Welcome to American Mosaic in VOA Special English.
Doug Johnson. Today
we listen to music from a popular band of brothers ...
Answer a question about Blackwater …
talk about white roofs and green roads.
Green collar jobs, eco-tourism, organic foods,
sustainable industry, environmentally friendly businesses, the list goes on.
People are trying to find simple ways to decrease their effect on the
planet. Faith Lapidus considers some
recent suggestions for protecting Mother Earth.
Energy Secretary Steven Chu recently spoke to a group of Nobel laureate
scientists. He told them that people
could slow global warming by changing the color of the rooftops of buildings.
Chu said sunlight, and its heat, will bounce off a white colored roof. Dark
roof tops hold in more than eighty percent of the energy from sunlight. A white roof top reflects almost as much.
This is why there are white and light colored buildings in many warm areas of
Chu said researchers at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California
estimated the effects that white roofs could have on the planet. Their study
considers painting sixty-three percent of rooftops white in one hundred large
cities in warm areas around the world. The scientists estimate this would have
the same climate effect as taking all cars in the world off the road for ten
years. It would also save money on
indoor air cooling costs. However, some scientists question the numbers behind
the science of white roofing.
American families are planning their summer vacations. A writer of environmentally friendly
parenting books has some ideas for vacationing by car. Jenn Savedge's blog appears on the Mother Nature Network.
writes that the most important thing on a road trip is planning. Try to find new and fun things to do as close
to home as possible. Reduce waste by
bringing food and drinks for the trip in re-usable containers. She also
suggests staying at environmentally friendly places.
when visiting other places, buy locally produced arts and crafts which support
In the future car travelers may see signs of the Green
Roadway Project. Inventors Gene Fein of
California and Ed Merritt of Massachusetts came up with the idea. They designed
a system of solar panels, wind turbines and other power gathering devices.
These would be placed along roads, highways and railways throughout the United
power gathered would be used to create energy for homes and businesses
nearby. The roads would even have power
stations for charging electric cars.
for the Green Roadway Project says it would be a sign of hope for young
people. She said children would "look
out the window of their family car and see
clean energy is part of their lives."
The project will be proposed to individual American states beginning in
Our listener question this week comes from Yemen. Sameer Taher Mahdi heard the phrase
"Blackwater in Iraq" on a news report. He asks what it meant.
was the name of a private security and military training company. Erik Prince
established the company in the American state of North Carolina in nineteen
ninety-seven. Mister Prince is a former
officer of the United States Navy's special forces known as SEALS.
company has a huge training center in North Carolina that is used by the
American military and other American security forces. Erik Prince has said that business really
grew for the company after the attacks on the United States in two thousand
After that, the United States government employed
Blackwater to work in Afghanistan and Iraq. Blackwater did not have to compete with any other security companies for
private forces guarded American officials and also trained Iraqis and Afghans
for security work. But, the company
suffered public image problems in Iraq.
the years several Blackwater employees were charged with crimes in Iraq,
including murder. The worst incident happened in September, two thousand
seven. Blackwater guards were accused
of firing into a public square in
Baghdad and killing at least fourteen civilians. The United States charged the guards involved.
In January, Iraq ended the right of Blackwater to work
in the country. In February, Blackwater changed its name to Xe to
help improve its image with the public.
this week, an investigation found that the State Department overpaid the
company by tens of millions of dollars. The report said the company failed to supply enough people to protect
American diplomats in Iraq.
That is the Mills Brothers singing "Glow Worm." The Mills were one of the early bands of
brothers to become a big hit in the music industry. The Everly Brothers, the
Beach Boys, the Allman Brothers the Jackson Five and others came later.
very popular band of brothers released its fourth album this week. Shirley
Griffith tells about the Jonas Brothers and plays some of their music --- old
That was "Mandy" from the first album by the Jonas
Brothers, "It's about Time." It was written a few years ago by the youngest
brother, Nick Jonas. He is sixteen now.
most families, the little brother follows the bigger ones around. But in the Jonas Brothers band, Nick is the
leader. In fact his brothers call him
"Mister President." Kevin, twenty-one, and Joe, nineteen, say they respect
Nick's organizational skills and work ethic.
formed the band in two thousand five, but he had performed in Broadway musicals
since the age of seven. The Jonas
Brothers started with Columbia records but were dropped from the label after
their first album.
Hollywood Records then signed the brothers. Here the young men sing "When You
Look Me in the Eyes," from "Jonas Brothers," their first album with Hollywood.
All the brothers play guitar, although Kevin
leads. Nick and Joe are lead
singers. Joe also plays keyboard. Nick
is the lead songwriter. Their concerts
are extremely popular, especially among young girls.
The band does not write Christian songs but the
brothers are influenced by their religion. The band and other family members say a group prayer of thanks before
each Jonas Brothers performance. And
each brother wears a ring on the third finger of his left hand. It is a symbol of their belief in waiting
until marriage to have sex.
Hollywood Records made a good move in signing the Jonas
Brothers. Their second album with the
company went to number one on Billboard Magazine popular music charts. One of the songs deals with the disease diabetes. Nick Jonas was found to have type one
diabetes in two thousand five. Here is
"A Little Bit Longer."
On Tuesday, the Jonas Brothers came out with their
fourth record. Critics say "Lines, Vines
and Trying Times" is an attempt by the band to move into the adult market
without dismissing younger fans. Some
reviewers say the record succeeds. Others disagree. You can decide for yourself. We leave you with "Black Keys" from "Lines,
Vines and Trying Times."
I'm Doug Johnson. I hope you enjoyed our program today.
It was written and produced by Caty Weaver. Join
us again next week for AMERICAN
MOSAIC, VOA's radio magazine in Special English.