6.08.16: The Problem With Nutrition Labels, Chuck Klosterman, & Virtual Reality

Jun 8, 2016

In July, nutrition fact labels  will see their first major overhaul in twenty years. Among the changes, a jumbo version of the calorie number - three times bigger than the rest of the listed information. Today, if we focus too much on calories, do we miss the bigger problem?

And what if we're wrong about everything? Pop culture critic Chuck Klosterman takes on the difficult task of predicting how our present will be viewed hundreds of years from now. We'll talk about the next great American novelist, Neil DeGrasse Tyson, and the improbable factor that kept Hamilton on the ten dollar bill.

Listen to the full show.

The Problem With Nutrition Labels

The nutrition labels you see plastered on the sides of food packaging are getting a major overhaul next month - the first in twenty years. First Lady Michelle Obama, who has made fighting obesity a major part of her time in the white house, celebrated the upcoming changes in a press conference last month.

Dr. James Hamblin is senior editor at The Atlantic where he writes the health column for their monthly magazine - he is less enthused about the new labels. 

Related: The Number to Avoid on New Nutrition Labels

ACHOO

Is it a question that's been asked for thousands of years...To quote Aristotle, "Why does the heat of the sun provoke sneezing?" Today, we might ask, "why do some people sneeze when they see bright light...or when driving out of a tunnel?" If you have live with the photic sneeze reflex, you are among the fifteen to thirty percent of the population --  a greater number of people than those who have green eyes. Yet the phenomenon is little understood.   

Brian Resnick is a science reporter at Vox, where he wrote about this mysterious quirk.

A Dance Between Darkness and Light

Extraordinary minds, minds that work differently, can be a burden and a gift. Producer Aubrey Ralph knows this first hand. Aubrey's own experience with bipolar disorder has made him acutely aware of how are minds can shape and distort reality. And he discovered that's especially true for people with schizophrenia. That piece was for Wisconsin Public Radio and the PRI show:  "To The Best of Our Knowledge. "

You can listen to this story again at PRX.org.

Chuck Klosterman

Chuck Klosterman is a pop culture critic and the author of fiction and nonfiction books like Sex, Drugs and Cocoa Puffs and I Wear the Black Hat.  In his newest, But What If We're Wrong? Thinking About the Present As If It Were the Past, Klosterman tries to reverse engineer our view of history and apply it to today. He asks questions like what song will define the rock genre 1,000 years from now? Who is the great undiscovered writer of the internet age? And is democratic freedom really all it's cracked up to be?

The Dark Side of Virtual Reality

There's no denying that virtual reality can have a powerful effect on our emotions and our bodies. At BeAnotherLab , researchers have been running experiments on how virtual reality can be used to make people more empathetic - imagine for example, looking down at your hands and seeing a different skin color, or stepping momentarily into the body of the opposite gender. Others have pointed towards is use as a type of therapy for folks suffering from PTSD. But the folks at BeAnotherLab also warn that virtual reality might be just as easily used to inflict anguish.

Marte Roel is a lecturer and researcher at BeAnotherLab.