Archive for The Radio Program

Solitary Confinement – What Does It Do to Someone?


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Solitary confinement means being in a cell inside a cell.

There’s a bunk, a toilet, a sink and nothing else.

No books, no reading materials, radio or TV.  And no conversations with anyone, guards or other prisoners.

Solitary confinement means just that – complete sensory deprivation.

Joey Pedersen, after spending 11 out of 14 years in solitary confinement, was released from an Oregon prison in May 2011.

When he walked out the front gate, he was full of bitterness and hatred.  After all those years in solitary, or “The Hole” as it’s sometimes called, he didn’t know how to be around other people.

That’s because for nearly a third of his life, he had never been around other people.

A few months after his release, Joey Pedersen and his girlfriend murdered four innocent people.

He’s locked up again.  This time for life without the possibility of parole.

But did his 11 years in the hole, in solitary confinement, somehow or in some way contribute to his anger and rage that cost 4 people their lives?

This podcast features the voices and thoughts of prisoners who know what it’s like to be in solitary confinement.

They’ve all been there.

And for most of the voices you’ll hear, for many, many years.  And they know what it does to their minds, their ability to think and to act normally.

And they also know they wouldn’t have been in solitary confinement if they weren’t dangerous or hadn’t been a threat to the guards or other prisoners.

But if they were put into solitary confinement for bad behavior, did the punishment cure them or did it make them worse – like it probably did for Joey Pedersen.prx-logo-B (2)

Certainly no one who’s put into solitary confinement is a model prisoner but the dilemma is how to keep the punishment from making things worse.

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What was the Ouija Board’s Answer?


Listen to StitcherA lot of people say they’ve experienced something that’s paranormal.  They’ve seen or heard or been touched by something that can’t be easily explained or understood.

Many people also believe there’s another world that we don’t know about.  It’s the world where the souls of our dead friends and family members go after they depart this world.

They also believe there’s a connection between these two worlds.  But it’s a connection that’s not easy to find or make.  Only something special can make the connection.  Like an Ouija Board.

Scientists tell us that the Ouija Board’s answers may be odd or even correct sometimes, but they can be explained as some variation of a normal, natural phenomena.

But some counter by pointing out that there are too many stories about the Ouija Board being right to dismiss it as some random event.

Give a listen to what we’ve got in store for you.  You’ll hear the story of where Ouija Public Radio ExchangeBoards came from and how they were named.  Best of all, you’ll eavesdrop on a séance. Judge for yourself whether what happens is fact or fiction.

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Big-Box Retailers – Love them or hate them?


Listen to StitcherBaseball may be our national pastime, but arguing about Big-Box Retailers has become a favorite sport.

Nothing can stir up an otherwise peaceful neighborhood like a Big-Box Retailer announcing plans to build a mega-store.  Land-use hearings suddenly draw standing-room-only crowds.  And the opponents argue that the earth will stop spinning on its axis if a Big-Box Retailer comes to town.

But then there’s the rest of the story, as Paul Harvey used to say.

Not everything about Big-Box Retailers must be bad because their parking lots always seem to be overflowing and their stock prices trading at record highs.  And the opponents are now complaining that the parking lot is too small because they can’t find a parking spot.

Our story will give you some different perspectives about Big-Box Retailing.  It features a Public Radio Exchangejournalist who changed vocations and became a minimum-wage worker at a Big-Box Retailer where she was old enough to be the parent of many of her co-workers.

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Have you Hugged a Hacker Today?

Cyber Crime

Everyone probably has encountered some type of Virus, Spam, Hacker, Worm or Trojan. If you’re lucky, all they’ll do is slow down your computer or annoy you with pop-ups.

But things change in a hurry when you click on one of those pop-ups or, better yet, answer an email that says you’ve won $89 billion in the Nigerian lottery (without even buying a ticket).

The internet’s unbridled freedom of expression may be its greatest virtue but it also might be its biggest vice.  And things may be going from not-so-good to bad as we wirelessly network a growing list of uses and devices.  Is it a good idea to link your home security system with your smartphone and then broadcast your address to every hacker in the world?

Topping the list of great new business opportunities should be hacking.  The costs and barriers to entering this market are next to nothing.  All you need is an internet connection and a low-budget laptop and you’re in business.  No business licenses to buy or taxes to pay.

Invest some time in our podcast about cyber insecurity.  Learn about some of the latest Ted Talksand greatest innovations in hacking.  More important, learn about some of the common sense, basic safeguards you should be using.

Before you bought that fancy smartphone you wouldn’t pass out your personal financial information to millions of strangers.  Why are you doing it now?


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First American Summits Mt. Everest


Climbing Mt. Everest today is far different from what it was like 50 years ago when Jim Whittaker stared up at its summit.  Back then, the trails weren’t clearly marked and their Listen to Stitcherequipment was unreliable.  Here’s your chance to hear first hand about one of the last great conquests.

There’s only one mountain that’s regarded to be the roof of the world.  And if you say you’re going to climb the world’s tallest mountain, there’s only one mountain that you’ll go to.

Exactly half of this mountain is in Nepal and the other half is in Tibet.  Its summit is on the boundary between the two countries.

And that mountain would be Mt. Everest, named for Sir George Everest, a Welshman who was responsible for the Great Survey of India.

The history books tell us that Edmund Hillary, a New Zealander, along with Tenzing Norgay, a sherpa climber from India, were the first to climb Mr. Everest.

They reached the summit at 11:30 AM on May 29, 1953, where they paused, took some photographs and buried a few candies and a small cross in the snow before descending.

The first American who stood on top of Mt. Everest was born and raised in Seattle, Public Radio ExchangeWashington.  Jim Whittaker was 34 years old on the morning of May 1, 1963 when he looked up the icy slope leading to the summit and wondered whether he would be that first American.

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