Alex Granados

Producer, "The State of Things"

Alex Granados joined The State of Things in July 2010. He got his start in radio as an intern for the show in 2005 and loved it so much that after trying his hand as a government reporter, reader liaison, features, copy and editorial page editor at a small newspaper in Manassas, Virginia, he returned to WUNC. Born in Baltimore but raised in Morgantown, West Virginia, Alex moved to Raleigh in time to do third grade twice and adjust to public school after having spent years in the sheltered confines of a Christian elementary education. Alex received a degree in journalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He also has a minor in philosophy, which basically means that he used to think he was really smart but realized he wasn’t in time to switch majors. Fishing, reading science fiction, watching crazy movies, writing bad short stories, and shooting pool are some of his favorite things to do. Alex still doesn’t know what he wants to be when he grows up, but he is holding out for astronaut.

Ways to Connect

Justin Catanoso

Melting ice caps at the poles are not the only concern when thinking about global warming. Increasingly, scientists are realizing that the impact of rising temperatures on tropical forests is just as dramatic.

On a rain forest mountain top where I had just seen woolly monkeys swinging through the trees, I asked Wake Forest biologist Miles Silman if we were simply putting too much greenhouse gas in the air to slow or halt the inevitable march of climate change.

Murverse.com

Travel guides can help the ordinary humans navigate locales near and far, but what about those monsters banished to the nether regions of human imagination? Well, for those creepy crawlies, there is a service that will help guide them through the underworlds of planet Earth. At least, that’s the premise of Mur Lafferty’s novel, “The Shambling Guide to New York City,” (Orbit/2013). Host Frank Stasio talks with North Carolina writer Mur Lafferty about her new novel.

  

Creative Commons

Pharmaceutical companies spend billions developing the next big drug. But sometimes, all a patient needs is a sugar pill. The placebo effect is a well-documented phenomenon where the belief that a treatment is helping can actually cause symptoms to subside, even if the treatment is imaginary.

A plate of ham biscuits
Robyn Lee, Flikr

The North Carolina State Fair is coming to a close, which means time is running out to sample a smorgasbord of foods: turkey legs and fried Oreos. Ostrich burgers and pork BBQ egg rolls. Or perhaps your palate runs to the more traditional. If that's the case, then perhaps you should head over to the Cary United Methodist Church booth.

Mike, via Flickr

  

Obesity is a significant problem for many in the United States. But for some high school football players, weight gain means success.

Wikimedia Commons

    

Schizophrenia is a frightening disease, characterized by audio and visual hallucinations.

A researcher at Duke University thinks he may have a clue as to how the auditory hallucinations occur.

Duke neurobiologist Richard Mooney said there is a long history of research that indicates that the way we hear is influenced by what we see happening around us.

St. Martin's Griffin

    

Celia Rivenbark is a successful essayist with numerous acclaimed books under her belt, but she has resisted the urge to dole out advice until now.

photo of Congress
Lawrence Jackson, whitehouse.gov.

  

Wednesday night, the House of Representatives overwhelmingly voted to end the government shutdown and raise the debt ceiling.

Gavel
SalFalko / Flickr Creative Commons

The State Supreme Court is considering whether North Carolina is required to provide free pre-kindergarten education to all of its students.

Currently, funding does not provide for universal access, but a lower court decision in 2011 held the state could not limit access to the program. Host Frank Stasio talks with Jessica Jones, WUNC’s Capitol Bureau Chief, about the case.

Wikimedia Commons

    

The Trans-Pacific Partnership is the biggest thing to hit international trade since the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Negotiations are ongoing between 12 Pacific Rim countries, including the United States, Canada, Vietnam and Chile. Advocates say the agreement is necessary to ensure smooth trade between nations. Opponents call it a corporate power grab.

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services deleted staff rebuttals from a report that gave a harsh assessment of the state’s Medicaid program, according to a report by North Carolina Health News. Critics allege that this paints the Medicaid program in a negative light. Host Frank Stasio talks to North Carolina Health News editor and founder Rose Hoban; and Associated Press reporter Michael Biesecker.

Police stand outside the capitol during a Moral Mondays protest.
Matthew Lenard

General Assembly Police Chief Jeff Weaver testified recently that law enforcement officers collected intelligence on participants in Moral Monday protests. Police officials say the measures were necessary to ensure public safety. Critics say the move went too far.

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http://schoonermusic.com/ / http://schoonermusic.com/

The band Schooner’s journey to their first national release of an album was not without bumps in the road.

Founder Reid Johnson created a new line-up of members after the band nearly broke up in 2007. The composition of the band changed again for the latest album, Neighborhood Veins. Host Frank Stasio talks to Schooner, and they play live in the studio.

Tom Franklin and Beth Ann Fennelly are both accomplished writers, but their latest work, "The Tilted World," is their first collaboration as husband and wife (Macmillan, 2013). A thriller set against the backdrop of the 1927 Great Flood of Mississippi, "The Tilted World" draws upon extensive research by Fennelly and a short story by Franklin. The original story was set in a zombie apocalypse, but the pair found that devastating floods can provide just as much grist for the apocalyptic plot mill.

NC State University

We think we know calories.

Eat too many and you get fat. Eat too few and you get skinny. But Rob Dunn, a biologist at North Carolina State University, says that might not be the case. He argues that many other factors affect calorie consumption and that stomach bacteria may be more influential than once realized. Host Frank Stasio talk with Dunn about the mystery of calories.

catwarren.com
catwarren.com / catwarren.com

Cat Warren is a North Carolina State University professor by day and a superhero by night. Well, sort of. Her dog Solo is a cadaver dog. Warren takes him out to suspected crime scenes to help police find the bodies of the missing and presumed deceased.

The hobby started innocently enough as a way to keep Solo’s energy in check. He wasn't very well behaved, and he flunked out of obedience school a number of times.

“He was a singleton, so he didn’t relate well with dogs," Warren said on The State of Things.

    

  

The 100 Men in Black Male Chorus doesn't quite live up to its name -- they haven't broken the 100-man mark yet, but that's not stopping them from recording their voices for posterity.

Altumnal via of mountains (fall)
steviep187 via flickr

  

Just because you don’t work for the federal government does not mean you are immune from the effects of the shutdown.

Tourism in North Carolina could be particularly hard hit by National Park Services closures. Host Frank Stasio speaks with News & Observer reporter Martha Quillin; and Phil Francis, former superintendent of the Blue Ridge Parkway about the effect of the shutdown on tourism along the coast and in the mountains.

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  Congress failed to pass a spending bill to avert a government shutdown last night.

Republican lawmakers refused to consider legislation to fund the government unless Democrats were willing to concede on implementation of the Affordable Care Act. The impasse means furloughs for many federal workers while the Affordable Care Act enrollment continues as planned.

Granny's Got Game

  

You might think basketball is a young person’s game, but one group of aging athletes aims to change that perception.

The “Fabulous 70s” are a group of women in their 70s who play basketball competitively. They’re the focus of a new documentary called “Granny’s Got Game.” Host Frank Stasio talks with filmmaker Angela Alford and the “Fabulous 70s” team captain Judy Barton.

duke.edu
duke.edu / duke.edu

Samuel Buell had an interest in justice from a young age. As a child, he sat in front of the TV with his parents and watched the Watergate hearings. He knew it was momentous, but he didn’t understand the exact significance until much later.

 


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Bank of America discriminated against more than 1,000 black job applicants, a U.S. Department of Labor Judge held Monday.

The ruling ordered the bank to pay $2.2 million dollars to applicants who were turned down for positions in Charlotte. Host Frank Stasio talks to Charlotte Observer banking reporter Andrew Dunn about the case.

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You probably know it as Obamacare, but its official name is the Affordable Care Act. And starting Tuesday, enrollment opens for mandatory insurance.

New policies don’t actually go into effect until January 1, but in the meantime, curious shoppers can take to the health exchanges to find a deal on health insurance.

State Senator Phil Berger
Dave DeWitt

  

Controversy continues at the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services with the Medicaid director resigning after only eight months on the job.

This week is Banned Book Week -- a time to reflect on censored works of literature.  Last week, the Randolph County Board of Education banned the novel “The Invisible Man,” by Ralph Ellison from school libraries.

NEDtheband.com
NEDtheband.com / NEDtheband.com

  

While the pink ribbons of breast cancer garner considerable public attention, other, more deadly cancers affecting women fall far from the spotlight.

Gov. Pat McCrory
Governor's Office

    

Controversy continues over hiring practices at the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.

Raleigh city seal
Wikimedia Commons

In Raleigh, all seven council members and the mayor are up for re-election in October, but one race is uncontested.

In others, it’s not clear whether the challengers pose a serious threat. Recent controversy over feeding the homeless in Moore Square and the firing of the long-time Raleigh City Manager are adding some color to the political battles. Host Frank Stasio talks with Ariella Monti, Raleigh Public Record Bureau Chief, about the upcoming elections.

Jacinta Quesada

  

When the United States Supreme Court struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act, it opened a lot of doors for gay couples. 

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