1.23.17: Civics 101, Reducing Transphobia, & Salt Flats Racing

Jan 23, 2017

When confronting transphobia, what's the best way to encourage understanding? How about a face-to-face discussion? Today, a study follows a group of door-to-door canvassers, and quantifies what we probably know instinctively - conversation is an effective tool for empathy and persuasion.

Plus, just because you saw The West Wing 10 years ago, does not mean you understand how government works. And that's ok. Today we introduce Civics 101 to untangle the fundamentals you learned in school and probably forgot - like what exactly does a Chief of Staff do?

Listen to the full show. 

Civics 101: Chief of Staff

We're all familiar with the title, but what does a White House Chief of Staff actually do? What does the daily routine entail? And how much power does the position hold?  Our inaugural episode covers the basics of the President's gatekeeper.

You can listen to this full episode again here: Civics 101: Chief of Staff

White House, Black Chefs

Each presidential administration is different, but they all have to eat - and entertain - and for that they rely on the White House chef. While almost all of the US presidents have been white, the leaders of the White House kitchen have not. In this piece the Kitchen Sisters, Nikki Silva and Davia Nelson, explore the lives of two men who fed the founding fathers. Both were slaves and among the first of many African American cooks that would go on to serve the United States presidents.   

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

Reducing Transphobia

When it comes to identity politics, and issues where prejudice, ignorance, and misinformation can cloud or prevent discussion, what's the best way to reach across the divide and find common ground? Twitter? Unlikely. How about a face-to-face discussion?

Josh Kalla is a PhD student co-authored of a new study, called "Durably Reducing Transphobia: a Field Experiment on Door-to-Door Canvassing".

The study traces the work of David Fleischer - project director at the Leadership Lab, which organized the door-to-door canvassing featured in the study.   

Racing on Utah's Salt Flats

When you think of a racetrack, you probably picture a smoothly paved oval, with pit crews standing by, and bleachers rising up on all sides. But at Utah's Bonneville Speedway the world's fastest vehicles compete without stands or pavement - zooming across a desert of bone-white salt at hundreds of miles per hour. Racers have attempted to break land speed records at the Bonneville Salt Flats since 1914.

Today, every imaginable form of vehicle gets tested out on those salt beds at annual events like "The World of Speed" and "Speed Week." We wanted to hear more about this amazing outdoor track, so we spoke with Dennis Sullivan, president of the Utah Salt Flats Racing Association