Culture, Ideas, Religion

Andy Melton via CC/Flickr,

Wednesday, we're talking about Christmas and the bountiful customs that accompany it. Just why do we do stuff like wrap presents, hang lights, and drink eggnog? And why is it so darn commercial these days? (Hint: it's always been that way.)

The Monastic Life

Dec 14, 2017
Kelsie Moore/KUER

How did a Trappist monastery flourish in the mountains of Utah for 70 years, and what led to its closing? Thursday, we’re talking about the history of monastic life and how it is expressed today.


There’s a petition challenging the way Mormon bishops discuss sexuality with young men and women. Intimate questions come up in interviews conducted one-on-one by adult men. We’ll look at the potential risks, and the pros and cons of untrained clergy.


Dec 11, 2017
from Fabulous '50s Advertising Calendar,

Monday, we’re talking about your “stuff” and whether it makes you happy. The writer and futurist James Wallman says it's time to start focusing on what you do instead of what you have.

There’s a lot of talk about renewable energy these days. But what’s really happening? Will renewables ever replace fossil fuels? In a new documentary, filmmaker James Redford travels the country to find out just how far renewable energy can take us.

Public domain

The swastika evokes visceral reactions in the Western world, but for years it symbolized good fortune and well-being. We talk to designer Steven Heller about the swastika’s history, and ask if it can ever be seen in its original context again.

The US ranks 31st in math skills among 35 developed countries. So what are schools in Europe and Asia doing that we aren’t? Journalist Amanda Ripley joins us to talk about The Smartest Kids in the World.

Courtesy of Kristen Oney / Plimoth Plantation


When they landed at Plymouth almost 400 years ago, the Pilgrims faced countless challenges. Their story is the bedrock of the American experiment, but the facts of their survival have long been tangled up with the myths. (Rebroadcast)

Tuesday, we’re talking about the history versus the memory of the Civil War. Yale historian David Blight says there’s a lot of misunderstanding about the period, but getting it right matters because the stories we tell about who we were then define who are now.


Nov 20, 2017
Anthony Kelly via CC/Flickr,

Psychologist Jean Twenge joins us to talk about the kids these days. She says teenagers today are different than the Millenials that preceded them. They’re more depressed, more suicidal and less independent. The reason? It could be smartphones.