On Being Tumblr

On Being Tumblr

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.

A Nobel Laureate in Fargo

A humorous story from a North Dakota boy. Krista often teases me about how North Dakota will come up in any conversation I’m part of. (Yes, I’m proud of my roots!) So, of course I’m going to share this great story from Scientific American about Brian Schmidt, an astrophysicist who won the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics for co-discovering dark energy:

"When I won this, my grandma, who lives in Fargo, North Dakota, wanted to see it. I was coming around so I decided I’d bring my Nobel Prize. You would think that carrying around a Nobel Prize would be uneventful, and it was uneventful, until I tried to leave Fargo with it, and went through the X-ray machine. I could see they were puzzled. It was in my laptop bag. It’s made of gold, so it absorbs all the X-rays—it’s completely black. And they had never seen anything completely black.

They’re like, ‘Sir, there’s something in your bag.’

I said, ‘Yes, I think it’s this box.’

They said, ‘What’s in the box?’

I said, ‘a large gold medal,’ as one does.

So they opened it up and they said, ‘What’s it made out of?’

I said, ‘gold.’

And they’re like, ‘Uhhhh. Who gave this to you?’

'The King of Sweden.'

'Why did he give this to you?'

'Because I helped discover the expansion rate of the universe was accelerating.'

At which point, they were beginning to lose their sense of humor. I explained to them it was a Nobel Prize, and their main question was, ‘Why were you in Fargo?’”

Cracks me up.

Comments
Erica over at beenthinking tugged on the coattails of my childhood memories with this quote from the Roughrider president:


“Nowhere, not even at sea, does a man feel more lonely than when riding  over the far-reaching, seemingly never-ending plains; and after a man  has lived a little while on or near them, their very vastness and  loneliness and their melancholy monotony have a strong fascination for  him.”
- Teddy Roosevelt

~reblogged by Trent Gilliss, senior editor
(via beingvisual)
Erica over at beenthinking tugged on the coattails of my childhood memories with this quote from the Roughrider president:


“Nowhere, not even at sea, does a man feel more lonely than when riding  over the far-reaching, seemingly never-ending plains; and after a man  has lived a little while on or near them, their very vastness and  loneliness and their melancholy monotony have a strong fascination for  him.”
- Teddy Roosevelt

~reblogged by Trent Gilliss, senior editor
(via beingvisual)

Erica over at beenthinking tugged on the coattails of my childhood memories with this quote from the Roughrider president:

“Nowhere, not even at sea, does a man feel more lonely than when riding over the far-reaching, seemingly never-ending plains; and after a man has lived a little while on or near them, their very vastness and loneliness and their melancholy monotony have a strong fascination for him.”

- Teddy Roosevelt

~reblogged by Trent Gilliss, senior editor

(via beingvisual)

Comments

Tuesday Evening Melody: “North Dakota” by Chris Knight

by Trent Gilliss, senior editor

Missouri River Aerial 6-1-11  03Yeah, I’m a day late — partly due to the Memorial Day holiday but more so for the fact that I’m back in North Dakota taking some sandbagging vacation days. This sorrow song from Chris Knight is my homage to the great prairie state and the Missouri River, which is reclaiming its banks and swallowing up homes and lands it hasn’t said hello to since the Big Muddy was dammed nearly 60 years ago.

The effort may be futile and nature may remind us that flood control is never foolproof. But to try to salvage what remains is noble, whether it mitigates disaster or not. And the way that catastrophe galvanizes a community is one positive I’ll take from these days in the sun with shovel in hand, and lower back in tow.

About the image: The Missouri River waters near Bismarck and Mandan can be seen spreading to areas rarely touched due to the increased releases from the Garrison Dam. (photo: Bill Prokopyk/North Dakota National Guard Public Affairs Office)

Comments
Download

Renaming as an Act of Healing
Nancy Rosenbaum, associate producer

Durban Street RenamingIn Krista’s interviews with Archbishop Tutu and Cedric Good House, each discuss the devastating impacts of colonialism and oppression on native peoples in different geographies. Both men also speak about the potential for renaming as an act of healing.

Tutu tells a story about D.F. Malan Driveway, an arterial road in Johannesburg that was originally christened after the country’s first National Party prime minister Daniel François Malan, one of the key architects of apartheid. Johannesburg’s mayor changed the road’s name to Beyers Naudé Drive in 2001.

Beyers Naudé was an Afrikaaner cleric in the Dutch Reformed Church who rejected any scriptural basis for apartheid and became an anti-apartheid activist. Today, you can find other landmarks in South Africa, including a high school, that are named after him.

Tutu says that this act of renaming is one manifestation of a “God of surprises” whose “sense of humor is quite something.” Hearing Tutu tell this story, I was reminded of Cedric Good House and what he said about the significance of place names in "Reimagining Sitting Bull: Tatanka Iyotake":

"Today, there’s a lot of things that we’re going through. You know, people are talking language, they’re talking a lot of things. … if you come to Standing Rock, even here in Bismarck, you find things that are just predominantly from that time. You see here in town Grant Marsh Bridge. We pass by Fort Lincoln. We pass by Custer’s house. On Standing Rock there’s a town called McLaughlin. It’s just infested with that type of mindset."

In the audio above, Good House also points out that things are starting to change as some towns have renamed themselves to commemorate their Lakota heritage: “There was a lot of things we needed to heal from and continue to and it’s happening.”

I wonder about the possibilities and limits of these acts of renaming. Andrew Boraine, chief executive of the Cape Town Partnership writes on his blog that “a renaming process can be superficial and shallow if it is not part of broader efforts to genuinely build social cohesion and address the physical and materials needs of citizens.” He continues:

"Like patriotism, the practice of renaming can become a refuge of scoundrels, enabling leaders to deflect from delivering on substantive issues. However, I don’t buy the argument that the process of renaming certain streets and places is irrelevant or that there are "more important issues."

Lead image: traffic signs in Durban, South Africa display the former and new names of streets in central eThekwini (photo: Andrew Boraine).

Comments