The State of Things

WUNC's The State of Things brings the issues, personalities, and places of North Carolina to you.  The State of Things Podcast presents new stories every weekday with topics from our show.  To subscribe:Get a daily show update and special news. Subscribe to our podcast on Google Play or iTunes.  Or, use the links at the right.Visit the main SOT page.

Ken Dodge's research has been following the same group of children for more than 20 years.
Ken Dodge

    

There is a common metaphor in the scientific community that uses flowers to describe children’s sensitivity to their environments.

A child like a dandelion will turn out fine despite the circumstances she is raised in, while a child like an orchid will flounder without a nourishing environment, but blossom with care and support.

Mayorga-Gallo's book explores the benefits of living in a racially diverse Durham neighborhood.
UNC Press

Researchers concluded long ago that segregated schools and neighborhoods were linked to racial inequality. “Separate, but equal” is a fallacy.

But Sarah Mayorga-Gallo wanted to find out if the converse is true. Is there a link between diverse neighborhoods and more racial equality?

She tried to answer that question by studying a racially diverse community in Durham. 

Her research is compiled in a book called Behind the White Picket Fence: Power and Privilege in a Multiethnic Neighborhood (UNC Press/2014).

Photo from the first U.S. nuclear field exercise on land on Nov. 1, 1951.
Federal Government of the United States / Wikimedia Commons

    

It has been nearly 50 years since the U.S. and the Soviet Union first sat down to talk about limiting their arsenals of nuclear weapons. 

Today, Russia and the U.S. have reduced their stockpiles, but they still have nearly 2,000 warheads each and several other countries have shown interest in creating or expanding their nuclear arsenal. 

So how do we gauge the threat of a nuclear conflict? What would nuclear war look like if it were limited to one region of the world?

Supreme Court building, Washington, DC, USA. Front facade.
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Daderot

The U.S Supreme Court will take up a case this week that potentially puts half a million North Carolinians at risk of losing their subsidized health insurance through the Affordable Care Act.

In King v. Burwellthe high court will examine whether the federal government can assist in paying insurance premiums for all Americans or if it can only offer funds in states that have created their own health care exchanges.

    

2015 marks the 50th anniversary of key moments in the civil rights movement, including Bloody Sunday and the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

John F. Blair Publisher

  

Known in North Carolina as the "Barbecue Man," Bob Garner shares his love of the state's favorite food through recipe books, restaurant reviews, and regular segments on UNC-TV's North Carolina Weekend, where some foods get his stamp of approval: "Mmm-mmm."

But his newest book takes readers on a culinary trip around the state from the little-known Neuse River Fish Stew and Ocracoke Fig Cake to the classic Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, Texas Pete hot sauce and Mount Olive pickles.

Protesters disrupt UNC board debate about poverty center.
https://twitter.com/adv_project

Over the protests of students, the UNC Board of Governors moved forward with tuition and fee increases, as well as the controversial decision to close three academic centers in UNC system.

Guest host Phoebe Judge talks with WUNC reporter Dave Dewitt about the decisions and the outcries from faculty and students about the Center on Poverty, Work, and Opportunity at UNC Chapel Hill; the Center for Biodiversity at East Carolina; and the Institute for Civic Engagement and Social Change at North Carolina Central.

Ambassador Thomas Pickering
Wikipedia

  

Ambassador Thomas Pickering began his career in the foreign service more than 40 years ago. He has served as ambassador to many countries including Jordan, El Salvador, Israel, Nigeria, India and the Russian Federation.

He served as the United States ambassador to the United Nations and as undersecretary of state for political affairs at the State Department. Recently, Ambassador Pickering led the department panel’s investigation into the 2012 attack in Benghazi.

Loggerhead sea turtle
US Fish and Wildlife Service

  

Researchers at UNC-Chapel Hill may have proof that sea turtles use the magnetic field of the earth to find their way back to their nesting places after traveling hundreds of miles at sea during adulthood.

Scientists have long suspected sea turtles use their sensitivity to magnetism to locate their hatching sites, but tracking them over long distances and time spans made the theory difficult to prove.

Host Frank Stasio talks with J. Roger Brothers, PhD candidate at UNC-Chapel Hill and lead author of the latest study on sea turtle navigation.

Carolina Academic Press

  

The U.S. justice system is meant to protect Americans from wrongdoing and hold accountable those who would harm others.

But advocates for reform point to incidents like the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner as just a few examples of a broken system.

Peacemaking criminologist Michael DeValve says love can rebuild it, arguing that where equality fails, empathy and compassion can succeed.

Michael Traister / Six String Drag

North Carolina musician Kenny Roby teamed up with his friend and bass player Rob Keller in the early 1990s to create a roots band called Six String Drag.

The alternative country-soul-rock music thrust Kenny, Rob and the rest of the band into their own careers, but now they are back together, and they have created their first album in 18 years, called Roots Rock 'N' Roll.

They returned to their eclectic style with a few images of the 1950s and 1960s thrown in, including a song called "I Miss the Drive-in."

multiple choice test
Alberto G. / Flickr Creative Commons

    

College athletics programs are under a lot of pressure to make money for their schools. That means, among other things, keeping players academically eligible.

The scandal at UNC-Chapel Hill is one example. An investigator there found that over the course of 18 years, nearly 3,000 students took classes that did not require them to show up. About half were student athletes, and the report pointed the blame at a few administrators.

The Biltmore Company

Biltmore House is bringing Downton Abbey to Asheville with a new exhibit featuring more than 40 original costumes from the show.“Dressing Downton: Changing Fashion for Changing Times” traces the evolution of fashion and social norms during the early 20th century and draws a number of parallels between

Sarita and her family arrived from Nepal in 2008, where they had lived in a refugee camp for many years after fleeing political instability in Bhutan.
Andrea Patiño Contreras

The economy can have a major influence on the history of a city.

Factories once brought folks from the world over to new places with a similar goals in mind - to prosper and make a better life. That is the story of Lynn, Massachusetts. Once the home of General Electric and the countless shoe factories, the city was home to immigrants from Canada, Ireland, Greece, Italy and Armenia. Now, Lynn bears only the vestiges of its industrial success and is economically depressed. Immigration continues but from new areas of the world.

Laura Wagner/ The Radio Haiti Archive

Radio Haiti was the first independent Haitian radio station and the first public media platform to broadcast largely in Creole. Under the leadership of journalists Jean Dominique and Michele Montas, the station spent decades covering the social, cultural and political stories often ignored by most other Haitian media. Radio Haiti was shut down by the government a number of times and was under constant government pressure while it was on the air.

Photo by Barcelona-based photographer Violeta de Lama, courtesy of Wil Weldon.

More and more people around the world are choosing to get their hands dirty—digging in the dirt in their backyard or at a community garden to plant produce.

24 Hour Payday Loan Outlet
Vinceesq / http://www.24hourpaydayloan1.com/

  

Troubled by consumer complaints and loopholes in state laws, the federal government is crafting new rules to protect borrowers of payday loans.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is considering placing caps on the number of times a borrower can take a payday loan and requiring lenders to do credit checks. They also want to encourage states or lenders to lower interest rates on loans.

Breathing Back

Feb 24, 2015
Breathing Back: A Meditation Chorus is now on display at The Carrack.
Alexis Pauline Gumbs / http://thecarrack.org/exhibit/breathingback/

  The final words uttered by Eric Garner, "I can't breathe," have become a mantra for protesters across the nation speaking out against police brutality.

Two Durham-based artists have repurposed the phrase for a new cause: to help outraged and exhausted communities connect to a legacy of activism and build resources for their long-term spiritual, emotional and physical resilience. They call it “Black Feminist Breathing.”

Mary-Dell Chilton is a pioneer in the field of agricultural biotechnology. As a young scientist at Washington University, she led the team of researchers that produced the first genetically-modified plant. Chilton moved to North Carolina in the early 1980s to begin her corporate career and has continued to conduct research that shapes the agricultural production of corn, cotton, and other crops.

Malcolm X waiting for a press conference to begin on March 26, 1964.
U.S. News & World Report Magazine Photograph Collection, Library of Congress / Wikimedia Commons

The messages of civil rights leader Malcolm X still resonate 50 years after his assassination.

Conversations about Islam in America, police shootings and freedom of the press are as relevant in 2015 as they were on the day of his death: February 21, 1965.

Duke University and UNC-Chapel Hill start a two-day conference to examine the legacy of Malcolm X today.

Josh Oliver is playing tonight at The ArtsCenter in Carrboro.
Logan Wentworth

Musician Josh Oliver was a very shy performer for most of his life. Growing up in eastern Tennessee he often heard hymns and traditional music in his church, but he never liked singing very much.

That all changed when he decided to study music at East Tennessee State University. In the music program, his instructors had him performing solos and writing music for himself.

Host Frank Stasio talks with Oliver about his career and Oliver performs music from his latest solo album, Part of My Life.

Speculation on motive surrounds the killings of Deah Barakat, Yusor Abu-Salha and Razan Abu-Salha.
Our Three Winners' Facebook page / Facebook.com

    

Craig Stephen Hicks was indicted Monday on three counts of first-degree murder for the deaths of three young people in Chapel Hill.  Deah Barakat, 23, his wife, Yusor Abu-Salha, 21, and her sister, Razan Abu-Salha, 19, were shot to death inside their condominium in the Finley Forest community.

The parents of the deceased believe their children were targeted because of their faith. Chapel Hill police say the shooting was over an ongoing parking dispute, but local and federal law enforcement officials are still considering other motives like religious bias.

A representation of the university seal, located in front of South Building. Dedicated by the class of 1989, it marks UNC's exact geographic location.
commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Yeungb

    

 A panel of the UNC System Board of Governors recommended the elimination of three campus-based centers and on-going assessment of 13 others yesterday. 

The working group suggested the closure of the Center on Poverty, Work, and Opportunity at UNC-Chapel Hill; the NC Center for Biodiversity at East Carolina University; and the Institute for Civic Engagement and Social Change at NC Central University. 

Abraham is recognized as the father of Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
Wikimedia Commons/ Web Gallery of Art

Emotions are an important part of religious life for many people. Individuals often describe a feeling or sense of passion during a religious practice even if they cannot name the feeling.  

The academic study of religion and emotion is surging, but scholars are still struggling to find ways to measure and describe this phenomenon. Is emotion biological? Is it cultural? What can the study of emotion in religion tell us about religious intolerance or violence?

Buckminster Fuller
Hazel Larson Archer / Black Mountain College Museum

  R. Buckminster Fuller was a renowned 20th century inventor and visionary. But the designer, architect, artist, scientist, and teacher was never a specialist in any particular field.

Instead, he hoped to accomplish as much as humanly possible while on earth, so he explored a variety of fields. Among his accomplishments are creation of the geodesic dome and the spaceship earth theory.

The X-ray of nurse Tove Schuster's spine shows the metal cage and four screws her surgeon used to repair a damaged disk in her back. Terry Cawthorn underwent a similar procedure.
Daniel Zwerdling / NPR

A little-known epidemic has swept through hospitals across the country: thousands of nursing staff suffer debilitating back and arm injuries every year. 

An NPR investigation into the injuries shows most happen as a result of on-the-job incidents. Hospitals can reduce the rate of injury if administrators invest time and money into prevention and training mechanisms. 

James Longley's exhibit is showing through Feb. 20 at the Power Plant Gallery in Durham.
James Longley

  Filmmaker James Longley is known for his portrayals people in politically volatile countries in the Middle East. 

His films seek to deepen an understanding of the historical and cultural dimensions of the region’s conflicts. For his low-budget, self-financed films, Longley has lived among ordinary families, gaining access to people in places rarely chronicled on film by Westerners. 

The men's basketball teams from UNC-Chapel Hill and Duke University battle each other tonight for the 239th time.

The storied rivalry is notorious for dividing friends, family and coworkers over which shade of blue is best.

But in a rare collaboration, Tar Heel sportswriter Art Chansky and Blue Devil sports marketer Johnny Moore chronicled the history of the rivalry in the book, The Blue Divide (Triumph Books/2014). 

Host Frank Stasio talks with Chansky and Moore about the Tobacco Road rivalry that many call the greatest in sports.  

Smile
Eric McGregor http://www.flickr.com/photos/ericmcgregor/124313181 / flickr.com

Sure, it's more or less a given that we smile when we're happy and we smile when our picture is taken.  But do we also smile automatically throughout the day when we make eye contact with strangers?  How often do we smile in conversation? 

Today's program is a rebroadcast of an earlier show.

Dudley Flood speaks to the NC Air National Guard in 2011
North Carolina National Guard

    

It had been 15 years since the Brown v. Board of Education decision that struck down segregation in schools.  

But in 1969, most public schools in North Carolina were still segregated, so when Dudley Flood was called to desegregate every school in the state, he was overwhelmed, but he was not skeptical.

He had learned from his tiny hometown in northeastern North Carolina that education could be the great equalizer.

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