Andrea Appleton | WYPR

Andrea Appleton

Producer, On The Record

Andrea Appleton is a producer for On The Record. She comes to WYPR with years of experience as a freelance journalist filing stories for newspapers, magazines, and public radio. She has reported on topics ranging from bull riding to bionic fish, with an emphasis on science.  She is also former senior editor of the Baltimore City Paper, and a graduate of the Columbia University School of Journalism.

She and her husband live in Baltimore with their two young sons.

“A photograph is a secret about a secret. The more it tells you the less you know.” That’s a quotation from the famous photographer Diane Arbus, who died in 1971. Does the sentiment hold true in the age of the Internet? Do photographs still have the power to captivate? Today we talk to Baltimore artist and writer Mark Alice Durant, who has just published “27 Contexts: An Anecdotal History in Photography.” The book is part memoir and part meditation on the role of photography in our lives.

Janet Stephens is obsessed with the hairstyles of ancient Rome. Here's her story about how that happened. You can listen to more stories, and learn about Stoop shows and The Stoop podcast, all at stoopstorytelling.com

RX: Laughter

Mar 17, 2017
Poi Photography/Flickr via Creative Commons

Laughter is the best medicine. It turns out there’s science to back up that old adage. Research has shown that a good belly laugh on a regular basis is as effective at lowering blood pressure as medication. Dr. Michael Miller directs the Center for Preventive Cardiology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. He’s also the author of “Heal Your Heart: The Positive Emotions Prescription to Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease.” And his prescription doesn’t require a trip to the pharmacy. “We’re looking at about 5 to 15 minutes of laughter that either brings tears to your eyes or after the laughter episode is finished, you feel relaxed,” he says.

Larry C. Price/Undark Magazine

For a long time we’ve heard about the problems our love of cheap clothing causes around the world: problems like lax environmental and safety regulations, and child labor. Today we’re going to zero in on an industry you may not have heard as much about: leather. A riveting four-part visual tour of textile and tannery industries around the globe recently appeared in the online magazine Undark. We plan to focus on the tannery portion. Freelance journalists Debbie and Larry Price produced the series, with the support of the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting. Both are former Baltimore Sun staffers and both join us from a studio near their home in Dayton, Ohio.

Cancer treatments like surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation can be harrowing, and the cancer often returns. But a new treatment has come into use: it harnesses the body’s own immune system to destroy cancer. So far, immunotherapy doesn’t work in most patients. But when it does, the results can seem miraculous. Cancer survivor Stephanie Joho had run out of treatment options when she discovered immunotherapy. She recalls a moment soon after she started treatment: “I sat at the dinner table and I remember crying. Because I looked at my parents and I said, ‘I’m hungry.’ I didn’t remember what that felt like. I hadn’t felt hunger in probably over a year.” She and Dr. Drew Pardoll, director of the Bloomberg-Kimmel Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy at Johns Hopkins, join us.

Today we continue our coverage of the $130 million dollar budget gap facing Baltimore City Schools. How does state funding for the schools work? Are the formulas that guide that funding adequate? Bebe Verdery, director of the ACLU of Maryland’s Education Reform Project, says that while factors like rising costs and falling enrollment are partly to blame for the massive budget shortfall, the real culprit is the funding formula itself.

Unless something changes, this coming fiscal year Baltimore City’s public schools will operate with their funds cut to close a $130 million budget gap, the largest in years. Schools CEO Sonja Santelises says more than a thousand people will be laid off. What would a cut of this magnitude mean for students? Today we hear from the principal of an elementary and middle school in Northeast Baltimore that stands to lose more than 20 percent of its funding. Dr. Patricia Drummond, principal of Hamilton Elementary Middle School in Northeast Baltimore, says, “When I saw my budget, I cried. I know how far we have come since I’ve been at Hamilton. And I just didn’t see a way that we can do that next year.” 

Dan Pancamo/Flickr via Creative Commons

Spring seems to have arrived, after a winter that nearly wasn’t. The odd weather this season has a lot of us thinking about climate change. Today we focus on how climate change is altering seasonal events in the natural world: things like migration, hibernation, and pollination. The study of the timing of biological events like these is called phenology. And, as UMBC ecologist Colin Studds says, in nature, timing is everything. “If you think about the unrolling of leaves and blooming of flowers as the setting on the table," he says, "a lot of things depend on just that perfect timing: the insects that eat the leaves, the birds that eat the insects.” 

In this story from 2014, former Baltimore Sun reporter and sports columnist Joe Challmes shares a story of high anxiety at the racetrack. He died two years ago. This story has been edited for brevity. 

fdecomite/Flickr via Creative Commons

Math anxiety. It’s common enough to merit a robust Wikipedia entry and countless journal articles. Culturally, it’s so much more acceptable to admit you’re lousy at math than, say, reading. American students consistently rank behind their peers in other nations when it comes to mathematics. Where does math anxiety come from? And how can we learn to see the beauty in math? Manil Suri​--novelist, contributing opinion writer for the New York Times, and UMBC math professor--joins us to share his thoughts. 

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