About one of every 10 people is left-handed. That can be profitable if you’re a pitcher – and a pain if you’re an average Joe living in a right-handed world. Howard Kushner – a historian of medicine and neuroscience – explains why so few people are lefties; and about the many ways cultures worldwide discriminate against them. His new book is called “On the Other Hand: Left Hand, Right Brain, Mental Disorder, and History”.
Ponte City Tower, the brutalist cylindrical high-rise that towers over Johannesburg, has gone from a symbol of white opulence to something far more complex. It’s gone through very tough times, but also it’s hopeful. It’s a microcosm of the South Africa’s history, but it’s also a place that moves on. And to this day, this strange concrete tube at the center of Johannesburg’s skyline continues to play the same role for newcomers that it has for decades: serving as the diverse entry point to the city.
The roots of the post-truth, alternative facts present can be discovered in America’s “promiscuous devotion to the untrue” and its instinct to believe in make believe, evident across four centuries of magical thinkers and true believers, hucksters and suckers, who have embedded an appetite for believe-whatever-you-want fantasy into the national DNA, argues Kurt Andersen, author of a new book, “Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire, a 500-Year History.” Kwame Anthony Appiah, NYU professor, philosopher, and author of fiction and nonfiction books questions him about the bold claim that America’s love of the fantastic has made this country exceptional in a way that has yet to be understood?
One morning, Oliver Sipple went out for a walk. A couple hours later, to his own surprise, he saved the life of the President of the United States. But in the days that followed, Sipple’s split-second act of heroism turned into a rationale for making his personal life into political opportunity. What happens next makes us wonder what a moment, or a movement, or a whole society can demand of one person. And how much is too much?
There are 7,000 languages spoken on Earth. Today we discuss if this is an acceptable number of languages for 7-plus billion people or perhaps we would be better off with just one universal language? As it turns out, the answer to the central question of how much linguistic diversity is the “right” amount could be stated as: enough for anyone to feel connected to the community of their choice, but not so much as to hamper trade or start a war.
What’s it like to live in the country with the fastest-shrinking population in the world? In the mountain village of Kalotinsi in western Bulgaria, there is no shop, no school, no bus service. Until a few decades ago, 600 people lived here but now most of the houses stand empty. There are many other near-deserted villages like this in Bulgaria. With women having few children, and many choosing to work abroad, Bulgaria is facing a population crisis. In this episode we travel to the country to find out what life is like for those left behind, and to ask what is being done to reverse the population decline.
What impact will Artificial Intelligence have on our lives and what actions should be undertaken in order to be ready for it? Our daily lives are encompassed by AI. Decisions about employment, loans, credit cards and even what we read and listen to are now made by computers. We discuss the implications of this revolutionary technology.
In this episode we discuss the experiences of wives, mothers, girlfriends and daughters who, as relatives of Russia’s three-quarters of a million prisoners often travel vast distances to visit or live with their exiled male convicts. We also consider how to bridge the boundary that divides prison and society.
In the 1960s and 70s New York City was going through an economic downturn and many people with means moved to the suburbs. By the 1980s there were empty buildings everywhere throughout the Lower East Side that squatters eventually took over. They set about fixing up their decrepit buildings, clearing rubble, building stairs, reinforcing walls, and replacing windows. These squatters would resist eviction by the city for almost two decades and in 2002 they finally achieved legalization and were allowed to stay.
How does friendship influence political power? One of the Winston Churchill’s closest friends and confidantes was an eccentric scientist named Frederick Lindemann. His connection to Churchill altered the course of British policy in World War II. And not in a good way.