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Size Matters

After visiting the Native-American National Pipestone Monument in Tracy, Minnesota, I was given an “Indian” nickname by my colleagues: Sleepy Giant. The ‘sleepy’ aspect comes from being somewhat exhausted at certain times, and not afraid to say so. The giant part is nothing new: I’m 6,5 and quite massive. When I’m confronted with others telling me I’m gigantic, I usually try to turn that into an opportunity to share a fun fact: in my home country, the Netherlands, the tallest people in the world roam the grounds.

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The world beyond the US borders

The first spot that the visitors of the Newseum in Washington will find nowadays is a picture and a brief text that aims to honor James Foley’s memory, a freelance American journalist that ISIS claimed to behead this week. Probably they have already added another one for Steven Sotloff, who hasn’t been executed when the WPI 2014 fellows visited the museum.

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Grown enough?!

When I was a child I used to stay in my room, usually when I needed to seclude myself. This was my fortress, a safe and secure place where I believed that no one would ever have the chance to disturb me. I suppose as adults we all still have the same need to some extent. Even more, you desperately desire to preserve your own space. But despite this growing need for space and privacy, one question always pops up - is that even possible nowadays? Isn't it naive to consider privacy as an important value in a world that spins around global tele and news communications?    

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A dangerous game

A dangerous game

The translucent green of the double-volume Journalists Memorial Gallery at the Newseum, lends it a serene air that belies its darker nature. It is, when one stops to think about it, a sombre sight to behold: the names of thousands of journalists who’ve died in the field over the last 177 years, etched into panel after panel of sandblasted glass to form a wall that stretches two stories high.

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Traditionally Inward

This is my second visit to the United States and very interesting experiences in terms of my interaction with the local people. It has always been a great to talk to the American people as they are very welcoming and emphatic listeners at the same time. Though traditionally inward, there is a growing concern among the people about the U.S foreign policy.

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Diabetes deep fried on a stick

Diabetes deep fried on a stick

In one of the early books of the series Little House on the Prairie, On the Banks of Plum Creek, Laura's father Charles Ingalls travels hundreds of miles away to find work after grasshoppers destroyed their crops.

It’s around Christmas and on the way back he gets caught in a horrendous blizzard. He survived by digging himself into a snow bank and by eating all the Christmas candy he bought for Laura and Mary. At one point the blizzard lulls and he spots the light from a lamp in a window and realizes that he is just a few meters from his house.

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Why US public toilets remind me of the NSA

Why US public toilets remind me of the NSA

It doesn’t happen very often that I feel a little culture shock in the US. The American culture reaches me on a daily basis in the Netherlands through music, movies, TV-series and literature. But there is one place that makes me uncomfortable every time I visit the land of the free: the public toilet.

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Changing tastes and expanding waists

The United States is the fattest country in the world. It is also one of the wealthiest.

Those two pieces of trivia are not unrelated. In fact, there’s a noted correlation between bulging pay cheques and burgeoning body mass. The World Health Organisation (WHO) notes that higher and upper middle-income earners are more than twice as likely to be overweight than lower income people.

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The danger of a single narrative

Couple of weeks ago, up in Ely, I was sitting up late at night talking to my co-host Sharon Staat. Sharon lives in Chicago but visits Anne Swenson up in Ely twice a year – they’ve been friends for over 50 years! The details of our conversation escape me, but I remember it covered a broad swathe of subjects from immigration in America to concerns over terrorism to Native American history and women’s rights. It was all perfectly lovely till Sharon mentioned that she was a Republican.

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