4.28.15: The High Cost Of Evading Child Support, International Emoji Use, & Rube Goldberg

Apr 28, 2015

After Walter Scott was fatally shot by a South Carolina police officer last month, his family speculated he fled the police because he feared going back to jail for unpaid child support. On today’s show: a closer look at child support policies and why some argue it keeps poor men trapped in a cycle of debt, unemployment and prison. 

Then, the modern answer to hieroglyphics, emoji can convey tone and emotion in a single image. Later we’ll delve into emoji use around the world, and what it reveals about cultural and national identities. 

Listen to the full show:

Child Support Evaders Get Caught in a Cycle of Debt and Prison

Shaila Dewan covers Cities and States for the New York Times, she and Frances Robles wrote about punitive policies for child support that some critics charge is keeping poor men trapped in a cycle of debt, unemployment and prison.  "Skip Child Support. Go to Jail. Lose Job. Repeat."

Medieval Combat

The Medieval Combat World Championships are this Thursday at the historic Malbork Castle in Poland. Producer Taylor Quimby went to see the US team train at their gym in Nashua, The Knight’s Hall.

See photos from Knights Hall and a video at this link: 

MMA With Weapons: Training For The Medieval Combat World Championships

International Emoji Use

The mobile app company SwiftKey recently conducted a wide reaching study on how emojis are used across the world, and analyzed more than a billion pieces of data. Jennifer Kutz is head of US communications for SwiftKey and joined us to discuss the company’s findings. 

James Brown Saves Boston

On April 5, 1968, the country was reeling from the assassination of the Reverand Martin Luther King, Jr., the night before. Riots had broken out in several cities. In Boston, James Brown was scheduled to play to a sold-out crowd at the 14,000-seat Boston Gardens. It had the potential to be a flash point for rioting right in the heart of downtown Boston. Michael May brings us the story.

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

The Origins of the Rube Goldberg Machine

Rube Goldberg’s name is used often to symbolize complex bureaucracies and overly elaborate ways of getting things done, but few know much about the man they were named for. Brendan O’Connor is a journalist based in New York. We found his article, “Inside The Surprisingly Dark World Of Rube Goldberg Machines” at The Verge.