To The Best Of Our Knowledge show

To The Best Of Our Knowledge

Summary: To The Best Of Our Knowledge is a nationally-syndicated, Peabody award-winning public radio show that dives headlong into the deeper end of ideas. We have conversations with novelists and poets, scientists and software engineers, journalists and historians, filmmakers and philosophers, artists and activists — people with big ideas and a passion to share them. For more from the TTBOOK team, visit us at

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  • Artist: Wisconsin Public Radio
  • Copyright: Copyright 2019 by Wisconsin Public Radio


 Giving Is Complicated | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 51:13

Even the most welcome gift can spark guilt, resentment, obligation or vulnerability. We can be inspired by the generosity of others, or unsettled by uncertainty of how to say thank you, or whether an especially generous gift comes with strings attached. This hour, unwrapping the tangled emotions behind giving — and getting. Guests: Megan Costello, Haddyr Copley-Woods, David Graeber, Anand Giridharadas, Elizabeth Dunn

 Is Anger Useful? | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 53:34

We’ve been taught to ignore, stifle, or just get over anger for many years — but what if we embraced it? It seems like most of us are feeling angry these days. But what if we took that emotion and instead of letting it eat us up, used it as fuel to do something, to actually help us feel better? Could anger be a useful emotion? Guests: Rebecca Traister, Cristen Conger, Caroline Ervin, Richard Davidson, Alice Walker

 Religion Without Doctrine | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 53:43

What's the essence of religion? God? Scripture? Moral codes? Or is it really about something more mysterious and unexplainable? In this hour, we explore the roots of religion — religion before it's even called "religion." Because if you strip away all the doctrine, the dogma, the rules for how to live — what’s left are primal spiritual experiences. But what do they tell us about ourselves and our world? Guests: Elizabeth Krohn, Jeff Kripal, Elaine Pagels, Jericho Brown

 We've Had 30 Years Of Prozac. Why Are We Still Depressed? [Rebroadcast] | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 50:58

Modern anti-depressants have saved a lot of minds. And lives. But our 30-year experiment with modern anti-depressants is taking a toll. What have they done to our bodies? And how do we navigate that trade-off between body and mind? Is it clear that they even work? There are a lot of us who struggle with mood disorders or mental illness of one sort or another. If you do, we here at TTBOOK want you to know that you’re not alone. If you're looking for more in-depth knowledge on what you might be going through, the National Alliance on Mental Illness is an incredible resource. And if you just need something to elevate your spirit, check out the playlist that Charles made at the bottom of this page. It's packed with the music he listens to when he’s down and needs a lift. Not a fake happy song kind of lift – something honest but also hopeful. **WARNING: The conversation with Lauren Slater in this show features frank discussion of depression and self-harm. The audio doesn't contain a trigger warning, but for listeners who may be sensitive to discussion of suicide, please consider listening to other interviews on the show separately, or skipping this episode. Guests: Lauren Slater, Charles Raison, Anna Fels, Jaime Lowe

 Writing Truth and Lies | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 56:47

We all tell stories about our lives: funny stories, happy stories, sad stories. But are they true stories? In an age of “alternative facts” and “fake news,” we’re all thinking harder about why truth matters – not just in politics, but in our personal lives. A biographer, a poet, a memoirist and a filmmaker describe the moral struggle and personal cost involved in telling not just the truth, but the whole truth. *Guests: *Caroline Fraser, Terese Marie Mailhot, Karl Ove Knausgaard, Errol Morris

 Building A Better Ballot Box | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 50:59

How do we put the fairness and the fun back in American elections? In this hour, we present a few simple ideas for how to remake the electoral process. Some are small tweaks — like mandatory voting — that could make the whole system run more smoothly: Others may sound a little crazy, like letting 10-year-olds vote. Or creating a marketplace where people buy, sell and trade their votes. Or making election day a national holiday, with parades. And cake. **Guests: **Carol Anderson, Jason Brennan, Pippa Norris, E. Glen Weyl, Jonathan Bernstein, Eric Liu

 Even Stranger Things [Rebroadcast] | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 50:58

Did you know that the U.S. military has a long history of working with psychics to try to discover enemy secrets? We examine this history and take a deep dive into the paranormal. Guests: Joe McMoneagle, Annie Jacobson, Marge Bradley, Paul Selig, Tanya Luhrmann, Michael Shermer, Tiya Miles

 Discovering America's Black DNA [Rebroadcast] | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 50:58

DNA tests are uncovering mixed bloodlines. For African Americans, this can be emotionally-charged. What do you do when you find out one of your direct ancestors was a slave owner? Does it open the door to new conversations about racial justice? Guests: Alex Gee, Erin Hoag, Annette Gordon-Reed, Anita Foeman

 Pick Your Poison | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 50:58

Covert spies painting nerve agents on doorknobs? It's not the only way to poison someone. We hear stories of radioactive paint, formaldehyde-spiked baby formula, and a beautiful garden full of plants that could kill you. Guests: Deborah Blum, Kathryn Harkup, Amy Stewart, Kate Moore

 What's Wrong With Men? [Rebroadcast] | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 50:58

The right-wing politics and bro culture of The Proud Boys is attracting young, white men nationwide. Founder Gavin McInnes believes “95% of American women” would be happier at home. Where does his vision of “being a man” fit in 2018? Guests: Gavin McInnes, Alexandra Hall, Kyle “Guante” Tran Myhre, Warren Farrell, Ashanti Branch

 Listening to the City | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 50:58

Cities can be cacophonous and loud, a chaos of sonic discord. If, that is, you don't really focus your listening. People who’ve trained their ears to hear urban soundscapes in new ways hear something different. Guests: David Rothenberg, David Haskell, Aaron Henkin, Wendel Patrick, Jennifer Stoever, Pierre Schaeffer, Vivienne Corringham

 Magical Thinking [Rebroadcast] | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 50:58

"Magical thinking" gets a bad rap these days. It suggests losing your grip on reality or being so gullible that you'll believe anything - from ghosts to miracles. But what if magic isn't pure fantasy? Maybe it's the gateway to wonder. *Guests: *Nate Staniforth, Michael Muhammad Knight, Haleema Shah, Chloe Benjamin

 The Ways We Are Born — Again and Again | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 50:58

If you think of your life as a series of births, what changes? The first birth is when you arrive here, as a wet, wiggling newborn. But there may be other transitions in your life that feel just as difficult and profound. Some people actually call those passages re-birth. But why does the birth metaphor matter? This hour, we examine midwives, trans men, and born again Christians. Birth. Rebirth. And Born Again. Interviews in this hour: The Power of Choice When You're Giving Birth Where Are the Midwives?  Midwives in the Golden Age of Television Transgender Men and the Remaking of Identity "Happy In My Own Skin": The Transition from Bess To Benn  What Does it Really Mean to Be a Born Again Christian?

 Rethinking David Foster Wallace | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 52:52

On the tenth anniversary of his suicide, David Foster Wallace faces renewed criticism over his treatment of women, in his life and work. Fans and critics are re-reading his work, struggling to reconcile genius with misogyny. *Guests: *Clare Hayes-Brady, Colleen Leahy, Makini Allwood, David Foster Wallace, Amy Wallace-Havens

 What's Wrong With Work? | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 50:58

It's not easy in America today to find work that matters, that’s meaningful, and that pays enough to live on. Which is the one thing we don’t talk about. What’s wrong with work — and how do we fix it? **Guests: ** Alissa Quart, David Graeber, James Livingston, Niki Okuk, Studs Terkel


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