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Automation and Us

If you always use GPS to navigate your destination, do you ever learn where you are? If spell-check keeps you from making mistakes, do you eventually forget how to spell? Nicholas Carr says automation is a fine tool, but we have to be careful about what we concede to computers. Monday, he joins Doug to explain how giving up our decision making means giving up something essential to being human. (Rebroadcast)
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The writer Anthony Doerr’s new novel All the Light We Cannot See tells the tale of a blind French girl in possession of a possibly cursed jewel, a German boy fascinated by radios, and their intersecting fates during World War II. For Doerr, it was a chance to explore the effects of war on children and his research for the book at times haunted him. Tuesday we're rebroadcasting a conversation with Doerr about his latest novel, his approach to writing, and about the profusion of miracles we encounter every day. [Rebroadcast]

At the center of author Richard Rubin’s latest book, The Last of the Doughboys, are several dozen extraordinary individuals, all more than a century old, all now passed away. They were the final survivors of the millions who made up the American forces that fought in World War I, 19th-century men and women living in the 21st century. Rubin’s book chronicles their remarkable stories and he joins us Friday to tell some of them and to relate how the forgotten war and its forgotten veterans created the modern world. [Rebroadcast]

Eric Schultz vis CC/Flickr,

It might not seem like it right now, but most years, Utah deserves its reputation as host-state to the best snow in the world. In a new book, local meteorologist and avid skier Jim Steenburgh investigates just what makes our powder so spectacular and the region’s weather so unique. Yes, the Great Salt Lake has something to do with it, but there’s much more to it than that, including something called “Golidlocks Storms.” Steenburgh joins us Thursday to divulge the secrets of the greatest snow on earth.

A Better Way of Death

Dec 17, 2014
Horst Gutmann via CC/Flickr

After her father suffered a debilitating stroke, the journalist Katy Butler became his caretaker. Doctors gave him a pacemaker and other medical devices meant to keep him alive, but past a certain point, they were only sustaining his suffering. At the end of life as he wanted to live it, his doctor’s refused to turn off the gadgets and let him die “naturally.” Butler joins Doug on Wednesday to share her family’s struggle and to talk about what it means to die a “good death” today. (Rebroadcast)

Tuesday, it’s a special holiday edition of our Through the Lens series about documentary film. Humbugs may sneer, but filmmaker Mitchell Kezin is obsessed with Christmas music, and he isn’t alone. In his new film JINGLE BELL ROCKS! Kezin hits the road to document the vibrant subculture of holiday music fanatics and the yuletide tunes they love. He’ll join us to talk about his pop-culture pilgrimage and introduce us to the motley crew of merry misfits that’s reinventing the seasonal soundtrack.


In the introduction to his book documenting America's growing justice gap, the journalist Matt Taibbi lays out some apparently incongruous facts. In the past couple decades, violent crime has dropped precipitously, poverty rates have soared, and America's prison population has doubled. Confounded, Taibbi set out to learn what's going on behind the statistics. His reporting led him to conclude that the rich and the poor in this country are increasingly subject to vastly different measures of justice. He joins us Monday to explore the growing divide in the American justice system.

Animal Madness

Dec 12, 2014

Laurel Braitman was very worried about her dog’s mental health. Oliver was an anxious animal, especially when left home alone. And he was alone when he moved an air conditioner, chewed through a screen, and jumped out of a 3rd story window. Braitman is a science historian, and her new book explores seemingly human mental disorders in the animal kingdom. Friday, she joins Doug to explain why every animal with a mind has the capacity to lose it from time to time. [Rebroadcast]

Arbyredd via CC/Flickr,

Utah legislators passed a bill two years ago demanding the federal government hand over millions of acres of public land to the state. With the deadline for that transfer looming, an economic report came out last week showing the plan could be financially viable—or it shows the land transfer is “half baked,” it depends which side you’re on. Thursday, we’re examining the arguments for and against Utah’s public lands campaign. Could it be a boon for the state or is it a reckless and unconstitutional pursuit?

After nine years of fighting to keep his prostate cancer at bay, numerous treatments weren’t working for writer Jeff Metcalf. Doctors told him his days were numbered and with that scary forecast ringing in his ears, Metcalf started “cleaning the garage.” He sifted through old handwritten journals, collected his thoughts, and resolved to write one essay every week for a year. Metcalf joins us Wednesday to talk about those essays, his battle with cancer, and how writing has helped him “pay the piper.”

At the remote Rozel Point on the Great Salt Lake sits the land art sculpture Spiral Jetty. In 1970, the artist Robert Smithson chose the spot for his 6,000 ton, 1,500 feet long spiral. But experiencing the work isn’t just about viewing it, it’s also about the pilgrimage over miles of rough roads northeast of the lake. We’re premiering a new short film on VideoWest with the Spiral Jetty at its center, so Tuesday on the program we’re talking about it – where the Spiral Jetty fits in the land art movement and what Smithson hoped people would experience on the shores of the Great Salt Lake.



Mullets and Cowboy Boots

Kate Wolsey is an artist based here in Salt Lake City. What attracts filmmaker Steve Olpin to her work is its bold, childlike quality. He's made a film about her, and we're featuring it this week.


Through the Lens: Jingle Bell Rocks!

Filmmaker Mitchell Kezin is obsessed with Christmas music, and his new documentary introduces the vibrant subculture of holiday music fanatics and the yuletide tunes. Free Screening, December 23, 2014

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