Culture

Culture, Ideas, Religion

Photo by Ellen Jaskol, www.ellenjaskol.com

In his book Three Cups of Tea, mountaineer Greg Mortenson details his humanitarian efforts to build schools in Pakistan. His story brought him worldwide acclaim and sold lots of books. There’s just one problem, says the writer Jon Krakauer: Mortenson’s story is a lie. Krakauer has written at length about holes he’s found in Mortenson’s tale, allegations the journalist Jennifer Jordan pushes back against in a new documentary film. Jordan and Krakauer join us Monday to discuss the controversy over Three Cups of Tea.

A few years ago, as the debate raged over the so-called Ground Zero Mosque, religion scholar Stephen Prothero watched and wondered what all the fuss was about. Hoping to better understand our current culture wars, he began researching similar clashes in America’s past, and he arrived at a provocative conclusion. Conservatives, Prothero says, almost always start the culture wars, and, equally often, liberals end up winning. Thursday, we’ll talk to Prothero about America’s long history of moral and religious battles and why liberals win.

Of the major U.S. religions, the LDS Church is the only one whose top leader serves until he dies. That wasn’t an issue in the 19th century when medicine rarely prolonged life after a serious illness. But today, researcher Gregory Prince says that as Church presidents live longer, they’re more likely to experience age-related conditions like dementia. It’s something he explores in a forthcoming article, and Tuesday, he joins us to explain what this “gerontocracy” means for the future of Mormonism.

Greg Westfall (cropped), via CC/Flickr, https://goo.gl/GWoald

For years, Daniel Kunitz lived the life of the mind. His body though “became a trash depot.” Then he started running, which led to swimming, weightlifting, and eventually CrossFit. His health and his life steadily improved. Kunitz’s personal quest got him wondering how fitness culture has changed through the years. Why were the Greeks so buff? Why do guys do dumbbell curls? How have women changed exercise as we know it? Kunitz joins us to share what he’s learned about the evolution of fitness. (Rebroadcast)

Diego Franssens/Knack, with permission from Mikael Colville-Andersen, http://tinyurl.com/zhw5r3n

 

Making it easy for people to get from Point A to Point B is a big concern in urban areas. Here in Utah most people simply drive. Urban designer Mikael Colville-Andersen wants that to change. He wants more people to bike and walk, not for their health, but because they’re the easiest ways to get around. They aren’t, yet, but Colville-Andersen wants to change that, too. He joins us Thursday to discuss how better designed cities can make it effortless for people to get from here to there without driving. (Rebroadcast)

During World War II, 8,000 German prisoners of war were interned in Utah. Many of them worked alongside American civilians on the state’s farms and factories, where unlikely friendships and lasting memories were created between sworn enemies. In a new documentary film, filmmaker Scott Porter explores this little-known chapter in Utah history, the end of which was marked by a tragic massacre in the rural town of Salina. Porter joins us Tuesday to talk about his film. It’s called Splinters of a Nation.

Engineering Eden

Sep 26, 2016
Leon Reed via CC/Flickr, http://bit.ly/2cXKAdT

In the summer of 1972, a young man named Harry Walker left his family’s farm in Alabama and headed for adventure in Yellowstone where he was killed by a grizzly bear. The subsequent court battle raised serious questions about how we manage America’s national parks. In a new book, the writer Jordan Fisher Smith traces Walker’s fatal path, which led him to questions about how much humans should try to engineer nature and soften its sharp edges for our own enjoyment. Jordan joins us Monday to talk about it.

Pinpoint

Sep 21, 2016

Even if you didn’t use GPS to find your way around town today, there’s every chance it touched your life. The Global Positioning System is now integrated into almost every part of modern existence. It helps land planes, route cell phone calls, predict the weather, grow food, and regulate global finance. Our guest Thursday, Greg Milner, has written a book that traces the history of GPS. He also examines the frightening costs of our growing dependence on it. 

How To Be a Tudor

Sep 16, 2016

To understand how our forebears lived, of course you’ll read period records, diaries and literature. There would still be things you wouldn’t fully grasp though, like how they smelled. So when historian Ruth Goodman wanted to understand 16th century English life, she “tudored.” She skipped bathing, brushed her teeth with soot, and slept on rushes. The result of her adventure is a new book called How to Be a Tudor, and she joins Doug for a dawn-to-dusk guide to Tudor life. (Rebroadcast)

Tim Hetherington, http://www.timhetheringtontrust.org

The journalist Sebastian Junger has noticed that for many veterans, and even some civilians, war feels better than peace, and he has a theory about why that might be. War, he says, compels us to band together and support one another in pursuit of a clear goal. But under the normal conditions of modern culture, we lose those connections, and we feel lonely and lost. Friday, Junger joins us to discuss why we’re stronger when we come together and what tribal societies can teach us about leading meaningful lives. (Rebroadcast)

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