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Playlist: News Station Picks for August '10

Compiled By: PRX Curators

 Credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/39046851@N08/4581150872/">Mutasim Billah</a>
Image by: Mutasim Billah 
Curated Playlist

Here are August picks for news stations from PRX News Format Curator Naomi Starobin.

What Naomi listens for in news programming.

Maybe these slow news days of August have you thinking about something fresh, new and lively. Well, you can’t give each of your listeners a yappy puppy, but how about a new series? Great stuff out there. I had a look around on PRX and it was hard to pick just a few. This list displays a range from series with short interstitial pieces that you can plug in to a news magazine or show, to longer ones that would make great choices for weekend hours that right now just aren’t quite dazzling your audience. Have a listen!

Volunteers and Design

From Smart City Radio | 59:00

This is one in the series from Smart City Radio. All of the pieces are about cities...sometimes specific cities and how people are dealing with particular problems (Detroit, Syracuse), and other segments, like this one, are issue-oriented. These are heady and intellectual, and well-suited for an audience that is concerned or curious about urban life and its future.

It's hosted by Carol Coletta.

Default-piece-image-2 Ten years ago, two undergrads from Yale noticed the fundamental gap between their university and the community surrounds it.  To bridge this divide they formed the volunteer training organization that's now known as LIFT.  We'll speak with Ben Reuler, the executive director of LIFT, about harnessing the energy of students to engage them in the community and help combat poverty.

And...

Good design can do many things, but can it change the world?  My guest Warren Berger has written a book on how design is doing just that.  The book, titled Glimmer,  shows how design in action addressing business, social, and personal challenges, and improving the way we think, work, and live.

Unconventional Archaeology -- Groks Science Show 2010-07-28

From Charles Lee | Part of the Groks Science Radio Show series | 29:42

For that half-hour time slot, go science! Lots of lively interviews in these segments, along with commentaries and a question-of-the-week. This series is produced in Chicago and Tokyo by Dr. Charles Lee and Dr. Frank Ling, who also host the show. They are natural and curious, and lean toward short questions and long answers.

There are pieces on cancer-sniffing dogs, outsmarting your genes, number theory, ant adventures, and lots more, displaying great breadth.

It's geared to listeners who are interested in science...no college level inorganic chem required.

Grokscience_small Archaeology is often portrayed as a romantic adventure to the remote corners of the globe. But, what is the life of an archaeologist really like? On this program, Dr. Donald Ryan discussed unconventional archaeology.  For more information, visit the website: www.groks.net.

Are Freckles Just Cute or Something More?

From Dueling Docs | Part of the Dueling Docs series | 02:02

Dueling Docs is a great idea, well executed. Each two-minute piece answers a simple medical or health question. The host, Dr. Janice Horowitz, lays out a question (Should you get cosmetic surgery? Is dying your hair bad for you? Can stretching make you more prone to injury?), presents opposing views, and concludes with advice.

This would fit in nicely during a weekend or weekday news show. A good two minutes.

Duelingdocs_prx_logo_medium_small While the rest of the media doesn't bother to challenge the latest news flash, Dueling Docs always presents the other side of a medical issue, the side that most everyone ignores.  Janice gets doctors to talk frankly about controversial health matters - then she sorts things out, leaving the listener with a no-nonsense take-home message

Reading Russian Fortunes

From Rachel Louise Snyder | Part of the Global Guru Radio series | 03:03

This series, Global Guru, claims to "ask one simple question -- just one -- about somewhere in the world." Those questions have included: "How do the Hopi bring rain to the desert?" "How and why do Thai people categorize their food?" "Why are there so many barbershops in Tanzania?" This is a great series of three-minute pieces you can squeeze into just about any hour. Rachel Louise Snyder out of Washington, DC is the producer. She says "each week, our mandate is to surprise listeners." Your listeners would say she succeeds.

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The Global Guru is a weekly public radio show that seeks to celebrate global culture, particularly in countries where Americans have either single narrative story lines, like Afghanistan (war), Thailand (sex tourism), Rwanda, (genocide), or perhaps no story lines at all, like East Timor, Moldova, Malta, Lesotho, etc. Engaging and rich in sound, the 3:00 interstitial seeks to enrich our collective understanding of the vastness of human experience. Presenting station is WAMU in Washington, DC and sponsored by American University in DC. Some of our favorite past shows include: How do Cambodians predict the harvest each year? How did Tanzania become the capitol of barbershops? How and why does Thailand categorize food? What is Iceland’s most feared culinary delight? How do you track a Tasmanian devil? What are the hidden messages in Zulu beadwork?

A Way with Words (Series)

Produced by A Way with Words

Public radio listeners, as you know, are curious and intelligent. And they are, as you know, sticklers for language. Satisfy their curiosity with this hour-long series. It's hosted by Grant Barrett and Martha Barnette, who talk about word usage and origin, and take questions from callers. Often those questions center around a word or expression that the caller recalls from childhood and is curious about. The mood is informal and the hosts joust a bit in a friendly way with their answers.

Most recent piece in this series:

Funny Papers (#1601)

From A Way with Words | Part of the A Way with Words series | 54:00

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What sort of language is worthy of being inscribed in stone? A frieze on the James A. Farley Building in New York City is inscribed with Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds. This motto of the U.S. Postal Service is borrowed almost entirely from The Histories (Bookshop|Amazon) by the ancient historian Herodotus. An inscription on the Goodhue Building at the Los Angeles Public Library reads Books invite all; they constrain none. Homes in parts of Europe sometimes have the Latin inscription Parva sed apta mihi, which translates as "Small, but right for me." Another inscription for a domicile is As the body is to the mind, so the house is to the body.
Kelly in Tallahassee, Florida, describes a game her family enjoys in the days leading up to Christmas. The goal is to be first to say Christmas gift! when greeting a family member or answering the phone. It's not just Kelly's family. This tradition goes back more than a century. In fact, Civil War soldiers sometimes alluded to it in their letters home.
Susannah in Aiken, South Carolina, is curious about slumgullion, a word her dad used to denote "gooey baby food" or "goopy oatmeal." Slumgullion originated with the California gold rush, when miners forced large quantities of water through soil to flush away lighter components and leave heavier ones, including gold nuggets. The discarded, sludgy wastewater was called slumgullion, probably from slum, similar to slime, and gullion, either "a muddy cesspool" or "a type of stomachache." Slumgullion may also be related to slobgollion, a term Herman Melville used in Moby-Dick (Bookshop|Amazon) to mean "the discarded offal of a whale."
An idea from puzzle constructor David Ellis Dickerson inspired this week's challenge from our Quiz Guy, John Chaneski. This game involves two-word titles of books and movies, which, when those words are reversed, still make a pretty good title. For example, what two words would work as the title of a new Stephen King novel about a dog owned by a gravedigger?
An industrial-design student in Savannah, Georgia, uses Boolean software for making 3-D renderings. Why Boolean? The term honors the brilliant autodidact George Boole, who helped pioneer the use of binary computing language and Boolean logic.
Some medical facilities use a secret code when the staff needs assistance to handle an unruly or agitated visitor. When the message Paging Dr. Armstrong goes out over the speaker system, it's a call for this kind of help.
Aeneas in Las Cruces, New Mexico, describes his family's traditional way of razzing someone who just had a haircut. They shout Rinctums! (also spelled Rinktums!), and proceed to give the person a rough knuckle-rubbing on the back of their head, unless that newly shorn person beats them to it, yelling No rinctums!. A 1921 article about this newly popular practice at the University of Texas describes how students with a new haircut try to avoid these noogies with a preemptive shout of vincure rinktums or vincure scrapeings [sic].  
The phrase tearing up Jack, which refers to "engaging in rowdy, rambunctious behavior," has its origins in the traditional English card game known as All Fours. This game is the source of the term jack, referring to the lowest face card in a deck, which was previously known as the knave. A less common variant of tearing up Jack is tearing up Jake.
In 2018, author Ellen Jovin started setting up her folding "Grammar Table" on the streets of New York City, and dispensing helpful advice about grammar and usage to anyone who asked. She enjoyed those interactions so much that she's now done the same in 49 states, and collected those stories into her latest book, Rebel with a Clause: Tales and Tips from a Roving Grammarian (Bookshop|Amazon). 
Comb graves, featuring two long slabs laid over the grave to form a peaked roof, are found in parts of the Southern United States, but primarily in Tennessee. Comb in this sense is an architectural word that refers to "the peak of a roof," just as a rooster's comb is the uppermost part of the bird. These structures are sometimes called tent graves. Richard C. Finch has researched this tradition extensively.
Heather Coffman sent us a tweet about a helpful way to end a long phone conversation: I'll let you go so you can glue your ears and legs back on.
Crystal in Huntsville, Alabama, wonders about the expression See you in the funny papers, which her in-laws use when tucking the grandkids into bed. See you in the funny papers, See you in the funny pages, See you in the funnies, and See you in the funny sheet go back to a time when newspaper comic strips were a daily form of entertainment for millions.
Scott in Everett, Washington, has been trying to learn Klingon using the Goldlist Method, but he's struggling to commit it to memory. What are some tips for learning another language, whether a conlang such as Klingon or one that evolved naturally?
This episode is hosted by Grant Barrett and Martha Barnette.