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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.

Tuesday Evening Melody: “Vökuró” by Björk

by Trent Gilliss, senior editor

A song I used to play and (try to) sing to my boys when they were tiny babes — and find myself repeatedly coming back to during the day and night. And, this Icelandic lullaby rounds out our show "Pagans Ancient and Modern."


Earth Day with Eyjafjallajökull
Colleen Scheck, senior producer

On Earth Day’s past, I’ve often focused my thoughts on how to lessen my carbon footprint, and on the destructive impact of modern human activity on our planet. Today, though, I’m thinking more about the Earth’s impact on humans. The erupting Eyjafjallajökull makes Earth Day 2010 all feel a bit ironic.

Planes or Volcano?With air travel considered a principle contributor to climate change, perhaps this “act of God” that halted over 100,000 flights is Mother Nature’s way of saying, “We’ll, if you’re not going to do anything about this, then I will!”

There are many stunning images of the Icelandic volcano floating around online, including the photos above that capture the direct impact to south Iceland’s landscape and inhabitants.

But, some of the most awe-inspiring images come from the Flickr set of Örvar Atli Þorgeirsson, a photographer from Hafnarfjörður. I’d hoped to post these, both because of their beauty and quality and because of his intriguing descriptions. Alas, a photo service with deeper pockets owns exclusive rights to his images. With this photo, Þorgeirsson asks a question that sticks with me in a long view of this Earth Day:

"I have been thinking is this volcano destructive or constructive? On short times scale it might be destructive, causing local damage and global problems. On a long time scale it is constructive as this island I live on with all its beautiful landscape has been created by volcanic activity."

Infographic courtesy of Information is Beautiful


Jónsi’s “Grow Till Tall”
Trent Gilliss, online editor

This Friday afternoon’s video snack was inspired by a number of you who were watching the live video stream of Krista’s conversation with Michel Martin on Monday night in Washington D.C. In the lead-up to the conversation, I opted to pass on playing all classical music while the crowd filed in to the Sydney Harman Hall.

Instead, I chose a variety of tracks from artists Juan Molina, Joe Henry, Björk (one of my favorite lullabyes, which Mitch included in "Pagans Ancient and Modern"), The Avett Brothers, cellist Hildur Guðnadóttir, k.d. lang, Johnny Cash, Ryuichi Sakamoto, She & Him, and Jónsi. I chose this video because it’s a little less aurally sculpted than other videos and for a delightful surprise at the end — an entrancing a capella at the end of just his voice in a lonely room.

I was somewhat surprised when I was inundated with requests to know what songs were being played while waiting. If you’d like, I’d be glad to create an SOF Playlist so that you could stream the mix. Leave a comment here or tweet me; if there are enough requests, I’d be glad to post them for you.