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People on an island

What If Richard Dawkins Had It All Wrong?
February 24, 2017

Forty years ago Richard Dawkins wrote the landmark book “The Selfish Gene,” where he argued that the gene is what drives evolution. But what if he got it all wrong?

RR cafe sign

Story Worlds
February 19, 2017

In this show, we explore storyworlds — the fictional universes that continue to enchant us.  Like the ghostly supernatural realm in which Abe Lincoln’s dead son, Willie, finds himself and the surreal Pacific Northwest town of Twin Peaks, the home of some damn fine coffee....

Apple on the tree of knowledge

Original Sin
February 05, 2017

A garden, a tree, an apple and a serpent. The story of Adam and Eve is as old as sin. But it’s a lot more than a Bible story.

Satellite image of Europe

A Borderless World
January 29, 2017

There are nearly 250 million migrants across the world right now. Some will be escaping war or oppression, others will be seeking out freedom or economic prosperity, but whatever the reason, the kind of life they're looking for lies across a border that's policed and restricted. What if it didn'...

on stage

Hell is Other People
January 22, 2017

How do you cope with unpleasant people? We consider the adage “hell is other people.”

running is pointless

The Art of Criticism: Mark Greif on Why He’s “Against Everything”
January 19, 2017

Every generation has one or two critics with an unparalleled ability to capture the cultural moment they’re living in. Now, that critic may be Mark Greif. He’s one of the founders of the literary magazine n+1, who’s just come out with a new essay collection, “Against Everything.” In this...

Machines

Artificial Creativity
January 15, 2017

Computer scientists are closing in on the next frontier in artificial intelligence — machines that can create. Make art. Write stories. Compose music. The dream is to open the door to a whole new kind of creativity. But don’t throw away your paintbrush yet—in this hour, we explore the dream and...

Chicago skyline

Putting Music to the City of Broad Shoulders
January 12, 2017

Charles Monroe-Kane talks to David Nagler about adapting Carl Sandburg's poems to music. 

Playing football

Man Up
January 08, 2017

Be strong, be tough, don’t cry – boys are bombarded with messages about being a man and the “male code” their whole lives. It's second nature, and also toxic. 

TTBOOK

Best of 2016
December 18, 2016

It's December and time again for the annual media ritual — the best of list. We're sharing the best of the best of To the Best of Our Knowledge. 2016, the year in interviews.

Shirley Jackson

Shirley Jackson
December 11, 2016

On the centennial of Shirley Jackson's birth, we explore the great literary work that she left for us -- the stories and novels that continue to resonate in our culture.

Freeman Dyson, as illustrated by Julia Breckenreid.

Freeman Dyson, Sage of Science
December 08, 2016

You get the sense that Freeman Dyson has seen everything. He's a legendary physicist who's had a front row seat on scientific breakthroughs for the past century. 

home

Making A Home
December 04, 2016

Anyone who’s moved knows how difficult it can be to settle into a new place. Whether it’s another country or an apartment just down the block, it takes time and work to get comfortable. We’re living through a period of mass human migration, with people on the move all over the planet. This hour...


Getting Jazzed
November 27, 2016

There's a new kind of music packing nightclubs with young fans. It's jazz - but not the sound of your grandparents' supper club. Infused with hip hop and other popular musical forms, jazz is being remade. We talk with some of today's biggest and most innovative jazz stars, including Esperanza Spalding and Vijay Iyer, and explore the magic of improvisation.


Hip Hop Future
November 20, 2016

Hip hop created a sound that changed music, art, fashion, and politics. What's next? Diplomacy? Journalism? Education? Philosophy? The hip hop future.


Your Attention Please
November 13, 2016

You live in an attention economy. From the moment, you wake up until the tile you go to bed, you're bombarded. By viral videos, news alerts, things trending on Facebook and exploding on the Internet. And that doesn't even include the endless onslaught of ads. How does it feel to know that the commodity everyone wants is inside your skull?  This hour, we focus our attention -- on attention. 

Polling place

Election 2.0
October 30, 2016

Americans head to the polls amid mounting political rhetoric, from both sides, about vote rigging and voter supression. Maybe it's time to rethink the way we do elections. 

Typewriter

Telling A Life
October 23, 2016

Psychologists say telling a good life story can make you happier. But do we also create an inauthentic version of ourselves if we turn everything into a narrative?

Frog statue unzipping a city

Time Travel
October 09, 2016

Time plays such a big part in our lives, it's no wonder we're fascinated by the idea of escaping it. And what better way to escape it that to travel back into the past or forward into the future? This hour, we explore our obsession with time travel. Why is such a recurring them in movies and TV...

Actress with long tongue

Yuck
August 28, 2016

We delve into the new science of revulsion.

Candles

Mind of a Terrorist
March 12, 2017

When suicide bombers blow up crowded marketplaces, or a lone shooter attacks a nightclub, one question we’re always left with is why. What ideology or belief or loyalty would compel someone to do something so horrific? This hour, a look at the underlying psychology of political violence.

Cracked pair of glasses

Bullies
July 03, 2016

Have you ever thought about tracking down someone who bullied you when you were a child? Allen Kurzweil thought about it and actually confronted him. We'll hear his story in this hour as we explore the bullying epidemic. Also, we'll find out how the Internet has transformed bullying into a...

airport protest

Do Protests Still Matter?
June 26, 2016

When you don't have a voice, when you feel like lawmakers just won't listen to you, protest is one way of capturing the world's attention. But does it work? 


Get Happy
January 11, 2016

Can science tell you how to "get happy?"  This hour,  the psychology and history behind the very idea of happiness. 

ce matin, un lapin in middle school

Awkward
December 20, 2015

When was the last time you said something so mortifying that all you wanted to do was crawl under a rock and hide? From teenage angst to cringe comedy, we're setting aside the shame and reveling in all things awkward.

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