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, October 02, 2015
In our latest Please Explain, 'New Yorker' staff writer John Seabrook unravels how to make musical hits, the business behind them, and what they do to our brains.
Friday, September 25, 2015
Americans complaining of "Won Ton Soup Headaches" in the late 1960s gave MSG a bad reputation. But this controversial ingredient can be useful – and delicious – in the kitchen.
Thursday, September 17, 2015
Fashion expert, G. Bruce Boyer catalogs the essentials of an ideal male wardrobe, dispels myths of what men should never wear, and clarifies when to wear what in his latest book.
Friday, August 28, 2015
Our efforts to exterminate these creatures has developed into chemical warfare, but roaches’ basic design has persisted unchanged for millions of years.
Friday, August 21, 2015
We'll take a guided tour of New York's bird life, neighborhood by neighborhood.
Friday, August 14, 2015
Octopuses are extremely complex creatures. Sy Montgomery has devoted herself to figuring them out: how they learn, how they solve problems — and how they love.
Friday, August 07, 2015
Native tribes lived in the Four Corners region in the American Southwest for millennia. And then: they moved.
Friday, July 31, 2015
As more studies highlight the environmental impact of meat, some scientists and entrepreneurs are rethinking meat as we know it.
Friday, July 24, 2015
There are many rules that govern what is and isn't halal or kosher. Luckily we know a few experts - including a "doctor of pastrami" - who can show us the ropes.
Friday, July 17, 2015
Predating the fork and spoon, the earliest knives were used as weapons. But as our culture developed over the centuries, so did the ways we use our knives.
Friday, July 10, 2015
The arrival of the humble espresso radically changed the way people consume caffeine across the world, and on today's Please Explain, we learn all about it.
Thursday, July 02, 2015
With the 4th of July around the corner, we’ll take a look at the history of fireworks, and what kinds of chemical reactions create those amazing colors and shapes.
Friday, June 26, 2015
Mussels, clams, oysters, and scallops are all bivalves with much more to them than just being delicious. We explore their ecosystems, how to farm them, and how to prepare them.
Friday, June 19, 2015
One of New York's best Ramen chefs shares his secrets, and we learn about the surprising history of the food.
Friday, June 12, 2015
For today's Please Explain, we’ll talk cooking with fats and oils. Picking the right cooking oil is crucial when cooking, from pie crusts, to roasting, to sauteing, to cooking a steak.
Friday, June 05, 2015
The hamburger used to be the symbol of fast food, and all the ills associated with it. But as the movement for fresh, organic, locally sourced food rose, so did the lowly hamburger.
Friday, May 29, 2015
Office supplies. Cluttered around your desk, they seem not only indispensable, but universal. But a hidden story lies behind the sticky note, the stapler, and the paper clip.
Friday, May 15, 2015
Cults have been around for thousands of years, but it always seems like they're springing up out of nowhere. What are they? Why do people join? And how do they escape?
Friday, May 08, 2015
Evolution is commonly seen as a process that happens in the wild, far away from human involvement. But humans and animals have evolved alongside each other for ages.
Friday, April 24, 2015
Please Explain this week is all about birds: how human activity is driving several species to extinction, and what some people are doing to try and change that.