Commentary on Solicitor Phone Calls

7 hours ago
Annie Spratt / unsplash

There doesn’t seem to any good time to receive a phone call where someone is asking you for money. While these calls can be annoying Nelson Sigelman from Martha’s Vineyard has turned calls from professional solicitors into a form of entertainment.

The phone rings. The caller addresses me by my first name with the feigned good cheer and sincerity I’d associate with a used car salesman trying to sell me a Ford truck retrieved from Texas flood waters.

Brian Morris/WCAI

The Nantucket Historical Association recently added an unusual item to its map collection: an embossed outline map of Nantucket, tucked in the back of the 1841 Annual Report of the Perkins Institution and Massachusetts Asylum for the Blind, now known as the Perkins School for the Blind. 

Saturn, from images collected shortly after Cassini began its extended equinox mission in July 2008.
NASA / JPL / Space Science Institute

Remember back in 2017 when the Cassini space craft dove through Saturn’s rings and plunged to its death in Saturn’s atmosphere? Well, like the Mars rover Opportunity, Cassini’s legacy lives on in the data it sent back.

And now, thanks to that data, scientists have figured out that a day on Saturn lasts 10 hours, 33 minutes, and 38 seconds. Plus or minus a minute or two.

Researcher Rachel Plotnick spent seven years studying why we push buttons.

Buttons are everywhere in our lives. But why? We push buttons on dishwashers, car dashboards, doorbells, our phones, and, of course, those “like” buttons on social media.

Where did buttons come from, and what gives them an edge over, say, dials or switches? And why do they so often seem not to do what we think they should?


NASA announced on Wednesday that the Mars rover Opportunity had not responded to months of messages and the mission is officially over. That news came an astounding 15 years after completing its initial 90-day mission.  

Playing ping pong is good exercise for your brain.
Jamil Issy,

So, it’s February. Reality check time. How are your New Year’s Resolutions faring? Statistics show that the vast majority of resolutions have fallen apart by mid-February.

Why do so many of us find it so hard to make changes that we presumably want to make?

The EPA has released an action plan for addressing the risks posed by a large class of chemicals known collectively as PFAS, which are used as flame retardants and non-stick or stain-resistant coatings. These chemicals have been linked to a range of human health impacts, including certain cancers, immune disfunction, and obesity. And they have been found in drinking water around the country.

_DJ_ on /

"It's critical that you continue to engage your brain in the development of new abilities and and new skills or improve those things that matter to you because you're exercising the machinery that helps you keep your brain growing.”  - Michael Merzenich

This week on Living Lab Radio:

S Junker

WCAI News Director Steve Junker hosts a roundup of some of the top local and regional news of the week, including: growing concerns about whether the Cape is ready for its first summer after a fatal shark attack; the Barnstable County Sheriff's office has a public meeting to discuss its work with federal immigrations authorities; and the Cape may already be home to a nesting pair of bald eagles.

Talk of money loomed large on Beacon Hill this week, with state lawmakers making provisions in case the federal government shuts down again, and tackling the proposed $41 billion state budget for the next fiscal year.

WCAI’s Kathryn Eident talked with State House Reporter Mike Deehan to learn more.


The Forgetting