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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.

The Jazz Age Life of Henrietta Bingham

On today’s episode of Modern Notion Daily, historian Emily Bingham joins us to talk about her new book chronicling the life of her great-aunt, Irrepressible: The Jazz Age Life of Henrietta Bingham (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, June 2015). Henrietta Bingham was a formidable woman who came of age during the 1920s. Born in Louisville, Kentucky,…

The Laki Volcano Eruption of 1783, Siberian Sinkholes

On today’s show, our guest is Alexandra Witze, co-author of Island on Fire: The Extraordinary Story of a Forgotten Volcano That Covered a Continent in Darkness (Pegasus, January 2015), with her husband Jeff Kanipe. The book traces the history of the 1783 eruption of the Laki volcano on Iceland. Beyond its immediate effects on Iceland…

Raymond Ditmars & His Obsession with Bushmasters, Nazi Ghetto in Madagascar

On today’s episode of Modern Notion Daily, we’re talking with Dan Eatherley, author of Bushmaster: Raymond Ditmars and the Hunt for the World’s Largest Viper (Arcade Publishing, June 2015). When he was working on various nature films and TV shows, Eatherley discovered Raymond Ditmars, an amateur herpetologist who went on to work for the Bronx…

Will Technology Go Beyond Our Control? & Ayahuasca

On this hour of Modern Notion Daily, our guest is Wendell Wallach, an ethicist, consultant, and scholar at Yale University’s Interdisciplinary Center for Bioethics, and the author of A Dangerous Master: How to Keep Technology from Slipping Beyond Our Control (Basic Books, June 2015). Wallach thinks that technology, if it goes unchecked, could pose serious…

The Life of Jonas Salk

This hour we’re talking with Charlotte DeCroes Jacobs, author of the biography Jonas Salk: A Life (Oxford University Press, May 2015). Salk is best known for creating the polio vaccine that paved the way to eradicating the disease in the United States. Jacobs explores the extraordinary story of how Salk ran trials for the vaccine,…

Interpreting the Bible Through Science, Death Elevator

On today’s show our guest is Steve Jones, a renowned British geneticist and author of The Serpent’s Promise: The Bible Interpreted Through Modern Science (Pegasus, paperback June 2015). Jones is an atheist—he even won “Secularist of the Year”—but he thinks the Bible has some historical information to offer us. He doesn’t buy that the Bible…

The Very Terrible 1914 Tour of Italy, the Man Who Biked Around the World

Today we have a bicycle theme on Modern Notion Daily. Our guest is Tim Moore, who recreated one of the worst bicycle races in history and wrote about it in his new book, Gironimo! The Very Terrible 1914 Tour of Italy (Pegasus, May 2015). Moore fashioned a bicycle that would resemble the wooden-wheeled vehicles of…

The Ingenious Mr. Pyke, Feral Cities, Butterfly Highway

On today’s episode of Modern Notion Daily, our guest is Henry Hemming, author of The Ingenious Mr. Pyke: Inventor, Fugitive, Spy (Public Affairs, May 2015). Hemming discovered Pyke when he was reading a volume about English eccentrics—and Pyke certainly falls into that category. His crowning achievements include sneaking into and out of Germany during World…

Bed Bugs!

This hour, we examine the experience of having bed bugs with Brooke Borel, author of Infested: How the Bed Bug Infiltrated Our Bedrooms and Took Over the World (University of Chicago Press, April 2015). Borel wanted to know why bed bugs became so prevalent in the last decade, and she found plenty of people to…

Trials of Passion, Lady and the Tramp

On today’s show, Lisa Appignanesi, author of Trials of Passion: Crimes Committed in the Name of Love and Madness (Pegasus, July 2015), talks about the intersection of law and psychiatry. She studied several trials, between the years 1870 and 1914, to find out how “mind doctors” came to play a significant role in how justice…