You've got 10 minutes with Einstein. What do you talk about? Black holes? Time travel?
Why not gambling? The Art of War? Contemporary parenting?
Each week, host Jason Gots surprises some of the world's brightest minds with ideas they're not at all prepared to discuss. Join us and special guests Neil Gaiman, Alan Alda, Salman Rushdie, Margaret Atwood, Richard Dawkins, Maria Popova, Mary-Louise Parker, Neil deGrasse Tyson and many more...
Really actually truly great English (with the copy chief of Random House)
Why does Faulkner use "inchoate" so much? Maybe because Benjamin Dreyer wasn't his copy editor. The author of DREYER'S ENGLISH is here to remind us that there's no absolute authority on the English language. Still, please avoid "onboarding".
- Hear! As we play "stump the host" with words everyone spells wrong.
- Marvel! With us at the exquisiteness of the word "twee"
- Absorb! Benjamin Dreyer's simple yet powerful advice about how to write better sentences.
There are two kinds of people in this world: Those who don't give a damn about grammar, style, or syntax, and those who write aggrieved letters to publishing houses about split infinitives.
Benjamin Dreyer is neither. As the Copy Chief of Random House, it is his unenviable task to steer the middle way between linguistic pedantry and letting these writers get away with bloody murder. Scratch "bloody"—redundancy.
Before reading his hilarious and practical new book DREYER'S ENGLISH, I think I would have imagined the Copy Chief of Random House as something like the Arbiter Eligantiae of Ancient Rome—a terrifying, absolute authority on questions of grammatical law and taste. The kind of person who walks around waving a scepter at things to be preserved or destroyed. As the book makes plain, however, there's no absolute authority when it comes to either taste or correctness in the English language. Still, please avoid "impactful", "utilize", and 'very unique." And use the Oxford comma. And you can do away with just, really, and actually while you're at it.
Love, grief, and moral disgust aren't unique to humans. Like chimps, humans sometimes struggle for dominance, but our first impulse is trust and connection. Frans de Waal has spent decades showing that most of what we believe about animals, humans, and the differences between us is wrong.
- The lifelong gratitude of a chimp de Waal taught to bottle-feed and adopt an orphan
- Trump's alpha male display during the 2016 debates
- How B.F. Skinner screwed up behavioral science for half a century
Killer robots. Alien invasions. Climate change. Josh Clark of Stuff You Should Know and the new podcast The End of the World thinks a lot these days about existential threats. Believe it or not, he's optimistic.
- Could the threat of extinction be humanity's opportunity to get our collective s#*t together?
- Two centuries since the Enlightenment, the war between reason and belief is still raging. Why?
- Why is it still hard to explain to some people what a podcast is?
- Why hasn't technology given us more freedom?
- Why is eternal life not desirable?
- Why don't Universal Basic Income and other forms of redistribution solve the underlying problem?
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