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Kojo Nnamdi Show

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The Kojo Nnamdi Show
Updated: 1 hour 31 min ago

The Politics Hour - January 30, 2015

Fri, 2015-01-30 07:06

A longtime Arlington County Board member shakes up Virginia politics by announcing plans to step away. Uncertainty clouds the future for the chief of one of Maryland's treasured public school systems. And the field of candidates narrows in D.C.'s special elections looming in the spring. Join us for our weekly review of the politics, policies, and personalities of the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia.

"Worn Stories:" Sartorial Memoirs

Thu, 2015-01-29 08:06

There are untold stories hanging in many of our closets: a wedding dress bought, but never worn; a ratty old concert T-shirt; boots that traveled the world. Whether their purchase was spurred by need or emotion, memories tend to imbue our garments with meaning and value. We hear some of those stories -- plus your own -- and find out why clothing carries meaning far beyond fashion.

Young Scientists and the Research Funding Crunch

Thu, 2015-01-29 07:06

For years, scientists, administrators and politicians alike have lamented the precipitous decline in U.S. research funding. At the National Institutes of Health -- the primary conduit for federal biomedical research funding -- the budget for grants has fallen 20 percent since 2004, hitting young scientists hardest. With money tight and competition high, the average age at which a young investigator receives a grant has risen steadily, pushing many young minds out of labs and into the private sector. We talk to leaders in the research and funding fields about the ripple effects of this scientific funding crunch, and explore new ideas about how to boost scientific inquiry, despite the downturn.

Food Businesses and American Innovation

Wed, 2015-01-28 08:32

Innovation and creativity are words many people are more likely to associate with America's technology sector than its food businesses. But during the past decade, a wave of of new food enterprises, many of which which have been dubbed "fast-casual," have deployed innovative strategies that are the envy of companies across the economy. Kojo explores why food has become an engine for innovation in the United States.

Uber in the D.C. Region

Wed, 2015-01-28 07:35

Riders love it, taxi drivers hate it, and everyone else is trying to figure out what all the fuss is about. The upstart ride-sharing company Uber is redefining transporation in our region and sparking a lot of controversy in the process. D.C., Virginia and Maryland all passed new rules to begin to regulate the company and to create more certainty for riders. We talk with Uber's regional general manager about insurance, pricing and background checks for drivers.

Maryland and Virginia Legislative Preview

Wed, 2015-01-28 07:06

The general assemblies in both Maryland and Virginia are now in session and lawmakers are debating issues from a so-called rain tax to ethics reform. We explore the hot-button issues and look at the laws that could come out of this legislative session with WAMU's reporters in Annapolis and Richmond.

Underwater Mortgages and Vanishing Wealth in Prince George's County

Tue, 2015-01-27 08:32

From the outside, the Fairwood subdivision near Bowie, Maryland appears to be an African-American success story. This decade-old neighborhood is 79 percent black, with a median income of $170,000. But many of the people who live there are deep underwater on their mortgages, part of a legacy of plunging home values and predatory loans that dates back to before the housing bubble popped. Kojo talks with one of the reporters behind a recent Washington Post series on black wealth in Prince George's County and examines the lingering impact of the housing crisis in the Washington suburbs.

Internet Dialects

Tue, 2015-01-27 07:30

It’s long been assumed that the Internet is akin to a national broadcast—and that Internet lingo, memes, acronyms and slang subsume Boston accents and California slang. But using the trove of information on Twitter, some researchers now think our online language might in fact reflect regionalisms in real life. A look at how we speak online and off, and the ways one affects the other.

The Digital Life of Teens

Tue, 2015-01-27 07:06

It’s well-documented that traditional media’s focus on looks and unrealistic body images affects the self-esteem of teens — particularly for girls. But what about where kids really live: Social media? New research points to the growing number of ways kids now compete and compare themselves online, from the number of Instagram followers they have to how they rate on a popular app, “Hot or Not?” We explore what today’s digital landscape means for teens and their self-esteem.

Pop-Up Houses in D.C.

Mon, 2015-01-26 08:06

Some residential neighborhoods in D.C. are developing a jagged skyline as row house owners build up -- adding on vertically to create so-called "pop-up" houses with more floors than their neighbors. Some home owners see them as a savvy way to increase a family's space, or to create new units. But others consider them to be not only an eye-sore but a way to price more people out of the District housing market. We consider the practical, aesthetic and zoning issues created by pop-ups buildings.

Beyond Test Scores: Innovative Approaches to Identifying Young Scholars

Mon, 2015-01-26 07:30

University admissions officers and scholarship organizations tend rely on traditional data-- standardized test scores, grade point averages--as the most efficient way to identify promising scholars. But many educators today believe that less quantifiable traits like "grit" and "self control" are better predictors of academic success, especially for students from disadvantaged backgrounds. Kojo explores innovative ways to identify students typically overlooked by the current admissions process.

Wes Moore: Searching for a Life that Matters

Mon, 2015-01-26 07:06

Many readers are familiar with the personal story of Wes Moore and his widely-acclaimed memoir about growing up in Baltimore and becoming a combat veteran and Rhodes Scholar. But in his newest work, Moore seeks inspiration in the stories of others--from an Afghan translator he once worked with to one of the world's most successful food entrepreneurs. Moore joins Kojo to explore how people find meaning in the work they do and lessons we can draw from them.

The Politics Hour

Fri, 2015-01-23 07:06

Sorting political fact from fiction, and having fun while we're at it. Join us for our weekly review of the politics, policies, and personalities of the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia.

Public Art Spaces

Thu, 2015-01-22 08:32

An arts coalition recently signed a lease with the District of Columbia to develop the unused underground trolley tunnel space under Dupont Circle. They envision turning it into a cultural destination, which will include art and design-related galleries, performance spaces and pop ups. It's something D.C., Hyattsville, Rosslyn and other communities are aiming for in creating development featuring designated arts districts. We explore what it takes to create space for the arts.

Night Watch: Washington From Space

Thu, 2015-01-22 08:06

Two years ago, images from NASA's newly launched Suomi satellite wowed the world with a first-ever look at Earth's lights at night. Today scientists are using Suomi's sensors to zoom in on urban areas, investigating how we light our cities and what energy use tells us about our behavioral, cultural, and socio-economic patterns. We find out what scientists are learning about the D.C. metro area from our night lightscape, and how this data could be used to aid cities in making decisions -- from energy use to emergency response -- amid a changing climate.

Your Turn

Thu, 2015-01-22 07:30

The National Transportation Safety Board briefs the D.C. Council and Congressional leaders about the recent fatal Metro incident. Maryland swears in a new governor, as Virginia's recovers from a spill off a horse. And "deflate-gate" has some football fans in a lather, and Patriots fans on the defensive, ahead of the Super Bowl. We talk about those and other headlines on your mind.

New Hispanic Voices In Local Government

Thu, 2015-01-22 07:06

In Prince George's County — where 17 percent of residents and 25 percent of public school students are Hispanic — voters have elected the first Latina women to the county council and the school board. We speak with two of them about representing Latinos and all county residents, and about their priorities for education and economic development in the suburban Maryland county.

"Helicopter" vs. "Free Range" Parenting

Wed, 2015-01-21 08:32

A Maryland family recently caught the attention of authorities when they allowed their children to walk freely through their Silver Spring neighborhood without parental supervision. The incident triggered a conversation about responsible parenting - and the degree to which children need to learn self-reliance by spending unsupervised time away from their parents. Kojo explores the conflict between the "helicopter" and "free-range" schools of parenting.

A Behind-The-Scenes Fight Over New Dietary Guidelines

Wed, 2015-01-21 07:30

As the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) prepare to release new dietary guidelines, environmentalists and the livestock industry are waging quiet, but intense, behind-the-scenes lobbying campaigns. Advocates want new guidelines to account for the "environmental sustainability" of foods, citing the carbon footprint of commercial meat production. Industry associations argue that those concerns have no place in guidelines traditionally focused on nutritional health. Kojo explores this behind-the-scenes food fight.

The Challenges Facing D.C.'s Taxi Industry

Wed, 2015-01-21 07:06

With their new red and gray paint and uniform dome lights, D.C. taxis are easier to spot than they used to be. But they're still sometimes hard to hail, and they're losing business to the tech-oriented Uber -- whose drivers respond to the tap of app and aren't subject to D.C. Taxicab Commission rules. With taxi drivers struggling to make a living behind the wheel and a city-wide taxi-hailing app in the works, we explore the challenges ahead for the capital's taxi industry.