Episode Archive for March 2016

Surviving Death: Ann Neumann on the Ethical Landscape of Dying

March 28, 2016

Many of us picture our dying moments as being surrounded by loved ones, uttering last words of gratitude and advice before we slip off into a peaceful departure. Yet the reality is that dying is often a long, painful, and constantly fluctuating process. Our guest this week, Ann Neumann, writes a monthly column at The Revealer where she examines the intersection between religion and medicine, and she is the author of the new book, The Good Death: An Exploration of Dying in America.

Neumann was inspired to write the book after the struggle of caring for her…

The Odds of Life’s Oddities, with Mathematician John Allen Paulos

March 21, 2016

John Allen Paulos is an award winning mathematician and best selling author. A professor in mathematics at Temple University, he has written for The Guardian, CFI’s Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, and his monthly column for ABCNews.com, “Who’s Counting?” His new book is called A Numerate Life: A Mathematician Explores the Vagaries of Life, His Own and Probably Yours.

Paulos uses basic mathematic principles to lend a fresh perspective to everyday life, and the results can be fascinating. He sheds light on everything from the mathematical science behind romantic crushes to the astronomical consequences of the butterfly effect.…

Former White Supremacist Arno Michaelis: Understanding Hate, Overcoming Fear

March 15, 2016

Today’s guest is former white supremacist Arno Michaelis, author of My Life After Hate. A leader within what he called a “racial holy war,” Michaelis later realized his hate was misplaced, the product of fear, anger, and an overall misunderstanding of concepts such as forgiveness and personal responsibility. Today he is a Buddhist and anti-violence activist with Serve 2 Unite, an organization that works with student leaders to create compassionate, nonviolent leadership in their communities.

In a frank discussion with Josh Zepps, Michaelis reflects on his mistakes, and how he came to let go of his hate…

The Cunning Art of Con Artistry, with Maria Konnikova

March 07, 2016

What is it about human behavior that allows con artists to pull off elaborate scams in which they fool thousands? Moreover what is about those thousands of people — many of them intelligent and sophisticated — that make them so vulnerable them to being scammed? New Yorker contributor Maria Konnikova joins us today to talk about her new book, The Confidence Game: Why We Fall for it Every Time.

Konnikova analyses the tactics that con artists use to appeal to our sensibilities, gain our trust, and lower our defenses, and she explores what motivates these fraudsters to…