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Leonard Lopate - Please Explain

Arts & Culture Podcasts

Every week, Leonard Lopate and a guest get to the bottom of one complex issue that you’ve always wanted to know about. History, science, politics, pop culture, cats or anything that needs some explanation. WNYC Studios is the producer of other leading podcasts including Radiolab, Death, Sex & Money, Freakonomics Radio and many others. Find these and more great shows at wnyc.org © WNYC

Every week, Leonard Lopate and a guest get to the bottom of one complex issue that you’ve always wanted to know about. History, science, politics, pop culture, cats or anything that needs some explanation. WNYC Studios is the producer of other leading podcasts including Radiolab, Death, Sex & Money, Freakonomics Radio and many others. Find these and more great shows at wnyc.org © WNYC


Ithaca, NY


Every week, Leonard Lopate and a guest get to the bottom of one complex issue that you’ve always wanted to know about. History, science, politics, pop culture, cats or anything that needs some explanation. WNYC Studios is the producer of other leading podcasts including Radiolab, Death, Sex & Money, Freakonomics Radio and many others. Find these and more great shows at wnyc.org © WNYC




WNYC Radio 160 Varick St. New York, NY 10013 212-433-9692


How To Sniff Like A Dog

For this week’s Please Explain, we’re following dogs as they sniff their way through the world with their incredible sense of smell. Alexandra Horowitz, who teaches canine cognition and creative nonfiction at Barnard College and runs the Horowitz Dog Cognition Lab, explores the abilities of a dog’s nose, how it’s evolved, how it’s being put to use and how we can improve our own sense of smell. Her latest book is Being a Dog: Following the Dog Into a World of Smell. Note: Jonathan Capehart...


What's Your Cat Really Thinking?

How did cats get domesticated? Why are they so popular on the internet? Are they good or evil? If you have wanted to know the answers to these questions, and more, tune in to our latest Please Explain, which is all about cats. We're joined by Abigail Tucker, correspondent for Smithsonian Magazine, and author of The Lion in the Living Room: How House Cats Tamed Us and Took Over the World.


We Get Fired Up Over Peppers

There are over 200 varieties of peppers, ranging from shishitos to habaneros. For our latest Please Explain, we dig into the world (and health benefits) of peppers with three-time James Beard Award-winning chef, culinary historian and author Maricel Presilla. She’s the author of Peppers of the Americas: The Remarkable Capsicums That Forever Changed Flavor, which explores the history of peppers and the many dishes you can make with them.


Why Vinegar Deserves More Credit As An Ingredient

Vinegar often plays an essential role in the food we eat. We use it in everything from baking to braising to pickling. But, author Michael Harlan Turkell writes that vinegar is "underappreciated and little understood." For his new book Acid Trip: Travels in the World of Vinegar: With Recipes from Leading Chefs, Insights from Top Producers, and Step-by-Step Instructions on How to Make Your Own, Turkell set out to give vinegar its due. He traveled the world, learning how countries from Japan...


The Secrets Behind Succulent Sauces

For this week’s Please Explain, James Peterson stops by to talk sauces. He’s an award-winning food writer, cookbook author, photographer and cooking teacher who started his career as a restaurant cook in Paris in the 1970s. His book, Sauces: Classical and Contemporary Sauce Making, has just been released in its fourth edition. James will answer all of our burning sauce-related queries – from béarnaise and hollandaise, to bolognese, crème anglaise, and everything in between. Check out some...


How To Go Vegan

Our first Food Fridays Please Explain kicks off with vegan cooking! Ronen Seri and Pamela Elizabeth are the co-founders behind the vegan restaurant franchise Blossom and the authors of The Blossom Cookbook: Classic Favorites from the Restaurant That Pioneered a New Vegan Cuisine. They’ll debunk some myths about vegan food/cooking, offer tips for home cooks and share some of their most popular recipes including Trumpet Mushroom Calamari, Sweet Potato and Coconut Cream Soup, and German...


How To Succeed Even If You're An Introvert

For our latest Please Explain, we explore what it means to be an introvert and what pressures they face when advancing their careers. We're joined by Morra Aarons-Mele, an internet marketer who has launched online campaigns for President Obama, Malala Yousafzai, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundations, and others. She’s also the author of Hiding in the Bathroom: An Introvert's Roadmap to Getting Out There (When You'd Rather Stay Home), and she shares strategies introverts can use to manage...


How Addiction Works

For this week's Please Explain, we explore how science is giving us a better understanding of how addiction works, and what that means for how we think about and treat it. We're joined by Fran Smith, author of "The Science of Addiction," National Geographic Magazine's September cover story. We're also joined by expert Dr. Rita Goldstein, a professor of psychiatry and neuroscience at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, who is featured in the article. Note: Ilya Marritz...


How The First Amendment Works

In a time when the president is openly attacking the press for negative stories and neo-Nazis in Charlottesville are claiming freedom of speech while protesting the removal of Confederate monuments, this week’s Please Explain is all about the First Amendment. Our guest is Floyd Abrams, author of The Soul of the First Amendment and a senior partner in the law firm Cahill Gordon & Reindel. He has argued in numerous high-profile, free-speech cases in front of the Supreme Court including...


What Happens When We Sleep?

People spend about one-third of their lives asleep, but what actually happens when we close our eyes and begin to dream? For this week’s Please Explain we are joined by Wallace Mendelson to better help us understand. Mendelson is the former director of the Sleep Research Laboratory at the University of Chicago and author of the new book The Science of Sleep: What It Is, How It Works, and Why It Matters. He tell us about the different stages of sleep, sleeping disorders and how outside...


What Happens When A Dog Drinks Water?

Matin Durrani and Liz Kalaugher join us to talk about their book Furry Logic: The Physics of Animal Life for our latest Please Explain about how our pets use science to survive. We explore the physics behind everything from how dogs lap up water to how ants use polarized light to navigate.


What's The Future Of DACA?

For this week's Please Explain, we’re discussing DACA with Hasan Shafiqullah, Attorney-In-Charge of the Immigration Law Unit at The Legal Aid Society. We're also joined by Pamela Resendiz, an undocumented immigrant from Mexico City, Mexico, and a community organizer who advocates for workers and immigrants’ rights in Colorado as the Deputy Director for United for a New Economy. They explain what DACA is, how it’s changing, who it affects and what can be done about it. Note: Jonathan...


How Legal Pot Could Be Monopolized

Cities and states across the country are either decriminalizing or legalizing marijuana. As the cultural shift toward accepting pot progresses, we chat with journalist Amanda Chicago Lewis for our latest Please Explain about what this means for consumers, and how the industry could become big business for some companies. Chicago Lewis has written stories about the pot industry for publications like Rolling Stone ("Medical Marijuana: A Beginner’s Guide") and GQ ("The Great Pot Monopoly...


Protecting Yourself Against Identity Theft

For this week’s Please Explain, we explore a crime that affects millions of Americans each year: Identity theft. We're joined by Axton Betz-Hamilton, an assistant professor of consumer affairs at South Dakota State University, to discuss how easy it is for thieves to get a hold of your information and ruin your credit. Betz-Hamilton will also share her own personal story of how her identity was stolen when she was a child, how that put on a path to becoming an expert in the field, and how...


Why We Love To Run

For our next Please Explain, Vybarr Cregan-Reid jogs us through the basics of running. Cregan-Reid, who authored the book Footnotes: How Running Makes Us Human, reveals how running reconnects us to our bodies and helps us cleanse our minds. He explores the world’s most advanced running laboratories and research centers, and draws on literature, philosophy, neuroscience and biology to understand our passion for running.


All The Light We Cannot See

Our latest Please Explain is about invisible currents that exist all around us with Bob Berman, author of the book Zapped: From Infrared to X-Rays, the Curious History of Invisible Light. Do you have questions about x-rays or microwaves? Wondering about the upcoming solar eclipse on August 21? Write to us in the comments section below, or send us a question on Twitter or Facebook! Jonathan Capehart guest hosted this segment of "The Leonard Lopate Show."


Why Coral Is Dying Around The World

For this week’s Please Explain we explore the critical role coral reefs play in marine life and how they’re threatened by “coral bleaching," which is a sign of mass coral death. We’ll be joined by Jeff Orlowski, director of the new Netflix documentary “Chasing Coral," along with Ruth Gates, a scientist who appears in the film and is the director of the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology, University of Hawaii at Manoa. "Chasing Coral" is out now on Netflix.


Become A Food Preserving Pro!

In a pickle over how to make the best preserves? Don't worry! Our latest Please Explain is all about preserving with Emily Paster, author of The Joys of Jewish Preserving: Modern Recipes with Traditional Roots, for Jams, Pickles, Fruit Butters, and More--for Holidays and Every Day. Melissa Clark guest hosted this segment of "The Leonard Lopate Show." Check out one of Emily Paster's recipes from The Joys of Jewish Preserving below! Bene Israel Quick-Pickled Eggplant Whether fried, baked,...


Don't Bug Out! The Secret World Of Insects

For this week’s Please Explain! we explore the creepy-crawly world of insects with journalist David MacNeal. His latest book Bugged: The Insects Who Rule the World and the People Obsessed with Them looks at the critical role insects play in nature and in our culture. We discuss how conservationists are protecting threatened species, and how bugs are used in science, medicine and even food.


How To Cut The Clutter And Get Organized

If your desk is a total mess, today’s Please Explain is meant for YOU! We tackle the crucial, yet all-so-difficult task, of getting organized, with Amanda Sullivan, author of Organized Enough: The Anti-Perfectionist's Guide to Getting -- and Staying -- Organized.