Profiles

Phenomena

May 11, 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.

Public domain

“Few came so far, so fast, and so alone,” writes John Farrell in a new biography of President Richard Nixon. Nixon was an idealistic dreamer when he returned from World War II, and he quickly scaled the political ladder. After winning the presidency in 1969, he and his staff pursued progressive reforms and opened relations with China. But Nixon, says Farrell, had another, darker legacy: a divided and polarized America. Farrell joins us Monday to discuss Richard Nixon and the world he made.

Tuesday, we’re continuing our Through the Lens series with documentary director and editor Pedro Kos. His film Bending the Arc premiered at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, and it tells the story of doctors and activists on the front lines of a global health crisis. It profiles people like Paul Farmer who have to figure out how to heal patients with impossible afflictions in impossible conditions. We’re screening the film Wednesday night in partnership with the Utah Film Center.

American Heiress

May 1, 2017

Monday, our guest is author Jeffrey Toobin, who’s written a book about the 1974 kidnapping of Patty Hearst. Hearst was 19 and heir to her family’s fortune when the “Symbionese Liberation Army” took her, and it soon seemed that she had adopted their incoherent, revolutionary cause. We’ll explore the controversy over Hearst’s involvement in their crimes, the atmosphere that gave birth to the SLA, and why Toobin says the story sheds light on a time when America was on the brink of a nervous breakdown. (Rebroadcast)

Thursday, we’re broadcasting our conversation with Latina writer and activist Sandra Cisneros, who was in Utah as a guest of the Tanner Humanities Center. Her 1984 novel The House on Mango Street has become a staple of American literature, but Cisneros says that only the “right kind” of immigrant is welcome in this country. She was born in Chicago, but it’s taken her decades to find home. Cisneros joins us to talk about heritage, identity, and how stories can be a bridge between people.

Tuesday, we’re talking about the 19th-century women who measured the cosmos. Science journalist Dava Sobel is among our guests. Her latest book is about the women employed by Harvard Observatory to serve as “human computers.” They did calculations based on the observations of their male counterparts, but became astronomical pioneers in their own right. Pygmalion Theatre Company is staging a play based on the life of one of these remarkable women, which gives us an excuse to talk about them and discoveries.

Eleanor and Hick

Apr 14, 2017

Friday, we’re telling the story of the unconventional relationship that deeply influenced Eleanor Roosevelt. When FDR entered the White House in 1932, Eleanor feared her independent life would take a back seat to the ceremonial role of first lady. But on the campaign trail she had met Lorena Hickok, a feisty reporter who would become her adviser, confidante, and lover. Biographer Susan Quinn joins Doug to explain how Eleanor and “Hick” used their bond to better depression-ravaged America. (Rebroadcast)

North Star International, Voices of Hope Project, http://bit.ly/2o08ydI

Monday, we’re talking about the delicate balance of being religiously conservative and attracted to the same sex. Ty Mansfield is a family therapist and he’s attracted to men. He’s also married to a woman, has kids, and is a faithful Mormon. Mansfield believes that human sexuality is fluid enough for some gay people - not all - but some to be perfectly happy married to someone of the opposite sex. Mansfield joins us to share his own story, and to talk about what he’s learning about sexuality and happiness.

The Zookeeper's Wife

Mar 27, 2017
from "The Zookeeper's Wife," Focus Features

Monday, the acclaimed naturalist and writer Diane Ackerman talks about the story she uncovered of Jan and Antonina Zabinski, a zookeeper and his wife. The couple ran the Warsaw Zoo during the brutal Nazi occupation of World War II, and they were able to save more than 300 people destined to be exterminated by the Nazis. Ackerman’s book has been made into a film, so we’re rebroadcasting our conversation with her about the role of nature in kindness and savagery. (Rebroadcast)

The Immortal Irishman

Mar 17, 2017

Friday, journalist Timothy Egan joins us to tell the story of Irish revolutionary Thomas Francis Meagher. Egan first encountered Meagher as a statue on the Montana Capitol grounds, but tracing his life took Egan from the brutal occupation of Ireland and the famine which killed a million people, to the fields of America’s civil war and to the American frontier. We’ll talk about Meagher’s transformation from romantic to rebel to leader, and what it reveals about the journey. (Rebroadcast)

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