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Gossip is arguably one of humanity's oldest pastimes. It can be entertaining, it's occasionally helpful, it's often salacious and even, at times, vicious.
What it's not, argues Joseph Epstein, is trivial.
The author and essayist has already traced the history and practice of two other human weaknesses, snobbery and envy. In his new book, Gossip: The Untrivial Pursuit, he turns his eye on our deep desire to hear — and share — the secrets of others, even if we feel guilty about doing so.
Epstein talks with NPR's Neal Conan about why we engage in gossip, what makes for a particularly juicy tidbit, and why he says the art of well-told gossip is being lost in our tell-all, celebrity-obsessed digital age.
Changing public attitudes have led to a decline in U.S. soda sales. But health expert Marion Nestle believes many people still consume unhealthy amounts of sugary drinks. She argues beverage companies are spending millions on research that misleads consumers.