Tuesday's Show

The Invention of Nature

Tuesday, we’re telling the story of the incredible life and work of naturalist Alexander von Humboldt. At the turn of the 19th century, Humboldt trekked across Latin America, exploring rain forests, mapping rivers, and climbing volcanoes. The journey led him to a groundbreaking vision of nature and a prediction of human-induced climate change. Doug’s guest is historian Andrea Wulf, whose new book combines biography and science to remember the man she calls the father of the environmental movement. (Rebroadcast)

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On Trails

Jul 24, 2017
Rich via CC/Flickr, https://goo.gl/uk4xos, https://goo.gl/xYWc9B

When he was hiking the Appalachian Trail, Robert Moor began to wonder about the paths beneath our feet. On every scale of life on earth, he says, trails form that “reduce an overwhelming array of choices to a single expeditious route.” But how do they form? Why do some paths improve while others disappear? How does order emerge from chaos? Moor joins us to explore how pathways serve as an essential guiding force for trailblazers and trail followers, alike. (Rebroadcast)

Nowadays, all kinds of devices exist to help us find our way through the world. But before all that stuff, before even cartography, humankind navigated with nature as the guide. The adventurer Tristan Gooley is committed to recovering and teaching the lost arts of natural navigation. He sees compass hands everywhere he looks: in rocks, trees, grass, ducks, puddles, clouds, and the wind. Gooley joins us to share what he’s learned about natural navigation and the joys of learning nature’s subtle signs. [Rebroadcast]

Phenomena

Jul 20, 2017
Photo by Tim Wang, CC via Flickr, http://bit.ly/2q4xD8L

 

If you’re a skeptic, you’re going to be outraged by the “scientific projects” conducted by the U.S. government into mind reading and other paranormal phenomena. For more than 40 years the government hired magicians and hypnotists to try to figure out what the enemy was up to. Investigative journalist Annie Jacobsen’s latest book tells the story of this top secret program, and Thursday, she joins us to explain what would make people spend so much time, energy, and money on such strange ideas. (Rebroadcast)

We’re live Wednesday morning, talking about Millennials and Mormonism. Religion scholar Jana Riess has been studying what she calls “The Next Mormons,” and while nearly all say they believe in God, the way they practice their religion is very different from older generations. And like other faiths around the country, the LDS Church is experiencing its share of young adults leaving the fold. We’ll talk with Riess and others about this generational shift, and what it means for Mormonism.

Steve Jurvetson via CC/Flickr, http://bit.ly/2vvx5bp

Robots have been displacing human workers since the dawn of the industrial revolution, and that’s not about to change. If anything, says the futurist Martin Ford, the accelerating pace of tech innovation means that robots will be taking more jobs, including some we thought couldn’t be automated. White-collar workers like paralegals, journalists, even teachers, may soon find themselves replaced by artificial intelligence. Ford joins us Tuesday to explain what the rise of the robots means for the future of work.


Henry David Thoreau famously went to Walden Pond to “live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life.” But as the scholar Laura Dassow Walls shows in a new biography, there was much more to Thoreau’s life and work than his brief experiment at Spartan living in the woods. He was an inventor, a manual laborer, a gifted naturalist, a writer of great originality, and an uncompromising abolitionist. Walls joins us Monday to explore Thoreau’s profound, complex, and influential life.

Words on the Move

Jul 14, 2017
Tama Leaver via CC/Flickr http://bit.ly/1mhaR6e, http://bit.ly/2gMBl1m

 

If you’re worried that the word “literally” now means “figuratively,” or if you fret that acronyms are replacing actual words, today’s show will do one of two things: make you pull out your hair, or it’ll change your mind. The linguist John McWhorter says that changes to the English language are nothing new. Language, he says, isn’t some static thing that just is, “it’s actually something always becoming.” McWhorter will join us to discuss how languages evolve and why we should embrace the changes. (Rebroadcast)

The film High Noon was a hit when it debuted in 1952, and it remains a revered Hollywood classic. But the tale of a sheriff awaiting a showdown held deeper meaning for screenwriter Carl Foreman. For him, it was a political parable. Communist fear gripped the nation, and Foreman was called before the House Committee on Un-American Activities to answer for his past. Journalist Glenn Frankel has written a book about the making of High Noon and its high-stakes allegory. He joins us Thursday to talk about it. (Rebroadcast)

Where the Water Goes

Jul 12, 2017

36 million people rely on the Colorado River for water, but how often do they think about what happens downstream? Journalist and New Yorker staff writer David Owen wanted to understand the ecosystem, culture, and politics that surround the crucial waterway, so he trekked from the headwaters to the once-lush, now desert terminus. The result is his latest book, and Wednesday, Owen joins Doug to explain “Where the Water Goes.”

Tuesday, we’re talking about a proposed ballot initiative aimed at addressing perceived flaws in how Utah draws its electoral districts. Redrawing district lines to benefit the political party in power, AKA gerrymandering, is almost as old as America itself. But the bi-partisan organizers behind the initiative say the way electoral boundaries are drawn in Utah allows politicians to choose their voters, when it should be the other way around. We’ll talk about their efforts, and we hope to hear from you, too.

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Wednesday's Show

Photo by simpleinsomnia, CC via Flickr, http://bit.ly/2rRq3Nu

The Trouble with Reality

In her latest book, media analyst Brooke Gladstone tries to understand the current landscape of “fact” and “truth” in the United States. Facts, she says are crucial for negotiation and compromise in a democracy. Truth, though, is subjective. So how have we reached a point where reality is so fractured? Gladstone joins Doug to talk about lies, the Trump administration, journalism, and why we all need to know more about each other's truth. (Rebroadcast)

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Short Film

Unruly Things

Mushrooms are the perfect symbol for Ardean Watts' philosophy of life … a love of unruly things. Watts died July 21 at the age of 89. We had the chance to go on a walk with him in 2015.

LDS Topics

Conversations on LDS faith, history and culture

From the Archive

RadioWest and the Bard

Are you a fan of Shakespeare? We have to confess that we are too. Here's a collection of some of our conversations about the Bard.

About RadioWest

Listen weekdays at 9:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. MT on KUER 90.1