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What’s this new show on KENW-FM?

Tease: What’s this new show on KENW-FM?


Intro: Welcome to “Dumb Ideas that Changed the World.” The views expressed are solely those of the host and do not reflect the opinions of this station or its funders.


After five episodes, producer Shannon Hearn and I thought we’d explain what this show is all about. I mean, is it productive to showcase history’s greatest brain cramps on the public airwaves? Actually, we think it is.


You won’t hear about dumb ideas that were quickly discarded. (No shows on the Bermuda Triangle or leisure suits. We expose dumb ideas that wielded influence, impacting our world—by smart people who should have known better.


We have plenty of material for a full season. Most are full-on follies, like our recent episode on the drug thalidomide. It’s great against leprosy and multiple myeloma, but not morning sickness. Thousands of infant deaths and birth defects made thalidomide an international health disaster.


Sometimes, though, we feature dumb ideas that turned out not so dumb after all. The late Isaac Asimov loved the scientific heretic: “one opposing an orthodox scientific belief, … is persecuted, … [and] nevertheless is found to be right in the end.” For example, our recent show on Australian doctor Barry Marshall. His dumb idea was golden, proving that peptic ulcers are caused by treatable bacteria. At the same time Asimov was praising heretics, Marshall was still a pariah, his scientific papers languishing in the dust bins of editors and reviewers. But Marshall’s idea was worth suffering for, and millions of patients sing his praises today.


Producer Shannon has put all our past shows on KENW.org. Go there and type “dumb ideas” in the search bar. You’ll find a graphic design by Cindy Gentry, a play button for each show, and my best reference for further reading. Check it out.


So, that’s what our show is about. And because KENW is your public radio network, drop a line with any comments or show ideas to Por.Dumbideas@enmu.edu. That’s Por.Dumbideas@enmu.edu. Until next time…


I’m Jeff Gentry


Best reference: Isaac Asimov: The Tyrannosaurus Prescription (1989). Buffalo, NY: Prometheus Books.



Dumb Ideas that Changed the World copyright 2023 by Jeff Gentry. All rights reserved.

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  • Join ENMU’s Jeff Gentry each week on "Dumb Ideas that Changed the World" as he uncovers some of the most important brain cramps of all time. "Dumb Ideas that Changed the World" airs on Wednesdays at about 12:45 p.m. MT on KENW-FM.This program is also available online by clicking the title of an individual episode listed below. Please send any comments or show ideas in an email to Por.Dumbideas@enmu.edu.Explore the fascinating and often surprising blunders made by influential people who should have known better. Tune in to "Dumb Ideas that Changed the World" and feel a little better about your personal cognitive function!