Sociology

Hazel Watson via flickr Creative Commons / https://flic.kr/p/uuET81

In Australia, there is a small marsupial called the antechinus. It looks a lot like an ordinary mouse, but it has an extraordinary life-cycle. On today’s show, we discover a host of incredible organisms that illustrate the absurdity and elegance of evolution.

Plus, what happens when we confront transphobia face to face? We'll hear about a new study that followed a group of door-to-door canvassers, and quantified what we you already may suspect: conversation is an effective tool for empathy and persuasion.

Treat Yourself To Our Favorite Surprise Videos

Apr 9, 2015
Michelle Tribe / flic.kr/p/5T7Ws8

During Virginia's interview with surprisologist Tania Luna [Surprise: Embrace The Unpredictable and Engineer The Unexpected], Tania mentioned googling "animals being surprised" as a great way to see the power and humor of the unexpected. We were not disappointed with the results. But we also looked into the other kinds of surprises that humans experience.

In this country, all children are supposed to have a shot at success — a chance to jump "from rags to riches" in one generation.

Even if riches remain out of reach, then the belief has been that every hard-working American should be able to go from poverty to the middle class.

On Tuesday, a book and a separate study are being released — both turning up evidence that the one-generation leap is getting harder to accomplish in an economy so tied to education, technological know-how and networking.

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The holidays are a time for gathering with friends and family. For dudes; not so much. A study published by the American Sociological Review found that white, heterosexual men have the fewest friends of any American demographic – which may be why the 'bro-mance' movies like I Love You, Man hit so close to home. Lisa Wade is professor of sociology at Occidental College and principal writer for Sociological Images. She wrote about the American man’s friend crisis for Salon.

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, ‘tis the season for awkward dinners with your loved ones’ parents. It’s no secret that navigating your relationship with your in-laws can feel like walking through a minefield, but a new study suggests that keeping close to them is a sign of a healthy marriage – for some. According to Dr. Terri Orbuch, men who get close to their in-laws within a year are 20% less likely to go through divorce later in life, but women who do the same are 20% more likely to split with their husbands down the road.

Dr. Terri Orbuch is a professor of sociology and a regular contributor to the Huffington Post, where she’s known as “The Love Doctor.” This year, she published a 26-year study looking at love in relation to the in-laws.