Duke University

The death of conservative U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia has sparked a political battle in Washington.
Collection of the Supreme Court of the United States

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia is being remembered as a conservative justice known for his sharp dissents from the bench.

Scalia died Saturday at the age of 79. And his death almost immediately started a political battle in Washington. Senate Republican leaders say they will refuse to vote on a nominee to replace Scalia while President Obama is still in office.

Image of Ken Dodge, professor of public policy at Duke
Duke University

Note: This is a rebroadcast from last year.

There is a common metaphor in the scientific community that uses flowers to describe children’s sensitivity to their environments. A child like a dandelion will turn out fine despite the circumstances she is raised in, while a child like an orchid will flounder without a nourishing environment, but blossom with care and support. 

Val Kerry / Flickr Creative Commons

President Obama has repeatedly called for the closure of the prison at Guantanamo Bay, but this month marks 14 years since the first detainees landed on Cuban shores.

Several detainees have participated in hunger strikes in protest of their imprisonment. A federal judge has ordered the release of videos showing guards force-feeding detainees but the government has until Friday to appeal the ruling.

Host Frank Stasio talks with VICE News reporter Jason Leopold about the latest.

Don Taylor is a professor of public policy at Duke University.
Duke University

Eighty percent of people who die in the United States are on Medicare, making end-of-life policies a crucial component of the Medicare system.

This month marks a number of significant changes to Medicare’s policies including the once-controversial funding for physicians to discuss end-of-life issues with their patients as well as updates to the hospice payment system. 

The image of Martin Luther King Jr. has become a symbol of the civil rights movement. Durham-based printmaker Bill Fick is making prints of this image to spur conversation about what iconography means in the digital age.
Bill Fick

Martin Luther King Jr. has become a symbol of the civil rights movement. His portrait is often displayed alongside those of presidents and religious figures.

For many, his image evokes the ongoing fight for racial equality, but his image also spurs controversy. Not everyone agrees about how to use it, and more broadly, whether he should be considered the central civil rights icon.

The debate over gun control continues after President Obama's executive action this week designed to curb gun violence.
Peretz Partensky / Flickr Creative Commons

President Obama issued an executive action this week designed to curb gun violence. The president said this country's routine mass shootings compelled him to act.

Republican members of Congress swiftly responded with promises to defend Americans' constitutional right to bear arms. But it's not yet clear whether the president's action will change the culture of gun ownership in the United States or where it fits into the national conversation about gun laws. 

There are more than 70,000 missing black men in North Carolina.
Nicolas Alejandro / Flickr Creative Commons

Note: This is a rebroadcast from earlier this year.

Young African-American men are dying and being incarcerated at higher rates than African-American women and white men and women.

An image of composer Tsitsi Jaji
Tony Rinaldo

Note: This is a rebroadcast from October 5, 2015.

Duke English professor Tsitsi Jaji remembers the noises of independence outside her window in her home country of Zimbabwe when she was 4 years old. Jaji grew up as a part of Zimbabwe's first legally integrated generation and witnessed the country's recovery from harsh colonial rule.

10-year-old Tiylar Friday
Reema Khrais / WUNC

Tiylar Friday is a long-time reader.

"Ever since I was, I think, five," he says.

Today, he's 10. And he's got a lot of books.

"Sometimes I wouldn't like to read a book, but after I get in the middle of it, I just want to keep going cause I’m curious about what would happen next."

When Tiylar was in the third grade at his school in Greensboro, he and his peers were tested for gifted classes.

Pile of zines from the Bingham Center’s zine collections
Mark Zupan

We hear constantly that “pens and paper are dead,” and “screens are taking over our lives.” But there is one small corner of the world where pens, paper, scissors and glue are alive and well: the world of zines.

Zines are handmade, self-published magazines that are about almost anything, from politics to music, arts and raw personal experience.

'Day and Night,' 1938, woodcut in black and gray, printed from two blocks, 15 3/8 x 26 5/8 in.
The M.C. Escher Company

Dutch-born printmaker M.C. Escher was a meticulous artist who drew inspiration from landscapes and the natural world. Although he had no formal scientific training, his work features complex mathematical objects and scenarios.

The exhibit “The Worlds of M.C. Escher: Nature, Science, and Imagination” on view at the North Carolina Museum of Art through January is the most comprehensive Escher exhibition ever presented in the U.S.

Critics of Cam Newton say his end zone celebrations are over the top and don't set a good example for younger fans.
Keith Allison / Flickr Creative Commons

GOP presidential hopeful Donald Trump continues to make headlines with controversial statements about women and immigrants. Reports of an endorsement by 100 black leaders were quickly refuted by the group. They refused to endorse Trump earlier this week.

As the presidential race presses on, protests during Black Friday and on college campuses further dialogue about race relations and police brutality.

And an African-American NFL quarterback is criticized for his end zone celebrations.

Physician Assistant, Duke Medicine, Rural Health
Leoneda Inge

This is the Affordable Care Act’s third open enrollment season and Obama Administration officials expect at least one million more people will enroll by the end of next year. 

The increase in the country’s insured population has resulted in major growth in one profession in particular – the physician assistant. This year, Duke University is celebrating the 50th anniversary of its Physician Assistant Program, the oldest in the country.

Governor Pat McCrory
Hal Goodtree / Flickr Creative Commons

In the wake of terrorist attacks in Paris, President Obama announced the United States will accept 10,000 Syrian refugees in the coming year, an increase from the 1,854 Syrian refugees admitted since 2012.

Photographer Nadia Sablin spent seven summers documenting the lives of her aunts Alevtina and Ludmila in a small village in northwest Russia. These photographs are some of those shown in her new book 'Aunties: The Seven Summers of Alevtina and Ludmila.'
Nadia Sablin

Photographer Nadia Sablin grew up in St. Petersburg, Russia, and each summer her family escaped the hustle and bustle of the city to spend time with their extended family in a small, rural village. They left Russia for good in 1992 and Sablin didn’t know whether she would ever get a chance to go back.

She went back for the first time more than 15 years later, and although everything in Russia had changed, one little piece of the world remained exactly the same: the small family home in Alekhovshchina.

 John Hope Franklin
Duke Performances

Renown historian John Hope Franklin would be 100-years-old if he were alive today.  Duke University is celebrating his legacy with the symposium, “Global Slaveries, Impossible Freedoms–The Intellectual Legacies of John Hope Franklin.”

Jedediah Purdy
Duke University

Jed Purdy grew up in West Virginia and spent much of his time exploring the countryside and reading. So he was just as surprised as anyone when just a few years later his first book “For Common Things” threw him into the limelight.

Photo of foreign policy expert Trita parsi
Trita Parsi

Trita Parsi was born in pre-revolution Iran in the early 1970s. Although his family left the country when he was just four years old, his interest and connection to Iranian people, culture, and politics has remained strong throughout his life. Early in his career Parsi worked for the United Nations addressing human rights in Iran, Afghanistan, Myanmar and Iraq.

Gabrielle Union stars in 'Being Mary Jane,' a BET show that challenges the portrayal of the black female.
Gina Hughes / Wikimedia Commons

News outlets across the country played a cell phone video this week of a white sheriff’s deputy in South Carolina violently arresting a black female student. The officer was fired, but public dialogue continues about the video and the alarming questions it raises about how school authorities discipline students.

In pop culture, television programs like Being Mary Jane are challenging media's portrayal of black women.

The Imani Winds quintet has its roots in classical music but takes musical influences from all over the world.
Duke Performances

Imani Winds is a Grammy-nominated wind quintet that has explored the limits of classical music for almost 20 years.

The ensemble grounds itself with a classical foundation, but infuses sounds from the Middle East to South America in its work.

Host Frank Stasio talks with Imani Winds about its origins and an upcoming performance at Duke University. Imani Winds is: Toyin Spellman-Diaz on oboe, Valerie Coleman on flute, Jeff Scott on french horn, Mariam Adam on clarinet and Monica Ellis on bassoon.

Odili Donald Odita stands in front of his mural, a public art display at the Nasher Museum of Art.
J Caldwell

Duke University’s Nasher Museum opened its doors in the fall of 2005 with a vision for a first-rate museum but without a clear path to get there. Luckily the board hired talented staff, and within a few years they were on their way to becoming an established museum with robust collections of contemporary art and art by people of African descent. 

Aziz Sancar
Dave DeWitt

Aziz Sancar and Paul Modrich have both devoted their professional lives to DNA repair. That might seem like a small enough area of research that, if two of the most important scientists in the field live and work a few miles apart, they would be frequent collaborators.

Time on a clock
Flickr/Sean MacEntee

Time is an essential part of day-to-day life. Clocks and calendars let people know when to sleep, eat, and where they’re supposed to be each morning.

But time is also something much more complicated; time is an abstract concept that sits at the center of conversations about physics, philosophy and culture.

Host Frank Stasio with brothers Noah and Gabriel Harrell, founders of the Rural Academy Theater, a theater troupe that travels the state by horse and buggy and brings theater to rural audiences.

This picture was taken at the Radcliffe Institute at Harvard in 2013. Jaji was rehearsing with her undergrad research partner, Cansu Colakoglu, for a lecture-recital on U.S. and British black composers.
Tony Rinaldo

Duke English professor Tsitsi Jaji remembers the noises of independence outside her window in her home country of Zimbabwe when she was 4 years old. Jaji grew up as a part of Zimbabwe's first legally integrated generation and witnessed the country's recovery from harsh colonial rule.

Three handguns of various styles.
Matanya / Wikimedia Commons

Advocates for gun control propose stricter enforcement of background checks as a means to reduce gun-related crime.

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