Tom Williams

Program Director, Access Utah Host

Tom Williams worked as a part-time UPR announcer for a few years and joined Utah Public Radio full-time in 1996.  He is a proud graduate of Uintah High School in Vernal and Utah State University (B. A. in Liberal Arts and Master of Business Administration.)  He grew up in a family that regularly discussed everything from opera to religion to politics. He is interested in just about everything and loves to engage people in conversation, so you could say he has found the perfect job as host “Access Utah” and “Opera Saturday.”  He and his wife Becky, live in Logan.

Ways To Connect

mavgetaways.com

On Monday's Access Utah we'll revisit a conversation from March.  

Two Utah Valley University professors who describe themselves as similar to hosts Click and Clack from NPR’s "Car Talk," set out to repeatedly bike the Great Western Trail, observing and writing about its variations with every season. The accounts of their adventures, however, refuse to be limited to flora and fauna.

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sfari.org

Friday on Access Utah host Sheri Quinn revisits her conversation with former oil executive and geologist Marc Deshowitz about the unique geology of southern Utah parks and the ancient history of oil in the area.    At 9:30 Science Questions presents a special encore program about youth addiction and recovery featuring Utah addiction scientist Glen Hanson and an educational approach gaining popularity across the nation that fosters recover schools. 

amazon.com

William Alexander is more than a Francophile. He wants to be French. There’s one small problem: he doesn’t speak the language. In “Flirting with French: How a Language Charmed Me, Seduced Me, and Nearly Broke My Heart” Alexander sets out to conquer the language he loves. But will it love him back?

Alexander eats, breathes, and sleeps French (even conjugating in his dreams). He travels to France, where mistranslations send him bicycling off in all sorts of wrong directions, and he nearly drowns in an immersion class in Provence. While playing hooky from grammar lessons and memory techniques, Alexander reports on the Académie française, the four-hundred-year-old institution charged with keeping the language pure; explores the science of human communication, learning why it’s harder for fifty-year-olds to learn a second language than it is for five-year-olds; and, frustrated with his progress, explores an IBM research lab, where he trades barbs with a futuristic hand-held translator. Does he succeed in becoming fluent?  Alexander is surprised to discover that studying French may have had a far greater impact on his life than actually learning to speak it ever would.

amazon.com

Technological advances seem to be accelerating. Every day we hear of something new: self-driving cars, wearable computers, factory robots, digitized medicine… Continuing advances in computers and automation can reduce workloads, increase productivity, and even imbue life with a sense of wonder. But Nicholas Carr, in his new book, “The Glass Cage: Automation and Us,” says there are hidden costs in granting software dominion over our work and leisure. Even as these programs bring ease to our lives, he says, they are stealing something essential from us.

Drawing on psychological and neurological studies that underscore how tightly people’s happiness and satisfaction are tied to performing hard work in the real world, Carr reveals something we already suspect: shifting our attention to computer screens can leave us disengaged and discontented. From nineteenth-century textile mills to the cockpits of modern jets, from the frozen hunting grounds of Inuit tribes to the sterile landscapes of GPS maps, “The Glass Cage” examines the personal as well as the economic consequences of our growing dependence on computers.

sltrib.com

Tuesday we’ll revisit this conversation from May:

Josh Hanagarne couldn't be invisible if he tried. Although he wouldn't officially be diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome until his freshman year of high school, Josh was six years old and onstage in a school Thanksgiving play when he first began exhibiting symptoms.

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By the time he was twenty, the young Mormon had reached his towering adult height of 6'7" when — while serving on a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints — his Tourette's tics escalated to nightmarish levels. Determined to conquer his affliction, Josh underwent everything from quack remedies to lethargy-inducing drug regimes to Botox injections that paralyzed his vocal cords and left him voiceless for three years. Undeterred, Josh persevered to marry and earn a degree in Library Science. At last, an eccentric, autistic strongman — and former Air Force Tech Sergeant and guard at an Iraqi prison — taught Josh how to "throttle" his tics into submission through strength-training.

teamrubiconusa.org

Russell Honore came to national attention when, as a U.S. Army Lt. General, he was assigned to lead the Department of Defense’s Joint Task-Force Katrina. The hurricane hit on Monday, August 29, 2005, and he was put in charge of overseeing the federal emergency response on Tuesday at 10:00 p.m. By the time he arrived on Wednesday morning thousands of people were stranded on roof tops and in attics and more than 16,000 people were at the Superdome along with a similar number at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, according to Honore.

General Honore gained a reputation as a straight-talking no-nonsense leader who got things done and was called the”Category 5 General” and that “John Wayne dude.” He served 37 years in the military and supported the Department of Defense’s response to several hurricanes including Hurricane Floyd in 1999 and Lili in 2002. Now retired from the army, he says his current mission is to help build a culture of preparedness in families and communities. His books include “Leadership in the New Normal” and “Survival: How Being Prepared Can Keep You and Your Family Safe.” He is currently a senior scientist with The Gallup Organization, where he is working on developing questions to determine levels of preparedness. He is also an active public speaker and regular contributor to CNN where he is often interviewed on topics related to disaster preparedness.

amazon.com

In her new book “The Human Age: The World Shaped by Us” Diane Ackerman writes that “our relationship with nature has changed radically, irreversibly, but by no means all for the bad. Our new epoch is laced with invention. Our mistakes are legion, but our talent is immeasurable.”

 

Ackerman, who appeared recently at the Utah Humanities Council Book Festival, confronts the fact that the human race is now the single dominant force of change on the planet. She says that humans have “subdued 75 percent of the land surface, concocted a wizardry of industrial and medical marvels, strung lights all across the darkness.” We now collect the DNA of vanishing species in a “frozen ark,” equip orangutans with iPads, create wearable technologies and synthetic species that might one day outsmart us. Ackerman, author of “A Natural History of the Senses,” seeks to help us understand this new reality, introducing us to many of the people and ideas now creating — perhaps saving — our future.

 


washingtonpost.com

The U.S. Supreme Court declined Monday to hear same-sex marriage appeals from Utah and four other states, letting stand lower court rulings that allow gays and lesbians to marry. The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals has lifted the hold it had placed on same-sex marriages in Utah and four other states.

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert and Attorney General Sean Reyes said at a news conference that the state would abide by the law. The governor has sent state agencies a letter advising them to immediately recognize legally performed same-sex marriages.

sltrib.com

On Monday’s AU we’ll spend the hour with Salt Lake City Police Chief Chris Burbank. We’ll talk about events in Ferguson, Missouri, including issues of race and police militarization. We’ll also talk about recent shootings in Utah, police body cameras, and community policing, among other issues. 


mormonmatters.org

How do men and women shape history? Do human values have a role in the writing of history? At a time when the so-called New Mormon history appears to be running its course, it may be time to rethink our approaches.  So says Ronald W. Walker, professional historian and BYU Professor of History, Emeritus.   Walker, who is giving the Twentieth Annual Arrington Mormon History Lecture at the Logan LDS Tabernacle at 7:00 p.m. tonight says that the Utah War, an event with an intriguing cast of characters including Mormon leader Brigham Young, is a good topic for testing these suppositions. The title of Walker’s talk is “Heroes and Hero Worship: Brigham Young and the Utah War.” He addresses such questions as: Did Mormons support the war? What were constitutional theories behind Mormon resistance to the Utah Expedition? And when and why should men and women fight a war? 

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