Welcome to AMERICAN MOSAIC in VOA Special English.
I'm Doug Johnson.
This week …
We play new music from jazz artist Diana Krall …
And answer a question about American revolutionary
leader Patrick Henry.
But first, we report on a "sporty" international
competition in robot building.
twenty thousand people gathered in the state of Georgia to watch students from
twenty-eight countries compete with robots they built. More than ten thousand students and more than
five hundred robots took part in the competition. Faith Lapidus tells us about it.
The students and
their robots competed at the FIRST Championship at the Georgia Dome in
Atlanta. FIRST is the short way of
saying the organization's complete name: For Inspiration and Recognition of
Science and Technology.
one thousand seven hundred high school teams entered a level of competition
called LUNACY. The competitors came from
eleven countries, including the United States.
January, the organization sent identical supplies for robots to each team. The teams had six weeks to build robots that
could compete in the LUNACY game. The
playing area had six robots, three on each team. Each robot had another vehicle, or trailer,
connected to it. The robots had to pick
up large balls and throw them into the trailers of opposing robots. The robots were moving on a surface where
they could slide. An alliance of teams
from California, Illinois and Michigan won the LUNACY competition.
competition involved building a robot that could travel on uneven surfaces,
move objects with unusual shapes and withstand physical stress.
competition was for younger students, ages nine to fourteen years old. Eighty-four teams from twenty-seven countries
competed with robots made with LEGO products. They had to design, build and program robots to explore the Earth's
American inventor Dean Kamen
started FIRST in nineteen eighty-nine to increase young people's interest in
science and technology. The organization
holds robotics competitions around the world.
It offers programs that help young people learn more about science,
technology, engineering and mathematics, while building life skills. Many companies provide support to the
Mister Kamen says
the goal is about more than building robots.
He says the student competitors showed they could solve difficult
technological problems. And, he says
that is good news because the world needs creative thinkers to help solve
increasingly complex problems in the future.
Our listener question this week comes from China. James Green wants to know about Patrick
Henry, an important leader of the American Revolution.
Henry is most famous for a speech he gave in seventeen seventy-five to support
his proposal to raise forces to defend the colony of Virginia against the
British. Patrick Henry said, "give me liberty or give me death."
was born in seventeen thirty-six in Hanover County, Virginia, near
Richmond. His father was a well-educated
farmer from Scotland.
say Patrick Henry was an intelligent boy but not always a hard worker. When Patrick was sixteen, his father bought a
store for Patrick and his brother. It
failed within a year.
eighteen, Patrick married a sixteen year old named Sarah Shelton. Her father gave them a farm, house and
slaves. But a fire destroyed the farm a
few years later. The Henrys had six
children together. But Sarah Henry
became mentally ill and died in seventeen seventy-five. Henry then married Dorothea Dandridge who
came from a rich and socially important Virginia family. He and his second wife had ten more children.
seventeen sixty, when he was in his middle twenties, Patrick Henry had decided
to become a lawyer. He became successful
and gained fame as a rebel.
Patrick Henry's first cases took on the British government and the Anglican
Church. Henry won the case, condemned
the clergy involved and questioned British rule all at the same time. The case won him fame for his power of
Henry was elected to the Virginia legislature in seventeen sixty-five. He represented Virginia in the Continental
Congress in seventeen seventy-four. He
famously said: "The distinctions between Virginians, Pennsylvanians, New
Yorkers and New Englanders are no more.
I am not a Virginian, but an American."
Henry strongly believed in states' rights over federal powers. He supported a weak central government. For
this reason he fought the approval of the proposed United States Constitution.
he lost that battle. Virginia approved the Constitution in seventeen
eighty-eight. However, Patrick Henry
used his powerful gift of speech to get passage of some amendments. These later
became the Bill of Rights.
Henry served five terms as governor of Virginia. He died in seventeen ninety-nine at the age
of sixty-three. In his final document to
his family, he advised his descendants to "practice Virtue thyself, and encourage
it in others."
week, we continue to honor Jazz Appreciation Month with the music of jazz
singer and pianist Diana Krall. The Canadian-born performer recently released
her twelfth album. "Quiet Nights" combines the sensual beat of Brazilian bossa
nova with the smooth sound of jazz.
Diana Krall says the songs are a love letter to her husband, British
rock singer Elvis Costello. Barbara Klein has more.
was the song "You're My Thrill." Like many songs on the album "Quiet Nights" it
is a good example of Diana Krall's soft and smoky voice.
Krall says she was influenced to
make this album because of a trip she made to Brazil last year. She said she heard the sounds of bossa nova
music everywhere she went.
is the album's title song, "Quiet Nights." This song by the Brazilian composer
Antonio Carlos Jobim first became famous in the early nineteen sixties.
Krall says that making "Quiet Nights" was a very natural and joyful process. At
the end of recording every day, she says she had something wonderful to look
forward to – being with her two infant sons.
Diana Krall will be performing songs from her
new album in Canada and United States this spring and summer. We leave you with
"Too Marvelous for Words."
I'm Doug Johnson. I hope you enjoyed our program today.
It was written by Dana Demange, Shelley Gollust and
Caty Weaver who was also the producer. For
transcripts, MP3s and podcasts of our programs, go to
your questions about American life to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your full name and where you
live. Or write to American Mosaic, VOA Special English, Washington, D.C.,
Join us again next week for AMERICAN MOSAIC, VOA's
radio magazine in Special English.