Social Science

What's The Point

FiveThirtyEight, 538, ESPN, Jody Avirgan

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A show about our data age. Each week, Jody Avirgan brings you stories and interviews on how data is changing lives.

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Sparks: Interview with David Baron

42:49 | Aug 11th, 2017

Christie Aschwanden interviews the author of "American Eclipse," by David Baron.

Sparks: The Eclipse Of 1878

43:06 | Aug 10th, 2017

The Sparks gang discusses "American Eclipse" by David Baron, and the solar eclipse coming to the U.S. later this month.

WTP Best Of: DNA Evidence

40:43 | Jul 27th, 2017

Jody discusses the rise of forensic DNA with Erin Murphy, professor at New York University and author of the book "Inside the Cell."

WTP Best Of: Adam Ruins Everything

30:09 | Jul 18th, 2017

Jody interviews Adam Conover of TruTV's Adam Ruins Everything on how his show covers stats heavy topics.

Sparks: Interview with Charles Ornstein

34:31 | Jul 7th, 2017

Christie Aschwanden talks to journalist Charles Ornstein about how he reports on how money can influence doctors.

Sparks: Conflicts of interest

38:28 | Jul 6th, 2017

The Sparks crew discusses how politicians and scientists wrestle with conflicts of interest, and what the science says about how conflict of interest can change our decisions.

Sparks: Interview with Bob Holmes

40:29 | Jun 2nd, 2017

Anna Maria Barry-Jester talks to Bob Holmes, the author of "Flavor: The science of our most neglected sense."

Sparks: Flavor Science

39:34 | Jun 1st, 2017

FiveThirtyEight's science team discusses "Flavor: The science of our most neglected sense," a book by Bob Holmes. They also go flavor tripping.

WTP Best Of: Bear Mapping: 5/18/17

36:24 | May 18th, 2017

Rae Wynn-Grant, a conservation researcher at the American Museum of Natural History, discusses her work tracking black bears in the American West.

Sparks: Interview with Thomas Levenson: 5/5/17

46:46 | May 5th, 2017

FiveThirtyEight's Christie Aschwanden interviews the author of "The Hunt for Vulcan."

Sparks: "The Hunt for Vulcan": 5/4/17

47:49 | May 4th, 2017

What does it take to revise a cold, hard science fact? This montha€™s Sparks podcast explores that question in the context of a€œThe Hunt for Vulcana€ by Thomas Levenson.

WTP Best Of: Baseball: 4/20/17

36:37 | Apr 20th, 2017

Jody interviews Ben Lindbergh and Sam Miller, authors of "The Only Rule Is It Has To Work," a chronicle of their summer spent as general managers for the Sonoma Stompers.

Sparks: Interview with Elisabeth Rosenthal: 4/12/17

28:21 | Apr 12th, 2017

Anna Maria Barry-Jester interviews the author of "An American Sickness: How healthcare became big business and how you can take it back."

Sparks: "An American Sickness": 4/6/17

50:21 | Apr 6th, 2017

Our science podcast crew discusses the state of American health care, and what consumers can do about it. This month's book: "An American Sickness" by Elisabeth Rosenthal.

WTP Best Of: Internet Tracking: 3/23/17

32:25 | Mar 23rd, 2017

Jody interviews Arvind Narayanan about the latest in online tracking, and what you can do to shield yourself.

WTP Best Of: Your Certainty Bubble: 3/9/17

25:39 | Mar 10th, 2017

Jody Avirgan and Carl Bialik discuss research into how we get information and what information we trust.

Sparks - Interview with Alondra Nelson: 3/3/17

51:02 | Mar 3rd, 2017

FiveThirtyEight's Maggie Koerth-Baker discusses The Social Life of DNA: Race, Reparations, and Reconciliation After the Genome with author Alondra Nelson.

Sparks - The Social Life of DNA: Race, Reparations, and Reconciliation After the Genome: 3/2/17

40:54 | Mar 2nd, 2017

This month, we're discussing Alondra Nelson's The Social Life of DNA: Race, Reparations, and Reconciliation After the Genome.

WTP Best Of: Life In Yemen: 2/17/17

38:13 | Feb 17th, 2017

What cell phone metadata can reveal about the patterns of daily live -- and the effect of drone strikes.

WTP Best Of: James Hamblin: 2/2/17

38:29 | Feb 2nd, 2017

From the archives, Jody Avirgan and James Hamblin discuss modern medicine, personal health tracking, and why health journalism is broken.

Sparks: Interview with the author of "The Unpersuadables" : 1/26/17

53:10 | Jan 26th, 2017

FiveThirtyEight's Maggie Koerth-Baker talks with author Will Storr about his book "The Unpersuadables: Adventures with the enemies of science."

Sparks - The Unpersuadables: 1/19/17

40:07 | Jan 19th, 2017

FiveThirtyEight's science team discusses Will Storr's book, "The Unpersuadables: Adventures with the enemies of science."

The Amazing Postcards You Mailed Us: 12/22/16

37:52 | Dec 22nd, 2016

Jody Avirgan and Kate Larue discuss the postcards we received for our "Dear Data" project, and then rerun our original conversation. Check it out:

Sparks (Part 2) Nate Silver and Michael Lewis: 12/16/16

36:48 | Dec 16th, 2016

This month we're discussing Michael Lewis's new book "The Undoing Project." Here he talks with Nate Silver about his work. Be sure to check out part 1!

Sparks - The Undoing Project: 12/15/16

39:25 | Dec 15th, 2016

Our science team discusses Michael Lewis's new book, which is about the rise of behavioral economics. Check out part 2, coming soon, in which Nate Silver talks with Lewis.

.72 That Was The Point: 12/8/16

32:26 | Dec 8th, 2016

What's The Point is coming to an end with Jody Avirgan as the host. We discuss what we've learned over the last year and a half. Stay tuned for our next big thing!

.71 How Adam Ruins Everything: 12/2/16

30:39 | Dec 2nd, 2016

Adam Conover on the challenge of explaining tough topics - while being funny. Catch "Adam Ruins Everything" on TruTV.

.70 Sparks (Pt 2) Kenji Lopez-Alt: 11/23/16

29:13 | Nov 23rd, 2016

In part two of our Thanksgiving special, Anna Maria Barry-Jester talks about the science of food with Kenji Lopez-Alt.

.69 Sparks: Let's Eat, With Science!: 11/17/16

32:46 | Nov 17th, 2016

A Thanksgiving cooking special from our science team as they discuss Kenji Lopez-Alt's "The Food Lab."

.68 Sparks (Pt 2) Risk: 11/5/16

30:19 | Nov 5th, 2016

Maggie Koerth-Baker talks with Kayt Sukel about how we define risk, and how to write about it responsibly.

.67 Sparks: Risk: 10/28/16

31:48 | Oct 28th, 2016

Our monthly science series looks at why humans make, or don't make, risky choices. Part 2 of this conversation - and interview with author Kayt Sukel - airs next week.

.66 When The Algorithm Decides: 10/23/16

36:01 | Oct 23rd, 2016

Cathy O'Neil discusses her book "Weapons Of Math Destruction," about algorithms that are widespread, harmful, and secretive.

.65 Optimized Or Monetized?: 10/15/16

28:09 | Oct 15th, 2016

Julia Angwin of Pro Publica discusses their investigations into "black box" algorithms.

.64 Do You Feel Informed?: 10/7/16

25:23 | Oct 7th, 2016

Carl Bialik discusses a new study that shows how Americans get their information, how they make decisions, and how they change their minds.

.63 Sparks (Pt 2) Mental Health Stigma: 9/29/16

26:34 | Sep 29th, 2016

Maggie Koerth-Baker talks with Dr. Patrick Corrigan about the stigma of mental health and how it relates to public figures.

.62 Sparks: Politicians' Mental Health: 9/22/16

34:10 | Sep 22nd, 2016

Our monthly science series looks at the ethics and laws of discussing and diagnosing the health of political figures. Part 2 of this show airs next week.

.61 Bear Tracks: 9/16/16

36:28 | Sep 16th, 2016

How a digital model can help prevent bear-human conflicts. Dr. Rae Wynn-Grant discusses her work in the field, and at the computer.

.60 Blythe Picks A Team: 9/8/16

28:46 | Sep 8th, 2016

From Hot Takedown, how our editor Blythe Terrell used an algorithm to help pick a new NFL team to root for.