9.20.16: Making Kratom a Class A Drug, The Twin Boom, & Politeness Expert

Sep 20, 2016

America's opioid crisis has local, state and federal officials scrambling - which is why the DEA decided to ban Kratom, an Asian  plant with an opioid-like effect, as a schedule one drug. But some researchers and users say it could help addicts get kick addictive drugs. Today, crackdown on Kratom - the drug you hadn't heard of until last week.

Plus, walk into a pre-school or elementary school today and you won't find peanut butter, but you'll likely see a few sets of twins ...we'll look at twinning patterns throughout human history, and why the proportion of twins in the population continues to ebb and flow.

Listen to the full show. 

Making Kratom a Class A Drug

America's opioid crisis has local, state and federal officials scrambling.  Law enforcement aims to stem the flow of cheap, often lethal drugs like fentanyl to the market.  Treatment centers are prescribing Suboxone to wean addicts off of street drugs, and the overdose reversal drug Narcan has been offered free to high schools across the country.

Into this messy mix of brand name drugs, comes news that the DEA will ban Kratom, an Asian  plant with an opioid-like effect, as a schedule one drug. That's despite research showing that Kratom might be a safer alternative to prescription opioids. David Kroll covers drugs for Forbes and has been tracking the news on Kratom.

Weenie Royale: The Impact of the Internment on Japanese Cooking in America

During World War II, more than 100,000 people of Japanese descent were held in internment camps. Many were American citizens. All of them condemned without trial.  In this piece, producers Nikki Silva and Davia Nelson - aka The Kitchen Sisters - explore how that upheaval, and the often terrible conditions of the camps, changed Japanese cooking and culture for generations to come.  

You can listen to this story again at PRX.org

The Twin Boom

Walk into a pre-school or elementary school today and you won't find peanut butter, but you'll likely see a few sets of twins. The US and the entire world are in the midst of a twin boom - a phenomenon last seen in the west after World War I.  Throughout human history, the proportion of twins in the population has ebbed and flowed. Now, demographers have data to study the "twinning" cycle and have some clues as to why.     

Laura Spinney is a writer and science journalist, based in Paris. She wrote about the "twin boom" for Aeon.

The Politeness Expert

There can be something suspicious about a person who shows genuine interest in another with no clear motive. What's the angle?  After all, our culture pays more attention to online rants than compliments and rewards snarky opinions on Twitter with followers.

Paul Ford prides himself on being polite. He is a founding partner of the software company, post light, and host of the tech-based podcast, Track Changes. We found his manifesto, How To Be Polite, on the Medium website.

Plus, the NHPR staff talks about the polite social conventions we wish we could do away with.