We try to ruin your July 4th picnics with a quick peak inside the human digestive system with science writer Mary Roach. Then we talk with comedian Brody Stevens about his mental breakdown and how it affected his career. The New Yorker’s Elizabeth Kolbert says the earth is currently going through an extinction period. And we find out why an attempt to save condors is actually making the birds stupid.
FROM THIS EPISODE
A lovingly sketched and thoroughly researched biography has just come out in paperback. It is a portrait of a dark highway, a story that starts with an aroma and also ends with an aroma. A journey through humanity, a trip through ourselves. “Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal,” is the latest scientific foray by Mary Roach. And it’s about the gut: what happens to our bodies when we eat and why.
The Earth has lived through 5 mass extinctions of animals and plants. The last one - 66 million years ago - took out the dinosaurs. That extinction is believed to have been caused by a giant asteroid smashing into the Earth. Now we are living through extinction number 6. And the cause is us. Human behavior. Elizabeth Kolbert is staff writer at the New Yorker, covering environmental issues. Her new book is ‘The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History.'
Brody Stevens is a comedian’s comedian who’s known for a routine that makes people very uncomfortable. So his friends - other well known comedians - didn’t realize at first that he was really going through a mental breakdown. He joined us to talk about the first season of his Comedy Central show and the mental issues he struggles with.
In 1987, condors were on the brink of extinction. There were only 22 of them left in California. Scientists captured those 22 birds and created a successful breeding program that has saved the species. The only problem is that the offspring are raised in captivity by zookepers and scientists using hand puppets. And that has created a generation of socially inept condors.
More From Press Play with Madeleine Brand
Following police violence, Oakland cafe won't serve cops A cafe named Hasta Muerte in Oakland’s Fruitvale neighborhood is refusing to serve police officers. The move has led to protests against the owners, and a renewed discussion about the role of police in the community.
What's the future of Facebook's A.I.? Mark Zuckerberg apologized on Wednesday for how Facebook handled the Cambridge Analytica scandal, saying his company will protect users’ privacy. But Facebook is heavily investing in artificial intelligence that could potentially mean more sophisticated data mining of its users.
Can we rein in tech giants? Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg released a statement today saying his company will protect user data and investigate apps with access to his social network. British firm Cambridge Analytica allegedly used Facebook user data for political purposes. We talk about reining in Facebook and billionaire tech leaders.
Why black boys from rich families have a 50-50 chance of falling into poverty New research shows that black boys raised in U.S. -- even in the richest neighborhoods -- still earn less money when they grow up than white boys of similar backgrounds. But that’s not the case for women. Black and white women usually track together, while black men rarely make it to the same levels as white men.
LATEST BLOG POSTS
Scenes from Los Angeles’ ‘March for Our Lives’ On Saturday, hundreds of thousands of people around the country demonstrated to reduce gun violence and strengthen gun control laws. The march, called “March for Our Lives,” was organized in… Read More
Anti-gun violence activist: ‘I’m so, so angry because it just keeps happening and it doesn’t have to’ (Photo: Demonstration organized by Teens For Gun Reform, an organization created by students in the Washington DC area, in the wake of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School… Read More