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Radio Open Source with Christopher Lydon

Are We Numb to Nukes?

We’re thinking our way through a plausible nuclear emergency with Elaine Scarry who reminds you – we’ve got a weapons monarchy in this democracy. How can we call it a democracy, the rule of the people, when there’s one man’s finger on the trigger that could destroy us all?

Eric Schlosser: Nuclear Nightmares

Eric Schlosser, the investigative reporter of Fast Food Nation fame, has assembled what reads like a Letterman list of hair-raising nuclear bungles and close calls with catastrophe. Command and Control is smelling salts for historical amnesia if lived through the Cold War and repressed it. It could scare the pants off you, if you thought there was nothing to worry about.

Richard Rhodes: Is the Knowledge of Nukes Enough?

Richard Rhodes is the go-to analyst of nuclear weapons for most of thirty years now ever since the publication of his acclaimed history of the Manhattan project and the mostly men and the science and the political emergency behind it. His first masterpiece was called The Making of the Atomic Bomb. He’s even written a play about the Reykjavík Summit between Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev, perhaps the closest we’ve been so far to the total abolition of nuclear arms.

Nukes by the Numbers

A series of infographics on nuclear weapons, with more to come. What is your most enlightening, or frightening, insight into nuclear America?

What Do We Make of The Big Bang?

In the beginning was the Bang. We’ve got visible proof of it now, thanks to blockbuster discoveries made at Harvard and predicted at MIT. But are our heads too cluttered with creation myths to come to grips with the beginning of everything? So we're clearing the deck to listen to wisdom of the physicists: where did we come from, what are we made of, what happens next, and why? And what do we do with what we're learning?

Coincidence? Megan Marshall wins Pulitzer for Margaret Fuller Biography

A big Open Source shout-out to Megan Marshall, who was awarded the Pulitzer Prize this week for her biography of Margaret Fuller. Megan was on our recent show, The Transcendentalists Are Coming, drawing out the profile of this interesting woman among the more famous men of Concord.

What's So Great About Mahler?

One of Gustav Mahler’s great conductors and champions Benjamin Zander takes us inside the irresistible, inexhaustible 9th Symphony. The Mahler farewell that’s never finished, Thursday, April 24th, at 9pm.

The French Sensation: Income Inequality in 700 Pages and a Hundred Graphs

The hottest book everybody is talking about, that no one has read and no can get their hands on, is a giant, data-packed tome on income inequality covering three hundred years of history by the French economist Thomas Piketty. Is there a reason he’s getting the rock star treatment? Is it the symptoms that resonate so — our drift into oligarchy — or the cure — a progressive tax on wealth?

What Does Mahler's Ninth Sound Like?

"Rite of Spring" Revival

On the way to our show with Benjamin Zander on Gustav Mahler's Symphony No. 9 this Thursday, we're revisiting a show we did with him nearly fifteen years ago about another orchestral masterpiece, Stravinsky's "The Rite of Spring."