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Prologue

If there is intelligent life elsewhere in the universe, why haven’t we heard from the extraterrestrials yet? Producer David Kestenbaum explains The Fermi Paradox to host Ira Glass. The possibility that we are alone in the universe makes David sad.

Prologue

A year ago, we did a story about a study that found that a simple 20-minute conversation could change someone’s mind about controversial issues like gay marriage and abortion. But a few weeks after we aired the story, the study was discredited.

Prologue

We sent a reporter named Dan Grech to the Hundred Year Starship Public Symposium, which aims to tackle the technological problems related to interstellar space travel. And as host Ira Glass explains, Dan found this gathering to be way more adventurous than your average scientific conference.

Prologue

Host Ira Glass and Albert Donnay read a true ghost story that appeared in a medical journal in 1921. After a "Mrs H" and her family moved into an old rambling house, strange apparitions started appearing...until her brother-in-law figured out the real cause of the ghostly presences.

Act One: What Really Happens In Marriage

Ira visits marital researcher John Gottman, who's part of a generation of researchers that have revolutionized the way we see marriage by observing successful and unsuccessful marriages and trying to figure out what the successful happy ones are doing that the ones who end up in divorce are not. Marriage research and links to marriage education programs for couples are online at www.smartmarriages.com.

Prologue

Host Ira Glass reminds the audience about the old TV series MacGyver, about the guy who stops bad guys without a gun. He uses science and sheer ingenuity to invent solutions.

Prologue

Producer Alex Blumberg explains that he wanted to do this show because of his conflicted relationship with his own testosterone. He tells host Ira Glass that the reasons go back to a girl in his eighth-grade homeroom and the 1970s seminal feminist novel The Women's Room. We also hear from a man who stopped producing testosterone due to a medical treatment and found that his entire personality was altered.

Act One: Life At Zero

The interview with a man who lost his testosterone continues. He explains that life without testosterone is life without desire—desire for everything: food, conversation, even TV.

Prologue

We hear two stories of everyday life which are more easily understood if one knows some of the laws of physics, specifically the Mediocrity Principle and the Casimir Effect. Then Particle Physicist and Planet Money correspondent David Kestenbaum explains why physicists hate it when non-scientists try to apply these laws and principles to their daily lives.

Act One: Baby Scientists With Faulty Data

More stories like the one in the prologue, where kids look at something going on around them, observe it carefully, think about it logically, and come to conclusions that are completely incorrect. Includes a story set at Christmastime, where a father tells his daughter about the baby Jesus being born, and all the "good stuff." Then the daughter notices a picture of Jesus on the cross, and asks why they killed him.