All posts by Clinton A Walker

13 So-Called Healthy Foods That Really Aren’t So Great For You

You know what’s better than sitting down in front of a big bowl of kale? Sitting down in front of just about anything else.

A cup full of razor blades? Yup. A dish piled high with rusty nails? You bet. A plate of discarded dreams? Pretty much.

Very obvious (and probably abnormal) distaste for kale aside, green stuff is good for you. If you feel lethargic, irritable, sluggish, or generally out of shape, you’re probably not getting enough of it. That being said, there are some fruits, veggies, and dishes out there that get off on masquerading as health food just to watch us squirm. Here are a few culprits that your body really wouldn’t miss if you replaced them with chocolate.*

*Don’t replace vegetables with chocolate.

1. Peas

iStock

Okay, so here’s the deal with peas and why they’re the worst. Not only do they taste like a combination of moth balls and sadness, but they’re really not all that good for you because they’re high on the glycemic scale. High-glycemic foods have been linked to weight gain and acne. Bye, peas. Bye.

2. Bell Peppers

iStock

Because the universe has a personal vendetta against me and wants to rip the vegetables I actually like from my weak, unhealthy hands, bell peppers contain something called solanine. Basically, this little chemical can lead to inflammation that can eventually morph into diabetes and/or heart disease. The only domino effects you can count on in life are bad ones. Remember that.

3. Frozen Veggie Burgers

iStock

Bad news, veg friends. The frozen veggie burgers we all know and love are usually packed with highly processed soy. To enjoy veggie burgers that actually contain vegetables, try making some from scratch.

4. Coconut and Almond Milk (in Cartons)

iStock

Because drinking dairy milk is hands down one of the weirdest things human beings do, plenty of us opt for almond and coconut milk. And that’s fine. The downside is that those of us who have made the switch also purchase our milk of choice in cartons at the supermarket. Commercial producers of the stuff have to extract a lot of it in a short period of time, which leads to the addition of artificial vitamins like vitamin D2. These artificial versions have been linked to birth defects and brittle bones.

A substance called carrageenan is also used in this process, which was determined by the World Health Organization (WHO) to be a carcinogen. We’re all screwed.

5. Margarine

iStock

If there’s one thing that sends me into an existential crisis, it’s the fact that I have to live my life knowing that butter is bad for me. While opting for fat-free, oil-based spreads like margarine might make you feel like you’re making a healthy choice, hydrogenated oils turn into trans fats at room temperature, and those are even worse than saturated fats. Everything is horrible and happiness is an illusion.

6. Celery

iStock

There’s no long, drawn-out explanation for why celery isn’t the best choice. It’s just kind of pointless. If your intake of nutrition-packed veggies is adequate, go ahead and make some ants on a log. If it’s not, don’t rely on these crunchy little guys to get you where you need to be.

7. Whole-Grain Bread

iStock

Why can’t the universe just let me be great? Here I am thinking that choosing whole-grain bread over white bread at the grocery store is the best way to go, but nah, nothing works. As it turns out, many of those lying, scheming loaves are dyed versions of their paler counterparts. They also tend to contain hydrogenated oils and added sugar. I love everything! (No I don’t!)

8. Yogurt

iStock

Because I’m apparently wearing a sign that says “please play me” on my back, most yogurt in grocery stores contains as much sugar as a candy bar. Your best bet is to go as plain as possible and add your own fruit and toppings at home.

9. Dried Fruit

iStock

Loved by crunchy people the world over, dried fruit also has a candy-like effect on the ol’ bod. Packed with sugar and preservatives, these snacks aren’t much better for you than gummy bears. And they’re obviously not half as good, so you’re playing yourself here.

10. Agave Nectar

iStock

While artificial sweeteners are horrible, using agave nectar as an alternative just because it’s natural isn’t any better. In fact, it contains more fructose than any other common sweetener. Things just got real sour real quick.

11. Sandwich Thins

iStock

You can just go ahead and assume that anything that calls itself “bread” and also comes with a mile-long ingredient list probably isn’t healthy. Instead, be way too cool for your friends and eat open-faced sandwiches if you want to skip out on some carbs.

12. Egg Substitutes

iStock

Egg substitutes will essentially help you trade a little cholesterol for way too many preservatives (and will rob you of a few key vitamins in the process). Eating a few whole eggs a week isn’t going to hurt you.

13. Wraps

iStock

My whole world is crashing down around me. Basically, tortillas are almost always made with white flour and packed with a third of your daily value of sodium. The other issue here is psychological. Because we’re excited about cutting back on bread, we opt for crispy chicken instead of grilled. We indulge on a little ranch dressing. Those calories add up. Guess everything is a lie, folks.

If you need me, you can find me in the kitchen eating my feelings (and I won’t be using a wrap to find sweet, edible relief).

Read more: http://www.viralnova.com/not-so-healthy/

We Tried A Classic Love Experiment And This Is What Happened

Can asking each other 36 questions and staring into each other’s eyes for four minutes make two people fall in love?

Alice Mongkonglite / BuzzFeed

A few weeks ago, Mandy Len Catron of the New York Times published “To Fall in Love With Anyone, Do This,” which has since gone viral and even inspired a few parodies. In the piece, Catron talks about going to a bar with a man who would later become her boyfriend and asking each other 36 questions, followed by four minutes of uninterrupted eye contact. The study, formed by Dr. Arthur Aron of Stony Brook University, was originally designed to measure closeness in strangers, but has since then been used to try to form romantic bonds between people.

“We were trying to find a method in the laboratory to create closeness,” Aron told BuzzFeed. “There had been a fair amount of research on how people tend to form friendships, and what that research showed was that a very standard process is that they self-disclose, reveal personal things about themselves at a gradually increasing rate, and that it’s reciprocal. So we wanted to see if we could make that happen in a short amount of time in a lab.”

What matters even more than self-disclosure, Aron said, is how the other person responds. “If I’m sitting there self-disclosing and the other person is just sitting there blankly and then takes their turn, it’s not going to have the same effect, we think, based on the research, than if the other person is nodding and appreciating that that’s how you feel.”

“Believing that someone is interested in deeply knowing you and seeing you for your true self is an extremely important ingredient for intimacy to develop,” Dr. Jill P. Weber told BuzzFeed. “But more powerful than believing this about a person is actually experiencing someone asking questions and displaying interest in a person’s most intimate details.”

As far as the eye contact’s effect, Dr. Kelly Campbell of California State University told BuzzFeed that “researchers have found that the ‘bonding’ or ‘love’ hormone of oxytocin gets released during prolonged eye contact. This is the same hormone that gets released when mothers breastfeed and gaze into the eyes of their infant.”

With all that in mind, we decided to test out this experiment ourselves.

Some of us were meeting strangers for the first time on a blind date. Some of us had just started seeing the person or were in new relationships. Others were together for a decade or so.

The official study had the 36 questions divided into three sets, where each section was timed for 15 minutes and the whole experiment lasted for 45 minutes total. However, we decided to answer all 36 questions the same way that Catron did in her piece, our experiences ranging from three and a half to seven hours, respectively.

Alice Mongkonglite / BuzzFeed

Brett Vergara and Anonymous, Blind First Date

A: The hardest part was probably the build up to it. I was really nervous about the idea of opening up to a complete stranger. When I got there it wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be. I actually really enjoyed myself!

BV: What quickly became apparent doing this exercise is how we were far more similar than I’d have originally anticipated. On the surface, it would seem that my partner and I came from very different backgrounds, with entirely different upbringings, and in turn had completely contrasting life experiences. This definitely wasn’t the case. It only took a few questions to unravel the similarities and common chords in our backgrounds.

A: I’m hoping that after this experience I will go into future dating situations being less afraid to really open up about who I am.

BV: I would say that going through this process serves more as an intensifier of any type of relationship, romantic or platonic. I mean, before I went through this experience there wasn’t a single person that knew the answer to every question involved with this exercise. Not my parents, not anyone I’ve been in a prior relationship with, not even my closest friends. When someone knows that much about you, especially on that intimate of a level, it’s only bound to bring you closer.

Sarah Karlan and Becca Sherman, Dating for Two Months

SK: I like sharing what is going on in my head. I found it more strange to hear how I appear to another person. I think we all have an idea of how we come across to others, but to hear someone say what they ‘like’ about me was weirdly amazing — and also made me feel uncomfortable at the same time. Such brazen honesty is not usually how we function in everyday life. It was refreshing.

BS: The weirdest part of this for me was talking so much about my childhood and family. I don’t spend a lot of time reflecting on my childhood, and don’t think of asking about it or discussing it much with someone I’m dating — at least, not in some sort of analytical way. That being said, I surprised myself with some of my answers, and it felt important and worthwhile to share with her.

SK: I like the idea of “cutting to the chase” or “cutting through the bullshit” and asking real questions. On dates sometimes you can get wrapped up talking about the superficial but it was a different ballgame doing the deep dive into each other’s lives. I think more people should do this even with non-romantic partners. Do it with your friends, your mom, everyone! Maybe not the eye contact though… that could get weird.

BS: I think I was most surprised at how comfortable the eye contact part of the experiment was for me. I had built that part of the experiment up in my head, and was expecting it to be pretty nerve-racking and/or awkward, but after spending time digging into all of these questions, it just felt right. You spend this very direct, focused time digging deep into who you both are with these questions, learning to “see” who the other person really is, and then you spend a really direct, focused amount of time physically seeing this person. I thought it was just a really perfect way to wrap it up and make you feel even closer.

Jenna Guillaume and Chris Guillaume, Together for 13.5 Years, Married for Two

JG: The hardest part for me was staring into each other’s eyes for four minutes. It didn’t feel natural — I kept wanting to lean forward and kiss Chris or ask what he was thinking or talk or do SOMETHING. It felt a little absurd, and I think it was probably more to do with my habit of constantly wanting to keep myself busy. Being still without any distractions was tough for me. But it was kind of relaxing too.

CG: I was surprised at how nice it was to share these things with each other again. It brought up wonderful memories of what we have done and achieved together.

JG: The thing that struck me most was that there weren’t really any surprises, which is probably good considering we’ve been together for 13.5 years. We know each other better than anyone else. The most surprising part for me was actually thinking about my OWN answers, and dwelling on a few things I hadn’t really considered before.

CG: The main takeaway from this was that talking more is always going to make for a happy relationship. It is easy to forget to talk with all the distractions in life these days so setting time aside each day to just talk might be my new favorite part of the day.

Alice Mongkonglite / BuzzFeed

Julia Pugachevsky and Anonymous, Second Date

JP: I really liked the questions where we had to name things we liked about each other, because we had to do it several times and go deeper than just “you’re smart” or “you’re attractive.” He had some very thoughtful things to say about me that I don’t think would normally come up on a second date, and it was quite wonderful to hear what nice things people notice about you when they first meet you.

A: As we opened up to each other more and more, to my surprise, I actually felt more physically attracted to her. I tend to think of physical attractiveness as this immutable rating, like one you’d give a Sims character or something, certainly something that only changes over a long time scale. But I guess it’s rare to look at someone hard, really scrutinizing them, without the intent of criticizing them or judging them negatively, and really finding the good.

JP: In some ways, this felt more comfortable to me than a standard second date at a bar because it gave us the freedom to open up when it’s usually considered a dating taboo to reveal too much too soon. I ended up telling him some hilariously incriminating stories about myself and we both had a good laugh, and I think that was a positive experience for me — not being afraid to really make fun of myself and just trusting the other person to get it.

A: Something that I’ll take away from this exercise is just remembering to compliment people. It felt so great when she said nice stuff about me. It’s so basic, but everyone’s so wrapped up in trying not to seem too vulnerable or too interested that people don’t compliment each other enough.

Arianna Rebolini and Brendan N., Together for 1.5 Years

AR: The questions that assumed or required us being strangers were funny, we had to alter how we were answering them, like the things we appeared to have in common. That one is probably better when you’re venturing a guess instead of being like, “We both like sushi; this is a fact.” Same things for the ones that were better suited for single people (like the “I wish I had someone to share ___ with” one).

BN: I had a hard time with some of the more abstract ones, like the one about love and affection.

AR: I was surprised at how visibly uncomfortable he was talking about himself. I feel like I knew he didn’t like being the center of attention, but it was like he didn’t want to take up time on his own stuff. I was also surprised by how much we DID know. I thought we’d be like learning all these new things about it each other but I guess we’ve covered a lot.

BN: I couldn’t believe how hard it was for me to tell my life story. It was such a struggle, and I picked such weird things. It felt impersonal the way I told it, like what was it, my fucking Facebook timeline? It felt like the most impersonal of all my answers.

Erin Chack and Sean C., Together for 9.5 Years

EC: I found it funny when I asked Sean the first question — “Who would like to have dinner with?” — and he looked at me blankly and said, “Am I supposed to say you?” After topping off his glass of wine and explaining the experiment wasn’t to prove we are in love but to help new couples accelerate intimacy, he relaxed. It was endearing how nervous he seemed at first.

SC: Erin and I have been dating for nine years so it was cool to go over a lot of views we’ve both talked about in our relationship and see what has changed, which wasn’t much.

EC: The most surprising thing to me was that there was literally nothing we didn’t know about each other. I thought there’d be some uncharted territory, but every response he gave I knew before he said it. The only new thing I learned was Sean thinks he’s going to die very old and I think I’m going to die young, which is something we may have never enunciated but I ascertained from the way we talk about our futures.

SC: Just thinking about the foundation of our relationship again was cool. And to always try to remember what we clicked together on and how we grew with each other and grow outside our relationship as well.

Alice Mongkonglite / BuzzFeed

Isaac Fitzgerald and Alice Kim, Together for Two Years

IF: I found out things I didn’t know about Alice, which is always exciting. I also thought it was really interesting to see what she focused on when telling her life story in four minutes. I was actually surprised by what I focused on during my own answering of that question as well.

AK: You get into a groove concerning the day-to-day, which is fine, but a little high-flown abstract talk never hurt anybody.

IF: I think there are ways that I could better support Alice based on some of her answers. I feel more familiar with the things she’s hopeful for, and with the things that she worries about. (She really didn’t like looking me in the eyes for four minutes, so we should probably avoid that in the future.)

AK: I had no problem staring at Isaac for that long, as he’s dreamy, but I found myself getting twitchy and self-conscious about being looked at — really looked at — for so long.

Krystie Yandoli and Chris W., Blind First Date

KY: Answering these questions wasn’t difficult for me because I like to consider myself a pretty honest and open person (plus, I talk a lot anyway). Asking the questions wasn’t difficult for me either, since I interview people all the time and am comfortable having conversations that involve an in-depth level of thought. But just sitting there with another person who, presumably was supposed to be a potential love interest felt bizarre in itself — opening myself up to that possibility was new and way overdue.

CW: I think by nature I’m pretty willing to reveal almost anything about myself in almost any situation, so the intimacy and privacy wasn’t a big deal. Maybe the hardest part, then, was staying on track enough to actually get through the questions in a reasonable amount of time since we both were pretty interested in pursuing tangential follow up questions. The whole thing took like five hours!

KY: I haven’t been open to the idea of love or romantic relationships for the past few years, so it was nice to be reminded of the work that needs to be done in order to create a substantial relationship. Since I went out with Chris, I’ve become more approachable, initiated dates, given out my number, and have had plenty of successful romantic interactions. This hasn’t been entirely intentional on my part, but I think subconsciously I’ve opened myself up to the idea of being comfortable with guys and knowing that if I want something, I have to go after it myself.

CW: The biggest takeaway was about the scope and topics of the questions. Essentially they access deeper forms of connections by trying to avoid questions of what you “do” and get in to who you “are.” Sure, getting to know someone’s tastes and interests is important, but by focusing on personal history and how the other person feels about specific emotional cues, or what their hopes or wishes are about their life ahead, these kinds of questions bring out more nuance and information about a person’s personality.

Intrigued? Here are the 36 questions so you can try it for yourself!

Read more: http://www.buzzfeed.com/juliapugachevsky/we-tried-the-new-york-times-love-experiment-and-this-is-what

Don’t Ever Reheat These 8 Foods In The Microwave — They Become Toxic!

I’ll admit it. My microwave and I are best friends.

Not only do I go for the microwave meals, but I often have leftovers when I do decide to make a fresh home-cooked dish. Often times, that means reheating food for days afterward. Even though it doesn’t quite taste the same, it usually gets the job done.

What I didn’t know is that some of the foods I reheat on a regular basis can actually become toxic when heated in the microwave. This is essential information for anyone who cooks at home.

1. Celery has nitrates that can turn into carcinogenic (cancer-causing) nitrosamines after reheating in the microwave.

Read More: In The Past 3 Years, This Dad Has Drawn On Over 400 Of His Son’s School Lunch Bags

2. Don’t put that leftover breakfast in the microwave; instead, toss eggs into a salad or sandwich for a cold and healthy way to reuse them.

Read more: http://www.viralnova.com/microwave-toxicity/

The Whiteness Of “Public Radio Voice”

As a black man, do I need to code-switch to be heard? A slightly different version of this piece originally appeared on Transom.org.

Chenjerai Kumanyika Linda Tindal

Last summer, I produced my first public radio piece as part of a week-long intensive radio workshop run by Transom. While writing my script, I was suddenly gripped with a deep fear about my ability to narrate my piece. As I read the script back to myself while editing, I realized that as I was speaking aloud I was also imagining someone else’s voice saying my piece. The voice I was hearing and gradually beginning to imitate was something in between the voice of 99% Invisible host Roman Mars and Serial host Sarah Koenig.

Those two very different voices have many complex and wonderful qualities and I’m a fan of those shows. They also sound like white people. My natural voice — the voice that I use when I am most comfortable — doesn’t sound like that. Thinking about this, I suddenly became self-conscious about the way that I instinctively alter my voice and way of speaking in certain conversational contexts, and I realized that I didn’t want to do that for my first public radio-style piece.

Of course, I’m not alone in facing this challenge. Journalists of various ethnicities, genders and other identity categories intentionally or unintentionally internalize and “code-switch” to be consistent with culturally dominant “white” styles of speech and narration. As I wrote my script for the Transom workshop piece, I was struggling to imagine how my own voice would sound speaking those words. This is partially because I am an African-American male, a professor, and hip-hop artist whose voice has been shaped by black, cultural patterns of speech and oratory. I could easily imagine my more natural voice as an interviewee or as the host of a news-style podcast about “African-American issues,” or even a sports or hip-hop podcast. Despite the sad and inexplicable disappearance of NPR shows like Tell Me More, I can find many examples of African-American hosts — like Tavis Smiley, John Hanson, Roland Martin, Bomani Jones, Freddie Coleman and Reggie Osse (Combat Jack) — of both of those kinds of media. But in my mind’s ear, it was harder to hear my voice, that is to say my type of voice, as the narrator of the specific kind of narrative, non-fiction radio piece that I was making.

Ira Glass of This American Life Neilson Barnard / Getty Images

I love listening to podcasts and public radio. I listen to them in my car, while chopping vegetables, while I’m working out, and when I should be doing other things (writing, grading, or producing my own podcast pieces.) The voices on podcasts and public radio are informed, interesting, gentle friends. They keep me company as they share important, entertaining, and sometimes tragic stories. But the timbre, accent, inflections, rhythm, metaphors, and references of these voices reflect class, region, ethnicity, gender, and other components of identity. Meanwhile — though I don’t have the statistics handy to prove this — my impression is that few of the hosts of popular narrative non-fiction podcasts and public radio programs like This American Life, Invisibilia, RadioLab, Startup, and Strangers are non-white. In short, very few of these hosts speak the way that I speak. This is one reason that some of my black and brown friends refuse to listen to some of my favorite radio shows and podcast episodes despite my most impassioned evangelical efforts.

I spoke to hip-hop artist, poet, author, doctoral student, and podcast skeptic A.D. Carson about this. He and I have produced both scholarly and artistic works together, but we don’t share the love of public radio.

Now I’m not sure I agree that all podcast voices are “warm coffee voices” and A.D. is clearly not moved by, or not aware of, the many different kinds of podcast and vocal styles that do exist if you know where to look. The problem is that you do really have to know where to look and if you don’t, then you might only be exposed to a narrow range of voices. This is why whether we agree or not, we all know what A.D. is talking about.

To give you a sense of how this affects me, here’s what I sound like as a hip-hop artist. Although I don’t speak this way all the time, it reflects an important aspect of my personality. I wrote it after I heard there would be no indictment in the Eric Garner case.

How can I bring that voice into my efforts as a radio producer? 

On the other hand, here is what happened with the Transom piece. I hear more code-switch than Chenjerai on my first effort.

Let me say I’m proud of this piece. It would be arrogant and lazy to expect my first piece to be amazing. So my issue isn’t about that. Some of what bothers me is just problems with poor writing choices. At times, I wrote with in a voice that isn’t my own (“Fisherman with Capital F”? What does that even mean?). What bothers me most when I listen to this piece is that I’m acutely conscious of the way I’m adjusting my whole experience/method of inhabiting my personality. My voice sounds too high in pitch, all the rounded corners of my vernacular are awkwardly squared off. I’ve flattened the interesting aspects of my voice. On the suggestion of Samantha Broun and Jay Allison of Transom, I tried to re-record part of that piece to better understand and illustrate these subtle differences.

When I hear this rerecorded piece, I’m not sure how much more effective it is, but I feel better listening to it. My voice is calmer, but hopefully not boring. In place of “Fisherman with a Capital F,” I allowed myself to get passionate for a moment about my subject’s fishing credentials. Overall, I feel more centered and I sound like myself, rather than sounding like myself pretending to be a public radio host.

Protestors in Ferguson, Missouri in November Scott Olson / Getty Images

Different hosts with different voices tell different kinds of stories. I make this point because there are many public radio programs that go to significant lengths to include the voices of underrepresented groups. These voices most often appear as people who are interviewed, but this is not the same has having hosts with different perspective and styles of speech.

In August and then again in November 2014, my wife and I traveled to Ferguson, Missouri. When we first got there in August, I remember talking to some young African-American males who lived on the street where Michael Brown was killed. I asked one why he thought that there had been such an uprising in Ferguson. In response, he reminded me that Michael Brown’s body had lain in the street for four hours (he said eight) before being picked up. Of course I had heard this before, but he made me feel it. I sat quietly for over 40 minutes and let him tell his own story his own way. His voice smoldered with conviction as he spoke. The deep resentment and frustration in his steady low tones pushed through any detachment or emotional distance that I might try to maintain. I felt the weight of Michael Brown’s body, and the weight of so many other lives in this young man’s voice. I wasn’t hearing his voice thrown in as a sound bite garnish to another host’s main dish. Instead, he was the narrator, assembling memories, images, emotions, and even speculation into his own multi-modal account. I would like to hear people who speak with voices like this young man’s voice as hosts and narrators on public radio shows and podcasts.

I can offer many examples of other voices that we don’t often get to hear as hosts. I think about my colleague Marilyn, an African-American female lecturer who speaks powerfully in various voices. Marilyn is from Chicago and when she speaks to me the way that she speaks at home, I learn all kinds of things about her, her family, Chicago, and life in general that don’t come across the same way when she speaks “professionally.” There’s no way to transcribe the music of her voice and that’s the point. You can only enter that world by hearing it yourself.

I also think about Uncle Carlos. My uncle-in-law Carlos lived part of his life in Ecuador and part of it in the Bronx. I remember him reminiscing about his recently deceased dog. Many people have a version of this kind of story, but no one can tell it the way my Uncle Carlos told it. “Oh man!” He would say, almost yelling at me! “You don’t understand the times that we,” (he and his dog) “got each other through!” “After he couldn’t walk so good, I would pick that dog up in my arms and carry him anywhere we need to go! You don’t get it man.” His voice — a beautiful mixture of New York and Ecuadorian English accents would cut into you. Then he would pause for long periods letting it sink in. This silence — the kind that is likely to be cut out in the editing process — was as important as his words. They were part of the unique rhythm and pace of his speech. He spoke loudly and passionately, too loudly and passionately for most public radio, but that’s the way our family communicates. I wonder what my Uncle Carlos would share with us if he were the host of a show.

Before I started writing this piece, this problem seemed simpler to me than it does now. That is because I was focusing on what I heard, and what I heard were the voices of white people on most of the popular public radio shows and podcasts. I didn’t want to hear it, but it would jump out at me despite my efforts to ignore it. Often, but not always, when I hear non-white journalists they also seem to be adjusting their vocal style of narration and reporting to what has come to be understood as professional.

However, as I dug deeper into this problem, I realized how tied up this phenomenon is with the broader complexities of speech, region, identity and dominant culture.

Certainly, there are real problems with diversity that many organizations are working to address, but these problems don’t only have to do with race. In fact, as I look across the landscape of popular podcasts, problems of representation regarding gender, ableism, sexual orientation, age, and other parameters of ethnicity might be even worse. I’m focusing on the racial aspects of this problem because this is how I personally experience the imbalance. I’m not saying that voices and styles of speech map on to the ethnicity of the speaker in any simple way. There is no single “authentic” African-American, Latino, Asian, Native American, or white way of speaking. To say otherwise would be to participate in a reductive and inaccurate essentialism of which I want no part.

However, I do think that there is what the Brazilian philosopher Paulo Freire called a “dominant syntax” and flowing from that is a narrow range of public radio and podcast host voices and speech patterns that have become extremely common. Public radio has become a kind of speech community with its own norms and forms of aesthetic capital. Just as it is not very common for me to hear a radio host with a thick South Boston accent, there is a whole range of vocal styles that are common in the African American, Latino, Asian American, and Native American cultures but rarely heard from hosts.

Which all raises the question: What or who is the public in public radio? The demographics of race and ethnicity are changing in the United States. The percentage of non-Hispanic whites in the U.S. population dropped to roughly 63% in 2014. Middle growth series projections estimate that by 2043 the “minority population” will constitute a numerical majority in the total U.S. population. Latinos are already the largest demographic in California. With these changing demographics come new stories, new languages, and new ways of speaking American English. The sound of public radio and podcasts must reflect this diversity if we are serious about social justice and encouraging active, constructive participation.

So what do we do?

There are two important takeaways from all of this.

1. Depending on who you are, and how you speak, you may not find many examples of voices and styles of storytelling that sound like yours.

It is not just about the kind of stories that non-white journalists tell. It’s also about the ways that vocal styles communicate important dimensions of human experience. When the vocal patterns of a narrow range of ethnicities quietly becomes the standard sound of a genre, we’re missing out on essential cultural information. We’re missing out on the joyful, tragic, moments and unique dispositions that are encoded in different traditions of oratory. Fortunately, there are organizations fighting for diversity in many areas of media. I recommend becoming involved with these efforts.

2. If you’re a radio producer or podcast host and your way of speaking is different from what you generally hear in radio and podcasts, produce many, many, podcasts in which you are the narrator.

As boring and cliché as it is, there is no substitute for practice, and there is actually no other way to develop your voice. I’m still working on being a more consistently productive journalist in this regard. There’s just no way around it: The more you get used to your recorded voice, and writing in your voice, the more confidence you will build.

Republished and edited with permission from Transom.org, the DIY workshop and showcase for new public radio.

Read more: http://www.buzzfeed.com/chenjeraikumanyika/the-whiteness-of-public-radio-voice

A Nitrogen Dioxide Leak Is Just As Terrible As It Sounds…Run If You Ever See One

When it comes to transporting toxic chemicals, you need to take extreme precautions. This goes double if you happen to be moving them through residential areas. Still though, no matter how well you prepare, accidents can and do happen. When they occur, you probably expect people to exercise some common sense and get the heck out of there as fast as they can, right?

Sadly, in the age of smartphones, that doesn’t always happen. Take, for example, this scene from Russia. A truck carrying highly toxic nitrogen dioxide (NO2) got into an accident and started leaking noxious fumes right in the middle of a neighborhood. Instead of running, though, a few people decided to whip out their phones to film it.

(via Reddit)

Sure, the footage is pretty terrifying, but I don’t think it’s worth dying for. Which is exactly what NO2 can do to you if you manage to breathe in enough of it. Sometimes I fear for the future of humanity…

Read more: http://www.viralnova.com/no2-leak/

I Had No Idea It Would Be THIS Expensive To Live In Venezuela. Wow.

Inflation is common in countries during an economic crisis, but the rapid nature of inflation in Venezuela is too much. Good luck feeding your family when vegetables run you nearly $20. You can forget about washing that down with a can of Coca-Cola, too, as one can be bought for $5.56. In the United States, you could get four 2-liter bottles of Coca-Cola for that kind of money. If you think those prices are bad, brace yourself before you look at the cost of other everyday items in Venezuela. Take a look.  

Rice Cooker

Colored Pencils

(via Reddit)

These prices are so bad, it makes doing your shopping at a movie theater’s snack bar seem like a good financial decision. Over a grand for sneakers? That’s too much.

Read more: http://viralnova.com/prices-in-venezuela/

Third national level disaster management exercise from September 15 – Times of India

The third national-level joint disaster management exercise will be held in Gujarat’s Bhuj from September 15, a senior Navy official said. The second such exercise titled ‘Prakampana’ is presently going on in Visakhapatnam and it will conclude on Thursday.

Read more: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Third-national-level-disaster-management-exercise-from-September-15/articleshow/53959044.cms

14 Exercises That Will Get You In Good Shape…And Improve Your Sex Life

Everyone wants to be fit and healthy, whether they care to admit it or not. One of the main reasons why people want to get in shape, lose weight, or get healthier is to make life a little easier for themselves and the people they love. It also helps in the romance department, if you know what I mean.

Something that’s important to many people is having a good sex life. But did you know that there are simple exercises out there that will improve all of that? If that sounds appealing to you, you’ll definitely want to keep reading.

1. Pushups

Pushups will help you gain the stability and strength you’ll need to hold yourself up during sex. They work the chest, shoulders, triceps, and all of the muscles in your core, which are all necessary when it comes to having great sex.

2. Squats

Having strong legs means that you can hold yourself (and possibly your partner) up for long periods of time. Squats work the glutes, quads, hamstrings, and calves.

3. Bridges

Bridges are great for opening up your hips. Having stiff hips isn’t conducive to having awesome sex, so you’ll want to make sure that they are free and open. Bridges will also work your calves, glutes, and abs.

4. Stability Ball Crunches

This exercise is a core-training staple. If you do some crunches while balancing on a large ball like this, you’ll be able to work your abs, obliques, and even the muscles in your back. You’ll be stable and ready for anything if you improve your core.

5. Lunges

Lunges work your quads, hamstrings, glutes, and calves. They also open up your hip flexors, and we already know why that’s a big deal.

(function(){ var sc = document.createElement(‘script’); sc.src = ‘http://player.mediabong.net/se/414.js?url=’+encodeURIComponent(document.location.href); sc.type = ‘text/javascript’; sc.async = true; var s = document.getElementsByTagName(‘script’)[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(sc, s); })();

6. Straddles

This is more of a stretch than an exercise, but you can’t beat strengthening your lower back and loosening up your hips at the same time.

7. Back Bends

Back bends improve flexibility in your back, but they also work out your shoulders, glutes, wrists, and ankles. Those last few joints go overlooked sometimes, but trust me, you’ll want to keep your wrists and ankles flexible.

8. Inchworms

These loosen up your entire body and help improve overall flexibility over time.

9. V-Sits

This move requires a lot of power in your hips and core muscles, but if you can perform v-sits, it will vastly improve your sex life.

10. Plié Squats

This version is a simple spin on the old standby that will target your hips and glutes in a totally new way.

var OX_ads = OX_ads || []; OX_ads.push({ slot_id: “537251604_562b117823dcb”, auid: “537251604” });

11. Planks

Planks are essential to any core exercise routine. It’s important for you to be able to hold yourself up while having sex, and this exercise will help you do that.

12. Reclined Butterfly

While this is also a stretch, it is essential for improving hip flexibility and strength.

13. Lying Leg Raises

These are great for improving core strength and stability.

14. Hollow Body Hold

This hold will work your core and hips incredibly hard while stretching out your back, which is often injured during sex.

(via Women’s Health / Livestrong / Men’s Health)

If you want to have better sex, I suggest you start taking some notes on these exercises. It looks like they require a lot of core strength, stability, and hip flexibility. If you learn to target those areas of the body, you’ll be able to have the sex that you’ve always dreamed of.

Read more: http://www.viralnova.com/sexercises/