Info

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.
RSS Feed
Adam Ruins Everything
2017
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January


2016
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May


All Episodes
Archives
Now displaying: 2017
Nov 29, 2017
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.

Nov 15, 2017
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.

Nov 1, 2017
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.

Oct 18, 2017
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.

Oct 4, 2017
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.

Sep 20, 2017
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.

Sep 13, 2017

We'll be back next week with a brand new Adam Ruins Everything podcast episode. Thanks for tuning in!

Aug 30, 2017
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.

Aug 16, 2017
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.

Aug 2, 2017
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.

Jul 19, 2017
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.

 

 

Jul 5, 2017
Jackie Stevens, a Political Theory Professor at Northwestern University, has seen first-hand how detention centers and immigration courts violate every assumption we have about how a fair justice system is supposed to work. Contrary to many people's assumptions, immigration courts are part of the executive branch, instead of the judicial branch like our other courts. That means they're not subject to the same due process, like having a jury and requiring public defenders. On the podcast Jackie describes how the system can even fail U.S. citizens; she tells the long and winding case of U.S. citizen Mark Lyttle who got trapped in the system and was erroneously deported to Mexico. Whatever your political stance may be, it's pretty clear this system fails not only the most vulnerable living in our country but even our very own citizens.
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.

Jun 21, 2017
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.

 
Jun 7, 2017
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.

 

 

May 24, 2017
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.

 
May 10, 2017
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.
 
Apr 26, 2017
Death is one of the hardest things to talk about, but our guest today encourages us to get real about the end. 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
Apr 12, 2017
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.
Mar 29, 2017
Today's Adam Ruins Everything podcast guest is the go-to person when it comes to internet infrastructure: Susan Crawford. Susan is a professor at Harvard Law School and the author of Captive Audience: The Telecom Industry and Monopoly Power in the New Gilded Age and the co-author of The Responsive City: Engaging Communities Through Data-Smart Governance.
 
On the podcast Susan tells us why the internet in the U.S. isn't as good as it should be; it's much slower than many other countries around the world because our cable conglomerates can control markets around the country. And unfortunately, these are leaving many of our communities in the technology dark ages. Susan tells Adam what we can do to promote internet infrastructure and how she's already seen that activism first-hand around 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.
Mar 15, 2017
If you wear clothes, you're going to love this Adam Ruins Everything podcast. Our guest, Professor Laura McAndrews, appeared on Adam Ruins Shopping Malls where she discussed the deceptions surrounding outlets malls. But on the podcast, Laura really goes into depth about the inner-workings of fast fashion. And she would know - she lived it!
 
Laura worked in retail for years, primarily for Gap and Urban Outfitters. She traveled to factories all over the world to oversee fashion production. The clothes might have been cute, but the rest wasn't pretty. Laura recalls many of these experiences on the podcast - from noticing the poor construction of these clothes to the awful working conditions for the factory workers. Eventually, Laura left fashion for academia. She now teaches textiles, merchandising and interiors at the University of Georgia, and she encourages her students to speak up about working conditions once they enter the workforce.
 
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.
Mar 1, 2017
So much of what we've seen on TV and film about the Wild West depicts the rugged cowboy who is always ready for a showdown. But the Wild West was much more nuanced than that. In fact, many of the towns in the Wild West thrived because of the women who ran the towns - specifically women in the prostitution industry. While prostitution was at times extremely dangerous, it also gave women economic agency which was rare for the period. It allowed them to build brothels, schools, and stores and even yield political influence in the region.
 
Jan MacKell Collins, who appeared on Adam Ruins The Wild Westjoins us on this week's episode to unpack this 'not so polite' (although just as crucial) section of our history books. Jan is the author of six books and is the contributor to Backwoodsman Magazine, Colorado Central Magazine, Frontier Gazette and True West Magazine.
 
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.
Feb 15, 2017

From the push to build a border wall to the recent executive order temporarily banning immigrants from Muslim-majority countries, there are so many emotions associated with the current immigration policy proposals. But what are the real facts regarding immigration history in this country? And what are immigrants'  actual impacts on our society? Today we try to answer those questions with our guest Professor Doug Massey.

Doug is a Princeton Sociology Professor who appeared on Adam Ruins Immigration. His research focuses on international migration, race and housing, discrimination, education, urban poverty, and Latin America, especially Mexico. On the episode, Doug and Adam discuss the negative net migration flow of immigrants coming into United States from Mexico, the United States' reliance on migrant labor, and what reasonable immigration policy looks like.

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.

 
Feb 15, 2017

From the push to build a border wall to the recent executive order temporarily banning immigrants from Muslim-majority countries, there are so many emotions associated with the current immigration policy proposals. But what are the real facts regarding immigration history in this country? And what are immigrants'  actual impacts on our society? Today we try to answer those questions with our guest Professor Doug Massey.

Doug is a Princeton Sociology Professor who appeared on Adam Ruins Immigration. His research focuses on international migration, race and housing, discrimination, education, urban poverty, and Latin America, especially Mexico. On the episode, Doug and Adam discuss the negative net migration flow of immigrants coming into United States from Mexico, the United States' reliance on migrant labor, and what reasonable immigration policy looks like.

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.

 
Feb 1, 2017
On Adam Ruins Hollywood, Adam shattered the facade of awards shows, red carpets, and reality TV. So now that we're steeped in the awards show season, we brought Rachel Bloom onto the podcast, who appeared on the TV show, and is a red carpet expert! She is the Star and Co-Creator of the fantastic CW show, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, which actually won her a Golden Globe last year. Rachel tells us what really goes on at the Golden Globes and Academy Awards - how red carpets are really a marketing strategy for fashion designers and how campaigning for awards is integral to the awards show process.

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.

Jan 18, 2017
On the Adam Ruins Everything podcast, Adam typically brings experts who appeared on the TV show to further expand on the arguments they make on the show. But during the off-season of the TV show, we thought we'd try something new. We are going to start bringing guests onto the show who may or may not have appeared on the show, but who are just as thoughtful and groundbreaking in their work.
 
Today's guest is Jonathan Blow, the indie game developer who is best known as the creator of Braid and The Witness. In The Witness, which was released last year to rave reviews, a player walks around a picturesque island solving complex puzzles. The puzzles themselves are not only incredibly challenging and quite philosophical, but they're almost a glimpse into the highly intelligent mind of Jonathan himself. Jonathan attended the University of California at Berkeley, and worked several jobs including Game Developer Magazine, before releasing Braid in 2008.On the podcast, Jonathan and Adam discuss The Witness at length... including, SPOILER ALERT, the solutions to puzzles and the game's ending! (Don't worry, spoilers will be clearly marked, so you have time to pause.) Within the game, they discuss architecture's role in gaming, how the game raises questions about religion and the self, and much more. If you're planning on playing the game, we encourage you to pause the episode before it gets spoilery and play the game yourself before finishing the episode.
1 2 Next »