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Thinking Aloud: Full Belly Project

Here’s one I know you’ve heard before: “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” But have you ever thought about the huge problem with this statement? Learning to fish is all well and good, but what about the people who know how to fish but have no nets?

            Across the globe members of impoverished or rural communities work long and often grueling hours to perform tasks such as fetching water, tending crops, hunting, or finding fuel. While these resources can be scarce, often their real problem is not having the tools necessary process and efficiently use the resources they do have.

Countless humanitarian organizations work tirelessly to install water-pumping and filtration systems, communications networks, and other technological boons for farmers and rural villagers. One such group, very small in number but ambitious in its aims, calls itself “The Full Belly Project.”

This group has a unique vision that guides them to address some of the crucial gaps missed by larger organizations. The Full Belly Project devises prototypes for small-scale gizmos and contraptions to solve problems that may seem small but that take far too much time and effort without the right tools.

You can listen in to our conversation with Jock Brandis, Director of Research and Development of the Full Belly Project on our website. The project’s work is streamlining the daily workload of thousands of people across the world, giving them the tools to help themselves for years to come.

Check out the Full Belly Project’s Website here.​


Thinking Aloud: Something More Than Water Lilies

While setting up for a show earlier this month, our host, Marcus Smith, asked me if I liked Monet.

 

“Yes, on a purely superficial level, in that I think his paintings are pretty,” I responded as I tinkered with sound levels and file names and phone numbers in the studio.

 

The show’s topic was the creation of Monet’s Water Lilies series as told by Ross King in his book Mad Enchantment: Claude Monet and the Painting of the Water Lilies. Like my take on most of Monet’s work, I expected to like it. I did not expect to be changed by it. But it only took thirty minutes of listening to Ross King for my perception of Monet’s water lilies to go from pretty paintings to representations of deep conflict: Monet’s conflict about the war, about his family, and about his place in the changing world. That conflict was something I never expected to see in paintings of a pond. 

 

“There’s this kind of disjunction between the tranquility we see in them and the mental and physical distress that the act of painting them caused Monet,” King said. “Which I think tell us he was painting something more than water lilies on a sunny afternoon in the Seine Valley. He was seeing something in the pond that was more than merely reflections of clouds and beautiful blossoms.”

 

It’s not that I was wrong to think of Monet’s work as pretty. The real problem was that I had failed to see beauty beyond the pleasant scenery and generous brushstrokes—the beauty of emotion, history, and obsession.

 

Isn’t that often how life goes? Whether it’s an object, an idea, or a person, we see in others what we want to see, favoring the qualities that convenience and reinforce our existing worldview while throwing out the ones that harm it. But that kind of thinking leaves out so much of the human experience. What we see almost never tells the full story of what’s really there, and it takes more than a glance and a reaction to tease out the hidden and transformative details.

 

That’s what I love about Thinking Aloud. It invites me to spend thirty minutes focusing on an idea or a topic I wouldn’t normally spend more than a few seconds considering. It complicates and nuances my perspective on the world around me. I’ve found that when things are complicated, it’s difficult to jump to conclusions.

 

Complicate your thinking on water lilies and more. Catch Thinking Aloud weekdays at 6pm on BYU Radio.


By Rachel Sherman

What Is Thinking Aloud?



Thinking Aloud is a unique part of BYUradio. We’re not a news show like Top of Mind, we’re not a story-telling show like the Apple Seed, and we don’t have real-life advice for you like Matt Townsend. So what are we? 

 Well, according to our blurb on the station website, we take on the “life-long learning” goal of Brigham Young University. We interview authors, academics, ambassadors, and all kinds of experts in their respective fields.

Want to know the latest ideas in management or sociology? We’ve got you covered. Wondering what’s going on with ASEAN or the European Union? We’re talking to their ambassadors. Interested in music, art, or history? We often have something to say about the humanities and arts.

Learning doesn’t have to be a chore, and it doesn’t have to end when you get your diploma. That’s what Thinking Aloud is really about—learning through radio—free of charge and easy to access.

Thinking Aloud’s host, Marcus Smith, was a Fulbright Scholar in Germany and has a Master’s in German Literature. Mark Burns, our producer, is a former Humanities professor and has a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from Harvard. These two certainly know their way around a classroom, but they also have experience in translating their knowledge to the real world—which is exactly what you’ll get on Thinking Aloud.

When you tune into Thinking Aloud, you’re almost guaranteed to learn something new. I know I always do.

By: Anna Forsyth, Student Producer for Thinking Aloud




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