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Crosscurrents is the award-winning daily news magazine from KALW Public Radio. We make joyful, informative stories that engage people across the divides in our community - economic, social, and cultural.

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While BART managers are trying to bring the Bay Area’s rail system into the future, state officials are trying to bring a new train system into existence. High-speed rail is supposed to whisk passengers from San Francisco to Los Angeles in just two and a half hours. It’s a controversial project, though, and over the past few months it’s gotten even more controversial. KALW’s transportation reporter Julie Caine has more.

HOLLY KERNAN: Julie, we know the price tag for high-speed rail has now gone up to an estimated $100 billion. What is happening?

Photo courtesy of Dave Wong

In San Francisco, you don’t have to go to a stuffy night club or a formal classroom to learn how to swing dance. If you want to learn the Lindy Hop, you can learn in the great outdoors.

KALW’s Carolina Hidalgo, who is originally from Chile, found the group called Lindy in the Park, dancing in full daylight on one of her walks in Golden Gate Park. She brings us this profile for the next installment of Meet Your Neighbors.

Technology has done great things for medicine: Machines can help keep hearts beating and lungs breathing. Electronic medical records help doctors keep track of their patients’ treatment and prevent mistakes. But all that technology needs a lot of monitoring – and that can be frustrating for nurses who want to be tending people, not machines.

To combat this problem, healthcare provider Kaiser Permanente is implementing a new program to help nurses relax a bit, and shift their focus back to what’s really important.  KALW’S Christopher Connelly has more on what they’re doing.

Under CC license from Lukasz Lech.

Tonight, a show called "Weed Wars" is premiering on the Discovery Channel, and it’s entirely based on the Bay Area medical marijuana trade. The premiere has interesting timing: Yesterday, a U.S. District judge in Oakland rejected a request from dispensaries to keep federal prosecutors from filing charges against them. It’s the latest in a series of events that have been challenging California marijuana advocates, kicked off by Melinda Haag, the U.S.

The education of young people is increasingly, if not exclusively, coming from the internet. And a big part of it is from the website Wikipedia. The English-language version alone has more than three million entries. It’s consistently ranked as one of the most visited websites in the world, after Facebook and before Twitter. And in the last few years, Wikipedia has started spreading to college classrooms, but not without its share of controversies and concerns.

California is home to more than 55,000 foster kids - the largest population in the country. And, the one place in the state where most of those kids come together is in public school. Jetaine Hart, a former foster youth and current educational mentor in Alameda County, argues that’s where we should be putting resources to help foster kids – kids who often shuffle from school to school and have unstable home lives.

The psychology of what makes teens thankful

Nov 29, 2011

Teenagers often feel misunderstood. It’s a hard time of life – somewhere between childhood and adulthood, not quite one or the other – with a future that is at once uncertain, exciting, and overwhelming. It’s no wonder that they can seem ungrateful for what’s going on in the present – and that’s something researchers have found repeatedly. Youth Radio’s Rayana Godfrey decided to take that presumption on in this report on the science of.

RAYANA GODFREY: My mom would kill me if I ever acted like the kid in this popular YouTube video:

Join KALW for its final 70th anniversary event, in conjunction with the Mission Arts and Performance Project!

This special evening will feature oral storytellers, radio producers, and musicians performing on the theme of "Beginnings and Endings." We'll also be bringing you an episode of KALW's "Crosscurrents" LIVE, with audience participation! 

Cost: FREE!

Venue: The Polish Club (3040 22nd Street, San Francisco)

Date and Time: Saturday, December 3rd from 6-9pm

Performers include:

Marilyn Pittman is one of San Francisco's first openly gay comics, rising to fame during the AIDS crisis, and known for bringing hilarity through her blunt, "tell it like it is" comedy.

But in 1997, tragedy struck, when her father murdered her mother, and then committed suicide. After that, Pittman went through her mother's journals, and her father's love letters, seeking answers as to why it happened. She asked questions like "did they really love each other?” and "could we see this coming?”

Get inside the mind of an amateur comic

Nov 24, 2011

It makes sense why comedy flourishes in the Bay Area. To a lot of people, the region itself is a kind of joke. On the right, we’ve got  Bill O'Reilly calling us a modern day Gomorrah –

BILL O’REILLY: As we reported, the far left is emboldened now that Barack Obama has been elected president, and nowhere is the far left government more on display than in the city of San Francisco. Once a working class town blessed with natural beauty, San Francisco has embraced a secular liberal culture that is now dominant in city government.