This week our special in studio guest is Philip Tedischi, Past President and current Vice President of the Michigan Mushroom Hunters Club, Phil is a "real fungi." We learned during our time in studio that he served as engineer for WCBN FM back in his days as an undergraduate at UM in the 1960s, but also boasts a total of 5 advanced degrees from the university of MI, including a PhD in Computer Science. Phil was joined on the mike by contemporary DJ Rodney, a Saline, MI resident who stopped on his way out of the studios after his show to ask a few choice questions about Morrell mushrooms. Tune in and learn along with Rodney! Phil is a real authority, and leads mushroom hunts on many fall weekends.

Phil was joined on the phone lines by Chris Wright, who is the Executive Director of Midwest American Mycological Information (MAMI), and owner of Easy Grow Mushrooms, an outfit selling do it yourself mushroom kits at the Ann Arbor Farmer's market. Chris is a Doctoral Candidate at MSU, and he talks with us about changing norms in Michigan for mushroom identification in the interest of commercialization. Gradually markets are growing up and avid mushroom hunters with expert knowledge can pursue a path to become agents of mushroom certification for markets. This is affecting the distribution of wild mushrooms on lots of Michigan markets, which can be a boon to rural communities and consumers alike.

Both Chris and Phil, as well as Hot in Here co-host Rebecca Hardin have learned much from formal study and field study with former UM mycologist Robert Shaffer (pictured). There is a close knit community of people in this area who love to get out in the woods and find fungi; many go together in order to confer and make absolutely certain they know what kinds of mushrooms they are collecting! Co-host Becca Baylor notes she is heading out on the weekends this time of year whenever possible; at the time of this writing she had been cooking with chanterelles she gathered last weekend! 

Both our guests and our hosts echo Professors Shaffer's admonition about edible mushrooms: They are edible by most people, most of the time, if properly prepared. Some of the most unmistakeable and safest mushrooms include puffballs (white spheres that can be made into a good mushroom soup as long as they are still white inside!) and hen of the woods. As you learn more, remember the cautionary note of our experts, but we hope you also catch their enthusiasm for the abundance and variety of Michigan Mushrooms, and learn more on their websites about the expertise needed to gather and consumer wild mushrooms safely (for instance, they must never be consumed raw!) 

Our soundtrack today ranges from the brilliant, iconoclastic John Cage--himself a mushroom enthusiast (and survivor of a "mushroom mistake") to the Kinks (who may well have made other kinds of "mushroom mistakes"). Learn about the nutritional benefits, ecological particularities and recreational opportunities with Michigan's fall mushrooms: listen in!

For more information, visit Anthropologist Ann Tsing's website


About Camp Davis 

PictureCabins at Camp Davis
Nestled in the mountains 19 miles south of Jackson Hole, Wyoming and tucked between the Hoback River and Bridger Teton National Forest,  Camp Davis Rocky Mountain Field Station is a research and teaching facility owned and operated by the University of Michigan and managed by the Department of Earth & Environmental Science. Camp Davis has provided an unparalleled learning experience each summer since 1929. Camp Davis offers courses in Introductory Geology, Geological Mapping, Ecosystem Science and the History and Literature of the West. Located within the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem and nearby Grand Teton National Park, our location provides a wealth of instructional opportunities.

Camp Davis allows students to fulfill their Practical Experience requirements for their respective majors. Two of the most common majors that require Practical Experience are the Program in the Environment and Earth and Environmental Sciences. The Practical Experience requirement is an opportunity for students to learn through action and not just listening to lectures. It is essential for students to get into the field and experience first-hand the issues that are affecting the plant. This includes a research component that pushes students to engage with a wide variety of environmental and human issues through question formulation, data collection, analysis and in-depth discussion. This opportunity gives students valuable experiences that can help them land their first job or get into their graduate school of choice. Other regular field experiences to choose from include the U of M Biological Station in Northern Michigan (which includes courses for non UM Students!), the New English Literature Program, the Michigan in Washington Program, and the  Semester in Detroit.  

History and Literature of the West class on a hike in Cascade Canyon, Grand Teton Nat'l Park
PictureBailey Schneider in the Tetons while at Camp Davis
Our host, Bailey Schneider, has taken two courses at Camp Davis. In the summer of 2014, she took an Introductory Geology course thats covers all aspects of modern earth sciences. Students in this course learn about rocks, minerals, and fossils, both in the classroom and in a variety of natural settings, which leads to discussion and understanding of topics such as volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, geo-environmental problems, pale-oceanography, and tectonic processes. This past summer, she took History and Literature of the Rockies, which was taught by Gregg Crane and Phil Deloria. This course examines a range of human experiences and expressions of place, centered on the Camp Davis region and Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks. This course also examines human histories and landscapes, tracing these from the first inhabitants to contemporary development, management, and recreational issues, as well as human expressions of place captured in literature, art, and landscape. As she put it on air (after admitting she got in trouble for carving her name in a cabin!)  "It made me want to live with more purpose...it actually DID change my life." 

Another guest in studio, new IHIH production team member  and PITE major Harry Rice was listening intently. He asked a few hard hitting questions of his own, since he plans to attend Camp Davis this coming year.  We also all listened to and loved a spectacular, quiet cover of "This Land is Your Land" by My Morning Jacket to Eddie Vedder's "Society" and "Blame it on the Tetons" by Modest Mouse. These tunes helped us think about leaving society as we know it behind in order to either sit in a special place, or travel through landscapes as part of learning: those with the travel bug might like Joe Trumpey's Ecoexplorers courses which in recent years have expanded from the Sonoran Desert or Four Corners region of the U.S. to include sites in Madagascar, Tanzania, and Gabon

Our Guest: Phil Deloria 

Professor Phil Deloria is the Carroll Smith-Rosenberg Collegiate Professor of American Culture and History, former LSA Associate Dean of Undergraduate Education, and past Director of the Program in American Culture and the AC Native American Studies program. He has served as president of the American Studies Association, a council member of the Organization of American Historians, and a Trustee of the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian. He holds a joint appointment in the Department of American Culture and the Department of History. Phil's research interests include issues of culture and representation particularly concerning American Indian people, social and cultural relations in contact situations, and environmental and Western American history. Phil and Gregg Crane teach the History and Literature of the West course at Camp Davis Rocky Mountain Field Station. Our host, Bailey Schneider, vouches that Phil is one of the best and most knowledgable professors at U of M--listen in and find out why! 

This week we have two very special guests in studio with us, and one on the phone lines, to talk about Environmental Disaster, Fisheries, and the Future in Japan.
First up, Satsuki Takahashi, is an environmental Anthropologist who is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at George Mason University. Dr. Takahashi is the latest in a long line of self-described “Girl Fish Geeks” on It’s Hot in Here (cf. Ellen Spooner on wrangling Muskies on Lake Saint Claire, and Jennifer Johnson who has done a great interview on this show about her work on fishing for Nile Perch in “what English speakers call” Lake Victoria, in Uganda). The IHIH production team was lucky to have a conversation with Satsuki about her work with fisheries along the coast in Japan near the Fukushima nuclear plant, and how it came to be a baseline study for pre-disaster life as well as a testimonial to the challenges of life after the combined tsunami, earthquake, and reactor malfunction that has caused so much fear and damage since March 11, 2011. Dr. Takahashi stayed after the show to read a few pages from her book manuscript in process, as well:

Dr. Takahashi reading from her book manuscript in progress.

The song in the background is Ii Jikan by Evisbeats, the lyrics of which are as follows:

 この 時間のせい ?                              Is it the fault of our time? この 天気のせい ?                              Is it the fault of this weather? この 景色のせい ?                              It it because of the scenery? この 年齢のせい ?                              It it because of my age?  訪れた いま いい時間                     Visiting now, it’s a good time. 久々の いい時間                                A long time coming, a good time. 訪れた いま いい時間                     Visiting now, it’s a good time. もしかして いま いい時間           Maybe now is a good time. 
A second guest called in to talk with us about exactly what happened that fateful day, and to reflect with IHIH producer Arman Golrokhian about shifting understandings of the Fukushima disaster by communities within Japan, Japanese government circles, and wider networks of environmentalists. Hisashi Saito represents a sustainability NGO, Iuventum, to the United Nations Office in Geneva. He actively participated in the climate change discussions of UNFCCC such as COP19 and SB40. He frequently attends the Human Rights Council and UNCTAD sessions, covering human rights and sustainability. As a strong advocate of the right to health, he has been following the situation in Fukushima after the nuclear disasters in 2011, along with other nuclear situations around the world where vigilance is needed about radiation health damage. 

Our third guest, David Leheny, is the Henry Wendt III ’55 Prof of East Asian Studies at Princeton University. David chimes in from his vantage point as a scholar of politics in Japan, commending his colleagues at universities there for their work on hope in the wake of the tsunami and related disasters. He cautions us, however, us to think critically about the high tech message of hope being emitted by the Japanese government these days, as wind turbines dot the coast and become emblems for a green future that can somehow rectify the radioactivity and other damage done by the Fukushima disaster.  

Such sweeping gestures of hope, he notes, can foreclose on the important feelings of rage, fear, horror, and anger that can and do accompany such a disaster. Can such feelings be part of creating other paths forward? Perhaps even ones that are less focused on technological solutions and more on the challenges of even deeper social change in energy use, food systems, coastal built environments, and our understandings—still so limited—of how our actions and technologies shape marine and coastal ecosystems? David is a Toyota Visiting Professor at the UM Center for Japan Studies this year, who is offering a course and thinking critically about emerging concerns with security and terror in the Japanese context. 

During this “Japan” show, we listened to a wide range of music, from Frank Sinatra to several Japanese hip hop artists, including the tune released right after the Fukushima disaster “But This Is Way” by s.l.a.c.k., known for his staccato mixing style and quirky, unique persona. Another hip hop song by s.l.a.c.k. with a great video is “NEXT.” When you hear Dr. Takahashi reading her descriptions of fishermen still living in temporary housing, shopping for food and missing their old homes closer to the breezes and sights of the coast, you might think about the way this video also evokes a kind of stuffy, solitary urban life of alienation, control by government sanctioned officialdom, and social stratification, but also humor, whimsy, and possibility. 
Also featuring close ups of interior living space, is from rapper and beats maker EVISBEATS who is seems more laid back and optimistic, though the camera also offers us stark images of rail lines that bisect Japanese landscapes and interrupt the intricate cadence of just walking a straight line, or riding around on a bicycle alone, or with friends. Is it a stretch to note an undercurrent of skepticism and frustration in these shorts, where bicycles appear as the mode of mobility of the little guy, faced with regular and widespread controls by uniformed officers and contrasted with the clanging and rushing of trains in a world of efficiency, high-tech solutions, and “progress?”  What is clear is that both scholars and artists and activists from Japan are making themselves heard on these issues. Let’s listen. 
This week’s show brings our listeners more than an hour of in-depth analysis and lively conversation on the challenges of climate change planning, both in Ethiopia and across the diverse governance landscape of East and North Africa. Tying in closely with a case study newly developed by a team of SNRE students for the pilot project “Michigan Sustainability Cases,” the broadcast explores the complexity of crafting effective and equitable adaptation policy. Specifically, we ask how national adaptation plans are made? By and for whom? What are the decision-making criteria? And what could these criteria fail to account for? Bringing together legal, anthropological, and environmental expertise, the broadcast takes adaptation policy as the starting point for a broad-ranging dialogue on climate change impacts, social conflict across ethno-linguistic groups, and national planning as a tool of marginalization.

Our IHIH hosts Rebecca Hardin and Katie Browne, and guest host Arman Golrokhian are joined by three delightful and distinguished guests: Returned Peace Corps Volunteer and current SNRE student Benjamin Morse, Dr. Kelly Askew of the Department of Anthropology and the Department of African and Afroamerican Studies (DAAS), and Professor Laura Beny of the Law School. 

In the first half of the broadcast, we dive into Benjamin’s experience working in Northern Ethiopia, and especially the climate change impacts he witnessed firsthand in rural communities. Guided by Arman, we then delve more deeply into the nitty-gritty of adaptation planning, specifically the criteria employed by the UN Development Program (UNDP) in selecting and prioritizing specific projects. In a pre-recorded interview with Benjamin Larroquette, a regional technical advisor for the UNDP, we learn about the decision-making process, how environmental and development priorities are balanced, and what assumptions are built into the analysis.

“Let’s Plant a Tree,” one of a series of collaborative PSAs produced by Ben during his years with Peace Corps in Ethiopia
In the second half of the broadcast we move into a broader discussion of adaptation planning in East and North Africa, drawing upon the expertise of Professor Laura Beny, who has written extensively on the challenges of governance in Sudan and South Sudan, and Dr. Kelly Askew, whose research has increasingly focused on land rights and economic rights of Maa-speaking peoples in Tanzania. Dr. Beny highlights many of the challenges faced by the world’s youngest country, South Sudan, particularly along its borders where migration, conflict over resources, and questions of citizenship have contributed to chronic instability. Emphasizing that national plans often fail to take the interests of marginalized groups into sufficient consideration, Dr. Beny warns that current climate plans and projects can play into broader challenges of resource access.

“Kudung Dance” by Bilpam Akech - 
a traditional Atuot Dinka dance song recommended by Professor Laura Beny
Dr. Askew reinforces these points, drawing attention to the ways in which the needs of pastoralist and hunter-gatherer groups are routinely disregarded in national planning, often leading to displacement, persecution, and ethnic-based violence, as has unfortunately been the recent case with the Masaai in Tanzania. Climate change, Dr. Askew asserts, poses a particular threat to such marginalized groups as changing weather and precipitation patterns drive governments to expand agriculture in the name of food security, increasingly compromising access these groups’ access to rangelands and water. Both Professor Beny and Dr. Askew also call for greater scrutiny of the role of international institutions, who underwrite and sponsor many of the development projects which drive displacement and marginalization. These institutions, they argue, should be held as accountable as national governments for project outcomes.

“Ahled Ale” by Ethiopian artist Tewodros Kassahun, aka “Teddy Afro” - 
recommendation from Julie Jarvey, who recently returned from fieldwork in the Simien Mountains in northern Ethiopia
Further readings on the controversial “villagization” process currently underway in the Omo Valley in Southern Ethiopia, which has been linked to widespread displacement:

“We Say the Land is Not Yours” a report and series of interviews by the California-based Oakland Institute on forced displacement: http://www.oaklandinstitute.org/we-say-land-not-yours-breaking-silence-against-forced-displacement-ethiopia

2012 Human Rights Watch report, ““Waiting here for Death:” Forced Displacement and “Villagization” in Ethiopia’s Gambella Region: http://www.hrw.org/sites/default/files/reports/ethiopia0112webwcover_0.pdf

A 2015 Guardian piece on the political climate of torture, oppression, and silencing surrounding the “villagization” program: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/apr/14/ethiopia-villagisation-violence-land-grab

Benjamin Morse

Benjamin is a Behavior, Education and Communication Master of Science Candidate in the School of Natural Resource and Environment and a Master of Public Policy Candidate at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan. While attending school, Benjamin works as a Campus Recruiter for the Peace Corps on University of Michigan's campus and as the Social Media Director for Detroit Digital Advertising; an automotive digital advertising rep firm located in Detroit. He's also a returned Peace Corps volunteer, world-traveler, environmentalist, gregarious optimist, educator, mentor and adventurist. 

Benjamin is originally from Colorado and has lived in Australia, Costa Rica and Ethiopia and currently lives in the Republic of Korea. He is completing research for his Master's Thesis focusing on behavior-change in ecotourism. Benjamin has over three years of international experience with an emphasis on ecotourism development, behavior-change programming, permaculture design, cross-cultural communication, leadership and ingenuity.

Arman Golrokhian
Arman Golrokhian is a second year dual degree master’s student at the University of Michigan in the School of Natural Resources and Environment and the Ford School of Public Policy. He has participated in numerous international climate change meetings, including the 2014 and 2015 Bonn Climate Change conferences and the 2015 20th Conference of Parties of the United Nations Convention Framework on Climate Change. 

Arman is passionate about creating more sustainable societies by applying his understanding of the natural resources system and working with decision makers to come up with innovative decision-making processes. Besides his master's programs, Arman is also a student researcher in life cycle assessment (LCA) at the Center of Sustainable Systems and a member of the Ross Energy Club.

Kelly Askew
Kelly Askew is the Director of the African Studies Center and Professor of Anthropology and the Department of African and Afroamerican Studies (DAAS). She has worked for over two decades in Tanzania and Kenya. In addition to her research in East Africa on performance, nationalism, media, postsocialism, and the privatization of property rights, Dr. Askew has pursued various film and video projects. Her writings and film projects span two primary research areas: poetic arts as vehicles for populist engagement with politics, and the formalization of property rights.  

Dr. Askew is Co-Principal Investigator on a $1.5 million grant from USAID to strengthen engineering education in Liberia, part of an $18.5 million effort titled Excellence in Higher Education for Liberian Development (EHELD), which constitutes a collaboration between the University of Michigan, Rutgers, North Carolina State, Kwame Nkrumah University for Science and Technology and RTI International.

Laura Beny
Laura Beny is a professor at University of Michigan Law School, teaching in Corporate Finance, Enterprise Organization, International Finance, the Public Corporation, Law and Development, and Law and Finance. Her research interests include a wide range of subjects in law and economics, finance, political economy, and international development. Her research has been published in the American Economic Review, American Law and Economics Review, Journal of Corporation Law, and Harvard Business Law Review, among others. Dr. Beny is co-editor with Sondra Hale of the forthcoming critical volumeSudan's Killing Fields: Political Violence and Fragmentation (Red Sea Press). 

In addition to her scholarly work, Dr. Beny has published numerous opinion pieces on Sudan and South Sudan in various international media, such as Newsweek International, Africa.com, and Al Jazeera, among others. She also has served as a legal consultant on numerous projects in the United States and Africa. Before coming to Michigan, she practiced private and pro bono law at Debevoise & Plimpton, an international law firm based in New York City.

Benjamin Larroquette
Benjamin Larroquette is the Regional Technical Advisor of United Nations Development Programme - Global Environment Facility (UNDP-GEF). He provides oversight and technical support to 15 African countries on implementing Climate Information and Early Warning Systems Strengthening Livelihoods and Disaster Risk Reduction and adaptation to Climate Change. 

In our show, we played a prerecorded interview that Arman did with Mr. Larroquette about National Adaptation Programme of Action (NAPA). 

This week’s guests and hosts in Studio: (from L to R) Dr. Rebecca Hardin, Dr. Kelly Askew, Professor Laura Beny, Benjamin Morse, and Katie Browne.
This week’s full production team: (from L to R) Katie Browne, Dr. Kelly Askew, Benjamin Morse, Dr. Rebecca Hardin, Professor Laura Beny, Cameron Bothner, and Arman Golrokhian.

And finally, please enjoy this music proposed by It's Hot in Here founder and previous cohost Jennifer Johnson -- "Eyekesekesenge Fekerhe" by Bezunesh Bekele, the "Aretha Franklin of Ethiopia": 
This week we played an archived show - Tea Time with Sarah Besky.

We want to use this show to send our love and best wishes to Sarah Besky for her new job at the Watson Institute for International Studies, to host Rebecca Hardin for her great work in India, and to host Jennifer Johnson for her new appointment as Assistant Professor in Anthropology at Purdue University.

Tune in, and enjoy, the beautiful voices, intriguing stories, and lovely music. Check out also:
Sarah Besky’s new website: http://www.sarahbesky.com/, and 
the original post for the 2014.01.17 Tea Time with Sarah Besky Show: http://www.hotinhere.us/1/post/2014/01/tea-time-with-sarah-besky.html

*Vamping is to repeat a short, simple passage of music until otherwise instructed.

In today’s show, we focus our chat on the Michigan Mackinac pipeline and recent SNRE grad Katie Browne’s experience on capacity-building projects in Gabon. In addition, we vamped about our favorite non-American foods and non-English languages, and shared a letter from Rebecca Hardin in Hyderabad, India about her sustainability-case teaching experience to scholars from around the world.

In the first half of the show, we discussed a 62-year-old hydrocarbon pipeline that runs under the Mackinac straits, explaining why it is so problematic and discussing some of the possible procedures to prevent or cope with a potential spill. Intended to last only fifty years, Line 5 is not only 12 years overdue for replacement, but also highly corroded by zebra mussels, an invasive species with its own troublesome history in the Great Lakes. Underwater cameras have also documented broken support braces, which allow the pipeline to sway ominously. Of particular concern is Line 5’s positioning at a critical juncture between Lake Michigan and Lake Huron where currents are consistently strong; scientists predict a spill could spread in less than a day into both lakes and along a significant stretch of shoreline (see a model in the links below). While the State of Michigan has made a few suggestions to limit potential hazards (e.g. limiting the Line to transport of only hydrocarbons, which would float in a spill, and not tar sands which would quickly sink), more action needs to be taken.

A great place for IHIH listeners to start would be on the website of “Oil and Water Don’t Mix”, a local activist group leading the movement to “Keep oil out of the Great Lakes” - http://www.oilandwaterdontmix.org/

To learn more about Line Five (and you should learn more about Line 5! because Vamping is only the beginning!), check out these other greats sources of information and insight:
  • The line five documentary on Vice Motherboard: http://motherboard.vice.com/read/the-aging-oil-pipelines-below-the-great-lakes
  • A Youtube video modeling oil spill: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8bx4g-MPiws
  • The Michigan Coalition Against Tar Sands: http://www.michigancats.org/

Second half of the show, we chat about the REFRESCH project that Katie has been working on in Gabon, which looks for solutions for future energy direction, as well as solving water and food challenges in resource constrained environments. The REFRESCH project is also active in the City of Detroit, where people are trying to build aquaculture system and utilize the interconnected technologies.
Katie and a group of undergraduates from the Eco-Explorers program field-testing an electric fence prototype, designed to reduce crop predation and human-wildlife conflict.
In Gabon, Katie and her teammates work with off-grid communities that do not have electricity to find technologies that address interconnected resource challenges. While Gabon is rich in oil, it must be exported to be refined, and is still very expensive upon re-importation. Renewable energy is therefore a key to the country’s vision for the future. Katie and her teammates have done some capacity building in the communities in Gabon, and will continue to do so in the next year. Their vision is to utilize this platform for people to exchange knowledge and solutions. For example, they are planning on putting together a series of workshops that will bring people from different villages to learn and exchange ideas. Some of the ideas include putting up electric fences and utilizing rechargeable car batteries, as well as entrepreneurship around solar panels and electricity storage.
Katie is working in Messanguelani, Central Gabon.
"In Gabon, it is not all hard work and no play. Sometimes you get to play with crocodiles." -- Katie
Katherine Browne
           Katie Browne is a recent graduate student from the School of Natural Resources and Environment (SNRE) where she focused on Environmental Justice and Science and Technology Policy. Before SNRE, Katie served three years as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Madagascar, where she ran environmental education programs and coordinated natural resources related seminars and projects. During her graduate school experience in SNRE, she worked in Kenya, Ethiopia, Alaska, and Peru on diverse projects spanning zoonotic disease, socioeconomic disparities, and climate change. Katie currently works for the University of Michigan Energy Institute, as a program assistant for the REFRESCH project in Gabon.

And last but not least --

Selfie shot of today’s IHIH crew: Cameron Bothner, Sam Molnar, Katie Browne, and Pearl Zeng. 

We love to vamp!

A local artistic and scientific collaboration between Ann Arbor’s Penny Seats Theatre Company and the University of Michigan's Environmental Biotechnology Group is offering performances of the musical UrinetownThe Musical! as well as innovative water conservation research over the next three weekends starting July 30.

The Environmental Biotechnology Group, an Environmental Engineering research team from the University of Michigan, is studying how human urine and its byproducts can be processed as a safe, effective and eco-minded way to fertilize food crops. The University of Michigan is one of five institutions involved in this ground breaking research. Fittingly, the Environmental Biotechnology Group will be providing porta-potties for the Penny Seats’ performances of Urinetown. 
"Urinetown: The Musical! is a Tony-award-winning hit written in 2001, and will be performed by The Penny Seats Theatre Company July 30, 31, Aug 1, 6, 7, 8, 13, 14, and 15 (all shows at 7 pm). The show is set in an admittedly absurd dystopian future where one must pay to pee, the show lampoons corporate bureaucracy, pie-in-the-sky optimism, revolution without a plan, and the musical theatre genre itself. With a full pit orchestra (led by Richard Alder) on the band shell stage, the action takes place around the audience in the park. Featured performers include Brendan August Kelly (Ypsilanti), Roy Sexton (Saline), David Francis Kiley (Ann Arbor), John DeMerell (Walled Lake), Sarah Ann Leahy (Ann Arbor), Paige Martin (Ann Arbor), Cathy McDonald (Plymouth), Christina McKim (Albion), Jenna Kellie Pittman (Waterford/West Bloomfield), Linda Rabin Hammell (Detroit), Jeff Stringer (Jackson), Maika Van Oosterhout (Ann Arbor), and Daniel Bachelis (Howell). Production photos taken by Scarlett London."

A review of the musical can be found here!

As President Obama touched down in Kenya early on Friday July 24, 2015 Carmella Tal Tomey, Assistant Research Professor at the University of Michigan School of Public Health, had only recently returned from Nairobi herself. Ella studies complex links between age, place, social and psychological factors, and physical impairment. She has recently expanded from research into what makes for healthy communities here in the U.S. to work within scientific communities overseas. She is developing video and slide materials to complement intimate, face to face workshops where she enables U.S. students and younger scholars to train with their international counterparts for more focused and effective writing, more responsible conduct of research, and more collaborative and productive careers. 

Our interview with co-hosts Jennifer Johnson and Sam Molnar was peppered with upbeat recent Kenyan dance tracks (playlist here), and great stories of her adventures there with colleagues and friends. We honed in on Ella’s collaboration with Professor Jesse Njoka, who directs the Center for Sustainable Dryland Ecosystems and Societies (CSDES) at the University of Nairobi (UoN). Other UoN faculty Judith S. Mbau and Stephen Merithi collaborated with Ella to facilitate the workshop. They are pictured here in a peer review writing exercise they plan to continue using within their own curricula and communities.
UM will host a “Metaworkshop” with African colleagues from Gabon, Kenya, and Ethiopia in October under the auspices of UM’s STEM-Africa initiative (Science, Technology, Environment/Engineering and Medicine/Math), African Studies Center and International Institute, and with support from colleagues at UCLA and Tulane working on a National Science Foundation PIRE grant in equatorial Africa. The meeting will review models for academic bridge building that can offer a next generation of scholars in sustainability and global health fields more integrative and collaborative training from early in their careers.

Previous Afro-optimist broadcasts on our show abound and the playlists range unapologetically across regions and eras. Our STEM Africa Partnerships broadcast starts with complex polyphonic pipe orchestras from Central African Republic, reflecting on the intricacies of African indigenous knowledge and practice. Then it takes us through Gil Scott Heron’s angry “Whitey on the Moon” poem set to rhythm, reflecting on asymmetric access to science within racist U.S. systems. It ends with Naeto MC singing “Things are Not the same…Ten over Ten” announcing positive change from his platform as the Nigerian “only MC with an MSc.”

In terms of talk, that hour we quote from the vision of STEM Africa leaders here on campus, Mechanical Engineer Elijah Kannety Asibu and Mathematician Nkem Nkumba who have engaged African scientists working internationally in considering scientific needs and strengths on the African continent. We also hear from Dr. Heather Eves, founding Director of the Bushmeat Crisis Task Force, who has taught in higher ed settings from the DC metro area to the Caribbean, and mentored many conservation professionals from Cameroon to Kenya. Heather’s persistent constructive engagement parallels the care Ella Tomey takes with her curricular materials. Dr. Eves also address radio as a tool for scientific and policy awareness and debate in African settings, and creative writing as a vehicle for better connections among and between scholars from varied disciplines and the wider publics they seek to engage.

Another Afro-optimist broadcast from 2011 tackled the Africa-Asia Nexus, with a mix of Indian and African music. A lively discussion blazed in studio between Anthropologist Omolade Adunbi about his work on oil extraction where his family and friends live and work in the Niger Delta, Geographer Dr. Bilal Butt working in his native Kenya on pastoralism in national parks, and the School of Information’s Dr. Joyojeet Pal who hails from Mumbai but has worked on installing high speed wifi cables in rural Rwanda, and studying uptake of laptop technology in rural primary schools in India. You think you know the globalized green academy? Think again…

…and again. Just last year, Dr. Pete Larson led us on an audio tour of really heavy metal African rock, while talking about his own metal band and his research on malaria in Kenya. Hot indeed! These days Pete can be found blogging in English about the interfaces of epidemiology, development and culture, and teaching in Japanese as an Assistant Professor at University of Nagasaki, based in their Institute of Tropical Medicine Kenya Field Station. Pete also holds down an Adjunct Professor position right here at the UM’s School of Natural Resources and Environment, mentoring UM masters students like Mike Burbidge, pictured below. Mike and others are seeking better field understandings of pastoralism, wildlife management, and spatial and social aspects of zoonotic disease transmission. They live with families and work with Kenyan field research teams.
Pete figured in today’s interview with Ella--especially in her tales of Nairobi nightlife, to which she was introduced right off the plane!  Unlike President Obama, Pete and the Michigan Difference team did not have a heavily armored and defended vehicle. But they did and do make a lot of impact on the lives of students and teachers at UoN (Nairobi), UN (Nagasaki), and UM (that’s right, Michigan). Welcome to the future. The revolution will not be televised. But if Ella Tal Tomey has her way, it will be collaboratively thought out, and carefully written about. Go Blue!

Pictured left to right: Cameron Bothner, our fabulous radio engineer, host and professor Rebecca Hardin, our wonderful guest Ella Tal Tomey, as well as host and founder of the show Jennifer Johnson

One of our favorite Kenyan bands - Just a Band - and their music video: "Usinibore"
Join us on It’s Hot in Here this week to hear about GIS (Geographic Information System) applications in the Environmental Field -- Mark Yoders from Quantum Spatial Inc. shared with us details on a variety of GIS projects involving the environment and David Betcher shared specifics on his work with the Great Lakes Communication. We also discussed different GIS technologies, including 3D LiDAR and photogrammetric point clouds, as well as thermal and infrared imagery. All these technologies have revolutionized the ease and precision of large-scale environmental assessments and monitoring, but still rely on field data for verification and expertise across fields to interpret.

Mark Yoders

After master’s in Environmental Informatics at the SNRE of UMich, four years as a utility forester in the midwest, and a bachelor’s in forestry from Ohio State, Mark started a full-time career with GIS at Quantum Spatial Inc. Mark’s work focuses on environmental monitoring, planning and assessment in areas ranging from electric utility vegetation management to state level timber estimation to monitoring for illicit wastewater discharge into surface waters.  

In the show, Mark detailed a few of the projects he has worked on and started the conversation out by describing the process of using LiDAR to measure trees heights. The LiDAR data can then be used with infrared and other imagery to estimate potential declining trees and their ability to fall onto electrical lines. Utility companies use this data to reduce power outages and help prevent forest fires.

Mark then goes into a cost-benefit analysis project where the goal is to estimate if fish habitat creation, by anchoring logs in the stream to slow down the river current, usurps the value of extracting that particular piece of timber in that particular location. Mark also explained how LiDAR technologies work and how flights take overlapping pictures that can be used to create 3D imagery.

David Betcher

After graduating from the University of Cincinnati with a Bachelor’s degree in Geographic Information Science and working as a GIS intern at Ohio Department of Agriculture, David started his career as a GIS program specialist at the Great Lakes Commission. His main projects focus on invasive species and oil spill contingency planning.

In the studio, David first shared with us his project on sea lamprey control in the Great Lakes basin. Sea Lampreys are parasitic fish who attach themselves on fish to feed off them which also can cause damages to water quality and aquatic ecosystem. To help raise awareness, David is developing a web-based map viewer to help increase the public’s spatial knowledge of lamprey locations and offer reasons on how barriers in lakes affect sea lampreys.

Later in the show, David talked about a new analysis tool he is developing to find leaking pipelines and help pinpoint the origin of a spill. The tool will not only map out the locations of sensitive habitat, water intake, etc., but also show an estimate of how the oil spill will travel and when it would reach open water, based on time of year.

David Betcher and Mark Yoders sandwiched between the IHIH team: Sam Molnar, Pearl Zeng, and Cameron Bothner.
Join us this week for a patriotic (and musical) edition of It's Hot in Here as we discuss symbols of American pride (or are they?), the cultural context from which Jimi Hendrix's rendition of the Star Spangled Banner at Woodstock arose, the newest news concerning the Geddes road expansion and the fate of the surrounding trees, and more!

Mark Clague (see credentials above) studies all forms of music-making in the United States, especially in Chicago, focusing on the functional aesthetic of music and the relationship between music and society. He serves as Executive Editor for Music of the United States of America (MUSA), a scholarly series of critical scores representing the diversity and excellence of composition in the United States. He has presented papers at many prestigious institutions, including the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame where he presented "'This is America': Jimi Hendrix's Reimaginings of 'The Star-Spangled Banner' as Social Comment for Woodstock and Beyond", which we unpacked with Mark on the air.

Links to all things that were hot this week:

Star Spangled Music, a collection of songs celebrating the history of American patriotic song targeting K-12 students, school teachers, scholars, and the general public. Brought to you by the Star Spangled Music Foundarion:

Banner Moments, an exhibit celebrating the bicentennial of the U.S. National Anthem (1814-2014), illustrates the cultural history of the national anthem in American life was organized in part by Mark Clague last year:

Special guest Mark Clague and co-host Dave Clive listening to some psychedelic rock brought in by Dr. Clague for the show

Co-host Jennifer Johnson and Mark Clague sharing some laughs on the air


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