Episode Archives

Filter episodes by the year they originally aired.
To The Best Of Our Knowledge

"Being a man, like being a woman, is something you have to learn." That's what Aaron Raz Link says. And Link should know. He began life as a girl named Sarah. And he started a new life as a gay man twenty-nine years later. In this hour of To the Best of Our Knowledge, we'll meet Aaron Raz Link,...Read more

To The Best Of Our Knowledge

Plato argued that poets would be banished from the ideal republic. He said poets are only good for promoting petty emotions, such as anger and lust and love. In this hour of To the Best of Our Knowledge, poetry. We'll talk with four-time Slam Poet champion Patricia Smith about how powerful words...Read more

To The Best Of Our Knowledge

Was Henry David Thoreau a failure? Hardly. Today, he's considered one of America's great writers. But his mentor, Ralph Waldo Emerson, called him the worst kind of failure: a dreamer. At Thoreau's funeral, Emerson said Thoreau was born for greatness, but he lacked ambition. He was nor more than...Read more

To The Best Of Our Knowledge

Back in 1967, Noam Chomsky wrote a famous essay called "The Responsibility of Intellectuals." Chomsky was furious about what he called "the deceit and distortion surrounding the American invasion of Vietnam." And he urged intellectuals "to speak the truth and expose lies." So what is the...Read more

To The Best Of Our Knowledge

Who are you? White or black, Muslim or Christian, working class or wealthy? Most of us rotate through many different cultural identities, at work and at home. And sometimes, reconciling them is hard.Read more

To The Best Of Our Knowledge

Attention all readers of fiction! This is something you really want to hear. To the Best of Our Knowledge devotes itself to some of the great reads of the last year. Colum McCann talks about his National Book Award-winning novel, and we'll hear from fellow finalist Jayne Anne Phillips. We'll...Read more

To The Best Of Our Knowledge

Has the news of government surveillance gotten you thinking that Big Brother is watching? What can we do to protect our information, online and in the real world? We examine privacy - what it means and how it's changing.Read more

To The Best Of Our Knowledge

Cosmologist Janna Levin feels cramped.  Thirty billion light years just isn’t enough space for her.  In this hour of To the Best of Our Knowledge, we consider the Universe Beyond Einstein.  Janna Levin tackles the shape and size of space.  Also, we’ll try to catch a gravity wave, marvel at the...Read more

To The Best Of Our Knowledge

Vivek Maddala knows how to tell a good story. He can put a lump in your throat or make you laugh out loud. His themes are timeless and universal. Maddala composes music for silent films. In this hour of To The Best Of Knowledge, how to construct a narrative. From writing silent film music to...Read more

To The Best Of Our Knowledge

Fifty Years ago James Watson and Francis Crick made history when they cracked the code for DNA. Watson was only 24 years old, and by no means the smartest scientist around. So why do some scientists make great discoveries? In this hour of To the Best of Our Knowledge, James Watson talks about...Read more

To The Best Of Our Knowledge

We’re exploring love by the  numbers, this week.  36 questions, 40 first dates, and 43 equations – it’s all part of the new mathematical science of love.Read more

To The Best Of Our Knowledge

What would the Old Masters make of the exhibitions that get some elected officials so worked up?  They might have liked them!  In this hour of To the Best of Our Knowledge, new art and old masters.  Simon Schama paints Rembrandt as a prankster.  We’ll uncover the political...Read more

an old bible

Who doesn’t love a good book? We all know a great novel can change the way we see the world, but what about the way we treat each other? This week, we explore the benefits of reading fiction, and find out if it makes us more moral.

And if you're wondering if movies can make us more...Read more

To The Best Of Our Knowledge

You’re part of the “Freedom Movement,” - a group of anti-globalization anarchists.  You’re blowing up security stations to fight “The Corporation.” Sounds like a scene out of Seattle during the World Trade Organization protests of a few years ago, doesn’t it?  But it’s not.  It’s...Read more

burning book

What's the hot new thing in fiction? Fire! Today, novelists Jesse Ball and Joe Hill talk about their incendiary new fiction. And we meet a pyromaniac-turned-firefighter who can really light up a page. Join us for an hour of flammable fiction.Read more

News From Poems

For National Poetry Month, To The Best Of Our Knowledge celebrated poetry with original work by five leading American poets, written in response to current events.Read more

To The Best Of Our Knowledge

Hillary Clinton once described herself as a "Rorschach test." People see in her what they want, whether they love her or hate her. In this hour of To the Best Of Our Knowledge we'll talk about the complicated feelings many women have about Hillary, her marriage to Bill, and whether it's possible...Read more

the road in the middle

Do you ever get the feeling that everyone's reading all the same books and listening to all the same music, and seeing all the same films?   Maybe there's a reason why.  New York and Los Angeles account for only a fraction of landmass when it comes to the continental United States...Read more

To The Best Of Our Knowledge

"Every time a bell rings, an Angel gets its wings." At this time of year you're likely to hear that line over and over again, as Jimmy Stewart plows through "It's a Wonderful Life." But he's not the only one who's seen an angel - in or out of the movies. In this hour of To the Best of Our...Read more

To The Best Of Our Knowledge

Is it any wonder boys don’t read?  Too often they’re assigned the books their female teachers loved.  In this hour of To the Best of Our Knowledge, the man behind the GuysRead website says forget “Little House on the Prairie” and bring on Stinky Cheese Man!  And we’ll hear what happened when the...Read more

To The Best Of Our Knowledge

There’s no English translation for the Dutch word “Gezellig."

Are there things that can never be understood, expressed or experienced outside their home culture?

We’re wandering the unmarked maps of cultural translation!Read more

To The Best Of Our Knowledge

Do you get eight hours of sleep a night?  If not, join the millions of sleep-deprived Americans stumbling through life half-awake.  Scientists say our national sleep debt may be behind the epidemics of diabetes and obesity – maybe even cancer.  In this hour of To the Best of Our...Read more

To The Best Of Our Knowledge

Say you’re in Vegas playing high-stakes poker.  You haven’t slept in days.  To make matters worse, you’re being stared down by two of the best poker players in the world.  And...you’re bluffing.  So, you bet it all to bring the pot to well over a million dollars.  In this hour of To the Best of...Read more

To The Best Of Our Knowledge

Sure you get to throw a great party and drink lots of champagne, but once the celebration’s over the grueling work of marriage begins.  It’s hard to believe in the fairy tale any more with so many divorces.  If Cinderella were around today, she might just shack up with Prince Charming and keep...Read more

Pages