KUSP Latest

Echoes of the Big Bang: Cosmologist Anthony Aguirre on the BICEP2 Experiment

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From the 7th Avenue Project w/ Robert Pollie. Broadcast on March 23, 2014.

The BICEP2 was built specifically to detect evidence of gravity waves in the cosmic microwave background radiation. And whaddya know – it worked.

The BICEP2 was built specifically to detect evidence of gravity waves in the cosmic microwave background radiation. And whaddya know – it worked.

By Robert Pollie:

Big physics is on a roll. It seems like only yesterday we were applauding the discovery of the Higgs boson at the Large Hadron Collider. And then this week came word that the BICEP2 microwave telescope at the South Pole had found evidence of gravitational waves from the inflationary epoch – a glimpse of the universe at the time of the Big Bang, or maybe even before. “Holy crap!” was my reaction, but I needed something more for a radio show, so I got in touch with Anthony Aguirre. Cosmic inflation is one of his specialties, and I thought he’d be a great person to explain the new findings. He was. And I stand by my initial assessment: holy crap!

For more background on inflation theory, our 2011 interview with Anthony is an excellent start.

New School Standards Could Encourage Teachers to Take Field Trips

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O’Neill sea Odyssey Education coordinator Laura Barnes. Photo: J.D. Hillard

O’Neill sea Odyssey Education coordinator Laura Barnes. Photo: J.D. Hillard

California and most of the other states will switch next school year to a new set of math and English standards called the Common Core. The hope is this change will help U.S. students improve their progress. A ‘Next Generation Science Standard’ is expected to roll out in a couple years.

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Temple Grandin Interview w/ Rick Kleffel

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Dr. Grandin recently appeared in the area, leading a session at EcoFarm in Asilomar, CA.

Temple Grandin. Photo by Rick Kleffel.

Temple Grandin. Photo by Rick Kleffel.

“Well, I don’t want to get cured.”
—Temple Grandin

Beyond reading ‘The Autistic Brain,’ I knew that there was some sort of preparation I should do before I talked to author Temple Grandin. Watch the HBO movie, I was told. I could have gone to YouTube and looked her up. I decided to meet her first in person, and let the conversation play out as it would.

Temple Grandin is an imposing and intense presence, who immediately asked me if I liked the book, and why. I told her I enjoyed both the science and the scientist-who-loves “science-enough-to-experiment-on-herself aspect” and she wanted to know more. Readers can quickly see why she and I got on so well. Her inquisitive mind on the page carries over into her life, with a passion.

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Multi-Instrumentalist and Composer Rick Walker

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Photo: Courtesy of the artist and Kuumbwa Jazz Center.

Photo: Courtesy of the artist and Kuumbwa Jazz Center.

Broadcast on the 7th Avenue Project, Jan. 19, 2014.

Indomitable musical explorer Rick Walker pauses for a moment to retrace some of the ground he’s traversed in the last 35 years, from his early days as a punk/ska/new wave drummer to a serious student of world percussion traditions to electronica and looping to jazz. We surveyed his career while listening to a lot of musical examples and chatting about such things as:

  • His early involvement in the “world music” movement of the ’80s
  • Playing with the late guitarist Bob Brozman
  • A paternal blessing from Babatunde Olatunji
  • Falling in love with looping
  • Rhythm, repetition and trance
  • Singing and other really scary things

Rick and many of his musical collaborators past and present will be celebrating his work in a special concert Jan 23. More details here.

David Sedaris – How His Book Tours Influenced his Latest Collection

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David Sedaris talks with Rick Kleffel about how his book tours influenced his latest collection of essays and short stories – Let Explore Diabetes with Owls.

  
About the interview, Rick Kleffel wrote:

It will come as no surprise that David Sedaris is easy to talk to. When we sat down to discuss ‘Let’s Explore Diabetes With Owls,’ we were both quickly to our comfort zones; being crabby old men complaining about stuff and gawky kids talking about weird things.

Award-Winning Musical Comedy Writers
Do “Lunch”

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lunch-vertFrom: 7th Avenue Project w/ Robert Pollie

A musical gets a second life as Cabrillo Stage rolls out a new version of Lunch: A Modern Musical Myth this week. I spoke to two members of the Emmy/Grammy/Oscar/Golden Globe-nominated creative team: composer Steve Dorff and book writer Rick Hawkins. They told me why they felt the story of 11th-hour redemption was ripe for revival, and how they updated both script and songs. We also listened to some of the original music, recorded in 1994 with an all-star studio cast including Carol Burnett, Michael Rupert, Laurie Beechman and Davis Gaines. Lunch Reimagined premieres Jan 3 at Cabrillo Stage. More info here.

The 7th Avenue Project: Cognitive Scientist Paul Bloom on the Foundations of Morality

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morals-book

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Robert Pollie spoke with Paul Bloom about the precocious moral awareness of young infants and the ingenious experiments used to demonstrate it. Now Paul has synthesized those findings in a far-reaching exploration of our ethical capacities and limitations.

Topics covered in this interview include:

* Are we born with a sense of right and wrong?

* Gut feelings vs. rational deliberation as a basis for ethical behavior

* Adam Smith’s The Theory of Moral Sentiments and why it still rocks

* The roots of racism

* Mafia morality

* Modern sitcoms and moral uplift

Ted Explores the Power of Mistakes

 Brené Brown researches vulnerability, courage, authenticity and shame University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work. Image: http://on.ted.com/Brown2012

Brené Brown researches vulnerability, courage, authenticity and shame University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work. Image: http://on.ted.com/Brown2012

Brené Brown poses the questions: How do we learn to embrace our vulnerabilities and imperfections so that we can engage in our lives from a place of authenticity and worthiness? How do we cultivate the courage, compassion and connection that we need to recognize that we are enough — that we are worthy of love, belonging and joy? Find her Ted Talk here.

It’s part of this week’s Ted Radio Hour “Making Mistakes.” The episode also explores what doctors could learn by admitting mistakes and whether a mistake in jazz is really a mistake.

The Evolution of Jerry Brown

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Courtesy of Capitol Public Radio News

Courtesy of YouTube & Andrew Nixon/Capital Public Radio

Jerry Brown soon becomes the longest serving Governor in California History. When he took office for his first governorship in 1975, other politicians resented him for his age. In the interview above, Capital Public Radio reporter Ben Adler asked the governor to compare himself at that time to Jerry Brown of today.

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How Yemen Became a Battleground

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Listen to the full  interview above or the short radio clip below.

In recent weeks U.S. drones in Yemen killed more than 30 people suspected of being militants. Gregory D. Johnson tells the stories behind the new Al Qaeda homeland, in an interview with KUSP Rick Kleffel.

Author Gregory Johnsen. Photo courtesy of

Author Gregory Johnsen. Photo courtesy of Jeff Taylor

By Rick Kleffel | KUSP’s Agony Column

“..he would shell somebody with one hand and then embrace them with the other…”

— Gregory Johnsen

Gregory Johnsen is immersed in the world of ‘The Last Refuge: Yemen, al-Qaeda, and America’s War in Arabia.’ I must admit that it was only as I wrote the review of the book that I realized the part that world-building plays here. That’s what enables Johnsen to turn news is story and history into a suspenseful, exciting and informative book.
For Johnsen, the book was all about the story, not just the news. As we discussed ‘The Last Refuge,’ the pleasures of the reading experience returned. realized that John creates the places that he describes so well that as a reader, after you’ve read the book, you can go back and visit the scenes in your mind. It takes a certain kind of talent to extract the story from all the data, and Johnsen and I talked about finding the story in the headlines.

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