Sex, Ducks, and The Founding Feud

Jilted lovers and disrupted duck hunts provide a very odd look into the soul of the US Constitution.

What does a jilted lover’s revenge have to do with an international chemical weapons treaty? More than you’d think. From poison and duck hunts to our feuding fathers, we step into a very odd tug of war between local and federal law.

When Carol Anne Bond found out her husband had impregnated her best friend, she took revenge. Carol’s particular flavor of revenge led to a US Supreme Court case that puts into question a part of the US treaty power.

Producer Kelsey Padgett drags Jad and Robert into Carol’s poisonous web, which starts them on a journey from the birth of the US Constitution, to a duck hunt in 1918, and back to the present day … it’s all about an ongoing argument that might actually be the very heart and soul of our system of government

UnErased: Dr. Davison and the Gay Cure

Today on Radiolab, we’re playing part of a series that Jad worked on called UnErased: The history of conversion therapy in America.

The episode we’re playing today, the third in the series, is one of the rarest stories of all: a man who publicly experiences a profound change of heart. This is a profile of one of the gods of psychotherapy, who through a reckoning with his own work (oddly enough in the pages of Playboy magazine), becomes the first domino to fall in science’s ultimate disowning of the “gay cure.”

Infective Heredity (Radio Lab)

Today, a fast moving, sidestepping, gene-swapping free-for-all that would’ve made Darwin’s head spin.

David Quammen tells us about a shocking way that life can evolve – infective heredity. To figure it all out we go back to the earliest versions of life, and we revisit an earlier version of Radiolab. After reckoning with a scientific icon, we find ourselves in a tangle of genes that sheds new light on peppered moths, drug-resistant bugs, and a key moment in the evolution of life when mammals went a little viral.

Check out David Quammen’s book The Tangled Tree: A Radical New History of Life

Addressing Authoritarianism with Ranked Voting (Radio Lab)

Democracy is on the ropes.  In the United States and abroad, citizens of democracies are feeling increasingly alienated, disaffected, and powerless.  Some are even asking themselves a question that feels almost too dangerous to say out loud: is democracy fundamentally broken?

Today on Radiolab, just a day before the American midterm elections, we ask a different question: how do we fix it?  We scrutinize one proposed tweak to the way we vote that could make politics in this country more representative, more moderate, and most shocking of all, more civil.  Could this one surprisingly do-able mathematical fix really turn political campaigning from a rude bloodsport to a campfire singalong? And even if we could do that, would we want to?