A woman who moves from Boston to be near the grave of her lover; the widow of a judge who keeps a scrapbook of murder and crime; an 85-year-old who has always seen the sunnier side of life; an old man feigning dementia. In the fictional Pine Haven retirement center, together and separately, these characters face the ends of their lives. They're the stars of Jill McCorkle's new novel, Life After Life, which balances humor and sorrow as it explores the moment of death.
This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm John Dankosky. Ira Flatow is out this week. Last December, Steven Coughlin, an epidemiologist at the Veterans Affairs Office of Public Health, resigned his position. And last week he told a congressional subcommittee why. He had serious ethical concerns about the research being done on Gulf War Illness at the VA.
In his book Grand Central: How A Train Station Transformed America, New York Times urban affairs correspondent Sam Roberts writes of the scientific innovations pioneered at New York City's Grand Central Terminal, such as electric commuter trains and standardized time.
What surprises me about the ongoing discussion of violence in cinema and whether it influences violence in the real world is how people fail to engage with the male fantasy behind these films. There's a template for them, a theme; it hinges on violation and vengeance. A seminal action picture of the last 50 years is 1988's Die Hard, in which a lone male cop operates behind the scenes after an ingeniously orchestrated foreign attack on American soil. He's symbolically emasculated — he has no gun or even shoes, his wife is now going by her maiden name.
This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm John Dankosky. It sounds like something from a science fiction movie, researchers using cutting-edge biotech methods to bring an extinct species back to life. As a matter of fact, I think I saw that one. It was called "Jurassic Park."