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FROM THIS EPISODE

We start with biofuel, the trash-into-fuel technology you may remember from Back to the Future II. Sometime this summer, United Airlines will start a regular flight between L.A. and San Francisco powered, at least partly, by biofuels. Then, a discussion of L.A. County’s new wrongful convictions unit, which will investigate and review cases that may have resulted in the convictions of innocent people. Next, a new program aims to take the subjectivity out of whether to grant bail or not. Then, Madeleine Brand, in Berlin, speaks with author Nell Zink. Zink’s new novel, Mislaid, tells the story of a Virginia woman who co-opts the identity of a black child for her daughter, and then lives as a black woman herself. Finally, we look at the launch of Apple Music, which has three offerings that you can’t get anywhere else yet—at least not legally: Taylor Swift’s 1989, Dr. Dre’s The Chronic, and an exclusive new single from Pharrell. As these services grow, and feature only certain songs and artists, it raises the question: does music exist if you can’t stream it? And how has streaming affected the Billboard charts?

Banner Image: United Airlines will be utilizing biofuels to fuel some of their regular flights beginning this summer; Credit: Aero Icarus

Producers:
Matt Holzman
Anna Scott
Jolie Myers
Christian Bordal
Ryan Kailath

Airlines Running on Biofuel 8 MIN, 55 SEC

Remember when people were running their old diesel Mercedes on used fryer oil? Well, United Airlines today announced that it plans to invest $30 million in Fulcrum BioEnergy, a California company that turns trash into fuel. Sometime this summer, the airline will start a regular flight between LA and San Francisco powered, at least partly, by biofuels.

Guests:
Debbie Hammel, Natural Resources Defense Council

L.A. County's New Wrongful Convictions Unit 9 MIN, 51 SEC

Cities like Dallas and New York have had wrongful convictions units, which investigate and review cases that may have resulted in the convictions of innocent people. Now L.A. County has a wrongful convictions unit, but there are some who think its mission should be wider in scope.

Guests:
Ron Sullivan, Harvard Law School
Mike Ware, Texas A&M University School of Law

An Algorithm to Take the Guesswork Out of Criminal Sentencing 7 MIN, 42 SEC

Every day judges are faced with a difficult dilemma: whether or not to let someone who’s just been arraigned out on bail. If they’re released, they could commit more crimes—potentially violent ones. But if you deny bail, people who aren’t safety or flight risks crowd into over-burdened prisons. Now, jurisdictions around the country have an option that claims to take the subjectivity out of the decision. It’s called the Public Safety Assessment, or PSA, and it was created by the Laura and John Arnold Foundation.

Guests:
Anne Milgram, Laura and John Arnold Foundation (@AnneMilgram)

KCRW in Berlin: Author Nell Zink 14 MIN, 17 SEC

Nell Zink’s funny new novel, Mislaid, tells the story of a family in Virginia: a lesbian and a gay man who have two children. They’re white—but when Peggy decides to leave her husband, she co-opts the identity of a black child for her daughter, and lives as a black woman herself. Zink grew up in rural Virginia and has lived in Germany for 15 years. Zink met us in Berlin in a beer garden, under a canopy of trees on the banks of a river.


Author Nell Zink

Guests:
Nell Zink, author, 'Mislaid'

Mislaid

Nell Zink

Apple Music's Launch, and the Effect of Streaming on the Pop Charts 6 MIN, 49 SEC

Apple’s foray into the streaming music business launched with great fanfare today, though a plethora of streaming services like Spotify and Pandora and Google Play already exist. Apple Music has three offerings that you can’t get anywhere else yet—at least not legally: Taylor Swift’s 1989, Dr. Dre’s The Chronic, and an exclusive new single from Pharrell. As these services grow, and feature only certain songs and artists, it raises the question: does music exist if you can’t stream it? And how has streaming affected the Billboard charts?

Guests:
Emily White, Billboard (@emwhitenoise)

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