The Point

9:00am and 7:00pm

WCAI's award-winning public affairs program. Every Monday The Point features Living Lab with Heather Goldstone, examining the stories behind science headlines. Tuesday through Thursday, Mindy Todd hosts a lively and informative discussion on critical issues for Cape Cod, the Islands and the South Coast. Every Friday is the News Roundup, as WCAI Senior Reporter Sean Corcoran speaks with news editors and reporters from around the region.

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The Point hosts: Mindy Todd, Heather Goldstone, and Sean Corcoran.
Credit Maura Longueil

This week on The Point

Christin Khan / NOAA

In just a few decades, we’ve gone from hunting whales to protecting them. But many are still endangered, and they face a barrage of potential threats. Now, researchers are developing new ways to study these animals, from facial recognition software to help track whales’ movements, and using baleen to trace the history of stress in whales’ lives.

In 2007 the ancient Maya city of Chichen Itza in Yucatan, Mexico, was named one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. A popular tourist destination, this archaeological site once belonged to Edward Herbert Thompson (1857-1935) of West Falmouth, Massachusetts!  Evan Albright has written a book, part biography, which investigates how Thompson, an archaeologist who had owned and explored Chichen Itza for nearly half a century, made one of the greatest archaeological discoveries in North America. Mr.

Composer, pianist, and band leader Duke Ellington was working on what many considered an opera, Queenie Pie, when he died in 1974.  Ellington scholars say the work was to have affectionately parodied and honored opera, as it affectionately parodied and honored Harlem culture.  Reporter Priska Neely has the story.

The Harlem Renaissance is known as the most influential movement in African American literary and creative arts history. From 1918 through the late 1930’s Harlem was a cultural center, drawing black writers, artists, musicians, poets, photographers, and scholars. Many had come from the South to find a place where they could freely express their talents.

NASA, ESA, and G. Bacon (STScI)

How many planets are there in our solar system? It used to be such an easy question. Nine - Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto. Then Pluto got demoted to a dwarf planet, so eight. But scientists now say they've found evidence of a ninth planet - likely an icy, gaseous planet about 10 times the mass of Earth - far beyond Neptune.

On The Point, a discussion about diversity in children’s literature. For decades there has been wide agreement amongst educators that children benefit from books portraying diverse characters. Despite this, very few books featuring African American, Latino, or Asian protagonists are published each year. Mindy Todd hosts this talk about why diversity in books is important for adolescents, some of the reasons why so few are being published, and the efforts of authors, educators, and booksellers to change the trend.

Vineyard Gazette

On The Point, we talk about African Americans with ties to Martha’s Vineyard who changed the lives of future generations. Mindy Todd hosts Richard Taylor, historian and author of the forthcoming book, Martha’s Vineyard: Race, Property and the Power of Place. Here is a link for information about a talk featuring Mr.


WCAI News Director Sean Corcoran hosts a discussion about the top local news stories of the week with area journalists. Joining Sean this week is George Brennan of the Cape Cod Times; Tim Wood of the Cape Cod Chronicle; Joshua Balling of the Nantucket Inquirer and Mirror; Caitlyn Russell of the Register in Dennis-Yarmouth; Jim DeArruda of the New Bedford Standard Times; and Nelson Sigelman of the Martha's Vineyard Times.

J. Junker

Some biologists estimate that we may have lost almost half of the songbirds that filled our skies 50 years ago. Warblers, orioles, thrushes, and tanagers are just a few of the species in decline as a result of human activities. The rate at which we are losing them is alarming scientists and bird watchers alike. The Messenger is a new documentary film about the mass depletion of songbirds on multiple continents.

On The Point, a discussion of  books and maps. Mindy Todd gets the scoop from Jill Erikson of Falmouth Public Library, and Chris Polloni, retired information specialist from the U. S. Geological Survey. They cite books that will make us fall in love with maps: beautiful, inspiring, and full of information.