AirTalk for January 21, 2011

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Following the shooting of a police officer outside of El Camino High School last Wednesday, nine schools in the area went into lockdown. Thousands of students were kept in classrooms under teacher supervision, without food, water or access to facilities, while the LAPD searched the buildings and perimeter for the suspect. At some schools the lockdown lasted as long as five hours. Irate parents petitioned the schools and district officials, deploring the excessive wait, lack of information and the denial of basic services to their children--such as bathroom breaks. Educators say they were complying with law enforcement, and that student safety, not comfort, is the priority in lockdown situations. LAPD officials say student conditions are the schools’ responsibility. Although lockdowns are the most common crisis for LAUSD, the district seems woefully unprepared for such emergencies. In the wake of a recent accidental school shooting, some parents are grateful for the increased security. But were the precautions taken excessive? Can schools be better prepared for such emergencies? How can parents’ fears for their children be allayed?
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Welcome to Los Angeles – now go home!

Maybe it’s the endless freeways and related road rage (think one-fingered wave out car windows). Perhaps it’s the heartless bouncers manning velvet ropes (You’re in, you’re OUT!”). Or maybe all the Botox and facelifts just make Angelenos seem expressionless and rude. Whatever the reason, visitors (and a few ungrateful residents) just ranked Los Angeles as the rudest city in the country. This, according to Travel & Leisure’s newly released America’s Favorite Cities survey. That’s right, ruder than New York. Not surprisingly, the City of Angels also ranked dead last in public transportation and pedestrian-friendliness, out of 35 major cities. L.A. can still gloat about its big-name restaurants, luxury shops (if you like that sort of thing) and famous weather. Is all that sunshine somehow turning Angelenos cold? Is L.A. really the rudest city in America? Why or why not?
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What makes us unique?

The human animal is unique among his brother and sister creatures here on Earth. Our powerful brain is the complex mechanism that sets us apart, allows us to turn experience into metaphor, to empathize, to pass on culture, to ask why. But how does the brain do all of this? What neural mechanisms underlie our ability to experience pain at the mere sight of another’s suffering? V.S. Ramachandran, one of the most daring and original neuroscientists of our time, explores that question and many others in his new book, utilizing the latest advances in his field to help us gain a deeper understanding of our own uniqueness and how it plays out in our daily lives.
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KPCC film critics Wade Major and Henry Sheehan join Larry to review the week’s new film releases including No Strings Attached, Mumbai Diaries, Applause and more. TGI-FilmWeek!
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Memorable movie mistakes

It’s one of the great scenes in film history… Leonardo Dicaprio enjoying the view from the bow of the Titanic in full view of the ship’s smiling captain. There’s only one problem: the bow was strictly off-limits to passengers. In two separate scenes in Clint Eastwood’s Hereafter, characters driving to a cooking class in San Francisco find a parking spot right in front of the school. There are scenes in Splash and other movies where car chases in Manhattan magically transport from one monument to another, as if they’re all on the same block. Why do film makers miss such obvious goofs? And what film inaccuracies and inconsistencies do you find most memorable?
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Sundance Film Festival

Yesterday kicked off the first day of Robert Redford's Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, with close to 60 films competing in four categories: domestic and international dramatic feature and domestic and international documentary. It’s still a top showcase for independent films—even though mainstream Hollywood offerings often dominate. KPCC’s Shirley Jahad is there with a first look at the festival, which runs from January 20th to 30th.
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