19-09 Segment 2: Exploring What It Means for Women to be ‘Brave, Not Perfect’

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Reshma Saujani is a lawyer, a former political candidate, an author and the founder of Girls Who Code. She says our society puts too much pressure on women to be perfect, which means girls are afraid to explore their true passions for fear of failure. She’s hoping to change that and to teach girls that it’s okay to try something that you might not succeed at.

Guest:

  • Reshma Saujani, author, Brave, Not Perfect

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Culture Crash 19-09: Audiobooks

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

How do you pass the time on your commutes? Do you tune into the radio? Put on a podcast? Or maybe you listen to an audiobook?

Audiobooks are undergoing a bit of a renaissance right now, and their newfound portability is a main reason why. For a long time, listening to an audiobook meant shelling out big bucks or sitting on a library wait list to obtain a huge, unruly set of tapes or disks. You’d put them in, one after the other, and listen to books on tape for long car rides or an arduous flight.

But now, audiobooks can be the most convenient way to read- or at least, consume- a book. Gone are those days of cassette after cassette, now audiobooks can be purchased from Amazon’s Audible service or, most likely, borrowed for free through your library subscription via a web app like OverDrive. Once you’ve gotten your audiobook, you can save it right to your phone and click play whenever it’s convenient.

Personally, I love driving to the sounds of a good book and experiencing an old favorite through new eyes or being able to easily tear through a good thriller.

One big question in the mind’s of many an audiobook listener is which works best for them: are they listeners who want to get the biggest bang for their buck on a mammoth of a book, or to zip through some shorter books on your commute. For example, you can really invest weeks worth of commutes on nearly 48 hours of listening to Stephen King’s The Stand or 21 hours of Herman Melville’s Moby Dick. Or, you could pick up some shorter like Trevor Noah’s Born a Crime, which clocks in under 9 hours and can easily be finished in just one week’s commuting time.

Much like reading a real book, I find that different seasons and moods predispose me to different audiobooks. Do I want a funny, light memoir like Amy Poehler’s or a dark, scary horror novel? It always just depends.

Regardless of your inclination, it might be worth it to try listening to an audiobook when riding the train or driving in heavy traffic. It might just make your commutes feel more productive. And if you’re looking for a recommendation to get you started, Bryan Cranston’s narration of Tim O’Brien’s Vietnam War classic The Things They Carried is one of my favorites.

Get help with finding audiobooks from OverDrive.com.

I’m Evan Rook. 

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19-08 Segment 1: Pregnant and Incarcerated: Childbirth behind bars

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After working for years as an OB/GYN for inmates at San Francisco Jail, author Carolyn Sufrin wanted to tell the story of the women she helped. She talks about what health care for pregnant women in jails and prisons looks like, and the changes she hopes to see in the system.

Guest:

  • Carolyn Sufrin, medical anthropologist, former OB/GYN at San Francisco Jail, and author of Jailcare: Finding the safety net for women behind bars

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19-08 Segment 2: Education for Students with Autism

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The right to an education is guaranteed to all students, regardless of disability, by federal law. But experts and parents are now wondering if we are doing enough to help autistic students maximize their abilities to live their best possible lives. We discuss the current status of public schooling for students with autism and how the systems in place can be optimized to help students grow even more.

Guest:

  • Mark Claypool, CEO of ChanceLight Behavioral Health, Therapy & Education and co-author of How Autism is Reshaping Special Education 

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Culture Crash 19-08: Television Shows Creating “Expanded Universes” of Their Own

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

We live in an era of expanded universes. We have Star Wars, the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the DC Extended Universe, and so, so many others. Multiple shows and movies all connecting into one timeline has been an incredibly successful business model, especially for blockbuster movies.

But now TV shows are starting to spin their own sort of inter-connected universes, as well. One such show is the cult favorite Veronica Mars. Originally a UPN show, Veronica Mars ran two seasons before UPN and WB joined together to form The CW, where the show aired its third and seemingly final season. Season 3 ended in 2007 and the series went dormant until a 2013 Kickstarter campaign raised enough money to convince Warner Brothers to fund a movie version. In 2014, Veronica Mars the movie was released and then, emboldened by the show’s cult following, creator Rob Thomas and writer Jennifer Graham wrote two novels continuing Veronica’s story. Since then, there has been a meta-web spinoff and now, Hulu is producing another season of the show. From there, who knows? Maybe Hulu will be the end, and maybe Veronica will live to see another day. At a minimum, Veronica Mars will be a series that spanned four seasons of TV across three networks, plus a feature film and two novels. That’s not too shabby.

The other show creating a universe for itself is Breaking Bad. The show famously picked up fans over its initial run on AMC by streaming on Netflix. Breaking Bad’s first season never broke 1.5 million viewers, but by the time the show ended its run, it was regularly drawing about 5 million viewers, with the finale attracting 10 million. After its finale, Vince Gilligan expanded the story of Breaking Bad into a spin-off prequel series about the origins of everyone’s favorite shady lawyer, Saul Goodman. Now, Gilligan and co. are creating a Breaking Bad sequel movie, which will reportedly follow the story of Jessie Pinkman for debut on Netflix.

We live in an age of streaming TV and on-demand movies. It has never been more lucrative to continue an existing franchise, and I don’t expect Veronica Mars or Breaking Bad to be the last shows to try to keep spinning new yarns across various formats and media. Expanded universes aren’t just for comic books anymore.

I’m Evan Rook. 

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19-07 Segment 1: Facing Our Own Mortality: How to plan for a more peaceful death for yourself and loved ones

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Facing the prospect of death isn’t pleasant, but it is the reality of being human. We talk to two experts about how people can get their affairs in order both personally and medically to ensure their wishes are respected and their loved ones can properly grieve if the unthinkable happens.

Guests:

  • Katy Butler, journalist and author, The Art of Dying Well: A practical guide to a good end of life
  • Dr. Sunita Puri, Medical Director of Palliative Medicine, University of Southern California, author, That Good Night: Life and medicine in the eleventh hour

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19-07 Segment 2: Considering the Precarious Future of AI

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Between Alexa, Google and Siri, artificial intelligence is here. But looking forward, AI will only get more and more intelligent. Author and researcher James Rollins discusses why AI has long scared scientists and storytellers, and what the future of our technology could look like if we aren’t careful.

Guest:

  • James Rollins, researcher and author, Crucible 

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