Charlotte Talks on WFAE

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  • Hosted by Mike Collins

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If you happen to be among the undead you are rotting at a great time because being a zombie has never been more popular. Zombies are everywhere, from literature to films and even in University classrooms. The Walking Dead continues to be one of the most popular shows on television and Charlotte itself has many zombie related events this year. On this Halloween day we will look at the history of the zombie, the incredible rise in popularity of the undead and the many iterations of zombies in popular culture. Tune in, even if one of your fingers fall off.

wcn247 / flickr

The process known as "fracking" has led to a surge in natural gas production in the U.S. and some in North Carolina want in. Hydraulic fracturing, a method of extracting natural gas from deep below the earth's surface is now legal in the state. Another vote is required by the legislature to allow drilling, but permits could be issued as early as 2015. We'll talk with the chairman of the North Carolina Mining and Energy Commission, the group charged with developing rules and regulations for the controversial practice, along with WFAE reporter Ben Bradford to discuss the prospects for a shale gas industry here. We’ll also talk with a Duke University environmental scientist about some of the risks involved, including results of a new study that links hydraulic fracturing to water contamination in Pennsylvania.

World’s fairs were the most important vehicles for debuting advancements in modern living. Items like ceramics, precious metalwork, and textiles were displayed. And things like ice cream and the Ferris wheel were introduced to the world for the first time at a World’s Fair. Two hundred objects shown at every major world’s fair from 1851 to 1939 are on display right now at the Mint Museum. Large and small in scale, the diverse group of pieces shine with historical significance and tell varied stories of technology advancement from days long gone. We’ll learn about some of the standout pieces and about what a World’s Fair at the turn of the century was like.

J Sonder / flickr

The government shutdown and debt ceiling crisis from earlier this month will have longer lasting implications and consequences, according to most people who have something to say about the subject. Some say it will improve the chances of agreement on other legislation and others say it will make the animosity between the political parties even more bitter. We'll be joined by experts who will give us their take on the fallout from the shutdown, and what we can see in the coming months.

A recent Swedish study says that women who reported stress in midlife from experiences like illness or divorce were more likely to have dementia or Alzheimer’s in old age. But according to the annual Stress in America Survey, more than half of Americans say they get little or no help managing stress from their healthcare providers. So what should we do to manage our stress? Why are women at a heightened risk for a midlife crisis? And how can the accumulation of stress cause mental illness? A conversation about midlife crises.

Dr. Greg Clary
 - Medical Director In-patient and Out-patient Psychiatry, Novant Health Presbyterian Medical Center
Lyndall Hare - BSW, PhD Gerontologist; Midlife Transitions & Aging Specialist for The Respite
Sandy Loydpierson - Mother of twins who just left for college in August, her parents are aging/sick, reevaluating many aspects of her life right now

Sonya N. Hebert / Official White House Photo

Are you seeing pink? October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month which means pink ribbons and pink everything are showing up everywhere - NFL players sport pink accessories, there are pink cereal boxes on store shelves and pink newspapers in the mailbox. But is that pink can of soup really making a difference to eliminate breast cancer? Critics call it "pinkwashing" and say it's time to move past the superficial awareness campaigns for what is a complicated and devastating disease. They say that visibility and fundraising alone isn't the answer to ending breast cancer and that this sort of marketing oversimplifies the disease with detrimental effects. We'll explore the nexus of disease, marketing, awareness and research in what some call our "feel good war on breast cancer" and learn about some of the politics and controversies over prevention and treatments.

Part One: Opera Carolina's Aida. This month, Opera Carolina kicks off its new season with Verdi's Aida. This production stars soprano Othalie Graham in the title role and also Mark Rucker as Aida's father. We'll be joined by these two opera veterans and by Opera Carolina's James Meena to talk about this production and the popularity of Verdi's work here in Charlotte, and we'll discuss the importance of collaborating with other opera companies around the country in order save costs in a time when funding for performing arts is harder to come by.

James Meena
- Opera Carolina's General Director and Principal Conductor since 2000
Othalie Graham - Canadian-American Soprano who is critically acclaimed across North America. She plays the title role in Aida at Opera Carolina
Mark Rucker - American Baritone who plays Amonasro (Aida's father) in Aida at Opera Carolina

Second Helping

Going to prison is a life changing event and it is said that life after prison can be just as difficult as the experience behind bars. This can be especially true for woman who are trying to raise a family or keep one together. Some local folks are trying to change all of that. Melissa Mummert created an organization that empowers women and helps them with life after prison. We'll look at how she and others are helping women change their choices and get a second chance.

Meg Whalen/UNC Charlotte

Amid increasing pressures to address energy usage worldwide, there's been local effort to innovate the way we build homes to be more energy efficient. UNC Charlotte students recently participated in the Solar Decathlon 2013. The team spent two years focusing on smart design, efficient equipment, technology and engineering to manufacture a home they called UrbanEden, which was designed to be part of an urban infill plan. We'll talk to the students and faculty involved in the project and find out how competitions like this and others across the country can influence how we will design and construct homes in an energy efficient way in the future.

You may know Jim Rash as the spastic, outlandish and often costume-clad Dean Pelton from NBC's Community, where he plays the dean of a community college. What you may not know is that Jim Rash is also a screenwriter who won an Oscar (along with writing partners Alexander Payne and Nat Faxon) in 2012 for Best Adapted Screenplay for The Descendants starring George Clooney. Jim Rash is also a Charlotte native who attended Charlotte Latin School. His latest film The Way Way Back, an independent coming-of-age comedy, will be released on DVD next Tuesday. We'll talk with Jim Rash about his writing and acting career and his transition from Charlotte to Los Angeles. Originally Aired 7/25/2013.