KUOW Presents

No longer on air.
Joshua McNichols

KUOW Presents connects listeners to a diversity of stories and perspectives from around the Pacific Northwest and around the world on topics that matter to our daily lives.

To find stories by KUOW Presents older than October 15, 2012, go to www2.kuow.org and select "KUOW Presents" from the show dropdown menu in the search function.

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Musician Memoir
3:58 pm
Thu March 21, 2013

Singer-Songwriter LeRoy Bell: The Rise, Fall And Rise Again

Musician LeRoy Bell.
Credit Courtesy/LeRoy Bell Facebook Page

Most people know about singer-songwriter LeRoy Bell  from his appearances in 2011 as one of the top performers on the network television singing competition, The X Factor. But long before televised competitions, LeRoy Bell was at the top of the pop music charts.

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Domestic Terrorism
11:23 am
Thu March 21, 2013

Pen Pals With The Unabomber

A young Ted Kaczynski
Credit George M. Bergman, 1968 (GDFL license)

For 17 years, the Unabomber held the media spotlight as he planted and mailed bombs to people in order to gain publicity (UNABOM is an FBI acronymn derived from his UNiversity and Airline BOMb targets). He hoped to draw attention to his manifesto, a screed denouncing our adoration of technology.

For the most part, he failed. Upon his eventual discovery, much of  the press seemed distracted by his shaggy appearance, the tiny cabin where he lived and his unusual habits. One newspaper piped incredulously: Lacking a car, he rode an old bicycle into town! He spread feces on his garden! (Could it have simply been composted manure?)

Now, a professor at University of Michigan is trying to revive some of Kaczynski’s ideas without the violence. He reached Kaczynski by mail in the Unabomber’s maximum security prison cell. Over the years, the professor and his infamous pen pal have explored and updated Kaczynski’s ideas in a collection of letters and published them in a book. But can Kaczynski The Philosopher be separated from Kaczynski The Terrorist? Or did Kaczynski’s willingness to kill those who disagreed with him reveal a fatal flaw at the core of his philosophy?

Other stories on KUOW Presents, Thursday, March 21:

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Social Change
9:15 am
Wed March 20, 2013

A Gay Catholic Priest Fights For Position In Church

Rosary beads.
Credit Flickr Photo/Michal

Father Bernard Lynch says there’s no vow in which Catholic priests promise not to be gay. But that didn’t make Lynch's life any easier. He and other gay and lesbian Catholics in New York City had to hold their own Eucharist (communion) in secret in another church.

It wasn’t until the AIDS crisis, when people suffering from emergent disease couldn’t get comfort from the church, that Bernard discovered why he’d remained a priest through all those years of adversity.

Other stories on KUOW Presents, Wednesday, March 20:

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Space Habitats
8:00 am
Tue March 19, 2013

Designing Homes For Astronauts

An astronaut makes a zero-gravity space joke by pretending to balance colleague on a single finger.
Credit NASA

If an architect on planet earth wants to design a home, he or she must work with the same basic elements designers have used for centuries: floors, walls, and ceilings.

That all changed when designers began planning dwelling units for astronauts. In zero gravity, there’s no up, no down, no reason to distinguish floors from walls from ceilings! Every surface was a potential light source, dinner table (just add Velcro) or toilet (please don't mix them up). But the astronauts living in those spaces had a much different take on that design revolution.

It turns we need more than our basic biological needs met in order to feel comfortable. We need a view of the horizon, we need light overhead (like the sun) and we need the ritual of sitting down at a proper table to share a meal together. The more alien the environment, the more reminders we need of our humanity.

99% Invisible explores design for astronauts, today on KUOW Presents.

Other stories on KUOW Presents, Tuesday, March 19:

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12:06 pm
Mon March 18, 2013

Charities Like TOMS Shoes Might Do More Harm Than Good

Window display of TOMS shoes, along with campaign message: One for One.
Flickr Photo/Bruce Stokes

It’s a popular model for charities these days: “one for one.” Buy something for yourself and a needy African somewhere will receive the same. That strategy has made charities like TOMS shoes wildly successful. Customers who buy the shoes often feel they’re patronizing a different sort of company. But this sort of giving might actually be doing more harm than good.

Other stories on KUOW Presents, Monday, March 18:

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8:00 am
Thu March 14, 2013

If You Want To Date Me, You'll Have To Submit An Application To My Mom

A mother spider protects her young. See? It's only natural!
Credit Flickr/ Olivier M Roland

Peggy was a profiler, by trade. Sometimes, for her work, she had to judge someone’s character in under two minutes. She’d practiced that skill for 26 years.

When she was home, her daughter Liza would introduce Peggy to the boys she was dating at the time. Peggy would size them up, and immediately make a judgment. But Peggy differed from other mothers in an important way: She was always right.

That realization led Liza to embrace her mother’s special skills. And the two of them teamed up together, in a very public way, to find Liza the right guy.

Other stories from KUOW Presents, Thursday, March 14:

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Humanizing Iraq
2:00 pm
Wed March 13, 2013

After Saddam, Part Two: Return To Basra

Children in Basra.
Credit Flickr/ taimambi

Hugh Sykes has covered Iraq for the BBC since 2003. In that time, he’s had to maintain a journalist’s distance. In part two of this special documentary, he returns to Basra and visits many of the Iraqis he met as a war correspondent.

From the opening chorus of frogs in a swamp (Saddam’s dams having been breached like those on the Elwha river), to the closing regrets of a young woman who cannot walk the streets alone, the journalist's deep connection to these people shines through and helps us understand how someone could love a place like Basra.

Other Stories on KUOW Presents, Wednesday, March 13:

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Historical Memory
8:18 am
Tue March 12, 2013

The Resurrection Of Joseph Stalin

Stalin's humble birth cottage, enshrined.
Credit Flickr/ susanastray

In the former Soviet Union, a cult of the former dictator Joseph Stalin seems to be forming. Not in a religious sense. But the adoration his former subjects bestow upon him can sometimes reach a religious pitch. Russians know Stalin was responsible for many deaths, but they brush that aside. There's just seems to be something about a strong man.

Other stories on KUOW Presents, Tuesday, March 12:

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8:16 am
Tue March 12, 2013

Poet Carolyne Wright's "Ghazal For Emilie Parker"

Poet Carolyne Wright.
Credit Photo Credit/Erik Rucker

It can be hard to know how to respond to tragedies on the scale of the Newtown, Conn. shooting. We want to do something, but what?

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Gender Politics
12:04 pm
Mon March 11, 2013

India’s Shifting Gender Roles: One Girl’s Tale

A young girl (not the one featured in this story) prays in Rishkesh, India
Credit flickr/saitomo

What began as widespread protests in response to a brutal gang rape have evolved into a movement. Its object is to change the way women are treated in India. PRI's Rhitu Chatterjee  profiles one girl who seems to represent where girls in India have been - and where they're heading.

Other stories on KUOW Presents, Monday, March 11:

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Amateur Astronomy
8:00 am
Thu March 7, 2013

The Falling Star Catcher

A meteorite fragment.
Credit Flickr Photo/MarkGregory007

When someone says they have a hobby, that often means they spend their evenings knitting scarves, or their weekends restoring an old car. But Mike Hankey's hobby is a little more intense. He hunts meteorites. It’s a hobby that has him scouring gas station security videotapes, in hopes of glimpsing a shadow created by the meteor’s glare. It’s a hobby that has him interviewing scores of Amish teenagers and renting a house so he can live among them. The quest has consumed years of his life. But he still hasn’t found the dang thing.

To learn more about meteorites, visit the American Meteor Association's website.

Other stories on KUOW Presents, Thursday, March 7:

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Legacy Of War
10:30 am
Wed March 6, 2013

After Saddam

A mosque in Halabja, Kurdish region of Iraq.
Credit Joshua McNichols

Anxiety. Regret. But also happiness and hope. These are the emotions experienced by Iraqis as they try to find stability and safety for their families in post-Saddam Iraq. The BBC’s Hugh Sykes has reported on some horrific scenes in Iraq. Now, he returns to Iraq to reflect. And to try to understand how it is the Iraqis can, having seen so much, be so filled with laughter.

More stories from KUOW Presents, Wednesday, March 6:

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Musical Experimentation
10:59 am
Tue March 5, 2013

Nirvana, Radiohead Songs On Their Way To Becoming Jazz Standards

Bart Simpson's reinterpretation of Nirvana's classic album cover, 'Nevermind.'
Credit Flickr Photo/lxmith

Robert Glasper doesn’t want to be confined by musical genres. He’s a talented jazz musician, but he’s tired of replaying the old standards from the 1950s and 60s.

Instead, he’s turned to complicated modern pop songs that inspired him as a kid. “Jazz takes from its surroundings and makes something new," he explains. "It’s like a casserole.” Glaser hopes to turn a few of those pop songs into jazz standards, much like John Coltrane did with the once underappreciated Julie Andrews song, “My Favorite Things.”

Other Stories from KUOW Presents, Tuesday, March 5:

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Historical Crimes
10:59 am
Mon March 4, 2013

The Reenactors

Credit Flickr/j4mie

When most of people think of reenactors, they think of people dressing in costumes, marching across a battlefield while fake cannons go off. But for a few people around Monroe, Georgia, reenactments mean something completely different: a chance to revisit a historic lynching. They reopen this wound every year not to celebrate the crime, but to pressure local law enforcement to reopen a cold case and apprehend the killers who many believe live among them today.

Other stories on KUOW Presents, Monday, March 4:

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Culinary Curiosities
10:44 am
Thu February 28, 2013

What Passes For Food In The Antarctic

Credit University Of Nebraska Press

People who hike through the wilderness know: it’s unwise to pack heavy foods. As delightful as it might be to play gourmet chef on top of a mountain, you’d spend more calories lugging a leg of lamb up the trail than you’d gain from eating it.  The great historic Antarctic explorers faced the same problem. They lived off biscuits and pemmican. And as they mushed across the ice, they dreamed of roasted penguins.

Historian Jason C. Anthony describes the lousy rations that fueled our greatest explorers today on KUOW.

Full list of stories on KUOW Presents, Thursday, February 28:

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