*Peaches Lacey hosts the last Wednesday of every month.
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On Tuesday October 16, our host Aaron Perry interviewed Nina Jablonski, author of Living Color: The Biological and Social Meaning of Skin Color. Jablonski is a distinguished professor of Anthropology at Penn State. She has been focusing her research on “why human skin comes in the range it does, and what skin means to us.” Comparing the high movement of people today with the relatively low movement across spaces with our ancestors thousands of years ago, Nina looks at the potential mismatches that “exist between our bodies and the new environments in which we find ourselves. Obvious examples are related to skin color.” Nina presents the example of a person with lighter skin pigmentation who might go to a place where the sun is very strong would easily get sunburned whereas this would not have happened as easily had the person remained in the land of his or her ancestors. On the other hand, those with a darker pigmented skin color who live in areas with weaker sunlight could potentially experience a Vitamin D deficiency from the lack of adequate sunlight. These mismatches, she points, have effects on our health. Nina also discusses in her book about the phenomenon of “colorism”: the discrimination of people who have more melanin. She discusses the serious effects that this phenomenon has on the economic and social progress of the world, “the lack of awareness of these issues, and the lack of public discussion about them, is an impediment to social progress.” When Aaron asks Nina to discuss what she hopes the outcome of her book will be, she explains, “First, what I hope to see is that people gain an appreciation of how skin color developed in the first place, that it wasn’t arbitrary; it evolved according to a very predictable pattern according to solar radiation. The second is that we have come to assign names to different skin colors, and names to different races of people with different skin colors. These assignments are cultural arbitrary assignments that we’ve made at different points in our history, and many of these assignments have been made by incredibly fallible and narrow-minded people. We need to understand that races are not biological entities. Skin color is not related to most other aspects of how we look and act… the idea that we should consider races based on color is really fallacious. This doesn’t diminish the fact that people live with the consequences of racism. One of the outcomes I hope is that ….read article »
On Tuesday October 16, our host Aaron Perry interviewed Dr. Handel Reynolds, author of The Big Squeeze: A Social and Political History of the Controversial Mammogram. Dr. Reynolds is a breast radiologist at Piedmont Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia. The Big Squeeze, which “traces the forty year journey of… the mammography in the United States,” provides the history and roots of the controversy and clarifies many misconceptions about mammography. Says Dr. Reynolds, the intent of the book is to “inform, educate, and ultimately empower women to make some of these important health choices for themselves.” The origins of the mammography test can be traced back to1973, when the National Cancer Institute and the American Cancer Society jointly sponsored the Breast Cancer Detection Demonstration Project. In this project, 300,000 women were, for the first time, recruited to undergo annual mammography and physical exams during a five year period. Dr. Reynolds discusses one part of the book in which he speaks about the controversy behind the exam, “mammography has been promoted as a ‘just do it’ approach…we have not had a frank and open discussion of the strengths and the weaknesses of the exam. Because screening for cancer is never a completely straightforward proposition. There are risks or harms associated with mammography as are associated with all cancer screening tests.” Dr. Reynolds explains three possible risks: false positives, in which a mammogram falsely detects cancer, false negatives, in which the mammogram fails to detect cancer, and over-diagnosis, in which although cancer is found, it would have in actuality never “come to light” in the individual’s lifetime had it not been detected. Dr. Reynolds advocates for informed decision making that will allow a woman, after hearing about both its strengths and weaknesses, to decide for herself when, and if, to undergo a mammogram. When asked to discuss some of the misconceptions society has about mammograms, Dr. Reynolds discusses the belief many people hold that mammograms can prevent cancer. Mammography should be treated as an early detection test, he says, not a preventive measure. According to Dr. Reynolds, a survey conducted in 2003 showed that over 50% of women believed a mammography was indeed a preventive measure. A huge controversy in the United States regarding mammography is the question of whether women under the age 50 should indeed be getting this test. For women undergoing a mammogram in their forties, Dr. Reynolds explains, “The magnitude of the benefits is smaller, and also some of the risks or ….read article »
On Monday October 15, our host Linda Jameson spoke with Matt Southworth, a legislative program associate for foreign policy with the Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL): A Quaker Lobby in the Public Interest. First serving in the US army at the age of nineteen, Matt was deployed to Iraq in 2004 as an intelligence analyst doing predictive analysis. Since then, he has joined the FCNL and is also on the Board of Directors for Veterans for Peace. He was in Madison to attend a Veterans for Peace board meeting, and to plan the annual Veterans for Peace conference which will be held in Madison in August 2013. Matt travels across the country, advocating for a peaceful transition to the war in Afghanistan and a political solution without a large military presence in the region. He also reaches out to the college demographic, speaking to them about the realities of war, rather than the “cinematic version” of war that is often portrayed. Matt speaks about the US involvement in Afghanistan, and the issues that face Afghanistan today and threaten its future. Southworth comments, “under this current [US] strategy…regardless of 2014 or later, civil war is the most likely outcome for Afghanistan.” He explains that there can not be a centralized solution for the conflict in Afghanistan; rather, it should be regionally based and Afghan-centric. Matt had organized a congressional delegation on a “fact finding mission” that brought eight people to Afghanistan, including congressional staffers, journalists and representatives from non-profits. The delegation met and spoke with Afghan and international NGOS, opposition leaders, and civilians. He describes the consensus, “the US is putting Afghanistan in a position that is going to be harder to dig itself out of. We are over-militarizing Afghanistan and the region, and we are almost completely focused on a military transition, when the reality is that [the Afghans] need an economic and political transition, which is Afghan led and culturally based, but with the assistance of the US and other international parties.” The US is currently funding and arming 280,000 Afghan national security forces, empowering militias and war lords. This has threatened Afghans throughout the country. In fact, he explains that one complaint the delegation received from everyone they spoke to was the US funding of war lords, people who had proven human rights abuse records. Matt stresses that the political transition should be Afghan-based, and that the US has a “moral responsibility” to do the best ….read article »
On Friday October 12, our host Jonathan Zarov spoke with db. Pederson, who is performing with Empty Orchestra. Empty Orchestra, presented by Jin-Wen Yu Dance and the UW-Madison Dance Department, is “a cross-cultural contemporary dance concert celebrating Jin-Wen Yu’s return to Madison after a year of sabbatical, during which he traveled extensively to explore different modes and meanings of movement. ” (UW School of Education Events) The show runs October 11 – 13 at the Margaret H’Doubler Performance Space at the UW School of Dance. Empty Orchestra is the “literal translation of karaoke” db explains, “…the empty orchestra indicates… the orchestra without the singer. And what we’re doing with movement…its a suite of pieces put together.. we’re trying to give the sense of imitation, mimicry… so there’s an interplay among all the members. For me karaoke is very valuable…you take something you’re not a professional at, and you come forward as amateurishly as possible, you put your heart and soul on the line, and you step up to it.” The performance involves components of improvisation as well, “there is a recorded piece involving several songs…samples of songs that are taken. A lot of live looping and at least three improv pieces” See Empty Orchestra at the Margaret H’Doubler Performance Space at Lathrop Hall on October11, 12 and 13. Tickets are available at the UW Theater Box Office. Listen to the entire interview here:read article »
On Friday October 12, host Jonathan Zarov spoke about Kim Johnson-Bair’s new book 400 Saturdays: An Anthology of Vinyl Folklore. Kim Johnson-Bair began this project six years ago when she decided to work a story based on the experience of vinyl listening. She recounts listening to vinyls every Saturday morning with her brother growing up. Explains DB, “it was their evolution and maturity into actively listening to music”. In the book, Kim provides the personal stories of many, and their relationship to and experience with vinyl listening. DB describes his own experience with vinyl, “there’s a nostalgia to vinyl… there’s a commonality, there’s an unspoken dialogue about vinyl.” He speaks about the manner in which vinyl provides the listener with a music experience very different than an 8-track tape, cassette or CD would. Vinyl was “an intractable piece of my childhood” explains DB, “its more than just recorded music. There’s an entire story, your band’s photographs, the artworks that come with it…you are on the journey.” The Official release party for 400 Saturdays is this Tuesday Oct 16 at 6 PM, at the High Noon Saloon during happy hour. Listen to the entire interview here:read article »
In the Friday October 12 Tech Report, host Jonathan Zarov spoke with Sandee Seiberlich about the newly released iPhone 5. Says Sandee, “It is a much faster processor, and it has a nicer display. With its release came the release of iOs 6 – which will affect a lot of people.” All iPhone users from 3GS and up and those with the generation 4 iTouch can upgrade to this new operating system.” Sandee discusses several improvements and features that come with the new phone.The iPhone 5 is taller, thinner, and has a higher quality resolution than before. It is also lighter and weight, has a 4 inch screen that enables one to fit an extra row of icons on the screen, and now has aluminum on the back instead of glass. The design of the earbuds has also changed so as to better fit the ear. Among some of the controversial decisions includes the replacement of Google maps with Apple maps, and the fact that YouTube no longer appears as a standard application on the screen: it must be added by the user. Listen to the entire interview here:read article »
On Friday October 12, host Jonathan Zarov spoke with actor and administrator at Broom Street Theater, Jan Levine Thal, and actor Luke Kokinos about the play “Seeking Flight,” written by Joan Broadman, and directed by Malissa Lamont and Heather Renkin. Seeking Flight is a play about two African Gray Parrots: one born in captivity and the other born in the wild. Both are stuck in a laboratory where they are subjected to a series of experiments that “test their ability to speak English and form concepts.” The play is based on several experiments that actually occurred from the 70s through the 90s that tested parrot language development. The play explores the topic of parrot intelligence. Says Levine Thal “The thesis of the play is that even in the best of circumstances, why keep parrots in captivity? There is a lot of controversy in the bird lovers’ world over this issue of doing all this language research, because what does that tell us? That parrots are smart. So what is important about this scientifically? So there’s a lot of controversy about this.” The play, which Levine Thal describes as family friendly, will open at the Broom Street Theater on Oct 19 and run through Nov 10 every Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 8 PM. Listen to the entire interview here:read article »
In this special pledge drive edition on Thursday October 11, Tony Castaneda spoke with Norman Stockwell, who will be speaking at and taking part in the Economic Democracy Conference, taking place in Madison this Oct 11 – 14. This is “the first ever conference of its kind” explains Stockwell, “Madison is really…a very appropriate place to have this [conference] because Dane County… has the highest concentration of co-ops and collectives in the country. So we really have been a laboratory for economic democracy right here in Madison… probably for about 150 years.” With the growing disillusionment of the economic structures we are faced with today, the vast array of organizational structures and collectives that are present in Madison offers an ideal platform upon which discussions of economic democracy can be built upon. Offering one such example of the increasing consolidation of power, Stockwell points that simply in the media sector alone, the number of companies that jointly own all of the media in the nation has sharply decreased in the last thirty years: from about fifty companies in the 1980s to about six today. “And so you have these experiments in a different form of organization that are about local control of local economies and about participatory democracy…and you combine that together into the economic democracy conference.” Stockwell, along with panelists Robert McChesney and John Nichols, will be speaking about media democracy and democratic control of the media in workshop “Transforming the Media” this Friday at 2:00 PM. Economic Democracy Conference Oct 11 – Oct 14 Madison College 211 North Carroll Street Madison, WI 53704 For more information about the conference and to view the full schedule of speakers, visit economicdemocracyconference.org There is a registration fee to attend the conference. Also available is a reduced low-income and student fee. For registration fees click here. Listen to the full interview here:read article »
On Wednesday October 10, Jan Miyasaki interviewed brothers Dr. Kamiar Alaei, MD, MPH, MS and Dr. Arash Alaei, MD. Dr. Kamiar Alaei will be speaking tonight at the Pyle Center. Dr. Kamiar Alaei, who is an expert on HIV/AIDS and international and human rights, and his brother Dr. Arash Alaei founded the first triangular clinic for drug users HIV patients and STD cases in Iran. Their work, which has been extended into neighboring Afghanistan and Tajikistan, has been acknowledged by the World Health Organization as the “best practice model” in the region. The triangular clinic was designed as a community-based model, with which they integrated prevention care and social support. Rather than approaching policy makers, they decided to address the target-group: those living with HIV/AIDS. Dr. Alaei describes the Iranian government’s response to the HIV epidemic, “the policymakers stigmatized the HIV/AIDS from the beginning, and they highlighted that it is a western disease.” They believed that Iran, being a Muslim nation, did not face this problem. Though incidence reports increased, policymakers continued to ignore the issue. The Alaei brothers were instrumental in developing a major health proposal that was awarded $16 million by the Global Fund to Fight HIV/AIDS. Despite their work in public health and efforts spent with individuals suffering from HIV/AIDS, the brothers were imprisoned by the Iranian government in 2008. Citing their travel around the world to attend international AIDS conferences as the grounds for this charge, the government charged the brothers as conspiring to work with a “foreign enemy government” to overthrow the government of Iran. Drs. Kamiar and Arash Alaei will speak on the UW Madison campus Wednesday, October 10, from 6:00 – 8:00 PM. The event is at the Pyle Center on 702 Langdon St. It is free and open to the public. For more information contact: Prof. Joe Elder, PhD [email@example.com] Prof. Azam Niroomand-Rad, PhD [firstname.lastname@example.org] Listen to the interview:read article »
On Wednesday Oct 10, Jan Miyasaki spoke with Tom Gaulrapp regarding the outsourcing of jobs to China at the Bain Capital owned Sensata Technologies Plant in Freeport, Illinois. Protesting at Bainport, a tent city that has been set up across the Sensata Plant, Tom Gaulrapp, who has worked at the plant for more than thirty-three years, is one of many workers who is about to lose their job.170 jobs are planned to be sent to China, along with American workers training their replacements and sending factory equipment to China. The plant produces high technology automotive parts. It produces transmission sensors, parts extremely vital for the car, for a large majority of the manufacturers in the world. Now, because there are few other well-paying jobs other than those that were offered by the plant, Freeport is a town that, much like other towns in the Midwest that are facing similar situations, is suffering economically. Not only will the 170 people and their families be affected by the outsourcing of jobs, but so will the surrounding small businesses in the community: the loss of jobs will affect Freeport as a whole. When asked to recount how and when Bain Capital decided to outsource the jobs to China, Gaulrapp explained “Sensata Technologies, formerly a division of Texas Instruments, was purchased by Bain Capital in 2006; in January 2011, Bain Capital purchased the automotive sensor division from Honeywell, after which the workers were told that their jobs would be moved to China by the end of 2012.” Workers were faced with few other options other than to remain at the plant to finish their terms. In fact, says Gaulrapp, not only did the company fail to provide the workers with adequate compensation, “they changed the severance plan, which then Sensata said they were going to match the new plan, but not the old plan… what it did for me personally, is that it cut my severance pay from 47 weeks down to 27 weeks.” The protestors are into the twenty-ninth day of their encampment at Bainport where they are raising awareness regarding outsourcing and the dangers this poses to the economy. Attempts to prevent the move of equipment out of the factory were met by arrests by police, just one example of the resistance shown to the protestors. According to Gaulrapp, the company did set a record last year for profitability. Gaulrapp wants to show the hypocrisy of Mitt Romney, co-founder of Bain Capital – “[Romney] says he wants ….read article »