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, April 04, 2008
Get out your tissues - Please Explain
is all about crying. What are tears made of? How did crying evolve? Is it a uniquely human phenomenon? Does it have health benefits? Vassar psychology professor Randy Cornelius
has been developing an evolutionary theory of weeping that focuses on tears. Tom Lutz
Friday, March 28, 2008
We look into how children play games of make believe, and whether kids’ imaginations have changed along with trends in technology and education. Dr. Susan Linn
is Associate Director of the Media Center of the Judge Baker Children's Center, Instructor in Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, and the author of ...
Friday, March 21, 2008
NPR says that its mission is to present "fair, accurate and comprehensive information and selected cultural expressions for the benefit of, and at the service of our democracy." That's easier said than done.
Find out how NPR shapes its news and political coverage, who makes judgment calls on a daily ...
Friday, March 07, 2008
Parkways are a kind of road common in the New York City area, but more rare in the rest of the USA. Find out what parkways are, and how they fit in to the American transportation system. Dr. Timothy Davis
is Lead Historian for Park Historic Structures & Cultural Landscapes ...
Friday, February 29, 2008
"Carbon footprint" has become a catchphrase in the last year or two. We find out just what a carbon footprint is, how it’s calculated, and how much it matters. Mark Z. Jacobson
is Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Stanford University and Catherine S. Norman
Friday, February 22, 2008
We look into the fascinating lives of ants. For example: some ant species can form floating rafts in order to survive floods. Another species, weaver ants, build nests in trees by sewing leaves together.
Brian L. Fisher is the Chairman of Entomology at the California Academy of Sciences and creator ...
Friday, February 15, 2008
Roger Clemens's Congressional testimony has put pro athletes' steroid use on center stage. On Please Explain
, find out what exactly steroids and human growth hormones are, how they affect the body, and why they can be so dangerous.
Leonard speaks with Dr. Timothy Hewett of The Sports Medicine Biodynamics Center ...
Friday, February 08, 2008
Friday, February 01, 2008
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (aka Mormonism) is the fastest-growing religion in the world. On Please Explain, find out about the basic tenants of the Mormon faith...and how the church's history has influenced its culture. Also: how the recent death of church president Gordon B. Hinckley ...
Friday, January 25, 2008
Stock markets around the world seem to be going haywire in recent weeks. We find out how global stock markets work, and why they’re so interconnected. John Authers
is the Investment Editor for the Financial Times
; David Weidner
is Senior Columnist for Marketwatch
Weigh in: Do ...
Friday, January 18, 2008
This year’s batch of presidential hopefuls are fighting over delegates as much as they’re fighting over voters. On Please Explain
, find out who the delegates are, how the system works, and what superdelegates are.
Stephen Wayne is Professor of Government at Georgetown University and author of The Road to ...
Friday, January 11, 2008
The first coins were invented in the seventh century BC! Please Explain
looks into the history of money...from the earliest lumps of metal, to modern-day virtual money. Numismatist Douglas Mudd
is the curator of The American Numismatic Association's Money Museum and author of All the Money in the World
Friday, January 04, 2008
What actually is anger? And what does it do to you and to others? On this week’s Please Explain
, Dr. William Gerin
, of the Behavorial Cardiovascular Health and Hypertension Program at Columbia Universtiy School of Medicine, and Dr. Emil F. Coccaro
, Chairman of the Department of Psychiatry at the University ...
Friday, December 28, 2007
What makes champagne different from other sparkling wines? Find out how the good stuff is made, and how to get the best sparkling wine at the price you can afford. Michael Aaron
is the chairman of Sherry-Lehmann, the 73 year-old Park Avenue wine and spirits shop. Karen Page
is co-author ...
Friday, December 21, 2007
We find out about the physics and chemistry of snow and what conditions we’ll need to have it with Dr. Kenneth Libbrecht, a professor of Physics at Caltech.
Friday, December 14, 2007
When you see a blue flower, do you see the same blue flower that I do? When you feel cold is it the same sensation I feel? On Please Explain we look at the biology of consciousness...and what brain science reveals about who we are and how we experience the ...
Friday, November 30, 2007
58,000 gallons of oil were recently spilled in the San Francisco Bay…and much of it will never
be cleaned up. On today’s Please Explain
: how oil spills harm the environment, and why they’re so hard to clean up.
Christopher M. Reddy is a scientist with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. ...
Friday, November 16, 2007
Research shows that the average adult laughs six to eight times a day... whereas the average child laughs around four hundred
times each day. Today’s Please Explain
is all about laughter. Dr. Robert Provine
of the Neuroscience Program at the University of Maryland Baltimore County is author of the book ...
Friday, November 09, 2007
Can’t sleep? Find out why on today’s Please Explain
…and whether there’s anything you can do about it, from drinking warm milk to popping sleeping pills. Dr. Ana Krieger
is the Director of the NYU Sleep Disorders Center. Dr. Carl Bazil
is Director of Neurological Division at the Columbia University Comprehensive ...