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Sound Focus

Hydroplanes and 'The Thing about Life is that One Day You'll Be Dead'

Dave Beck
08/01/2008

Hydroplane racing was once deemed the world's most dangerous sport. We visit the hydro pits on Lake Washington to ask driver David Williams about the rewards and human cost of racing. Also, we discover how Paxil helped one UW professor through more than just back pain.

At 2:05 p.m. – Thinking about Death with David Shields

The anti–depressant Paxil has been used to treat chronic pain for more than a decade. It is not typically prescribed for existential crisis. And yet, when University of Washington professor of English and author David Shields sought medical help for his crippling back pain, the multi–faceted therapy he got launched him into a meditation on mortality. In an archive interview from February 1, 2008, Megan Sukys talks with David about his new book, The Thing about Life is that One Day You'll Be Dead.

At 2:20 p.m. – Hydroplanes

Hydroplanes are boats that literally fly across the surface of the water, sometimes exceeding speeds of 200 miles per hour. Hydro racing was once considered the world's most dangerous sport. Twelve drivers died in hydroplanes between 1951 and 1982 – three of them in Seattle. But, technology has changed the sport dramatically. David Williams has written six books about hydroplanes and is Director of Seattle's Hydroplane and Raceboat Museum. I'm with David today in the pits on Lake Washington as he prepares to race this weekend in the Miss Lakeridge Paving. David intimately understands the human cost of racing. His best friend died in a test run 24 years ago.

At 2:40 p.m. – Robert Horton Movie Reviews

Robert Horton reviews Hollywood Blockbusters and art house rarities every Friday on Sound Focus. He joins us with a look at films screening in our region this weekend.

At 2:50 p.m. – Technology Access Foundation

Universities across the country are working to recruit black and Hispanic students to study engineering and computer science. But it may not be enough – recent numbers from both the Information Technology Association of America and the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering indicate that blacks and Hispanics are severely underrepresented in high tech jobs. Trish Millines Dziko saw this same issue more than 15 years ago. She worked at Microsoft then, and was one of the few black people there. When she left Microsoft in 1996, she wanted to try and close that gap. Trish shows Jeannie Yandel around the place she started after leaving Microsoft, the Technology Access Foundation.

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