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Grammar Rules, Space Poop, Mercies in Disguise

Top of Mind with Julie Rose
  • Mar 21, 2017
  • 01:42:25

Do Grammar Rules Like the Oxford Comma Really Matter? Guest:  Don Chapman, PhD, Professor of Linguistics and English, BYU Yes, we’re taking a break from the barrage of news coming out of Washington to spend some time on a topic that has the ability to get people worked up to a surprising degree. On that score, the Oxford Comma is on our minds. Also known as the “serial comma,” it’s the little squiggle that either definitely belongs before the “and” in a list of more than three things or not. “Make a sandwich with bread, jelly and peanut butter.” Does a comma belong after jelly, or does the “and” suffice to make the point that you’re listing things? In case you haven’t heard, last week, this seemingly pointless argument made the difference in a class action lawsuit brought by some dairy truck drivers who were suing for overtime pay. In this case, the lack of a comma in Maine law regarding which activities can be paid overtime and which can’t, left enough ambiguity that the appeals court ruled the dairy truck drivers should get overtime pay. That one missing comma could cost the dairy company $10 million. Fans of the Oxford Comma rejoiced!  Space Poop Guest: Thatcher Cardon, Air Force Colonel, Flight Surgeon, BYU Alum, Winner of NASA’s Space Poop Challenge Sometimes NASA can be a bit wonky with its acronyms and scientific terms, but it minced no mincing words in naming its recent “Space Poop Challenge.” That’s the official name. The media had a bonanza with the potty puns covering it. But this is serious business. As NASA plans to send astronauts farther and farther into space, they need to plan for emergency situations that would require the crew to stay in their pressurized space suits for days on end. And how are astronauts going to do their business when they can’t get out of the suit?  Travel Ban Could Affect Immigrant Doctors Guest: Jonathan Roth, PhD Candidate, Department of Economics, Harvard University While the Trump Administration wrangles in court to get the President’s latest travel ban implemented, a team of economists at Harvard and MIT are warning healthcare in the US could suffer. In an ironic twist, the economists find access to doctors in some of the Rust Belt and Appalachian communities that supported Trump during the election would be most harmed by the proposed travel ban.   Mercies in Disguise Guest: Gina Kolata, New York Times Science and Medicine Reporter, author of “Mercies in Disguise: A Story of Hope, a Family’s Genetic Destiny, and the Science That Rescued Them” If a blood test could tell you that you would probably die of an incurable disease, would you get the test? Amanda Baxley faced that dilemma after watching her father, uncle, and grandfather succumb to a rare and fatal condition known as Gerstmann-Sträussler-Scheinker \[GSS], which has symptoms similar to Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases.  As Amanda pondered getting the blood test to see if she, too, had the gene for GSS, some in her family begged her not to. Just think of the Pandora’s box such knowledge could unlock for a family with deep religious beliefs. . .  Stand-Up Comedy Guest: John Moyer, Stand-up Comedian and Comedy Hypnotist We’re going to enjoy a little humor for the next few minutes. And find out what it takes to make good stand-up comedy. We have with us live in the studio local comedian John Moyer.  Children’s Books Made into Movies Guest: Rachel Wadham, Host of BYUradio’s “Worlds Awaiting. Rachel Wadham joins us now in studio. She’s the education and juvenile collections librarian here at BYU and host of Worlds Awaiting on BYUradio. It’s a show dedicated to encouraging a love of reading and discovery in children. It airs Saturdays at 1:30 p.m. Eastern and you can also hear it weekdays at 8:30 p.m. Eastern on BYUradio. Show More...

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