Friday, February 03, 2006


This American Life is an amazing radio program... perhaps the only program I listen to as I arrive home on Sunday night and continue to sit in the car for another 20 minutes just to hear how one of their segments will end.

A while back, I heard a broadcast about Nauru, a tiny island republic in the Pacific of only 12,800 people whose natural resources have been almost entirely depleted within the last 100 years. If you haven't heard this broadcast, just listen to the first few minutes (click on "Full Episode") and judge for yourself; the complete broadcast is 30 minutes long.

Or read NPR's blurb about it:

Prologue. Ira talks with sailor and researcher Captain Charles Moore about a gigantic area in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, as far away from land as you can get, that's filling with plastic trash. There are five spots like this on the world's oceans.

Act One. No Island Is An Island. Nauru is a tiny island, population 12,000, a third of the size of Manhattan, far from anywhere, yet at the center of several of the decade's biggest global events. Jack Hitt tells the untold story of this dot in the middle of the Pacific and its involvement in the bankrupting of the Russian economy, global terrorism, North Korean defectors, the end of the world, and the late 80's theatrical flop of a London musical based on the life of Leonardo da Vinci, called Leonardo, A Portrait of Love.

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