293: A Little Bit of Knowledge

293: A Little Bit of Knowledge

Jul 22, 2005
Stories about the pitfalls of knowing just a little bit too little.
  • Host Ira Glass describes the thing that we all do at some point: Talk expertly about something we don't actually know anything about. It's so common, explains This American Life contributing editor Nancy Updike, that some friends of hers invented an imaginary magazine devoted to such blathering. It's called "Modern Jackass." (4 minutes) Health Care/MedicineJournalism

    Embed

    Copy and paste the HTML below to embed this story into your web page or blog.

    pixels
  • This American Life producer Alex Blumberg investigates a little-studied phenomenon: Children who get a mistaken idea in their heads about how something works or what something means, and then don't figure out until well into adulthood that they were wrong. Includes the tale of a girl who received a tissue box for Christmas, allegedly painted by trained monkeys. (13 minutes) Childhood

    Embed

    Copy and paste the HTML below to embed this story into your web page or blog.

    pixels
  • Six-year-old DJ has two dads, Dan Savage and Terry Miller. DJ is being raised by two gay men, but he has a preschooler's understanding of what gay means. Which is to say, he doesn't understand it at all. Though he does oppose gay marriage. Dan, the author of the syndicated column and book Savage Love, tells the story. (12 minutes) ChildrenParentsSexuality

    Embed

    Copy and paste the HTML below to embed this story into your web page or blog.

    pixels
  • Bob Berenz had a good job as an electrician. But he wanted to do something bigger. He came up with an idea for an invention. But as he studied physics texts to see if his invention could work, he happened upon the biggest idea of his life: A revelation about physics that would disprove Einstein, and Newton. That is, if Bob's right. Bob's friend, Robert Andrew Powell, reports the story. He's a sports writer and the author of We Own This Game, about youth football. (16 minutes) Jobs/EmploymentScience

    Embed

    Copy and paste the HTML below to embed this story into your web page or blog.

    pixels
  • Writer Alexa Junge tells about the time when she was thirteen and she decided to have a "grown-up" conversation with her beloved grandmother. (10 minutes) TeenagersWriting

    Embed

    Copy and paste the HTML below to embed this story into your web page or blog.

    pixels

Photo

Robert Stadler installation in St. Paul church, Paris. Image by Dominik.

Embed

Copy and paste the HTML below to embed this episode into your web page or blog.

pixels