1.12.17: The Great Smog, Part Time is the New Normal, & 10-Minute Writer's Workshop

Jan 12, 2017

Weather events and disasters can be ferocious - but in December of 1952, London, England was struck by a much quieter calamity - a heavy blanket of smog so thick, that thousands died. Today, stories from The Great Smog of 1952.  

And, eight years after the financial crisis, unemployment is down to pre-recession levels. Another indicator has not faired as well: underemployment. Is part-time work the new normal?

Listen to the full show. 

The Great Smog

Weather events and disasters can be ferocious - tornadoes, earthquakes, tsunamis - these sudden forces strike quickly and leave destruction in their wake.  In December of 1952, London, England was struck by a much quieter calamity - a heavy blanket of smog so thick, that thousands died. In a city known for "pea-soupers" - the event came to be known as "The Great Smog" - recently remembered on the Netflix series, The Crown.

Dr. Christine Corton is author of London Fog: the Biography and joined us now to talk about The Great Smog. 

Perfect Security

During the great smog of 1952, London saw a crime wave – perhaps not surprising for a city that had one hundred years earlier, publicly tempted criminals to pick the perfect lock. This story, about a concept called "Perfect Security" comes to us from Roman Mars and the podcast 99% Invisible.    

You can listen to this story again at PRX.org

Part Time is the New Normal

When President Obama took office eight years ago, the country was in a financial with unemployment rate shooting upward.  By December of 2016, unemployment was back to pre-recession levels. But there's another indicator we don't hear much about: the under-employment rate.

Lonnie Golden is a professor of economics at Penn State University, Abington College and the author of a new report from the Economic Policy Institute, a think-tank that focuses on low and middle-income workers. The study argues that part-time work has become "the new normal,” It also details how the part-time economy has played out during the recession, and offers some policy tips on how to curb the issue. 

Related: 6.4 Million Americans Are Working Involuntarily Part Time

10-Minute Writer's Workshop: Jonathan Lethem

This week, we'll speak with Jonathan Lethem - the essayist and novelist behind Dissident Gardens, Chronic City, and most recently A Gambler's Anatomy, and a slew of other books and collections.   

You can listen to this full episode again here: 10-Minute Writer's Workshop: Jonathan Lethem