Secret Identity

« previous episode | next episode »

Friday, June 24, 2011

On today’s show: William C. Rempel tells the story of the insider who helped bring down Colombia's notorious Cali Cartel! Then we’ll discuss the legacy of Louis Armstrong’s later years. Both Mark Twain and Lewis Carroll were pen names—we’ll look at some other famous people who chose not to use their given names and why. Plus, our latest Please Explain segment is all about sunscreens!

Bringing Down the Cali Cartel

Investigative reporter William C. Rempel tells the story of former Cali cartel insider Jorge Salcedo, an ordinary man forced to risk everything to escape the powerful and treacherous Cali crime syndicate. Rempel’s book At the Devil's Table: The Untold Story of the Insider Who Brought Down the Cali Cartel tells how Jorge Salcedo, a part-time soldier, engineer, respected businessman, and family man, joined the Cali cartel and became the head of security for its principal godfather. After receiving an order that he can’t obey—but can’t refuse—Jorge realizes that his only way out is to bring down the biggest, richest crime syndicate of all time.

Comments [3]

Louis Armstrong’s Later Years

Jazz scholar and musician Ricky Riccardi discusses the remarkable final 25 years of Louis Armstrong’s life and art. What a Wonderful World: The Magic of Louis Armstrong’s Later Years takes an in-depth look at his music in the years after World War II until his death in 1971, when Armstrong recorded his highest-charting hits, including “Mack the Knife” and “Hello, Dolly!”; collaborated with Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington, and Dave Brubeck, among others; and toured the world.

Comments [4]

Nom de Plume

Carmela Ciuraru tells the fascinating stories behind more than a dozen pseudonyms across centuries and cultures. She looks at the creative process and the darker, sometimes crippling aspects of fame. Nom de Plume: A (Secret) History of Pseudonyms is part detective story, part exposé, part literary history, and a psychological meditation on identity and creativity. Ciuraru looks at the people behind the pen names of Lewis Carroll, the Brontë sisters, George Sand, and others.

Comments [6]

Please Explain: Sunscreen and the New FDA Rules

The FDA passed new federal regulations on sunscreen labels, to take effect next year. On today's Please Explain Dr. Michelle Hanjani, Assistant Professor of Clinical Dermatology at Columbia University Medical Center tells us what those changes are, what they mean, how sunscreen works, and how much it really protects us from the sun's harmful rays.

Comments [38]

Get the WNYC Morning Brief in your inbox.
We'll send you our top 5 stories every day, plus breaking news and weather.