The Search for the Last Unicorn – a Real Animal

In 1992, in a remote mountain range, a team of scientists discovered the remains of an unusual animal with 2 beautiful long, curved horns, which, from the side, merged into one—a “unicorn”. It turned out to be a living species new to western science — a saola, the first large land mammal discovered in 50 years. The Last Unicorn is the story of William deBuys’ search to find and understand an elusive and exceptionally rare species in the heart of Southeast Asia’s jungles. Along the way, deBuys’ expedition collects 970 snares set to capture all manner of wildlife for sale in Vietnam and China, where demand for wild meats and ingredients for medicinal treatments is voracious. Indeed, much of the book concentrates on the feeble conservation efforts taking place in one of the world’s most species-rich regions. So please join host Stephen Spitz as we journey with one of our best-known conservation writers through the wilds of Laos in search of the saola. Produced with assistance of Jefferson White and Lynn Schibeci.

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Has Albuquerque become the Center of Modern Art in New Mexico?

Has the production of modern art in Albuquerque surpassed that of Santa Fe and Taos? We all recognize the superior reputation of the artists of Northern New Mexico. However, now comes an exhibition at the Albuquerque Museum of Art which focuses upon the unique history and modern art scene in Albuquerque, not that of Santa Fe and Taos. Does Albuquerque also belong on the art map? According to the exhibition’s curator, Dr. Joseph Traugott, “Albuquerque artists found their own artistic voice after World War II and transformed a western boom town into a thriving art center.” The resulting abstract works broke with traditional New Mexico scenes, shunned commercialization, and deservedly put Albuquerque on the art map alongside Santa Fe and Taos. Please join host Stephen Spitz and Joseph Traugott, formerly curator of Twentieth-Century Art at the New Mexico Museum of Fine Arts, as we consider Albuquerque’s significance in the art world. Produced with assistance of Jefferson White and Lynn Schibeci.

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Philip Connors on his book All the Wrong Places

In his debut book, Fire Season, Philip Connors beautifully recounted his decade as a fire lookout high above the Gila National Forest in southern New Mexico. Now Connors returns to our show to discuss his second book, All the Wrong Places, and why moving to remote New Mexico was so attractive and the years he spent reeling in the wake of his younger brother’s suicide. At the age of twenty-three, Connors was a young man climbing the ladder to success. He had a magazine job lined up in New York City and a future in journalism unfolding exactly as he’d hoped. Then one phone call from his brother, which he didn’t return, changed everything. Please join host Stephen Spitz and Philip Connors to learn more about this moving account of the aftermath of a very personal loss and how it lead Connors to all the wrong places. Produced with assistance of Jefferson White and Lynn Schibeci.

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Life on Mars? The Curiosity Rover points to “Yes”

Is there life on Mars? One reason for this centuries old question is Mars’ proximity and similarity to Earth; now, the latest Mars mission actually points to yes. NASA’s Curiosity rover has just found spikes of methane in the Martian atmosphere, a gas that on Earth is strongly tied to life. The Rover has also found organic chemicals in a soil sample collected by its robotic drill. And, the 96-mile-wide crater being explored by Curiosity appears to have been a lake billions of years ago. Finally, 100’s of rock and soil samples have been found containing water-deposited sediments. To learn whether there really is life elsewhere, please join host Stephen Spitz and the Los Alamos scientist who drives the Curiosity rover, UNM postdoctoral geologist Nina Lanza as together we explore the red planet. Produced with assistance of Jefferson White and Lynn Schibeci.

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New Mexico’s 2015 Legislative Session: What Will Pass?

Our 60-day legislative session begins this month with Governor Martinez having the upper hand. However, New Mexico still has a divided government with a Republican Governor, a new Republican House, but with Democrats maintaining a shaky majority in the Senate. By law, the 60-day session must produce a budget and this month we will analyze key budget items, along with specific legislation, including: 1) a proposed a Constitutional Amendment which would distribute 11/2% of New Mexico’s $15 billion Permanent Fund to early childhood programs; 2) retention of 3rd Graders not reading at grade level; 3) the repeal of drivers licenses for “illegal” immigrants, and 4) new proposed voter ID and right to work laws. Joining host Stephen Spitz to discuss these issues are two former Albuquerque city councilors still very much in the political know: Democrat Miguel Gomez and for the Republicans, Greg Payne. Produced with assistance of Jefferson White and Lynn Schibeci.

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Why Early Childhood Stress Has Toxic Effects

New Mexico has one of the highest rates of child abuse and neglect in the Nation. But Children are resilient, aren’t they? Not so fast, says Dr. Bruce Perry, a psychiatrist and neuroscientist, who recently headlined a child welfare forum in Albuquerque. Dr. Perry has researched how a child’s environment, particularly those who encounter trauma, affects brain development. Dr. Perry has been featured in a wide range of media including NPR, The Today Show, Good Morning America, Nightline, CNN, MSNBC, NBC, ABC, CBS, and the Oprah Winfrey Show. Please join host Stephen Spitz as we learn about Dr. Perry’s clinical work with children who experienced trauma, how that stress led to both physical and mental health complications, and what can be done to improve the lives of at risk children. Produced with assistance of Jefferson White and Lynn Schibeci.

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The 2014 Midterm: Who won the big races in New Mexico?

What explains the Republican success in the US Senate races and their historic victories in the New Mexico House and Governor’s contests? We couldn’t have a better analyst to answer these questions than Dr. Gabriel Sanchez. Dr. Sanchez is a regular guest on many shows about New Mexico elections, a political science professor at UNM, and the Research Director for Latino Decisions, a national research and polling organization. So please join host Stephen Spitz as we wrap the 2014 election and get the inside scoop on the significant races in and out of NM. Produced with assistance of Jefferson White and Lynn Schibeci.

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The Albuquerque Police’s 26 Homicides

Albuquerque police have shot and killed nearly 30 of our fellow citizens since 2010.  With each killing, concern and protests grew. Then, on March 16,2014 the police shot and killed James Boyd, a mentally ill, homeless man, who had been illegally camping in the Sandia foothills. Unlike prior shootings, video footage taken by a police lapel camera was available and appeared to show that Mr. Boyd had been needlessly shot in the back while surrendering. The video immediately went viral and mass demonstrations ensued with the chant: “They say ‘justified’! We say ‘homicide’!”  Then the Department of Justice, which had been investigating the APD for nearly 2 years, issued a comprehensive report finding that the APD had a practice of violating a suspect’s civil rights through the unjustified use of lethal force. This report fueled further demonstrations including at the city council chambers and Mayor’s office where only one protester, our guest, was arrested and charged with a felony. And, in truth our guest, UNM professor David Corriea has been among the most prominent critics of the APD but has declined interviews with the mainstream media. So please join host Stephen Spitz for this exclusive interview with one of the leading critics of the APD. Produced with the assistance of Jefferson White

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How will Climate Change effect New Mexico’s Trees and Plants?

The National Climate Assessment is out and, no surprise here, the US is still headed for disaster without major policy changes: “Summers are longer and hotter, and extended periods of unusual heat last longer while Winters are generally shorter and warmer.” Significantly conditions in the Southwest, including New Mexico, are expected to progressively worsen. But what exactly does this mean and what’s now happening with alternative energy sources? Two Los Alamos scientists have been studying these very questions and join host Stephen Spitz with the answers. Dr. Nate McDowell is the lead experimenter on how drought and a warmer climate affect plants, particularly trees native to New Mexico. We know intense heat and lack of water kills trees, but which ones die first, how long does this take, and what is the expected impact on all plant life? Dr. Jose Olivares is an expert on algae (pond scum) and will explain how algae’s use as a renewable transportation fuel can lower the climate change curve. Produced with the assistance of Jefferson White

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State Senator Dede Feldman New Book – Inside the New Mexico Senate

Politics and process inside New Mexico’s “Roundhouse” are notoriously complex with legislative success dependent on personal connections, the power of lobbyists, and basic deal making.  Our guest, former progressive Senator Dede Feldman, gives us an insider’s account of what goes on behind closed doors. Feldman’s book, Inside the New Mexico Senate: Boots, Suits and Citizens, details, among other things, the coup against Senate Majority Leader Manny Aragon, her battles to restrict fireworks sales and drug prices, and her perennial fights for ethics reform and open government. For example, if you are interested in how corrupt the New Mexico legislative process really is, be sure to join host Stephen Spitz and special guest Dede Feldman, as we go inside the New Mexico Senate.   Produced with the assistance of Jefferson White

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