The places we live and the people who live there; a desert, a city, two small towns, and another country:
Scott Carrier has a cultural history of the Great Salt Lake’s “West Desert,” a land of polygymists, bombing ranges, and toxic waste incinerators. There’s chlorine gas in the air, anthrax stored underground, and people who call the place home.
Sarah Vowell‘s childhood move from rural Oklahoma to small-town Montana was, for her, a change from the middle ages to a modern metropolis.
Forgot to post this when it aired, 1/1/08 on NPR ATC— A travel writer’s upside-down Australian dilemma of drop bears and hoop snakes, swag and snores, knee-clicks and star clusters, by Jake Warga “Hike Australia” (7:50 mp3):
Trailer for new fish film w/ (my kid) Jess Atkins and some great music— “A new fly fishing documentary, ‘Raising the Ghost,” chronicles 7 epic days of fly fishing in a remote region of British Columbia’s Skeena River system. The Fly Boys team attempts to catch Steelhead eating dead-drift dry flies.”
Lang Elliot soaks up the sounds of “Sora Dawn” — “a pothole marsh at dawn with bittern, wrens, rails, and more (Prairie Spring).
Dr. Rex Cocroft, of the University of Missouri, attaches a phonograph needle to a blade of grass, plugged it into a tape recorder, to go “acoustic prospecting” for little-known suburban lawn sounds like “Leafhoppers,” rarely hard by humans.
Nuthin’ like a good gas crisis to spurn some excitement for energy conservation— the Aptera electric and hybrid vehicle, 300 miles-per-gallon, extended range models, “composite safety cage similar to Formula-1 cars,” exceeds 85 mph, 0-60 mph in under 10 seconds, “designed from the ground up as an electric vehicle;” that’s just some of its innovations.
Interviews gathered from Mae Sot, Thailand (same town from which all land-transported aid is entering Burma) with medical workers and Burmese migrant laborers who work in Thailand but sleep in Burma. From Jack Chance, aired this week on The World, “Burma Aid Efforts” (3:30 mp3):
Long-time radio producer and Alaskan luminary, Geo Beach is hosting a History channel TV series titled Tougher in Alaska. Makes sense cuz da Beach boy is tough and in AK. Starts this Thurs, May 8- 10pm ET.
Video, photos, and a Geo bio (“logger, firefighter and medic, and commercial fisherman”) at the series site.
This week on NPR ATC, HV’s Jake Warga had a story on the recovering mountain gorilla population in Rwanda. Seems the genocide decimated populations of more than just people. “Mountain Gorillas of Rwanda” (8:19 mp3):
The Thermopolis transmitter of Wyoming Public Radio was off-air. To fix it they needed to get up past three feet of snowdrifts, over three inches of ice, and into 40-mph winds blowing snow sideways across a cloud-covered hilltop. A four-wheel drive wouldn’t make it; a rental Sno-Cat would have taken days to find; and snowmobile travel would have been dangerous with the weight and bulk of the gear and parts needing transport. So how did Chief Engineer Reid Fletcher and Program Director Roger Adams make their mid-winter ascent? Hint: “Giddyup.”
C’mon, bait your line. Let’s go smelt fishin’ on the ice. Ten shacks on a frozen river are filled with ice fishermen for ten weeks each year. Owner Steve Leighton provides the bait; his patrons bring the beer; and the fish take care of the rest. Produced by Grant Fuller of the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies, premiered on Weekend America, “What Are You Gonna Do with 400 Fish?” (5:13 mp3):
Day 1 of the Iditarod is tomorrow. One of the qualifying races was held a few weeks ago, is the John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon, named for the son of a Chippewa chief who delivered mail by dog sled along Lake Superior’s rugged North Shore in the late 19th century. Launched in 1981, the Beargrease draws world-class sled dog teams from around the globe. The Beargrease is the longest, and most challenging, of sled dog events in the lower 48: almost 400 miles and 4000 spectators, starting in Duluth, Minnesota on the last weekend of January. Field-recordist Curt Olson gathered the sounds of the dogs, the mushers and the fans, “Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon” (7:00 mp3):
At least monthly friends and I are tromping trails in the Lee Metcalf Wilderness. But I never knew much about its namesake, ‘cept he was once Montana’s US Senator — until now.
Turns out our spectacular wilderness area was well-named. Lee Metcalf’s legislative life is detailed in this Center for the Rocky Mountain West essay by Pat Williams (another fmr US congressman): “Montana’s Metcalf blazed his own trail.”
After Metcalf’s US Army service, including the Normandy invasion and the Battle of the Bulge, he helped design the first free elections in Germany. He introduced Medicare ten years before its passage. The Elementary and Secondary Education Act was originally the Murray-Metcalf Bill. The Peace Corps passed Congress under the leadership of Metcalf and Mike Mansfield — another amazing Montana Senator. Sez Williams:
“However, it was as a conservationist — environmentalist — that Metcalf made seminal change for the West and the nation.… From the initial Wilderness Act to landscape restoration, pesticide control to fish and wildlife refuges, Lee Metcalf moved doggedly and with success to preserve the best of the West and in doing so he not only created a whole body of conservation laws for the nation, but he also changed the way we envisioned ourselves on the land.”
From their site: “The Vegetable Orchestra performs music solely on instruments made of vegetables. Using carrot flutes, pumpkin basses, leek violins, leek-zucchini-vibrators, cucumberophones and celery bongos, the orchestra creates its own extraordinary and vegetabile sound universe. The ensemble overcomes preserved and marinated sound conceptions or tirelessly re-stewed listening habits, putting its focus on expanding the variety of vegetable instruments, developing novel musical ideas and exploring fresh vegetable sound gardens.”
From their automate CD, here’s an excerpt of “cut 2” (1:03 mp3):
“Jill Homer, of Juneau, Alaska, is training to ride her bicycle in the Iditarod Trail Invitational — 350 miles of wintry pedaling over tough terrain. It’s the same course used by the famous sledding race.”
Massive Baitoushan stratovolcano, also known as Changbaishan and by the Korean names of Baegdu or P’aektu-san, is a relatively unknown, but volcanologically significant volcano straddling the China/Korea border.
A 5-km-wide, 850-m-deep summit caldera is filled by scenic Lake Tianchi (Sky Lake). A large Korean-speaking population resides near the volcano on both sides of the border. The 60-km-diameter dominantly trachytic and rhyolitic volcano was constructed over the Changbaishan (Laoheidingzi) shield volcano. Satellitic cinder cones are aligned along a NNE trend. One of the world’s largest known Holocene explosive eruptions took place from Baitoushan about 1000 AD, depositing rhyolitic and trachytic tephra as far away as northern Japan and forming in part the present caldera. Four historical eruptions have been recorded since the 15th century.