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Social structures, in almost all cases, are defined by some form of hierarchy. Whether in academics, sports, religion, business, or politics, there's usually someone at the top and others whose goal it is to get there. But while it's easy to think that we've designed our world to be this way, the truth may be that we had no choice.

Tony Fischer / Flickr

As the world waits for an end to Covid-19, billions of people find themselves betwixt and between two realities: The pre-pandemic reality we knew, and the post-pandemic reality that is yet to come. As author and Professor of Theology Shelly Rambo wrote in the wake of hurricane Katrina, "Life as it once was cannot be retrieved,... life ahead cannot be envisioned."

Magic Piano / Wikimedia Commons

We can observe how economic inequality in America plays out during this pandemic by watching who gets help and who gets ignored.

Two America's live side by side, often in the same community. Nowhere is it on display more than in Greenwich, Conn., where hedge fund managers in gilded mansions live across town from minimum wage workers in local service jobs.

The inequality on display today is the byproduct of decades of policy choices that benefit the wealthy.

Also this hour: We help you make sense of the sometimes conflicting news about COVID-19 with the host of the podcast This Week In Virology.

NIH Clinical Center / Creative Commons

DonkeyHotey / Flickr Creative Commons

What is real is no longer a question for philosophers alone. In today's world, it's a question we all contend with on a daily basis. Online, on television, in print and in public discourse, facts, feelings, and flat-out lies all share the same stage.

Randy Heinitz / Flickr

It is estimated that 12 million Americans live inside one of our nations roughly 45,000 mobile home communities. Despite these numbers, few people outside these parks truly know what life is like for their residents.

Antonio Castagna / Flickr Creative Commons

We were going to produce a show today on loneliness with British writer Olivia Laing. We still want to do that show with Olivia - but not today.

Instead, we decided to switch gears and talk with Olivia and other artists about the themes in Olivia's new novel because they mirror our own concerns: how to live life in this fast-moving world where the present is history in the blink of an eye and world leaders can end our world with one wrong tweet? How can we exist, create art, raise children, commit to a future in a world that could be ending?

ChurchofSatan / Flickr

Free will, individual responsibility, and the pursuit of happiness: Fundamental tenets of, wait for it... Satanism. While the word conjures up images of fire and brimstone, the truth is a bit more complicated. So why does a religion which celebrates so much what Americans profess to hold dear get such a bad rap?

Transcending Gender Roles Across Cultures

Dec 27, 2018
Jean-Paul Remy / Creative Commons

As our culture continues to progress, one elephant in the room that seems to be growing harder to ignore is our views on human sexuality. The traditional model of two mutually exclusive gender identities, male and female, is becoming increasingly outdated as we hear about people in our communities and around the world who fall somewhere in between the two (or outside the boxes entirely). Despite the threat of social exclusion and sometimes deadly persecution, stories of those who dare to embrace their own identity continue to increase in number.

flickr creative commons

Social structures, in almost all cases, are defined by some form of hierarchy. Whether in academics, sports, religion, business, or politics, there's usually someone at the top and others whose goal it is to get there. But while it's easy to think that we've designed our world to be this way, the truth may be that we had no choice.

Yinan Chen / Wikimedia Commons

What does effective philanthropy look like in the 21st century?

This hour, we sit down with Jay Williams, the President of the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving.

We also talk with scholar and author, Chuck Collins. He is a one-percenter who dedicated his life to addressing income inequality. Collins’ policy institute has found that charities are increasingly depending on larger donations from a smaller number of wealthy individuals. We ask Collins--is that a good thing?

We were going to produce a show today on loneliness with British writer Olivia Laing. We still want to do that show with Olivia - but not today.

Instead, we decided to switch gears and talk with Olivia and other artists about the themes in Olivia's new novel because they mirror our own concerns: how to live life in this fast-moving world where the present is history in the blink of an eye and world leaders can end our world with one wrong tweet? How can we exist, create art, raise children, commit to a future in a world that could be ending?

Afagen / Google Images

Nike is catching a lot of press for selecting former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick as the face of a new "Just Do It" ad campaign. 

Elvert Barnes / Creative Commons

I spend hours looking at him and holding him close to my body. I never grow tired of his touch or his presence in my bed.  If I ask, he answers my every need. I don't know what I would do without him. Yet, at some point, one of us will die.

Yet, there's solace in knowing I can get another - maybe in metallic pink next time.  

DonkeyHotey / Flickr

What is real is no longer a question for philosophers alone. In today's world, it's a question we all contend with on a daily basis. Online, on television, in print and in public discourse, facts, feelings, and flat-out lies all share the same stage.

Francisco Osorio / flickr

According to mytho-historical accounts, the ancient Amazons wore pants while riding into battle. But the trend this tribe of warrior women set was short lived. For nearly two millennia after their demise, the notion of women wearing pants was steeped in controversy.

Brandon Carson / Creative Commons

Patti Smith wasn't seeking fame when she landed in Manhattan in 1969.  She was a fan of the greats of the day - like Dylan, Mapplethorpe, Pollock, Ginsberg - who she followed and emulated, hoping to find her own creative space next to those she most admired. 

Feng Wei / Creative Commons

President Trump decertified the internationally-supported Iran nuclear deal Friday but didn't walk away from it. Instead, he kicked it to Congress to determine whether to reimpose sanctions even though the International Atomic Energy Agency has verified Iran was in compliance with the deal.

Francisco Osorio / flickr

According to mytho-historical accounts, the ancient Amazons wore pants while riding into battle. But the trend this tribe of warrior women set was short lived. For nearly two millennia after their demise, the notion of women wearing pants was steeped in controversy.

Barret Anspach / Flickr/Creative Commons

People hoping to help with Hurricane Harvey relief efforts might actually be doing more harm than good. That’s according Juanita Rilling, former director of USAID's Center for International Disaster Information.

Robin Lubbock / WBUR

Low-income communities and communities of color are disproportionately affected by the consequences of climate change -- think New Orleans and Hurricane Katrina. These areas suffer from poor air quality, increasing temperatures, and extreme weather.

Frank Grace / Flickr

The eugenics movement of the early 20th century is a dark chapter in our nation's history. And while we may think of it as a practice we've long since abandoned, the truth is a bit more complicated.

Alexander Boden / flickr

Has the golden age of humanity passed? Can we, as a species, survive the next few centuries? As our climate warms, population grows, resources shrink, and means of self destruction become more deadly, these questions move from the realm of dystopian fiction to real world relevance.

This month, I ventured to ask the man behind the counter at a Whole Foods Market what kind of shrimp he was selling. "I don't know," he replied. "I think they're just normal shrimp." I glanced at the sustainable seafood guide on my phone. There were 80 entries for shrimp, none of them listed "normal."

What about the cod? Was it Atlantic or Pacific? Atlantic. How was it caught? I asked. "I'm not sure," he said, looking doubtfully at a creamy fish slab. "With nets, I think. Not with harpoons."

Frank Grace / Flickr

The eugenics movement of the early twentieth century is a dark chapter in our nation's history. And while we may think of it as a practice we've long since abandoned, the truth is a bit more complicated.

Emily Epstein / Flickr

The narrative goes like this: For decades, white America has increasingly been left behind. The nation's culture and politics have steadily shifted to favor minorities and immigrants over the hard working white folk struggling to stay afloat.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

As women around the world mobilized to protest the presidency of Donald Trump, Connecticut residents marched in Washington, D.C. and in Hartford by the thousands.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

Over the last week or so, your inbox and mailbox has been filling with requests for donations from non-profit organizations. Oxfam International, Doctors Without Borders, your local food bank, and homeless shelter all depend on year-end generosity to meet their budgets.

Brandon Carson / Creative Commons

Patti Smith wasn't seeking fame when she landed in Manhattan in 1969.  She was a fan of the greats of the day - like Dylan, Mapplethorpe, Pollock, Ginsberg - who she followed and emulated, hoping to find her own creative space next to those she most admired. 

ChurchofSatan / Flickr

Free will, individual responsibility, and the pursuit of happiness: Fundamental tenets of, wait for it... Satanism. While the word conjures up images of fire and brimstone, the truth is a bit more complicated. So why does a religion which celebrates so much what Americans profess to hold dear get such a bad rap?

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