18-21 Segment 1: Discovering the Maya Civilization

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While some past explorers get plenty of press, others’ adventures go virtually unknown. William Carlsen tells the story of two men and their rarely heard tale of exploration in his book Jungle of Stone: The Extraordinary Journey of John L. Stephens and Frederick Catherwood, and the Discovery of the Lost Civilization of the Maya.

Upon discovering Stephens’ papers at the University of California, Berkeley, Carlsen felt compelled to tell his and Catherwood’s story. To do this, he decided to retrace their actual journey, stop by stop, driving his old car through the jungles in Guatemala. While the Mayan ruins they discovered are now major tourist attractions, Carlsen says, he got a real taste of what their experiences were like and the courage and determination it took to embark on this adventure.

Although very different in personalities, Stephens, a lawyer from New York, and Catherwood, an architect from London, united to become close friends and the perfect team for their exploration into South America. Their desire for adventure and insatiable curiosity sustained them through their journey. In the 1840s, the duo returned to produce a best-selling, illustrated book of their findings. To this day, many have a desire to push the limits of what is known, but few can boast of meaningful, historical discoveries like Stephens and Catherwood.

To learn more about Stephens and Catherwood’s journey or to purchase a copy of Carlsen’s book, see the links below.


  • William Carlsen, author of Jungle of Stone: The Extraordinary Journey of John L. Stephens and Frederick Catherwood, and the Discovery of the Lost Civilization of the Maya.

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18-21 Segment 2: Communicating with School-Aged Boys: A Psychologist’s Advice

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Many parents and educators struggle to connect and communicate with adolescent boys. Dr. Adam Cox, clinical psychologist for over 20 years and author of Cracking the Boy Code: How to understand and talk with boys, explains what he’s learned after devoting his career to engaging with school-aged boys. The majority of young boys are not natural communicators, so Dr. Cox breaks down why this is and what parents can do differently to have better conversations with their sons.

Dr. Cox narrows down the reason for boys’ difficulty in engaging in serious conversations.  He says they often process language primarily through the left-hemisphere of the brain, which deals with just the facts, as opposed to the right-hemisphere of the brain, which deals with social-perceptual skills. As a result of this, many boys miss nonverbal social cues.

In our society, boys are often reduced to their behavioral problems. Dr. Cox says that this is unfair and that boys are capable of being strong communicators if approached in the right way. The single most important factor he names for better conversations is to be aware of tone of voice. He names this strategy “Task Tone,” a matter-of-fact, somewhat monotonous, and logical way of speaking that appeals to the left-hemisphere of the brain. He also says that eye contact during moments of vulnerability often does more harm than good.

By setting the table correctly for good conversations, many adults can be surprised at how school-aged boys can become more open and vulnerable. Without a moralistic tone and an excessive focus on behavioral issues, Dr. Cox says we can then focus on issues that really matter to a boy’s psychology, such as strength and honor. He has developed a saying for the boys he works with to remember: “Strength to do what’s right, the honor to do it well.”

To learn more about communicating with boys or to purchase a copy of Dr. Cox’s book, visit the links below.


  • Dr. Adam Cox, a clinical psychologist and author of Cracking the Boy Code: How to understand and talk with boys

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Culture Crash 18-21: The End of New Girl

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

When the FOX comedy New Girl first hit the airwaves in September 2011, I was in college. My now-wife and I were just friends at the time but many of our friends and family liked to point out that she was a bit like Jess and I was a bit like Nick- down to my steadfast defense of Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler.

My wife and I even mirrored the characters by starting to date during season two. Back then, it was the one show we both watched and we’d live-text about it to each other across the country. New Girl stayed with us through our lives as she moved home, we got engaged, and into our first year of marriage.

When New Girl aired its series finale earlier this month, we both remarked that it really was the end of a specific era in our lives. It’s one of the few shows we still watched from the time we were in college and the beauty of a sitcom is that the characters become your friends. The adventures of Jess, Nick, Winston, Schmidt, Cece and occasionally Coach were often ridiculous and absurd, but they were also comforting- when we were cramming for finals, preparing for a job interview or planning our wedding, Liz Meriweather’s comedy would supply built-in half hour breaks.

New Girl ran for 7 seasons and spent a few years as a cultural hit and Buzzfeed mainstay before settling into a more comfortable run for a smaller, dedicated fanbase. Ratings aside, the show mattered to a group of people like me and my wife . We matured with the characters and eventually, both Nick and I moved on from Jay Cutler to being all-in on the Bears quarterback of the future Mitch Trubisky. The more things change, right?

Like all shows, New Girl has come to an end. But of course, the beauty of our technology is that it will always be there on streaming when we need it.

I’m Evan Rook.