Nerdette

Nerdette

United States

Interviews with your favorite authors, artists, astronauts and more. From WBEZ.

Episodes

Jill Tarter On A Life Spent Searching For Extraterrestrials  

Astronomer and former SETI director Jill Tarter talks about the future of our planet and why she ate so many ice cream cones when she worked at NASA. Tarter’s career was the basis for Carl Sagan’s 1985 science-fiction novel, Contact, which was later made into a film starring Jodie Foster. She talks about what it’s like to have Sagan fictionalize her life, why we need to listen more than we talk, and why it’s important for us to think of ourselves as Earthlings.

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From ‘Homeland’ To ‘Freaks And Geeks,’ She Can Direct Anything  

TV director Lesli Linka Glatter started her career as a choreographer, but after a serendipitous series of events, Glatter found her way to film and television directing. Since then, Glatter has directed a spate of well-loved shows, including Homeland, The Walking Dead, Justified, Mad Men, True Blood, Weeds, ER, The West Wing, and Gilmore Girls.

Tricia Bobeda and Greta Johnsen sat down with Glatter to talk about the differences between directing film and TV, working on shows with strong, complex women leads, and why some days she thinks about opening a 24-hour coffee/poetry/shoe/book store.

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W. Kamau Bell On Embracing Awkward And Loving 'Shark Tank'  

Stand-up comedian W. Kamau Bell is the host of CNN’s United Shades of America. He’s also the author of a new book, The Awkward Thoughts Of W. Kamau Bell. Nerdette’s Tricia Bobeda talked with Bell about why awkwardness and comedy go hand in hand, what it’s like to be a blerd (black nerd), and why the TV show Blackish is so great.

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Avoiding Armageddon With Dr. Carrie Nugent  

This week is all about looking for pieces of space, whether they’re in orbit or in Antarctic ice. First, asteroid hunter Carrie Nugent talks about chasing down elusive celestial bodies and why she doesn’t like talking about what it’s like to be a woman in science. And then we talk about meteorite hunting with the hosts of Undiscovered, a new podcast from NPR’s Science Friday team.

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Guardians Of The Galaxy’s Sean Gunn Loves Math, Cats, and Rap  

Sean Gunn is known for playing the ever-eccentric Kirk on Gilmore Girls and space-pirate Kraglin in the Guardians of the Galaxy movies. On Nerdette, he talks about what it’s like to be in a movie directed by his big brother, and how intense Gilmore Girls fans are. Plus, Sean shares his little-known obsessions with math, cats, and rap.

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Jane the Virgin’s Jaime Camil Loves His Cast, Broadway, And Ancient Aliens  

Jaime Camil plays the dramatic, charismatic, slightly self-absorbed yet extra-endearing Rogelio De La Vega on the CW’s telenovela-style comedy, Jane The Virgin. Camil, who has starred in many Mexican sitcoms, films and telenovelas, tells Nerdette’s Greta Johnsen why Jane the Virgin is so relatable and how it’s changing the game for people of color on American television.

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Breaking Yoga Stereotypes With Jessamyn Stanley  

Yoga enthusiast, expert and internationally recognized teacher Jessamyn Stanley breaks all the stereotypes of a yogi. Nerdette’s Greta Johnsen and Tricia Bobeda sat down with Stanley to talk about her new book, Every Body Yoga; how yoga is for everyone (and not just the models drinking coconut water in the Lululemon ads); and why yoga is more than just a way to burn calories.

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Rebecca Skloot On Oprah, Henrietta Lacks, And Storytelling In Science  

Rebecca Skloot talks about the long journey of turning her book, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, into an HBO film starring Oprah.
She also discusses the importance of storytelling in science and why, even after 18 years, she’s still traveling the world to talk about the life of Henrietta Lacks.

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Neil deGrasse Tyson And Jim Lovell On Failure, iPhones and Mars  

Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson and Apollo 13 astronaut Jim Lovell talk about the importance of failure, the future of innovation, and when we’ll get to Mars.

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Roxane Gay On Writing, Trashy TV And Channing Tatum  

Author Roxane Gay talks about writing her most recent book, a collection of short stories called Difficult Women, and why Beyoncé, Law and Order SVU and Channing Tatum’s neck are mentioned in the book’s acknowledgements.

Then, “reformed librarian” Kelly Jensen on why feminism isn’t always fun — but should be accessible — and how her new book is helping girls (and boys!) everywhere.

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Let’s Talk About Sex (And Religion) With Dr. Bat Sheva Marcus  

Orthodox Jewish sex therapist Dr. Bat Sheva Marcus founded one of the largest women’s sexual health clinics in the country. From taboos to vibrators, Bat Sheva talks about how she helps women embrace their sexuality. She also discusses her approach to solving specific challenges for women in the Orthodox Jewish community.

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Animating Disney’s Moana with Amy Smeed  

Amy Smeed, the leader of the animation team for Disney’s Moana, talks about what it’s like to build a character who is decidedly not a Disney princess, how the animation process works, and why deadlines are important.

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How To Build The Best Bad Robots  

YouTube’s queen of crappy robots, Simone Giertz, tells us how she got in the business of making the world’s best crappy robots, like an alarm clock that slaps you awake in the morning with a robotic arm, a robot that very terribly applies lipstick, and a vegetable chopper with 8-foot long knives.

In an interview with Nerdette hosts Tricia Bobeda and Greta Johnsen, she talked about how building terrible robots is a constant learning experience.

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The Past, Present And Future Of Sci Fi With N.K. Jemisin  

Hugo Award-winning author N.K. Jemisin talks about how all of her book ideas start with a simple question: “What if?” She also explains the unusual circumstances surrounding her Hugo Award victory and how science fiction is evolving for the better.

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Popular vs. Cool With Derek Thompson  

Derek Thompson, senior editor of The Atlantic, tells Nerdette's Tricia Bobeda about his new book Hit Makers: The Science of Popularity in an Age of Distraction. He explains what makes Adele’s "Hello" and Drake’s "Hotline Bling" top hits and how Star Wars was almost totally unknown. 

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Life On Mars With Dr. Sheyna Gifford  

Dr. Sheyna Gifford tells us about her year living on a volcano in Hawaii with just five other people as part of HI-SEAS IV, a NASA project to simulate life on Mars. Sheyna was the space doc on the mission, accompanied by a physicist, an architect, an engineer, a biologist and a commander.

Living in a 1200 square foot biodome and going outside only in their space suits, the crew studied the psychological effects and group dynamics that could be at play when astronauts make it to Mars. On Nerdette, Sheyna tells Tricia what the year was like and how she got through it. She also gives some excellent homework.

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Brain Pickings Creator Maria Popova Only Stops Working To Play Bridge  

Maria Popova, the creator of the website Brain Pickings, explains how her job is to reflect on everything from literature and physics to astronomy and art. She tells Nerdette hosts Tricia Bobeda and Greta Johnsen about her rigorous daily diet of reading, writing, tweeting, and reflecting, as well as her newest guilty pleasure: Playing bridge. 

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Lizzo: She Sings, She Raps, She Flutes  

Singer, rapper and flute player Lizzo breaks down her debut EP Coconut Oil and her bevy of musical styles. The multitalented artist talks about her early days in music, from being a band geek and starting girl groups as a kid to making music now that’s empowering and body-positive.


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Tom Hanks And Typewriters: A Love Story  

Tom Hanks is a little obsessed with typewriters. So when we put the Academy Award-winning actor in front of a pre-WWII Underwood Champion, he gave Nerdette hosts Tricia Bobeda and Greta Johnsen an impromptu master class on the machines he calls “self-contained printing presses with which you can change the world.”

Want to support this show and get a sweet Nerdette mug and/or notebook as a thank you gift? Go to https://wbez.org/nerdalert


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Margot Lee Shetterly, Andy Cohen And The Best Podcasts Of 2016  

We talk to Andy Cohen, the man behind Bravo’s Real Housewives, about celebrity obsession. Then we break down some of the best podcasts of 2016 with help from Lauren Ober, host of NPR’s The Big Listen, and Brittany Luce, of Gimlet. And finally, author Margot Lee Shetterly on her book Hidden Figures (the inspiration for the new film by the same name) which tells the stories of black female mathematicians who played crucial roles in the early days of NASA.

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