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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.

Split Identities

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Who are you? White or black, Muslim or Christian, working class or wealthy? Most of us rotate through many different cultural identities, at work and at home. And sometimes, reconciling them is hard. Becoming Biracial; Mixed Feelings; Hybrid Identities; Sonic Sidebar: Richard Rodriguez on "Brown"; Culture Clash; BookMark: Stoner; On Our Minds: Public Higher Education.

1001 Nights (Repeat)

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The bedtime stories of Sinbad, Ali Baba and Aladdin are enchanting stories. They’re also much more: violent, sexually explicit, political, and feminist. 1001 Nights 101; 1001 Nights: A Retelling - Hanan Al-Shaykh; SONIC SIDEBAR: Orhan Pamuk on The Arabian Nights; Salman Rushdie on "Luka and the Fire of Life"; BookMark: Vikram Chandra reviews “The King Must Die” by Mary Renault ; On Our Minds: Iran.

Lies That Last (Repeat)

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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: Eric Liu reviewing “Inventing America” by Gary Wills; On Our Minds: War Correspondents.

The Amazing Brain

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It's hard to wrap your head around the future of the human brrain.  Augmented intelligence, memory playback, downloadable skills - it's all coming.  We explore the future of the mind, and hear how a brain injury can transform your life. Struck By Genius - Jason Padgett; Future of the Mind - Michio Kaku; Disharmony - Noa Guy; Dangerous Idea: Simulating drugs through hypnosis; On Our Minds: Against Football.

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 Absalom, Absolam; 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.