1.19.17: Regulating Catfish, Native American Heritage Fund, & The Wasp and the Caterpillar

Jan 19, 2017

In Australia, there is a small marsupial called the antechinus. It looks a lot like an ordinary mouse, but has an extraordinary life-cycle. Today, we discover a host of incredible organisms that illustrate the absurdity and elegance of evolution.

Plus, a regulatory conundrum over catfish. At a moment when the political divide is as wide as it's ever been, some republicans and democrats are actually coming together - over a bottom-feeder.

Listen to the full show. 

Bipartisan Catfish Regulation

The docket for the Trump administration's first 100 days is loaded with a few stridently partisan issues including the affordable care act, climate change and trade policy.  But there still a few issues with bipartisan support that legislators are united in challenging as soon as possible - including the regulatory status of catfish. Yes, catfish. It turns out that the bottom feeding fish has political connections in high places.

Cara Giaimo is a staff writer for Atlas Obscura who looked into the strange political battle over how catfish should be regulated.

Native American Heritage Fund

In 1898, Webster's Collegiate Dictionary defined "redskin" as an "often contemptuous" term. Despite its tangled history, the racist term is still widely used as a sports mascot - most notably by the NFL team that hails from our nation's capital.  Yesterday, the Supreme Court heard a case on whether derogatory terms can be trademarked by the US Patent Office which will determine whether the DC team can keep its name.

Still, one Native American tribe isn't waiting to see how the court rules. The Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi created a compact with the state of Michigan to create the Native American Heritage fund. Through the fund, k-12 schools, colleges, and government organizations can apply for grants that help them revise outdated textbooks, representations and relationships with Michigan's Native American tribes. And it's funded by gambling revenues.  

Jamie Stuck is Chairperson of the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi and a prime mover in creating the Native American Heritage fund with Michigan. 

Song Exploder: Angel Olsen

At the end of every year, the “best of” lists come calling - and one album featured on many was My Woman, by Angel Olsen. In this episode of Song Exploder, produced by Hrishikesh Hirway, Angel breaks down “Shut Up Kiss Me,” one of the tracks from that album. 

You can listen to this full episode again here: Episode 90: Angel Olsen

He's Forgotten More Rock Shows Than You'll Ever Attend

The music, the drugs, the hair: many of history's greatest rock 'n rollers are larger than life characters, and that's thanks in part to the photographers who've captured and help memorialize the spirit of the art form. Dan Corrigan is one of them and his photos are collected in a new book called Heyday. This piece about his career was produced by Xan Holston for KFAI's series "Ten-Thousand Fresh Voices."

You can listen to this story again at PRX.org

The Wasp That Brainwashed the Caterpillar

Evolution is the most majestic problem-solving force on the planet. But it also creates problems. Take the Surinam toad. After an undersea mating ritual that involves copious somersaults, the fertilized eggs are deposited on the female's back. The mama frog's skin grows around them - protecting her progeny from predators - until they emerge in a way that Wired's science writer Matt Simon describes as "a not okay thing for humans to witness."

Humans can witness a parade of eccentric life forms that have not perished, but adapted in remarkable and bizarre ways in Matt’s new book, The Wasp That Brainwashed the Caterpillar: Evolution's Most Unbelievable Solutions to Life's Biggest Problems.