WBEZ | Star Trek http://www.wbez.org/tags/star-trek Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Bionic eye comes to Illinois hospital http://www.wbez.org/bionic-eye-comes-illinois-hospital-107954 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/BIONIC EYE.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The University of Illinois Hospital is screening patients to test a bionic eye.</p><p>The Argus II retinal prosthesis system, in a sense, restores vision to the blind.</p><p>The patient would wear glasses, not unlike <a href="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/0/04/GeordiLaForge.jpg/250px-GeordiLaForge.jpg" target="_blank">the ones in Star Trek</a>, with a camera attached. The glasses are connected to a video processor, which is then connected to a chip implanted in the eye. The camera &ldquo;sees&rdquo; for the wearer, and the video processors converts the image to electrical signals which then go to the brain.</p><p>That treats advanced patients of retinitis pigmentosa (RP), a genetic eye disease where the light sensing cells in the retina are damaged, explains Stephen Tsang, an assistant professor of ophthalmology at Columbia&nbsp; University who studies RP.</p><p>&ldquo;So if you think of the eye like a TV, the ganglion cells are like the cable of a TV. If you think of the eye like a camera, you can think of the light sensing neurons are like the film,&rdquo; Tsang says. &ldquo;So when the film (the light sensing neurons) dies away in retinitis pigmentosa, the strategy for the Argus II is to bypass the light sensing neuron and stimulate the ganglion cells (the cable of the eye) directly.&rdquo;</p><p>Advanced RP patients can only see whether or not there&rsquo;s light, but with the implant, they&rsquo;d be able to make out shapes and edges in black and white. If normal color vision is a high definition TV, then this would be a black and white TV with only 60 pixels.</p><p>The implant on the retina has six electrodes across and ten down, says Jennifer Lim, the director of retinal services at the University of Illinois Hospital who will be leading the surgical team. Hence the 60 pixels.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s not going to be vision like you and I have, where we see colors and shapes and images,&rdquo; she says. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s more of a pixelated type vision that they see, but it&rsquo;s really a great scientific advancement, and almost something out of Star Trek.&rdquo;</p><p>The Food and Drug Administration approved the Argus II this February. The University of Illinois Hospital is one of 12 hospitals nationwide running a Phase Four clinical trial. That means the device has been approved for the market, and researchers will investigate possible long term side effects.</p><p>The implant does have side effects. Doctors need to cut open the eye to implant the chip on the retina, so the wound could split or become inflamed, for instance. Lim says such side effects are not uncommon in retinal surgeries and can be treated. She says what&rsquo;s more important to know is that patients will need to spend five to ten hours learning how to use the device, as well as receive training. After all, they&rsquo;re learning to see again.</p><p>Although the Argus II is limited to treating RP patients, the goal is to extend it to other eye disorders that damage the retina, says Rohit Varma, professor and head of ophthalmology at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine.</p><p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;re in a very exciting time in vision research,&rdquo; Varma says. &ldquo;We, for the first time, have the ability to give some vision back to people who ordinarily would be blind for the rest of their lives.&rdquo;</p><p>For instance, he says a similar device could treat <a href="http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/maculardegeneration.html" target="_blank">macular degeneration</a>, a far more common eye disease that is the leading cause of blindness in Americans over 60.</p><p>In RP, the patient loses peripheral vision slowly, developing a type of tunnel vision before becoming blind. In macular degeneration, the retina is damaged at its center, which is the most light sensitive. The Argus II has 60 electrodes, and Varma proposes an implant with 240 electrodes or more, placed at the center of the retina, to treat macular degeneration.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s a little way away from that,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;We&rsquo;re excited at this point that we even have this technology and that we can bring light to people whose lives are essentially dark.&rdquo;</p><p>Stephen Tsang of Columbia University believes that in the near future, advanced patients will be treated with prostheses, but earlier stage patients can receive gene and stem cell therapies. He says researchers are developing such treatments for retinal diseases, citing progress at the <a href="http://www.ghei.uci.edu/features/feature_klassen.asp" target="_blank">University of California, Irvine</a>, <a href="http://www.moorfields.nhs.uk/Aboutus/Mediaoffice/Mediareleases/Worldsfirstgenetherapyforinheritedblindness-2?portal_skin=text_only" target="_blank">University College London</a> and <a href="http://www.nature.com/news/2011/110406/full/news.2011.215.html" target="_blank">Japan</a>. He says this model of stage-based treatment will also likely be used in treating degenerative brain diseases, such as Alzheimer&rsquo;s and Parkinson&rsquo;s.</p><p>&ldquo;The progress is tremendous,&rdquo; Tsang says. &ldquo;For example, diagnosing RP patients before they&rsquo;re born in the earlier stage is not even practical just a few years ago, because it took $3 billion dollars and a few years to sequence one person&rsquo;s genome. But now it takes only one month and less than $5,000.&rdquo;</p><p><em>Alan Yu is a WBEZ metro desk intern. Follow him <a href="http://Alan_Yu039" target="_blank">@Alan_Yu039</a></em></p></p> Fri, 05 Jul 2013 07:59:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/bionic-eye-comes-illinois-hospital-107954 Zoe Saldana and the great weight debate http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-05/zoe-saldana-and-great-weight-debate-107260 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" getty="" into="" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/urt7.jpg" star="" style="float: left;" title="Zoe Saldana at the premiere of &quot;Star Trek Into Darkness.&quot; (Getty Images)" trek="" /><em>Allure </em>magazine is feeling the <a href="http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2013/05/zoe-saldana-allure-weight-reveal-stirs-uproar/" target="_blank">backlash</a> after printing the weight of <em>Star Trek Into Darkness </em>star Zoe Saldana on the cover of their June issue.&nbsp;</p><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&quot;115 lbs of grit and heartache&quot; reads the headline. And many people <a href="http://girlsguideto.com/articles/wtf-allure-prints-zoe-saldana-s-weight-on-the-cover" target="_blank">did not like it</a>.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><a href="http://www.businessinsider.com/allure-magazine-backlash-over-zoe-saldanas-weight-2013-5" target="_blank">News outlets</a>&nbsp;from Yahoo to The Cut have called out the headline as &quot;bizarre and unnecessary,&quot; saying that &quot;everytime we seem to be making progress in the way women are portrayed in magazines, somehow we take a step back.&quot;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">But Saldana had no qualms about <a href="http://www.businessinsider.com/allure-magazine-backlash-over-zoe-saldanas-weight-2013-5" target="_blank">stripping down</a> for <em>Allure</em>, both in posing for semi-nude photos inside the magazine and in unabashedly revealing her digits on the cover:</div><blockquote><div class="image-insert-image ">&quot;I think it would have been wrong if they were lying about my weight,&quot; Saldana told the <a href="http://www.today.com/style/zoe-saldanas-weight-revealed-magazine-cover-1C9928678" target="_blank"><em>Today</em></a> show Thursday, &quot;This is how much I weigh, it&#39;s something I can&#39;t control, it&#39;s who I am. I&#39;ve always been a very thin frame, I was a ballet dancer. I don&#39;t think it was to make an issue of my weight. I think it was to say for a lightweight person, I seem to be really strong-minded.&quot;</div></blockquote><div class="image-insert-image ">Ah, so what <em>Allure</em>&nbsp;<em>meant</em> to say was that&nbsp;<a href="http://www.businessinsider.com/allure-magazine-backlash-over-zoe-saldanas-weight-2013-5" target="_blank">powerhouses</a>&nbsp;often come in small packages. It&#39;s a message that tries to be girl-power positive (don&#39;t underestimate the gorgeous 5&#39;7&#39;&#39; knockout just because she&#39;s thin!) but unfortunately sounds much more like the glorification of an ideal body type than anything else.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Would <em>Allure</em> print the weight of a plus-size actress (say, &quot;215 lbs of grit and heartache&quot;) on the cover of their magazine? I highly doubt it.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Saldana may just be small-boned and naturally thin; however, nobody should <em>aspire</em> to be 115 lbs, or any other number that a fashion magazine splashes across its front page as beauty personified.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">On the whole, men tend to be more comfortable discussing weight with each other, especially in regards to how much they can bench, eat or drink under the table in a given night. Women, on the other hand, usually approach the subject with an unspoken vow of secrecy and a sting of self-evaluation that&#39;s sometimes hot to the touch.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">For example, one woman may coyly mention, &quot;I weigh ___ pounds&quot; to her girfriends, and their internal reactions could vary wildly: from sighs of relief (&quot;Phew, I weigh less&quot;) to surges of panic (&quot;I weigh so much more than she does&quot;) to eye rolls of annoyance (&quot;Ugh, why is she telling us her weight? I don&#39;t want to hear it.&quot;)</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Perhaps the responses we&nbsp;<em>should&nbsp;</em>have to such a disclosure are &quot;<a href="http://www.xojane.com/issues/zoe-saldana-star-trek-allure-cover-and-the-radical-possibilities-of-disclosing-your-weight" target="_blank">Who cares</a>?&quot; and &quot;<a href="http://www.eonline.com/news/419645/allure-defends-zoe-saldana-weight-reveal-cover-other-media-outlets-sound-off" target="_blank">As long as she&#39;s healthy, why should it matter</a>?&quot; After all, most of us feel comfortable talking about sexual preferences and how much our apartments cost with people we barely know; so why is weight still considered a &quot;do not discuss&quot; topic outside of trusted confidantes?</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Do these numbers really have such a powerful hold on us that we can&#39;t bring ourselves to speak them aloud?&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Ultimately, the decision to share your weight or keep it to yourself is a personal one, and should be free of shame on both sides. If Saldana is fine with telling people her&nbsp;weight, and feels no shame in it, then good for her. If other women want to shout their numbers from the rooftops, then they should feel free to do so.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">As long as we don&#39;t define ourselves by how much we weigh, or determine our self-worth by something so arbitrary as an ever-fluctuating number on a scale, then we can just <em>be&nbsp;</em>and let societal pressures fall by the wayside.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Or as <a href="http://jezebel.com/5986705/11-reasons-why-jennifer-lawrence-is-your-bff-in-your-head" target="_blank">Jennifer Lawrence</a> and I tend to do, deflect all weirdly body-focused questions with &quot;I love french fries&quot; and call it a day.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><em>Leah Pickett writes about popular culture for WBEZ. Follow her on <a href="https://twitter.com/leahkpickett" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, <a href="https://www.facebook.com/leahkristinepickett" target="_blank">Facebook</a> or <a href="http://hermionehall.tumblr.com" target="_blank">Tumblr</a>.&nbsp;</em></div></p> Tue, 21 May 2013 08:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-05/zoe-saldana-and-great-weight-debate-107260 Chicago has a 'Project Batman' and it's hiring http://www.wbez.org/blogs/charlie-meyerson/2013-02/chicago-has-project-batman-and-its-hiring-105799 <p><p><a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3wMpHZs0F7k&amp;feature=youtu.be&amp;t=5m5s" target="_blank"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Screen%20shot%202013-02-27%20at%201.24.24%20PM.png" style="float: right; height: 182px; width: 300px;" title="City of Chicago Director of Analytics Tom Schenk Jr." /></a></p><p><strong>YEAH, CHICAGO HAS A &#39;PROJECT BATMAN.&#39;</strong>&nbsp;Chicago&#39;s analytics director, <strong>Tom Schenk Jr. </strong>&mdash; who kinda looks like Bruce Wayne, doesn&#39;t he? &mdash; tells a gathering of journalists, programmers and government leaders&nbsp;<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3wMpHZs0F7k&amp;feature=youtu.be&amp;t=5m5s" target="_blank">the city&#39;s working with the University of Illinois at Chicago to visualize crime data</a>&nbsp;in a 3-D&nbsp;<a href="http://techland.time.com/2013/02/25/cave2-not-a-star-trek-holodeck-yet-but-getting-closer/" target="_blank">virtual reality &quot;cave.&quot;</a><br />* P.S.&nbsp;<a href="https://chicago.taleo.net/careersection/100/joblist.ftl" target="_blank">They&#39;re hiring</a>. (The &quot;Project Manager - DoIT&quot; job.)</p><p><strong>&#39;THE NRA WANTS TO KEEP GUN RECORDS SECRET FROM EVERYONE EXCEPT THE NRA.&#39; </strong>You know&nbsp;those public gun ownership records that have brought shame and <a href="http://jimromenesko.com/2013/02/26/editor-who-made-request-resigns/" target="_blank">death threats</a>&nbsp;to journalists who&#39;ve dared even just to express interest in them? The records the National Rifle Association contends shouldn&#39;t be public because they put gun owners &quot;at risk to criminals who may target their home to steal firearms&quot;? Funny thing: Gun-rights groups, including the NRA, have for years been <a href="http://gawker.com/5987293/the-nra-wants-to-keep-gun-records-secret-from-everyone-except-the-nra">diving into those records for fundraising and recruiting efforts</a>, according to&nbsp;<em>Gawker</em>.<br />* For NYC&#39;s Bloomberg, election that nominated Robin Kelly for Congress was mainly about testing&nbsp;<a href="http://www.buzzfeed.com/cjlotz/bloombergs-pac-reveals-strategy-for-making-a-chicago-area-ra" target="_blank">political strategy to defang the NRA</a>.<br />* ... And for Republicans in that race? Guy who did almost <a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/ct-met-2nd-district-republican-nominee-20130228,0,3550456.story" target="_blank">20 years for burglaries, armed robberies and aggravated battery</a>.<br />* <em>Chicago Magazine</em>&#39;s Carol Felsenthal: &quot;<a href="http://www.chicagomag.com/Chicago-Magazine/Felsenthal-Files/February-2013/Billionaire-Mayor-Bloomberg-Buys-Illinois-2nd-District-Congressional-Seat/" target="_blank">Bloomberg could be a key funder of a Rahm run for the presidency</a>.&quot;<br />* &quot;Gun rights&quot; Democrats may <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2013/02/27/liberals-to-dems-no-more-cozying-up-to-the-nra/" target="_blank">pay a price for coziness with NRA</a>.<br />* Downstate Republican Illinois representative compares gun control to emasculation: &quot;<a href="http://www.rrstar.com/blogs/kevinhaas/x711925952/Rep-Jim-Sacia-compares-gun-control-to-castration" target="_blank">You folks in Chicago want me to get castrated because your families are having too many kids</a>.&quot;</p><hr /><p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size:20px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, serif;"><span style="color:#a52a2a;"><em>Friday: The next WBEZ Meyerson News Quiz.&nbsp;</em></span><a href="http://www.wbez.org/tags/news-quiz" target="_blank"><span style="color:#a52a2a;">Take last week&#39;s now</span></a><span style="color:#a52a2a;">.</span></span></span></p><hr /><p><strong>SHOULD NPR SWEAR OFF GOVERNMENT CASH? </strong>National Public Radio&#39;s former CEO says <a href="http://www.newsmax.com/US/Ken-Stern-NPR-funding/2013/02/27/id/492286" target="_blank">walking away from federal cash</a> would lay to rest questions about the organization&#39;s credibility. He says public radio &quot;would do better&quot; without public financing.<br />* <a href="http://www.npr.org/2013/02/27/173056290/5-4-3-2-1-we-have-sequestration" target="_blank">Countdown to sequestration</a> just latest of many.</p><p><strong><a href="http://www.theverge.com/2013/2/27/4038280/star-trek-tng-in-theatres-best-of-both-worlds-april-25" target="_blank"><img alt="&quot;Star Trek&quot;: &quot;The Best of Both Worlds&quot;" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-DqQygKOCVUs/TlkNyU0uBCI/AAAAAAAAADQ/DRYhmMEP8Uw/s1600/The+Best+of+Both+Worlds.jpg" style="width: 300px; height: 229px; float: right;" /></a>RESISTANCE IS FUTILE.&nbsp;</strong>What some fans consider the best two &quot;Star Trek&quot; episodes ever -- &quot;The Best of Both Worlds&quot; (a.ka. <strong>Capt. Picard goes Borg</strong>) -- <a href="http://www.theverge.com/2013/2/27/4038280/star-trek-tng-in-theatres-best-of-both-worlds-april-25" target="_blank">will be shown, newly remastered for Blu-ray, as a single movie on the big screen</a>, one night only, April 25.<br />* <a href="http://www.fathomevents.com/?utm_source=Star_Trek_TNG3_Press_Release&amp;utm_medium=PR&amp;utm_campaign=Star_Trek_TNG3_Fathom_Event_Page#!star-trek-best-of-both-worlds/more-info/theaters" target="_blank">22 Illinois theaters</a> on list of those screening the episodes.</p><p><b>UNRELATED DEVELOPMENTS.</b><br />* The departing <a href="http://www.newser.com/story/163589/popes-living-arrangements-are-a-little-er-weird.html" target="_blank">Pope Benedict&#39;s future living arrangements</a> are&nbsp;raising eyebrows&nbsp;around the world.<br />* Nonprofit foundation seeking couple for&nbsp;<a href="http://www.aljazeera.com/news/americas/2013/02/201322723556589753.html" target="_blank">501-day roundtrip mission to Mars</a>.</p><hr /><p><em><strong>ANNOUNCEMENTS.</strong></em><br /><em>* Suggestions for this blog?&nbsp;<a href="mailto:cmeyerson@wbez.org?subject=Things%20and%20stuff">Email anytime</a>.<br />* Get this blog by email, free. <a href="http://feedburner.google.com/fb/a/mailverify?uri=feedburner/AELk&amp;amp;loc=en_US" target="_blank">Sign up here</a>.</em><br /><em>* Follow us on Twitter:&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/wbez" target="_blank">@WBEZ</a>&nbsp;and&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/meyerson" target="_blank">@Meyerson</a>.</em></p></p> Thu, 28 Feb 2013 05:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/charlie-meyerson/2013-02/chicago-has-project-batman-and-its-hiring-105799 Meet the Star Trek-loving meteorologist who named Winter Storm Khan http://www.wbez.org/series/dynamic-range/meet-star-trek-loving-meteorologist-who-named-winter-storm-khan-105160 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/snow storm chicago AP.jpg" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: center;"><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="338" src="http://bcove.me/6norrxha" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>The first thing you should know about the man who named <a href="http://www.weather.com/news/weather-winter/why-we-named-khan-20130125">Winter Storm Khan</a> &ndash; which is expected to leave<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/25/winter-storm-khan-wrath-video_n_2551143.html?utm_hp_ref=green">&nbsp;2 to 4 inches of snow between Ohio and the mid-Atlantic</a> this weekend &ndash; is that he lives in Miami Beach, Fla.</p><p>When I reached <a href="http://www.wunderground.com/blog/bnorcross/show.html">Bryan Norcross</a>, the Weather Channel&rsquo;s Senior Executive Director of Weather Content and Senior Hurricane Specialist, at home Friday afternoon, he cheerfully reported that the weather there was a sunny 77 degrees.</p><p>So while much of the rest of the country shivers through single-digit temperatures, the man who helped spark the controversy over <a href="http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-11-07/news/ct-talk-winter-storm-athena-1108-20121107_1_enterprise-products-and-services-opinion-about-private-weather-winter-storms">the Weather Channel&rsquo;s move to start naming winter storms this past fall</a> can walk around in shorts and flip-flops</p><p>If you&#39;ll recall, the cable channel&#39;s decision irritated critics who thought the task of naming storms should be reserved for some quasi-governmental agency, like the World Meteorological Organization, which names hurricanes in the Atlantic, or the National Weather Service, perhaps. Andrew Freiden, a Richmond, Va. meteorologist who was quoted in the <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/capital-weather-gang/post/weather-channel-to-name-winter-storms-a-publicity-and-power-play-with-possible-value/2012/10/02/efa49318-0c98-11e2-bb5e-492c0d30bff6_blog.html">Capital Weather Gang blog</a>, put it this way: &ldquo;Weather Channel to name Winter Storms! First Thought: &ldquo;Who died and made them King?!&rdquo;</p><p>Honestly, we here at the WBEZ web team weren&rsquo;t all that interested in the controversy. We just wanted to know: <a href="http://www.weather.com/news/winter-storm-names-20121001">Khan? Draco? <em>Gandolf?!</em></a> Who picked these names? And were they, like, mega sci-fi/fantasy buffs or what?</p><p>The answer, not surprisingly, is yes.</p><p>&ldquo;Meteorologists tend to be &ndash; what would you call it &ndash; <em>Star Trek</em>, <em>Star Wars</em>, <em>Lord of the Rings</em> enthusiasts,&rdquo; Norcross said. &ldquo;We&rsquo;re more inclined towards sci-fi than the general population.&rdquo; So much so that in addition to their choice of Khan, Norcross and company considered naming a storm after Lt. Uhura. &ldquo;We thought about a bunch of Star Trek names,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;But we didn&rsquo;t want words that were hard to say or funny to read. It was a trial-and-error process.&rdquo;</p><p>The Weather Channel considered superhero names, too. (My reaction: &ldquo;You mean like Winter Storm Spider-Man?!&rdquo; How amazing would that have been?) Their choice for &ldquo;J&rdquo; was almost Jor-El, Superman&rsquo;s father.</p><p>Ultimately Norcross steered his team away from those choices. &ldquo;I have a list of names that pulled directly out of popular culture in a variety of ways,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;Then we got to thinking, is this going to cause any issue?&rdquo; (You know, like, say, copyright infringement.) &ldquo;Then it occurred to me that many of these [pop-culture names] are derived from something else. Why not avoid the issue, and then it makes a better story anyway?&rdquo;</p><p>So those storm names that seem plucked directly from the comics? Draco may be Harry Potter&rsquo;s snide classmate, but he is also, apparently, &ldquo;the first legislator of Athens in Ancient Greece.&rdquo; Norcross and company settled on Greek and Roman mythology for the public face of their inspiration, picking names like Athena, Brutus and Helen. (There is a smattering of other weather-related gods in there, too, like Orko, the Basque god of thunder.) When explaining the double meanings of some other names, Norcross now points to the more old-school usages and derivations in order to avoid any controversy or unwanted business attention.</p><p>For example, Winter Storm Gandolf &ndash; which brought blizzard conditions to the Rockies in early January &ndash; is spelled with an &ldquo;o&rdquo; while Tolkien&rsquo;s gray wizard Gandalf spells his name with an &ldquo;a.&rdquo; Tolkien took inspiration for Gandalf&rsquo;s name from a character in William Morris&rsquo; 1896 novel <em>A Well at the World&rsquo;s End</em>; hence the Weather Channel&rsquo;s citation for its winter storm name: &ldquo;Gandolf:&nbsp;A character in a 1896 fantasy novel in a pseudo-medieval countryside.&rdquo;</p><p>Norcross said he likes the alternative spelling because it gets people talking. &ldquo;I&rsquo;ve seen it on tweets &ndash; &lsquo;Oh, they&rsquo;ve misspelled Gandalf!&rsquo;&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;Then I tell them the story behind the name and they say, &lsquo;Oh, that&rsquo;s interesting.&rsquo; Now we&rsquo;ve told a story that makes people have some kind of identification with the name.&rdquo;</p><p>That desire for social media engagement, Norcross said, was ultimately the final motivation for the whole naming enterprise anyway. &ldquo;The thing that ticked us over was Twitter, and the need for a hashtag for a storm,&rdquo; he explained. &ldquo;Anything of any consequence needs a hashtag. So what are you going to put? #Snow?&rdquo;</p><p>Whatever names they choose down the road &ndash; they&#39;ve yet to choose next year&#39;s names &ndash; they&#39;ll have their work cut out for them. Climatologists, including Norcross&#39; former Weather Channel colleague Heidi Cullen, predict that global warming will increase the frequency and intensity of&nbsp; storms, including the snowy kind. That means Norcross and his colleagues have a lot of new names to pick out.</p><p>You can check out more of what Cullen has to say about the impact of climate change on weather in the audio below.</p><p>Then, if you want to help the Weather Channel out, you can submit your suggestions for winter storm names at feedback.weather.com. Me? I suggest that in keeping with tradition, they name one of next year&rsquo;s storms <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Storm_(Marvel_Comics)">Storm</a>. You know, like, &quot;a disturbance of the normal condition of the atmosphere.&quot;</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F76466723" width="100%"></iframe></p><p><em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/dynamic-range">Dynamic Range</a></em>&nbsp;<em>showcases hidden gems unearthed from Chicago Amplified&rsquo;s vast archive of public events and appears on weekends. Heidi Cullen spoke at an event presented by Elmhurst College in March of 2012 Click</em>&nbsp;<em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/heidi-cullen-weather-future-96942">here</a>&nbsp;to hear the event in its entirety.</em></p></p> Sat, 26 Jan 2013 08:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/series/dynamic-range/meet-star-trek-loving-meteorologist-who-named-winter-storm-khan-105160 Shatner Unbound, war profiteering and swing music http://www.wbez.org/blogs/onstagebackstage/2013-01/shatner-unbound-war-profiteering-and-swing-music-104655 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/shatner_gageskidmore.jpg" style="float: right; height: 200px; width: 300px;" title="William Shatner (Gage Skidmore)" /></div><p><u><em>Shatner&rsquo;s World (We Just Live In It)</em>, Paramount Theatre, 23 East Galena Boulevard in Aurora, Friday night only at 8 p.m.&nbsp; Call 630-896-6666 for tickets ($65, $75 and $85).</u></p><p>I admit it: when I first saw this show announced in September I instantly called for tickets.&nbsp; I was a Captain Kirk freak when all the cool kids were into Spock; I watched <em>TJ Hooker</em> just to hear the leading man say &ldquo;Dirt Bag.&rdquo;&nbsp; I owned a bootleg of <em>Star Trek</em> outtakes and another of our hero&#39;s bizarre interpretation of &ldquo;Rocket Man.&rdquo;&nbsp; I&rsquo;ve even seen the unspeakable studio version of <em>The Brothers Karamazov</em> because his Alyosha looks so cute in a cassock. So naturally I&rsquo;m prepared to drive an hour out to Aurora and an hour back to see William Shatner do whatever it is he&rsquo;s going to do in this one-man one-night-only show.&nbsp; It could be Priceline commercials (or even Promise commercials) for all of me.&nbsp; If you share my passion for the King of Self-Deprecation, the Master of the Unmotivated Mid-Sentence Pause, the ex-Shakespearean actor with the grace not to mourn his lost serious career for the phenomenal silly one he&rsquo;s had, I don&rsquo;t need to tell you: it&rsquo;s going to be well worth the Friday rush-hour drive.<br /><br /><u><em>Allotment Annie</em>, inFusion Theatre Company at Strawdog Theatre, 3829 North Broadway, previews tonight and tomorrow, opens Saturday (Jan. 5) at 8 p.m.&nbsp; Call 773-528-9696 for tickets ($10 previews, $25 and $15 for students and seniors); Thursdays-Sundays through February 3.</u><br /><br />Or if you&rsquo;d rather hear singing by people who can actually sing, coupled with swing dancing by people who can still swing, check out the world premiere of this new play &ldquo;infused&rdquo; (as the company says) with music and dancing of the 1940s.&nbsp; The play itself (not actually a musical) features renegade Air Force pilots, grasping bartenders, war profiteering and (as the company says) &ldquo;sex, betrayal and murder.&rdquo;&nbsp; Just good clean fun with which to start the year.</p></p> Thu, 03 Jan 2013 12:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/onstagebackstage/2013-01/shatner-unbound-war-profiteering-and-swing-music-104655 Film Remakes: Reimagining or ruining a classic? http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-10-07/film-remakes-reimagining-or-ruining-classic-92930 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2011-October/2011-10-07/Star Trek.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0796366" target="_top">Captain Kirk and Spock</a> have had one, and so have all three of the <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1509767/" target="_blank">Musketeers</a>.&nbsp; And though it may not like to admit it, so has that shape-shifting alien creature <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0905372/" target="_blank">The Thing</a>. Yes, they're all film face-lifts. Call it a "remake," a "reboot" or, oddly, a "re-imagining" – many movies from years past have been receiving 21<sup>st</sup>-century updates. And fans of the originals aren’t always pleased with the new look. Hank Sartin, senior editor at <a href="http://timeoutchicago.com/" target="_blank"><em>TimeOut Chicago</em></a> joined <em>Eight Forty-Eight's </em>Alison Cuddy to talk about these cinematic clones.</p></p> Fri, 07 Oct 2011 15:07:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-10-07/film-remakes-reimagining-or-ruining-classic-92930 Actor Ben Vereen reflects on life in Chicago http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-05-03/actor-ben-vereen-reflects-life-chicago-85996 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2011-May/2011-05-03/Vereen Getty Joe Corrigan.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><a href="http://benvereen.com/main/biography/" target="_blank">Ben Vereen</a> is perhaps best known for his stage roles – like in <em>Jesus Christ Superstar</em> and <em>Wicked</em>. The actor, singer and dancer also made a splash in <em>Roots</em> and <em>Star Trek: The Next Generation</em>. But less widely known is the fact that he lived in Chicago in the '90s.</p><p>He recently came to Chicago to speak at the <a href="http://www.diabetes.org/in-my-community/expo/chicago-expo-2011/" target="_blank">American Diabetes Association’s Expo</a> with the diabetes awareness organization <a href="http://www.standfordiabetes.org/">S.T.A.N.D</a>.&nbsp; He also spoke with WBEZ’s Richard Steele while he was in town. They began by talking about some of Ben Vereen’s local connections, including his friendship with the founder of <a href="http://www.cutemple.org/" target="_blank">Christ Universal Temple</a>, a South Side megachurch.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Tue, 03 May 2011 13:23:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-05-03/actor-ben-vereen-reflects-life-chicago-85996 For MLK Day: 'Lt. Uhura' On How Rev. King Told Her To Stay On 'Star Trek' http://www.wbez.org/story/around-nation/mlk-day-lt-uhura-how-rev-king-told-her-stay-star-trek <p><p>The nation honors the memory of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. on Monday. And among NPR's offerings that day will be a fascinating story from actress Nichelle Nichols -- known to fans around the world as "Lt. Uhura" on the original <em>Star Trek </em>TV series and six of the later big-screen movies based on that vision of the future.</p><p><em>Star Trek </em>went on the air in 1966. <em><a href="http://www.npr.org/programs/tell-me-more/" target="_blank">Tell Me More</a></em> host Michel Martin spoke with Nichols about how the actress almost left the show after one season to return to her first love -- the musical stage.</p><p>But at an NAACP dinner in Los Angeles, Nichols says, King told her he was her biggest fan. When Nichols told him she was planning to leave the show, he told her she couldn't do that.</p><p></p><p><em>Star Trek </em>creator Gene Roddenberry, Nichols says King told her, was showing the nation a universe where " 'for the first time, we [African-Americans] are being seen the world over ... as we should be seen'." And " 'you have created a character' " that is critical to that, he said.</p><p>King also told her that " 'this is the only show that my wife Coretta and I will allow our little children to stay up and watch?' "</p><p>"I was ... speechless," Nichols says.</p><p>She decided to stay on the show. The Lt. Uhura character, as Michel Martin attests, became an icon -- inspiring young black kids, especially girls. When Uhura and Captain Kirk (who, as you probably know, was played by the white actor William Shatner) kissed in the <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0708443/" target="_blank"><em>Plato's Stepchildren</em> episode</a>, a racial barrier was broken.</p><p>Here's the audio of Nichols talking about her conversation with King:</p><p>And here she says that she later knew she'd made the right decision, "because as Dr. King said, 'you have been chosen ... this is historic' ":</p><p>Nichols, 78, <a href="http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0629667/" target="_blank">is still busy acting.</a></p><p>Much more from the conversation, as we said, is due on Monday's edition of <em>Tell Me More</em>. <a href="http://www.npr.org/templates/stations/stations/" target="_blank">Click here</a> to find an NPR station that broadcasts or streams the show. Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit <a href="http://www.npr.org/">http://www.npr.org/</a>.<img src="http://metrics.npr.org/b/ss/nprapidev/5/1295038630?&gn=For+MLK+Day%3A+%27Lt.+Uhura%27+On+How+Rev.+King+Told+Her+To+Stay+On+%27Star+Trek%27&ev=event2&ch=103943429&h1=Gene+Roddenberry,Star+Trek,Nichelle+Nichols,Rev.+Martin+Luther+King+Jr.,Race+in+America,National+News,Culture,The+Two-Way,Television,Around+the+Nation,U.S.,Home+Page+Top+Stories,News&c3=D%3Dgn&v3=D%3Dgn&c4=132935327&c7=1001&v7=D%3Dc7&c18=1001&v18=D%3Dc18&c19=20110114&v19=D%3Dc19&c20=1&v20=D%3Dc20&c45=MDA0OTc2MjAwMDEyNjk0NDE4OTI2NmUwNQ001"/></p></p> Fri, 14 Jan 2011 14:10:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/around-nation/mlk-day-lt-uhura-how-rev-king-told-her-stay-star-trek