fresh air


Tuesday: We talk with David Thorpe about his new documentary Do I Sound Gay?  His film searches for the origin of the so-called “gay voice,” and documents Thorpe’s own attempts to sound less gay, while questioning why he perceives it as problem. 

[Mindy Kaling] was actually pretty key to decoding some elements of the story. We were really wrestling with these two different themes of growing up and then embracing sadness, which we felt were kind of separate. But, I don’t know, I had an intuition that they could somehow be connected. I pitched her this story, and as I turned around she’s crying, and I thought, “Oh no, what did she get like a bad text or something?” She was really responding emotionally, and she said, “I’m sorry, I just think it’s really beautiful that you guys are making a story that tells kids it’s difficult to grow up and it’s okay to be sad about it.” And we were like, “Quick, write that down!” because that was really what we were trying to say.
—  Pete Doctor on “Fresh Air” with Terry Gross discussing how “Inside Out” came to be (source)

The New Science Behind Our ‘Unfair’ Criminal Justice System

Legal scholar Adam Benforado says many routine procedures in criminal justice system are bound to lead to mistakes and unfair outcomes, because they rest on false assumptions about how our brains work. In his new book, Unfair, he cites research which suggests handsome defendants get lighter sentences, that parole boards are tougher when they get tired, and that some common police practices encourage false identification of suspects. 

Benforado says there are ways to improve the system to account for unseen biases and cognitive failures that undermine the search for truth.

“There is evidence that a lot of physical features play a big role in whether people treat a particular witness as credible or not credible and that’s worrisome. But I think there’s actually a deeper problem with jurors and that is that the things that we think are determining the outcomes of cases, that is the facts and the law, are often not what determines whether someone is convicted or not convicted, how long a sentence is – what matters most are the particular backgrounds and identities of the jurors.”

I have no tolerance for people who are not thinking deeply about things. I have no tolerance for the kind of small talk that people need to fill silence, and I have no tolerance for people not being a part of the world and being in it and trying to change it.

Brown Girl Dreaming author Jacqueline Woodson

When author Jacqueline Woodson was growing up in Greenville, S.C., in the ‘60s and '70s, she was keenly aware of segregation.

“We knew our place,” Woodson tells Fresh Air’s Terry Gross. “We knew our place was with our family. We knew where it was safest to be. There wasn’t a lot of talk about the white world and what was going on in it; it didn’t really have a lot to do with us, except in situations where there was the talk of resistance.”

You can find the rest of Woodson’s interview with Fresh Air here.

Neil Patrick Harris’ new memoir describes the surprising twists and turns of his life and career, from becoming a child actor to starring in two hit TV shows to winning a Tony. But Harris wrote his memoir, Choose Your Own Autobiography, in an unconventional way: The book is based on the “Choose Your Own Adventure” series in which young readers decide which plot to follow.

“I’ve sat here and talked … about all the weird, different things that I’ve gotten to do in my life,” he tells Fresh Air’s Terry Gross, “and I thought, rather than have a book that tries to find a common thread between all of these events, [the book] essentially allows you to be me and choose your own version of my autobiography.”

What’s It Like To Be Neil Patrick Harris? He Gives You Options

Photo credit: Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images

Originally Jesse Pinkman was supposed to be killed off Breaking Bad during the show’s first season. Aaron Paul says he didn’t learn that until series creator Vince Gilligan called him over one day during lunch.

“He goes, ‘Originally Jesse was supposed to die at the end of this season,’ … and instantly my heart dropped and slowed down a bit,” Paul says. “And he said, 'We don’t think we’re going to do that anymore.’ ”

Gilligan told Paul that he loved the chemistry between Walt and Jesse.

“He decided to change the whole dynamic of their relationship and really the whole dynamic of the show,” says Paul. “But the entire second season, the entire third season, I thought that Jesse could be a goner at any moment because there’s many things that this character could screw up on, and he could definitely meet his deathbed at any moment.”

Other cast members, including Bryan Cranston, would joke around on set with Paul about his character’s potential demise.

“Bryan would come up and give me a hug and say, 'I’m not going to say anything but it was such a pleasure working with you. It’s been an amazing past year-and-a-half, and you have a huge career ahead of you,’ ” he says. “They would always joke around about it. They’ve kind of slowed down about it, but who knows — this kid could die at any second.”

Hear the interview with Aaron Paul 


The Importance Of Natural Sunlight For Your Parrot

Outdoor aviaries are becoming more and more popular in the avian community.  They are expensive to buy and require special considerations for safety when built, but they offer so many healthy benefits for our parrots in return.  Every species on our our planet has evolved under the sun, and every species requires it to sustain their lives. Vitamin D is manufactured by the body when touched by sunlight.
The function of vitamin D is to absorb calcium and other vitamins and minerals and keep them at proper levels in the blood stream. The lack of sunlight is a nutritional deficiency.  It has been discovered that the liver stores a small amount of vitamin D3.  This means that less time in the sun is needed than previously thought to get the job done.

Take a look at some of the ways a parrot utilizes sunshine:

  • It produces strong bones, beaks, and aids in feather production.
  • It builds the immune system.
  • It kills germs and bacteria on the feathers and skin (and it has been recently discovered that direct sunlight kills the deadly PDD virus on surfaces.)
  • It minimizes the chances of developing certain cancers.
  • It reduces anxiety and depression.
  • It enhances a bird’s vision.

Natural sunlight can only be reached outside.  Setting your bird’s cage by the window isn’t enough.  Sure it will give them something different to look at during the day, but glass blocks out 90% of the sun’s UV rays, even screens block out 30%, so there is no gain or vitamin D production.

Full spectrum lighting is the closest thing we can manufacture to natural light if you are not able to create an outdoor setting for your bird.  It provides some, but not all, of the benefits.  Nothing man-made can ever compare to the real deal.  Taking your parrot outside after work to catch the last hours of sun in the summer will provide long term health benefits.
Please take care when you bring your bird outside.  Never bring a parrot outside without a harness that is not trained for free-flight or does not have exceptional recall skills. Most birds are able to fly with clipped wings, THIS IS A FACT.  Never leave your bird’s cage in direct sunlight, there are enough reflective surfaces outside for beneficial rays to reach them in the shade.  Never leave them unsupervised.  Hawks and ground predators can and do reach in and kill birds.  If you choose to buy an aviary, choose on from a reputable company (Jamie and Dave use Cages By Design). If you choose to build one, make sure it is sturdily constructed so that a bird will not injure itself or escape, and so that no predator can get in.  Most importantly, use BIRD SAFE woods and metals.
The best thing about natural sunlight is that it’s free and comes with a complementary side of fresh air.


“I loved reading everything growing up. I’m kind of a self-educated person in many ways because I dropped out of school … when I was in college, after about three years. … But I always spent a lot of time just reading on my own. When I was a kid, I used to read through the whole encyclopedia just because it interested me. … I always loved reading biographies. I wanted to learn about people. I went through different phases of people I was interested in. I think nonfiction has always been more interesting to me than fiction. Although, you know, there was a lot of fiction that you read growing up, too. But to this day, I still love nonfiction better.”

– Comedian Larry Wilmore talks reading habits with Fresh Air.

For Host Larry Wilmore, A Year Of ‘Extraordinary’ Highs And 'Humbling’ Lows

Image: Larry Wilmore debuted Comedy Central’s The Nightly Show on Jan. 19. (Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images for Comedy Central)