I think it's safe to assume that many of us are tired of politics, burned out on stories of America's increased divisiveness and accusations of echo chambers and fake news. Which isn't to say that those aren't worthy topics or challenges that need attention. But sometimes to find a solution you have to walk away, take a break and come back with fresh eyes and renewed energy.
As Forum's engagement producer, I'm very well acquainted with the Forum archives. And as I hear our audience and my own friends say that they need a break from politics, I can't help but think about many Forum shows in the past year that have raised questions that have nothing to do with politics. These shows will get your mind away from red and blue states and political Monday morning quarterbacking. To be clear, they're not fluff. Instead, they are interviews that will flex your brain, give you lots to talk about with family and friends, and offer you a chance to reset.
1. What is Time?
UC Berkeley physicist Richard Muller led our listeners in a lively discussion of questions like: What is now? Is time travel possible? How can we stand still physically if we can't stand still in time?
Honestly, this conversation was the most fun we've had in a long time. No wonder his Berkeley course is so popular.
2. Does Steve Young Hate Joe Montana?
The one thing I really wanted to ask Steve Young was whether he hated, or at the very least resented, Joe Montana. Being backup to the man many consider the greatest quarterback of all time could not have been easy. But surely, Young wouldn't go there, I thought. I was wrong. The candor Young brings to this interview is palpable and refreshing.
3. Will Watching Videos on an iPad Ruin My Kid's Brain?
New parents worry about everything. At least I do. The updated recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics serve as a good launching point for establishing household guidelines for gadgets, whether there are children in your house or not.
4. Should Grizzly Bears Be Reintroduced to California?
While the idea of reintroducing grizzly bears to the Golden State has been called a "non-starter" by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, considering the question is a good exercise in examining one's values about conservation and wildlife. The show also serves as a good reminder of just how much California's landscape and wildlife have changed because of human activity.
5. What Is the Hardest Thing to Achieve in Sports?
It's a fun question to contemplate: What's the hardest thing to achieve in sports? Pitching a no-hitter? Winning consecutive Super Bowls? The Triple Crown? Listen to Diana Nyad talk about swimming the 110 miles from Cuba to Florida without a shark cage, and I have a feeling open-water swimming will suddenly appear higher on your list.