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Justice For Breonna Taylor Protest In San Diego, California Zero-Emission Car Mandate, Western Wildfire Misinformation, Mom To Autistic Sons Becomes Special Ed Teacher And ‘A Growing Passion’ Returns.

 September 24, 2020 at 10:35 AM PDT

Speaker 1: 00:01 Protests in downtown San Diego over no charges in the shooting death of Brianna Taylor Speaker 2: 00:11 [inaudible] Speaker 1: 00:12 I'm Maureen Cavenaugh with Alison st. John. This is KPBS mid day edition. California says no to new gas powered cars. After the year 2035, Speaker 2: 00:29 California is only less than 1% of global emissions. And so if we want to stop climate change, we ultimately have to have what happens in California, not stay in California. Speaker 1: 00:38 The KPBS podcast, rad scientist presents an engineer determined to help the speech impaired and gardens that preserve our history. Get a spotlight on the new season of the KPBS TV series, a growing passion. That's a head on mid day edition. Speaker 1: 01:01 San Diego protesters joined demonstrators in cities across the country. Wednesday protesting no charges being brought against police in Kentucky and the death of Brianna Taylor. Only one of the three Louisville officer's involved was indicted by a grand jury and that charge was a minor felony for shooting into another apartment at the scene. Taylor was killed in a hail of gunfire as police mistakenly rated her apartment last March after a peaceful demonstration involving several hundred protestors, San Diego police say three protestors were arrested in a smaller March near police headquarters journey may is San Diego union Tribune reporter Andrea Lopez via fun. Yeah. And Andrea, welcome. Thank you for having me. What were protesters here saying about the decision not to indict the officers involved in the killing of Briana Taylor? I think it definitely echoes what we were seeing, you know, across the, um, the state, but here in San Diego, what I was getting from a lot of people was frustration, frustration that, um, after waiting for so long, they felt that, you know, justice, they did not get justice. Speaker 1: 02:11 Um, so a lot of, uh, especially black women that were at the protest, uh, were saying that they saw themselves in, um, in this case and just looking at pictures of Brianna, they saw themselves and they felt like they're not protected under, uh, current laws or, you know, current practices in place. So people were very upset. Some people were saying, you know, our community is bleeding, our community is hurt. Um, so there's a lot of frustration and, um, people were just demanding some kind of accountability, uh, hoping to maybe get more information as to how the grand jury came to this conclusion, whether some of that could, um, be available to the public and things like that. Where did the San Diego protests take place and about how many people took part? Well, there was two I'm in downtown San Diego. I believe there was another Speaker 3: 03:00 One Escondido. I did not go to that one. The first one was outside the San Diego superior court. It was pretty small. I was at that one, it was around 4:00 PM. I would say, uh, maybe started off with like a handful of people. And then, uh, throughout the day became like 35 people. And then after that, there was one at 7:00 PM, uh, closer to downtown area at like on eighth and B street. And, um, that one, you know, we had like hundreds of protesters Speaker 1: 03:29 Now, the San Diego Sheriff's department apparently secured the front of the superior court building downtown. What actions did they take? Speaker 3: 03:36 Yeah, so that was interesting. I actually had just walked up to the court building before that happened. Um, there, there weren't any protesters yet, but, um, these deputies came out and they just placed caution tape around the steps kind of to prevent, you know, people from, from standing on the stairs. It seemed, um, and yeah, they just rolled out some, some caution tape. They stood there for a little while. I think one or two protestors had showed up at that time. And, um, they ended up just going back inside the courthouse, even when the bigger group came about. Um, most of the Sheriff's deputies stayed inside. You could see them through the, the window, uh, doors or at the glass door. Sorry. Um, but, but they, you know, weren't doing this kind of like big presence where they were, you know, standing out there. It was just a couple of sheriffs Speaker 1: 04:22 Police apparently declared the evening protest that smaller protest, where the arrests were made, uh, an unlawful assembly. Did you two reporters, see the protests turned violent? Speaker 3: 04:35 I personally didn't, like I said, I was at the earlier one and that one was pretty calm. Uh, there's not a lot of police presence, although there were some, um, in the group who, um, you know, did mention, um, some intentions that if, if things got violent from police officers, that they were going to return with some sort of action, I didn't see personally, but, um, later once at nighttime, Alex did capture some videos on, on Twitter. Um, you know, you, in one video, you see police officers kind of pull this protester, um, behind their line. And, um, it kind of looks like a scuffle maybe, um, maybe they were on top of him sort of, and you can just hear in the background, this woman, you know, screaming and, uh, telling them to let them go. And, um, so, so that's kind of what was captured, Speaker 1: 05:26 You know, a lot of the racial justice movement in the past months has been advocating for a change in the way the police sort of handle protests and other kinds of interactions. Were there any visible signs San Diego police or deputies had changed their tactics toward protesters? Speaker 3: 05:41 You know, one thing that really stood out to me, I mean, like I mentioned, when they were placing the caution tape before any of the protesters showed up, um, all the sheer Steffi deputies kind of stood up at the top of the stairs and it was very, you know, they were like in their stance, um, they weren't wearing any, uh, right gear or anything, but it was intimidating to see so many Sheriff's deputies out there. But then I think they kind of backtracked on that and then went inside as I mentioned. And so I thought that was interesting because by the time that the group had gotten larger, um, there was like one Sheriff's deputy outside by the steps, just kind of watching things. So it seemed a different approach from what I saw when we first saw some of these protests in downtown. Um, and then later into the night, I noticed that, um, as opposed to having, you know, these like big, uh, caravans kind of following protesters or leading the protest, um, of like police officer vehicles, um, I saw a lot of, uh, officers on bicycles, which, um, it feels different, right? Speaker 3: 06:39 It feels different to have a bicycle following you than like these big cars. So that, that stood out to me. Um, I did see that Alex later at night posted a video of something that looked like, um, like a, like a fire bang or flash bang, I think is what they're called. And, um, so, so I did see that in a video, but, but, you know, I don't know how, what led them to use that tactic. Speaker 4: 07:07 Okay. Well, I have been speaking with San Diego union Tribune reporter, Andrea Lopez via Tanya. And thank you so much for speaking with us. Speaker 3: 07:15 Thank you for having me, Maureen, Speaker 4: 07:20 Using California's devastating wildfires as a springboard governor Gavin Newsome has taken a dramatic policy leap to reduce future carbon emissions yesterday. He issued an executive order to require all new cars sold in California to be zero emission vehicles by 2035, the most aggressive clean car policy in the United States Speaker 5: 07:42 Of all the simultaneous crises that we face as a state. And I would argue as a nation from a global perspective, none is more impactful, not as more forceful than the issue of the climate crisis. And that's exactly what we're advancing here today is a strategy to address that crisis. Head-on Speaker 4: 08:03 Joining us to look at the implications of the governor's radical plan is David Victor, who is professor of international relations at the school of global policy and strategy at UCS de San Diego. Uh, Victor was also climate policy advisor to presidential candidate, Pete Buddha judge, by the way, David, thank you for joining us. It was a pleasure to be back with you. So when I put this into context, how big a deal is this ban on new gas powered vehicles by 2035? Does it tackle climate crisis head on? Speaker 5: 08:34 Well, so it's potentially a big deal. The governor is under enormous pressure to act on climate change. He was before the wildfires, the wildfires have made that more salient. And this is what California does is we have in effect an industrial policy where we push new technologies. We make California the biggest market for them. That's what we've done with clean vehicles in the last 20, 30 years. And then we hope that those technologies are gonna diffuse around the rest of the world. And I think that's the key here is that he's laid out a very bold vision for, uh, making all vehicles in California, clean all new vehicles clean, and then we've got to work hard to make sure that those same technologies spread out and the rest of the world, because California is only less than 1% of global emissions. And so if we want to stop climate change, we ultimately have to have what happens in California, not stay in California, Speaker 4: 09:21 But, uh, transportation vehicles does account for a very large percentage of emissions, right? Speaker 5: 09:27 Yes. And it's an area where emissions are going up and the only sector where we're starting to see reliable progress in parts of the world is electric power. Even here in California, we're seeing emissions go down because of more efficiency and particularly California, more renewable power. And so in the electric sector, we have emissions going down, transportation emissions have remained stubborn, uh, industry, uh, uh, emissions continue to go up. And, and so in effect, this is part of a larger strategy to electrify as many energy uses as possible and vehicles at least light duty vehicles are a good candidate for that. Speaker 4: 10:04 So how likely is it that other States will follow suit? How will this affect the rest of the country? Speaker 5: 10:10 Well, I think we're seeing a real disconnect across the country. We're seeing the blue States behaving like California. And in fact, many of them, uh, have, uh, air pollution regulations that are identical to California's air pollution regulations, and then the red States are not. And so there's really, you know, like in all of our politics right now, we're seeing a polarization. And so I think these rules will, uh, will have an impact across much of the rest of the country. And if they result in electric vehicles getting a lot cheaper and that looks promising, it's not a guarantee that looks promising, then the market on its own is going to push more of the electric vehicles into service Speaker 4: 10:46 And globally speaking, how many other countries are already ahead of California on this? Speaker 5: 10:51 Well, the Europeans for the most part are ahead of California and that they have announced bans on internal combustion, new, new, internal combustion engine vehicles. The governor's order yesterday, uh, requires that those vehicles be cleaned. So it's not necessarily a ban on internal combustion, but it's likely to be neat electricity. Um, and that'll put us in line with what's happening in Norway. For example, Norway is a huge market for electric vehicles, much of the rest of Europe, France, Germany, and so on. Uh, and, but, you know, the, the Europeans are in the similar situation that we're in here in California, which is they're only 14% of global emissions in shrinking. And in fact, the more they do to control their own emissions, the less relevant they become to the global problem. And so they also have to be pushing these vehicles out of the Chinese. Market's very important. The Indian market's going to be very important. Speaker 4: 11:34 How will this play into the state's battle? California's battle with the federal government over environmental regulations? Speaker 5: 11:41 Well, elections have consequences. This is going to be extremely important. Uh, uh, this is what the governor signed yesterday was actually something that had been working through the California resources board for awhile. And they had already adopted a similar rule, but for medium and heavy duty trucks out to the year 2045. And the playbook is the one that California set way back in 1990, when we first started to push zero emission vehicles into the California market. So that playbook though hinges on our ability to continue to have freedom in California, to set our own air pollution regulations. And the Trump administration has been trying to roll that back. There are legal challenges around this. Uh, if we have another, uh, four years of Trump plus a different Supreme court that could make it much harder to do these kinds of things in California. Speaker 4: 12:27 Now it appears that the governor is taking a leadership role, but some environmental groups are not happy with his plan. And they say, it doesn't go far enough. Do they have a point? Speaker 5: 12:36 Well, I think some of this unhappiness is built in there. They're some of the, the groups are, are designed to be unhappy. It's important for them to be unhappy and they're particularly unhappy because the executive order yesterday doesn't go as far as they wanted to basically ban new oil drilling. So they ordered it, two things. One is a lot on vehicles. We've just been talking about. The other is, um, it puts up for study and tightens the screws on new, uh, oil drilling in the state, but it doesn't go as far as the environmentalist one in particular on the issue of fracking. My own view is that that's largely a symbolic debate because California produces less than 0.5% of the global production of oil. And so we're frankly, just not that relevant for the global market, but it's a very, very important symbolic debate. And it's being used almost as a litmus test to see how green different political candidates are. Speaker 4: 13:28 Hmm. What about auto manufacturers? You know, some applaud this other opposing it, you know, what are the incentives for them to move on this or resist it? Speaker 5: 13:37 Well, so that's the industrial politics. Here are fascinating. A number of the auto manufacturers have raised questions about whether the governor has the authority to do this. And that's, you know, untested, it seems like the governor has the authority, but, but we'll see, we'll see in court there, the bigger issue is that some of the automakers are ready to do this. You know, most visibly companies like Tesla and some of them are not ready to do it as quickly. And that's basically all the big American auto manufacturers, except for those that have started to go over to aggressive electric vehicles VW, for example, is a big electric vehicle program after they got caught cheating on the diesel emission scandal. And so it was huge, huge variation in the extent to which the different auto companies are ready to move to all electric and all clean models and that's reflected in their position on the governor's order. Speaker 4: 14:25 So now zero emissions vehicles currently might to barely 10% of California's automobile markets, what needs to be done to, to boost the electric car market. Now, as we move towards his ambitious goal. Speaker 5: 14:38 Well, so far the strategy has been to subsidize new vehicles. There are federal subsidies, there are state subsidies. Um, there's a terrific subsidy part of managed, uh, here locally by, by an NGO CSC. And they ineffective help push the vehicles into the marketplace. This ban is going to help pull more vehicles into the marketplace. Um, and I think the number one concern is going to be the infrastructure. Uh, you need, uh, charging systems. You need charting systems in communities where people rent houses, and therefore can't really justify putting in an expensive charger in a house that they might move from in a year or two. And, and all that. As we're beginning to work, some of that out, I'm skeptical. We're going to have it worked out as quickly as needed for this order. What I'd really watch is the price of new electric vehicles because that price has come down a lot. And even without the subsidies, the price, it really come down a lot. So I think PE households that use to view electric vehicles as kind of a toy for the rich are now seeing these as a mainstream vehicles that reliable, they have long range and an infrastructure for charging is now merged. So, so that's, that's what I'd watch. Speaker 1: 15:48 So you've been keeping an eye on global policy, you know, energy policy and policies to combat climate change. Is this policy what we need to combat climate change, or is it too little too late? Speaker 5: 16:01 Well, it's a step. And I think what, one of the reasons that climate change is such a hard problem is you, there's not a single sector. We have to work. You have to work on all sectors. What I like about this policy is it emblematic of, of a policy that really pushes innovation, pushes the frontier, and then brings down the cost of those new technologies, making it easier for them to spread around the world. So we're doing that in electric vehicles. We're going to do that in medium and heavy duty trucks. Uh, we're doing that, uh, in our electric grid here in California, we need to be doing the same thing and all the other sectors that emit cement and steel cotton was not a huge steel operator. So that's going to be for other countries and other markets. Uh, and, and that's going to, that's the strategy. Speaker 5: 16:39 That's going to really bend the curve here. That interestingly enough is the, exactly the strategy that UK government is going to be putting forward to nations when it hosts the next big climate conference, uh, in November of 2021 is a strategy where you don't just get together and talk about the big picture, but you common countries put on the table. Here's what I'm doing in this sector. And that sector, you work sector by sector and that'll have an impact, but it's going to take some time. And meanwhile, we're building out a huge amount of climate change. Speaker 1: 17:07 We've been speaking with David Victor of the school of global policy and strategy at UCS D David. Thank you so much. Speaker 5: 17:14 Always a pleasure. Thank you. Speaker 1: 17:23 This is KPBS mid day edition. I'm Maureen Kavanaugh with Alison st. John misinformation is continuing to spread on social media about the wildfires in California, Oregon, and Washington. To talk about that cap radio's PolitiFact, California reporter Chris Nichols joins Mike Haggerty for, can you handle the truth, a weekly conversation about his latest fact checks. Chris last week talked about some false Speaker 5: 17:50 Claims related to the start of these fires. What did you find this week? Speaker 6: 17:54 Well, PolitiFact is finding even more rumors about the start of these fires. Last week, we reported that the FBI in Portland had debunked claims that Antifa was starting wildfires on the West coast. The FBI even asked people to stop sharing misinformation on social media because these false reports were taking valuable time away from the agencies fighting the fires. And this week we found a new set of viral posts that blame a California man for lighting more than 30 fires this year, they show a mugshot of the man and call him mr. Climate change. And that's an effort to push back against what scientists agree is the contributing role climate change plays in making these fires worse. The problem with these posts is that the man pictured has been incarcerated for the past two years at a mental health facility for inmates in Stockton. He was convicted of starting nine fires in Southern California two years ago, but he's played no role in the fires this year. And so PolitiFact rated these claims. Speaker 5: 19:01 Chris, you also found that social media users, including a prominent actor, were sharing a misleading map of the fires. Can you tell us more? Speaker 6: 19:09 That's right. The actor James Woods, and many other people shared a map that they suggested disproves claims that the fires are connected to climate change. The map shows fires stopping at the border with Canada and woods, even tweeted quote, Hey, governor Newsome. Why does climate change stop abruptly at the Canadian border and quote? And now it turns out this map only uses us fire Speaker 5: 19:37 Data. And for the record there, Speaker 6: 19:39 I've been wildfires in Canada. This summer PolitiFact also rated these claims false. Speaker 5: 19:45 Now there's a claim on Facebook about president Trump and California, that you've seen resurface in recent days, which one's that Speaker 6: 19:52 That's right in August, we fact checked a widely shared Facebook posts that alleged the president had denied fire aid to California, but then helped Russia fight wildfires in Siberia. We rated that false when it popped up, but it is circulating again. And some of these really outlandish claims seem to have nine lives. They just appear over and over again. And just to recap on this one, president Trump has repeatedly threatened to withhold federal fire assistance from California. He made a similar threat again last month, but he has always approved that aid. And on Russia, it is true that Trump said last year, he offered Russia help with its fires in Siberia. We found no evidence that he actually followed through. Speaker 5: 20:41 Chris, can you remind our listeners how this new cap radio initiative works? How you go about fact checking on Speaker 7: 20:48 Facebook and other social media platforms? Well, it's no secret that the posts and information on Facebook, whether fact or fiction can influence what people believe and how they act. We want to hold Facebook users accountable to the truth, especially during this election season. And that's why cap radios, PolitiFact California is focusing on Facebook to fact check false news and misinformation. This includes posts on the Facebook and Instagram platforms. Facebook does not decide what cap radio should fact check nor does it have a role in the ratings we select that's it for this week's can you handle the truth? Our weekly PolitiFact, California conversation. You can find all our fact checks@capradio.org and politifact.com/california. Thanks Chris. Thanks Mike. Speaker 8: 21:39 That's it for this week. Can you handle the truth? Our weekly PolitiFact, California conversation. You can find all our fact checks@cappradio.org and politifact.com/california with the pandemic now entering at six months, both parents and teachers of students with disabilities have struggled to keep their students on track. Leticia Avalara has one foot in both worlds, KPBS education reporter Joe home spent the day with one special ed teacher who has two sons of her own on the autism spectrum, always on time and ready to learn. Speaker 7: 22:18 Leticia Avalara starts her day at six 30 in the morning. She wakes up an hour before her two sons. So she can lesson plan catch up on emails or clean her house. When her sons wake up, she prepares breakfast and logs into our virtual classroom. Speaker 8: 22:33 Okay, Jonah, I'm going to go on classes, guys. Have a quiet voice. I got to go on class. I got to do work Speaker 7: 22:42 30 year old Leticia. Hadn't always planned on a career in special education. She was originally studying English and art, but our outlook changed after her first son, Jonah was diagnosed with autism and epilepsy, her early experiences with trying to get them the services you needed letter to take a job as a special education teacher's aid. She started working for the San Diego unified school district in 2016, Speaker 8: 23:04 You kind of just get an initial diagnosis and they're like, okay, bye. And for me, I knew there had to be more than that. Speaker 7: 23:12 Luckily she had some help. Speaker 8: 23:14 So his first special education teacher like guided me through the whole process on how to get services, how to navigate special education. And like she would call me and tell me, this is what you have to do. This is the best thing for your son. And I want it to be that person for somebody, because I knew how important it was. Like just to have somebody on your corner. So, Speaker 7: 23:33 But today Lutetia is on her own. She's a single parent raising both 11 year old, Jonah and seven year old Dez. Who's also on the autism spectrum earlier this year, she earned her special education, teaching credential, fate, Delta, or another twist when she had to start her teaching career in the middle of a pandemic, Speaker 8: 23:50 The beginning, it was very hard, especially like everything being shut down. So we were literally stuck in there and like a one bedroom apartment for probably two months. Um, and that was like very difficult for us. Speaker 7: 24:02 However, she says the first few weeks of teaching in the new term have been smooth, but life's still challenge while she teaches high schoolers, her sons still need her attention as they attend their own zoom class. Speaker 8: 24:13 It's kind of transitioning back into, you know, I'm working again. I don't have the time it's, what's making this difficult again. Like, um, as you can see, like, I don't have enough time to like entertain one while I'm doing this. Speaker 7: 24:27 Leticia said her older son, Jonah hasn't fallen behind academically. Her younger son does, is having a harder time with reading and adjusting to the new schedule. Speaker 8: 24:35 And he's kind of having a hard time with the sight words. Um, and he's just having a hard time getting back into like the school, like routine of like being online and seeing his teachers. And it's still very, Speaker 7: 24:49 Both Jonah and Dez are getting speech therapy services, and Latisha says, they're getting better at distance learning when their classes are over, she spends the rest of the day preparing lessons or helping her sons with their schoolwork. She's also studying to get her master's degree in special education. Speaker 8: 25:04 There's not enough knees. So, um, I feel like I, I'm not doing enough on their end. And then sometimes I feel like I'm not doing enough on the teaching end. Like you always, like, I always end the day, like what more could I have done? But then I think like, what more can I possibly do? Speaker 7: 25:19 But she's comforted by the knowledge that the insight she's gained from her son's experiences has made her both a better teacher and a better parent, Joe Hong K KPBS news, Speaker 8: 25:35 An urban farm in city Heights is becoming an anchor for the community. I'm a dependent Mick letting people pay what they can for fresh food. And this audio postcard from our speak city Heights, partner, media art center, San Diego farm co-founder Adrianna. Barraza tells us more about how they're keeping city Heights fed. I love with the farm is a partnership and, um, it's myself and my neighbor and old friend Rica. And we grow micro greens and shoots here in city Heights. Um, with the goal of making Trish food more accessible and affordable in our area. One of the reasons why we focused on city Heights is because in our farm, as Ella with the farm, we always envisioned this as being a business. That's a kind of force against gentrification. And so we want to grow these delicious, beautiful greens, but not just going sell them in LA Jolla. Speaker 8: 26:31 There's a lot of immigrants here in this neighborhood and everywhere, um, Mexican immigrants, Latino immigrants, but also from all over the world that have these ways of, of eating an existing and living. That's more in connection to, to the land and the seasons. But when they immigrate, there's this idea that you have to, you know, assimilate or adapt to the way of life here. There's this quick loss that happens from like our, our traditions. And so people think that's just not possible to have that fresh, you know, the fresh greens that you used to harvest the, the chillers, the, you know, whatever, some of our neighbors come by and they see what we're growing in the front yard. They're like what you have changed the beam. This is amazing. You know, I didn't think you can even grow these. I thought they had to be wild harvested. Speaker 8: 27:15 And so, so there's a real awakening. I think that happens when people start seeing like earth, small urban farms that are growing these traditional foods. And there's also just that it feels like, Oh, wow, this is worth doing. And it can be done. It's been really cool to see our customer base growing here at, in city Heights at the Fairmont urban garden, uh, popup on Saturdays, uh, because we do have a lot of, um, Latino women and families and kids that are, that are excited to be picking up their bippy nose. And we it's pretty cool cause some of them share their photos, but those are the kids super excited eating with what was in the box at seek the strawberries, the watermelon it's been really fulfilling for me to find myself in this role of being able to share healthy food and the recipes and the access with other people in my family. Speaker 8: 28:09 First and foremost, and in my neighborhood, having the core of our business be committed to equity was there from the start. And then with COVID, you know, we see that there's so many people that are unemployed right now, or are struggling and having the super power to grow fresh food and be able to share it with our communities is something that we're really excited to share. So pay what you can is, is just feel like that's the only just way to, to be, to be functioning right now in these times, you know, cause it's not all about profits. It's about sustainability and how do we keep, not just ourselves in, in a safe place that feels stable, but our communities that was an audio postcard from our speak city Heights partner media art center, Speaker 9: 28:54 It was San Diego Speaker 8: 29:02 On the second episode of rad scientist, season three, host Margo wall introduces us to an engineer who wants to understand how the brain helps us vocalize with the hopes of restoring speech for those over lost the ability. Darryl Brown is an electrical engineering PhD candidate at UC San Diego. But his plan B might surprise you Speaker 9: 29:25 My fallback in case this size thing doesn't work is I always want to be a voice actor. Let me wet my palette first. I didn't like my verse different. What's wrong with you? Can't you just get out my way. Speaker 10: 29:45 Whoa, Speaker 9: 29:51 I guess it does fit with my research cause I do I study vocalizations, uh, I'm studying it more like from a, like a neuro engineering perspective to be used for the development of a human speech prosthesis. Speaker 10: 30:06 Basically he wants to help build machines that can take brain activity and translate it into human speech. For those who can no longer produce vocalizations due to paralysis or neurodegeneration, Speaker 9: 30:20 I've always been interested in neuroprosthetics. My grandfather was a paraplegic. Um, so as a kid, I was always, uh, really curious as to like, how, why can't grandpa walk? Like how can I help him? Like what can be done? Speaker 10: 30:36 The field of neuroprosthetics asks how we can replace re-engineer parts of the human body that no longer work and Darryl displayed natural engineering tendencies as a kid. And when thinking about how to make progress on neuroprosthetics, he was well aware of some of the difficulties surrounding the field, like how to build better systems, given the limits on opportunities of doing experiments with humans, Speaker 9: 31:04 We have a patient, um, who typically they either they, um, or have like a tetraplegia or they have, um, seizures, or they have some underlying neuro pathology where they see it can't be treated by medication. Like they have to do invasive brain surgery. Speaker 10: 31:24 So this is where researchers might pop in and ask, Hey, while your skull is open, um, would you be a doll and let us put some conductive sticks in your brain and have you say some silly things repeatedly for science. And it's really one of the only ways to get this kind of data with humans, but you can see how it would be hard to make progress quickly. Speaker 9: 31:45 Imagine if every game was the super bowl, like there was no practices, there's no playoffs. You just went straight in. Speaker 10: 31:53 That's probably not going to go so well. Uh, that's why he needs to work with an animal model, some species that makes a lot of regular vocalizations that you can keep in a lab and record from their brains. Speaker 9: 32:05 That's not easy primates like they vocalize, but that you can't just like tell them monkey, say hello, 15 times in a row. Is that a challenge Daryl, but you can't get a bird to sing the same song a bunch of times in a row. Speaker 10: 32:20 Ah, yes. Birds. Well, not just any birds, songbirds. There are about 5,000 species of songbirds out there, but Daryl is studying a particular species with bright orange beaks and striped tail feathers. The zebra Finch Speaker 9: 32:36 They'll seem wa and isolation saying in groups, Speaker 10: 32:40 These birds love singing. Even Speaker 9: 32:43 The interesting thing is that their song is learned, um, in a way that's very similar to how we learn, how to speak. Speaker 10: 32:51 Songbirds have tutors older birds that teach them the proper song and young birds start out by doing something akin to babbling until their songs get better. Here's a male zebra finches song as it goes from OB little bird to an adult. So this is an adolescent now a teenager to go for school. And finally, this is the adult Finch with 401k mortgage, all that, And now all together in a sequence. So you can really hear the progression. Okay. I've been told by my editor that perhaps it's not super easy to tell the difference in the songs. If you haven't studied songbirds before, but you gotta trust me on this one. By adulthood, these male birds have constructed their lifelong song that they will use to woo the ladies. And what you might've heard probably sounds simple. And that's because it is, it's a chain of syllables that are repeated in the same order. Speaker 9: 34:02 One, two, three, one, two, three. Speaker 10: 34:05 Sometimes the finches will mix things up. Speaker 9: 34:07 The way I think about it is kind of like whenever you have a drummer playing and while they're playing, they made like twirl their, their stick before continue playing. They may add a little flair in between their motifs that allows us to kind of have the best of both worlds. One. We have like the stereotype song, like the syllables there, their muscle contractions have to be about the same to produce that sound, but there's still natural, like jitter that happens in speech. So when you think of like human speech, although our words may have their kind of like stereotype sound like the sound like the word. Um, hello. Um, but you can say hello faster, slower. You can in a sentence where I'm saying the same five words in an order, the gaps between the words can, can dilate or contract Speaker 10: 34:57 Darrell hopes that by studying how the bird brain elicits songs, he can figure out how to make a vocal prosthesis for the zebra Finch during his PhD, Speaker 9: 35:06 That the pie in the sky like would be, and we would have, um, found neurosignals that, that, that would Incode, um, song. Um, we would develop a closed loop, real time system that we can then implant and connect to the bird. When we have the bird singing, is this prediction, um, does it match what the bird is trying to sing? Speaker 10: 35:27 Finches are really just a means to an end. Ultimately, the result of Darryl's work is meant to help out people, people who have lost or will lose the, to speak, Speaker 11: 35:38 But even though he wants to be a force for good for humanity, he recognizes a bitter. Speaker 9: 35:45 It's really weird to work in a space where like a lot of like my research, I aim for it to help all people, but doesn't matter the color, the skin as a matter of their race, religion, gender identity, and to do work, to help these individuals, but still understand that some of those individuals are totally okay with a system that would kill me for no reason. It's a weird mental gymnastic exercise that pretty much have to do every day Speaker 11: 36:27 To hear more about Daryl and how racism has impacted his academic journey. You can listen to the full episode by searching for rad scientist in your favorite podcast app. Speaker 11: 36:50 You're listening to KPBS mid day edition. I'm Alison st. John, along with Maureen Kavanaugh, whether you yourself are a gardener or not gardening expert, Nan Storman's award-winning TV show, a growing passion is a refreshing glimpse into our Southern California gardening landscape from ways to grow things without using much water to what makes our region special in the horticultural realm, a new series of a growing passion starts tonight on KPBS television, and then joins us now to talk more about what's in store then. Welcome. Thank you so much. So for any listeners who are not familiar with the show, tell us why they should watch it. You know, what's your goal in making these shows? Oh, my, there is so much that happens in and around our region that has to do with plants via gardening or native habitats with some of our farms what's happening in nurseries, you know, at the university research, all kinds of things, you know, plants are so important in our lives. Speaker 11: 37:50 They are everything to us. They're what we wear and make the oxygen. We breathe. They're our friends, they're the basis of the world, food chain, their habitat for birds and all kinds of animals. We rely on plants without them. We can't live literally. So let's go look and see where plants are and how they benefit us and what ways they're involved in our lives that we don't necessarily know about it so ways that we do. And it's just, it's the exploration of plants on the planet. Now the focus this season is on environmentally and economically friendly gardens, right? So what does that mean? Really for the average gardener, it means growing things you can eat. Interestingly, the pandemic has done something that I never anticipated, and that is it's made people really in, um, focusing on home and garden. I have a Facebook group called San Diego garden and we have just, we're coming up on 12,000 members, uh, from San Diego area alone. Speaker 11: 38:46 The Facebook group has absolutely exploded since the pandemic began and everyone is interested in growing their own food, their backyard gardeners. So that puts a lot of interest in growing things that you can eat in your backyard. And so this, this season, for example, we are doing an episode on dragon fruit, which grow on cactus climbing cactus. We were out in, um, last week shooting a segment for that. And we'll be up in Irvine, this coming week shooting another segment, dragon fruit, a wonderful cactus fruit, and they're beautiful. And they taste delicious. We're going to visit revisit some of the farmers that we visited in the past and find out how the pandemic has affected their operations, the demand for their products and their livelihoods. It's been very, very interesting if you're a farmer and a lot of ups and downs and, uh, I'll, uh, won't give away what the, what the information watch to find out. Speaker 4: 39:47 Right? No, I understand that one of the episodes in the new season is all about growing olives. Now, when I think of olives, I think of Italy, but what's the story with olives in San Diego County? Speaker 11: 39:57 Well, Italy and Spain. Yes, but you know, Italy and Spain and the middle East, they all have the same kind of climate. We do. They all have the Mediterranean climate, which is a climate where the rainfall comes in winter and summers are long and hot and dry. Those climates are all the perfect kinds of climates for all this. So there's a couple that lives out in Ramona, um, where we're going to tell a couple of different olives stories. One of them is about a couple that lives in Ramona. The husband is from Israel and he grew up in a family where fresh olive oil was on the table. Every day in Israel, they moved here and their property, they have about 12 acres were burned in one of the, one of the fires. I think it was the witch Creek fire, 12 acres of landscape. Speaker 11: 40:46 They saved the house, but all the native plants are burned away. And so when they were trying to figure out what to do on their property, the husband remembered that olive oil and decided he wanted to try his hand at growing olives. So we're going to visit him and his, uh, his whole family and their olive Grove and see how he makes award-winning olive oil. We also, um, visit Temecula olive oil company, which is, I think the biggest olive grower and olive oil maker in Southern California. They do an amazing, an amazing job. They have a big facility out East of Temecula. The great things about growing olives is that you can grow olive trees on land. That's great marginal for growing anything else. So it makes it a very versatile crop. One that a lot of people interested in, those are our main two places that we're going to visit, but we tell a whole lot of little stories within those two locations. Well, of course, we're all, Speaker 4: 41:42 You don't have to be a farmer to be worried about water these days. We're all trying to save water. Do you have any new words of wisdom about ways to do that? Speaker 11: 41:52 The same way that we've been, you know, I've been talking about for years, think about your garden in zones. Each sown is a different water requiring zone and plant group, your plants, according to their water needs. I did a garden consultation, uh, for a couple of actually at Ramona last week. And the husband said to me that his biggest challenge when it came to water, it was that he found that the plants were all mixed up. There were things that needed a lot of water plant Ines and things that didn't need very much water. And how was he supposed to manage that? I mean, how long was he supposed to water? And I looked at him, I say, that's not the solution. The solution is to remove the plants and regroup them so that all the high water plants from one region, all the low water plants are in another region. And each plant will get what it needs without, without getting too much or too little. And that is key to having a garden that concerns why, and also making sure you have the right kind of irrigation system, inline drip irrigation is the best irrigation for our region because all the water goes directly into the soil. Speaker 4: 42:53 During these shows, you get to interview all sorts of interesting people and go to interesting places. What are some of the things you'll be focusing on this season? Speaker 11: 43:01 So I'm so glad you asked. We have an episode on the plant Explorer. You've mentioned the plant Explorer and misses about a local man who travels the world, looking for new and interesting plants and rare plants. And he documents where they live or around the world. And he brings back seeds and pollen. He grows those plants up, and then he uses them to breed new plants, primarily succulents. So ours, uh, garbage is, uh, some of the deadly which are actually native to here and other plants like that. He is one of the world's experts and he makes new varieties of the time. It's, it's like the mad scientist and he's made some really, really amazing plant. So we're going to explore what the process is. We're going to see how he does that. We're going to see his growing grounds. Um, all of which are local. Speaker 11: 43:53 We're also going to visit our own San Diego Botanic garden, which is right down the street from me and, and, uh, very important in some respects, hidden gem here in San Diego area. Uh, it's open now during the pandemic, you know, you have to make a reservation to go because they're limiting the numbers of people, but the San Diego Botanic garden is on historic property and they have some of the most amazing demonstration gardens showing what grows well here, as well as an amazing, wonderful, fun children's garden. And there's just lots going on there. And I can't wait to show people what's happening. Speaker 4: 44:32 I've been speaking with Nan Sterman, who is host of a growing passion, and I am certainly going to be watching the new season. I just planted some dragon fruit myself. So I want to see what you have to say about those. And season eight premieres tonight at eight 30 on KPBS television, you can also see Encore presentations of past episodes by going to either kpbs.org or a growing passion.com, which has all kinds of wonderful tips for gardeners. And then thanks so much for joining us. Speaker 11: 45:00 Thank you. Can I tell people to please follow us on social media too? You get behind the scenes images and chips regarding me and all that kind of stuff on Facebook, right? Instagram all or usual posts. Great. Thanks so much, man. Happy growing. Thank you, Allison. Would you.

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Shortly after a grand jury declined to indict any of the officers involved in Breonna Taylor’s killing, people took to the streets in San Diego to demand justice for her. Plus, California will ban the sale of new gas-powered cars by 2035, a move that Gov. Gavin Newsom says will cut greenhouse gas emissions by 35%. Also, misinformations are swirling around social media on how the wildfires on the West Coast started and whether climate change played a role. PolitiFact California fact checks the claims. And, a mom of two autistic sons never expected to become a special education teacher. Her son’s early experiences plus the pandemic put her on a new path. In addition, an urban farm in City Heights is becoming anchor for the community during the pandemic, letting people pay what they can for fresh food. And on this weeks’ episode of Rad Scientist, an engineer who wants to understand how the brain helps us vocalize with the hopes of restoring speech for those who have lost the ability. Finally, Nan Sterman gives us a sneak peek of the latest season of “A Growing Passion.”