Clark, Blaise — The Creation of Standard Time

Not such a long time ago, time was an arbitrary measure decided by each community without consideration of other localities.

In this edition of Radio Curious, we visit with Clark Blaise, author of “Time Lord:  Sir Sandford Fleming and the Creation of Standard Time.”  

In the mid 19th century, with the advent of continent-spanning railroads and transatlantic steamers, the myriad of local times became a mind-boggling obstacle and the rational ordering of time to some became an urgent priority for transportation and commerce.  Standard Time was established in 1884, leading to an international uniformity for telling time.  Arguably, the uniformity of time was a “crowning achievement” of Victorian progressiveness, one of the few innovations of that time to have survived unchanged into the 21st century.

Under the leadership of Sir Sandford Fleming, amid political rancor of delegates from industrializing nations, an agreement was reached to establish the Greenwich Prime Meridian passing through Greenwich, England and the International Date Line that wanders it way through the Pacific Ocean.  The 1884 agreement resulted in a uniform system of world-wide time zones that exists today.

I had a good time visiting with Clark Blaise in the spring of 2001 as we discussed how our current notion of time was established.  We began when I asked him to explain what standard time is.

This interview with Clark Blaise, author of “Time Lord: Sir Sandford Fleming and the Creation of Standard Time,” was recorded in the spring of 2001 and first broadcast in the last week of 2011.

The book Clark Blaise recommends is “Time of Our Singing,” by Richard Powers.

Click here to listen or on the media player below.

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Stephen Most — Documentary Filmmaker:  Stories Make the World Part One

Meaning, which comes from stories, is the topic of our two part series on how stories make the world. Our guest is Stephen Most, author of “Stories Make the World: Reflections on Storytelling and the Art of the Documentary.” In this book, Most shares his experience as a playwright, writer, and creator of documentary films over the past 50 plus years.

Steve Most and I first crossed paths in 1976. We soon determined we had both lived in Peru for several years ten years earlier, and have been friends since.  In his 2007 visit with Radio Curious, Most and I discussed his book “River of Renewal: Myth and History in the Klamath Basin.”

“Stories Make the World” is a crucial account of the principles and paradoxes that attend the quest to represent reality truthfully.  Most shows how documentary filmmakers and other nonfiction storytellers come to understand their subjects and cast light on the world through their art.  Click here to stream or download films in the “Stories Make the World.”

Steve Most visited the Radio Curious studios on August 4, 2017, to record this series on storytelling and the art of the documentary. The central theme of “Stories Make the World” is meaning comes from stories. We begin with Steve Most’s description of his initial experiences starting with his arrival to Peru’s north coast in 1964.  He contrasts information, including raw facts, and meaningful knowledge with a story.

Click here to listen to the program or on the media player below.

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Offen, Bernard: Surviving the Holocaust (Archive)

The internationally recognized date of Holocaust Remembrance Day corresponds to the 27th day of Nisan on the Hebrew calendar, a calendar based on the phases of the moon. That day also marks the anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. In Hebrew, Holocaust Remembrance Day is called Yom Hashoah. In year 2017 of the Gregorian Calendar Yom Hashoah falls on April 24.

From the Radio Curious archives, in honor of Yom Hashoah this year, we re-visit our 2005 interview with Bernard Offen. He survived five Nazi concentration camps in Poland, during his youth in World War II. Bernard Offen has led tours of these concentration camps and in doing says, “You don’t have to be a survivor or Jewish. It’s for all the wounded who want to understand the power of good and evil and want to create goodness in the world.”

When Bernard Offen visited the studios of Radio Curious in April 2005, we began our conversation when he described some of his early childhood experiences in Krakow, Poland in the years just prior to World War II.

The book Bernard Offen recommends My Hometown Concentration Camp: A Survivor’s Account to Life in the Krakow Ghetto and Plaszow Concentration Camp, which he wrote.

You can listen to the full interview here.

Words: How We Learn What They Mean When they are Spoken and Heard

Words: what they mean to the speaker and what they mean to the listener are the bedrock of human communication and cultural understanding.

Susanna Janssen, a teacher and dedicated advocate of learning foreign languages at any age, is the author of Wordstruck! The Fun and Fascination of Language, and our guest in this edition of Radio Curious. In Wordstruck! Janssen explores the multiple aspects of the meanings of words, how they translate from one language to another, and how she sometimes seems to have a different personality in different languages.

Susanna Janssen is dedicated to changing the linguistic culture of America by advocating the learning of foreign languages. She is a foreign language educator, as well as author, speaker, and newspaper columnist on all topics related to words, language, and culture. She is particularly interested in the benefits of learning two or more languages, and how doing so affects brain development, especially in early childhood.

The book she recommends is A Book of Roads: Travel Stories from Michigan to Marrakech, by Phil Cousineau. This interview was recorded on February 5, 2017.

You can listen to the full interview here.

 

Patterson, Dr. Victoria: It Does Not Require Many Words to Speak the Truth

 

This week, we continue our discussion with ethnologist Dr. Victoria Patterson. We talk about how the United States treated the Native people of North America initially, and later during the westward expansion. We also discuss the consequences to the Native people when they entered into written treaties with the United States. Not having a written language, they relied on the carefully chosen words they spoke during the treaty negotiations and the words spoken by the representatives of the United States.

Dr. Victoria Patterson is an Ethnologist who has studied the Native people of what is now the United States for the past 40 years.  She lives and works in Ukiah, California. I invite you to listen to the 1999 two-part series with Dr. Patterson about the life of the Pomo People of northwestern California prior to contact with Europeans, and what occurred in the ten years thereafter.

We began this interview with her elaborating on and putting into context the statement of Chief Joseph: “It Does Not Require Many Words to Speak the Truth.”

You can listen to our discussion here.

The book Victoria Patterson recommends is “The Best American Travel Writing 2016,” by Bill Bryson.

This program was recorded on January 23, 2017.

Mello, Mark — The Underground Railroad in New Bedford, Massachusetts

New Bedford, Massachusetts, a sea port located in the southeast corner of Massachusetts, at the base of Cape Cod, is the locale of our program.  Early in New Bedford’s history a group of Quakers from Boston moved there and the town became a safe haven for formerly enslaved African-Americans, who escaped bondage. 

The stories of those who safely arrived in New Bedford on the Underground Railroad are presented at the 34 acre New Bedford National Historical Park in the Old Town section of New Bedford. 

This two part series on the New Bedford Underground Railroad with National Park Ranger Mark Mello was recorded on September 2, 2016, with the sound of wind and street traffic in the background.  Part one begins with a historical perspective of the Underground Railroad and the way in which New Bedford, Massachusetts was a safe haven for former slaves.  

The books Mark Mello recommends are “Fugitive’s Gibraltar: Escaping Slaves and Abolitionism in New Bedford, Massachusetts,” by Kathryn Grover;  “Whale Hunt,” by Nelson Cole Haley; and “Leviathan,” by Philip Hoare. 

Click here to listen or on the media player below.

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Ley, David — The Myth of Sex Addiction, Part One

 Most people are familiar with sex. Some like it. Some like it a lot and seek to engage in sex more than others. Some people are inclined to think that the desire for “too much sex,” however much that may be, is due to a mental disorder.

 In this edition of Radio Curious we visit with David J. Ley, Ph.D. the author of “The Myth of Sex Addiction.”

 In this first of two conversations with Dr. Ley, the argument that “sex addiction” is a fraudulent concept is presented. In part two we discuss the evolutionary development of human sexuality and the many cultural approaches to sexual expression.

 We spoke by phone from his office in Albuquerque, New Mexico on August 6, 2012, and began part one when I asked him to explain why he characterizes “sex addiction” as a fraud, not as a disorder.

 The books Dr. David Ley recommends are “Nymphomania: A History,” by Carol Groneman, and “Is There Anything Good About Men?: How Cultures Flourish By Exploiting Men.”

 Click here to listen or on the media player below.

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Stiefel, Frank — “Ingelore” Speaking Without Hearing

What would it be like for you if you were deaf? If you could not speak your first word until you were six? If you had three years of education, your first language was German, and you later emigrated to another country where they speak English?  Ingelore is the first name of a woman who was born in Germany in 1924, and came to America in 1940 at the beginning of the Third Reich, right after Kristallnacht. The film “Ingelore” was made by Inglelore’s son Frank Stiefel, and it tells his mother’s story.

In this edition of Radio Curious, we begin with Ingelore in her own words from the documentary “Ingelore.” As you hear her ability to articulate words in English it’s important to remember she cannot hear.

This interview was recorded on May 29th, 2010 with Frank Stiefel from his home in Santa Monica, California.

The books that Frank Stiefel recommends are “Hand Of My Father,” by Myron Uhlberg, and “The Road,” by Cormac McCarthy.

Click here to listen or on the media player below.

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Peru: Ancient History and Today

Peru is a county about which I’ve been curious for over 60 years, beginning when I first learned of the Inca Empire.  Ten years later the Peace Corps sent me to Peru as volunteer for two years in 1964.

Peru’s current societies are windows into a world in which many Andean people live in the three adjoining countries of Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia.   The complex societies which flourished in this region, centuries before the Inca Empire was destroyed by the Spanish invaders in the 16th century are still very much a part of the lives of people whose homes and communities are located high in the Andes between 10,000 and 14,000 feet above sea level.  Many still enjoy and celebrate the traditions rooted in the ancient cultures of their land.

When Radio Curious visited Peru and Bolivia in the fall of 2015 we engaged in several conversations about ancient and current times in Peru. Edith Zapata, an independent licensed Peruvian tour guide, based in Cusco, Peru, is our guest in this edition of Radio Curious.

Edith Zapata and I visited in the court yard of a somewhat noisy guest hostal in Cusco, Peru, on November 10, 2015.  We began our conversation with her description of the geological history of the Cusco valley, and moved forward in time to how some of the current leaders of the Catholic Church and some of the people of the greater Cusco area related to each other.

Edith Zapata, a licensed independent Peruvian tour guide, based in Cusco, Peru.  You may contact her by email at ezv27@hotmail.com.  The movie she recommends is “In Search of Happyness,” starring Will Smith.

Click here to listen, or download this program on the link below.

 

 

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Jespers, Jean-Jacques — Effects of Paris Attacks in Belgium

In this program we visit Brussels, Belgium, to discuss the effects of the November 13, 2015, Islamic extremist terrorist attacks in Paris, France. 

Our guest is Jean-Jacques Jespers, who recently retired as the anchor for the television news broadcast aired nightly in French on the Belgium National Television Network.  While the terrorist attacks occurred in Paris, France, investigations led authorities to neighboring Belgium in search for the suspects-causing a state of emergency in the country’s capital city, Brussels.

Currently Jean-Jacques Jespers is a journalism professor and a member of the Belgian Journalist’s Committee on Human Rights.  Jean-Jacques Jespers and I first met here in Mendocino County, California, in 1977, when he was the leader of a television news magazine team reporting on California. 

When Jean-Jacques Jespers and I visited by phone from his home in Brussels on November 28, 2015, we began when I asked him to describe what occurred and what the Belgian people’s reactions were to the November 13, 2015, terrorist attacks in Paris and the lock-down in Brussels.

The books Jean-Jacques Jespers recommends are the three volume “Century Trilogy” by Ken Follette. Click here to listen or on the media player below.

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