Science and Technology

A push of the clock

Dan Pink has written several books about motivation, work and behavior. His most recent, called “When,” is all about timing. He says people facing an ending seems to push people in new directions.More

The Len-Der, our boat for the Milwaukee River

Milwaukee historian John Gurda takes us on a boat ride down the Milwaukee River as we learn how the city nearly lost its river, and what Milwaukee is now doing to preserve it.More

(Left to Right) Steve talks with Jenny Kehl and Dan Egan.

Journalist Dan Egan and political economist Jenny Kehl talk Steve Paulson through the finer points of the politics of water - from debates over water diversion to the struggle to keep the Great Lakes uncontaminated.More

(Left to Right) Anne speaks with Venice Williams, executive director of the Alice's Garden urban farming project.

The spiritual component of water is hard to ignore. That's part of why Venice Williams refers to Alice's Garden as her parish.More

The forest organism

Suzanne Simard is a forest ecologist who's revolutionizing our understanding of trees. She has discovered that trees use underground networks to communicate and cooperate with each other. It turns out that whole forests can exist as a superorganism.More

That Tree in April 2017

Mark Hirsch took 365 photos — one a day for a year — of a single Bur oak tree. The project changed his life.More

General Sherman, AKA Karl Marx

There's a famous sequoia named General Sherman that's the biggest tree on the planet. It has its own distinctive history linked to the Civil War general and a radical anarchist group. Cultural historian Daegan Miller tells this fascinating story.More

It's one thing to imagine the intelligence of a forest, but could you experience it? The Japanese concept of "forest bathing" might help. Forest guide Amos Clifford is a former Zen teacher who's one of the world's experts on forest bathing.More

Tree

Richard Powers’ “The Overstory” is overturning a lot of conventional thinking. It’s been called “visionary” and “monumental.” And though human characters shape the plot of this 500-page epic, the real heroes are trees.More

Getting a good night's sleep is hard for a lot of people, but imagine trying to drift off when you have terrifying hallucinations.More

Kerepunu women at the marketplace of Kalo, British New Guinea, 1885

A conversation with renowned biologist Jared Diamond, best known for his Pulitzer Prize-winning book “Guns, Germs and Steel.” His new book is “The World Until Yesterday: What Can We Learn from Traditional Societies?”More

You'd never think a book about chopping and burning wood would turn into a runaway bestseller, but Lars Mytting's "Norwegian Wood" is a publishing sensation in Scandinavia. Lars gathers the collected wisdom on everything from how to build a smokeless fire to the art of choosing a husband based on his wood pile.More

Botanist Robin Kimmerer describes her field experiments as like interviewing a plant. She believes nature is full of living beings - rocks and water as well as plants and animals. As both a Ph.D biologist and a member of the Potawatomi Naiton, she's trying to reconcile modern science with the wisdom of her Native elders.More

Wade Davis has been called the Indiana Jones of anthropology. He's traveled deep into the Amazon rain forest to meet shamans; he's investigated Haitian zombies; he's climbed high into the Tibetan mountains to photograph snow leopards. He says indigenous people have a fundamentally different way of seeing the world than we do in modern society.More

Africa needs to reclaim its history and its technology, says Clapperton Mavhunga, a native of Zimbabwe who's a professor in MIT's Program in Science, Technology and Society. He says the traditional hunt is a great example of how Africans have passed on generations of knowledge.More

Octopus

Philosopher Peter Godfrey-Smith says the octopus is "probably the closest we will come to meeting an intelligent alien.” It has no bones and most of its neurons are in its arms — not its brain. Can we ever fathom octopus consciousness?More

Gorilla

Elena Passarello created “Koko” from the one-thousand word vocabulary of a gorilla who uses sign language. Her book is "Animals Strike Curious Poses."More

Birdle

Helen Macdonald's book "H is for Hawk" turned her goshawk Mabel into one of the most memorable literary characters of recent years. Mabel is no longer with her, but Helen now has a new avian companion — an ornery and very smart parrot.More

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