A plane crashes, a bridge collapses, and our first impulse is to blame design. Henry Petroski has been studying catastrophic failure for a long time and he says there is always a human element to be considered. The Duke University professor of Engineering will discuss his new book To Forgive Design: Understanding Failure which looks at the ways that people and machines come together in ways designers never anticipated until it was too late.
This is a repeat broadcast from Wednesday, May 09, 2012, 11 am
Why are some nations rich and others poor? Many explanations have been offered: culture, geography, even weather. But MIT economist Daron Acemoglu says what matters most are the political and economic institutions made by people. We’ll hear more about the root causes behind success and failure and talk about what might be done to build widespread prosperity.
This is a repeat broadcast from Thursday, May 10, 2012, 10 am
We’ll talk with Kenyan author and conservationist Dame Daphne Sheldrick. For 20 years beginning in the mid 1950s, she was co-warden, along with her husband David, of Kenya’s Tsavo National Park. She is the first person ever to have successfully hand-raised newborn elephants, and rehabilitated many different animals, including rhinos and zebras. She will share stories from her African childhood and her 50 years of work in the field of wildlife conservation. That’s the subject of her memoir "Love, Life and Elephants."
This is a repeat broadcast from Monday, May 07, 2012, 11 am
Northwestern University Sociologist Gary Alan Fine has been studying rumors for over 35 years. He began by looking at the ways rumors affected race relations and made it so difficult for blacks and whites to get together. In his more recent work, he has looked at rumors that deal with international politics. He says rumors provide access to what people believe and the beliefs they keep hidden. Fine will share some ideas from his book "The Global Grapevine: Why Rumors of Terrorism, Immigration and Trade Matter."
This is a repeat broadcast from Friday, May 04, 2012, 10 am
Independence Daze: A History of July 4th
In the early days of our nation, July Fourth wasn’t an official holiday at all. In fact, it wasn’t until 1938 that it became a paid day-off. So how did the Fourth become the holiest day on our secular calendar? Historian Pauline Maier offers some answers, and explains how radically the meaning of the Declaration has changed since 1776. James Heintze chronicles early Independence Day Bacchanalia. And historian David Blight reflects on Frederick Douglass arresting 1852 Independence Day speech.
In order to accommodate the Secret Service scandal and the requests of many public radio stations, the Capitol Steps July 4th edition of “Politics Takes a Holiday” will be a full hour. Packed with new songs and more fun than a GSA party in Vegas, the Capitol Steps hope to remind you that if this special influences your vote for President ... yikes, we’re in worse shape than we thought.
The Statue of Liberty is one of America’s most powerful symbols, yet when it arrived in crates, no one could have imagined just how powerful it would become. We’ll get the story of the small group of French intellectuals who decided to offer a tribute to American liberty and of the uphill fight for American support. Our guest will be historian Edward Berenson, author of the new book "The Statue of Liberty: A Transatlantic Story."
This is a repeat broadcast from Friday, June 29, 2012, 11 am
Burma is one of the poorest countries in Asia. A long period of military rule has kept the country from developing either politically or economically. But that may be starting to change. One sign of that change was the recent election to Parliament of the country’s leading opposition figure Aung San Suu Kyi. Next time on Focus our morning talk show we will review recent events in Burma as we talk with Christina Fink, from the Elliot School of International Affairs at the George Washington University in Washington, D.C.
This is a repeat broadcast from Tuesday, May 22, 2012, 10 am
Toi Derricotte, professor of English at the University of Pittsburgh, is the author of five books of poetry and has won a number of awards for her work, including two Pushcart Prizes. She is also the co-founder of Cave Canem, a workshop and retreat for African-American poets. We’ll talk about her memoir “The Black Notebooks” based on two decades of journal keeping and her most recent poetry collection “The Undertaker’s Daughter,” a book that looks back on her childhood in an abusive home. This interview was recorded on April 4, 2012
This is a repeat broadcast from Thursday, May 03, 2012, 10 am
More than 90 percent of today’s students earning a bachelor’s degree borrow money to pay for school. That can leave them with a huge burden of debt when they graduate. Why have so many students turned to borrowing to pay for college? And what happens to them and to the country if they can’t repay their loans? Our guest will be Lauren Asher, president of the Institute for College Access and Success, and we’ll explore the growing problem of student debt.
This is a repeat broadcast from Wednesday, May 16, 2012, 10 am
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