Join us for a curated presentation of special programs from public radio producers across the country.
If there's one strand of evolutionary theory that sticks in the craw of nearly every religious believer, it's the idea that human beings are just an evolutionary accident. But what if we aren't? What if the evolution of humans, or some brainy creature like us, was inevitable once life first appeared on Earth?
In this hour, you’ll learn how The Moth got its name from its creator George Dawes Green, and hear three compelling stories: Wanda Ballard, one of the original members of The Moth shares a heartwarming story about her dad; a former New York City firefighter tells the story of a tragic fire and the lifelong impact it has had on him; and author Richard Price reveals how he gets some of the ideas for his stories.
This hour explores some of the fundamental mysteries of life - from how it first started on Earth to the possibility of supremely intelligent life on other planets and why technology is evolving like life itself. We begin with a rare recording of Nobel Prize winning physicist Edwin Schrodinger and comments on his book "What Is Life?" from Nobel Prize winning biologists James Watson and Harold Varmus. We also hear from Ken Miller, co-author of the most widely used biology textbook in American high schools, and Craig Venter, widely regarded as one of science's leading innovators. Venter, who's come as close as anyone has to creating life in a test tube, tells Steve Paulson what drives him. And we hear from some ordinary people about what they think life is.
Playwright Mike Daisey hosts a live Moth performance called OMG: Stories of the Sacred, at The New York Public Library. Andrew Solomon goes to Afghanistan in search of the artistic community and finds a reemerging, creative underground. Comedian Judy Gold talks about how Judaism helped her through some of her darkest hours. And The Reverend Al Sharpton finds forgiveness in his heart for the man who almost killed him.
Before Katrina, Sharon Hanshaw owned a beauty salon and lived in a house on a tree-lined street. All that all changed when the hurricane hit Biloxi, Mississippi. The storm brought her not just destruction, but also transformation. As executive director of Coastal Women for Change, she has turned her losses into strength, by becoming an advocate and role model for others. Hanshaw's work empowers women to be political voices in the long-range planning and rebuilding of their community.
New Orleans East is home to the most-dense ethnically Vietnamese population outside of Vietnam. In the Gulf region, about 80 percent of Vietnamese Americans were connected to the fishing industry, and the BP oil spill hit the community hard. Vietnamese fisherfolk are trying to rebuild their lives - opening sustainable farms, gas stations, nail salons, and aquaponic projects - while also dealing with the mental anguish that surfaces when a lifetime on the water suddenly disappears.
Michael Goldfarb traces this iconic neighborhood's story by telling the history of a single street in Harlem - 120th Street between 5th and 6th Avenues - from 1910 to the present. Harlem is the best known African-American neighborhood in the world, but a hundred years ago 120th Street was, like most of the area, a Jewish neighborhood. Goldfarb describes life as it was and life as it is today and asks what price has been paid by long-time black residents for the area's gentrification.
"Walt Whitman: Song of Myself” explores how a 36-year old freelance journalist and part-time house-builder living in Brooklyn created his outrageous, groundbreaking work that irrevocably altered the development of poetry—and literature—that followed.
Wilma Subra is a chemist who has spent her career defending local communities against Louisiana's powerful oil and gas industry. She received a MacArthur Fellowship for helping ”ordinary citizens understand, cope with and combat environmental issues.” When the Deepwater Horizon oil spill happened in the Gulf of Mexico, Wilma's phone started ringing and hasn't stopped. Majora Carter spends a day with Wilma Subra as she travels from her office in New Iberia — past town after town she's helped with environmental concerns during the last 30 years.
Why do Americans contribute more heat-trapping gases to the atmosphere than Europeans with similar standards of living? One reason is coal. A new American RadioWorks documentary goes back to the roots of our addiction to coal and shows how our fuel choices changed American culture and history.
Fresh Greens 2.0 examines what it means to be "green." Youth radio producers from around the country reflect on their observations as they seek out programs and efforts designed to have a positive impact on the environment.
The pieces explore everything from the affect of a vegetarian diet on the environment to the difference between artificial turf and natural grass. At risk teens in San Francisco rhyme and rap about community gardening and kids in Bellingham, Washington learn how to compost. The show is narrated and produced by students from the Terrascope Youth Radio project.
Lublin, Poland, 1797: While they prepare for Passover, a family of Jewish women klezmer musicians struggles for survival, but when music and love prove not enough, only the unthinkable can save them. A story as ancient as myth, and as modern as every family that struggles to hold its center in a world of strife and conflicting loyalties.
Larry Josephson, a secular Jew who now wants to know more about the religion of his grandparents, asks Rabbi Ismar Schorsch to explain the meaning of Passover. Dr. Schorsch tells Larry the story of Passover -- its history, rituals and foods, and the origins and structure of the Seder. The music of Passover, sung by some of the best cantors and choirs in the world, is woven in and out of the conversation.
For Nat Turner, garden rakes and shovels are tools for transformation. He's transformed an old store in New Orleans' Lower Ninth Ward into an urban Eden. Blair Grocery is now both a nontraditional school and an urban farm run by youth who've dropped out of mainstream education. Majora spends two days observing the teaching and training that makes the Blair Grocery Project a true innovation.
Nine thousand feet beneath the surface of several Northeastern states lie vast deposits of shale impregnated with natural gas. The Marcellus Shale play, as it is called, is being touted by energy analysts as one of the largest in the world. For a chronically hard-pressed region in a season of recession, the promise of mailbox money just for signing a simple lease to subsurface rights is almost irresistible. Almost, that is, until they’ve signed and discover the implications of their decision.
Dr. Kyshun Webster is a man who gets things done. And before that, he was a kid who got things done. Now the founder and executive director of Operation Reach, an extensive family of programs for kids throughout the Gulf South, Kyshun has been working to improve his community since he was a kid himself. Majora joins Kyshun as he returns to his childhood roots to explain the inspiration for his 20 years of inspiring youth to greatness.
Rural Appalachia has long been portrayed in the media as a place of victims: people at the mercy of the region's poverty or bigotry. In this episode, SOTRU turns that notion of Appalachia on its head, telling stories of Appalachian residents fighting for the well-being of their land, people and culture. We travel to southern West Virginia, where former coal miners and their families are fighting destructive mountain-top removal mining and a small town is reinventing itself as a center for the arts. We visit Eastern Kentucky, where a community radio show has inspired an outpouring of activism around Appalachia’s for-profit prisons.
Unlike places that have been thrown into a state of crisis by a disaster, Austin, Texas has been thrown into crisis by success. It’s become a hot place to move to-- in the 1970s, Austin had 325,000 people… today it’s over a million. But, along with the economic advantages of that popularity, has come a considerable identity crisis. Austin has long prided itself on its funkiness, and many residents have grown worried new development and growth might jeopardize the city’s countercultural “feel”… So they’re doing all they can to make sure it survives. In this hour, SOTRU looks at the tension between “keeping Austin weird” and it’s growing success.
Los Angeles, Lala land, often thought of as the city of movies and money and fame. But that characterization doesn’t get at the heart and soul of this City of Angels. SOTRU will spend the episode telling stories of habitat and how several groups of people are making a home in this beautiful and sprawling metropolis.
It isn’t exactly Lake Wobegon anymore… Once known as the home of Midwestern Lutherans and Scandinavian farmers, the cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul are now wildly diverse. They have become cities of immigrants, from Tibetans to Somalis, Iraqis to the Khmer people of Cambodia. In this episode, SOTRU explores the worlds within the Twin Cities, from Ethiopian Lutherans to Hmong rappers to a Somali community struggling with a devastating mystery.