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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.

Selfie Portraits

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When’s the last time you took a selfie? You know, a snapshot of yourself that you share online. From feminist selfies to funeral selfies to politicians’ selfies, there’s been hot debate about selfies lately. This week artists, critics and psychologists weigh in.   Selfie Primer; Psychie - The Psychology of Selfies; Sonic Sidebar: Woven Women; Poems & Selfies - Steve Roggenbuck; Picture the Artist; Dangerous Idea: Humane Prisons; On Our Minds: Toms River.

Regarding the Pain of Others

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Regarding the Pain of Others. Regarding the Pain of Others - Susan Sontag; At the Hour of Our Death - Sarah Sudhoff; Sonic Sidebar: William Christenberry; Potraits of the Mentally Ill - Michael Nye; Dangerous Idea: Gender Choice; On Our Minds - Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

Imagining Possible Worlds

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Science fiction offers us visions of histories we don't know -- histories of the future and the past.  Today, legendary science fiction writers talk about science, utopia, and the imagination.  Plus, the winners of our 3 Minute Futures fiction contest! CLICK HERE to read the winning entries and a selection of our favorites. 3 Minute Futures Winner: "Social Scene Alert"; Politics of Science Fiction - Kim Stanley Robinson; 3 Minute Future Fiction: "Food Production"; Star Trek Legacy - Gates McFadden; Science and the Imagination - Ed Finn; 3 Minute Future: "Dogs in the Snow"; BookMark: Junot Diaz; Race and Sex in Sci Fi - Samuel R. Delany.

Escape

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Escape Heroin from A to Z - Ann Marlow; How to Disappear - Frank Ahearn; Sonic Sidebar: Kidnapped; The Devil's Highway - Luis Alberto Urrea; Dangerous Idea: Alternative Currency; On Our Minds: Poet Les Murray.

Getting Medieval

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Another season of HBO's "Game of Thrones" is beginning, and the History Channel's "Vikings" is racking up ratings. Why are we so interested in the Middle Ages? Medieval Combat - Kelly DeVries; Sonic Sidebar: Society for the Creative Anachronism; A Burnable Book - Bruce Holsinger; Hild - Nicola Griffith; Why History? - George R. R. Martin; BookMark: Nick Bantock; On Our Minds: Karen Joy Fowler.

Better-abled

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Why not better-abled? Superpowers - Aimee Mullins; Asking for Help - Haddayr Copley-Woods; Sonic Sidebar: Eavesdropping; Touching Sound - Evelyn Glennie; BookMark: Orhan Pamuk; On Our Minds: Poet Rae Armantrout.

Pranks and Hoaxes

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Everyone loves a good joke, right? Well, at least when it's not at your expense. We explore hoaxes throughout history, get in the mind of a prolific prankster, and hear from writer Walter Kirn about getting duped by a dangerous con man. Famous pranksters - Kembrew McLeod; Art of the Hoax - Joey Skaggs; The Con - Walter Kirn; Sonic Sidebar: The Showman and the Slave; BookMark: Cheryl Strayed; On Our Minds: Noah's Flood.

Music and Memory

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Music and Memory: Kurt Cobain's lasting impact, music and repetition, Pink Martini Kurt Cobain's Lasting Impact - Charles R. Cross; Sonic Sidebar: Cobain's Influence on Hip-Hop; On Repeat: How Music Plays the Mind - Elizabeth Hellmuth Margulis; Pink Martini - Thomas Lauderdale; Dangerous Idea: Pleasantness is Evil; On Our Minds: Richard Powers; Richard Powers Reading from "Orfeo".

Is Privacy Dead?

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Has the news of government  surveillance gotten you thinking that Big Brother is watching? What can we do to protect our information, online and in the real world? We examine privacy - what it means and how it's changing.. Snowden's revelations - Ben Wizner; On Privacy - Garret Keizer; Sonic Sidebar: "The Marina Experiment"; Social networks and privacy - Lori Andrews; Dangerous Idea: Urban Exploration; On Our Minds: The Big Bang.

Living Like a Caveman

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the modern caveman is among us The Modern Caveman - Arthur De Vany; Paleofantasy - John Hawks; Cavedigger; Wolf Brother - Michelle Paver; BookMark: Stanley Crouch; On Our Minds: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

Making It In America

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Are you living the American Dream? Or just struggling to get by? Changing the minimum wage, cuts to food stamps, and health care coverage have been all over the news.  What does it take to “make it” in America today?  Living Poor; So Rich, So Poor - Peter Edelman; Bootstrapping; Sonic Sidebar: American Dreams; American Promises; Watch This! "Lady in Number 6" & "Karama Has No Walls"; On Our Minds: Easy Money.

Apocalyptic Thinking

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Global pandemics, alien invasions, the Second Coming....why do we love imagining the end of the world?  We examine apocalyptic thinking – from vampire movies to the Book of Revelation. Vampires - Margot Adler; Sonic Sidebar: Apocalypse Cakes; End of World Meme - Barry Vacker; Revelations - Elaine Pagels; BookMark: Richard Powers; On Our Minds: Margaret MacMillan on World War 1.

Imagining the Future

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This week we're imagining the future Future Living - Mitchell Joachim; Working in the Future; Eating the Future; Sonic Sidebar: Eduardo Galeano; Dangerous Idea: Loneliness Is a Gift; On Our Minds: History's Women.

Across the Universe

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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; Watch This! "The Act of Killing" & "20 Feet from Stardom"; On Our Minds: Lorrie Moore.

Thoughts About Thinking

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Thoughts About Thinking Emotional Intelligence - Daniel Goleman; Sonic Sidebar: Daniel Kahneman, "Thinking, Fast and Slow"; America the Philosophical - Carlin Romano; The Advanced Genius Theory - Jason Hartley; Dangerous Idea: Reclaim Time ; On Our Minds: Ruth Ozeki.

American Identities

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Whose America is it? The Talk - Being a black teenager in America; The New Jim Crow - Michelle Alexander; Sonic Sidebar: Looking for Palestine; Inocente - On being homeless and undocumented in America; BookMark: Margaret Atwood; On Our Minds: Film History.

Afghan Traditions

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Not every story about Afghanistan involves guns and soldiers.  We see the country through art, poetry and games - from the ancient sport of Buzkashi to Afghanistan's famous hand-woven carpets.    "Buzkashi Boys" - Sam French; Afghan Carpets - Anna Badkhen; Landay Poetry - Eliza Griswold; Sonic Sidebar: Khaled Hosseini's "Mountains"; BookMark: Hanan Al-Shaykh; On Our Minds: Science Fictional Universe.

Lies That Last

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Popular myths, urban legends, and just plain lies... Why do we persist in believing things that just aren't true?  Oklahoma Basement Myth - Mike Hancock; Crack Baby Myth - Ira Chasnoff; The Unknown Known - Errol Morris; Sonic Sidebar - Cow Tipping; Little White Lies - Sam Harris; BookMark: Karen Joy Fowler; On Our Minds - Snake Handling.

Writers on Russia

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All eyes are on Russia for the Winter Olympics. Want a little background on the host nation? Here's a collection of writers on Russia. Translating War & Peace; Russian Ballet - Jennifer Homans; Sonic Sidebar: Reindeer People of Siberia; Wandering Siberia; BookMark: Chris Ware; On Our Minds: Pre-Medical.

Creative Writing

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How do you win friends and influence people if you're an immigrant from Leningrad who's bullied at school?   You write your way to friendship.  That's what Gary Shteyngart did. We meet him in this hour as we explore creative writing. Little Failure - Gary Shteyngart; Writers and Drinking - Olivia Laing; Sonic Sidebar: John Cheever's "The Swimmer"; The Trickster's Hat - Nick Bantock; Dangerous Ideas: Peace Is Now; On Our Minds - Charlie Parker.