How Pop Music Helped Save the Whales

by Michael on February 13, 2015

Photo by yaruman5 on flickr

Biologist Roger Payne discovered that humpback whale’s sing in the mid-1960s. But his passion was more than scientific. At the time, whales were being hunted to extinction. As he put it, “Do you make catfood out of composer-poets? I think that’s a crime.” So he embarked on a campaign to imbed the songs in human music, with surprising and profound results. This piece originally aired on Studio 360 and then was reworked for All Things Considered (listen to that version here).

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Ed Graf has spent 25 years in prison in Waco, Texas, convicted of setting a fire in a shed that killed his two stepsons.

But in the years since Graf’s trial, much of the forensic evidence used against him has been revealed to be nothing more than junk science, which has prompted the state of Texas to take a look at old arson convictions dating back to at least 2003. Graf became the first person in the state to get a retrial based on new understandings of fire forensics.

Still, the question remains, was it arson or an accident? This story aired on All Things Considered on the first day of Graf’s trial, and you can listen to it here.

Two weeks later, NPR followed up on the surprising and ambiguous conclusion. You can listen to that story here.

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