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Homelessness, Filk Music, Peanut Allergies, Election Conflict

Top of Mind with Julie Rose
  • Mar 5, 2015
  • 01:43:07

Homeless Counts (1:09)  Guest: Nan Roman, CEO of National Alliance to End Homelessness  Every year, the Department of Housing and Urban Development requires communities to count the number of people staying in homeless shelters on a given night in January. Every other year, communities also have to count the number of people living in places unfit for habitation – like an abandoned building or a park.  “One of the things that data has revealed is the presence of the people who are chronically homeless. There is a group of people who spend a long time homeless, a year continuously or 4 times in 3 years. These are people with disabilities who can’t get out of the homelessness system. We have a solution to their problem which is permanent supportive housing,” says Roman.  Ceres: The Dwarf Planet (19:33) Guests: Denise Stephens, Professor in the Physics and Astronomy Department at BYU  Jani Radebaugh, Professor in the Department of Geological Sciences at BYU  There is an asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter and in that asteroid belt, is something that’s not quite an asteroid, but not quite a planet either. It’s a dwarf planet called Ceres and this Friday, a NASA spacecraft will enter its orbit.  Ceres is exciting to astronomers because it’s the largest unexplored world in our region of the solar system. What’s it made of? What are those unusually bright spots scientists have spotted in their telescopes? We’ll start getting some answers in a matter of days when the spacecraft that’s been travelling for more than seven years finally gets close enough to enter Ceres’ orbit and starts snapping pictures.  “These few dwarf planets are just the tip of the iceberg of what could be out there,” says Stephens.  “It should be more about physical characteristics: is there a heat source? We should look more about what they are physically doing and less about what they look like,” says Stephens.  Filk Music (40:25) Guest: Tom Smith, Professional Filk Musician  With its roots in folk music, campfire songs, and comedy, Filk has even influenced popular music, from “nerdcore” rockers like Weezer to parodists like Weird Al.  “It’s just a very small drop in that ocean, the ocean of recorded music. But it’s a very tight community,” says Smith. “We are trying to just entertain—sing for people and have them wing with us.”  Peanut Allergy News (50:51) Guest: Dean Mitchell, Clinical Expert in Allergy and Immunology in NYC and a member if the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology  Over the past 13 years, the prevalence of peanut allergies has more than quadrupled, and so now schools are peanut-free and food labels carry warnings and kids these days don’t automatically grow up knowing the satisfaction of having your mouth temporarily stuck together by a gooey chunk of PB&J between bread.  In the year 2000, the American Academy of Pediatrics went so far as to recommend parents not feed peanuts to kids until they’re three years old to reduce the risk of peanut allergy. But a study just published in The New England Journal of Medicine says that just the opposite may be true. Feeding peanut-foods to babies dramatically reduces their changes of having a peanut allergy by the time they are 5 years old.  “The biggest striking thing is 30 years ago it seemed almost rare to see anyone with a rare food allergy but today, it’s more commonplace. It’s not unusual in a class of 30 children where 4 or 5 of them have peanut allergies,” says Mitchell.  “Most food allergies that have high proteins in them can cause a high reaction. The peanut has always been a great, inexpensive source of protein, so it’s widely available, and it is a high protein food and the higher the protein the more allergenic,” explains Mitchell.   “The difference with the food allergies is that some of these food allergens have been introduced to infants topically through skin products, like shampoos. One of the quickest ways to become allergic is to apply something continually to your skin. That’s been brought up and never fully explored but that may be one of the strongest reasons we have food allergies today,” says Mitchell.  Partisanship (1:11:25) Guest: Jim Leach, Former member of Congress (R-IA) and former Chair of the National Endowment for the Humanities  It’s no secret that Congress isn’t particularly effective at getting things done these days – the latest standoff over funding the Department of Homeland Security involved procedural maneuvers and grandstanding and ultimately an angry split among Republicans in the House, until finally, they passed a funding bill that kicks the can down the road for a few more months. Temporary solutions are seemingly all Congress is able to agree upon as elected Democrats and Republicans become increasingly polarized and divided internally.  Which brings us to Jim Leach, who served 30-years in the U.S. House of Representatives representing Iowa. He was elected as a Republican, but angered the party by voting against the Iraq War. Then, after leaving the House, he came out in support of Democrat Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign for President. Leach was branded a turncoat by Republicans. And he was subsequently appointed by Obama to serve as chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities. He’s since left that post and now speaks around the country on the need for more peace and mutual understanding in the halls of government.  “… when it comes to final voting, you have to do what’s best for the country,” says Leach about representatives in the U.S.  “I was appalled with the foreign policy of the US by people that I had helped elect. I believe that America was in the process,” says Leach, “of making the biggest foreign policy mistake and so I voted against the Iraq war.” Show More...

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