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To the Best of our Knowledge

Wisconsin Public Radio

Each week, To the Best of Our Knowledge brings you two hours of in-depth interviews with nationally and internationally-known guests whose passion for new ideas will challenge and engage.

Each week, To the Best of Our Knowledge brings you two hours of in-depth interviews with nationally and internationally-known guests whose passion for new ideas will challenge and engage.
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Madison, WI


Each week, To the Best of Our Knowledge brings you two hours of in-depth interviews with nationally and internationally-known guests whose passion for new ideas will challenge and engage.




You Had To Be There

Home entertainment options have never been richer, but public places like movie theaters and performance spaces are suffering. What do we lose when everyone stays home?

Duration: 00:53:33

Center of the World

Amidst economic devastation, producer Charles Monroe-Kane asks what it takes to survive in the Rust Belt.

Duration: 00:54:13

Is the Universe a Number?

For centuries, mathematicians have been looking for the deep design, the mathematical code to explain everything from microorganisms to spacetime. But it’s a dangerous quest.

Duration: 00:54:39

What is School For?

Why do we have schools? To build a workforce? To create democratic citizens?

Duration: 00:57:58

Could Psychedelic Drugs Save Your Life?

Psychedelic science is back — and they could help heal people with addictions, PTSD and end-of-life anxiety.

Duration: 00:53:09

Rethinking The Reviewer

If everyone’s a critic online, does it mean that cultural criticism doesn’t matter anymore?

Duration: 00:51:45

Why We War

Armed conflicts. Insurgencies. Civil Wars. Invasions. Syria. Iraq. Afghanistan. Nigeria. Ukraine. South Sudan. Gaza. Yemen. The world is at war. Why?

Duration: 00:53:09

Sentimentality for Silicon

Do you love your laptop? Feel affection for your phone? Some of us spend more time with our devices than our families. How deep do those attachments go?

Duration: 00:51:48

Why Is The Internet Toxic For Women?

Why do women have to put up with this? And how do they fight back? Abused Game Developers Can’t ‘Just Go Offline’ to Escape; When You’re Under Siege Online, How Can the Law Help?; Facing Fox News and Reddit Trolls, Journalist Lauren Duca Persisted; Writer’s Advice from Roxane Gay: Write Truth and Get Uncomfortable, Online Or Off; A Broad History of Sexism, As Witnessed By A Feminist Scholar.

Duration: 00:52:54

Striving To See In A Vast, Invisible Universe

On Monday, August 21, a total solar eclipse will cross the United States for the first time in a hundred years. For millions of people in its path, it’ll be like opening a window directly onto the broader universe. Besides chasing eclipses, how else can we see what's out there, beyond our skies? For a full list of segments from this show, visit our beta version of our new website.

Duration: 00:52:10

Imagining Climate Change

“The climate crisis is a crisis of culture and thus of imagination,” says writer Amitav Ghosh. So what changes in our conversation about global warming when we tap into the imaginative worlds of novelists and artists? How Bad Can Climate Change Really Get?; Where’s the Great “Climate Change Novel”?; Let’s Get Serious About the Anthropocene; Zulu Time; Lidia Yuknavitch’s Dream World.

Duration: 00:51:20

Making A Home

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, we’re talking about home – how to take an unfamiliar place and make it yours. A Violinist Flees Syria and Discovers a New Home in the US; How 'Home' Made Us Human; For Some Veterans, the Return...

Duration: 00:53:14

Can An Evil Man Can Be A Decent Person?

How can someone be a monster — a brutal dictator, a mass murderer, a serial killer — and up close seem like a decent, caring person? What happens when you find yourself liking someone who’s done terrible things? The American Guards Who Kept Saddam Hussein Safe Until His Execution; Paul Beatty on "The Nazi and the Barber"; What Can Americans Learn from a Norwegian Massacre?; Your Archenemy Turned Out To Be a Hero. Now What?; Can Literature Make You More Empathetic? ; Michael Tisserand on...

Duration: 00:51:49

Check Your Privilege

Privilege checking has become a mainstay of a certain kind of conversation about race or identity. One person reminds -- or accuses -- another of enjoying all kinds of unearned advantages, thanks to their skin color, gender, class or sexual orientation. Checking someone else’s privilege can be a form of hostility. Checking your own can be an act of humility. Either way, it can oftentimes be painful. But does anyone actually benefit from talking about privilege? This hour, the benefits and...

Duration: 00:51:10

Get Happy

Can science tell you how to "get happy?" This hour, the psychology and history behind the very idea of happiness. Plus some practical advice for how to live well. Want to be Happier? Turn Everyday Tasks Into a Game; A Little Less Feeling, A Lot More Action; A History of Happiness; How to Find Happiness in Everyday Life and Language; David Morris Recommends “Solo Faces” by James Salter; Rediscovering Henry David Thoreau.

Duration: 00:51:38

The Art of Reinventing Yourself

Do you ever wish you could reinvent yourself? This hour, we hear from four noted artists who experienced pivotal turns in their own lives: artist Rashid Johnson, writer/photographer Teju Cole, singer Nikka Costa, and musician Michael Nesmith. Artist Rashid Johnson Explores Race, Yearning and Escape; How Temporary Blindness Taught Teju Cole To See; Why Not Abolish Literary Genres?; From Child Pop Star to Jazz Singer; From the Monkees to Country Rock.

Duration: 00:51:36

When Is A Road Trip Something More?

We take road trips and endless highways for granted, but there are other countries where people can pay a heavy price just for getting behind a wheel. Put It In Boogie Gear On the Backslide; Driving While Female; What If We Forget How to Get Lost?; A Guidebook to the 'Blackest Road Trip Ever'; Traveling Between Worlds Apart.

Duration: 00:51:31

The Real Ways That "Fake News" Shapes What We Believe

You can tell the difference. Or can you? A Reporter's Journey to the Epicenter of Liberal Fake News; Who Shares A Fake Story? Fake Users; When Is It Prudent To Be Paranoid?; Poison in the Soda Pop, and Other Conspiracies That Spring From A Grain of Truth; Radioactive Clocks And The Women Poisoned By Them.

Duration: 00:53:09

Locked Up

Most of us will never know what really happens behind bars. Prisons are generally off limits to the public and press, but a national prisoner strike on the 45th anniversary of the Attica Prison riot is drawing new attention to the conditions in many of our nation's jails. This hour, what should a prison be? How The Attica Prison Riot Fueled Mass Incarceration in America; Working Undercover As A Private Prison Guard; In Defense of Flogging; Norway's Unusual Approach to Imprisonment; How To...

Duration: 00:51:50

Peak Performance

Scaling El Cap, where Alex Honnold and Tommy Caldwell stunned the world with their dazzling climbs. The Audacity of the World's Most Daring Climber; Hanging Out On Top of Cliffs Is My Happy Place ; Alex Honnold’s Most Dangerous Adventure; The Science of Peak Performance; The Myth of the “Dumb Jock”; The Ultimate Long-Distance Race.

Duration: 00:51:33

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