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.
Psychologist Paul Bloom and Leslie Jamison, author of The Empathy Exams, explain empathy's role in human psychology, behavior, and relationships—and they look at some of the downsides of empathy.
On this week's Please Explain, we'll find out what goes on inside our brains as we sleep.
Insomnia, snoring, restless leg syndrome, sleepwalking. A lot of things can prevent us from getting good sleep. Find out what causes sleep disturbances — and how to treat them.
More than 40 million Americans have arthritis, and it's the leading cause of disability for people who are 65 and older. Almost everyone over 70 has some form of arthritis, but it can affect much younger people too. Dr. Clark Smith, an Assistant Clinical Professor of Rehabilitation and Regenerative Medicine at Columbia University Medical Center, explains what causes arthritis and how to treat it.
Medical marijuana is legal in 20 states, and is used to treat symptoms of multiple sclerosis, AIDS, side effects of chemotherapy, as well as pain, glaucoma, epilepsy, insomnia, and anxiety. Dr. Igor Grant, Distinguished Professor and Executive Vice-Chair of the Department of Psychiatry at UCSD School of Medicine and Director of the UC Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research, tells us about his research into the possible utility of cannabis compounds in the amelioration of certain severe manifestations of disease. And Jim Rendon, author of Supercharged: How Outlaws, Hippies, and Scientists Reinvented Marijuana, talks about the changing attitudes toward marijuana and how the increasing acceptance of medical marijuana is changing the legal and commercial landscape.
During the last ice age, glaciers covered the entire northern part of our continent, shaping mountains and carving valleys. Today, most of the earth's glaciers are found in Antarctica and Greenland, but there are glaciers on every continent, including Africa, most commonly above the snow line. Tim Creyts, a glaciologist with the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Earth Institute, Columbia University, explains what glaciers are, how they move and sculpt the landscape, and how climate change is affecting glaciers around the world.
Research shows that sitting for more than 2 hours a day is directly linked to health problems, and people who sit all day don't live as long. So how about a program of chairlessness?
"We are in trances – every single one of us – every single day."
A recent long-term study questioning the benefits of annual mammograms for older women. This week’s Please Explain is about breast cancer. Dr. Larry Norton, Deputy Physician-in-Chief for Breast Cancer Programs at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, describes how the disease is detected and the ways it can be treated.
This week’s Please Explain is all about genius. Dean Keith Simonton, professor of psychology at the University of California, Davis, talks about what exceptional intelligence is and how it can influence creativity, leadership and achievement. And we’ll find out how genius and intelligence are measured.
Container shipping began 50 years ago and developed into a huge industry that has made the boom in global trade possible. Marc Levinson, author of The Box: How the Shipping Container Made the World Smaller and the World Economy Bigger, tells us how cargo moves around the works, and looks at the sweeping economic consequences containerization brought about.
John Bradshaw, director of the University of Bristol’s Anthrozoology Institute, and author of Cat Sense: How the New Feline Science Can Make You a Better Friend to Your Pet, tells us all about cats—from how they were first domesticated to how they hunt to how they show affection. He offers new insights about the domestic cat that challenge many of our most basic assumptions about our feline companions.
This week's Please Explain is all about dogs. We'll find out the evolutionary roots of domestic dogs, what it means when your dog wags its tail, and why some breeds are easier to train than others. Veterinarian Dr. John Ciribassi, who was one of the editors of Decoding Your Dog, and pet expert and journalist Steve Dale, who contributed to the book, take your calls and questions about man's best friend.
Find out how apps are created and get recommendations for must-haves — tools that can help find parking, find a ride, track calories, and more.
From cleaning out closets and clearing clutter to the tangle of wires behind your television and stereo, Maxwell Ryan, CEO and founder of Apartment Therapy, gives advice and answers questions about how to get organized for the new year. Now you have no excuse!
On this week’s Please Explain, Marion Nestle, author of Eat, Drink Vote: An Illustrated Guide to Food Politics; Food Politics: How the Food Industry Influences Nutrition and Health; What to Eat, among other books, talks about the politics of food.
The devotion to coffee verges on a religion for many people. Here's why.
All living things need to eat, but only humans cook...and how we cook has evolved and grown more sophisticated since our earliest days. We have nonstick skillets, automatic espresso machines, digital meat thermometers, and high-speed blenders. But in our earliest days, we didn't even have pots to cook in. On this week’s Please Explain, Bee Wilson, author of Consider the Fork: A History of How We Cook and Eat, tells us all about the history of our cooking tools—when and how they were invented and how they’ve changed the foods we make.