Friday's Show

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The Seeds of Life

It’s a timeless question, asked by every kid that’s ever lived: where do babies come from? It turns out even the great scientific minds of the Enlightenment didn’t really have an answer. While navigators and cartographers seemed to have mastered the heavens and the Earth, other scientists were conducting bizarre experiments to put their finger on how exactly humans create life. Science writer Edward Dolnick joins us to tell the story of 250 years of searching and the meandering ways of scientific discovery.

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Lorie Shaull

Hillary Clinton was regarded as the front-runner in the lead up to 2016 election. She was arguably the most experienced presidential candidate in history, running against a man with no political experience. So how did she lose? In a new book, reporters Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes try to answer that question. Yes, she faced external challenges, but Parnes and Allen place much of the blame on the candidate herself. They’ll join us to explain how Clinton made her sure-thing victory an uphill battle.

 

Wherever you turn these days, commercials, sponsored social media, and other advertising efforts await your attention. The influential thinker Tim Wu says we have the “attention merchants” to thank for that. In a new book, Wu argues that the concerted efforts of advertisers to attract our attention at every opportunity has made us more distracted and less focused than ever before. Wu joins us to explore the rise of the attention merchants and the human costs of their efforts. [Rebroadcast]

Tuesday, we’re talking about conservatism and whether today’s Republican Party is living up to the label. Our guest is journalist and BYU law student Sara Jarman, who has just published a book which argues true conservatism is contemplative and measured, principles that have been lost over the years. Jarman says that whatever your views, this matters because a healthy political system requires a balance between conservative and progressive forces. Her book is called “Elephants on the Rampage.”

Thomas Wirthlin McConkie is a descendent of two highly influential Mormon leaders.  And yet, his close ties to the LDS Church didn’t insulate him from questioning his faith. He left the church as a teenager and found spiritual fulfillment in Zen Buddhism. After almost 20 years, he returned to Mormonism, and he wants to help others navigate their own faith crises. McConkie joins us Monday to discuss how the tools of developmental psychology can help guide us through faith transitions.

Major James B Pond, University of Virginia Library, http://bit.ly/2a0uRqV

 

Friday, we’re telling the story of what author Richard Zacks calls Mark Twain’s “raucous and redemptive round-the-world comedy tour.” Twain was once America’s highest paid writer, but he was also a remarkably bad businessman. In 1895, with his career on the rocks and with what today would be millions in debt, Twain embarked on a 5-continent speaking tour he hoped would save him. Zacks joins Doug to talk about Twain’s wildly popular humor, his missteps, and what drove his quest for redemption. (Rebroadcast)

Dave Newman via Flickr/CC BY 2.0) / http://bit.ly/2rrnaCr

Thursday, we’re talking about President Donald Trump’s relationship with the country’s intelligence agencies. Our guest is Tim Weiner, who has written books about the FBI, CIA, and President Richard Nixon. He warns that Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey and his crusade to stop leaks have historical precedents in Nixon’s ultimately self-defeating actions. We’ll talk about that, and explore what Trump’s leak of classified information to Russia could mean for national security.

Messy

May 17, 2017
Andy Elk via Flickr/CC BY 2.0 http://bit.ly/2rn6yf7

In his new book, the journalist and economist Tim Harford makes an argument that’s a tough sell for a culture hooked on neatness, structure, and tidying up. Harford comes to the defense of messiness, of inconvenient situations, clutter, and difficulty.  They’re not as bad as we might think, he says, and in story after story he shows how disorder can spur creativity, nurture resilience, and bring out our very best. Harford joins us Wednesday to explore the messy foundations that often underlie success.

The First Love Story

May 16, 2017
Public domain

Tuesday, we’re talking about the oldest relationship in the Christian world: Adam and Eve. The writer Bruce Feiler says the two don’t get the credit they deserve, and in a new book he aims to redeem them for a new generation. According to Feiler, the tale of Adam and Eve is a timeless myth that still has much to teach us. They confronted the ultimate human fear—loneliness—and defeated it with the ultimate human expression—love. Feiler joins us to explore the meaning of the first love story.

Overdressed

May 15, 2017

Try to imagine 18 tons of clothes. It’s the image journalist and author Elizabeth Cline said surprised her the most while researching her book about the way Americans dress. That’s because that pile represented three-days of donations to one thrift store in one U.S. city. And what’s the impact of the cheap fashion we buy and toss on such a regular basis? Cline is coming to Utah, and Monday she joins Doug to explain what it means for our economy, our environment, and for our culture.

Casanova

May 12, 2017
Courtesy of personal collection / Bridgeman Images

The name Casanova is synonymous with seduction and sexuality. And while biographer Laurence Bergreen says that Giacomo Casanova’s favorite place was a brothel, it might surprise you that his second favorite was a library. The 18th century Venetian was born in poverty. He was intent on working up the social ladder though and saw sex as both pleasure and a “weapon of class destruction.” Bergreen joins Doug to talk about Casanova’s writing and philosophy … as well as his 120+ lovers. (Rebroadcast)

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Short Film

Gerda: Dementia Field Notes

Gerda Saunders has a fabulous sense of style, but she also has a progressive form of dementia. So will the effort she puts into her appearance be worth it once she can no longer manage it herself?

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