Virginia Prescott

Host, On Second Thought

Virginia Prescott is the Gracie Award-winning host of On Second Thought for Georgia Public Broadcasting. Before joining GPB, she was host of Word of Mouth, Writers on A New England Stage and the I-Tunes Top Ten Podcasts Civics 101 and The 10-Minute Writers Workshop on New Hampshire Public Radio. Prior to joining NHPR, she was editor, producer, and director on NPR programs On Point and Here & Now, and Director of Interactive media for New York Public Radio.

Throughout her radio career, Virginia has worked to build sustainable independent radio in the developing world and has trained journalists in post-conflict zones from Sierra Leone to the Balkans. She was a member of the Peabody Award-winning production team for Jazz from Lincoln Center with Ed Bradley and the recipient of a Loeb Fellowship at Harvard University.

Virginia loves working as a radio and podcast host, but regrets that so many good outfits go unnoticed.

Every day, millions of Americans use -and often rely on- GPS technology to help them navigate their commutes and get precise directions to their destinations. As Americans celebrate the upcoming 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, they can thank the work of a Princeton University graduate, Todd Jaegar, who conceived and developed the Apollo 11 experiment that enabled GPS technology to take a “giant leap” forward.

Meet a hidden figure named Vicky Graves, who worked for NACA, the predecessor to NASA. 


Matthew Terrell

Long before blockbuster cookbooks, community recipe collections were go-to references for recipes. These compilations were fundraising tools for church and junior league groups, Girl Scout troops and 4-H clubs.

Matthew Terrell is an artist and writer living in Atlanta. His book, The Magnolia Bayou Ladies Auxiliary Country Club Cooking and Entertaining Book, picks up the spiral-bound, D.I.Y Southern tradition, but this time there is a twist. This cookbook is fiction. While the recipes are real, everything else — the stories, the characters, the commentary, the ads — are fake.


Broadcast Solutions

British astronomer Fred Hoyle first used the term "Big Bang Theory" on a BBC radio program in 1949. Here in the U.S., Americans were hitting their stride on a massive bang of their own.

The National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics or NACA laid the groundwork for what would become NASA a decade later and sent a manned rocket to the moon 10 years after that. Before that successful mission, Vicky Graves and her husband, Barry, started working for NACA.


Neil Armstrong / AP

The Apollo 11 rocket NASA that launched into space 50 years ago this week was also the blast-off point for things now commonly used on Earth. The first moonwalk created the foundations for technology that moves people and products around every day. 

The lunar laser retroreflector used by astronaut Buzz Aldrin was critical to developing global positioning systems or GPS. Todd Jaegar is global director of commercial optics for Haraeus, which helped produce the reflector. Jaegar visited On Second Thought from Haraeus' quartz glass facility in Buford. 


LA'RAVEN TAYLOR/GPB

As GPB continues “Chasing the Moon” during a commemorative week celebrating the Apollo 11 launch 50 years ago this week, On Second Thought is joined by Lonnie Johnson, a former NASA employee that worked on the project that sent Galileo to Jupiter.  


Live stage productions and plays can frustrate the deaf community. That’s why a pair of UGA alumni decided to create their non-profit, Hands In! It’s a theater company in Athens that produces original plays in American Sign Language. The co-founders and directors want to bridge the gap between the deaf and hearing worlds by spreading awareness of ASL in dramatic media.

Beach and Ede spoke with On Second Thought host Virginia Prescott about their latest production, Wanderland. They also talked about their plans to expand on arts and culture for members of the deaf community. 


Stephen B. Morton / AP

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms is headed to Washington D.C. Wednesday to testify in front of a Senate committee about the city’s plans for climate change.

Other Georgia municipalities across the state are dealing with higher temperatures and extreme weather. Southern leaders, regardless of politics, are now taking actions to mitigate local effects of climate change, all while the federal government continues to roll back protections.


John Bazemore / AP

Atlanta police are cracking down on scooters after at least one death and hundreds of injuries. It's illegal to ride them on sidewalks or to violate other traffic laws while riding.

The focus might be shifting to electric powered two-wheelers, but collisions involving traditional bikes, cars and pedestrians are on the rise across the U.S. and in Georgia. The Atlanta Regional Commision reports a 53% jump in such accidents between 2006 and 2015. The number of related serious injuries or fatalities went up by 26% in that time.


Christine Bernal

Live stage productions and plays can frustrate the deaf community. That’s why a pair of University of Georgia alumni decided to create their non-profit, Hands In! It’s a theater company in Athens that produces original plays in American Sign Language.

Hands In! co-founders and directors, Haley Beach and Amara Ede, want to bridge the gap between the deaf and hearing worlds by spreading awareness of ASL in dramatic media. Beach and Ede spoke with On Second Thought host Virginia Prescott about their latest production, Wanderland. They also talked about their plans to expand on arts and culture for members of the deaf community. 


50 years ago today, Apollo 11 launched from Cape Kennedy. NASA allowed a film crew at the launch, documenting everything, from its preparation to mission control to the faces of the crowds witnessing the historic moment. All these pieces came together in a documentary film called Moonwalk One

David Resha, assistant professor of film studies at Emory University's Oxford College,  joined On Second Thought to discuss the cinematic elements of Moonwalk One, and why it didn't blast off at the box office. 


Vivid ATL

Many celebrations will take place this week commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. We're focusing on Georgia connections to this amazing historical feat, along with the future of space exploration. 

Tiffany Davis is an aerospace engineer. You may have seen her on your timeline with the hashtag, #YesIAmARocketScientist. That hashtag went viral in 2016 after Davis posted it on her Instagram page, announcing her graduation from the Georgia Institute of Technology.


50 years ago today, Apollo 11 launched from Cape Kennedy. A few days later, on July 20, 1969, the first two humans landed on the moon — Commander Neil Armstrong and Lunar Module Pilot Buzz Aldrin.

Also at the launch was a film crew, documenting everything, from its preparation to mission control to the faces of the crowds witnessing the historic moment. These were mixed in with astounding footage taken by Armstrong and Aldrin, which all came together in a documentary film called Moonwalk One.


Consuming political news is like drinking from a firehose. Each day presents a new tweet, a new storyline and a new debate to process. It can be exhausting, and often national conversations obscure important topics like Americans’ fundamental right to vote. 

On Second Thought wants to shift the paradigm, so GPB politics reporter Stephen Fowler is presenting listeners with a segment called “Slow Democracy.” Like the slow food movement, it looks at the sources, alterations and underpinnings of participatory democracy.


Courtesy of University of Georgia

The song "Daisy Bell" wasn't a hit in 1961, but it was a triumph. The singer? The IBM 7094, the largest, most expensive computer available at the time. And thanks to James Carmon, professor in the University of Georgia's School of Agriculture, the school purchased one in 1964.

 

Not only could the computer sing, it helped put man on the moon.

 

Wikimedia.org

Marshae Jones, an Alabama woman charged with manslaughter for allegedly starting a fight that led to her getting shot and having a miscarriage, will not face prosecution after all. The prosecutor has decided not to pursue the charge, but the incident started a conversation about negligence and culpability for pregnant women in an era of increasingly restrictive abortion laws. 

With the potential increase to the liability pregnant women face, legal questions arise surrounding when a pregnant woman is addicted to drugs. On Second Thought looked at how current and pending laws converge with Georgia’s opioid crisis.


An agriculture professor at the University of Georgia, James L. Carmon, talked his school into buying the costliest computer in existence in 1964 -- and it helped put a man on the moon. The computer was $3 million when the school purchased it. It’s now worth $25 million. Carmon's daughter, Lee, talked about her father's work. Atlanta Journal-Constitution writer Bo Emerson joined her on On Second Thought to talk about how the computer influenced the space race.

 

 


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Cooperative solar allows customers who couldn’t normally participate, those with shady yards or rental properties, to take advantage of solar.  Walton Energy Membership Corporation, which serves northeast Georgia, is attracting some big industry players with its cooperative solar program.

Facebook chose Walton EMC for a proposed 100% renewable energy data center in Newton County.

Alice Walker, the author of the The Color Purple, turns 75 this Saturday. The Georgia Writers Museum, a nonprofit organization and exhibit space that educates the public about the state’s rich literary heritage, will host a one-day celebration of Walker’s birthday. Valerie Boyd, editor of Walker’s forthcoming journals, joined On Second Thought to talk about Alice Walker’s legacy.


Depending on who’s talking, Freaknik was a notorious public safety hazard or an annual lovefest that solidified Atlanta’s status as America’s “Black Mecca.”

Documentary filmmaker Chris Frierson joined On Second Thought to discuss the event's rise and fall, which is further detailed in his new podcast series, Freaknik: A Discourse on a Paradise Lost.


John Amis / AP

The town of Eatonton, Georgia, will honor one of its own this weekend: prolific poet, Pulitzer prize winning novelist and activist Alice Walker. The Georgia Writers Museum will celebrate Walker's 75th birthday with a now sold-out day of festivities.

 

One highlight at Saturday's celebration is a conversation with Walker and University of Georgia professor Valerie Boyd. Boyd is the curator and editor of a forthcoming collection of Walker's journals. Boyd spoke with On Second Thought host Virginia Prescott about the life and legacy of Walker. 

 


Courtesy of Boston Public Library

The network of rail lines and canals that gave Waycross its name now act as dividing lines for the community.

For a century, the canals carried runoff from the rail yard and other local industries. Generations of kids roamed along the banks and swam in the southeast Georgia heat. In 2015, four area children were diagnosed with rare cancers within the span of two months.


Credit: MARTA

MARTA is considering renaming five train stations in Atlanta. It's an effort to keep up with changes in the city and to reflect surrounding neighborhoods.

One station proposed to be re-christened: Bankhead. The area was named after the highway that ran through it, which was in turn named after an Alabama family. But the Bankhead name is perhaps more closely associated with the torrent of rap and hip hop that grew from Atlanta's Westside and nearby neighborhoods. So, what's in the name "Bankhead"?


Vichaya Kiatying-Angsulee

It might be hard to live within them, but most people have budgets. And, sometimes budgeting means tough spending choices like deciding between buying medicine or food.

For GPB’s energy seriesreporter Ross Terrell got a close look at just how hard it can be for people on tight budgets to pay their utility bills. He met a woman named Barbara C., who talked about working at a factory for 35 years and, upon retiring, found herself struggling to keep her lights on.


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Last week, a lawsuit filed in federal court charged the state of Georgia with violating the Civil Rights Act. The suit was filed on behalf of Kenneth Caban Gonzalez, who relocated from Puerto Rico to southeast Georgia in 2017. 

Gonzalez says his documents were seized when he applied for a license at the Georgia Department of Driver Services, and an inspector there made him answer questions not asked of residents from other states.


Andrew Thomas Lee

From Summer blueberry to Thanksgiving pumpkin, pies are packed with memories and traditions. Everyone has their favorite, but you may not be experiencing everything this “infinite dessert” has to offer.

Paul Arguin and Chris Taylor, a married pair of scientists from the CDC turned pie-baking champions, encourage you to escape the flaky crust rut of making the same old pie, with their cookbook The New Pie.

Courtesy of the High Museum of Art

"There is no exquisite beauty...without some strangeness in the proportion."

That's a line from Edgar Allan Poe, the king of the dark and eerie, the strange and surreal. It could also describe the appeal of an exhibition currently on view at the High Museum of Art, called Strange Light: The Photography of Clarence John Laughlin.

Laughlin has been called "Edgar Allan Poe with a camera." He was a Louisiana native and Southern photographer known as the "Father of American Surrealism." A fascinating and irascible character, Laughlin broke boundaries with photographic innovations that linked imagery to the subconscious. 


A federal lawsuit filed Tuesday says Georgia is discriminating against Puerto Rican driver’s license applicants. The lawsuit, filed by Kenneth Caban Gonzalez, says that his documents were seized and an inspector there made him answer questions that residents of other states did not have to answer. Dr. Amy Steigerwalt, political science professor and Jorge Vasquez of the Latino Justice Agency join On Second Thought to talk about the lawsuit. 


The new head of the American Academy of Pediatrics is from Fayetteville, Georgia.  Meet Dr. Sara Goza and hear about her recent visit to the U.S.-Mexico border and her concerns about the health of migrant children detained there.


Courtesy of American Academy of Pediatrics

Fayetteville pediatrician Dr. Sara Goza has been elected president of the American Academy of Pediatrics. 

Goza is back at her practice in Georgia after visiting the U.S.-Mexico border, and examining detention facilities where migrant children are held. She joined On Second Thought to tell us what she saw there.


Rick Bowmer / AP

Transportation — trucks, trains, planes and automobiles — is a major source of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. Electric vehicles offer a less polluting alternative. That, and reduced fuel costs are strong selling points. Limited battery range is not.

But shorter distances, and those savings, work for many local governments. Last month, Savannah added two new electric cars to its city fleet. Nick Deffley is the director of Savannah's Office of Sustainability. He joined On Second Thought from GPB's studio in Savannah to talk about how the city began its transition to electric vehicles.


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