Beginning this month we're replacing our rotating one hour specials with the show that made science fun, Radiolab, Saturday afternoons at 3pm. The popular story-telling program, The Moth Radio Hour, another show that aired at this time, will now be heard on Friday nights at 7pm. We're pleased to offer both of these shows as a regular part of our weekend line up. Some of the other specials you enjoyed on Saturday afternoons will still be heard from time to time on the Ideas Network.
For more information about these and other WPR program changes view details here.
The Saturday Special
Radiolab is an investigation. Each program is a patchwork of people, sounds, stories, and experiences centered around One Big Idea. On Radiolab, science bumps into culture and information sounds like music.
Our world is saturated in color, from the softest hues to the most lurid, violent stains. But it's hard to put your finger on how something so intangible can have such a visceral punch.
What happens at the moment when we slip from life...to the other side? Is it a moment? If it is, when exactly does it happen? And what happens afterward?
Stochasticity (a wonderfully slippery and smarty-pants word for randomness), may be at the very foundation of our lives.
Chimps. Bonobos. Humans. We're all great apes, but that doesn't mean we're one happy family. Stories of trying to live together.
Strange stories of brains that lead their owners astray,knock them off balance, and, sometimes, propel them to do amazing things.
We dive into the messy mystery in the middle of us. What's going on down there?
The walls are closing in, you've got no way out...and then, suddenly, you escape! Stories about traps, getaways, perpetual cycles, and staggering breakthroughs.
Cruelty, violence, badness... In this episode, we wrestle with the dark side of human nature, and ask whether it's something we can ever really understand, or fully escape.
The greatest mysteries all have a shadowy figure at the center -someone who sets things in motion and holds the key to how the rest of the story unfolds. In epidemiology, this central character is known as Patient Zero-the case at the heart of an outbreak. This hour, Radiolab hunts for Patient Zeroes from all over the map-from the origins of a blues legend, to the history of the high five, to a race to halt the spread of a deadly disease.
So much of life is organized by cycles-seasons, biological rhythms, even our ideas of consciousness. In this episode, Radiolab looks at some of the surprising ways that loops steer our lives, and asks what happens when we disturb them.
A good game, whether it's a pro football playoff, or a family showdown on the kitchen table, can make you feel, at least for a little while, like your whole life hangs in the balance. This hour of Radiolab, Jad and Robert wonder why we get so invested in something so trivial.
March 17 - April 14, 2012
Freakonomics and SuperFreakonomics, by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner, are groundbreaking books that explore "the hidden side of everything." SuperFreakonomics explores what the hidden side of everything sounds like. Prepare to be enlightened, engaged, perhaps enraged and definitely surprised.
A recent Harvard survey found that half of all Americans, if faced with an emergency, couldn't come up with $2,000 in 30 days. We have a famously low savings rate. Most people would rather spend than save -- and one of our favorite expenditures is playing the lottery. Last year, we spent more than $58 billion on lottery tickets, or roughly $200 per person. As entertainment goes, the lottery is pretty cheap -- a dollar and a dream, and all that. But as an investment, it offers a dreadful return, which is why the lottery is sometimes called "a tax on stupid people."
We look at the tension between "slow food" - a return to the past - and the food future. You'll hear from slow-food champion Alice Waters and uber-modernist Nathan Myhrvold, who advocates bringing more science into the kitchen - including, perhaps, a centrifuge, a pharmaceutical freeze drier and a... food printer?
Also in this episode: we delve into the social mores of Twitter. Is it a two-way street? Do you have to follow someone on Twitter to garner a large following yourself? Or are the mores of digital friendship different from those in real life? Twitter is a tool that has created a funny kind of friendship -- one that's less social than most people think. We'll hear about the Twitter give-and-take from sociologist Duncan Watts. Also, Justin Halpern parleyed his hit Twitter feed "Sh*t My Dad Says" into a best-selling book and a TV show; we learn about the one guy he follows. And Steve Levitt weighs in on just how important (or not) Twitter is in his life.
In this Freakonomics Radio episode we ask a simple, heretical question: How much does the President of the United States really matter? Stephen Dubner talks to former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, economists Austan Goolsbee and Justin Wolfers, and constitutional scholar Bernadette Meyler about how the President's actual influence can be measured; and Steve Levitt weighs in on how he thinks the President shapes the nation, and whether he'll be voting in the next election.
Also in this episode, we look at another supposed truism: hitchhiking is terribly dangerous. True? The fact is that hitchhiking has practically disappeared in America. But why? Was it really as dangerous as we believed? Even if so, what other factors were at play? Among our guests are data wizard Bill James, who says our risk aversion to hitchhiking makes it more dangerous, and transportation scholar Alan Pisarski, who looks at how hitchhiking can inform future transportation policy. Would our society be better off with more hitchhiking?
Is booing an act of verbal vandalism -- or the last true expression of democracy? In this episode of Freakonomics Radio, hear how Philadelphia sports fans earned their reputation as the loudest boo-birds, and to what extent culture -- high or low -- plays a role. Guests include former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell, who admits to booing Santa Claus; and sportswriter/opera buff Robert Lipsyte, who was surprised that more people didn't boo Pavarotti when he "parked and barked" his way through a performance.
Also in this episode, we'll look at "conspicuous conservation" -- when people go out of their way to engage in "green" activities. It turns out that driving a Prius may do a little bit of good for the planet ?- but being seen driving a Prius may do a lot of good (for you, at least). Also: why some people install solar panels on the shady side of the street.
February 11 - 25, 2012
Celebrating Black History Month
Black History Month is a remembrance of important people and events in the history of the African American people. This month, WPR offers a special program from poet Maya Angelou, and a two-part series from The Tavis Smiley Show.
In the second hour, we hear from the legendary actress Ruby Dee, Clarence Jones, Xernona Clayton, Dr. Gardner C. Taylor, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Rev. Amos Brown, journalist Earl Caldwell, Marian Wright Edelman, Taylor Rogers, and Rev. C.T. Vivian.
Celebrating the courage, conviction, and commitment of the everyday people who made extraordinary contributions to American social progress, Memories of the Movement features poignant, humorous, unheard or little known stories from a number of well-known civil rights icons.
The first hour features stories from Dr. Freeman Hrabowski, Danny Glover, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr., Dr. Raye Richardson, activist Yuri Kochiyama, Congressman John Lewis, Dorothy Tillman, Rev. Robert Graetz, Harry Belafonte, Andrew Young, Elizabeth Eckford and Jefferson Thomas of the Little Rock Nine, and comedian Dick Gregory.
January 7 - February 4, 2012
The Moth Radio Hour
When was the last time somebody told you a really good story?
The Moth Radio Hour is old-fashioned storytelling on modern topics. Each episode presents a selection of the very best stories from The Moth, which has been staging live storytelling shows since 1997. The Moth Radio Hour features true stories told live on-stage without scripts, notes, props, or accompaniment. The Moth Radio Hour features most beloved tales and the stories behind the stories. The radio series debuted in 2009 and is now airing on more than 200 stations nationwide.
Some of the very things you love about The Moth - that it's smart, provocative radio that addresses some difficult topics - is why it's not always appropriate for all audiences.
A young woman is told to keep her heritage a secret...by her mother; a reckless partier gets shipwrecked and has to sober up enough to save the day; and an author contends with her unsupportive mother on her deathbed. Hosted by The Moth's Producing Director, Sarah Austin Jenness.
Christian McBride, a jazz bassist, is put to the test by his idol, Freddie Hubbard; a down and out comic considers ending it all until the universe sends him an unlikely sign; and New York writer Adam Gopnik details his daughter's cosmopolitan imaginary friend. Hosted by The Moth's Artistic Director, Catherine Burns.
A high school quarterback leaves Montana as a promising son and returns years later to reveal a shocking secret; a boy from Sierra Leone describes his transformation from innocent child to cold-hearted soldier; a teenage girl discovers how to control her errant parrot; and a construction worker discovers the up-side of his girlfriend's one-year prison sentence. Hosted by The Moth's Senior Producer, Jenifer Hixson.
A hiker is pinned underneath a refrigerator-sized boulder deep in the wilderness, a speechwriter describes his most challenging assignment ("Make Al Gore funny"&41;, and a young art student battles her demons in the pursuit of love. Hosted by the founder of The Moth, George Dawes Green.
December 31 - "The Capitol Steps: Politics Takes a Holiday"
Ring in the New Year with the Capitol Steps "Politics Takes a Holiday."
December 24 - "Tinsel Tales 2"
NPR fills millions of homes each holiday with humor, warmth, and a host of festive voices. Continuing with the tradition of the first Tinsel Tales program, this is another collection of the best and most requested holiday stories. Joy, hope, and childhood memories overflow as NPR voices, past and present, tell stories of the season. Hosted by Lynn Neary.
Christmas is a time of traditions, and over the years, NPR has created a few traditions of its own. In this hour-long special, wistfulness, joy, doubt, hope, all the emotions we feel at this time of year, all summoned up in memorable stories from the NPR broadcast archives.
The accordion is about much more than the Polka. It's one of the first global instruments. Played all over the world everywhere from Italy to China, a look at what's behind the surprisingly wide appeal of this ultimate people's instrument.
When you sit down at your holiday table, thank a bee. A third of the food on your plate is made possible by these pollinators, whose numbers are being decimated by disease and colony collapse disorder. But the bees have a champion in Marla Spivak, a University of Minnesota researcher and MacArthur "Genius" who thinks like a bee. Her intuitive approach - combined with scientific method - has given the world tremendous insight into these fascinating insects. Marla will show host Majora Carter (no newbie herself - Majora is an urban beekeeper) the secrets she's beginning to uncover about the lives of bees, and how bees can help we humans to be more resilient and to build healthier communities.
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