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The radio extension of Modern Notion, a website for the ultra-curious that finds the science behind the story and the truth in every tale. It’s your middlebrow library for highbrow ideas. We tell stories about history, science, technology, culture and life.

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Hosts

Zack Christenson and Dara Katz are the co-hosts of Modern Notion Daily, and the editor-in-chief and editor of Modern Notion.

Dangerous Personalities, What Lewis & Clark Left Behind, Misophonia

This hour we talk to Joe Navarro, author of Dangerous Personalities: An FBI Profiler Shows How to Identify and Protect Yourself from Harmful People (Rodale Books, October 2014). Navarro takes us through the four personality types we should watch out for—and assuages any fears that the Modern Notion staff is riddled with narcissists. Contributing editor…

‘Circus without Borders,’ First Wives and Assassinations, and the Rainbow of Sound

We talk with filmmaker Linda Matchan about her new documentary from Northern Light Productions, Circus without Borders, which tells the true story of two circuses from remote corners of the world—an Inuit village in Canada, and Guinea in West Africa. We also hear about the side of historical presidential assassinations that doesn’t get talked about: what happened to the first wives?…

Gurkhas, WWII WASPS and the Geophysics Behind the Normandy Landing

This hour we’ll about two vastly differently, but equally fierce groups of warriors: the Nepalese Gurkhas and the women pilots of World War II. We’ll also hear from Freedom Riders and learn about the man who’s credited with the successful invasion of Normandy—and we’re not talking about Eisenhower. Finally, we’ll hop into the present with Marnie…

Modern Notion Daily

The Looting Machine: Warlords, Oligarchs, Corporations, Smugglers, and the Theft of Africa’s Wealth

Today we have a little bit of a different show for you. We talked to author Tom Burgis about his new book The Looting Machine, and because it was just so complex and speaks to a lot of current issues, we decided to do a whole show that centers on it. So make sure your…

Daniel Rubens on SIDS, The Indiana Jones of Mathematics, The Last Empress of China

This hour, host Kristen Majewski talks to Dr. Daniel Rubens, a pediatric anesthesiologist at Seattle Children’s and cofounder of the SIDS Research Guild, about his groundbreaking research on Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. He thinks SIDS is in some way connected with inner ear damage, and he and his team are researching the cause, mechanism, and…

Obscenity & American Jews, Visiting the Dennis Severs House, Madame Wu

This hour we talk to Josh Lambert, author of Unclean Lips: Obscenity, Jews, and American Culture (NYU Press, 2013). Lambert says that there have been many studies of obscenity in America, but almost no scholarship explores how it relates to Jewishness—even though many of the prominent figures were Jewish. Producer Eleanor Stanford sends us an…

The Life & Ideas of Sabina Spielrein, Living Autopsy, We Have Chins for a Reason

We talk to Dr. John Launer, author of Sex vs. Survival: The Life and Ideas of Sabina Spielrein (Overlook Press, February 2015). Launer wants to bring Spielrein’s contributions to psychoanalysis to light, rather than dwelling on her brief erotic relationship with Carl Jung. We present our latest “People Are Strange”: Washington Irving Bishop, the mentalist…

Princes at War, Seeing with Sound, Secret Life of Soot

Deborah Cadbury talks about her book, Princes at War (Public Affairs, April 2015), a deep exploration of the four British royal brothers before, during, and after World War II. She fills in the details of Wallis Simpson’s connection to the Nazis and shows how the three younger brothers stepped up in wartime, in a way…

Why Science Does Not Disprove God, Potato Ball Caper, Trend-Setting Presidents

This hour we talk to Amir Aczel, author of Why Science Does Not Disprove God (William Morrow, April 2015 paperback), a response to the New Atheist claim that God was not necessary for creation. Aczel uses the history of science and religion to, in his words, defend the integrity of science. We also hear the…

John Wilkes Booth, Irene Joliot-Curie, Poison Squad

On the 150th anniversary of President Lincoln’s assassination, we talk to Terry Alford about Lincoln’s killer, John Wilkes Booth. Alford wrote the definitive biography of Booth, out today from Oxford University Press. We also learn about the daughter of Marie Curie, who was a Nobel Prize winner herself, and we hear the curious origins of…