American Dueling Grounds, Chuck Klosterman, & SpaceX

Jun 10, 2016

Dueling was once a common part of the American experience. Today, we’ll learn more about this history and some popular dueling spots that that public can still visit today.

And what if we're wrong about everything? Pop culture critic Chuck Klosterman takes on the difficult task of predicting how our present will be viewed hundreds of years from now. We'll talk about the next great American novelist, Neil DeGrasse Tyson, and the improbable factor that kept Hamilton on the ten dollar bill.

Listen to the full show. 

America's Dueling History

We at Word of Mouth, like so many people out there, have recently become big fans of the hip-hop musical Hamilton, currently sold out on Broadway until 2017. Even if you haven't been listening to the soundtrack on repeat, you may remember a few facts about Alexander Hamilton from your high school history class. He was a founding father, the very first Secretary to the Treasury, and he died dramatically - after being shot in a duel. That was back in 1804 - when dueling was common part of the American experience.

Jennifer Billock is a journalist, author, and freelance editor. She wrote about America's dueling history and some popular dueling spots from back in the day for Smithsonian.

A Dance Between Darkness and Light

Extraordinary minds, minds that work differently, can be a burden and a gift. Producer Aubrey Ralph knows this first hand. Aubrey's own experience with bipolar disorder has made him acutely aware of how are minds can shape and distort reality. And he discovered that's especially true for people with schizophrenia. That piece was for Wisconsin Public Radio and the PRI show:  "To The Best of Our Knowledge. "

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

Chuck Klosterman

Chuck Klosterman is a pop culture critic and the author of fiction and nonfiction books like Sex, Drugs and Cocoa Puffs and I Wear the Black Hat.  In his newest, But What If We're Wrong? Thinking About the Present As If It Were the Past, Klosterman tries to reverse engineer our view of history and apply it to today. He asks questions like what song will define the rock genre 1,000 years from now? Who is the great undiscovered writer of the internet age? And is democratic freedom really all it's cracked up to be?

Will SpaceX Get to Mars by 2018

Producer Taylor Quimby is a big science fiction fan, so naturally he’s enjoyed watching the progress of Elon Musk's company SpaceX, as they resupply the International Space Station, and recently made history by successfully landing their reusable falcon rocket on a drone-operated ocean barge. 

So when SpaceX announced not too long ago that they want to put an unmanned capsule on Mars by 2018, he was like, "awwwww yeah".  But Sam Evans-Brown, host of NHPR's show Outside/In, who works about 12 feet away from Taylor, overheard his excitement, and was like "uuuuh, not gonna happen". 

So they asked Phil Plaitto weigh in on their bet. Phil is the science writer behind the Bad Astronomy blog for Slate.  

The Problem With Nutrition Labels

The nutrition labels you see plastered on the sides of food packaging are getting a major overhaul next month - the first in twenty years. First Lady Michelle Obama, who has made fighting obesity a major part of her time in the white house, celebrated the upcoming changes in a press conference last month.

Dr. James Hamblin is senior editor at The Atlantic where he writes the health column for their monthly magazine - he is less enthused about the new labels. 

Related: The Number to Avoid on New Nutrition Labels