11.12.14: Bacterial "Fingerprints", The Seedy Underworld Of Kickboxing, & The Whiteness Project

Nov 12, 2014

Home is where the microbes are.
Credit Illustration by Renee Carlson/Argonne National Laboratory / via flickr Creative Commons

The fingerprint was once law enforcement’s “smoking gun”, next came DNA evidence. Now, scientists are researching another bio-marker that may be able to tell us even more about a crime scene. On today’s show, we’ll find out what a perp’s microbiome reveals after they leave the room.

Plus, after Ferguson, President Obama said that the nation seriously needs a conversation about race. A filmmaker asks: is dialogue possible if America’s most privileged race can’t clearly see itself? What does it mean to be white?

Listen to the full show and click Read more for individual segments.

The Microbiome: Bacterial "Fingerprints"

  • Jack Gilbert is an environmental microbiologist at Argonne national laboratory, and lead author of a paper exploring microbiomes in our homes and apartments. You can read more about microbiomes and forensics here and here.

Professional Kickboxing

The Whiteness Project

  • Filmmaker Whitney Dow has found that  white people don’t feel comfortable talking about whiteness, which he thinks is an essential part of our national conversation about racial identity, culture and privilege. So, Dow has set out to ask 1000 white people that very question -- what does it mean to be white?
  • We've got a few links with more information: whitenessproject.org, Whitney's interview with Vice about the project, Whitney is also doing an AMA on reddit tomorrow, November 13th at 1:00 pm ET/10:00 am PT.
  • We want to know what you think about the project. Leave a comment below or join the conversation on our Facebook page.


The Origins of a Name

  • For the past few years, the Washington Redskins have been embroiled in a series of battles over its team name. Many object to the name on the grounds that it's a racist epithet from a bygone era. But before engaging in the debate, it helps to understand the origin of the word "redskin" and how it came to be seen as offensive. As Lauren Ober reports, the word's genesis might come as a surprise.
  • You can listen to the story at PRX.org.