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To The Best Of Our Knowledge

Author: Wisconsin Public Radio

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”To the Best of Our Knowledge” is a Peabody award-winning national public radio show that explores big ideas and beautiful questions. Deep interviews with philosophers, writers, artists, scientists, historians, and others help listeners find new sources of meaning, purpose, and wonder in daily life. Whether it’s about bees, poetry, skin, or psychedelics, every episode is an intimate, sound-rich journey into open-minded, open-hearted conversations. Warm and engaging, TTBOOK helps listeners feel less alone and more connected – to our common humanity and to the world we share. For more from the TTBOOK team, visit us at ttbook.org.
177 Episodes
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Our lives are so rushed, so busy. Always on the clock. Counting the hours, minutes, seconds. Have you ever stopped to wonder: what are you counting? What is this thing, that’s all around us, invisible, inescapable, always running out? What is time?Original Air Date: November 18, 2023Interviews In This Hour: Time, loss and the Big Bang — Finding solace in the vastness of space — Carlo Rovelli's white holes, where time dissolvesGuests: Marcelo Gleiser, Marjolijn van Heemstra, Carlo RovelliNever want to miss an episode? Subscribe to the podcast.Want to hear more from us, including extended interviews and favorites from the archive? Subscribe to our newsletter.
Most Americans take their sovereignty for granted - the nation’s right to make its own laws and govern its own people. The same rights we recognize in other sovereign nations, with one glaring exception — the Native nations and tribes who were here first. For Native Americans, sovereignty is not some abstract idea. It’s an ongoing, daily struggle. Original Air Date: July 13, 2024Interviews In This Hour: The battle over tribal rights in Bad River — Quannah ChasingHorse’s two worlds – Native activist and supermodel — Are Indian casinos the key to tribal sovereignty? — No more Native American 'trauma porn'Guests: Mary Mazzio, Quannah ChasingHorse, Steven Andrew Light, David TreuerNever want to miss an episode? Subscribe to the podcast.Want to hear more from us, including extended interviews and favorites from the archive? Subscribe to our newsletter.Categories: tribal sovereignty, sovereignty, native american, land, land back
It’s easy to get caught up in the hype about how psychedelics might revolutionize the treatment of mental illness. But there are also lots of ethical concerns. And probably none are so troubling as the charges of exploitation and cultural appropriation. The fact is, the knowledge about many psychedelics — like magic mushrooms and ayahuasca — comes from the sacred ceremonies of Indigenous cultures. But over the past century, Western scientists and pharmaceutical companies have been going into these cultures, collecting plants and synthesizing their chemical compounds.Even if science is all about building on the knowledge of earlier discoveries, what is the psychedelic industry's ethical responsibility? Can psychedelics be decolonized?Original Air Date: October 21, 2023Interviews In This Hour: The Tragic Story of Maria Sabina's Sacred Mushrooms — Empowering Indigenous voices in the psychedelic industry — The long history of psychedelic theft — Spirit Medicine: Yuria Celidwen's vision for an ethical psychedelicsGuests: Michael Pollan, Dennis McKenna, Erika Dyck, Katherine MacLean, Sutton King, Rachel Fernandez, Lucas Richert, Yuria CelidwenNever want to miss an episode? Subscribe to the podcast.Want to hear more from us, including extended interviews and favorites from the archive? Subscribe to our newsletter.
Against Capitalism

Against Capitalism

2024-06-2953:23

Radical politics and radical movements are on the rise everywhere. Against racial violence, and climate change; against gender inequality, corporate greed, low wages, oil pipelines, opioids.  Maybe at heart they all have a common cause.  Maybe they're all — in one way or another — a rebellion against capitalism.Original Air Date: February 11, 2023Interviews In This Hour: The Communist Manifesto still inspires — The radical philosopher mapping the crises of capitalism — Are we living through a 'hinge point' moment?Guests: China Miéville, Nancy FraserNever want to miss an episode? Subscribe to the podcast.Want to hear more from us, including extended interviews and favorites from the archive? Subscribe to our newsletter.
Jim Thorpe was one of the greatest athletes the world has ever known — a legend in the NFL, MLB, NCAA, and in the Olympics. Today he is being celebrated by a new generation of Native Americans.  Rapper Tall Paul’s album is called, “The Story of Jim Thorpe." Tall Paul is an Anishinaabe and Oneida Hip-Hop artist enrolled on the Leech Lake reservation in Minnesota.  Biographer David Maraniss is the author of "Path Lit by Lightning: The Life of Jim Thorpe." Activist Suzan Shown Harjo is the recipient of a 2014 Presidential Medal of Freedom. She is Cheyenne and Hodulgee Muscogee. Patty Loew is the director of the Center for Native American and Indigenous Research at Northwestern University. She is a member of the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Ojibwe. Special thanks to Robert W. Wheeler and the Smithsonian for archival audio.Original Air Date: January 14, 2023Interviews In This Hour: Was Jim Thorpe the greatest athlete who ever lived? — The white man's trophy — A hero who looks like me — Indigenous excellence: Hip hop and the legacy of Jim ThorpeGuests: Tall Paul, Suzan Shown Harjo, Patty Loew, David MaranissNever want to miss an episode? Subscribe to the podcast.Want to hear more from us, including extended interviews and favorites from the archive? Subscribe to our newsletter.
In Journalism We Trust

In Journalism We Trust

2024-06-1553:24

Americans used to believe that news anchors were basically reporting the truth. But in recent years, trust in journalism has largely evaporated. And that’s not an accident as the news media have been weaponized. So what can journalists do to regain the public trust?Original Air Date: June 15, 2024Interviews In This Hour: Journalist Ezra Klein on podcasting, pundits and when to take yourself out of the news — Reclaiming journalism in a fast-changing media landscape — How a hyperlocal newsletter is redefining the ‘news’Guests: Ezra Klein, Deborah Blum, Rob GurwittNever want to miss an episode? Subscribe to the podcast.Want to hear more from us, including extended interviews and favorites from the archive? Subscribe to our newsletter.
The human brain is naturally mathematical. But there’s one particular kind of math people have surprisingly strong feelings about — geometry. It's the secret sauce of mathematics — different from everything else, and applicable to everything from gerrymandering to human evolution to romance novels. Original Air Date: May 28, 2022Interviews In This Hour: The 14th dimension, AI that writes romance novels, and other things explained by geometry — Did shapes make us human?Guests: Jordan Ellenberg, Stanislas DehaeneNever want to miss an episode? Subscribe to the podcast.Want to hear more from us, including extended interviews and favorites from the archive? Subscribe to our newsletter.
Avian Obsessions

Avian Obsessions

2024-06-0153:21

It’s summer, and you might be pulling out your binoculars, filling your bird feeders, and looking up as you hear a melodious song. But for many birdwatchers, it's not just a simple pastime. Identifying bird calls, tracking rare breeds through marshes and waters, and watching our feathered friends as they watch you has turned into true love of birds — an avian obsession.Original Air Date: June 17, 2023Interviews In This Hour: 'Utterly unlike other birds': The inscrutable brilliance of owls — Mark Obmascik on Competitive Bird Watching — The Indelible Myth and Meaning of Ravens — Christopher Benfey on 'A Summer of Hummingbirds'Guests: Jennifer Ackerman, Mark Obmascik, Charles Monroe-Kane, Christopher BenfeyNever want to miss an episode? Subscribe to the podcast.Want to hear more from us, including extended interviews and favorites from the archive? Subscribe to our newsletter.
Tasting the Past

Tasting the Past

2024-05-2552:422

Maybe it’s your grandmother’s cinnamon cookies, the garlicky tomato sauce your spouse cooked when you were first dating, or the chicken noodle soup you made every week when your kids were little. The sights, smells and tastes of certain foods can instantly remind us of a person or transport us back to a certain time in our lives. In this episode, we’ll meet kitchen ghosts from Kentucky, hear how religion and food are intertwined, and talk about how flavor evokes emotion – from grief to joy.Original Air Date: May 25, 2024Interviews In This Hour: The comfort and community of ancestral food — Slow down and take a 'flavor trip' — The perfect french fries of Kewaunee, Wisconsin — The surprising intersections of food and faithGuests: Crystal Wilkinson, Aimee Nezhukumatathil, Christina Ward, Joe HardtkeNever want to miss an episode? Subscribe to the podcast.Want to hear more from us, including extended interviews and favorites from the archive? Subscribe to our newsletter.
Being Body Conscious

Being Body Conscious

2024-05-1853:28

When you look at your body in the mirror, do you love what you see? Do you pick out the things you don’t like? Maybe you’ve heard of body positivity. But what if we just felt neutral about our bodies? In this episode, we talk about our bodies — how we move through the world in these fleshy vessels, how it feels to exist in our bodies in a world that asks so much from them. How do we live full and embodied lives?Original Air Date: September 30, 2023Interviews In This Hour: Finding Peace in Neutrality: Jessi Kneeland on Rethinking Body Positivity — The Body Speaks: Rae Johnson on Reconnecting with Ourselves to Transform Society — Multiple Identities, One Body: Sami Schalk Discusses Black Disability PoliticsGuests: Jessi Kneeland, Rae Johnson, Sami SchalkNever want to miss an episode? Subscribe to the podcast.Want to hear more from us, including extended interviews and favorites from the archive? Subscribe to our newsletter.
For The Love Of Moms

For The Love Of Moms

2024-05-1152:47

We celebrate Mother's Day with a collection of stories from our archives, by and about moms. Stories about care and about courage — about the work of mothering. Original Air Date: May 13, 2023 Guests: Stephanie Land, Eula Biss, Jacqueline Horner Plumez, Amanda Henry, Ayelet Waldman
Reframing the Portrait

Reframing the Portrait

2024-05-0452:30

Before family photos, or school pictures or Instagram, there were hand-drawn and painted portraits. Throughout the ages, portrait artists have captured expressions and personalities on canvas or paper, and those who view the picture interpret this “likeness” in their own way. We talk with a philosopher, a musician and a novelist about the role of portraits through history, and how we see ourselves —and others — through these deeply personal images. Original Air Date: September 23, 2023 Guests:  Peter Brathwaite, Maggie O'Farrell, Steven Nadler, Thijs Gerbrandy, Norbert Middelkoop
Giving Up

Giving Up

2024-04-2752:42

We get the message before we’re out of training pants – when the going gets tough, look on the bright side, make lemonade out of lemons and just do it. We’re gonna consider the exact opposite – the wisdom of giving up and letting go. Because sometimes, the strongest and most courageous thing you can do is walk away. Original Air Date: April 27, 2024 Interviews In This Hour: The power and boundary-breaking of fasting — How do we know when to call it quits? — Escaping the tyranny of certainty Guests: John Oakes, Adam Phillips, Maggie Jackson Never want to miss an episode? Subscribe to the podcast. Want to hear more from us, including extended interviews and favorites from the archive? Subscribe to our newsletter.
Are you ready to think in centuries instead of seconds? Eons instead of hours? It’s time to make thousand-year plans and appreciate how Earth keeps time.  Original Air Date: August 19, 2023 Interviews In This Hour: Shifting your mind to 'geologic' time — Discovering the wonders of ancient cave art — Making art inspired by the ancestors Guests: Marcia Bjornerud, Stephen Alvarez, Dustin Illetewahke Mater Never want to miss an episode? Subscribe to the podcast. Want to hear more from us, including extended interviews and favorites from the archive? Subscribe to our newsletter.
Can neuroscience explain what happens to the brain on psychedelics? And even if we map the brain while it’s tripping, does that tell us why these experiences can be so transformative?  We’ll talk with some of the pioneers in psychedelic research — from Amanda Feilding’s boundary-busting work to Robin Carhart-Harris’ theory of the "entropic brain." Also, renowned neuroscientist Christof Koch goes down the rabbit hole on 5-MeO-DMT, also known as toad venom.   Original Air Date: July 15, 2023 Interviews In This Hour: Exploring consciousness on toad venom — The godmother of the European psychedelic revival — How therapeutic psilocybin could help heal long-buried trauma — Magic mushrooms and the 'entropic brain' Guests: Christof Koch, Amanda Feilding, David Nutt, Robin Carhart-Harris Never want to miss an episode? Subscribe to the podcast. Want to hear more from us, including extended interviews and favorites from the archive? Subscribe to our newsletter.
From our narrow vantage point on Earth, how can we see what's out there, beyond our skies? We look to how scientists and scholars have studied eclipses, dark matter, deep-space transmissions from intelligent life and more, all in the hopes of painting a clearer picture of a vast and invisible universe. Original Air Date: August 19, 2017 Interviews In This Hour: How Eclipse Chasing Inspires Generations of Scientists — How Do We Investigate The Invisible Parts of the Universe? — Search For Life In All The Wrong Places — What Can You Hear In Space? — The Universe Is Under No Obligation To Make Sense To Us Guests: David Baron, Priya Natarajan, Seth Shostak, Don Gurnett, Neil deGrasse Tyson Further Reading: NASA: 2024 Eclipse Explorer Never want to miss an episode? Subscribe to the podcast. Want to hear more from us, including extended interviews and favorites from the archive? Subscribe to our newsletter.
Does AI dream?

Does AI dream?

2024-03-3052:36

AI can do amazing things – write your term papers, sequence your genes, maybe replace your therapist. But even super-intelligence has limits. So, does AI really have a mind — or a soul? We'll explore the frontiers of artificial intelligence — from robots painting masterpieces to software engineers trying to create god-like machines. Original Air Date: March 30, 2024 Interviews In This Hour: Stop worrying about deepfakes — Does AI have a soul? — Can robots paint a masterpiece? Guests: Walter Scheirer, Meghan O’Gieblyn, Sougwen 愫君 Chung Never want to miss an episode? Subscribe to the podcast. Want to hear more from us, including extended interviews and favorites from the archive? Subscribe to our newsletter.
Let's Celebrate Crying

Let's Celebrate Crying

2024-03-2352:331

We all feel better after a good cry. In fact, humans are the only animals who cry emotional tears. But what about people who don't cry? And have you ever wondered why a sad song or movie makes you cry? Original Air Date: August 05, 2023 Interviews In This Hour: Hip-hop artist Dxtr Spits on teaching men to cry — The evolution and neuroscience of tears — What happens when an actor cries Guests: Dxtr Spits, Michael Trimble, Jen Plants Never want to miss an episode? Subscribe to the podcast. Want to hear more from us, including extended interviews and favorites from the archive? Subscribe to our newsletter.
Taking Pop Seriously

Taking Pop Seriously

2024-03-1652:26

Pop music is a gazillion-dollar industry that churns out hits and creates celebrities. It seems like the definition of ephemeral – today’s chart topper is gone tomorrow. But pop music is a powerful vehicle for bringing people together, and fans - from K-pop to the #FreeBritney movement — have something to teach us about community and hope. Original Air Date: March 26, 2022 Interviews In This Hour: When we're disconnected, can we reconnect through K-pop? — From pop to punk: Shaping our musical identities — How a fan movement freed a pop star from her gilded cage Guests: Regina Kim, Kyla Nicole, Kelefa Sanneh, Samantha Stark Never want to miss an episode? Subscribe to the podcast. Want to hear more from us, including extended interviews and favorites from the archive? Subscribe to our newsletter.
One Nation Under God?

One Nation Under God?

2024-03-0952:063

In 2020, Donald Trump won 84 percent of the white evangelical vote.). Lately, he’s been leaning even more deeply into the rhetoric of Christian nationalists. Who are they, and what’s their role in the evangelical church? We talk with some Southern Baptists today, whose views may surprise you. Original Air Date: March 09, 2024 Interviews In This Hour: The 'simmering violence' of Donald Trump and Christian nationalism — Examining the Role of Southern Baptist Women — Why One Black Pastor Left the Southern Baptists Guests: Jeff Sharlet, Beth Allison Barr, John Onwuchekwa Never want to miss an episode? Subscribe to the podcast. Want to hear more from us, including extended interviews and favorites from the archive? Subscribe to our newsletter.
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Comments (27)

Jenny Mummert

This is fascinating and helpful.

Apr 9th
Reply

DA Morales

excellent discussion on serious aspects of mathematics

Jun 16th
Reply

Leo Van Doorn

You lost me at, "This is what the nazis must have felt like", when talking about killing chickens.

Jun 14th
Reply

BC

Cinderella chopped her stepmother's head off? Wild.

May 3rd
Reply (1)

Paul Clancy

Excellent podcast. Good ideas for me. Thank 3

Apr 11th
Reply

BC

Lineas? what were you smoking.

Feb 21st
Reply

BC

I think queer people wouldn't choose to be straight, they would choose to avoid the persecution and bullying and threat of violence that comes with being visibly queer.

Feb 15th
Reply

BC

That's true, Colin Kaepernick still isn't playing for the NFL

Nov 8th
Reply

BC

Smh they didn't even mention Fullmetal Alchemist

Sep 19th
Reply

BC

very informative.

Jul 15th
Reply

Aydin Kocabas

you are the best podcast, i have been listening for years, greetings from Turkey

May 24th
Reply

BC

I wasn't paying much attention in the beginning, is this a rebroadcast?

Apr 15th
Reply (1)

BC

the govermne t would be able to buy things if you paid your fucking taxes mr billionaire

Dec 12th
Reply (1)

BC

This episode is thought-provoking in that it makes you consider different perspectives on what kind of help you decide to give people. I think what I've learned is that it's always better to offer help than just helping when it's unnecessary.

Dec 12th
Reply (1)

Inna S

This podcast deserves more attention and love from everyone. It's a good as radiolab or even better!

May 11th
Reply

Armin Halilovic

I wish the hosts didn't use so much vocal fry. Once you notice it you can't unnotice it, and then it's all you hear. It's a coastal liberal affectation

Apr 19th
Reply (4)

orianna syed

My boyfriend has been dealing with depression for a long time. It definitely hurts to see him in this condition. He has tried many medicines and many psychologists and it just seems the depression won’t go away. He has mentioned ayahuasca before and I all for it. I am all for supporting him and doing what I can To see his happiness again.

Feb 7th
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Jamie Barrios

I am wondering why the producers chose to put such emotionally affecting music as a background to Anand Giridharadas' speech. Do you want to maximize his impact by adding music composed by someone else? shouldn't his ideas be allowed to stand alone without that artificial aid? I see this in documentaries a lot and it feels manipulative because we barely notice it but it is so powerful.

Jan 25th
Reply

Jones

Came across this show in my 'suggestions' feed. It didn't really seem like something I'd normally listen to but the stories are actually pretty interesting. Each episode offers different accounts from people of different backgrounds surrounding whatever theme they are discussing. I think, so far at least, the ideologies expressed and represented are a little one sided. But, it's not presented in a way that it feels that a particular narrative is being forced upon you since the hosts remain mostly neutral and just let the guests tell their stories from their own point of view. It actually reminds me a lot of This American Life. I'd definitely suggest giving it a listen.

Jun 10th
Reply