18-49 Segment 1: The Need for Investigative Journalism

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Investigative journalism is a necessity in a democracy. Independent journalists putting in long hours to serve as watchdogs for our government can have long-lasting ramifications, just look at the impact Woodward and Bernstein made with their Watergate investigations. We talk to one expert about the current state of investigative journalism in America and what can be done to ensure the watchdogs stay in business.

Guest:

  • James Hamilton, Hearst professor of communications at Stanford University and author, Democracy’s Detectives: The economics of investigative journalism

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18-49 Segment 2: Winter Reads for 2018

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It’s getting cold outside, which means it’s time to cuddle up with some good books to pass the time. Or maybe you’re just on the prowl for some holiday gifts for the reader in your life. Either way, we have some options for what to read this winter.

Guests:

  • Ellen Keith, author, The Dutch Wife
  • Andrew Shaffer, author, Hope Never Dies: An Obama/Biden Mystery

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Culture Crash 18-49: The disappointing Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald

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Welcome to Culture Crash, where we examine American culture. What’s new and old in entertainment.

Last month, JK Rowling’s Wizarding World saw its latest installment, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald be met with a low score on Rotten Tomatoes and countless disappointed Harry Potter fans across the globe.

Count me among them. Not since 2009’s Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince film totally bungled its source material has a Wizarding World installment felt so misguided. Crimes of Grindelwald isn’t quite as bad as Half-Blood Prince, but it is poorly paced and difficult to follow, even for those who have spent their entire childhoods learning the universe forward and backward.

Again, the keys to the kingdom were handed over to director David Yates, who has now made six installments of the Wizarding World’s film series. And again, Yates proved he isn’t really up to the task. Fantastic Beasts 2 is divided in too many directions, it introduces characters and then forgets them, fails to flesh out the details of the prison break scene, which is the film’s only great set piece, and lingers for too long on characters we struggle to understand fully acting in ways we can’t make sense of in scenes that are poorly staged. Yates seems uninterested in doing anything but filming the script, adding none of the flair or subtleties that Alfonso Cuaron brought to the Prisoner of Azkaban adaptation. In all, Crimes of Grindelwald manages to make a story about magic pretty boring. And that’s before I even get to the final twist in Crimes of Grindelwald, which I won’t spoil, but is either an outright lie, which would be a poor way to end a film, or a new detail that not only fails to pass a logic test, but retroactively diminishes the ending of the Harry Potter saga.

I get no joy out of disliking this movie. I went to the theater expecting to leave exhilarated and excited for more. After all, for over 11 years now, we fans have been clamoring for more of the Potter universe. I still dream of a new novel that covers the story of the original Order of the Phoenix. But we only want more because we expect stories of a similar high quality to the original series. Stories much, much better than the one we got in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. Three more Fantastic Beasts movies are on their way, and us lifelong fans will surely be seeing them, despite our new hesitations. Hopefully, the filmmakers find a way to conjure up some new magic, and fast.

I’m Evan Rook. 

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18-48 Segment 1: Learning Math Simpler

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American students are way down the international list when it comes to math scores. Why is this? Is there something we could be doing to make learning math a simpler task? Our guests say yes, and have suggestions for kids- and adults- struggling to master mathematics.

Guests:

  • Bob Sun, inventor of The 24 Game and First in Math
  • Jason Wilkes, author, Burn Math Class: And reinvent mathematics for yourself

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18-48 Segment 2: Sleeping Soundly: How getting quality sleep can enhance our health

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We all sleep, it’s human evolution. But the amount of sleep we get and the quality of that sleep can vary greatly. We talk to Matthew Walker, a professor at California-Berkeley, who says sleep in the single biggest thing we can do to help our physical and mental health both in the short-term and long-term.

Guest:

  • Matthew Walker, professor of neuroscience and psychology at the University of California-Berkeley and author, Why We Sleep: Unlocking the power of sleep and dreams

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Culture Crash 18-48: Watching Sports with a Second Screen

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Welcome to Culture Crash, where we examine American culture. What’s new and old in entertainment.

It used to be that when you were watching sports, you were only watching with the people in the same room as you. Maybe your family gathered around to watch Sunday Night Baseball, maybe you went to a friend’s Super Bowl party. Either way, you discussed the matchups amongst yourself, relying on the person next to you to pick up on any subtleties you missed.

Now, sports have become the gold-standard for entertainment that demands a second-screen. Watching a game is aided immensely by having your phone or a tablet at your fingertips. You can look up in-game stats, you can track scores of other games, or you can look through your Twitter timeline to share in the agony or ecstasy of your team’s failures and successes with a host of other fans and analysts in real time.

No longer do you have to sit at home and watch a game independently. Now, you’re at a bustling sports bar for every game, and the entire internet is sitting alongside you. The NBA Finals, World Series, and Super Bowl all completely take over the social media world, dominating the trending charts with hashtags and relevant players and coaches names. Within minutes of last year’s NBA Finals Game 1 ending, already the internet was full of memes making fun of the moment LeBron James yelled at JR Smith for not knowing the score in a crucial situation down the stretch.

It’s not all memes, though. The internet can also truly illuminate what’s happening on your TV screen. Have a question about a particular penalty or play? You can submit it to your local newspaper’s beat writer and occasionally get a response. Think Drew Brees looks slightly off in the third quarter? You can make that observation on Twitter and see if others agree or disagree with your assertion.

Management and coaching staffs have analytics guys crunching numbers to decide who starts and who sits. Now, us fans have social media, where we can parse through that same information to second-guess our teams every step of the way. Gone are the days when you have to watch a live event in the dark. Now, QB ratings, field goal percentages, and trade rumors are constantly just a click away, and as soon as the game your watching is over you can trust that social media has all the highlights you need to see from the other games you missed.  

I’m Evan Rook. 

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18-47 Segment 1: Shame and Bullying

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Bullying is nothing new, but that doesn’t make it any easier to deal with. Plus, in the social media era, the techniques are getting more public and crueler. We look at bullying, the shame it can cause, and how it can stick with us for life.

Guests:

  • Dr. Frank Farley, Professor of Educational Psychology at Temple University
  • Liz Pryor, author, Look at You Now: My journey from shame to strength

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