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Thursday, October 14, 2010

Joan Williams argues that gender bias in the workplace works not only against women, but against men as well. Then Dinaw Mengestu talks about his new novel How to Read the Air. We’ll hear the story of van Eyck’s Ghent Altarpiece, the most stolen artwork in history. Also, our latest Backstory segments look at the science behind tidal power, and at the discredited theories of the so-called “ex-gay” movement and why such programs persist.

Reshaping the Work-Family Debate

Joan Williams discusses why the United States has the most family-hostile public policy in the developed world, and she shows how that disadvantages men as well as women. In Reshaping the Work-Family Debate: Why Men and Class Matter, Williams looks at why new mothers are often pushed out by discriminating and inflexible workplaces that pit men against woman, and she examines the often-ignored role of class in work-family issues.

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Dinaw Mengestu on his novel How to Read the Air

Dinaw Mengestu, who has been compared to Bellow, Fitzgerald, and Naipaul, discusses his novel, How to Read the Air. It tells the story of Ethiopian immigrants in search of a new identity as an American couple, and their son’s challenges with generational and cultural differences.

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Stealing the Mystic Lamb

Art historian Noah Charney discusses Jan van Eyck’s Ghent Altarpiece—one of the ten most important paintings ever made, and happens to be the most frequently stolen artwork of all time. Stealing the Mystic Lamb traces the stories behind its thefts: Since its completion in 1432, it has been looted, burned, dismembered, forged, smuggled, illegally sold, hidden, ransomed, rescued, and stolen a total of thirteen times.

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Backstory: The Ex Gay Movement

Today’s Backstory segment looks at the ex-gay movement, a collection of religious and psychological groups that espouse discredited theories about sexuality and claim to be able to "cure" homosexuality. We’ll talk with Peterson Toscano, an ex ex-gay with the group Beyond Ex-Gay, and with Dr. William Meyer, a clinical professor in the department of psychiatry at Duke University.

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Backstory: Tidal Power

Earlier this week, offshore wind farms got major financial investment from Google and Good Energies. On Backstory, we look at another way to harness the energy of the ocean: tidal power. Paul Jacobson, Ocean Energy Leader for EPRI, a non-profit electricity research company, and Michael Peterson, professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Maine-Orono and leader of the University’s Tidal Power Initiative, join us to explain how the tides can produce electric power.

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Guest Picks: Dinaw Mengestu

Find out some of Dinaw Mengestu's favorite picks!

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