Midday | WYPR


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When you clean out your fridge, do you find yourself tossing good food that’s gone bad? As much as 40 percent of the American food supply goes to waste each year, at a cost of more than 160 billion dollars. Why is so much food discarded while 14 percent of American households suffer from food insecurity? Roni Neff, of the Johns Hopkins’ Center for a Livable Future, explains how our consumer culture encourages needless buying, as well as how wasted food impacts the environment. Plus, Beth Martino, president of the Maryland Food Bank, discusses how the nonprofit works with grocery stores and farms to redirect food that’s headed for the landfill. 

A lot of what you thought you knew about poor black kids growing up in Baltimore may not be true. A research effort by three sociologists who got to know 150 African-American young adults who were born into public housing and exposed to significant violence finds that most of them didn’t turn to crime themselves, and that many kept themselves on track by finding something to be passionate about. But still, despite the promise many showed in school, very few have gotten a college degree and a firm hold on a middle-class life. We’ll talk to sociologist Kathryn Edin of Johns Hopkins, one of the authors of "Coming of Age in the Other America."

Johns Hopkins Medicine

Tens of thousands of people are currently waiting for lifesaving organ transplants from donors. And hundreds of thousands of people receive bone grafts every year. Some must sacrifice a rib or leg bone for the procedure. What if instead we could build organs and bones for these patients from scratch, using living cells? One day we may be able to, with the help of 3D printers. Scientists are learning how to create everything from arteries to jawbones with these remarkably simple machines. How might 3D printers alter the course of medicine? Is it possible that one day we’ll be able to print a human heart? We discuss the medical applications of 3D printing with Warren Grayson, assistant professor in Biomedical Engineering Department at Johns Hopkins University, and Adam Feinberg, associate professor of Materials Science and Biomedical Engineering in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University.

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June is upon us and home gardeners are already reaping the rewards of their hard work. Some among us have been harvesting crops like asparagus, rhubarb, and lettuce for weeks. Some of us wish we had been. Did gardening fall to the bottom of your to-do list? Not to worry. There’s still time to plant a cornucopia of summer veggies: cucumbers, squash, beans, tomatoes, and many others. This hour, two expert gardeners join us to share tips on getting to know your soil, battling beetles, bunnies and blight, and setting yourself up for an enviable late summer harvest. Plus, how can native flowers can benefit your food garden? We get tips from master gardeners Erin Mellinthin and Patricia Foster

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Alzheimer's disease is the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States. More than 5 million Americans are currently living with the disease, but by 2050, that figure is expected to nearly triple. What can be done to screen more Americans? And why is screening important if there is no cure? Carmel Roques, CEO of Baltimore’s Keswick Multi-Care Center, joins us to discuss how healthcare facilities can help people with Alzheimer’s reach their potential. And, could a high-fat diet slow cognitive decline for those in the early stages of the disease? Jason Brandt, a neuropsychologist at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, describes his research. Plus, how does Alzheimer's affect individuals and their loved ones? We hear from an advocate from the Alzheimer's Association of Greater Maryland.

H. Seymour Squyer, 1848 - 18 Dec 1905 - National Portrait Gallery

Harriet Tubman will soon replace Andrew Jackson on the 20 dollar bill. Two new national parks, a Maryland state park, an HBO biopic under development. Lately all eyes are on the Underground Railroad’s most famous conductor. But since long before her death, her real life story has been veiled in myth. Did she really rescue 300 enslaved people? Was there a 40,000 dollar reward offered for her capture? Did she actually hold a pistol to the heads of runaway slaves who lost their nerve? Who was Harriet Tubman? We’ll talk with Tubman scholar Kate Clifford Larson about the woman known as the Moses of her people.

Courtesy of Frederick Douglass Family Initiatives

Originally aired February 25, 2016

Frederick Douglass was an escaped slave, a gifted author and orator, and a champion of emancipation and civil rights. But here’s something you may not know: he was passionate about photography. In fact, Frederick Douglass was the 19th century’s most photographed man. Why was a man who devoted his life to ending slavery and racism so in love with photography? A book called “Picturing Frederick Douglass” explores that question. We’ll talk with John Stauffer, who co-authored the book. And we’ll meet Kenneth Morris, Jr., a Frederick Douglass descendant who is himself a modern-day abolitionist. Morris grew up surrounded by some of the 160 photos featured in the book. 

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Some employers say soft skills, like communication and leadership, are just as important in getting hired as technical requirements like typing or computer programing. But soft skills are a challenge for schools, not just figuring out what they are, but how to teach them . . . and test that they have been taught. We’ll speak with Karen Webber, director of the Education and Youth Development program for the Open Society Institute in Baltimore, and Vanessa Proetto, teacher at Baltimore’s National Academy Foundation School, about the development of a soft skills curriculum. And veteran of the hospitality industry Michael Haynie tells us why mastering soft skills makes workers promotable. 

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Suicide rates in the United States have risen by nearly a quarter since 1999, according to new federal data. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death for Americans, although researchers believe that some suicides still go unreported. What’s behind this alarming trend? We speak to Jodi Jacobson Frey of the University of Maryland School of Social Work, about why working-age men are at particular risk, and Holly Wilcox, of the Johns Hopkins Schools of Medicine and Public Health, who explains the major increase in suicide rates for adolescent girls. Plus, a story of recovery: We hear how one woman found support in the midst of a crisis.

Check out Man Therapy, a site aimed at encouraging men to take care of their mental health. 

Center for a New American Security

Killer robots. That’s what some are calling a class of weapons that do not yet exist, but could one day soon. Formally known as lethal autonomous weapons, they would have the ability to choose and destroy targets on their own, with no human involvement. They could absorb data and take action at lightning speeds. Some argue that these weapons could target more precisely, and preserve the lives of human soldiers. But how will they distinguish friend from foe? And what if these powerful weapons fall in the wrong hands? Are lethal autonomous weapons the key to more humane warfare, or should they be banned before it’s too late? Our guests: Mary Wareham, global coordinator of the ‘Campaign to Stop Killer Robots’ at Human Rights Watch; Major General Charles Dunlap, Jr., former deputy judge advocate general of the United States Air Force and Executive Director of the Center on Law, Ethics and National Security at Duke University; Paul Scharre, senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security.