Orthodox Jewish sex therapist Dr. Bat Sheva Marcus founded one of the largest women’s sexual health clinics in the country. From taboos to vibrators, Bat Sheva talks about how she helps women embrace their sexuality. She also discusses her approach to solving specific challenges for women in the Orthodox Jewish community.
     
Amy Smeed, the leader of the animation team for Disney’s Moana, talks about what it’s like to build a character who is decidedly not a Disney princess, how the animation process works, and why deadlines are important.
     
YouTube’s queen of crappy robots, Simone Giertz, tells us how she got in the business of making the world’s best crappy robots, like an alarm clock that slaps you awake in the morning with a robotic arm, a robot that very terribly applies lipstick, and a vegetable chopper with 8-foot long knives.In an interview with Nerdette hosts Tricia Bobeda and Greta Johnsen, she talked about how building terrible robots is a constant learning experience.
     
Hugo Award-winning author N.K. Jemisin talks about how all of her book ideas start with a simple question: “What if?” She also explains the unusual circumstances surrounding her Hugo Award victory and how science fiction is evolving for the better.
     
Derek Thompson, senior editor of The Atlantic, tells Nerdette's Tricia Bobeda about his new book Hit Makers: The Science of Popularity in an Age of Distraction. He explains what makes Adele’s "Hello" and Drake’s "Hotline Bling" top hits and how Star Wars was almost totally unknown.
Dr. Sheyna Gifford tells us about her year living on a volcano in Hawaii with just five other people as part of HI-SEAS IV, a NASA project to simulate life on Mars. Sheyna was the space doc on the mission, accompanied by a physicist, an architect, an engineer, a biologist and a commander.Living in a 1200 square foot biodome and going outside only in their space suits, the crew studied the psychological effects and group dynamics that could be at play when astronauts make it to Mars. On Nerdette, Sheyna tells Tricia what the year was like and how she got through it. She also gives some excellent homework.
     
Maria Popova, the creator of the website Brain Pickings, explains how her job is to reflect on everything from literature and physics to astronomy and art. She tells Nerdette hosts Tricia Bobeda and Greta Johnsen about her rigorous daily diet of reading, writing, tweeting, and reflecting, as well as her newest guilty pleasure: Playing bridge.
Singer, rapper and flute player Lizzo breaks down her debut EP Coconut Oil and her bevy of musical styles. The multitalented artist talks about her early days in music, from being a band geek and starting girl groups as a kid to making music now that’s empowering and body-positive.
     
Tom Hanks is a little obsessed with typewriters. So when we put the Academy Award-winning actor in front of a pre-WWII Underwood Champion, he gave Nerdette hosts Tricia Bobeda and Greta Johnsen an impromptu master class on the machines he calls “self-contained printing presses with which you can change the world.”Want to support this show and get a sweet Nerdette mug and/or notebook as a thank you gift? Go to https://wbez.org/nerdalert
We talk to Andy Cohen, the man behind Bravo’s Real Housewives, about celebrity obsession. Then we break down some of the best podcasts of 2016 with help from Lauren Ober, host of NPR’s The Big Listen, and Brittany Luce, of Gimlet. And finally, author Margot Lee Shetterly on her book Hidden Figures (the inspiration for the new film by the same name) which tells the stories of black female mathematicians who played crucial roles in the early days of NASA.