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KPCC Blogs


Therapy dogs in courtrooms: Rosie the golden retriever scratches the surface of debate

Therapy dogs in courtrooms: Rosie the golden retriever scratches the surface of debate

Rosie, the golden retriever therapy dog named after civil rights heroine Rosa Parks, has an uncanny ability to comfort children in distress. For this reason, she was chosen to accompany a 15-year-old girl who needed to testify in court that her father had raped and impregnated her. While the girl was in the witness box, [...]

Linking mental illness and leadership

Linking mental illness and leadership

During turbulent political and economic times the key elements of leadership that heads of state must possess are realism, empathy, creativity and resilience. Should we seek leaders who are mentally unstable? So says Dr. Nassir Ghaemi, professor of psychiatry and director of the Mood Disorders program at Tufts University Medical Center. In his new book [...]

The Triple Agent: The al-Qaeda Mole who Infiltrated the CIA

The Triple Agent: The al-Qaeda Mole who Infiltrated the CIA

From the author of the book behind the acclaimed film Syriana comes another thriller about what’s been called the CIA’s biggest disaster since 9/11. Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Joby Warrick tells the “harrowing and heartbreaking, fascinating and frightening” story of the al-Qaeda mole who infiltrated the CIA a year and a half before Osama bin Laden [...]

A look at the tempestuous life of legendary director Nicholas Ray

A look at the tempestuous life of legendary director Nicholas Ray

Jean-Luc Godard wrote: “The cinema is Nicholas Ray.” Revered by both the public and his peers, Nicholas Ray changed forever the landscape of American film making. Known for directing such classics movies as Lonely Place or Rebel Without a Cause, Ray was attracted to stories of misfits and social pariahs. In fact, Ray is one [...]

Fringe-ology: How I Tried to Explain Away the Unexplainable-And Couldn’t

Fringe-ology: How I Tried to Explain Away the Unexplainable-And Couldn’t

Are some things really unexplainable? Over 70% of Americans believe in paranormal activity, but most have the sense not to admit their beliefs. Even fewer, save for certain groups on the internet, take the time to write about them. Enter Steve Volk, an investigative reporter and lifelong skeptic, who took it upon himself to enter [...]

Linguistics across the globe

Linguistics across the globe

With today’s ever multiplying options for communication, it’s easy to forget about the spoken word. John McWhorter explores how the 6000 languages around the world grew, changed and progressed over the past 150,000 years. Incorporating a genuine curiosity and understanding of other cultures, What Language Is, examines how languages across the globe have intermingled and [...]

The Case for the Only Child: Your Essential Guide

The Case for the Only Child: Your Essential Guide

In economics “diminished returns” is a phrase referring to a decrease in marginal output following an increase in production. This is a fine term to keep in mind when producing goods, but maybe also for (re)producing babies? In <i>The Case for the Only Child</i> – Susan P. Newman argues just that, taking a position that [...]

Ace songwriter John Hiatt in his own voice

Ace songwriter John Hiatt in his own voice

Although he has had a nearly 4-decade career as a performer in his own right, Nashville-based singer and songwriter John Hiatt is perhaps best known for the impressive list of artists who have covered his songs. Household names such as Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, B.B. King, Willie Nelson, Bonnie Raitt, Buddy Guy, Emmylou Harris, Jewel [...]

Social x-ray glasses: curing social awkwardness and exposing your private emotions

Social x-ray glasses: curing social awkwardness and exposing your private emotions

Have you ever had the frustrating experience of wishing the person you were talking to would pick up on the subtle body language you’re trying to convey? Or, conversely, wishing that you could more accurately read the emotions of those around you? Turns out you’re not alone: the average person only accurately reads facial expressions [...]

Make-up ads: Photoshopped phonies or aspirational images?

Make-up ads: Photoshopped phonies or aspirational images?

In a much talked about move, the Advertising Standards Authority in the U.K. has banned two L'Oreal magazine ads. One features a porcelain, flawless Julia Roberts. The second shows supermodel Christy Turlington somehow looking more super. The decision came after a politician there complained the ads were "not representative of the results the products could [...]