Please Explain

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

The Science of Studying Eruptions

Friday, January 09, 2015

More than 50 people died at a recent volcanic eruption in Japan. Iceland continues to experience its largest volcanic event in centuries. How do we predict which spot will pop next?

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How Do We Keep the Resolutions We Make? Harness The Power of Habits.

Friday, January 02, 2015

In time for New Years resolution-making (and keeping), Charles Duhigg will explain habits, why we form them, and how we can break them.

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It Don't Mean A Thing If It Ain't Got That Swing

Friday, December 19, 2014

Grammy-winning bandleader Vince Giordano and trumpeter, vocalist, and composer Bria Skonberg join us for Please Explain: swing music!

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How do Grand Juries, and Trial Juries, Influence Our Criminal Justice System?

Friday, December 12, 2014

On this week's Please Explain, we dig into the history of grand juries and trial juries, and ask if the structure of the jury system influences court cases. 

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From Louis XIV To St. Petersburg To Lincoln Center: The History of Ballet

Friday, December 05, 2014

In this week's Please Explain, we learn about the history of ballet with the Director of the Center for Ballet and the Arts at NYU and the Artistic Director at ABT.

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How the Best Minds In The Field Search for Life in Outer Space

Friday, November 21, 2014

An MIT Professor and the Director of the Center for SETI Research, tell us all about how astronomers look for extraterrestrial life and other planets like earth in the universe. 

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Will The Internet Remain Accessible to All?

Friday, November 14, 2014

On this week's Please Explain, we explore the politics and policy behind Net Neutrality, and what it means for the future of the internet. 

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Digging Up Ancient Artifacts, Human Remains, Lost Civilizations

Friday, November 07, 2014

For this week’s Please Explain we'll find out about the field of archaeology.

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The History of Medical Quarantines, and What That Could Mean For Americans Today

Friday, October 31, 2014

On this week's Please Explain, we are talking about the history of and medical and legal guidelines for quarantines.

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Why Do Kids Sext and Is It a Crime?

Friday, October 24, 2014

For this week's Please Explain, Atlantic editor Hanna Rosin discusses teen sexting, the pervasive trend of sending naked pictures of themselves and their peers on their cell phones.

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Where Does the Word Ketchup Come From? And Other Questions on the Language of Food

Friday, October 17, 2014

For this week’s Please Explain, linguist Dan Jurafsky tells us about the language of food—from the origins of ketchup to the words we use to describe food.

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Many Varieties of Seeds Are Becoming Extinct. Meet Two People Who Are Bringing Them Back.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Decades ago, as agriculture became centralized, seeds were selected for yield, and many varieties nearly went extinct.

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How to Be a Restaurant Reviewer

Friday, October 03, 2014

Pete Wells, New York Times restaurant critic, and Sam Sifton, the New York Times food editor and former restaurant reviewer, explain the ins and outs of being a restaurant critic.

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Mercury Rising: Which Fish - and How Much - Is Safe to Eat

Friday, September 26, 2014

Eating too much fish could mean consuming too much mercury. On this week's Please Explain, an experts from Consumer Reports tell us which fish is safest, which to avoid.

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Nose-to-Tail Eating

Friday, September 19, 2014

Find out the philosophy behind using the whole animal and how to prepare organ meats, pig's feet, tongue and more.

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How Healthy is a Raw Food Diet?

Friday, September 12, 2014

It's a popular trend in the United States, but there's evidence that the health benefits of many foods can only be unlocked when they're cooked.

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Rice in Culture and Cuisine Around the World

Friday, September 05, 2014

This week's Please Explain is all about rice—from arborio to wehai—how it's grown, prepared, and it's place in culture and cuisine around the globe.

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Alawites to Yazidis: A Guide to Religious Communities in the Middle East

Friday, August 22, 2014

This week's Please Explain is about religious communities in the Middle East—Shia, Sunni, Alawite, Yazidi, and more—and their political conflicts and power struggles.

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How Highways Changed America

Friday, August 15, 2014

Find out how the U.S. highway system was created and how it changed the country by connecting small towns and cities from coast to coast.

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How to Contain and Control the Ebola Outbreak

Friday, August 08, 2014

West Africa is in the midst of the largest Ebola outbreak ever recorded. For this week's Please Explain, an infectious disease expert talks about where it comes from, how it spreads, and how it can be contained.

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