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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.

Are Public Libraries Disappearing?

On today’s episode of Modern Notion Daily, our guest is Wayne Wiegand, author of Part of Our Lives: A People’s History of the American Public Library (Oxford University Press, October 2015). Wiegand argues that libraries are about much more than books: they’re a community meeting place. And to answer the question in the headline: they’re not going anywhere.…

Your Microbiome Could Be the Key to Healthy Living

On today’s episode of Modern Notion Daily, we’re talking with Tim Spector, a professor of genetic epidemiology at Kings’ College London and author of The Diet Myth: Why the Secret to Health and Weight Loss Is Already in Your Gut (The Overlook Press, September 2015). Using twin studies, and testing out various diets for himself, Spector has…

White Powders and Clear Liquids: Looking at 75 Food Additives

The guests on today’s Modern Notion Daily show are Steve Ettlinger and Dwight Eschliman, coauthors of Ingredients: A Visual Exploration of 75 Food Additives and 25 Food Products (Regan Arts, September 2015). Ettlinger, who had previously written about artificial ingredients in his book Twinkie Deconstructed, teamed up with Eschliman, a photographer who has deconstructed food in previous visual…

A Primer on the Colorful History of Hawaii

Our guest on Modern Notion Daily is Susanna Moore, author of Paradise of the Pacific: Approaching Hawaii (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, September 2015). The book was recently longlisted for the 2015 National Book Award. Moore details the history of the archipelago, first inhabited by humans in the sixth century. We’ll learn about the origin of the…

The House of Twenty Thousand Books

On today’s episode of Modern Notion Daily, our guest is Sasha Abramsky, author of The House of Twenty Thousand Books (New York Review Books, September 2015). Abramsky recalls his grandparents’ London home, filled with a vast rare book collection—but more importantly, he remembers the ideas discussed among those treasured volumes. Later in the hour, reporter Jessie Wright-Mendoza…

The Dark Underbelly of California Winemaking

Our guest on today’s episode of Modern Notion Daily is Frances Dinkelspiel, author of Tangled Vines: Greed, Murder, Obsession, and an Arsonist in the Vineyards of California (St. Martin’s Press, October 2015). Dinkelspiel was intrigued by the 2005 arson of Wines Central, which destroyed hundreds of millions of dollars worth of wine. But ultimately, her journey…

Judy, the Only Canine POW in World War II

On today’s show, our guest is Robert Weintraub, author of No Better Friend: One Man, One Dog, and Their Extraordinary Story of Courage and Survival in WWII (Little, Brown and Company, May 2015). This is the story of Judy, a pointer dog who was a Japanese POW. She befriended Frank Williams, a British POW, and the two…

The Volcano That Caused Three Years of Bad Weather

On today’s Modern Notion Daily podcast, our guest is Gillen D’Arcy Wood, author of Tambora: The Eruption That Changed the World (Princeton University Press, paperback September 2015). In 1815, the Tambora volcano on Sumbawa (part of Indonesia) erupted for three days, producing volcanic ash that was absorbed into the Earth’s atmosphere and stratosphere. People blame this…

Why You Should Be Death-Positive

Our guest on today’s episode of Modern Notion Daily is Caitlin Doughty, a mortician and author of Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Stories from the Crematory (W. W. Norton & Co., paperback September 2015). Doughty promotes “death positivity”—which does not mean you should be happy when a loved one dies, but that you should embrace the…

A History of Gay Rights (or Lack Thereof) in America

On Modern Notion Daily, our guest is Lillian Faderman, author of The Gay Revolution: The Story of the Struggle (Simon & Schuster, September 2015). Faderman starts this detailed account of the treatment of LGBT people and communities in the 1950s, when police raided gay bars and prosecuted people for their sexuality in courts of law. How did we…