Twenty Thousand Hertz :: Emergency Alert System
I’ve always had an fascination for those tests of the Emergency Broadcast System. I taped one off the radio as a kid, I actually did them as a college radio DJ, and about 20 years ago I heard one that was NOT a test (warning for intense thunderstorms, which was both a relief and a bit underwhelming). Here is the story behind how they work.
Planet Money :: The Blue Pallet
Pallets are ubiquitous, overlooked, and seemingly hard to improve. This is the story of how CHEP pallets revolutionized the industry. My wife writes about pallets and her enthusiasm is infectious, so I loved this story.
The Nation – Start Making Sense :: It’s Time to Break Up Amazon
Reporting on the dangers of Amazon’s monopoly powers, as well as how mandatory non-compete agreements have helped corporations keep low-wage workers from getting better jobs.
Slate’s Hit Parade :: The Year Rap Music Broke
1986 is a significant year in rap music history, mainly due to RUN-DMC’s crossover hit “Walk this Way” which inadvertently helped revive the fortunes of the rock band Aerosmith (I was one of the kids who knew RUN-DMC well, but never heard of Aerosmith before their collaboration). Chris Molanphy tells the story of Def Jam Recordings, founded by Rick Rubin and Russell Simmons, and how in 1986 they unleashed not only RUN-DMC’s hit album Raising Hell, but also Radio by one of rap’s first solo acts with wide appeal, LL Cool J, and Licensed to Ill by the bratty white kids the Beastie Boys. Molanphy doesn’t end the story in 1986 though, but follows the ongoing careers of all four acts.
A bumper crop of erudition for your ears this week.
The Memory Palace :: Hercules
With Washington’s Birthday coming up, a reminder that our first President held people in bondage because he enjoyed what their labor provided without having to pay for them. The story of Hercules, a talented chef, who successfully escaped slavery.
Smithsonian Sidedoor :: Killer Viruses and One Man’s Mission to Stop Them
The story of the 1918 Influenza Pandemic and the efforts of Dr. Maurice Hilleman to create vaccines to prevent later outbreaks.
The Nation Start Making Sense :: Elizabeth Warren on Monopoly Power
Elizabeth Warren wants to make fighting monopolies part of the Democrats agenda again. Also, the truth behind Warren Buffett, and white working class Trump voter.
The Truth :: Nuclear Winter
A spooky story set in an outdated nuclear missile silo. Don’t worry, it’s fictional!
Afropop Worldwide :: Africa and the Blues
A fascinating look into musicologist Gerhard Kubik’s research into the traits of blues music that connect with the music of different regions of Africa. Read more here: http://afropop.org/articles/africa-and-the-blues-an-interview-with-gerhard-kubik
StoryCorps :: In the Neighborhood
The story of the multi-talented François Clemmons, most famous for playing Officer Clemmons on Mister Rogers Neighborhood, his friendship with Fred Rogers, and their quietly bold statement for civil rights and equality.