News & Information

Our Next First Lady, Teen Suicide in Greenland, Urban Forests

Top of Mind with Julie Rose
  • Aug 4, 2016 9:00 pm
  • 1:43:03

America’s Next First Lady Guest: Kate Andersen Brower, Former White House Reporter and Author of “First Women: The Grace and Power of America’s Modern First Ladies” The role of “first lady” holds a special place in American culture. We’ve come to expect the president’s wife to personify womanhood: graceful, well-dressed, faithful to her husband and her country. So, uh, what if it’s not a she? Bill Clinton would shake up the role of First Lady beyond the fact that he’s not a lady. Kate Anderson Brower says there are subtler ways the Clintons could forever change what American’s expect of a presidential spouse. Teen Suicide in Greenland Guest: Steven Arnfjord, PhD, Assistant Professor of Social Work at the University of Greenland Suicide rates reached a 30-year high in the U.S. this year, which is alarming. But on Native American reservations, the rates are even higher – particularly among Native Alaskans. And the same is true for indigenous communities in Canada. Even so, Greenland stands out. It has a suicide rate six times that of the United States – one of the highest in the world – and it has been so for thirty years.  The reasons are complicated. Greenland is modernizing rapidly. It’s still part of Denmark and the legacy of colonialism plays a role in the suicide problem. So does racism and isolation and a lack of access to mental health services and support. Training Dogs with Technology Guest: David Roberts, PhD, Assistant Professor in the Computer Science Department at North Carolina State There’s a whole art to training a dog to behave – and a host of videos online that’ll show you how. The commands and rewards, over and over, it’s challenging to train a dog. Could a computer do it better? Hard to imagine. But researchers at North Carolina State University are getting close, thanks to a special dog harness and a powerful computer algorithm. Urban Forests Guest: Rob Northup, Urban Forester of Hillsborough County, Florida with the University of Florida In big cities full of concrete and steel, a row of trees or a pocket park can have a soothing effect on fast paced urban life, but that’s not all they do. City planners from Oregon to Florida are beginning to realize the real economic benefits urban trees provide including reducing healthcare costs. It turns out that the spruces and sycamores shading a boutique or lining a parkway filter toxins from the air, lower air conditioning bills, reduce asthma and even birth defects. “Urban Foresters,” a new career resulting from these realizations, are emerging to take care of the trees we already have, and make plans to take advantage of this green recourse in future city projects. Eastern Coyotes Guest: Roland Kays, PhD, Associate Professor at North Carolina State University and Author of “Candid Creatures: How Camera Traps Reveal the Mysteries of Nature” In those urban areas we’ve just been discussing, you may find a new predator roaming about – particularly for those living in the North Eastern United States. It’s larger than a coyote, but not quite a wolf. Some have distinctly dog-like features – long legs, floppy ears, mottled fur. It even sounds like a mashup – part wolf howl, part coyote yip, part dog bark.  Just what is this hybrid creature? “Coywolf” is the name the public and media have seized on. Zoologist Roland Kays of North Carolina State University isn’t a fan of that name – he prefers “Eastern Coyote.” Manufacturing and Welfare Guest: Ken Jacobs, PhD, Chair of the Labor Center at UC Berkeley The days when a job in a factory meant lifelong employment and a ticket to the middle class are long gone. While presidential candidates debate how to bring the American manufacturing industry back, researchers at the University of California, Berkeley’s Center for Labor Research and Education shed some light on just what it means to work in manufacturing today. They find that, increasingly, a day’s work on the frontline of a factory is not enough to pay for basic necessities. As a result, a third of the families of those workers are enrolled in public safety net programs like food stamps or Medicaid. When you look only at the factory workers hired through temporary staffing agencies, the rate is even higher – on par with fast-food workers and their families leaning on public assistance.