To The Best Of Our Knowledge "To The Best of Our Knowledge" is a nationally-syndicated radio show that cracks open the world and ideas that fuel its engine. "TTBOOK" usually produce two hours a week, each revolving around a theme. Once we pick the theme, we dig in with interviews that explore the culture, the debate, the stories, the science and the actual sound of it all. And hopefully, when we're done, we've animated the questions along with the answers.
To The Best Of Our Knowledge

To The Best Of Our Knowledge

From Wisconsin Public Radio

"To The Best of Our Knowledge" is a nationally-syndicated radio show that cracks open the world and ideas that fuel its engine. "TTBOOK" usually produce two hours a week, each revolving around a theme. Once we pick the theme, we dig in with interviews that explore the culture, the debate, the stories, the science and the actual sound of it all. And hopefully, when we're done, we've animated the questions along with the answers.More from To The Best Of Our Knowledge »

Most Recent Episodes

The Secret Language of Trees [Rebroadcast]

Using a complex network of chemical signals, trees talk to each other and form alliances with fellow trees, even other species. In fact, whole forests exist as a kind of superorganism. And some trees are incredibly old. Did you know a single bristlecone pine can live up to 6,000 years? And the root mass of aspens might live 100,000 years? We explore the science and history of trees and talk with Richard Powers about his epic novel "The Overstory." Guests: Mark Hirsch, Richard Powers, Suzanne Simard, Amos Clifford, Daegan Miller

Giving Is Complicated

Even the most welcome gift can spark guilt, resentment, obligation or vulnerability. We can be inspired by the generosity of others, or unsettled by uncertainty of how to say thank you, or whether an especially generous gift comes with strings attached. This hour, unwrapping the tangled emotions behind giving — and getting. Guests: Megan Costello, Haddyr Copley-Woods, David Graeber, Anand Giridharadas, Elizabeth Dunn

Is Anger Useful?

We've been taught to ignore, stifle, or just get over anger for many years — but what if we embraced it? It seems like most of us are feeling angry these days. But what if we took that emotion and instead of letting it eat us up, used it as fuel to do something, to actually help us feel better? Could anger be a useful emotion? Guests: Rebecca Traister, Cristen Conger, Caroline Ervin, Richard Davidson, Alice Walker

Religion Without Doctrine

What's the essence of religion? God? Scripture? Moral codes? Or is it really about something more mysterious and unexplainable? In this hour, we explore the roots of religion — religion before it's even called "religion." Because if you strip away all the doctrine, the dogma, the rules for how to live — what's left are primal spiritual experiences. But what do they tell us about ourselves and our world? Guests: Elizabeth Krohn, Jeff Kripal, Elaine Pagels, Jericho Brown

We've Had 30 Years Of Prozac. Why Are We Still Depressed? [Rebroadcast]

Modern anti-depressants have saved a lot of minds. And lives. But our 30-year experiment with modern anti-depressants is taking a toll. What have they done to our bodies? And how do we navigate that trade-off between body and mind? Is it clear that they even work? There are a lot of us who struggle with mood disorders or mental illness of one sort or another. If you do, we here at TTBOOK want you to know that you're not alone. If you're looking for more in-depth knowledge on what you might be going through, the National Alliance on Mental Illness is an incredible resource. And if you just need something to elevate your spirit, check out the playlist that Charles made at the bottom of this page. It's packed with the music he listens to when he's down and needs a lift. Not a fake happy song kind of lift – something honest but also hopeful. **WARNING: The conversation with Lauren Slater in this show features frank discussion of depression and self-harm. The audio doesn't contain a trigger warning, but for listeners who may be sensitive to discussion of suicide, please consider listening to other interviews on the show separately, or skipping this episode. Guests: Lauren Slater, Charles Raison, Anna Fels, Jaime Lowe

Writing Truth and Lies

We all tell stories about our lives: funny stories, happy stories, sad stories. But are they true stories? In an age of "alternative facts" and "fake news," we're all thinking harder about why truth matters – not just in politics, but in our personal lives. A biographer, a poet, a memoirist and a filmmaker describe the moral struggle and personal cost involved in telling not just the truth, but the whole truth. *Guests: *Caroline Fraser, Terese Marie Mailhot, Karl Ove Knausgaard, Errol Morris

Building A Better Ballot Box

How do we put the fairness and the fun back in American elections? In this hour, we present a few simple ideas for how to remake the electoral process. Some are small tweaks — like mandatory voting — that could make the whole system run more smoothly: Others may sound a little crazy, like letting 10-year-olds vote. Or creating a marketplace where people buy, sell and trade their votes. Or making election day a national holiday, with parades. And cake. **Guests: **Carol Anderson, Jason Brennan, Pippa Norris, E. Glen Weyl, Jonathan Bernstein, Eric Liu

Even Stranger Things [Rebroadcast]

Did you know that the U.S. military has a long history of working with psychics to try to discover enemy secrets? We examine this history and take a deep dive into the paranormal. Guests: Joe McMoneagle, Annie Jacobson, Marge Bradley, Paul Selig, Tanya Luhrmann, Michael Shermer, Tiya Miles

Discovering America's Black DNA [Rebroadcast]

DNA tests are uncovering mixed bloodlines. For African Americans, this can be emotionally-charged. What do you do when you find out one of your direct ancestors was a slave owner? Does it open the door to new conversations about racial justice? Guests: Alex Gee, Erin Hoag, Annette Gordon-Reed, Anita Foeman

Pick Your Poison

Covert spies painting nerve agents on doorknobs? It's not the only way to poison someone. We hear stories of radioactive paint, formaldehyde-spiked baby formula, and a beautiful garden full of plants that could kill you. Guests: Deborah Blum, Kathryn Harkup, Amy Stewart, Kate Moore

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