1.02.17: Metling Ice, Shifting Sand & Atlas Obscura

Jan 2, 2017

When asked about what it was like to live with Alzheimer's disease, Donald Burke said, "like standing on melting ice." Today, a husband and wife dig into the metaphor to find meaning.

Plus, a comprehensive map of the world’s weirdest places – from Brazil’s Snake Island to an Icelandic elf school, to a giant burning hole in Turkmenistan, Atlas Obscura's new book is sure to make your next vacation a little stranger.

Melting Ice, Shifting Sand

In the winter of 2009, retired general contractor Donald Burke of Weare, New Hampshire was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. Over the next few years, he and his wife Marjorie chronicled their life together, knowing that it would change. In journals, poetry and prose, they wrote about outings  in the countryside, night terrors and falls, and the emotional tides and memories going in and out.  When asked, he said the disease was like standing on melting ice - Marjorie uses a different analogy:  "shifting sand."

That’s the name of their book Melting Ice, Shifting Sand: One Couple's Journey With Alzheimer's Disease.  Marjorie joined us to talk about their journey together, and the process of caring for a loved one with Alzheimer's.  

Listen to this segment again at this link.

Music and Memory

The arts can be a path to connect with people who suffer from forms of dementia. This story, from producers George Drake Jr. and Craig Shank and the podcast Everything Sounds, explores that idea more deeply. 

You can listen to this story again at PRX.org.

Here Be Dragons

Arctic explorer Henry Hudson set sail from England 400 years ago in search of the Northwest Passage - a route that would cut down the travel time on trading routes between Europe and Asia. Instead of finding the passage, he was marooned in what is now known as Hudson Bay - a region that remains mysterious today. Reporter Emily Corwin found a contemporary arctic explorer searching for answers.

You can listen to this story again at PRXorg

Atlas Obscura in Print

Atlas Obscura is not your typical travel guide. It won't point out the best restaurants in London or Paris, or the best views of the pyramids of Giza, or Stonehenge. But, if you're the kind of person who'd rather visit a 2300 year old mummy in Denmark, a Namibian ghost town, or Minnesota's Museum of Questionable Medical Devices, then this is the guidebook for you - and best of all, you can still enjoy without going anywhere: Atlas Obscura: An Explorer's Guide to the World's Hidden Wonders compiles some of the most wondrous places from the delightfully addictive Atlas Obscura website into a hefty book. 

Ella Morton is co-author with Joshua Foer and Dylan Thuras, and Ella joined us to tell us more about the guide.   

Listen to this segment again at this link.