Science and Technology

Starling

Elena Passarello’s latest book, “Animals Strike Curious Poses,” is a journey through stories of the wild ones: the mammoths, spiders, birds and primates that have left their marks on our society. To the Best of Our Knowledge host Anne Strainchamps talked with Passarello about the “animal gaze” and the legacy of Mozart’s starling, among other animal tales.More

Gorilla

What separates your mind from an animal's? It's a question we've all asked, but renowned primatologist Frans de Waal says there's no point trying to rank who's smarter or dumber in the animal world. In fact, he believes there's no clear dividing line between humans and the rest of the animal world.More

Badger

What's it like to be a badger? British naturalist Charles Foster wanted to know, so he dug a burrow and lived in the darkness, eating worms. Yup, it was kind of disgusting, but he says the experience brought him closer to the wildness within himself.More

Saola

Finding the horns of a saola — a large ox-like mammal on the Laos-Vietnam border — was one of the great biological discoveries of the...More

Resevoir

We've heard plenty about micro-dosing with LSD — in articles, books, even on this show. But psychiatrist Anna Fels has a new micro-dosing proposal. Not with a drug – with lithium.
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vinyl player

Novelist Hari Kunzru talks about listening through the scratch and hiss of old 78’s for the voice of the past.More

sleeping woman having manic episode

It can be difficult for those who've never experienced a manic episode to know what it feels like. What can set one off. For Jaime Lowe, it was a fire that triggered a manic episode so severe completely lost touch with reality.More

prozac

In her new memoir “Blue Dreams,” Lauren Slater reflects on the 30 years she has spent on Prozac, since the drug was brand new. Anne and Lauren compare notes on the relief antidepressants can bring, along with the downsides.More

Mind/body

The dream of SSRIs was based on an idea that depression is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain. And that you could fix it, with a pill. But psychiatrist Charles Raison believes it’s a mistake to separate the mind from the body.More

Mind/body

Remember debating the mind-body duality in college? You probably argued the meaning of Descartes’ adage “I think, therefore I am” in your dorm. Maybe you even delved into the idea of what is consciousness. But for Lauren Slater, author of “Prozac Diary,” the mind-body argument isn’t a debate or an intellectual pursuit. It’s a personal choice, one that is both necessary and terrible.More

Frances Jensen is both a neuroscientist and a mother of two (former) teenagers. She talked with To the Best of Our Knowledge Executive Producer Steve Paulson about the positive “plasticity” of teenage brains as well as teens’ propensity for risk-taking.More

Teen brain

If teens have trouble remembering where they put their homework, how are they going to marshall a legislative agenda? On the other hand, maybe teens have mental advantages adults don’t. Steve Paulson asked neuroscientist Frances Jensen to weigh in.More

Double Arch (NPS Photo by Jacob W. Frank)

Steve presents a profile of Edward Abbey, whose book "Desert Solitaire" changed the way people thought about the desert. Abbey inspired many of today's environmental activists. We hear excerpts from Abbey's work and his admirers.More

Bruno Latour

Bruno Latour straddles disciplines, from sociology to philosophy, and for the last four decades has been a formidable intellectual presence around the world. His new book digs deeply into debates about nature, culture, and the Anthropocene.More

ignored on the phone

For three decades, MIT professor Sherry Turkle's been looking at the ways we interact with machines. She believes our digital devices are taking a toll on our personal relationships.More

Robot boy

Alexander Weinstein’s “Children of the New World” is a collection of cautionary tales about extreme emotional attachment to software and silicon.  More

Steve Paulson, Jeff Schloss and David Sloan Wilson

Evolutionary biologists Jeff Schloss and David Sloan Wilson joined Steve Paulson to explore how group selection can explain altruism.More

earth

Historian Iain McCalman’s Dangerous Idea? The Anthropocene — the idea that humans have fundamentally changed our global climate. It’s scary, but we’re also seeing people come together in unprecedented ways to solve planetary problems.More

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