18-16 Segment 1: Adventures and Explorations

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While being an explorer sounds like a job of the past or one reserved for fictitious characters, many people today still do consider themselves to be explorers. But, since there are no longer new territories waiting to be discovered, how do modern-day explorers bring new life to adventures and explorations?

Dr. Nick Middleton, professor at Oxford University, and author of An Atlas of Countries That Don’t Exist, explains that there are many types of exploration. One way of exploring is learning about a new culture that is not your own. Along with this, he explains that there are plenty of countries around the world that are not recognized on maps. People who are interested in explorations and adventures could research these countries, the people who inhabit them, and their culture. In order to experience an adventure, a person must be willing to step outside of their current understanding of the world and observe another.

Another important aspect of explorations and adventures is understanding the explorers of the past. Dr. Huw Lewis-Jones, historian, explorer, and author of Explorers’ Sketchbooks: The Art of Discovery & Adventure explains that prior explorations have often left many unanswered questions. He believes the best way to understand and learn about them is to look at the explorers personal archives because they often have the very first look at new lands, new species, and new people. These old notes and journals hold important information about how we understand the world today.

For more information, listen to this weeks show and check out the links below for more information on Explorers’ Sketchbooks: The Art of Discovery & Adventure and An Atlas of Countries That Don’t Exist.

Guests:

  • Dr. Huw Lewis-Jones, historian, explorer, and author of Explorers’ Sketchbooks: The Art of Discovery & Adventure
  • Dr. Nick Middleton, professor at Oxford University, and author of An Atlas of Countries That Don’t Exist

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18-16 Segment 2: Tips and Tricks for Cooking at Home

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Sometimes it is nice to enjoy a meal out, but too many meals out at restaurants can become really expensive and make it difficult to maintain a diet. But, not everybody enjoys cooking, and some people may even find it difficult to cook a good meal. Most people would agree that eating out and staying in are two different experiences. Chef and author of Dining In Alison Roman agrees, explaining that being able to have people over and cooking for people you love provides a different way to spend your time and money. Cooking can make people feel good, however this feeling usually relies on the outcome of the meal.

In her cookbook, Roman does a few things in order to encourage people to try the recipes. She explains that the recipes in her cookbook contain accessible ingredients and doable tasks in order to make her recipes appear approachable. If a person understands what the recipe requires, they will feel more encouraged to cook it. Furthermore, she explains that the names of the recipes also play an important role. People are going to be more interested in trying a recipe that sounds appetizing or sounds like something they would make. Another way Roman makes her cookbook more inviting is by taking recipes and adding her own twist to them with different ingredients and techniques. By doing these things, Roman hopes her cookbook can play an important role in people’s lives at home. Cooking does not have to be a daunting task, and with a little practice, it can become something you love to do.

 

Guests:

  • Alison Roman, chef and author, Dining In

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18-15 Segment 1: The Rise of Confrontational Politics

 

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Controversial politicians are nothing new in American politics, but the recent election of Donald Trump proved just how influential high-conflict politicians can be on the public. However, many people wonder what makes these high-conflict individuals so appealing, and how they manage to argue their way into powerful positions. We talk to two experts about how high-conflict politicians become so successful.

Bill Eddy, president of the High Conflict Institute and author of Trump Bubbles: The Dramatic Rise and Fall of High-Conflict Politicians, explains that a high-conflict person (HCP) is an individual that exhibits a repetitive narrow pattern of behavior, an all-or-nothing attitude, and intense emotions that easily distract them from being focused on problem solving. Many of their patterns of behavior become predictable, but Eddy states high-conflict individuals must first do something damaging before people realize. Yet, these high-conflict people still tend to attract an audience. He explains that high-conflict people are appealing in times of turmoil because they are able to make situations look simple. Furthermore, Eddy explains two other influencing factors in their success: the system of communication between a high-conflict person and the public, and that individuals ability to manipulate this system. Through understanding these different factors, high-conflict people are capable of gaining a following that allows them to become successful.

Another way that high-conflict people are able to appeal to a large audience and increase their opportunity for success is through emotion. Lauren A. Wright, PhD, political scientist and author of On Behalf of the President: Presidential Spouses and White House Communications Strategy Today, explains that studies have shown that being able to observe a person’s facial expressions, rather than just hearing the person speak, can influence people to be more inclined toward that person. Because of this, television and other visual media play a very important role in the public’s perception of a person.

How does this provide an advantage to politicians? This unconscious absorption of expression allows high-conflict politicians to easily spread their anger to their followers, while also establishing a loving relationship with them even though they have never met. However, when handling situations with a high-conflict person, Eddy explains that it is important to use E.A.R. statements. These statements rely on empathy, attention, and respect which can calm someone with a high-conflict personality because it shows them that you are aware that they are working hard and that you appreciate the work that they have done.

Guests:

  • Bill Eddy, president of the High Conflict Institute and author of Trump Bubbles: The Dramatic Rise and Fall of High-Conflict Politicians
  • Laura A. Wright, PhD; political scientist and author of On Behalf of the President: Presidential Spouses and White House Communications Strategy Today

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18-15 Segment 2: The Overblown Importance of What College You Attend

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Today, more than ever, there is an immense amount of pressure put on high school students to attend either an Ivy League or another elite college. When students are not accepted to these kinds of colleges, it is devastating and they often feel that their success in life will be impacted tremendously.

Frank Bruni, columnist for The New York Times and author of Where You Go Is Not Who You’ll Be: An Antidote to the College Admissions Mania, explains that this idea is just a myth that is perpetuated by the media. He states that if a politician or CEO attended an Ivy League or another elite college, the media will articulate this fact continuously throughout the profile. However, if they attended a smaller college or a state school, this detail is often excluded entirely. By only talking about a limited number of schools in the media, it reinforces the idea that only those who attend those schools will be successful in their future. Another idea that maintains the pretentious importance about the college that a student attends is the belief that people who have important jobs will only hire people who attended the same college as them. Bruni explains that this does happen, but that this should not deter a student from looking into other schools, as well.

However, Bruni does not think that students should completely avoid applying to Ivy League schools or elite schools. He explains that students should not solely rely on them, nor should they be upset if they do not get accepted because schools choose incoming freshman who meet their current needs, whether that is to fulfill a sports team, maintain alumni relations, or increase access to minorities. Furthermore, Joshua Steckel, a counselor at a New York high school and co-author of Hold Fast to Dreams, explains that there are even pitfalls to attending elite colleges if they are not a good fit for the student. These include day-to-day challenges, meeting financial obligations, and, for students of color or low-income students, being excluded by their peers. In order to ensure that a student attends a college that is suitable for their needs, it is important they learn about other options besides Ivy Leagues and elite colleges.

But, in order to encourage students to apply to smaller schools or schools that are not well-known, they need access to the resources to help them find these schools. Steckel explains that access to high school counselors is extremely limited–some schools have 1,000 students assigned to one counselor. Furthermore, he states that a lot of colleges have committed to accepting more low-income students and students of color, but these schools tend to not be well-known. So, many students would benefit from having a counselor to help guide them in finding these schools and through the college application process. But, Bruni explains that no matter what college a student attends, the results of their experience will be based on if they make the most of what the school has to offer. More privileged communities focus too much on getting students into top schools, rather than learning how to make the most of it. Students have the ability to thrive at any school and become successful after graduation, whether they attend an Ivy League or a state school, but what matters most is that they are taught how to.

Guests:

  • Frank Bruni, columnist for The New York Times and author of Where You Go Is Not Who You’ll Be: An Antidote to the College Admissions Mania
  • Joshua Steckel, counselor at a New York high school and co-author of Hold Fast to Dreams

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18-14 Segment 1: A Peek Into the Minds of Real Life Con Men

 

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Have you ever been conned by a con artist? Chances are you probably do not know. That is why so many con men are able to get away with their scams because people simply do not know that they are being deceived. Maria Konnikova, psychologist and author of The Confidence Game: Why We Fall For It…Every Time, explains that con artists are often hard to recognize because they are charismatic people who come off as just being really friendly. Yet, this is far from the truth for many con artists.

When it comes to personalities, many con men seem to have a few similar traits. These traits are categorized as the dark triad of traits–psychopathy, narcissism, and machiavellianism. Konnikova explains that a con artist often has at least one of them, but sometimes, they may have all three. If an individual is psychopathic, they lack empathy, which makes them incapable of feeling remorse. The second trait, narcissism, forces a person to believe that they are more important to the world around them than they really are. And the final trait, machiavellianism, is the ability to persuade someone into doing something that they usually would not do, but making them believe that they are doing it willfully. If a con artist possesses at least one, if not all three, of these traits, then they are highly likely to be successful at conning someone.

Not only do con artists often possess certain personality traits, they usually have a plan that they follow. Konnikova states that there are three steps that con artists use to help them understand the person they are scamming in order to learn how to deceive them. The first step is called the put out which is when the con artist figures out what the person’s weaknesses are. Konnikova explains that this psychological profile is the most important step because it tells the con artist how they will be able to sell the person on the scam. In the next step, the con artist uses their storytelling skills to get the person to become emotionally involved which affects their ability to perceive any red flags that would indicate that they might be being scammed. The final step of the con artist’s plan, explains Konnikova, is to make the pitch which is when they ask for the thing they want, such as money. While many think it would be easy to identify when a con artist is at work, it is actually a lot more difficult because the con artist embodies aspects of the dark triad and knows how to use them within this plan.

Why are these con artists so successful? Konnikova explains that people tend to be persuaded by con artists because they want to remain consistent with their beliefs, so they will rationalize the situation even if it does appear to be a scam. Furthermore, research has shown that people are more likely to be deceived by a scam if they are at a point of vulnerability in their life. Even if the transaction with the con artist falls through, the mark will continue to rationalize the situation by convincing themselves it is simply a matter of bad luck. Since people who get conned tend to believe it was just bad luck, Konnikova states that very few con artists get reported, and those that do are often able to talk themselves out of charges, or at least minimize them. Since con artists are rarely reported, many are able to just continue conning people.

Guest:

  • Maria Konnikova, psychologist and author of The Confidence Game: Why We Fall For It… Every Time

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18-13 Segment 1: A Spy in the Civil Rights Movement

 

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The Civil Rights Movement was a momentous period in the history of the United States. Iconic photos of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the Emmett Till Trial, and many other important events that occurred during the movement cover pages of history textbooks and articles honoring their work in changing the country.

But, who took these famous photos? The photographer was a man named Ernest Withers who learned how to take photos during his time serving the army in World War II. While many of Withers’ photos are widely circulated and well known for their effectiveness in rallying people to join the Civil Rights Movement, there is an aspect of his life that has been less popularized over the years. Marc Perrusquia, author of A Spy in Canaan: How the FBI Used a Famous Photographer to Infiltrate the Civil Rights Movement, explains that Withers was recruited during this time to be a spy for the FBI. Perrusquia states that he was an appealing recruit for the FBI due to his outgoing personality, photography skills, involvement in the community, and time spent in the military and the police force. Despite working in favor of the Civil Rights Movement, Withers helped the FBI to identify and keep track of a number of individuals that they believed were being influenced by Communist beliefs, some of which were very involved with the movement. While his work for President Hoover and the FBI who thought that the leaders of the Civil Rights Movements were dangerous can be seen as controversial in accordance with his other work, Perrusquia explains that he does not believe that Withers’ work for the Civil Rights Movement should be viewed as any less important.

In order to learn more about the history of the Civil Rights Movement and Ernest Withers involvement, listen to author Marc Perrusquia as he joins us on this week’s show. For more information, purchase a copy of his book A Spy in Canaan: How the FBI Used a Famous Photographer to Infiltrate the Civil Rights Movement.

Guest:

  • Marc Perrusquia, author of A Spy in Canaan: How the FBI Used a Famous Photographer to Infiltrate the Civil Rights Movement

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18-12 Segment 1: Racism In 2018

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Even though America’s founding fathers established in the Constitution that all men are created equal, and slavery was abolished not long after, many still question if we truly do live in a society guided by true equality. While some people would argue that we do, studies have shown that may not entirely be true. Paul Kivel, activist and author of Uprooting Racism: How White People Can Work For Racial Justice, states that there are persistent levels of racism that are deeply-rooted in American society from the education system to job markets and housing. Racial discrimination and marginalization still seem to play a large role in determining an individual’s ability to reap benefits and be successful in American society.

One reason that racism is still found in society today is that some people believe we live in a post-racial era. Kivel believes this idea stems from the fact that the United States had a two-term black president. Since Obama was elected as president, it has been hard for some people to understand that placing a person of color in a position of power was not the beginning of a post-racial society. Bruce Haynes, professor of sociology at the University of California-Davis and author of Down the Up Staircase: Three Generations of a Harlem Family, explains that this is a flawed belief because it is more of an exception in current culture rather than a much broader rule. Simply because one person of color was given an advantage that made them capable of maneuvering upwards in politics; it’s not an indication that all people of color have similar opportunities for success. Haynes explains that there are instances where white skin enables an individual to walk certain paths, while black skin often cannot. In order to achieve a post-racial culture, all people need to become less racially biased in all instances, not just in a few. 

So, what should people be doing in order to be an ally to people of color? Kivel explains that it is usually people of color who are educating the public on movements, but that there has never been a majority of white individuals, in powerful positions working together. He states that silence in the white community is doing more harm than overt racism. Yet, it is difficult for people to identify an appropriate way to be more active. Kivel explains that one way to begin overcoming the issue of silent complacency is to not let other people’s comments that have racist undertones be overlooked. At the time that it happens, the person may not understand the problem with their comment, but by addressing the racist statement that individual may later reflect on the comment, or it could even encourage others who heard the interaction to think about the repercussions of their own comments in the future. Despite the strides that have been made to combat racism, it is more important than ever to continue to fight the racism and silence in the United States. 

Guest:

  • Paul Kivel, activist and author of Uprooting Racism: How White People Can Work For Racial Justice
  • Bruce Haynes, professor of sociology at the University of California-Davis and author of Down the Up Staircase: Three Generations of a Harlem Family

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