The Why Factor

The Why Factor

Why do we do the things we do? Mike Williams searches for the extraordinary and hidden histories behind everyday objects and actions to inform us about the way we live in the 21st Century. Broadcast and podcast every Friday.

  • Updated:
    Weekly
  • Episodes available:
    Indefinitely help

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Recent episodes (10)

  • Gardens - 29 Aug 2014

    Fri, 29 Aug 14

    Duration:
    18 mins

    For thousands of years, in every corner of the world, people have been gardening – including in war and in prisons. Helena Merriman asks why so many people do it.

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  • Gossip - 22 August 2014

    Fri, 22 Aug 14

    Duration:
    18 mins

    Why do we feel the need to discuss other people’s lives? Gossiping’s been punished in the past, but it’s big business and may, Mike Williams explains, be good for us

    Download 9MB (right click & "save target as / link as")

  • Ghosts - 15 Aug 2014

    Fri, 15 Aug 14

    Duration:
    18 mins

    Ghosts have been haunting people all over the world for centuries. But why do they persist in this age of reason? Mike Williams explores the fear and fascination ghosts produce and finds out how our reaction to apparitions has changed over the years.

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  • Chastity - 8 Aug 2014

    Fri, 8 Aug 14

    Duration:
    18 mins

    Chastity is much more than abstention from sex. The Why Factor looks at the concept from the point of view of young people from as far afield as the USA and Iran.

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  • The Pilgrimage - 1 Aug 2014

    Fri, 1 Aug 14

    Duration:
    18 mins

    The Pilgrimage is one of the most popular collective human activities, why?

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  • The Walk - 25 July 2014

    Fri, 25 Jul 14

    Duration:
    18 mins

    Why do we go on long walks? From the German tradition of the wandern to urban street walking, it seems we’ve always gone on long walks for reasons other than necessity. Why?

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  • The Moon - 18 July 2014

    Fri, 18 Jul 14

    Duration:
    18 mins

    Mike Williams explores the moon in culture, how it affects life on Earth and he asks Alan Bean – one of the handful of people who have walked on it – what the moon is really like.

    Download 9MB (right click & "save target as / link as")

  • The Apology - 11 July 2014

    Fri, 11 Jul 14

    Duration:
    18 mins

    Why do we say sorry – and what do we really mean by it? Mike Williams explores the apology, from Ancient Greece to today’s wayward politicians.

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  • Coincidence - 04 July 2014

    Fri, 4 Jul 14

    Duration:
    18 mins

    What is coincidence and why do we attach meaning to it? Jo Fidgen hears World Service listeners’ gripping coincidence stories.

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  • World War One: Patriotism - 27 June 2014

    Fri, 27 Jun 14

    Duration:
    50 mins

    Mike Williams investigates the power of patriotism, from World War One to the present day. How can this loyalty be fostered, manufactured and manipulated?

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