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On Being with Krista Tippett is a public radio project delving into the human side of news stories + issues. Curated + edited by senior editor Trent Gilliss.

We publish guest contributions. We edit long; we scrapbook. We do big ideas + deep meaning. We answer questions.

We've even won a couple of Webbys + a Peabody Award.

This striking (and haunting) image of an early twentieth-century resort foundation surfaced while I was searching for a photo of the San Andreas Fault. Apparently, the waters of the Salton Sea, a freshwater lake that had once been the tip of the Gulf of California, turned a hill into an island, Mullet Island. And, then I read this line from the caption:

"Scientists have discovered that human-created changes effecting the Salton Sea appear to be the reason why California’s massive Big One earthquake is more than 100 years overdue and building up for the greatest disaster ever to hit Los Angeles and Southern California. Researchers found that strands of the San Andreas Fault under the 45-mile long rift lake have have generated at least five 7.0 or larger quakes about every 180 years. This ended in the early 20th century when authorities stopped massive amounts of Colorado River water from periodically flooding the into this sub-sea level desert basin.
Such floods used to regularly trigger major quakes and relieve building seismic pressure, but the last big earthquake on the southern San Andreas was about 325 years ago. Dangerous new fault branches that could trigger a 7.8 quake have recently been discovered under the Salton Sea.

Do I stand in awe, or hold my hand over my heart and parrot Fred Sanford, “I’m coming, Elizabeth!”
~Trent Gilliss, senior editor
(Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

This striking (and haunting) image of an early twentieth-century resort foundation surfaced while I was searching for a photo of the San Andreas Fault. Apparently, the waters of the Salton Sea, a freshwater lake that had once been the tip of the Gulf of California, turned a hill into an island, Mullet Island. And, then I read this line from the caption:

"Scientists have discovered that human-created changes effecting the Salton Sea appear to be the reason why California’s massive Big One earthquake is more than 100 years overdue and building up for the greatest disaster ever to hit Los Angeles and Southern California. Researchers found that strands of the San Andreas Fault under the 45-mile long rift lake have have generated at least five 7.0 or larger quakes about every 180 years. This ended in the early 20th century when authorities stopped massive amounts of Colorado River water from periodically flooding the into this sub-sea level desert basin.

Such floods used to regularly trigger major quakes and relieve building seismic pressure, but the last big earthquake on the southern San Andreas was about 325 years ago. Dangerous new fault branches that could trigger a 7.8 quake have recently been discovered under the Salton Sea.

Do I stand in awe, or hold my hand over my heart and parrot Fred Sanford, “I’m coming, Elizabeth!”

~Trent Gilliss, senior editor

(Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

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Ascending Staircases of Sonoma Light

by Susan Leem, associate producer

"I think about that ‘empty’ space a lot. That emptiness is what allows for something to actually evolve in a natural way."
Meredith Monk, from Mountain Record

In the video above, the singer and composer Meredith Monk fills up a magical performance space that reaches 78 feet up from the ground to a ceiling that opens to the blue sky. The musicians, dancers, and singers all harmonize on different stories of the tower, almost calling to each other from level to level.

Designed by artist Ann Hamilton, the concrete tower is 24 feet in diameter with a pool of water at the base. The interior reflects some of the natural light that fills the double helix staircase and passes through rhythmically-placed metal handrails. Unlike a more traditional performance space where an audience might sit full-on facing a filled stage, there are pockets and openings in the tower to allow performers or even the audience to inhabit the walls. Light, song, and beauty naturally evolve into that empty space.

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A Mormon Example on Sexuality and Religion

by Krista Tippett, host

Elder Marlin K. JensenReligion Dispatches offers a riveting report of a recent meeting in Oakland in which a leading Mormon authority offered an apology for the pain caused by the LDS Church’s activism on California’s Propisition 8. To an emotional gathering of “LGBT Mormons and their allies,” Elder Marlin K. Jensen reportedly said:

"To the full extent of my capacity, I say that I am sorry … I know that many very good people have been deeply hurt, and I know that the Lord expects better of us."

I’m on record as saying that we should measure the public virtue of religious traditions not merely by the positions they take, but by the way they treat those with whom they agree and disagree along the way. It is, sadly, rare to witness religious authorities open up to this kind of human and seemingly searching encounter on an issue in which they have staked a theological and political claim. I say, “Bravo.”

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So You’re Krista Tippett!? Mitch Hanley, Senior Producer
Krista Tippett meets Maria Shriver. Krista is in Long Beach, California this week to participate in Shriver’s 2008 Women’s Conference. On Wednesday afternoon, Krista will be moderating a discussion called, “Got Faith? Your Life Has Meaning: Live it. Love it. Pass it On,” which includes Sister Joan Chittister, Ingrid Mattson, Timothy Shriver, and Sylvia Boorstein (in photo, far right).

So You’re Krista Tippett!?
Mitch Hanley, Senior Producer

Krista Tippett meets Maria Shriver. Krista is in Long Beach, California this week to participate in Shriver’s 2008 Women’s Conference. On Wednesday afternoon, Krista will be moderating a discussion called, “Got Faith? Your Life Has Meaning: Live it. Love it. Pass it On,” which includes Sister Joan Chittister, Ingrid Mattson, Timothy Shriver, and Sylvia Boorstein (in photo, far right).

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Rick Warren and the Presidency

Krista Tippett, Host

I’ve been fuming a bit this week over the way the usual constellation of journalists, pundits, and commentators have analyzed this past Saturday’s Civil Forum on the Presidency, hosted by Rick Warren at his Saddleback Church in southern California. I watched the forum with great interest and found it a useful contribution to our evolving sense of who Barack Obama and John McCain are, what they believe in, how they explain and present themselves.

82383336I won’t focus here on my personal impression of how the candidates performed. I will say that I found much to admire in the way the evening was laid out. Interviewing them separately and asking each of them roughly the same set of questions provided a remarkable display of how different they really are. While some of Warren’s questions were predictable, I thought that many of them were very good, and different enough from the usual network or public broadcasting fare that they elicited a few answers we hadn’t heard before.

For example, Warren asked each of them, in the context of tax reform, to “define rich.” At another point he noted that what is often called “flip flopping” may be a sign of wisdom — changing one’s mind can be a result of personal strength and growth. Such common sense questions and statements have been lamentably rare in all the debates hosted by professional journalists in this long campaign season up to now.

And yet the edition of the Sunday New York Times that landed on my doorstep the next morning did not even report on this first post-primary encounter of the two candidates on the same stage. I’ve heard and read one parody after the other online, in print, and on the air, at least in my home territory of public radio. When these news gatherers have seen fit to mention the Saddleback event, they’ve analyzed it in terms of what it says about the changing Evangelical scene. The same kinds of journalists who are happy to earnestly take the temperature of “the man on the street” have gleefully made fun of the demeanor and words of Saddleback members who attended the event Saturday night and church the next morning. It’s been a field day for pat generalizations about Evangelicals that nearly amount to caricature - sometimes verging on bigotry - that might be nixed by editors if it were about people of different ethnicity or race.

Obviously I have strong feelings about this. Did any of you watch the event? What do you think?

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Rounding Out a Fine Month of Poetry

Alda Balthrop-Lewis, Production Intern

Kate posted a poem a while back that, she said, bonked her on the head. Robinson Jeffers, nature poet of the Central Coast in California, wrote this one that never fails to make me gasp. As the snows linger on in Minnesota, it also makes me a little homesick for the grandeur of the Pacific.

Editorial Note June 12, 2008: "The Great Explosion" is reprinted on many sites on the internet. In deference to copyright, the text has been removed from this post and a link to the text provided above. (Kate Moos, Managing Editor)

Carmel Valley
(photo: “Carmel Valley” by Mike Disharoon/flickr)

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