RadioWest

Weekdays Live at 9:00 a.m. Mountain / Rebroadcast at 7:00 p.m. Mountain

Conversations and stories that explore the way the world works.

Hosted by Doug Fabrizio, KUER's award-winning program features conversations with authors, politicians, artists and others. KUER 90.1  (9 a.m. and 7 p.m.); Streaming at radiowest.org

Millions of years ago, geological forces ripped the world to pieces. Christopher Columbus changed all that though. When he sailed across the Atlantic, he began a process that knit the world back together ecologically and economically. It meant there would be tomatoes in Italy and coffee in Brazil. The journalist Charles Mann says while the costs and benefits are inseparable, 1493 marked the birth of the world we live in today. Mann is in Utah and he joins us to talk about his book called "1493."

First Position

May 29, 2012

On stage, ballet is an exemplar of human grace: beautiful women float like feathers and handsome men lift them overhead with ease. Behind the façade of effortlessness lay incredible pain, sacrifice, competition and countless hours of practice. In her film First Postion, Bess Kargman documents the worlds on either side of the stage curtain as she follows six dancers competing in a prestigious ballet competition. She joins Doug on Wednesday to discuss what it takes to transform the human body into kinetic poetry.

Two years ago, the writer Steve Hendricks felt overweight, and he resolved to shed 20 pounds. His weight loss method might strike some as reckless: he fasted for over three weeks. Vanity, he writes, wasn't his only concern. He was informally testing theories which suggest that fasting can alleviate numerous maladies and symptoms and improve general health, much like exercise. Hendricks wrote about the benefits of an empty stomach for Harper's. Doug talked with him about it in March, and we're rebroadcasting that conversation on Tuesday.

How to Die in Oregon

May 25, 2012

When Peter Richardson's documentary on physician assisted suicide screened at the Sundance Film Festival last year, the New York Times called it one of the most difficult to watch movies of the festival. Richardson followed terminally ill patients deciding when - or if - to end their own lives. He says the film isn't about death and dying as much as it is about life and living. HOW TO DIE IN OREGON is screening in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, so we're rebroadcasting our conversation with Peter Richardson. (Rebroadcast)

Cleopatra

May 24, 2012

Biographer Stacy Schiff says that Cleopatra has had "one of the busiest afterlives in history." This Queen of Egypt died over 2000 years ago, but since then she's been the subject of poems and plays, she's had an asteroid and a cigarette named after her. But for all the fame, much of what we think we know about Cleopatra just isn't so. Schiff joins us to rescue the queen from her legend. (Rebroadcast)

Bunch of Amateurs

May 23, 2012

You probably know some amateurs, people driven by a singular passion for whatever, birdwatching, maybe, or home brewing or space elevators. The writer Jack Hitt certainly knows the type. He’s written a book about semi-professional people in the grip of passion, and he argues that they've powered America’s success and innovation. From Benjamin Franklin to a young Bay Area woman trying to splice a fish’s glow-in-the-dark gene into yogurt, Hitt has documented American amateurs, and he joins Doug on Thursday.

Religion for Atheists

May 22, 2012
<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/el_ramon/574809150/">Timothy Valentine</a>|<a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/deed.en" target="_blank">Creative Commons</a> via flickr

Is any religion true? The popular British philosopher Alain de Botton opens his latest book by declaring this the most boring and unproductive question a person can ask. de Botton is himself a resolute non-believer, but by setting that debate aside, he says we can look at the really good ideas religions offer about how to live and how to arrange society. Wednesday, Alain de Botton joins Doug for an exploration of his "Non-believer's Guide to the Uses of Religion."

Edgar Allan Poe as a detective? It's not just a Hollywood movie. In 1842, the real Poe set out to solve the murder of Mary Rogers, known in New York as the "beautiful cigar girl." While her death captured the imagination of the press and the public, the crime remained unsolved. It was perfect fodder for Poe though, who once called the death of a beautiful woman "the most poetical topic in the world." Tuesday, we talk to writer Daniel Stashower about Poe's life and the birth of crime fiction.

Doug talks to Brooke Gladstone, host of NPR's "On the Media." She's written a graphic nonfiction book - a journey through two millennia of journalism. Gladstone says that there's always been a fear that the media are somehow controlling our minds. But rather than being an external force, she argues that the media are mirrors that show us our own reflection. Doug talks to her about "The Influencing Machine," and about what we can do to be savvy media consumers. (Rebroadcast)

<i>Image by <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/walkadog/3366563115">Beverly & Pack</a>/<a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/deed.en" target="_blank">Creative Commons</a> via flickr</i>

Some political observers say the United States is a global superpower on the wane. They see the rise of China and America's increasing failure to get its way in the world as signs of decline. Robert Kagan, a foreign policy commentator, disagrees. He says the size and influence of America's economy, its unparalleled military might and its global political clout position it to remain the world's predominant power. Kagan joins Doug on Wednesday to discuss America's present and future status. (Rebroadcast)

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