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 Human Threats to The Livelihood of Birds

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.

Comments [14]

Neil deGrasse Tyson Gives Dark Matter a New Name: 'Fred'

Friday, April 17, 2015

The astrophysicist and host of National Geographic Channel's 'StarTalk' answers questions about the cosmos, like "Does a black hole look like a black hole?"  

Comments [28]

The Sweet Adelines and The Lustre Quartet Explain The Barbershop Quartet!

Friday, April 10, 2015

Members of The Sweet Adelines and the Lustre Quartet join us for this week's Please Explain, which is all about barbershop quartets! 

Comments [12]

Protecting Frogs from Extinction

Friday, April 03, 2015

In 2009, a frog was discovered in a rain forest in Ecuador that changed its skin texture from smooth to spiky, and in 2014, a new species of frog was found in Staten Island. 

Comments [5]

Pesticides, Produce, and Your Health

Friday, March 27, 2015

This week's Please Explain is all about the pesticides used in agriculture, their health effects, and whether buying organic matters.

Comments [27]

A Baby Plant in a Box... With its Lunch

Friday, March 20, 2015

Today, seed plants make up about 90 percent of the world's flora. But that wasn't always the case.

Comments [7]

From Sideshow to the Big Top: The History of the Circus

Friday, March 13, 2015

Daily life once ground to a halt when the circus rolled into town. Banks closed, schools canceled classes, and factories shut down so that everyone could go to the show.

Comments [6]

So Close to Humans, So Far Extinct

Friday, February 27, 2015

Around 60,000 years ago, humans migrated out of Africa. But, they were not alone. Neanderthals play an important role in the story of human evolution.

Comments [14]

The Touch, The Feel, The Worldwide Domination, of Cotton

Friday, February 20, 2015

The story of cotton is tied to the story of modern capitalism, a constant global struggle between slaves and planters, merchants and statesmen, workers and factory owners.

Comments [7]

From 'The Scarlet Letter' to YouTube: Shame Isn't Going Anywhere

Friday, February 13, 2015

As Valentine's Day is right around the corner, this week's Please Explain segment is all about a common, but perhaps unfortunate feeling that can creep in around this time: shame.

Comments [7]

Expect 1-3 Feet of Snow... Or Maybe 4 Inches. Predicting Blizzards.

Friday, January 30, 2015

We can land a spacecraft on the frigid surface of a comet, but why can't we accurately predict snowfall? 

Comments [7]

What the Future Has in Store for Your Brain

Friday, January 23, 2015

For this week's Please Explain, guest host Manoush Zomorodi heads to the frontiers of neuroscience.

Comments [19]

Inside The Mind Of An Actor

Friday, January 16, 2015

For this week's Please Explain, we learn about a discipline very close to Martha Plimpton's heart: acting! 

Comments [14]

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?

Comments [9]

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.

Comments [7]

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!

Comments [10]

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. 

Comments [14]

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.

Comments [6]

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. 

Comments [11]

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. 

Comments [15]