12.22.15: Surviving Winter, "Why I Hate Star Wars", & A Conversation About Santa

Dec 22, 2015

Last winter researchers set off for Norway’s northern reaches where the sun barely rises above the horizon to find out how residents cope with the cold and darkness and discovered something remarkable. On this Solstice day, we reveal the Norwegian secret to enjoying a harsh winter. Plus, how Granite Staters feel about the lack of snow this holiday season. Then, for some parents, Christmas raises a conundrum – how to navigate the magical world of Santa. 

Listen to the full show. 

Surviving a Norwegian Winter

Credit Sean Reay via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/B9ecDh

  

New Englanders tend to break down into two camps: the outdoor enthusiasts who long for winter’s white slopes and those of us who grumble about the dark and cold, turn up the heat, read, and watch Netflix. If you’re among the later, it might be time to take a page out of Norway’s playbook.

According to new research, Norwegians don’t seem to suffer from the same sorts of seasonal mood swings we do here in America’s Northeast. Laura Vanderkam is an author and contributor to Fast Company where she recently shared some Norwegian secrets to embracing the winter

Granite Staters' Take on the Not-So-Wintry Weather

Parts of New Hampshire are expected to reach a high of sixty degrees on Christmas day, hardly a white Christmas. So how are Granite Staters feeling about the unseasonable weather? Producer Megan Tan hit the streets of downtown Concord to find out. 

Star Island Caretaker

Ever fantasized about living on a lush tropical island?  Would you settle for a long cold winter on a rugged rock 6 miles off the coast of Portsmouth?  For the last 18 years, photographer Alexandra De Steiguer has done just that as the lone winter caretaker of Star Island.  NHPR's Sean Hurley paid her a visit and brought back the story. 

You can read more and listen to the story again here

Our Sleep Evolution

Today is the Winter Solstice, the shortest day and longest night of the year, when the sun will only rise above the horizon for about 8 hours. Still, most of us will continue bustling around in the darkness thanks to our somewhat surprising ability to get by on relatively little sleep. David Samson is a postdoctoral associate at Duke University where he co-authored a study on the evolution of human sleep patterns. He says humans evolved to get better quality sleep than our fellow primates. 

  

"Why I Hate Star Wars"

Credit Betsy Weber via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/8ys2Cn

With all the box office records, product tie ins, and unavoidable enthusiasm for the franchise, Star Wars haters are up against the ropes this week. Brett Berk is one of them. Brett is author of The Gay Uncle’s Guide to Parenting, and he recently wrote an essay for The Drive called “Why I [Effing] Hate Star Wars. We caught up with him to see what the backlash has been like and why he hates Star Wars

All in Your Head

Whether an action-adventure movie or a romantic comedy, music plays a big role in shaping the sound and feel of a film. For Star Wars that means huge orchestras and sweeping arrangements. For horror films it means something else entirely. Roman Marshost of the podcast 99% Invisible, and Hrishikesh Hirway, of the podcast Song Exploder, looked into the design of horror movie soundtracks and has the story. 

You can listen to this story again at PRX.org

A Conversation About Santa

K.J. Dell’Antonia, is editor and lead writer of the “Motherlode” blog for the New York Times. She joined us to talk about Santa and the Elf on the Shelf. And that's all we're going to say. If you're listening to this in the company of young children, you might want to use headphones.

We also talked to another individual about Santa who had a different perspective on the subject-ahem-but we've chosen to keep his identity a secret, even though he's not ashamed. Again, consider yourself forewarned, you might want to listen on your own without the little tykes.