"The word random is the most misused word of our generation — by far," he proclaims to a tittering audience of 20-somethings. "Like, girls will say, 'Oh, God, I met this random on the way home.' First of all, it's not a noun."
This interview was originally broadcast on Dec. 5, 2011. Social Q's is now out in paperback.
Need advice on when it's appropriate to break up with someone over email? Want to know how to react if your dinner companion whips out a cellphone midway through a meal? What about how to deal with your annoying relatives during the holidays?
This is SCIENCE FRIDAY, I'm Ira Flatow. Now that President Obama's been re-elected, it's clear that at least the president won't try to repeal Obamacare. But with all the political mud-slinging about the Affordable Care Act, the details sort of got lost, didn't they? Do you actually know what the law does for you, and just as importantly what it doesn't do, what changes to your health care kick in on January 1, what major changes kick in in 2014 and thereafter?
This month the book club takes to the skies with the Tom Wolfe classic The Right Stuff, a behind-the-curtain look at the 20th century's most famous test pilots--including Chuck Yeager. Yeager joins the club to talk about his long career, and what he considers "the right stuff."
Photographer James Balog on Climate Change and 'Chasing Ice' — In the new documentary "Chasing Ice," photographer James Balog attempts to capture how the world's glaciers are being affected by climate change. As the film debuts across the country, Balog discusses the project, and what needs to be done to save Earth's shrinking glaciers.
Tracey Thorn's interpretation of "Maybe This Christmas," by the Canadian singer-songwriter Ron Sexsmith, is typical of her new holiday album, Tinsel and Lights: It's simply arranged, emphasizing Thorn's lovely, delicate voice and bolstered by a firm intelligence; it avoids the fatty treacle that weighs down lots of Christmas albums. Tinsel and Lights mixes familiar songs with new ones, such as the title song written by Thorn.
From drug use in baseball, to Republicans ditching a long-held "no-tax" pledge, the Barbershop guys give their take on this week's news. Host Michel Martin speaks with writer and cultural critic Jimi Izrael, civil rights attorney Arsalan Iftikhar, National Review Columnist Mario Loyola, and ESPN Legal Analyst Lester Munson.
Sister Consuelo Morales puts her faith into action in a very dangerous place. She heads a human rights group in Monterrey, Mexico, where she pressures authorities to investigate killings, disappearances and other drug-related violence. She and Nik Steinberg of Human Rights Watch speak with host Michel Martin.
Switching gears now, bullying has been in the news a lot in recent years. Bullying has always gone on, of course, but in recent years, the issue has gotten more attention, in part because a number of these episodes have ended tragically.