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)

  • 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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  • Accents - 20 June 2014

    Fri, 20 Jun 14

    Duration:
    18 mins

    As soon as we speak we are judged on our accents. But what do they really reveal about who we are? Jo Fidgen explores why English sounds different across the globe and traces the American accent back to the Elizabethans. She also meets a woman whose accent is so extraordinary that it’s changed her life forever.

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  • Eyes - 13 June 2014

    Fri, 13 Jun 14

    Duration:
    18 mins

    Mike Williams explores why eye contact is an essential part of a baby’s development, how we can manipulate eye contact to flirt, and what our eyes reveal about us.

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  • The Fool - 6 June 2014

    Fri, 6 Jun 14

    Duration:
    18 mins

    Mike Williams explores the role of the fool, their place in culture and politics, and asks whether there is still a need for a funnyman who can speak truth to power.

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  • Diplomacy - 30 May 2014

    Fri, 30 May 14

    Duration:
    18 mins

    Diplomacy. What’s it for and how is it done? This week we present a user’s guide to the “great game”. With Mike Williams.

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  • Competition - 23 May 2014

    Fri, 23 May 14

    Duration:
    18 mins

    Why are we competitive? Is it a natural instinct we should nurture in our children so they learn that victory is the ultimate goal and where only the fittest survive? Or do we over emphasise the importance of competition at the expense of all else?

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