Sunday, October 22, 2017

Three Facts from NPR Today

I lay in bed for a little while this morning, listening to Weekend Edition. That's something I used to do a lot more often, but somehow has fallen away from my list of habits.

But I did catch three facts I never knew during that time:

The attackers on September 11, 2001, got away with it in part because messages about their plans had been intercepted by U.S. intelligence but not translated. And why was that? Because the U.S. wasn't employing enough people who spoke the range of languages it needed to translate. That changed under the Bush and Obama administrations. (This was said in the context of a new Trump administration policy that impedes non-citizens from joining the armed forces.)

Cumbia, a catchy dance music that's popular in Latin America, began in Colombia. Its characteristic beat is based on the sound of chained feet dancing. (This was especially salient to me because I'm currently reading Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi, a book of stories about an African family over two centuries, some who were captured and exported and some who weren't. It's very accessible storytelling, and would be an excellent way to introduce a big range of under-covered topics in classrooms: the history of the slave trade, treatment of enslaved people on U.S. plantations, the use of convict labor in the South after the Civil War, the great migration, aspects of modern Africa, colorism, and a lot more.)

Minnesota Public Radio is 10 years older than National Public Radio. (We've been hearing about MPR's 50th anniversary all year, and now there are ads for NPR's 40th. That means NPR began the year I graduated from high school.) I first started listening in summer 1982 because my housemate listened to All Things Considered while making dinner most nights. (Thanks, Jonathan!)

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