UC Berkeley scientists recently used audio from “The Moth Radio Hour” to study where we file away the meanings of words in our brains, giving researchers an unprecedented window into how we interpret language. Their findings might help people who have difficulty speaking. Also, weeding at the Berkeley Public Library triggered protests and the head librarian’s resignation. Should the public have a say in which books public libraries get rid of? Then, we’ll talk about “Snowden”, Waze, and “textalyzers” in our weekly web roundup with Xeni Jardin. After that, it’s the 40th anniversary of the Ramones’ debut album this month, and Black Flag frontman and KCRW D.J. Henry Rollins talks about why the punk band means so much to him. And finally, Comcast will buy Dreamworks Animation. When does a mass media company become too massive?
FROM THIS EPISODE
UC Berkeley scientists recently used audio from “The Moth Radio Hour” to study where we file away the meanings of words in our brains, giving researchers an unprecedented window into how we interpret language. Seven volunteers were brain-scanned as they listened to more than two hours of the storytelling program (that airs on KCRW), and then the scientists used those scans to map where we store the meanings we attach to words in our minds. The findings could ultimately be used to help people with difficulty speaking, like stroke victims.
For gardeners, weeding can be a sometimes-unpleasant, but necessary task, and it’s the same for librarians. When they take books out of circulation, it’s referred to as ‘weeding’. They’ll remove books from the shelves that people have lost interest in and replace them with newer books. But last summer, Berkeley residents decided that the ‘weeding’ had gone too far at their beloved Berkeley Public Library, prompting them to protest against head librarian Jeff Scott, who was forced to resign. The incident became known as ‘Librarygate’.
Edward Snowden is no longer just a symbol of the fight for freedom from surveillance, he’s become a major motion picture. Joseph Gordon-Levitt stars as the whistleblower in Oliver Stone’s “Snowden”. The trailer for the film, which opens in September, was released Wednesday. Xeni Jardin weighs in on that, Waze, and ‘Textalyzers’ in this week’s web roundup.
It’s been forty years this month since the Ramones released their first album. The self-titled debut came out in April 1976, and on the iconic cover by Punk Magazine photographer Roberta Bayley, the boys stand slouched in their leather jackets and tough-guy poses in front of a graffitied brick wall. “Ramones,” and songs like “Blitzkrieg Bop,” kick-started the punk movement, appealing to disaffected kids who were ready for a change from the bloat and bombast of 70s arena rock – kids like Henry Rollins. Rollins went on to have his own career in punk as the frontman for the band Black Flag. He spoke with Press Play producer Christian Bordal about his memories of the Ramones first album and why the band means so much to him.
Dreamworks Animation will be sold to Comcast for $3.8 billion. The animation company will join an already-crowded Comcast portfolio that includes Universal Pictures, Focus Features, the television networks MSNBC and Bravo, not to mention Hulu, Fandango, the Universal theme parks, and the Philadelphia Flyers hockey franchise. The sale got us asking, ‘when does a mass media company like Comcast become too massive’?
More From Press Play with Madeleine Brand
Why black boys from rich families have a 50-50 chance of falling into poverty New research shows that black boys raised in U.S. -- even in the richest neighborhoods -- still earn less money when they grow up than white boys of similar backgrounds. But that’s not the case for women. Black and white women usually track together, while black men rarely make it to the same levels as white men.
California case: free speech v. abortion rights Crisis pregnancy centers are generally run by pro-life groups that aim to convince pregnant women not to get abortions. A California law requires that employees tell their clients that the state offers free and low-cost abortions and other family planning services. Now a group of these centers is arguing that the law violates their freedom of speech.
Does copyright law cover graffiti? Clothing company H&M did a fashion shoot in Brooklyn featuring models standing against a gray wall painted with black waving lines. The graffiti was the work of an LA-based street artist, who wanted compensation. H&M responded by filing a lawsuit against him, then dropped it a few days later.
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