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To the Best of Our Knowledge


TTBOOK began as an audio magazine of ideas – two hours of smart, entertaining radio for people with curious minds. It’s sort of journalistic, but it’s never about the President’s speech to the U.N., weapons inspections in Iraq, or yesterday’s stock market disaster. It’s the kind of show that would spend an hour on the future of capitalism, or on the roots of Islamic fundamentalism. It might also spend an hour on hair. Or salt. Or pirates, road trips, psychic phenomena, house cleaning, animal intelligence, high energy physics, or how to say you’re sorry. It’s the kind of show where someone might mention Charlotte Bronte or Anthony Trollope in one segment, U2 or They Might Be Giants in another.

Across the Universe (R)

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Where do you find crazy ideas and some of the world's smartest people? In theoretical physics - the world of parallel universes, super strings and black holes.  We go on a whirlwind tour of the universe - from the multiverse to an imaginary walk on Mars. Mathematical Universe - Max Tegmark; Copernicus - Dava Sobel; Sonic Sidebar: Cosmic Wonder; Walking on Mars - Craig Childs; BookMark: Kat Duff; On Our Minds: Lorrie Moore.

Urban Cultures

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With hundreds of millions of people moving into cities we're wondering what shapes urban cultures. Istanbul with Orhan Pamuk; New York via Amsterdam; Unruly Places; Shanghai, Growing; Dangerous Idea: Breaking Up America; On Our Minds: Talking About Racism.

Global Noir (R)

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Global Noir: travel and crime fiction together in one hour International Noir - Barry Forshaw; The Killing -- Soren Sveistrup; Reading: Kishwar Desai's "Witness the Night"; Israeli Crime Fiction - D. A. Mishani ; Kenyan Crime Fiction - Mukoma Wa Ngugi; BookMark - Gary Shteyngart on "Jernigan"; On Our Minds: Living Room Conversations.

Bored to Death (R)

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Who knew that the old expression, "bored to death," could actually be true?   We'll discover just how harmful boredom can be. Boredom - Albert Nerenberg; A Philosophy of Boredom -- Lars Svendsen; Doing Nothing - Tom Lutz; BookMark: John Waters; On Our Minds: Protests in Ferguson, Missouri.

Edges of Science

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How do we know what's real?  Can science tell us, or is there an unseen reality we'll never understand?  We explore the edges of science and borderlands of knowledge. Limits of Science - Marcelo Gleiser; Pauli & Jung; Ghost Hunters - Deborah Blum; Clashing Worldviews - Chopra & Mlodinow; BookMark: Joshua Ferris; On Our Minds: LeBron James in the Rust Belt.

Finding the Bible

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Buried scrolls, clay tablets, priceless artifacts and expensive forgeries – this week, we bring you stories from the strange and amazing world of biblical archeology. The Ark Before Noah; Truly Fake - The Story of Moshe Moses Shapira; The Gospel of Thomas; BookMark: Call me Ishmael; On Our Minds: Robin Williams.

Drones

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Imagine a world where flying robots watch over our borders, assist with search and rescue missions, and survey roads and pipelines. Sounds like science fiction, but in many parts of the country it's a reality. The Meme of Our Time - Alex Rivera; Commercial Drones - Missy Cummings; Drones Gone Wild; The Life of a Military Drone Pilot - Bruce Black; BookMark: Steve Roggenbuck; On Our Minds: Nadia Hashimi.

Doing the Math

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Why do Americans suck at math?  And why do so many claim to hate math?  In a recent survey, a third of respondents said they'd rather clean the bathroom than solve an equation.  In today's show, mathematicians tell us what we're missing.   How Not To Be Wrong; The Calculus Diaries; Russian Postal System Puzzle; The Magician of Mathematics; The Magic of Pi; BookMark - Brendan Koerner on "Confessions of a Mask"; On Our Minds: Ghost Month.

Hitchhiking

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we look at hitchhiking, its history, could it make a comeback? Killer on the Road - Ginger Strand; Carsick: Hitchhiking Across America - John Waters; Sonic Sidebar: John Waters' Hitchhiking Playlist; Anywhere - Mishy Harman; Dangerous Idea: Put America Back to Work; On Our Minds: Joshua Ferris.

Making Music

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What goes into making new music? And how does hearing new music change the way we listen? From the Avant Garde composers of the 1920s, through Japanese noise music, to punk progenitor Richard Hell, we’re looking at how music - and how we hear it - changes.  Hearing Avant Garde; Noise, Music; Sonic Sidebar: 40 Part Motet; Maria Schneider - Words with Music; Richard Hell - Punk; Dangerous Idea: No More Humanities; On Our Minds: World War Lessons.

Life, Art, and Therapy

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Whatever happened to psychoanalysis?  It used to be the most influential science of the mind, but today its founder, Sigmund Freud, just looks like a sex-obsessed old man.  Analyst Adam Phillips says we got Freud all wrong; he remains a radical thinker if we know how to read him.  This hour explores the connections between therapy and art. Rethinking Freud - Adam Phillips; Growing Up Freudian - Erin Clune; Cartooning & Psychotherapy - Alison Bechdel; Art as Therapy - Alain de Botton; BookMark: Nic Pizzolatto; On Our Minds: James McBride .

Mayors

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The Mayor If Mayors Ruled the World; Participatory Budgeting; SONIC SIDEBAR: Mayor Dave; The Mayor of Reykjavik; DEEP TRACKS: Charles Cross on "The Fabulous Sounds of the Pacific Northwest"; On Our Minds: Junot Diaz.

Lab Lit

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Science is moving out of the lab and into the pages of literary fiction.  This week, we introduce the “Lab Lit” movement and talk about why fiction needs more realistic portrayals of scientists and science culture Science in Fiction - Jennifer Rohn; Archangel - Andrea Barrett; Sonic Sidebar: Antarctica in Fiction and Art; Women and Plants - Elizabeth Gilbert; BookMark - Karl Ove Knausgaard on "The Flame Alphabet"; On Our Minds: Science and the Avant Garde.

Eco-Optimism

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Brutal storms, rising seas, drought... you've seen the headlines. Our climate changed future seems pretty scary. But do all the messages about climate catastrope keep people from taking action to slow carbon emmissions or prepare for changing weather? What would happen if we looked to the future with hope? A Hopeful Message - Frances Moore Lappé; Rethinking Nature; Sonic Sidebar: FutureCoast; Climate International; BookMark: Benjamin Kunkel; On Our Minds: Sacred Economics.

Food for Thought

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What we eat can often say a lot about us. But why do we consider certain foods more appealing than others? In this hour, we look a the trends and tastemakers who shape our feelings about food. The Buzz Behind Food Trends; Sonic Sidebar: Food Preferences; Julia Child and the Love of Cooking; Food Anxieties; BookMark: Mishy Harman; On Our Minds: Jerusalem.

Philosophy in the Streets

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Philosophers get a bad rap - they're written off as too academic, too detached from daily life. But we're seeing a philosophy revival, from philosophy cafes to philosophers as therapists.  From the Stoics to Spinoza, an argument for why philosophy still matters. Philosopher and Wolf - Mark Rowlands; Sonic Sidebar: Rebecca Goldstein on Plato; Philosophy as Therapy - Jules Evans; Spinoza's Heresy - Steve Nadler; BookMark: Eric Jarosinski; On Our Minds: The Perfect Peach.

Who Is a Patriot?

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Who is a patriot? The Snowden Files; 1971 - An FBI break-in that rocked the nation; First Tea Party Activist - Keli Carender; James Yee – Muslim Chaplain at Guantanamo ; Bookmark: Kim Stanley Robinson; On Our Minds: The Fight for the Four Freedoms.

Air Travel

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What do airports and air travel tell us about ourselves? A Week at the Airport - Alain de Botton; Sonic Sidebar: Brian Eno's Music for Airports; Aerotropolis - Greg Lindsay; The Skies Belong to Us - Brendan Koerner; Deep Tracks: Elizabeth Hellmuth Margulis; On Our Minds: Theme Parks.

Just Dance!

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Want to improve your mood? Just dance. This hour we’re talking with people who’ve found an easy way to keep themselves happy, to build friendships, and make art. We’re checking in with neuroscientists too, to hear just what happens in our brains when we’re dancing. Also, how dancing together has been part of religious life for centuries.  Dancing Away Anxiety; The Dancing Brain; Dancing Together; Sonic Sidebar: Tango; Sally Gross - Finding Her Own Dance; Deep Tracks: Charles R. Cross; On Our Minds: Picturing Migration.

The Power of Play

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Remember what it was like to be a kid, playing outside with friends for hours at a time? Sure, it may just seem like fun and games, but it may also have been invaluable training for life as an adult. Learning Through Play; A Perfect Playground; Inside an Adventure Playground; An Animated Life; Dangerous Idea: Investment Over Aid; On Our Minds: Unrest in Iraq.