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Nerdette

Updated 9 days ago

Arts
Society & Culture
Books
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Interviews with your favorite (or soon-to-be favorite) authors, artists, astronauts and more. From WBEZ.

Read more

Interviews with your favorite (or soon-to-be favorite) authors, artists, astronauts and more. From WBEZ.

iTunes Ratings

1108 Ratings
Average Ratings
969
106
14
11
8

Nerds unite.

By Boomnyrcar - Jun 12 2019
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Thank you Peter Sagal and GOT for showing me this podcast.

Nerdette’s the best

By tech editor - Jun 05 2019
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Always interesting and enlightening.

iTunes Ratings

1108 Ratings
Average Ratings
969
106
14
11
8

Nerds unite.

By Boomnyrcar - Jun 12 2019
Read more
Thank you Peter Sagal and GOT for showing me this podcast.

Nerdette’s the best

By tech editor - Jun 05 2019
Read more
Always interesting and enlightening.

Listen to:

Cover image of Nerdette

Nerdette

Updated 9 days ago

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Interviews with your favorite (or soon-to-be favorite) authors, artists, astronauts and more. From WBEZ.

Tom Hanks And Typewriters: A Love Story

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Tom Hanks is a little obsessed with typewriters. So when we put the Academy Award-winning actor in front of a pre-WWII Underwood Champion, he gave Nerdette hosts Tricia Bobeda and Greta Johnsen an impromptu master class on the machines he calls “self-contained printing presses with which you can change the world.”

Want to support this show and get a sweet Nerdette mug and/or notebook as a thank you gift? Go to https://wbez.org/nerdalert

Jan 27 2017

25mins

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Felicia Day On Being Weird, Hard Work And Women In Hollywood

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In this recording of a live event in Chicago, actress, gamer and internet royalty Felicia Day talks about being a weird kid, the importance of hard work, and how women can take over Hollywood. She's the author of a new memoir called You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost).

Find Nerdette via iTunes | RSS | Facebook | Twitter | Tumblr

Like Game of Thrones? Check out our other podcast: Nerdette Recaps Game of Thrones with Peter Sagal.

May 20 2016

32mins

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Roxane Gay on being a 'Bad Feminist'

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Roxane Gay is the author of the fantastic book of essays 'Bad Feminist' and many of our favorite tweets. We discuss what it takes to keep fighting the good fight on social media when there is so much turmoil 24/7.

Dec 10 2014

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Power Up: Amy Schumer And Aidy Bryant

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Let’s be real: life can be hectic sometimes. You don’t need to tell that to Amy Schumer and Aidy Bryant, two of the nation’s top female comedians. 

Who better to kick off our new project, Power Up? For the next few months, we're asking fascinating people how they set themselves up for success in an exhausting world. 

Knitting? Bowling? Researching the presence of alternate dimensions? “I literally will say to myself out loud in the mirror, like, ‘You got this, bitch,’” Schumer tells Nerdette host Greta Johnsen. 

Schumer and Bryant also talk about what drew them to their new film, I Feel Pretty, which is now in theaters. 

We also want to know how YOU power up. Record yourself on your phone and email the audio file to nerdettepodcast@gmail.com.

Apr 27 2018

18mins

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Forget Cats: Jenny Slate Is A Plant Lady

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Actress and comedian Jenny Slate has played many memorable characters on shows like Parks and Recreation, Kroll Show, Girls, and Brooklyn 99. She also wrote and voiced her web series Marcel The Shell. Her most recent role is alongside Edie Falco and John Turturro in the film Landline. But from all of her work on TV and film, few people know about Slate’s one true love: houseplants. Nerdette’s Greta Johnsen talked with Slate about why she loves houseplants, what she names them and how they play into her future goals. Then, a plant expert answers all of Slate’s most pressing questions.

Jul 28 2017

33mins

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Margaret Atwood on feminism, science fiction and the future of books

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Author Margaret Atwood is the queen of speculative fiction. We discuss feminism, the future of books and her latest collection of stories: Stone Mattress. Also: Why she loves duct tape. All that plus your nerd confessions.

Nov 19 2014

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Neil DeGrasse Tyson! Andy Weir! Space, pop culture and physics!

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Neil DeGrasse Tyson explains how pop culture fits into his plan to inundate us with a love of science. Andy Weir, author of The Martian, talks about his nerdy origin and what makes good sci fi believable. We remember the first professional female astronomer Maria Mitchell, and there's a nerd confession from BJ Leiderman.

May 29 2015

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Sex from Scratch, the history of birth control, and homework from Dan Savage

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Sarah Mirk couldn't find a helpful relationship how-to, so she wrote her own. We highlight two women who helped make oral birth control a reality, and there's homework from Dan Savage.

Jun 18 2015

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Miranda July on writing books, living clumsily, and meditation

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Miranda July talks about her new book, what it was like to make the Somebody App, and the overarching theme of her work: coming together clumsily. Plus, remembering Great Lady Nerd of History Bessie Coleman and a Shakespearean nerd confession.

Jan 27 2015

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Tig Notaro And Gillian Flynn 'Just' People

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Comedian Tig Notaro talks about how she turned a string of personal tragedies into comedy. Then Gillian Flynn, author of Gone Girl, discusses her nerdy obsessions.

Jun 16 2016

32mins

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Lindy West And Andi Zeisler On Fierce Feminism

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Lindy West on fat-shaming, fighting trolls and finding your voice. Her incisive, hilarious new book is Shrill. Then, Bitch Media Group co-founder Andi Zeisler looks at one of our favorite TV shows through a feminist lens.

Jun 23 2016

34mins

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The History of Wonder Woman, author Lev Grossman and a tearful nerd confession

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Author Lev Grossman on his new book The Magician's Land, reviewing books for Time and raising nerdy kids. Then we get to know the story of Wonder Woman with comic historian Tim Hanley. And a tearful nerd confession about Chance the Rapper.

Aug 15 2014

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An Introvert’s Guide To The Good Life

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September is right around the corner, which means fall is coming.

To celebrate, Nerdette host Greta Johnsen talks with Rainbow Rowell and Faith Erin Hicks, author and illustrator of the new graphic novel Pumpkinheads. It’s about Deja and Josiah, two high schoolers who love working at an amazing pumpkin patch every autumn. But the story starts on their last day of work as they try to enjoy everything the patch has to offer one last time.

We also check in with an atmospheric scientist who’s about to head north — way north — for the world’s biggest climate study.

And then, for your weekend enjoyment: Booksmart is now available to stream in your home, a recipe for the best chocolate chip cookies ever, and a song to help you groove through the day.

Aug 30 2019

20mins

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Happiness 101

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... Well, technically it's Pysc 157. 

This week Nerdette host Greta Johnsen speaks with the professor responsible for the most popular class in Yale University's 316-year history. Laurie Santos created a course called "Psychology and the Good Life” and about 1,200 students quickly enrolled in it. 

Put simply, the course teaches students how they can be happier.

“The good news is that we can do it,” Santos tells Greta. “The bad news is that like all good things in life, it takes a lot of work.”

First, listen in as Santos gives us three main recommendations (1. Socialize; 2. Prioritize time over money; and 3. Remember you're too blessed to be stressed). Then, take the course yourself! It's free online via Coursera

Aug 24 2018

18mins

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Kate Mulgrew, from Star Trek captain to kitchen overlord

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Kate Mulgrew, also known as Captain Janeway from Star Trek Voyager, talks about her new memoir, life behind the big screen and what it's like to be Red in the Netflix hit Orange is the New Black.

May 07 2015

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Jessi Klein on her nerd origin story, Inside Amy Schumer and horses

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Emmy nominee Jessi Klein, a stand up comedian and head writer for Inside Amy Schumer, nerds out with Tricia and Greta about the Marx Brothers, Black Stallion and the fearlessly funny feminism of her sketch show.

Jul 16 2014

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Gillian Anderson, Shakespeare with lightsabers and mad kitchen science

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Gillian Anderson, aka Agent Scully of X-Files, nerds out about the ocean's health and talks about playing smart characters. Plus a behind-the-scenes look at a Shakespeare/Star Wars mashup play and we finally crack open the homemade Nerdette soda with Meghan Murphy-Gill.

Dec 11 2013

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Comedian Maz Jobrani and when Helen Keller met her 'Miracle Worker'

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Maz Jobrani​ explains why he stopped taking terrorist TV parts but agreed to play Jafar, then shares insights on everything from telling jokes in Middle East to getting his kids to sleep. We travel back in time to the moment when Helen Keller met 'Miracle Worker' Anne Sullivan. Oh, and there's a faaaaabulous X-Files nerd confession.

Mar 04 2015

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Author Samantha Irby Wants To Put Normal On TV

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Samantha Irby released her third book, We Are Never Meeting in Real Life, this year, but it’s her first collection of essays that is being turned into a TV show. Last year, FX bought the rights to Meaty, Irby’s first collection of essays. Now Irby, who grew up in Evanston and lived in Chicago, is working with Broad City’s Abbi Jacobson and Inside Amy Schumer’s Jessi Klein to write for television for the first time. For Irby, almost everything is on the table when it comes to her work — whether it’s body image, digestive issues, or applying for The Bachelorette.

Jul 07 2017

27mins

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The race to build a super battery, Broad City's musical mind and Girl Scouts' origin story

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Author Steve LeVine tells us about the motley crew of scientists on a quest to build a world-changing super battery. Get to know Hot Sugar, the musical maverick from Comedy Central's Broad City. And hear the origin story of Girl Scouts.

Mar 10 2015

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George R.R. Martin Still Hangs Out In Westeros

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Good gravy! It's George R.R. Martin! If you're unfamiliar, he's the author of that little book series that became one of the most popular TV shows of all time, Game of Thrones.

These days, he’s in the midst of writing the final two novels in that series.

Before he sat down with Greta, his team told us that he couldn’t answer the question on everyone’s mind ("So, like, when’s the next book coming out?"). So we didn’t ask that one, but Martin did tell us plenty about how writing is going, how he’s managing fan expectations and what he expects for the future of fantasy TV. 

Plus! We have a super-special announcement at the end of the interview!

Nov 01 2019

21mins

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A Smorgasbord Of Delight

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To celebrate the approach of another wonderful two-day break, Nerdette host Greta Johnsen talked with Alison Roman, author of the new cookbook Nothing Fancy, about three ways to make sure you host the most badass dinner party possible (she prefers to call it “having people over”).

And did you know that the largest 3D printer in the world just printed the world’s largest 3D-printed boat? We talk to Habib Dagher, the executive director at the Advanced Structures and Composites Center at the University of Maine. His team was responsible for this accomplishment, so we asked him why they did it, how much pizza it took to do it, and what it might mean for the future of innovation and manufacturing.

Plus, if you’re a grammar nerd, this episode may tick you right off. Gretchen McCulloch is the author of Because Internet: Understanding the New Rules of Language, and she explains how the internet has given us all access to the writings of normal people, which has led to more and more people writing with less formality and more creativity — and without obeying grammar rules.

Then she goes on to tell us why that’s awesome. You'll either love it or hate it!

(And oh yeah: Check out this week's Nerdette newsletter and sign up!)

Oct 18 2019

19mins

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Book Club: ‘The Testaments’ Part 3 (The Whole Darn Thing)

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We’ve finished The Testaments!

Press play and join Nerdette host Greta Johnsen, New York Magazine’s Heather Havrilesky and Vocalo’s Jill Hopkins for this final installment of the #NerdetteBookClub.

You’ll hear how each of us rated the book on a scale of 1-10 warm milks (10 being the best, obviously), what the professional reviewers thought, and how much your fellow book club members liked it!

Plus, if you need post-Testaments-reading recommendations, check out this week's Nerdsletter (and subscribe)!

And hey! Thanks for being a part of our inaugural book club. Did you enjoy it? Please send feedback, good or bad, to nerdettepodcast@gmail.com. We want to know what you thought!

Oct 04 2019

43mins

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Book Club: ‘The Testaments’ Part 2 (Chapters 24 Thru 46)

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We’re two thirds of the way through Margaret Atwood’s The Testaments, and we’ve got a lot to talk about.

This week is all about chapters 24 through 46, and our panel of intrepid feminists questions whether these storylines are just a little toooo convenient, whether it’s really possible to rip a person apart with your bare hands … and what the deal is with all that warm milk.

Want to be a part of the #NerdetteBookClub? Easy! Just press play and join Nerdette host Greta Johnsen, New York Magazine’s Heather Havrilesky and Vocalo’s Jill Hopkins.

Just make sure you finish The Testaments before next Friday, October 4. That’s when we’ll talk all about the ending.

And we want to hear what you thought about the book! (Please tell us how you felt on a scale of 1 to 10 warm milks.)

Share your thoughts with us by recording your voice with your smartyphone. Then email the audio file to nerdettepodcast@gmail.com, preferably by Tuesday evening. You may hear yourself in the final episode!

Sep 27 2019

44mins

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Book Club: ‘The Testaments’ Part I (Chapters 1 Thru 23)

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Our reading of Margaret Atwood’s The Testaments has commenced!

This week, we’re talking about book chapters 1 through 23. So … spoilers abound.

Join Nerdette host Greta Johnsen, New York Magazine’s Heather Havrilesky and Vocalo’s Jill Hopkins as they contemplate the motives of Aunt Lydia, wonder what’s in that darn safe and talk smack about the mean girls of Gilead.

To follow along with us, read The Testaments through chapter 46 (pages 124-282) before next Friday, September 27.

And hey, we want to hear from you too! Share your thoughts with us by recording your voice with your smartyphone. (Please be succinct!) Then email the audio file to nerdettepodcast@gmail.com, preferably by Tuesday evening. You may hear yourself in an episode!

And when you need to tweet or Instagram something really important about the club, just use #NerdetteBookClub on the internets, and so will we.

Sep 20 2019

43mins

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Book Club: ‘The Testaments’ Preview

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Welcome to the Nerdette Book Club! It’s just like a normal book club but in podcast form, and you provide your own booze.

In this episode, we're taking a look back at Margaret Atwood's 1985 dystopian novel 'The Handmaid's Tale' before sending you out to read Atwood's brand new sequel, 'The Testaments.' 

What are the rules of a book club podcast, you ask? Well, after this 'Handmaid’s Tale' refresher, we're all going to read 'The Testaments' together over the next three weeks — and talk about what’s happening, why a sequel to a 35 year old book is relevant today and whether the bastards really will get us down.

And we’ll do it in three chunks. Here are your assignments:

  • By Friday Sept. 20, read The Testaments through Chapter 23 (pages 1-133)

  • By Friday Sept. 27, read The Testaments through Chapter 46 (pages 134-282)

  • By Friday Oct. 4, finish The Testaments (pages 283-end!)

  • Listen to this podcast each of those Fridays!

Joining Nerdette’s Greta Johnsen is the wonderful Jill Hopkins, host of the Morning Amp on WBEZ’s sister station Vocalo, and the delightful Heather Havrilesky, who writes the Ask Polly advice column for New York Magazine. And hey, we want your crazy interpretations too! Share your thoughts with us by recording your voice with your smartyphone. (Please be succinct!) Then email the audio file to nerdettepodcast@gmail.com, preferably by Tuesday evenings. You may hear yourself in an episode!

And when you need to tweet or Instagram something really important about the club, just use #NerdetteBookClub on the internets, and so will we.

OK let’s do this!

Sep 13 2019

28mins

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An Introvert’s Guide To The Good Life

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September is right around the corner, which means fall is coming.

To celebrate, Nerdette host Greta Johnsen talks with Rainbow Rowell and Faith Erin Hicks, author and illustrator of the new graphic novel Pumpkinheads. It’s about Deja and Josiah, two high schoolers who love working at an amazing pumpkin patch every autumn. But the story starts on their last day of work as they try to enjoy everything the patch has to offer one last time.

We also check in with an atmospheric scientist who’s about to head north — way north — for the world’s biggest climate study.

And then, for your weekend enjoyment: Booksmart is now available to stream in your home, a recipe for the best chocolate chip cookies ever, and a song to help you groove through the day.

Aug 30 2019

20mins

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A Love Letter To Cabbage

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Abra Berens is a Midwest born-and-bred farmer-turned-chef. And her cookbook, Ruffage, is a gorgeous A-to-Z guide to vegetables.

The idea, she tells us, is this: You go to the grocery store, buy what inspires you and then you go home to look up meal ideas in her cookbook.

Abra’s not a pretentious chef who poo-poos comfort food. Instead, she’s all about meeting people where they are (and encouraging you to enjoy your veggies).

She talks with Greta about how she approaches cooking, why her book is called “Ruffage” and why cabbage is her favorite vegetable. (Weird, right?)

Aug 16 2019

21mins

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Bonus Book!: ‘The Most Fun We Ever Had’

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Chicago Magazine called this novel "a Midwestern Big Little Lies — an intimate character study of a group of affluent, secretive women."

In this bonus interview, Greta talks with author Claire Lombardo about her debut novel, ‘The Most Fun We Ever Had.’

It’s the story of four radically different daughters from suburban Chicago. And it’s about love, family, forgiveness and the importance of showing up.

Aug 09 2019

13mins

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Rad Girls Who Changed The World

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These days there are more and more celebrations of women who might have otherwise been relegated to the footnotes of history.

As you can imagine, here at Nerdette we’re all about that. Totally into it. Zero complaints.

But what is equally as wonderful is when the spotlight also lands on accomplished young girls. And that’s what author Kate Schatz and illustrator Miriam Klein Stahl have done with their book Rad Girls Can, which tells the stories of inspiring young women who have made positive impacts on the world before turning 20.

We talk with the author and illustrator about some of their favorite stories of young ladies who changed the world, and how you can be one too.

Aug 02 2019

21mins

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Summer TV!

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Is summer a great time for watching TV? Heck yeah it is. So we caught up with New York Times TV critic Margaret Lyons to get recommendations for the best of the best summer TV, including shows that are dark and mysterious, bright and fun, and also the throwbackiest throwback binges.

Jul 19 2019

26mins

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More Summer Reads!

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When anyone at WBEZ needs book recommendations, they go to Greta Johnsen, the station’s resident bookworm.

So please enjoy Greta talking about some fantastic reads that you might want to pick up this summer.

Contemporary Romantic Fiction

Fantasy

Mystery/Thriller

Biography/Memoir

Historical Fiction

Historical Non-Fiction

Jul 05 2019

12mins

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How To Write Your First Novel In Your 40s With Linda Holmes

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If you know NPR’s Linda Holmes, it’s probably not as a novelist. She’s a pop culture correspondent, she co-hosts NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour podcast, and her recalcitrant dog Brian is mildly famous on Twitter.

But she always wanted to write a novel. And at 48, she did. It's called Evvie Drake Starts Over and it is excellent. 

“This is what I think my story does actually prove,” Holmes tells Greta on this episode of Nerdette. “The fact that you haven’t gotten something done by a certain point in your life does not mean you’re not going to.”

Listen up ... and then go write that book!

Jun 21 2019

21mins

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Tripping Hard For Science

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What’s it like to give people hallucinogenic drugs and study what happens? How might these drugs be used for therapy? And what causes people to take drugs in the first place? 

That’s what we asked Harriet de Wit, who runs the University of Chicago’s Human Behavioral Pharmacology Laboratory, where she administers drugs like LSD, ecstacy and psilocybin to volunteers in an effort to learn more about the human nervous system. 

“The whole world of researchers is feeling very cautious,” de Wit tells us, “cautiously optimistic — that if the drugs are used under controlled circumstances, they might have some potential benefits.”

Let’s get funky.

Jun 07 2019

26mins

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‘Booksmart’ Reminds Us That Your Person Doesn’t Have To Be Your Romantic Soulmate

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Greta gives 'Booksmart' four out of four Gretas, a new rating system we've devised specifically for this wonderful new movie. 

Why's it so good? Well, it’s smart, funny, a little raunchy, and it embraces so many gorgeous, gut-wrenching elements of what it means to be a smart, funny teenage girl.

This week on Nerdette, we talk with the wonderful Kaitlyn Dever and Beanie Feldstein (the stars of the film) about the movie's themes: Friendship, growing older, sexuality, feminism, and dealing with high expectations. Bottom line: GO SEE IT.

May 24 2019

23mins

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Bill Nye Wants You To Think Critically And Take Care Of Your Moon Rocks

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Bill Nye says that when he was in high school, the big skill that students had to learn was how to find information. “But the challenge now is to sort out the information that may not be true.”

Greta talks to Bill from the stage at The Collider’s Climate City Expo in Asheville, N.C. Their conversation focuses on climate change, Bill's new Netflix series (called "Bill Nye Saves the World") and combatting dubious scientific claims with critical thinking and an abundance of evidence.

And also: Fake tree octopi, bow ties and moon rocks.

May 10 2019

26mins

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Lizzo Is About To Sing, Rap And Flute Her Way Into Your Heart

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Lizzo recently landed on the Billboard 200 chart for the first time with her new album ‘Cuz I Love You,’ making now the perfect time to revisit her 2016 conversation with Nerdette's Greta Johnsen. 

Lizzo and Greta talk about what inspired her 2016 EP 'Coconut Oil' and how Lizzo became Lizzo.

And your homework after listening to this episode is, of course, to play ‘Cuz I Love You’ on repeat, forever?

P.S. Get in on our lovely new tote bags! One’s for Nerdette and one’s for Nerdette Recaps Game of Thrones with Peter Sagal. Find them here: https://www.wbez.org/nerdalert

May 03 2019

24mins

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De-Extinction: How, Why, And What If?

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Scientists around the world are trying to figure out how to mitigate the potentially disastrous impacts of climate change.

Among the innovative ideas? De-extinction.

“De-extinction is a scientific movement that’s aiming to recreate close versions of extinct species,” said Britt Wray, the author of Rise of the Necrofauna: The Science, Ethics, and Risks of De-Extinction.

Wray says the idea is to create close facsimiles of “keystone species,” or animals that had a profound impact on their ecosystems.

As you can imagine, de-extinction brings up a lot of questions, including:

  • How on earth do you replicate an ancient zebra-horse?

  • What happens when countries can create patents for lab-grown animals?

  • And why would we want woolly mammoths to roam the arctic again?

Wray tackles all those questions, and more, on the latest episode of Nerdette.

Click the “play” button to listen to the entire conversation, which was produced and adapted for the web by Justin Bull.

Apr 19 2019

21mins

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Kids + Science = AWESOME

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Sahana Srinivasan is the host of the Netflix kids’ science show Brainchild, a series that’s all about exploring interesting questions about the world in which we live. On Nerdette, Sahana talks about what makes her show different from the kids’ science shows of the ‘90s, why it’s so important for kids to see a woman of color talk about science and what she’s going to do after she graduates from college.

Apr 05 2019

22mins

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Shrill AF With Lindy West

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Oh hey it's Lindy West!

Lindy's the the executive producer of Shrill, a new Hulu series starring SNL's Aidy Bryant that's based on Lindy's 2016 novel of the same name. And we talk with Lindy about a few of the delightful scenes from the series (including an epic pool party), why Lindy left Twitter, and her forthcoming new book called The Witches Are Coming. She also tells us about how her new Hulu series subverts a common TV trope.

“Usually what we get are weight loss narratives and makeover narratives. And these sort of sad sack stories about either people trying to lose weight and succeeding or trying to lose weight and failing and being sad,” Lindy says.“The whole idea is that there are other ways to live and that you deserve a life that is bigger than that — and that has a scope beyond your body and what it weighs.”

Lindy West y'all!

Mar 22 2019

21mins

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