March 22-26, 2010
Monday, March 22, 2010
Does scientific thinking underpin the success of democracy? In The Science of Liberty: Democracy, Reason, and the Laws of Nature, Timothy Ferris lays out his hypothesis that science only succeeds in a democracy, and for a country to succeed, it needs happy scientists. Then, when he was 7 years old, John Baker saw a portrait in his social studies of his great-great grandparents, slaves on the largest tobacco plantation in America. For 30 years he has tracked how they got there, and what happened to their children, down through the generations. The Washingtons of Wessyngton Plantation: Stories of My Family’s Journey to Freedom is his life’s work, part mystery novel, part memoir and part history of the American experience.
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Every year, coal-fired power plants produce 140 million tons of ash and combustion waste, which contain nasty toxins like arsenic and lead. That material often gets dumped, contaminating groundwater and drinking supplies — yet the EPA is not reporting the severity of the problem. Lisa Evans is Senior Administrative Counsel at Earthjustice and an expert on coal ash. She’ll explain what’s happening politics-wise and health-wise. Then, based on Thomas Frank’s best-seller, the new documentary film What’s the Matter with Kansas? shows how Kansas transformed from an outpost of radicalism to a bastion of hard-core conservatism. Bob talks with Frank and the film’s director Joe Winston.
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
In 2006, writer Siri Hustvedt was speaking at a memorial for her father when she suffered a seizure from the neck down. Although she lost control over her limbs, Hustvedt continued to speak clearly, finishing her talk. Over the next few years, as Hustvedt continued to have these bizarre seizures, she searched for a diagnosis to help her understand her condition, finally discovering answers in an emerging field in neurological science called “neuropsychoanalysis.” Hustvedt chronicled her journey in her memoir The Shaking Woman or A History of My Nerves. Then, singer & songwriter Sebastian Krueger is known as Inlets. He’ll answer questions about his career and perform songs from his upcoming album Inter Arbiter, to be released April 20, 2010 on Two Syllable Records.
Thursday, March 25, 2010
Lee Smith has been writing fiction since she was a child, and her long career has drawn comparisons to Eudora Welty. In her new collection of short stories, Mrs. Darcy and the Blue-Eyed Stranger, Smith offers new works and favorites from older collections. She writes about religion, family and class in equal measure, creating characters who are searching for something beyond themselves. Then, entertainment critic David Kipen tells Bob what’s new in theaters.
Friday, March 26, 2010
David Broder of The Washington Post joins Bob to talk politics. Next, in 1962, the U.S. State Department sent poet Robert Frost to Russia to ease tensions between the two nations and show off our most celebrated poet. Dr. Frank Reeves accompanied Frost, acting as translator and he wrote about his and Frost’s experiences in Robert Frost in Russia. Robert Lee Frost was born this day in 1874. Then, in this week’s installment of our ongoing series This I Believe, Bob talks with curator Dan Gediman about the essay of Alexander Forbes, a pioneering doctor in the field of neurophysiology. He graduated from Harvard Medical School in 1910 and devoted himself to research on the human nervous system. Forbes served as professor emeritus of physiology at Harvard for many years.