Rank #1: Sharks: The Ocean's Most Mysterious, Most Misunderstood, and Most Important Guardians
We talk to ocean conservationist William McKeever about his new book Emperors of the Deep: Sharks--The Ocean's Most Mysterious, Most Misunderstood, and Most Important Guardians.
Rank #2: A Brief Guide to the Fundamental Mystery of the Mind
We talk to author Annaka Harris about her new book Conscious: A Brief Guide to the Fundamental Mystery of the Mind.
Rank #3: 17 Michael Pollan - The Science of Eating Well (And Not Falling For Diet Fads)
The trouble with that view, however, is that what they’re eating is probably nothing like the diet of hunter-gatherers, says Michael Pollan, author of a number of best-selling books on food and agriculture, including Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation. "I don't think we really understand well the proportions in the ancient diet," argues Pollan on this week’s episode. "Most people who tell you with great confidence that this is what our ancestors ate—I think they're kind of blowing smoke."
This week on the show, guest host Cynthia Graber has a wide-ranging conversation with Pollan that covers the science and history of cooking, the importance of microbes—tiny organisms such as bacteria—in our diet, and surprising new research on the intelligence of plants.
This episode also features a discussion of the new popular physics book Trespassing on Einstein's Lawn, by Amanda Gefter, and new research suggesting that the purpose of sleep is to clean cellular waste substances out of your brain.
Rank #4: 34 John Oliver - This World Will Be a Ball of Fire Before It Stops Being Funny
In another recent episode, Oliver expressed his frustration with the so-called climate "debate" in America by staging a more representative debate between a few climate skeptics and nearly a hundred scientists. One of the guys on the correct side of the "debate" was Bill Nye, who was booked for the show basically at the last minute.
"We just wanted to really play with that idea that the very fact that the climate debate is framed as a debate at all is problematic," Oliver says. On Inquiring Minds this week, guest host Asawin Suebsaeng talked to John Oliver about Last Week Tonight, politics, climate change, and how he went about finding a, um, very specific kind of model for the show.
This episode also features a discussion of surprising new scientific findings about why we don't remember much from our childhoods—because we were so busy growing new brain cells.
Rank #5: 113 Robert Sapolsky - Being Human
We talked to Sapolsky about what it means to be human, what we humans can learn from other species, and why he—despite being a self-described pessimist—feels optimistic about our prospects as a species.
This week’s episode was recorded live in San Francisco for the 2015 Bay Area Science Festival and was produced in collaboration with The Leakey Foundation and their podcast Origin Stories.
http://leakeyfoundation.org/ http://leakeyfoundation.org/originstories http://patreon.com/inquiringminds
Rank #6: 105 Brad Voytek - We Neuroscientists Don't Really Know What Your Brain Is Doing
Brad Voytek is an Assistant Professor of Computational Cognitive Science and Neuroscience at UC San Diego.
Rank #7: How We Evolved to Have Free Will
We talk to biologist Kenneth R. Miller about his new book The Human Instinct: How We Evolved to Have Reason, Consciousness, and Free Will.
Rank #8: Why Buddhism is True
We talk to journalist, scholar, and prize-winning author Robert Wright about his latest book Why Buddhism is True: The Science and Philosophy of Meditation and Enlightenment.
Rank #9: 172 Dan Ariely - The Surprising Science of What Motivates Us
Rank #10: 114 Mark Schatzker - The Dorito Effect
Rank #11: 134 Anders Ericsson - How to Do Everything Better
We talk to psychologist Anders Ericsson about his new book Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise.
Rank #12: 67 Gabriele Oettingen - Rethinking Positive Thinking
We also welcome back guest host Kishore Hari, who is Director of the Bay Area Science Festival. You can follow him on Twittter @sciencequiche.
Rank #13: Aroused: The History of Hormones
We talk to Randi Hutter Epstein, M.D, lecturer at Yale university, writer in residence at Yale Medical School, and author of the new book Aroused: The History of Hormones and How They Control Just About Everything.
Rank #14: 182 Ty Tashiro - The Science of Being Awkward
Rank #15: 99 Marc Lewis - Why Addiction Is Not a Disease
Rank #16: 80 Norman Doidge - How Plastic Is Your Brain?
On the show this week we talk to Doidge about neuroplasticity—once you reach adulthood, is your brain in a kind of fixed state, or does it keep changing? And can you do things to make it change?
Rank #17: 68 Matt Walker - Why Did We Evolve to Sleep?
Once again we welcome back guest host Kishore Hari, Director of the Bay Area Science Festival. You can follow him on Twittter @sciencequiche.
Rank #18: 54 Steven Pinker - The Science Behind Writing Well
On the show this week we talk to celebrated Harvard cognitive scientist and psycholinguist Steven Pinker about his new book The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person's Guide to Writing in the 21st Century.
Pinker explains how to write in clear, "classic" prose that shares valuable information with clarity (but never condescension). He also tells us why so many of the tut-tutting grammar "rules" that we all think we're supposed to follow—don't split infinitives, don't use the passive voice, don't end a sentence with a preposition—are just nonsense.
Rank #19: 55 Daniel Levitin - The Organized Mind
We also talk to microbiologist Siouxsie Wiles about the Ebola virus—what the risks really are, and why many people might be overreacting.
Also, Chris has a huge announcement.
Rank #20: 20 Maria Konnikova - How to Make Your Brain Work Better
If this is how you live, then Maria Konnikova has a simple message for you: Pause, step back, and recognize the actual costs of your habits. A psychology Ph.D. and popular writer for The New Yorker, Konnikova circles back, again and again, to a common theme: How we thwart our own happiness, and even sometimes harm our brains, in our quest for a simply unattainable level of productivity. "The way that we've evolved, the way our minds work, the way we work at our most optimal selves, is really not the way we have to operate today," Konnikova explains on this week's episode. "I feel like I'm fighting a losing battle, but I hope that if there are enough voices out there, someone will finally hear that, 'Hey, this attempt at hyper productivity is making us much less productive.'"
This episode also features a report by Climate Desk's Tim McDonnell on how climate change is threatening winter sports, and a special guest appearance by science communicator Dr. Kiki Sanford, who helps us break down what happened in the widely watched Bill Nye vs. Ken Ham creationism debate earlier this week.