Word of Mouth for 01.28.12

Jan 27, 2012

Part 1: "Ready for Liftoff: 3...2...None?"

The latest twist in the Obama administration’s so-called Asian pivot. The president’s chief science advisor, John Holdren, has said the US would benefit from cooperating with China on future space missions. But federal legislation now prohibits NASA from pursuing such efforts with a little known clause that’s popped up in two pieces of legislation within the past year. With us to explain is John Matson, associate editor for Scientific American Magazine, where he’s been following the story.

Part 2: These Photos are like, So Vintage

When Kodak filed for Chapter 11 last week, it appeared that digital photography had put the lens cap on old-school film for good. Maybe not. Consider Polaroid: after ceasing production of its iconic Instamatic film in 2009, a group of devoted shutterbugs launched the impossible project. They took control of the company’s manufacturing equipment, and in March of 2010 began selling film. The mass market for film has dwindled in the digital age, but renewed interest in the tangible, nostalgic qualities of old formats may keep shutterbugs snapping film for years to come. 

Jake Bouchard is among the swelling community of film devotees. He’s a photographer and developer at Photosmith Imaging in Dover, which also runs online services at 120processing.com, and oldschoolphotolab.com.

Check out our own experiment with real film here. 

Part 3: Microaggressions

black man is President of the United States, an increasing number of women are running large companies, and same-sex marriage is legal in a  number of states. Still, hate crimes and societal and institutional discrimination continue across the country.  We tend to hear about the most egregious examples. We’re going to focus in this segment on the more subtle exercise of bigotry that academics call “microaggressions”. These are the fleeting statements and interactions that reinforce stereotypes about race, gender, sexual preference, and other prejudices.  Dr. Kevin Nadal is author of Filipino-American Psychology, and a leading researcher on how microaggressions affect marginalized groups.  

Vivian Lu is a grad student in cultural anthropology at Stanford and the  editor of the Microaggressions, a website where members of the public can post short accounts of microaggressions they experience. 

Part 4: The Music of Wu Man

To the average American, Chinese music might evoke a stereotype, the atonal, plucky sounds of soundtracks to martial arts films, or the ambience in Chinese restaurants. But like Chinese culture, the traditions of Chinese music reach back thousands of years and pull from myriad styles that reflect the diverse landscape of the worlds most populous nation. And weaving through much of it is the distinctive strain on the pipa, the ancient, four stringed instrument sometimes referred to as the Chinese Lute.

Wu Man is an internationally renowned pipa player, and principal member of Yo-Yo Ma's Silk Road Ensemble. On January 27th, 2012 Dartmouth, in the midst of a multi-media residency, and she performed in a program called “Ancient Dances.”

Also joining us is Theodore Levin, Dartmouth’s Chair and Professor of Music, ethnomusicologist, and former Executive Director of the Silk Road Project. He’s collaborated with Wu Man on a new recording called “Borderlands” for the Smithsonian Institution Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage.