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From the 1976 political earthquake to Wisconsin birders, check out these new podcasts

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From the 1976 political earthquake to Wisconsin birders, check out these new podcasts

WFAE; KCRW; KUT; Iowa Public Radio; WBUR; NPR

Podcast tile art for Landslide, from WFAE; Lost Notes, from KCRW; ¡Vamos Verde!, from KUT; Unsettled, from Iowa Public Radio; Beyond All Repair, from WBUR; Embedded, from NPR.

WFAE; KCRW; KUT; Iowa Public Radio; WBUR; NPR

Make spring cleaning a little easier this month with a new podcast. The NPR One Team has recommendations from across the NPR Network to get you started.

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The podcast episode descriptions below are from podcast webpages and have been edited for brevity and clarity.

Landslide – WFAE

Podcast tile art for Landslide, from WFAE.

“When President Richard Nixon resigns in disgrace, three unlikely candidates emerge to fill the vacuum: Gerald Ford, savvy veteran of partisan wars. Ronald Reagan, fringe reactionary. Jimmy Carter, cutthroat political animal. These presidents aren’t who you thought they were, and their battles against each other redefined the American political landscape.

The result: the hot-button issues, the culture war, and the path to the partisan divide we live with today. For those wondering what happened to American politics and what forces have driven our current division, Landslide is essential listening, and a compelling, stunning true story.” Listen to episode one, “Trust.”

Embedded – NPR

Podcast tile art for Embedded, from NPR.

“NPR’s longtime Jerusalem correspondent Daniel Estrin has been covering the war in Gaza almost nonstop for the past five months. In our first episode of a special two-part series, Daniel talks with Embedded host Kelly McEvers about some of the people he’s reported on and how he approaches covering this difficult and divisive story.” Start listening to the two-part series, Field Notes.

Unsettled – Iowa Public Radio

Podcast tile art for Unsettled, from Iowa Public Radio.
Podcast tile art for Unsettled, from Iowa Public Radio.

“We’ve come a long way, baby! But how far? Women’s roles, women’s rights and women’s identities in our culture are constantly shifting. On the new season of Unsettled, we explore different aspects of womanhood. We’re starting with pivotal moments for women in popular culture. Then we talk feminism, women’s reproductive responsibilities, women’s labor at home and in the workplace. And – we ask: what does it mean to be a woman today?” Listen to “The Caitlin Clark Effect.”

Booming – KUOW

Podcast tile art for Booming, from KUOW.

“The Seattle area’s been home to many booms over the years. It’s brought jobs, people and wealth to the region, but also real growing pains that people here feel every day.

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In Booming, KUOW economy reporters Joshua McNichols and Monica Nickelsburg explore hidden connections between technology, cities, work and our day-to-day experiences. We’ll ask the important question: how can more of us benefit from the booms and weather the busts?” Start listening to “Dorms for adults.”

The Open Ears Project – WNYC Radio

Podcast tile art for The Open Ears Project, from WQXR and WNYC Studios.
Podcast tile art for The Open Ears Project, from WQXR and WNYC Studios.

“From tales of memorable moments in nature and fleeting encounters with strangers – to recollections of music that helped in difficult times – The Open Ears Project features people sharing a personal story about the classical track that means the most to them, and why. Part mixtape, part sonic love letter, each episode creates a moment to reflect on the question, what if we made a habit of opening our ears — to classical music and to each other? Whether seeking an introduction to new pieces or encounters with powerful storytelling, listeners will enjoy brief but enduring meditations with artistic works and soulful stories spanning the range of the human experience.” Listen to “Tom Hiddleston on Arvo Pärt and the Infinite.”

Beyond All Repair – WBUR

Podcast tile art for Beyond All Repair, from WBUR.

“Imagine if, one day, you are accused of something. Something horrible, violent, heinous. Something you swear you did not do, and nothing you say can convince anyone otherwise — even the people closest to you. That’s Sophia Johnson’s story. Sophia was starting fresh: A new life, a new husband, a baby on the way. But it all unraveled on January 10, 2002, when her mother-in-law Marlyne Johnson was found bludgeoned to death in her home. Days later, Sophia was charged with the murder. To this day, Sophia swears she didn’t do it. But someone says they witnessed it — her own brother. When family betrays family, who do you believe?

In this story of a sibling rivalry beyond compare, WBUR’s Amory Sivertson turns the clock back. She reexamines an unsolved case, a family torn apart, and a woman who wasn’t believed. From WBUR and ZSP Media, Beyond All Repair is a 10-part true crime investigation into a cold case. The series ends with an answer.” Start listening to part one, “Ch. 1: Boxes.”

Chirp Chat – WUWM

Podcast tile art for Chirp Chat, from WUWM.

“With the sun shining a little more lately, you may have noticed more birds chirping — making it a great time to head outdoors and explore our feathered friends. Wisconsin birders join Lake Effect’s Xcaret Nuñez monthly to chirp about all things birds.” Listen to “A beginner’s guide on how to start birding in Milwaukee.”

Lost Notes – KCRW

Podcast tile art for Lost Notes, from KCRW.
Podcast tile art for Lost Notes, from KCRW.

“Long before ‘Tainted Love’ was an ’80s anthem, it was a 1965 B-side by LA’s Gloria Jones. We trace the song’s journey from a warehouse floor to the annals of pop history.

In season 4 of Lost Notes co-hosts Novena Carmel and Michael Barnes guide you through eight wildly different and deeply human stories, each set against the kaleidoscopic backdrop of LA’s soul and R&B scene of the 1950s-1970s. It’s a must-listen event for any aficionado of music history and great storytelling.” Start listening to “The True Story of ‘Tainted Love.’”

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¡Vamos Verde! – KUT

Podcast tile art for ¡Vamos Verde!, from KUT.

“¡Vamos Verde! is a podcast about Austin FC and the community that has grown up around the team. Hosts Jimmy Maas and Juan Garcia talk to players, staff, fans, musicians, and artists to bring you an inside look at the culture of Austin’s only professional sports team. From player interviews to looks behind the curtain at what makes the team and the community thrive – it’s a soccer podcast for everyone.” Listen to “A New Hope: Austin FC’s season opener w/ goalie Brad Stuver and singer Mélat.”

NPR’s Jessica Green and Jack Mitchell curated and produced this piece.

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How do you build without over polluting? That's the challenge of new Catan board game

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How do you build without over polluting? That's the challenge of new Catan board game

A new version of the popular board game Catan, which hits shelves this summer, introduces energy production and pollution into the gameplay.

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A new version of the popular board game Catan, which hits shelves this summer, introduces energy production and pollution into the gameplay.

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In the original version of the popular board game Settlers of Catan, players start on an undeveloped island and are encouraged to “fulfill your manifest destiny.” To win you have to collect resources and develop, claiming land by building settlements, cities, and roads.

A new version of the board game, Catan: New Energies, introduces a 21st-century twist — pollution. Expand responsibly or lose. In the new version, modern Catan needs energy. To get that energy players have to build power plants, and those plants can run on renewable energy or fossil fuels. Power plants operated on fossil fuels allow you to build faster but also create more pollution. Too much pollution causes catastrophes.

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Building renewable energy-based power plants has benefits in the new game, including minimizing pollution for everyone, but it also makes you grow slower.

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Building renewable energy-based power plants has benefits in the new game, including minimizing pollution for everyone, but it also makes you grow slower.

Catan GmbH

“Generally it’s tough to depict reality in a game. The reality is always so much more complex,” said Benjamin Teuber, managing director of Catan’s production company and co-developer of the new game. Games, he adds, need to be fun.

Catan: New Energies makes players choose between renewable energy or fossil fuel-based power plants. The latter allows you to grow faster but creates more pollution.

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Catan: New Energies makes players choose between renewable energy or fossil fuel-based power plants. The latter allows you to grow faster but creates more pollution.

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The newest iteration of Catan will hit shelves this summer. And it aims to mirror reality in a couple of clear ways: Energy from fossil fuels creates more planet-altering pollution than renewables; too much pollution leads to bad things; those bad things are felt unequally.

“Sometimes flooding hits everybody, just as we see [in the real world],” said Teuber. “It doesn’t matter who created the pollution. It affects everyone.”

Teuber, who co-developed New Energies with his late dad, Klaus Teuber, said the game was an old idea they dusted off during the Covid-19 pandemic. It’s one that’s become increasingly relevant as the real world grapples with the effects of real pollution: a rapidly warming planet that’s worsening wildfires, floods, and heatwaves.

The game’s developers are aware of the relevancy. “It’s a very interesting topic in every culture that we publish in,” Teuber said.

Polls show climate change is viewed as a major concern across many parts of the world. But adapting to the changes and addressing its roots have proven difficult. Teuber said he thinks board games can help move the conversation forward. Board games generally require people to sit around a shared table, to read each other, to negotiate and take risks, “without having a severe and bad consequence,” he said. “Unless divorce is the result.”

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Climate change experienced through board games

Catan: New Energies is not the only new board game centered on climate change. Daybreak, the latest game from the creator of Pandemic, a popular cooperative board game, tasks players with working together to cut carbon emissions and limit global warming.

In a blog post on Daybreak’s website, the game’s co-designer Matteo Menapace wrote that he and co-creator Matt Leacock were inspired to make the game because they were both worried about climate change and weren’t sure what to do about it.

“The problem with the question ‘what can I do about climate change,’ is how it implies climate action is like a single-player game, with you alone fighting against this huge invisible enemy,” Menapace wrote. They believe addressing climate change and its causes will require a collective effort. That’s why Daybreak requires “total cooperation,” Menapace wrote. “It’s a big leap from the current state of climate (in)action, but not an unreasonable one… and we aim for this game to play a role in accelerating this shift.”

Catan Studio, the developer and publisher of Catan games, isn’t as explicit in its intentions with its new game. The phrase “climate change” doesn’t show up in any of the Catan: New Energies’ promotional materials, packaging, or rulebooks. “Pollution” is the catch-all term for the problem.

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Teuber said they talked about adding the term but decided to focus on energy and presenting players with the option of fossil fuels or renewable. “We assume players will draw their own conclusions as they engage with the game,” he said.

The game’s studio does note in its press materials that according to “evidence-based research and expert sources, [the] new game elements will get players thinking and talking about important issues.”

A 2019 review of published research on board games and behavior by a team of Japanese researchers showed that “as a tool, board games can be expected to improve the understanding of knowledge, enhance interpersonal interactions among participants, and increase the motivation of participants.” Though, it noted, the number of published studies on the topic is limited.

Dialogue from gameplay

“What games are really powerful at is starting dialogues,” said Sam Illingworth, an associate professor of science communication at Edinburgh Napier University in the UK.

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In the gaming world, there’s a concept called the Magic Circle — a theory attributed to Johann Huizinga, a Dutch cultural historian, who in the 1930’s posited that play creates a separate world with separate rules.

“It’s the idea that we suspend disbelief on the gaming table,” Illingworth said. “Like in the game Monopoly, it’s perfectly good – strictly advisable – for me to want to bankrupt you, which is behavior that’s morally repugnant away from the gaming table, but it means that those social hierarchies can break down and we can have conversations that we wouldn’t normally be able to have.”

In 2019, Illingworth co-designed a playable expansion to the original Catan that added climate change and sustainability to the gameplay. They called it Catan: Global Warming and posted the rules and instructions on how to adapt a regular Catan game online.

In the add-on, if players add too many greenhouse gasses, the whole island is destroyed and nobody wins. “So that creates a game state where psychologically there’s obvious causality between actions and what happens, right?” Illingworth said. “So rather than just having a conversation about what might happen, you’re actually experiencing it.”

In Catan: New Energies, if pollution reaches too high a level to continue, the win goes to the person who built the most renewable energy power plants.

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While workshopping the new game with colleagues, Teuber said they would often play too aggressively, aiming to “grow, grow, grow,” they would build out fossil fuel power plants, he said. “We always manage to over pollute.”

Test groups did the same. But after those games, the players would often come back and say, “We had heavy discussions afterwards,” Teuber said. “We all felt kind of bad, we learned and thing or two, and the next game we played differently.”

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Sylvester Stallone Says Torn Pec Injury Forced 'Rocky II' Plot Twist

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Conductor Andrew Davis, who headed orchestras on 3 continents, dies at 80

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Conductor Andrew Davis, who headed orchestras on 3 continents, dies at 80

Conductor Andrew Davis, right, raises his arms as he takes a bow, accompanied by Renee Fleming, and Peter Rose, center, during the final dress rehearsal of Richard Strauss’s Capriccio in the Metropolitan Opera at New York’s Lincoln Center, March 25, 2011.

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Conductor Andrew Davis, right, raises his arms as he takes a bow, accompanied by Renee Fleming, and Peter Rose, center, during the final dress rehearsal of Richard Strauss’s Capriccio in the Metropolitan Opera at New York’s Lincoln Center, March 25, 2011.

Richard Drew/AP

Andrew Davis, an acclaimed British conductor who was music director of the Lyric Opera of Chicago and orchestras on three continents, has died. He was 80.

Davis died Saturday at Rusk Institute in Chicago from leukemia, his manager, Jonathan Brill of Opus 3 Artists, said Sunday.

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Davis had been managing the disease for between 1 1/2 and 2 years, but it became acute shortly after his 80th birthday on Feb. 2. He had conducted the Chicago Symphony Orchestra last December in the U.S. premiere of his own orchestration of Handel’s “Messiah.”

“A consummate musician, incredibly versatile and a phenomenal colleague, as well,” soprano Renée Fleming said in an email to The Associated Press. “It takes a special kind of command to be a great conductor, the power to make close to a hundred musicians (each one, at heart, a diva or divo) hang on your tiniest gesture. So it is remarkable that even with that strength, Andrew’s primary quality was his innate happiness. He was gifted with an infectious joy that somehow came through in every bar of music he made.”

As his 80th birthday approached, Davis was invigorated by the challenge of molding an orchestra, especially young players.

“Harnessing all that energy and that enthusiasm and that passion, and galvanizing it into a totally, totally unified conception and not just conception but — what’s the word? — realization,” he said during an interview with the AP last July after rehearsing the National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America in workshops and then at New York’s Carnegie Hall. “I berate them more than I would, but I hope always with a twinkle in my eye.”

Davis was music director of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra from 1975-88 and Britain’s Glyndebourne Festival from 1988-2000; chief conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra from 1989-2000 and the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra from 2013-19; then music director of the Lyric Opera from 2000-21.

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Davis made his Lyric Opera debut in 1987 and led about 700 performances of 62 operas by 22 composers.

“He was a true artistic partner to me and a shining light for so many of us,” Lyric Opera general director Anthony Freud said in a statement. “We will miss his incredible artistry, his extraordinary wisdom, his irrepressible humor, his unfettered zest for life and his devotion to the arts and the humanities.”

Davis conducted a dozen Last Night of the Proms concerts, an annual celebration of Britain at London’s Royal Albert Hall. He twice gave the customary speech in the patter of the Major General’s song from Gilbert and Sullivan’s “The Pirates of Penzance.”

Born in Ashridge, in the Hertfordshire county of England, Andrew Frank Davis played organ for his parish choir and joined the choir at the Watford Grammar School for Boys. He studied piano at London’s Royal Academy of Music in London, became an organ student at King’s College Cambridge, and played piano, harpsichord and organ with the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields from 1966-70.

He made his conducting debut with the BBC Symphony in 1970, became an assistant conductor with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and Philharmonia Orchestra, then in 1971 made his North American debut with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra.

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“One of the finest conductors of his generation,” Carnegie Hall executive and artistic director Clive Gillinson said. “I worked with him on an ongoing basis at the London Symphony Orchestra, and the players and I were always totally engaged by his superb musicianship.”

Davis made his opera-conducting debut in Strauss’ “Capriccio” at the Glyndebourne in 1973 and the following year met his future wife, soprano Gianna Rolandi, when she sang Zerbinetta in performances of Strauss’ “Ariadne auf Naxos” that he led at New York’s Metropolitan Opera. They got married in 1989 and had a son, composer Edward Frazier Davis.

Davis became a Commander of the British Empire in 1992 and a Knight Bachelor in 1999. The family moved to Chicago when he was hired by the Lyric Opera.

During the pandemic, Davis translated Virgil’s “Aeneid” from Latin into English verse.

“I took an entrance exam in classics in New College, Oxford,” he told NPR, “but then a couple of weeks later I took the organ scholarship trials at King’s College, Cambridge, which much to my surprise I won, so that was the end of classics for me.”

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His wife died in 2021. In addition to his son, he is survived by a sister, Jill Atkins, and brothers Martin Davis and Tim Davis. Funeral services will be private.

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