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9.19.16: Saving Ferrets With Drones, Unidos App, & The Way Things Work Now

USFWS Mountain-Prairie via Flickr CC

Each year, eight-hundred thousand Latinos turn 18 in the United States - add up the 4 years since the last election, and you've got a whole lot of young voters. Today, a new app designed to increase turnout among young Latinos - an crucial block that haven't always shown up to the polls. 

Plus, the author of The Way Things Work - a quintessential coffee-table book from 1988 made up of detailed illustrations to explain everything from catapults to calculators. The classic book just got an update for the digital age.

And conservation by drone - we'll hear about a program designed to save black-footed ferrets from the plague by air-dropping vaccines.

Listen to the full show. 

Saving Ferrets With Drones

"Drone" has become a loaded word, and code for a controversial tactic in America's military strategy. But that's just one aspect of what the technology offers. From high-end wedding videography, to shopping delivery system, to aerial firefighting tactics, the future is airborne, and the possibilities are endless.

Karin Brulliard is editor of Washington Post's “Animalia” blog. She reported on a proposal to use drone strikes to save endangered ferrets.

Saving Ferrets With Drones

Unidos Voting App

As one of the fastest growing demographics in the country, Latinos and Hispanic non-whites are poised to be one of the most important blocks during election 2016.  And yet, voter turnout is very low among Latinos when compared to other u-s census groups. That's something John Rudolph wants to change - he is the executive producer of Feet in 2 Worlds, which launched the app,Unidos.  Producer Jimmy Gutierrez spoke with John about the app.

Unidos App

Saint John Coltrane Church

From Gregorian chants and ancient Hindu ragas to Christian rock, religious music has a long history, and just about every major religion has its own musical traditions. But music doesn't have to be written or performed for the church, synagogue, or temple to have a profound, even spiritual effect. Producer Julie Napolinof Philosophy Talk has this story of how a secular jazz musician inspired a devoted religious following.

You can listen to this story again at

The Way Things Work Now

From the moment we wake up, to the moment we fall asleep, we are interacting with some kind of technology- from the smartphone you use to hear NHPR, to the keyboard used to type this script, to the zipper you pulled to close up your jacket. Understanding how these things work can be as easy as seeing how a wedge works - in the case of the zipper - or as complex as the controller chip that translates your finger touching a smart phone screen into a request to open an app. That's why we need "America's Explainer-in-Chief."

David Macaulay is the author and illustrator of the several award winning books, beginning with The Way Things Work, published back in 1988. An updated edition called The Way Things Work Now is a visual guide to technology that was practically science fiction just 30 years ago. 

The Way Things Work Now

With Liberty and Justice for All?

So far this season, the biggest news in football has little to do with football itself.  The 49'ers Colin Kaepernick chose to kneel during the national anthem during a preseason game - a protest against social injustice - several other players have since followed suit. While vocal critics say he's modeling unpatriotic behavior, one thing is clear: Colin has the US Constitution on his side. 

In this excerpt from Backstory with the American History Guys, historian Sarah Barringer Gordon speaks about a pair of Supreme Court cases that took on a similar issue - saluting the flag in schools.   

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