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Predators, Ghostbusters, Dollars, Facebook

The Morning Show
  • Sep 3, 2014
  • 01:43:54

ENDING THE WAR WITH WOLVES AND OTHER PREDATORS (This interview starts at 6:00 in the above audio player.) “When animals show up where we don’t want them, we tend to shoot first and ask questions later,” laments John Shivik, veteran wildlife biologist and adjunct professor at Utah State University. Each year, he says federal agents kill 90,000 coyotes, wolves, bears and cougars. “A lot of it is basically reactionary. A predator shows up and kills some sheep or cattle and the idea is to kill it first.” Shivik’s new book “The Predator Paradox: Ending the War with Wolves, Bears, Cougars, and Coyotes” argues for non-lethal ways to control the predator population.  The “paradox” is wanting “to have our cake and eat it too,” says Shivik. “We’ve spent a lot of effort bringing wolves back and what’s the first thing we do? We start shooting them. We want to have them, but can’t tolerate them at the same time.” “We’re part of nature too - we have to decide as humans how we’ll live with it, or if we’re going to fight,” says Shivik.  And he says there are “cascading effects” to eliminating predators in an ecosystem.  For example, “remove wolves in a valley and you’ll have more elk down in the moist wetlands eating willows all day long,” explains Shivik. “Then the banks get undercut and there’s no plant food for beavers, so the way the valley looks is completely different. If you bring wolves back, you’ll have more beaver and songbirds and cascading effects. Remove wolves and you’ll have a more barren landscape.”  How to end the predator war without violence? Shivik says first of all, be conscious of where your meat comes from: “look for predator-friendly, free-range meats.” Employing range riders and guard dogs can help ward off predators without the need to kill. Technological advances also allow for deterring predators in a non-lethal way.  “We need to change our behaviors and learn to co-exist with predators, rather than just fighting against the eco-system,” says Shivik.  BEWARE GHOSTBUSTERS (This interview starts at 28:53 in the above audio player.) “We tend to have sentimental attachment to these films, but when you revisit these movies with your children, you may be in for a surprise,” warns Rod Gustafson of Parent Previews.  “Ghostbusters” (1984) is back in theaters for a one-week run. There are some very scary scenes, says Gustafson. “It’s more ghoulish than you’d expect to see today in a film that might be targeting a younger audience.” There’s a fair amount of sexual content, too, warns Gustafson: Lots of anatomical slang; scatological terms and a crude term for sex. “Ghostbusters” was rated PG, but remember, says Gustafson, back in the 1980s, there were only PG and R ratings.  It just missed the advent of the PG-13 rating.  If this film were to release today, it’s would definitely get a PG-13 rating. The PG category would not contain this much content inappropriate for children.  Ghostbusters earns a C-grade from Parent Previews – “It falls right below the line of what’s appropriate for family viewing,” says Gustafson. Another classic - Forrest Gump - is getting a re-release in theaters, too.  Gustafson says it, too, has a lot of content that is problematic for family viewing (sexual content, blood war imagery).  “Parents, if you want to get your biggest bang for your buck, watch it with your older teens and talk about the themes,” says Gustafson.  LOVER OF DRAGONFLIES  (This interview starts at 42:20 in the above audio player.) “It’s what I always wanted to do,” says BYU entomologist Seth Bybee of his avocation: studying insects.  Dragonflies are Bybee’s particular passion. Speaking recently on the Kim Power Stilson show, he said dragonflies are found all around the world – except in Antarctica. Dragonflies live four to six months once they’ve reached adulthood, says Bybee. Prior to maturity, they live in rivers and streams.  Dragonflies have a decent memory and seem to be intelligent – they’re also one of the best predators in the world. “They’re 95 percent successful when they attempt to feed – mostly on smaller insects,” says Bybee. HISTORY OF THE ALMIGHTY DOLLAR (This interview starts at 51:56 in the above audio player.) Money - and specifically the U.S. dollar – really does make the world go round, says BYU History professor Grant Madsen.  The dollar’s origin dates back to the late 1700s when Thomas Jefferson proposed a national currency – using the British pound was out of the questions for obvious, revolutionary reasons.  “Establishing a currency is one of the first things a government does when it views itself as having authority,” notes Madsen.  The U.S. dollar didn’t become the backbone of global finance until after World War II when the winning countries were negotiating how to pay for reconstruction and facilitate currency exchange between nations. There was talk of creating a global currency (economist John Maynard Keynes was a key backer of the idea, says Madsen) but the Americans insisted the dollar should be the global standard.  “And they got their way,” says Madsen.   The U.S. agreed to link the dollar to a gold exchange as a way to assure other countries that the Americans wouldn’t manipulate the dollar’s value. But by the 1960s, the U.S. had printed more money than it could back by gold and Madsen says President Nixon announced the country would no longer honor the gold-backed standard it had promised after WWII.   Today, Madsen says there’s nothing formal in place to prevent the U.S. from printing money and manipulating the value of the dollar, “except for the markets which can react and devalue the dollar. Countries can just stop accepting the dollar, if they’re unhappy with how the U.S. is handling it.”  Decades of talk about switching to a global currency standard other than the dollar have gone nowhere, says Madsen, because the cost and hassle of switching would be too great.  DON’T BE RUDE ON FACEBOOK (This interview starts at 1:21:49 in the above audio player.) You may be annoying the people in your Facebook/Instagram/Twitter feed without even realizing it, says BYU communications professor Quint Randle. The rapid rise of social media has created a community without rules and very little in the way of official etiquette. But Randle says some rules do exist.   “Don’t overshare” is an obvious place to start, he adds.  “Social media can enable people who already tend toward narcissism.”  Before you post the details of your breakup or your exotic vacation or the mysterious wart on your body, go through your list of “friends” on Facebook and ask yourself, “Do all of these people need to know this thing I’m about to share?”  So “know your audience,” is the second rule of social etiquette, says Randle.  And “don’t be extreme” in your posts. “That means politically and emotionally,” adds Randle. It can also mean posting an extreme amount of one type of thing – like cat videos or political rants. “Quantity matters” when it comes to social media posts, says Randle. A couple of posts a day seems about right. “We’re beyond the stage where it’s okay to post details of every last thing you eat or do in a day. Be selective.” “Wait before you respond,” is another rule of Randle’s tips for being polite on social media. “There’s a 24-hour rule to respond to an emotional email. Maybe for social media, it’s a 24-minute rule?” The inclination is to immediately react to whatever you disagree with, but Randle says these online discussions have a way of spiraling out of control quickly. Be judicious in your responses and respect the right of “friends” in your social media circles to have opinions that differ from yours.  “Vague-booking” is annoying, too, says Randle. “That’s where people post random, vague statements in an attempt to solicit sympathy or attention.” As for the irritating invitations from friends to download apps or play various online games, Randle says anyone who uses social media is responsible for understanding how the app works and changing the settings to make sure you’re not inadvertently sending annoying invites and messages to your friends.  And what about “lurkers” who read other people’s posts on social media but never post anything? Is it bad form to take without giving back?  Randle says there’s no rule on that, yet. So lurk away. Show More...

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