Please Explain from WNYC New York Public Radio

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From WNYC, New York Public Radio: Please Explain, where Leonard Lopate and a guest get to the bottom of one complex issue. History, science, politics, pop culture or anything that needs some explanation!More from Please Explain from WNYC New York Public Radio »

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The Secrets of Ramen

Ivan Orkin knows his Ramen. His restaurants have been named one of the ten best by Pete Wells at The New York Times, and Ryan Sutton wrote in Eater that his Ramen is so good "it will make your eyes explode." He talks to us about his secrets for making Ramen, along with Chris Ying, co-author of the book Ivan Ramen with Orkin, and editor in chief of Lucky Peach (subscribe here).

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The Fats and Oils That Give You the Perfect Meal

For today's Please Explain, we'll talk cooking with fats and oils. Picking the right cooking oil is crucial when cooking, and oils vary in their health properties. As delicious as that coconut oil or schmaltz is, it might not be the best for your body. Daniel Gritzer, culinary director at Serious Eats, discusses which oil or fat is best for which purpose, from pie crusts, to roasting, to sautéing, to cooking a steak. He'll explain what a smoke point is and why it differs between fats, the particulars of frying, how to render fats and how to store them. Rebecca Blake, Director of Clinical Nutrition at Mount Sinai Beth Israel, will cover the nutrition component, explaining which oils and fats ones are better for you and why.

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From Fast Food to Foie Gras: The Rise of the Burger

The hamburger used to be the symbol, and cornerstone, of fast food, and all the ills associated with it. But as the movement for fresh, organic, locally sourced food rose, so did the lowly hamburger. For this week's Please Explain, we are talking all about the history, and the future, of the hamburger, with Benjamin Wallace, the author of "The Play-Doh of Meats" in the June 1-7 issue of New York Magazine, and Pat LaFrieda, of Pat LaFrieda Meat Purveyers. Adam Kaye, Vice President of Culinary Affairs at Blue Hill, also joins us to talk about the red-headed stepchild of the burger family: the veggie burger. Do you have a favorite burger recipe or secret tip you want to share with us? An opinion on where to find the perfect burger? Leave us a comment below or call us at 212-433-9692 after 1:20 PM EST

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Unclipping The History Behind Our Office Supplies

Office supplies. Cluttered around your desk, holding notes and lists, they seem not only indispensable, but universal. But there is a hidden history behind the sticky note, the stapler, and the paper clip. James Ward, the cofounder of The Stationery Club and the Boring Conference, discusses the stories behind our everyday office supplies in The Perfection of the Paper Clip: Curious Tales of Invention, Accidental Genius, and Stationery Obsession. Leonard's in studio paper clip collection! Today's please explain is about office supplies. Tweet us your photos! pic.twitter.com/BZMwOuxpZj — Leonard Lopate (@LeonardLopate) May 29, 2015 @LeonardLopate Here's my desk drawer dedicated to filled notebooks. Just can't bear to part with them. pic.twitter.com/qF5iQsxPHa — Katherine Milsop (@KMilsop) May 29, 2015 @LeonardLopate @WNYC @iamjamesward i sort my paperclips by size pic.twitter.com/eL5L8kJxfB — Tara Hart (@Tara_Hart28) May 29, 2015 @LeonardLopate pic.twitter.com/WIha0GDgN7 — MJfromBuffalo (@mjfrombuffalo) May 29, 2015

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Understanding Cults

Cults have been around for thousands of years, and they exist throughout the world, but when news reports break about a cult, it often seems like they have sprung up out of nowhere. For this week's Please Explain, we will be examining the world of cults. Ian Haworth of the Cult Information Centre and Dr. Steve K.D. Eichel, president of the International Cultic Studies Association discuss what a cult is, why people join them and how to exit one.

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From Lobo to Fido: The Story of Domestication

Evolution is commonly seen as a process that happens in the wild, far away from human involvement. But humans and animals have evolved alongside each other for ages. The reason your dog understands you so well is largely due to evolution, and specifically the evolution of domestication. For this week's Please Explain, we turn our lens on the science of domestication with Richard Francis, the author of Domesticated: Evolution in a Man-Made World.

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The Human Threats to The Livelihood of Birds

Please Explain this week is all about birds: how human activity is driving several species to extinction, and what some people are doing to try and change that. Douglas Kass and Roger Kass, directors of the film Emptying the Skies, discuss the fate of many migrating birds today. Not only is development and construction stressing these populations, but illegal bird poaching in Cyprus and France accounts for millions of bird deaths. The film profiles a group of activists who go to these poaching areas, releasing caught birds and destroying traps. The directors are joined by Tom Auer, Conservation Data Specialist at National Audubon Society.

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Neil deGrasse Tyson Gives Dark Matter a New Name: 'Fred'

Astrophysicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson joins us for Please Explain: The Cosmos! Most recently, he's the host of National Geographic Channel's first-ever late-night series, StarTalk. Based on Tyson's incredibly popular podcast of the same name, the new series will bridge the intersection between pop culture and science as it brings together celebrities, comedians and scientists to discuss the latest developments in our vast universe. The show is filmed at the American Museum of Natural History's Hayden Planetarium, where Tyson serves as director.

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The Sweet Adelines and The Lustre Quartet Explain The Barbershop Quartet!

Members of The Sweet Adelines and the Lustre Quartet join us for this week's Please Explain, which is all about barbershop quartets! Peggy Gram joined The Sweet Adelines, the women's barbershop organization, in her teens, and is a 50-year member of the group. Jennifer Harris, Kathryn Morrical, Lori Crouter, and Lori Dreyer formed the Lustre Quartet in 2005, and have been a top-10 international quartet since 2012. They will be joined by Gage Averill, an ethnomusicologist and Dean of Arts at the University of British Columbia. He's also the author of Four Parts, No Waiting: A Social History of American Barbershop Quartet. Soundchecking the Lustre Quartet for today's Please Explain on barbershop music! Posted by Leonard Lopate on Friday, April 10, 2015

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The Conservation Efforts Trying to Keep Frogs From Going Extinct

In 2009, a frog was discovered in a rain forest in Ecuador that changed its skin texture from smooth to spiky, and in 2014, a new species of frog was found in Staten Island. These amphibians continue to surprise scientists, yet many species have also been going extinct for decades. For today's Please Explain, we learn about the world of frogs, with Robin Moore, an award-winning photographer, a Senior Fellow of the International League of Conservation Photographers, and an advocate with the Amphibian Survival Alliance.

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