Defense Spending, Helping Teachers Bloom, Saving Dory

Top of Mind with Julie Rose - Radio Archive, Episode 321

  • Jun 20, 2016 9:00 pm
  • 1:42:19 mins

"Emergency" War Fund Allows Defense Budget to Skirt Spending Caps Guest: Laicie Heeley, Defense Fellow at The Stimson Center in Washington, DC The conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq are drawing down and troops are coming home, but the budget used for fighting those wars is not declining as you’d expect. The reasons are worrisome both to those who believe defense spending is out of control and to the people responsible for America’s national security. Helping Teachers Stick with It Guest: Melissa Scheve, Project Director of Hollyhock Fellows at Stanford Teaching in America’s public schools is a tough job, as evidenced by the data showing 30 to 40 percent of teachers last less than five years in the classroom before quitting the profession. Brand new teachers who start off in low-income schools with a lot of needs and few resources are at particular risk of calling it quits within a few years. They’re generally replaced with a new crop of inexperienced teachers working in classrooms full of students who – you could argue – need seasoned teacher the most. Saving Dory Guest: Karen Burke Da Silva, Professor of Biodiversity and Conservation at Flinders University in South Australia and Director of the nonprofit Saving Nemo Conservation Fund The new Pixar film Finding Dory set a new record over the weekend for the highest-grossing animated film debut of all time. Nemo’s forgetful friend Dory – voiced by Ellen Degeneres – is searching for her parents. Dory is a Blue Tang and her popularity on the silver screen has conservation groups worried. Back when Finding Nemo came out in 2003, there was a spike in people buying up clownfish for their aquariums. If the same thing happens for Dory fish, the Blue Tang population could be in serious trouble. Absorbing Water from the Atmosphere Guest: Tadd Truscott, PhD, Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Principle Investigator of the Splash Lab at Utah State As you’re zipping through a desert at 70 miles an hour with the A/C on in your car, the eye catches mostly a wide-open landscape of rocks and dirt and the occasional gnarly tree or cactus. To see the life teeming in a desert climate, you have to slow down and look closely. But it’s there. And the way plants and animals have adapted to thrive in a place where most could not, is really incredible. Using high-powered microscopes, a team of scientists from China, BYU and Utah State University have discovered how one of the most abundant desert mosses in the world survives by sucking water straight from the air using tiny hairs all over its leaves. Check it out here. Parent Previews: “Finding Dory,” “Central Intelligence” Guest: Rod and Donna Gustafson, Film Reviewers at This week, we have a rare species indeed – a film that earned the once-in-a-blue-moon rating of a straight A on Not an A minus. A bonafide A is the grade for the Finding Nemo sequel Finding Dory – starring Nemo’s forgetful pal Dory voiced by Ellen Degeneres. Finding Dory had a huge weekend and broke the record for highest-grossing debut of an animated film. Making Fitbit Fun Again Guests: Derek Hansen, PhD, Professor of Information Technology at BYU How many steps have you logged today? People have been enamored with fitness trackers like the Fitbit. And most of them have lost interest in it after the novelty wore off or they grew tired of getting clobbered by a really active coworker or family member in friendly step competition. BYU information technology professor Derek Hansen has designed a suite of games called FitPlay Games on Android that work with the Fitbit and promise to keep people engaged in the stepping much longer.  More information about technology developed at BYU is available at