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FROM THIS EPISODE

This morning’s ruling by a federal appeals court delivered a potentially crippling blow to the Affordable Care Act. Then another court ruled in a completely opposite direction in a similar case. We find out where that leaves Obamacare. Plus: Conventional wisdom says we only use 10% of our brains. That’s not true at all. Also, in light of the drought, we look at how Americans originally fell in love with the idea of green lawns. We also discuss L.A.’s palm trees, which -- despite their reputation -- don’t really belong here. And we look inside the Smithsonian’s orphan collections.

Banner Image: "StripedLawn" by Paul Frederickson

Producers:
Andrew Walsh
Christian Bordal
Matt Holzman
Jolie Myers
Anna Scott

Dueling Rulings on Obamacare 8 MIN, 52 SEC

This morning, a three-judge panel of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against the Obama administration in what could be a potentially crippling blow to the Affordable Care Act. But then -  two hours later -  another appeals court, the Fourth Circuit, in a completely separate case, came to the exact opposite conclusion.

Guests:
David Savage, Los Angeles Times (@latimes)

You Use More of Your Brain Than You Think 5 MIN, 51 SEC

The movie “Lucy” comes out this weekend. It’s all about what can happen when Scarlett Johansson uses 100 percent of her brain’s capacity. Except the whole premise of the movie -- that old idea that we only use ten percent of our brain -- is actually a complete and total myth.

Guests:
Samuel McDougle, Doctoral candidate in psychology and neuroscience at Princeton (@smickdougle)

Smithsonian’s Orphans 11 MIN, 11 SEC

The Smithsonian is often described as America’s attic -- the place where we store all sorts of historical items and ephemera. With 137 million objects, it’s the largest museum in the world. But some of those objects -- even entire collections -- are sitting in boxes, gathering dust, without anyone looking after them.

Guests:
Allison Marsh, University of South Carolina

The American Lawn 8 MIN, 50 SEC

Yesterday, Governor Brown signed a bill so condo owners don’t have to water their lawns during drought emergencies, like the one we’re in right now. The legislation extricates some people from a rather Kafka-esque situation - on one side, condo boards were threatening to fine owners if they didn’t keep their lawns green, while the government was threatening to fine them if they did. We look at how we got to this place as a culture: When did Americans become obsessed with their lawns and why?

Guests:
Ted Steinberg, Professor and Author

A Palm Tree Problem? 10 MIN, 49 SEC

Palm trees are as iconic in L.A.’s landscape as the Hollywood sign. But they really don’t belong here. Most are not native, and some argue that palm trees are not only unnatural, but damaging to L.A.’s environment.

Guests:
Victoria Dailey, writer, curator and antiquarian bookseller

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