Politics and History

Conceptually, hope feels big, amorphous, hard to define exactly. But for the past few months, "To The Best Of Our Knowledge" producers have been trying anyway. Scientists, activists, futurists, theologians, artists, authors all weighed in on what they think when they hear the word "hope."More

Steven Pinker

Steven Pinker presents a Dangerous Idea: things today are actually better than they've ever been.More

"From War is Beautiful" by David Shields, published by powerHouse Books.

David Shields says the New York Times is complicit in romanticizing war through imagery.More

Samantha Power

Samantha Power was President Obama's ambassador to the UN, taking part in life-and-death decisions, including whether to launch military strikes. She talks about her two biggest foreign policy challenges — whether to intervene in Libya and Syria.More

Airmen pose with an MQ-9 Reaper at Creech Air Force Base.

Was Qassem Soleimani 'assassinated'? 'Killed'? The legal differences are complicated, says Brookings Institution fellow Scott Anderson.More

Michael Twitty

Michael Twitty can trace his family’s food history back to the slave cabins and Antebellum kitchens of the South. Honoring his diasporic heritage — he’s both black and Jewish — lead Twitty to the practice of identity cooking. He calls it Kosher/Soul.More

Clock of the Long Now

Alexander Rose tells Anne Strainchamps about the Clock of the Long Now — an all mechanical clock being constructed in the high desert of Western Texas designed to run for ten thousand years.More

A village in

Kenyan literary scholar James Ogude believes "ubuntu" — a concept in which your sense of self is shaped by your relationships with other people — serves as a counterweight to the rampant individualism that’s so pervasive in contemporary cities.More

A building at the Zoma Museum

In Addis Ababa, curator Meskerem Assegued and artist Elias Sime have created Zoma Museum as a visionary model of an urban future, using ancient Ethiopian building techniques. They say modern development can be much more than concrete high-rises.More

Lending a helping hand.

Historian Emily Calacci says the massive migration into African cities isn't following the Western model of urban development. Instead of an infrastructure of roads, railways and electric grids, many African cities rely on "people as infrastructure."More

Children in Addis Ababa.

Dagmawi Woubshet and Julie Mehretu were both born in Addis Ababa and then moved to America. They wonder what the city's explosive growth will mean for its unique character — one rooted in Ethiopia's history as the only African nation never colonized.More

Art of Julie Mehretu

The families of Dagmawi Woubshet and Julie Mehretu fled Ethiopia because of the brutal Communist regime that overthrew Emperor Haile Selassie. The violence and corruption in the post-colonial era decimated the hope and idealism of many Africans.More

A moment on the street in Addis Ababa.

Ghanaian post-colonial theorist Ato Quayson thinks a lot about globalization, diaspora and transnationalism. Because he’s a literary scholar, he decided to "read" a single street — Oxford Street in Accra — as a study of contemporary urban Africa.More

Cash

Journalist Anand Giridharadas says that sometimes, major philanthropic gifts are a lot less altruistic than they may appear.More

person and dog

Ecofeminist philosopher Donna Haraway has a reputation for tackling the big intellectual questions of our time — and blowing them wide open. Steve spoke with her for the Los Angeles Review of Books.More

give the gift of a clean kitchen

Psychologist Elizabeth Dunn on how to spend money on ourselves and others in a way that maximizes happiness.More

Mahjong tiles

Board games are a tradition for a lot of us. But have you ever thought about where those traditions come from? Producer Angelo Bautista investigates the history of mahjong.More

desks

Young people seem to be feeling the pressure to be perfect more than anyone else. Social psychologist Tom Curran tells us how neoliberalism and the digital age created a generation that feels guilty about falling short of flawlessness.More

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