evolution and psychology is that we have that protected period so that we can learn all the things that we need to learn before we actually have to put them into action. From that perspective, it makes sense that babies and young children would be the best learning machines in the universe. Then when you actually look at what they can do, especially work we’ve done in the last 10 years, it turns out that they can recognize statistics they can use probabilistic logic, they can do things that the best machine learning programs and scientists can do.

Pesca: Obvious question is, how do you know they can learn statistics? Maybe it's best to talk about the ping pong ball experiment you set up.

Gopnik: This was actually an experiment that my colleague Fei Xu set up. What she did was show babies a box full of mixed up ping pong balls, 80% of them white 20% of them red. Then she showed babies an experiment, either taking all white balls out of the box or all red balls out of the box.

If you’ve got a mixed-up box, both of those sequences are possible, but it's much more probable statistically that you’ll pick out all white balls for an 80% white box and all red balls. In fact, the babies were very surprised. They looked much longer when they saw the experimenter picking out the red balls from the mostly white box. That means that they must have been sensitive to this pretty abstract statistical fact about the sample that you can take from a population.


Neighborhood Stories

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Thomas Beller and Said Sayrafirzadeh visited The Brian Lehrer Show to discuss the new anthology Lost and Found: Stories from New York. Thomas Beller is the editor of the anthology and the author of three books, Seduction Theory, The Sleep-Over Artist, and How To Be a Man. Said Sayrafirzadeh is the author of When Skateboards Will Be Free: A Memoir of a Political Childhood and a contributor to Lost and Found. Guest host Mike Pesca conducted the interview.

Listen to the whole interview:

You can read Sayrafirzadeh's stories and hundreds more at Mr. Beller's Neighborhood


A Jordanian-American's First Feature Film

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Captain Abu Raed

Captain Abu Raed

'Captain Abu Raed,' the first film from Jordanian-American film maker Amin Matalqa, opens this week. The captain in question would like to have traveled around the world. But he's actually an airport janitor. Kids in his ...


Robert Stone on Nixon and Earth Day

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

In his new film "Earth Days," director Robert Stone examines the early days of the environmental movement -- from rustlings in the 1950s to the first Earth Day in 1970 through the intense activism that followed. Here is an excerpt of Stone’s interview with ...


Exercise Will Set You Free. Not!

Monday, August 10, 2009


Ask anyone the best way drop a few pounds and chances are you'll hear that if you exercise, you'll lose weight. But many adults who exercise at the gym or run or bike say their weight has remained the same year after year. A Time Magazine article says the basic problem is that while exercise burns calories, it can stimulate hunger. WNYC's Amy Eddings interviewed John Cloud who wrote the article.

Amy Eddings: First of all, you have got to be kidding me! No! For years we've been hearing that key to weight control was diet and exercise, diet and exercise, like peanut butter and jelly, together forever, one linked to the other -- and you're telling me now, no?

John Cloud: Right and let me just begin by saying exercise is not completely useless, in fact you want to exercise for all kinds of reasons for your heart health, for your mental health for your joints.

Eddings: But we want to get thin, John, we want to get taut.

Cloud: In terms of weight loss and exercise, there are a couple things going on. One study I quote at length in this story was a study with a group of women in Louisiana and Texas, 464 women who were recruited to exercise three to four times a week with a personal trainer. Their exercise was very carefully calibrated, their heart rates were measured. This was a serious exercise group. They were followed for six months. Their diets didn't change. In fact, they were told, 'Maintain your standard diet and everything'. They compared this group to a group of women who didn't exercise. All they did was fill out monthly forms detailing any medical symptoms they had.

At the end of the six months, they found that the women who exercised had lost no more weight than the women who all they did once a month was think about their health and their diets. They filled out these forms, which had the effect probably of causing them to eat a little bit less, so that they lost a little bit of weight, too.

The person who runs the study calls this phenomenon 'compensation.' Whether because you are hungrier or you reward yourself when you get home, you tend to eat more when you exercise a lot.

Eddings: If you rule out compensation. if people get honest with themselves and stop overeating after a hard work out, then does exercise help?

'In general, for weight loss, exercise is pretty useless,' Eric Ravussin, chair in diabetes and metabolism at Louisiana State University and a prominent exercise researcher.

Cloud: Sure, but we're not really built very well to do that. You know a lot of people have this up and down roller coaster thing with their weight. They'll either go on a diet or they'll adopt some exercise regimen. In the year 2000, these psychologists published a pretty well-known paper in psychology circles about self control. They observed in this paper that self control is like a muscle. If you go out and go running for an hour, it's going to be much harder to get back home and make decisions about anything really, but particularly about food. You've already done this great thing for yourself. That's just kind of how we're built psychologically.


Tell Brian Lehrer What to Read (and Listen to)

Thursday, August 06, 2009

What to read? WNYC's Brian Lehrer searches for a good book before his vacation.

What to read? WNYC\'s Brian Lehrer searches for a good book before his vacation.

Brian Lehrer is getting ready to leave for a two-week vacation and he's asking for your help. What should he read or listen to? What current fiction are you reading and what new music are you listening to? Let's turn to the 'Brian Lehrer Community' for book and music picks!

See staff picks here

Listen to the callers' picks here:

And here is a sampling of what some of Brian's commentors had to say as well as some suggestions from Brian's Facebook page:

John from Brooklyn August 06, 2009 - 10:38AM
I highly recommend Jessica Anthony's novel 'The Convalescent.' If you want a Geek Love meets Hungarian tribal history type of story, this is for you. I actually wish I hadn't finished just so I can keep reading.
Ashley Semrick DesRochers, Facebook
The album 'Disfarmer' by Bill Frisell. Tracks composed with inspiration from the depression era photographer Disfarmer... the result is stunning!

Rachelle August 06, 2009 - 11:33AM
Bill Callahan's new album, Sometimes I Wish We Were an Eagle, is AMAZING. Mellow but lovely. Perfect for a relaxing drive along the coast.
Emily Miller, Facebook
The Hour I First Believed--Wally Lamb--It is somewhat depressing, but you can get wrapped up in it. . .It's a nice long one for a two week vacation.
Helen from East Harlem August 06, 2009 - 11:36AM
The Woman Behind the New Deal: The Life of Frances Perkins, FDR'S Secretary of Labor and His Moral Conscience by Kristin Downey.
Very readable and engaging nonfiction book about the first woman Cabinet member.
Frances Perkins was FDR' Sect. of Labor who helped us get Social Security, the minimum wage, safe work places, the end of child labor, CCC, WPA, and so on!
Caitlin from Jersey City August 06, 2009 - 11:39AM
Aughh two whole Brianless weeks?!
Regina Spektor's new album is really great. Book: Liberation by Brian Francis Slattery - dystopian near-future hippy-novel-esque sci-fi.
Editor's Note: You can listen to an interview with Regina Spektor and hear her perform live on Soundcheck here

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Yo-Yo Champion Wows Brian Lehrer With 'Grind', 'Boing Boing'

Thursday, August 06, 2009

This weekend is the 3rd Annual Yo-Yo Open. The organizer of the event is yo-yo champion and former banker Pat Cuartero who stopped by the WNYC studios today to speak with host Brian Lehrer and ...


Nicholas Bakalar on The Medicine Cabinet of Curiosities

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Nicholas Bakalar, the "Vital Signs" columnist for The New York Times, reveals surprising things you never realized you want to know about your body and your health. The Medicine Cabinet of Curiosities is a collection ...


Robert Feldman on The Liar in Your Life

Monday, August 03, 2009

Psychology professor Robert Feldman, one of the world's leading authorities on deception, offers insights into how and why we lie, and how our culture has become increasingly tolerant of deception. In his new book, The ...


Matt Taibbi: Goldman Sachs and the Vampire Squid

Friday, July 31, 2009

Goldman Sachs posted records profits in the second quarter of this year. Matt Taibbi, political reporter for Rolling Stone argues in "The Great American Bubble Machine" that the investment bank has been involved in every ...


Walking Your Dog in NYC

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

You like dogs. You like New York. Why not merge the two together? Nadia Zonis, New York editor of UrbanHound and author of City Walks with Dogs: New York, talks about city adventures for dog lovers.



Gems Girls Tell Their Stories

Monday, July 27, 2009


It's good to have rules!

Your body is a temple




Hygienist Monona Rossol on Swimming Pools

Friday, July 17, 2009

According to the Centers for Disease Control, bacterial, viral, and parasitic organisms found in recreational water in the United States sicken thousands of people every year, and even result in deaths. Leonard Lopate speaks with chemist and industrial hygienist Monona Rossol about the protozoa, ...


How $20 a Gallon Gas Will Save Pittsburgh

Thursday, July 09, 2009

How high do gas prices have to go before local produce becomes competitive with apples imported from New Zeland? Christopher Steiner, senior staff reporter at Forbes Magazine and the author of $20 PER GALLON: How the Inevitable Rise in the Price of Gasoline Will ...