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Dead Funny: Humor in Hitler’s Germany

Dead Funny: Humor in Hitler’s Germany

Hitler and The Third Reich are both seldom seen as being topics to laugh at. That is unless you’re Rudolph Herzog: in which case you’ve already written a book about how funny both are! Additionally, if you were Rudolph Herzog, you’d know about the hippest comedy scenes in Germany, the whispered jokes, the smoky anti-Nazi [...]

‘Cause you got…personality

‘Cause you got…personality

If you took a personality test, could you fail? If you have a life coach, might he bench you? In reality, personality tests are no joke, and have long been used as serious approaches to examine the mental stability of pilots, police officers and others in high-pressure occupations. Recently, there has been a trend to [...]

Annoying: The Science of What Bugs Us

Annoying: The Science of What Bugs Us

For just about everyone, there is something out there that is annoying. How is it that the littlest things, such as your coworker tapping her foot or your husband picking at his teeth, can just about drive us crazy? NPR science correspondent Joe Palca and Science Friday’s Flora Lichtman must have been really annoyed at [...]

Truth, beauty and goodness in the 21st century

Truth, beauty and goodness in the 21st century

In an age when anyone with a computer can produce and circulate instant information, what is “truth?” When photographs, and even faces, can be doctored to fit popular standards of attractiveness, how do we define “beauty?” And with the explosion of internet rumors and the ease of illegal downloading, does anyone value “goodness?” Every civilization [...]

Do you know more than an eighth grader? If it’s a civics question, you probably do

Do you know more than an eighth grader?  If it’s a civics question, you probably do

Do you know the purpose of the Bill of Rights? If you do, you’re way ahead of fewer than half of American eighth graders. If you find that statistic a little disconcerting, how about the fact that fewer than three-quarters of high school seniors are unable to explain what power is granted to Congress by [...]

Pakistan: America’s number one "frenemy?"

Pakistan: America’s number one "frenemy?"

In an interview last night, President Obama insisted Pakistan has been a strong counterterrorism partner to the United States. However, since the revelation that Osama bin Laden had been hiding in the South Asian country for years, rumblings have started in Washington over U.S. aid it receives. Some lawmakers say this is the time to [...]

Rainn Wilson and climatologist Tim Flannery chew on life’s big questions

Rainn Wilson and climatologist Tim Flannery chew on life’s big questions

You most likely know him as Dwight Schrute from "The Office," but beneath that caustic veneer is a deep thinker. Meet Rainn Wilson, lover of philosophy, religious studies and flapjacks. Patt sat down with the actor at the Los Angeles Times Book Festival last week to talk about his book and web site "Soul Pancake," [...]

This summer, Mel Gibson is…unforgivable?

This summer, Mel Gibson is…unforgivable?

Before there was Charlie Sheen, there was Mel Gibson. In 2006, Gibson got a DUI and while being arrested he accosted the arresting Jewish officer with anti-Semitic remarks. In 2010, audio recordings revealed Gibson verbally abusing his wife, complete with sexist and racist remarks. He also has a history of homophobic statements going back to [...]

Nerve: nothing to fear but having nothing to fear

Nerve: nothing to fear but having nothing to fear

Nerves—they’re why we can’t stand public speaking, can’t sleep before the SAT’s, and can’t seem to speak English around a romantic crush. What’s going on in our brain that makes us sweat, stutter, and jitter in these situations? Taylor Clark asks this question in his new book <i>Nerve: Poise Under Pressure, Serenity Under Stress, and [...]

Life in the zero gravity realm

Life in the zero gravity realm

Today is the 50th anniversary of Americans in space but as the Shuttle program winds down, no one knows when humans will be making future forays into the void. Space is a deadly place lacking in the things we need most to live and thrive: air, gravity, hot showers, fresh produce, privacy, beer. So how [...]