News & Information

Unanimous Jury, Kilo Change, Animals & Armor

Top of Mind with Julie Rose
  • Sep 27, 2019 10:00 pm
  • 1:40:43

Eradicating the Last of Jim Crow Laws Guest: Thomas Aiello, PhD, Associate Professor of History, Valdosta State University. Author of the book, Jim Crow’s Last Stand: Nonunanimous Criminal Jury Verdicts in Louisiana  When the US Supreme Court convenes next month, it will consider whether it’s legal for states to convict someone of a serious crime when the jury in the trial is not unanimous. I know, we have this idea that to be found guilty of a felony like murder, you need all 12 jury members to say “guilty.” That’s true in federal crimes because the Constitution requires it. But do state courts have to follow the same rules? That’s what the Supreme Court will decide. At the moment, there’s just one state in the whole country that allows a partial jury to convict a criminal –it’s Oregon. Louisiana was in the same boat until just a year ago when voters changed the process in a referendum. Thomas Aiello has looked at the history of this practice and says a lot of it comes down to racism. The Global Unit of Mass in the Metric System Just Changed Guest: Wolfgang Ketterle, Ph.D., Professor of Physics at MIT When you step on a scale or put some apples on the little one at the grocery store, how does the scale know exactly what a pound is? If you can believe, there’s actually a chunk of platinum in a vault in France that is the official kilo against which every scale in the world is calibrated. But this is 2019 and the world’s scientists have decided they can define the precise weight of a kilogram in a way that’s more high-tech (and hard for regular folks to understand). We’re going to try, though. How Animals Physically Adapt to Their Environment  Guest: Ted Stankowich, Professor of Biology at Cal State, Long Beach We know that animals adapt and evolve to survive as their environments change. So what kind of an environment causes an animal to develop quills, spikes or noxious spray, while other animals living in the same environment have no such protection? Biology professor Ted Stankowich at Cal State, Long Beach things is has something to do with what he calls “danger zones.” Countering New Threats to Asian Elephants Guest: Peter Leimgruber, Center Head and Conservation Biologist at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute Ivory poachers have long been a serious threat to African elephants, because both male and female African elephants can grow large tusks. Asian Elephants have escaped some of that poaching pressure, because only their males have tusks and they’re often smaller. But a new type of poaching has emerged in the last several years that has conservationists very worried about Asian elephant populations. Males, females and even juveniles are being killed for their skin. How Poetry Brought Society Together After WWI Guest: Jarica Watts, PhD, Professor of English, BYU World War I changed perceptions of war among a generation of young men who went off dreaming of glory and returned traumatized by the horrors of trench warfare. Their trauma reflected in the literature of the day, too. Especially in the poetry written by soldiers at the front. Controlling Your Dreams Guest: Deirdre Barrett, PhD, Assistant Professor of Psychology at Harvard My nighttime dreams are often influenced by what I’m doing or thinking or worrying about during the day. But that’s a far cry from actually being able to manipulate my dreams in the moment. When I’m dreaming, my subconscious is firmly at the wheel and I’m just along for the ride. There is a way to shape your dreams to help you solve problems in the awake world.