Adam Ruins Everything

First, on the Adam Ruins Everything TV show, Adam Conover broke down widespread misconceptions about everything we take for granted. Now, join Adam as he sits down with the experts and stars from the show to go into even more detail.

Adam Ruins Everything Episode 40: Dr. Arjun Srinivasan on Antibiotic Resistance

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Is the antibiotic resistance apocalypse approaching? This week's guest, Dr. Arjun Srinivasan, who appeared on Adam Ruins the Hospital, says yes. On the podcast, Adam and Arjun discuss how doctors are overprescribing antibiotics, an incredibly dangerous practice. Overprescription actually makes our bacteria more resistant to antibiotics; if we become immune to these antibiotics, they can't help us fight against mild infections -- let alone extreme ones. Arjun says doctors should be intentional in how often they prescribe antibiotics and patients shouldn't think of them as a cure-all. Additionally, governments should be investing in funding for methods of battling antibiotic resistance, including new drugs and research. 
 
Arjun is the Associate Director for Healthcare Associated Infection Prevention Programs at the CDC.

Adam is on Twitter @AdamConover and you can find past episodes and bonus content from the TruTV show at AdamRuinsEverything.com.
Produced by Shara Morris for MaximumFun.org.

Adam Ruins Everything Episode 39: Jessica Huseman on Why Filing Taxes Is Unnecessarily Difficult

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We all know how filing taxes is a pain. Every April Americans dig through receipts, meet with accountants, claim their expenses, and pray they're not audited. It takes a significant amount of time and energy, and frankly, it doesn’t make that much sense that we have to calculate what we owe the government.
 
But our guest, Jessica Huseman, who appeared on Adam Ruins the Economy, tells us taxes doesn't have to be so hard. In many other countries around the world, citizens file their taxes through a system called return-free filing. That means instead of citizens calculating what they owe the government, the government will calculate their taxes and essentially send them the bill. Unfortunately, the tax companies like H&R Block and TurboTax prefer the status quo because that means more business for them; they've actually very successfully lobbied the government to keep this system in place.
 
Jessica is a reporter with ProPublica and helped break this story for the organization earlier this year.
 

Adam is on Twitter @AdamConover and you can find past episodes and bonus content from the TruTV show at AdamRuinsEverything.com.
Produced by Shara Morris for MaximumFun.org.

Adam Ruins Everything Episode 38: Professor Brian Nosek On Science's Reproducibility Crisis and Opportunity

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We've seen it time and time again. A journal publishes a seemingly significant scientific study which gains traction in the press only to be subsequently deemed irreproducible. This pattern is known as the reproducibility crisis, and our guest, University of Virginia Professor Brian Nosek, is trying to awaken the scientific community and the public at large to these challenges. Brian says the reproducibility crisis is not a new problem. Because scientists' career advancement is contingent on publication, the community is incentivized to create studies that tell a positive, novel and tidy story, known as publication bias, and leave findings out of publications that don't advance their conclusions.
 
In response, Brian, who appeared on Adam Ruins Science, founded the Reproducibility Project, which tried to replicate the results of 100 psychological experiments published in respected journals in 2008. In 2015, their results were published in Science and found that only 36 out of the 100 replications showed statistically significant results, compared with 97 of the 100 original experiments.
 
Some of this sounds discouraging and might make us doubt science. But the reality is that research is difficult and lab results are often messy and many times don't fit into neat categories. Brian argues that's actually the beauty of science and we should look at this issue as less of a crisis and more as an opportunity. When we realize we're wrong about our ideas about the world, it forces us to realign our worldview and think about our surroundings from a different perspective. Being wrong only gets us closer to being right!
 

Adam is on Twitter @AdamConover and you can find past episodes and bonus content from the TruTV show at AdamRuinsEverything.com.
Produced by Shara Morris for MaximumFun.org.

Adam Ruins Everything Episode 37: Professor Stephan Lewandowsky on the Backfire Effect

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On Adam Ruins Everything, we're all about using persuasive, rational arguments to bring awareness to a topic and hopefully change some minds along the way. But as our expert Professor Stephan Lewandowsky points out, that can lead to the opposite result, known as the backfire effect. The backfire effect says that the more you try to change someone's mind, the less likely you are to actually change it. What is more effective is to restate facts, provide alternative narratives, and ask questions that poke holes in that person's argument.
 
Stephan appeared on Emily Ruins Adam Ruins Everything and is the Chair in Cognitive Psychology at the University of Bristol in the UK.
 

Adam is on Twitter @AdamConover and you can find past episodes and bonus content from the TruTV show at AdamRuinsEverything.com.
Produced by Shara Morris for MaximumFun.org.

Adam Ruins Everything Episode 36: Nikole Hannah-Jones on the Rippling Effects of Redlining and Segregation

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Many people have an idyllic view of the suburbs. You can have a lawn! Access to good schools! Safety! But much of that American dream has been historically reserved for white people. On this week's episode, Nikole Hannah-Jones, who appeared on Adam Ruins the Suburbs, joins us on the podcast to discuss racist federal housing laws like redlining, which prevented African American families from buying homes in certain neighborhoods in post-World War II America. This had disastrous rippling effects on the African American community; these laws made it harder for them to accrue wealth over the years and join the middle class. And even when these laws were ultimately deemed illegal under the Fair Housing Act of 1968, many didn't have the money to move into wealthier, whiter neighborhoods. This continues to have repercussions today - segregated neighborhoods means segregated schools, which means education resources are of course going to the wealthier, whiter school districts.
 
Nikole is an award-winning investigative reporter who covers civil rights and racial injustice for The New York Times Magazine. She currently writes extensively on modern-day school segregation throughout the country. You can find her fantastic story for This American Life, "The Problem We All Live With," on the recent desegregation of the Normandie School District in Missouri here.
 

Adam is on Twitter @AdamConover and you can find past episodes and bonus content from the TruTV show at AdamRuinsEverything.com.
Produced by Shara Morris for MaximumFun.org.

Professor Natasha Dow Schüll On How Casinos & Slot Machines Are Designed to Facilitate Gambling Addiction

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When it comes to gambling, there's a perception people get addicted because there's always that glimmer of hope they can hit the big jackpot. But according to our podcast guest, Natasha Dow Schüll, many gamblers, and more specifically many slot machine gamblers, get addicted because they're in the "zone" - the feeling players describe when they're completely absorbed in a game. They don't really care about winning; rather they want to escape the world and become subsumed in their game.
 
Natasha, who appeared on Adam Ruins Vacations, says casinos also facilitate this addiction by designing the most optimal gambling experience which keeps gamblers playing...and playing...and playing. This ranges from the perambulant layout of the casinos themselves to the ergonomic design of the slot machine chairs, to the games' false wins that create an illusion of winning. Casinos are now even taking advantage of big data systems which track users' gambling preferences to incentivize players to stay in their chairs as long as possible. Like most other serious addictions, gambling addiction has dangerous ramifications; it can lead to divorce, bankruptcy, jail time and even suicide, so it's important that these casinos are monitored in some fashion.
 
Natasha is a cultural anthropologist and associate professor in the Department of Media, Culture, and Communication at New York University. She is also the author of Addiction by Design: Machine Gambling in Las Vegas.
 

Adam is on Twitter @AdamConover and you can find past episodes and bonus content from the TruTV show at AdamRuinsEverything.com.
Produced by Shara Morris for MaximumFun.org.

Adam Ruins Everything Episode 34: Dr. Joann Elmore and Dr. Janie Lee on Why Mammogram Screenings are More Complex Than We Imagined

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For decades women have been told that they should start getting yearly mammograms at age 35. We think of it as a no-brainer, and mammograms do save lives. But their effects are much more complicated than we originally anticipated. Dr. Joann Elmore, who appeared on Adam Ruins Hospitals, explains how doctors can do a better job communicating the facts with their patients about mammograms. One in ten women who receive their annual screenings are routinely called back for additional testing. This is part of the screening process in the United States, and a failure to communicate that with patients can cause unnecessary anxiety. Furthermore, many women are also overdiagnosed, meaning they might have cancer but it may not be the aggressive kind and we should discuss appropriate treatment accordingly. Joann recommends that women begin talking to their doctors about breast cancer and mammograms slightly in their 40s and begin routine mammograms, meaning at least every two years, between ages 50-74.
 
Dr. Joann Elmore is a professor of medicine and adjunct professor of epidemiology at the University of Washington, as well as an affiliate investigator with the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and the Group Health Research Institute. She is joined by her colleague Dr. Janie Lee, who is an Associate Professor of Radiology and the Section Chief of Breast Imaging at the University of Washington.
 

Adam is on Twitter @AdamConover and you can find past episodes and bonus content from the TruTV show at AdamRuinsEverything.com.
Produced by Shara Morris for MaximumFun.org.

Adam Ruins Everything Episode 33: Anne Curzan Talks Grammar and the Flexibility of Language

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We've all done it. Corrected someone for saying 'literally' when they weren't being literal or for saying 'good' instead of 'well'. Professor Anne Curzan, who is this week's podcast guest, says it's normal to notice dialectical differences between different communities but we shouldn't shame people for talking as they do.

Anne, who appeared on Adam Ruins What We Learned in School, explains how grammar rules are not fixed in the English language. Language is constantly evolving and we’re the ones who get to shape it -- not dictionaries! So we can all stop correcting each other and just appreciate our different ways of speaking. On the podcast, Anne and Adam discuss how we should think of the dictionary as a field guide rather than the authority on language, how young people think about language and texting, and how Anne helped choose 2000's word of the millennium! Anne is an English Professor at the University of Michigan where she researches the history of English and lexicography. She is also a member of both the American Heritage Dictionary’s Usage Panel and the American Dialectical Society.
 

Adam is on Twitter @AdamConover and you can find past episodes and bonus content from the TruTV show at AdamRuinsEverything.com.
Produced by Shara Morris for MaximumFun.org.

Adam Ruins Everything Episode 32: Kevin Hall Gives Us the Skinny - Losing Weight and Keeping it Off is Hard

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It's rare to hear about a researcher from the National Institute of Health collaborating with a reality TV show. But that's exactly what Dr. Kevin Hall, a clinical researcher at the NIH, did after watching episodes of The Biggest Loser. Kevin's lab investigates how metabolism and the brain adapt in response to a variety of interventions to diet and physical activity. After watching the cast lose dramatic amounts of weight over the show's season, he wondered how that affected their long-term health.

 
Kevin actually visited the set of The Biggest Loser to monitor the contestants' health and six years later, he brought the former contestants to the NIH to research how their body adjusted since the competition. He found they surprisingly maintained a very low metabolic rate even though they regained most of their lost weight. So even if you have the incredible willpower to shed those pounds, it's ultimately really difficult to maintain that weight loss. What we can do is be more forgiving of ourselves and relieve some of the pressure to diet.

Adam is on Twitter @AdamConover and you can find past episodes and bonus content from the TruTV show at AdamRuinsEverything.com.
Produced by Shara Morris for MaximumFun.org.

Adam Ruins Everything Episode 31: Courtney Jung on the History of Formula Feeding and Why It Gets a Bad Rap

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One of the most controversial topics is whether mothers breastfeed their babies versus formula feed. In a society that is so obsessed with being natural and organic, formula feeding is seen as unhealthy and irresponsible. In fact, the benefits of breastfeeding as compared to formula feeding are pretty marginal.
 
Courtney Jung, who appeared on Adam Ruins Having a Baby, discussed the myths behind breastfeeding and formula feeding on the TV show. Now she's on the podcast to get rid of formula feeding guilt once and for all! Courtney is a Political Science professor at the University of Toronto and the author of Lactivism: How Feminists and Fundamentalists, Hippies and Yuppies and Politicians Made Breastfeeding Big Business and Bad Policy.
 

Adam is on Twitter @AdamConover and you can find past episodes and bonus content from the TruTV show at AdamRuinsEverything.com.
Produced by Shara Morris for MaximumFun.org.