Friday's Show

The Science of Swearing

Benjamin Bergen is a cognitive scientist and he loves swearing. He actually studies it for a living. In a fascinating book, Bergen examines why we use swear words, why they’re so powerful, and how they work in our language and on our minds. Swearing, he says, can be useful, funny, and cathartic. It also helps us express the strongest human emotions. Friday, we’re airing that conversation, but don’t worry: we’ve bleeped all the swear words. (Rebroadcast)

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Area 51

Aug 11, 2011
<i>Image by <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/hufferstl/3268194987/" target="_blank">Matt Huff</a>/<a href=" http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/deed.en" target="_blank">Creative Commons</a> via flickr</i>

Doug talks to journalist Annie Jacobsen about the mysterious Area 51. As Jacobsen reports it, you don't really need aliens to make the story of cold war experiments sound very strange. Based on interviews and declassified documents, Jacobsen explores how the government has pushed the boundaries of science with nuclear testing, top secret supersonic jets and other technology still being used today. Don't worry though - there's still a flying disc, a crash landing and bizarre pilots. (Rebroadcast)

Better This World

Aug 10, 2011

At the 2008 Republican National Convention, two young Texas men were arrested on domestic terrorism charges. They were caught with homemade bombs and the FBI stepped in to prevent the threat they saw to lives and property. A new film follows the case, and asks these questions: were the men misled by a role model turned FBI informant or were they making their own wrong choices all along? "Better This World" will screen in Salt Lake next week and Wednesday the directors join Doug for a look at our post-9/11 America.

<i>Image by <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/11707873@N00/3962403269/">Rachel</a>/<a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/deed.en" target="_blank">Creative Commons</a> via flickr</i>

Tuesday, we're talking about the complicated and sometimes contradictory relationships we have with animals. Take rodents for example. Some people may keep them as pets. Some may set out spring traps to catch them. What about eating a rat? We wouldn't think of it here in the US, but why not? It's eaten elsewhere in the world. Our guest for the hour is Psychology Professor Hal Herzog and he joins us to explain why it's so hard for us to think straight about animals.

<i>Image by <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/orchidthief/188821182/">Frank Roche</a>/<a href=" http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/deed.en" target="_blank">Creative Commons</a> via flickr</i>

Much is being made of the crisis in journalism today. Circulation is down, newsrooms are cutting back and established papers have had to end publication. But a report from Stanford is showing that rural and small-town newspapers are relatively healthy. Monday, we're talking about community journalism and the portrait it paints of American life. Our guests are Stanford's Geoff McGhee and Judy Muller author of a new book that looks at what she calls "big stories from small towns ."

Asleep

Aug 5, 2011

A century ago, a mysterious epidemic emerged. Patients could not move, yet they were fully aware of everything going on around them. This so-called "sleeping sickness" claimed over a million lives, then disappeared as quickly as it had arrived. On Friday, a look at the pandemic which doctors are still trying to understand.

Secrets & Wives

Aug 4, 2011

Thursday, we're joined by the author of a new book on polygamy in America. The British journalist Sanjiv Bhattacharya says he's long been obsessed with religion but when he moved to the United States he knew very little about polygamy. He set out to learn about the 40,000 some fundamentalists that are associated with the practice. We'll talk to him about that journey and about the very complex world that he discovered.

Wednesday on RadioWest, we'll explore what happened in the debate over raising the debt ceiling. We'll talk to some of the members of Utah's congressional delegation about why they did or did not get on board with the deal. Also, we hope to hear your perceptions of how the process played out. You may be relating to the polls that show Americans are "disgusted" about it all. We'll build the conversation around the idea of compromise - what you give and what you take.

Inside Scientology

Aug 2, 2011

Tuesday, we're talking about Scientology with the journalist Janet Reitman. To its adherents, Scientology is the "fastest growing religion in the world." Its critics though call it a "cult" and even a "mafia" pointing to the hundreds of thousands of dollars that believers can pay for salvation. Reitman spent five years investigating the group and joins us to discuss her book "Inside Scientology: The Story of America's Most Secretive Religion."

<i>Image by <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/moneystudio/307417440/">Money Munni</a>/<a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/deed.en" target="_blank">Creative Commons</a> via flickr</i>

Historian Naomi Oreskes says that while the U.S. scientific community has led the world in research on issues like public health and environmental science, there's also a small group of scientists that mislead the public with ideas based on political agendas rather than science. Oreskes has written a book that explores how this has skewed our understanding of climate change, tobacco and more. She joins Doug to talk about these "Merchants of Doubt." (Rebroadcast)

<i>Image by <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/ddpf/3582526331/">David Pereira</a>/<a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/deed.en" target="_blank">Creative Commons</a> via flickr</i>

Breastfeeding is portrayed as the very essence of dedicated motherhood and a protection against all sorts of maladies, from obesity to allergies to even leukemia. Joan B. Wolf isn't buying it. She's not anti-breastfeeding, but she says medical research on the health benefits of breast-milk is inconclusive and the social pressures to breastfeed are often harmful to the mother. On Friday, Wolf joins Jennifer Napier-Pearce to challenge the idea that breast is best.

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