The Labrador Duck is the least known and most mysterious species that has gone extinct in North America in historical times. Shortly after it was discovered, it seemed it was gone. Unlike other extinct species like Great Auks, Passenger Pigeons and Ivory-billed Woodpeckers, there are only a small number of skins and mounted specimens of this legendary duck extant in the world. Some of these antique stuffed ducks have survived the bombing of Dresden and London, others have been stolen and illegally traded. All of them are coveted as rare treasures. Over the course of more than ten years, ornithologist and behavioural ecologist DR. GLEN CHILTON, made it his obsessive mission to go and see each and every specimen of Labrador Duck, as well as all the eggs and bones purported to exist and even visit the areas where the duck was seen and shot. This mission took Dr. Chilton to some of the great museums and collections of Russia, France, Britain, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Canada and the United States. What he learned on this odyssey of the extinct is the subject of tonight’s interview and his rollicking no-hold barred crazy memoir THE CURSE OF THE LABRADOR DUCK: MY OBSESSIVE QUEST TO THE EDGE OF EXTINCTION.
Lake Baikal in Siberia remains one of the most isolated and wild places on earth. It is earth’s deepest and largest body of fresh water, and has it’s own unique and complex ecosystem which includes numerous endemics the planets only freshwater seals. Inquiry’s guest tonight, PETER THOMSON, was the founding Editor and Producer of NPR’s “Living On Earth” and current Environment Editor of PRI’s “The World”. With his brother, Peter made a unique pilgrimage to Baikal to see this legendary body of water. Peter found that many people who live along Baikal’s shores believe its waters are magical, purifying the numerous pollutants that empty into it every day. Can there be any truth to this fantastic belief or is it only wishful thinking? Tune into Inquiry tonight and find out about the amazing world of Lake Baikal. Peter Thomson’s book is titled SACRED SEA: A JOURNEY TO LAKE BAIKAL.
Here are the life stories of three women who connect us to our national past and provide windows onto a social and political landscape that is strangely familiar yet shockingly foreign. Author and Historian Carol Berkin focuses on three “accidental heroes” who left behind sufficient
records to allow their voices to be heard clearly and to allow us to see the world as they did. Though they held no political power themselves, all three had access to power and unique perspectives on events of their time.
Angelina Grimké Weld, after a painful internal dialogue, renounced the values of her Southern family’s way of life and embraced the antislavery movement, but found her voice silenced by marriage to fellow reformer Theodore Weld. Varina Howell Davis had an independent mind and spirit but incurred the disapproval of her husband, Jefferson Davis, when she would not behave as an
obedient wife. Though ill-prepared and ill-suited for her role as First Lady of the Confederacy, she became an expert political lobbyist for her husband’s release from prison. Julia Dent Grant, the wife of Ulysses S. Grant, was a model of genteel domesticity who seemed content with the restrictions of marriage and motherhood, even though they led to alternating periods of fame and disgrace, wealth and poverty.
Mathematician and quantum physicist Paul Dirac was one of the great scientific theoreticians of the 20th century. His complex work ironed out many of the sticky problems of quantum theory. His ideas predicted the existence of antimatter. The “Dirac Equation” described electrons in such a way as to be consistent with both the principles of quantum mechanics and the theory of special relativity. This equation is a marvel of brevity and beauty and is the only equation found in Westminster Abbey. Yet this Nobel prize winning scientist was an eccentric in the extreme and the victim of a brutal childhood that affected his adult life. Tonight on Inquiry we speak with GRAHAM FARMELO, Senior Research Fellow at the Science Musuem, London and Adjunct Professor of Physics at Northeastern University. His latest book is a fascianting in-depth and entertaining biography of this very mysterious scientist: THE STRANGEST MAN: THE HIDDEN LIFE OF PAUL DIRAC, MYSTIC OF THE ATOM. To access Professor Farmelo’s entertaining Facebook page on this book, go to:
Experimental psychologist COLIN ELLARD returns to Inquiry to talk more about psychogeography and how people navigate and perceive the physical spaces of their lives and how our environment in turn affects us. Tonight Colin Ellard discusses the urban environment and why it is that most modern city plans fail. But modern technology is now allowing planners to experiment with urban spaces, and learn how people feel about them, before they are built. Professor Ellard also talks about the cutting edge research done at his amazing Research Laboratory for Immersive Virtual Environments (RELIVE). Here, using state of the art technology, Ellard studies what happens when people are placed in virtual environments and when people begin to virtually “socialize” and his results are extremely surprising. If you have an on-line avatar or enjoy role playing virtual games, don’t miss tonight’s show. Colin Ellard’s book is titled YOU ARE HERE: WHY WE CAN FIND OUR WAY TO THE MOON, BUT GET LOST IN THE MALL. WHAT SCIENCE SAYS ABOUT OUR SPATIAL INTELLIGENCE AND HOW IT SHAPES OUR CONNECTIONS TO NATURE, CITIES, HOMES AND VIRTUAL WORLDS.
After a giddy beginning banging out copy for a small ad agency, James
Othmer, a longtime creative director and copywriter, worked his way to
the top in 2000 only to discover that his traditional agency was being
abandoned in favor of forward-thinking brand stewards who wanted hip
new ideas from smaller shops well-versed in new media and digital
marketing. Fascinated by groundbreaking interactive campaigns like the
2007 Nine Inch Nails Internet Easter egg hunt and Burger King's
"Subservient Chicken" gag, he found his love for advertising
reinvigorated, and his new book is an effort to better understand the
inescapable industry's influence on culture.
Do you know that every city contains some of the most exotic and fascinating geological specimens? It all begins with looking at the stones that our buildings are built with. Those rows of ritzy brownstones in New York City are fine examples of an iron colored sandstone formed long before there was a North American continent, a time when dinosaurs roamed the earth. A small liquor store in Minnesota is built with some of the oldest, and most beautiful, rocks on earth. A Spanish fort in St. Augustine Florida is made with tons of pressed seashells on their way to being fossils. These are just some of the interesting discoveries that writer DAVID B. WILLIAMS made when he did the research for his entertaining book STORIES IN STONE: TRAVELS THROUGH URBAN GEOLOGY. Tune in and learn why without plate tectonics, humans would not exist.
Konnie Lukes, Worcester’s mayor and a candidate for re-election as
Konnnie Lukes, a Worcester attorney in private practice, is serving her tenth two-year term as a Councilor-At-Large and her first full-term as Mayor. She previously served as Mayor in 2007 filling the vacancy created by the resignation of then-Mayor Tim Murray, after he was elected lieutenant governor.
Mayor Lukes believes that reducing taxes and borrowing by establishing a long-range tax reduction program is an issue of high priority. She promotes public safety through a strengthened community policing program and healthy neighborhoods.
Tonight on Inquiry, we speak with KARIN SPRAGUE an expert stone carver who specializes in beautifully realized custom designed slate gravestones. Tune in for a fascinating conversation with Karin who talks about how she became a stone carver, the challenges of carving slate and the deeply compassionate process of arriving at a design for headstone. Be sure to visit her website at: http://www.karinsprague.com/
Tonight on Inquiry we welcome back KENT RUSSELL, CEO and curator of The Museum of Russian Icons. Also in the studio is visual artist ROGER PRESTON. Roger has created an amazing series of contemporary devotional works inspired by the icons of the museum. “Modern Icons: Ancient Inspiration”, a show of Roger Preston’s devotional works is currently on view at The Museum of Russian Icons. Roger combines traditional techniques like egg tempera with collaged computer drawings and other materials to create uniquely intimate expressionist spiritual works. For more details on Roger Preston’s exhibition and The Museum of Russian Icons, go to: http://www.museumofrussianicons.org/
Underwriter of the Week
Arts, sciences and humanities build healthier, more livable, vital communities. They are essential to a strong education system. They contribute enormously to our economy.