AirTalk for October 5, 2010

Mercer 10910
It seems a given that scientists working on space projects should have some kind of background check. But the issue being argued before the Supreme Court today is, how far can the checks go? Jet Propulsion Laboratory employees say background checks for employees not working on classified projects are intrusive and unduly violate their privacy. NASA, represented by the Department of Justice, argues that the checks are a necessary precaution to protect American technological secrets and in keeping with a Bush-era presidential directive to beef up security on government projects. Where should the line on privacy be drawn in cutting-edge government labs?
Mercer 10892

Are you my mother or my grandmother?

According to a new study by the Pew Research Center, the number of kids being raised by their grandparents has shot up since the start of the recession in 2007. One in ten children in the U.S. now lives with a grandparent, four of those ten in households where the grandparent is the primary caregiver. While the phenomenon of grandparents as primary caregivers is more prominent in Hispanic and African-American households, the sharpest increase is in white families. Is the economy entirely to blame? What impact might this new generation of caregivers have on families? What role do grandparents play in the upbringing of your children?
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The California Highway Patrol is out in force today, cracking down on distracted motorists across LA County. With the federal government calling distracted driving an “epidemic,” police plan to write up every offender they see today and again on October 26. The CHP also tweeted “contrary to popular belief, a ticket for texting and driving or for not using a hands-free device is not $20, it’s $139.” Will this zero-tolerance enforcement day decrease distracted driving? Or will people just get even better at hiding their bad behavior?
Mercer 10889

Why are you gay?

Fanning the flames of controversy around gay marriage are questions about what is natural when it comes to sexual orientation. Whether we’re gay, straight or bisexual, how much of who we are in the bedroom is predetermined? Neuroscientist Simon LeVay drags the science behind behavior out of the closet.
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