March 2008

Chocolate Economics (March 1-7)

Melanie Marks (Longwood University) has written a textbook “Chocolate Economics” to teach 2nd & 3rd graders about everyday finance.

Also: Many of us struggle to balance our monthly budgets—car payments, rent or mortgage, new clothes, restaurants all can leave some of us desperately waiting for our next paycheck. But imagine you had just two dollars a day to meet your needs. More than half of the world’s population lives on less than two dollars a day, and Economist Shawn Humphrey (University of Mary Washington) challenged his students to get by for a week on that amount.

WGR News Feature: Governor Tim Kaine has declared April 2008 as "Financial Literacy Month."  Nancy King, with the radio program "With Good Reason," says there's a gowing movement in Virginia that's pushing to teach kids all about money at a very early age.  And it seems to be paying off. Listen to the two and a half minute feature.

Related Links:

Audio Slideshow: Shawn Humphreys describes 'The Stove Project,' an effort to study and reverse the effects of indoor air pollution from cookstoves in a Honduran village.

UMW Student Group 'Students Helping Honduras'

Living on $2 a day website and student blogs

Aw, Shucks... Oysters in Virginia (March 8 – 14)

In Virginia, oysters have influenced our history, our industry, our culture and, of course, our eating habits.  When Captain John Smith sailed into the Chesapeake Bay, he said oysters were so plentiful “they lay thick as stones.” By the 1980s, overharvesting, disease and pollution had reduced the number of oysters to just one percent of those historic levels.  But there is now reason for optimism as oysters are making a comeback.  Chefs, oystermen, conservationists, oyster-lovers, and poets Nikki Giovanni (Virginia Tech) and Tim Seibles (Old Dominion University) all weign in on the legend and allure of Crassostrea virginica.

Hear Tim Seibles' original poem 'Revenge of the Oyster'

WGR News Feature: For nearly four centuries, oyster was "king" of the Chesapeake Bay--supporting industry and a way of life on Virginia's Eastern Shore.  But by the 1980s, disease and pollution had nearly wiped out Virginia oysterbeds.  Nancy King, with the radio program "With Good Reason," reports that today there is a glimmer of hope for the beleaguered bi-valve. Listen to the two and a half minute feature.

Retreat from the Rankings Race (March 15 - 21)

Twenty-four years after U.S. News and World Report first asked college presidents to rank their rival institutions, top spots in the magazine’s annual college survey have become so coveted that some schools are giving college presidents bonuses for boosting rankings, even just a little. But the system is also controversial, and sixty-three college presidents this year pledged to stop participating in the survey. Taylor Reveley (William and Mary) says the rankings are useful for students and parents, but they also over-simplify the selection process and cause great wasted effort for the schools. Also: Kim Lewis (Lord Fairfax Community College) says Virginia’s community college system is undergoing major changes in the kind of students it serves.

WGR News Feature: Toward the end of this month, college acceptance letters will start arriving in mailboxes of high school seniors across Virginia.  Nancy King, with the radio program "With Good Reason," reports it is "crunch time" for seniors and, as it turns out, for colleges too. Listen to the two and a half minute feature.

I do... But just not the dishes (March 22 - 28)

Men and women who believe in sharing housework equally often find it difficult to do so in a marriage. Sociologist Shannon Davis (George Mason University) explains why live-in boyfriends generally perform more housework than husbands. Also: When a single individual holds conflicting points of view on a subject, that’s called ambivalence. Professor of Communications Xiaoquan Zhao (George Mason University) says new research is aimed at learning how to craft public service messages to ambivalent people that might persuade them to, for instance, stop smoking or adopt a healthy diet.

Hear Kevin McFadden read some of his poems:

"Authentic"

"Faucet"

"Loan"

"Media"

WGR News Feature: Despite all the talk about equality in modern relationships, it should come as no surprise--at least to women--that most husbands are lagging behind in the housework department.  But Nancy King, with the radio program "With Good Reason," reports that live-in boyfriends are another story. Listen to the two and a half minute feature.

What's your Best Guess? (March 29 - April 4)

Have you ever wondered just how big your feet would need to be to allow you to walk on water, or how about the amount of time lost in a person’s life for every cigarette smoked? Physicist Lawrence Weinstein ( Old Dominion University) answers these brain teasers and many others by using a process called ‘guesstimation’. Also: David Wright ( Tidewater Community College) uses the rides at the Busch Gardens amusement park to educate about physics. He says that without understanding basic physic, much of the world around us makes no sense.

WGR News Feature: What are your real chances of winning the lottery?  Nancy King, with the radio program "With Good Reason," has found a physicist who doesn't play the lottery but who can shed some light on the odds of Lady Luck smiling on you.Listen to the two and a half minute feature.