Adam Conover

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 29: Pete Hammond Pulls Back the Curtain on Awards Shows

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On Adam Ruins Hollywood, Pete Hammond explained how behind every award show is a whole lot of campaigning. TV networks can spend between two to four million dollars on 'For Your Consideration' shipping costs alone. Pete now joins us on the podcast today to tell us how far TV networks go to campaign for their shows and how on-demand networks like Netflix and Amazon are flushing the Academies with cash and changing the entertainment industry.

 
Pete is the Awards Columnist for Deadline Hollywood, where he covers the Oscar and Emmy Seasons. Before joining Deadline, he was a regular contributing awards columnist for the online and print editions of The Los Angeles Times.
 
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 28: Jean Twenge and Adam Discuss Their Differences on Generational Differences

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Professor Jean Twenge appears on the upcoming season two premiere of the Adam Ruins Everything TV show called Adam Ruins Having a Baby. But the reason Jean's on this week's podcast is to talk about something very different: generations.
 
Last year Adam gave a talk called 'Millenials Don't Exist', which sought to prove generational narratives can be inaccurate and reductive. The presentation actually referred to Jean's career-long work on the subject matter and may have made some jokes at her expense. 
 
A year later, when Adam and his team were researching on Adam Ruins Having a Baby, they came across Jean's work in a very different context - she's conducted extensive research on fertility patterns for women in their later 30s. So they invited her to be an expert on the TV show! While she and Adam were on set, they discussed their differences on generations and decided to continue the conversation on the podcast.
 
Jean is a psychology professor at San Diego State University and is the author of Generation Me and the upcoming iGen.
 

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 27: Hayley Marie Norman Gets Existential After her TV Death

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On season one of the Adam Ruins Everything TV show, Hayley Marie Norman played Adam's foil and budding love interest until she faced her untimely TV death in the season finale. But on this week's podcast, Hayley is back! And she's just as charming in person as she is on the show.
 
On the episode, the two talk about Hayley's successful career, from getting discovered by Cindy Crawford to her stint on Deal or No Deal, and how Hayley's TV death made her consider her mortality.
 
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 26: Dr. Josh Sharfstein on the Dangers of Supplements and Why Health Regulation is Important

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Dr. Josh Sharfstein has been working for decades to keep Americans safe - he's the guy who took Four Loko off the market and ensured transparency at the FDA. He also appeared on Adam Ruins Shopping Malls and told us all about the shadiness of herbal supplements. Josh is the Professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management at John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Previously, Josh served as the Secretary of the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the Principal Deputy Commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, as Commissioner of Health for Baltimore City, and as health policy advisor for Congressman Henry A. Waxman.
 
On the TV show, Josh discussed how herbal supplements are completely unregulated by the FDA and can sometimes be dangerous! But because Josh is such a leading figure in the public health world, Adam dove into other topics with him - like his work to bring down drug prices in Louisiana and transform the hospital payment system in Maryland.
 
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 25: Bud Hammes on Why Talking About Death Is Life-Changing

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Bud Hammes joins us on today's episode to discuss his work with advanced care planning - the idea that as we get older, we should have discussions with our doctors and our loved ones on how we want to end our lives. Having such systems in place not only gives us control over our deaths but it also clarifies our final wishes for our family and friends. 
 
Bud is one of the foremost thought leaders on advanced care planning. In his hometown of La Crosse, Wisconsin alone, some 96 percent of people who die there have some sort of advance directive. On the episode, Adam and Bud discuss what constitutes a 'good death', the potential misuses of these planning processes, and its success in La Crosse and cities across the country.
 
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 24: Roy Samaan on Why Airbnb is Bad for Housing Markets

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As our country is mired in a nation-wide housing crisis right now, we decided to dive into one of the many causes of this crisis: short-term rental companies like Airbnb. On this week's podcast, Roy Samaan of LAANE, the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy, tells us how shady landlords can use Airbnb to buy up multiple housing units in neighborhoods and lease them at much higher prices on the website, which drives up the prices of entire neighborhoods. And because these rentals are so much more expensive than the original rental prices, these renters can also let these units sit vacant for months without filling them, preventing new tenants from having access to affordable housing and moving into these neighborhoods.
 
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.

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