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AMERICAN MOSAIC - Listener Question About Silicon Valley /  Music by Lisa Marie Presley / Special English Contest Winners - 2003-07-10

Broadcast: July 11, 2003



Welcome to AMERICAN MOSAIC -- VOA’s radio magazine in Special English.


This is Doug Johnson. On our program today:

We answer a question about an area known as Silicon Valley ...

and we play music by Lisa Marie Presley ...

But first, we tell about the results of a recent Special English listeners’ contest.

Contest Results


Special English recently held a contest for our listeners. Faith Lapidus tells us about the results and about the two top winners.


During one week last month, we asked listeners to send us an e-mail. We asked them to tell us their name, address, age, the Special English program they like best and other kinds of programs they would like to hear.

We received almost five-hundred e-mails from forty-nine countries during that week. The highest number, more than one-hundred-sixty, came from Special English listeners in China. Almost sixty e-mails came from listeners in Nigeria. We also received many messages from listeners in Vietnam, Japan, India and Iran.

The large majority of listeners who sent e-mails are young people between the ages of twenty and forty. The most popular Special English program is our American history series, The Making of a Nation, followed by Science in the News. Our listeners also suggested many interesting ideas for programs that they would like to hear in the future.

The Special English chief and editors enjoyed reading the e-mails. Choosing winners among all the interesting letters was very difficult. Finally, they chose the two winners. One winner is Dorjsuren Khurelbaatar from Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. He is a director of the Mongolian International Education Agency which sends Mongolian students to study in other countries. He has listened to VOA news and Special English broadcasts since nineteen-seventy-four. He wrote: “VOA helps me feel like a naturalized American.”

The other winner is Joseph Oduntan of Osun State, Nigeria. He is a scientist and farmer who supervises an organic farming program in his country. He wrote: “All presentations of the different features of the VOA Special English program have been educative and excellent in all respects. The presenters are intelligent and hard working. I love them all for their good knowledge and love for Africa and her people.”

We would like to thank all the listeners who sent e-mails for sharing their thoughts with us. We consider you all to be winners.

Silicon Valey


Our question this week comes from Chongqing, China. James Yang wants to know the story of California’s “Silicon Valley.” The name comes from the silicon material used to produce tiny electronic computer parts.

The area of California that is called Silicon Valley is about seventy kilometers southeast of San Francisco. It is about forty kilometers long and about fifteen kilometers wide. You will not find the name Silicon Valley on any maps of California. But it is a very important place. There are thousands of high-technology companies in Silicon Valley today.

The story begins with Stanford University near the city of Palo Alto. After World War Two, Stanford University was having financial problems. It also owned several thousand hectares of land that was not being used.

A professor at Stanford did his best to solve the problem. His name was Frederick Terman. He learned that the university could not legally sell the land. The Stanford family made it legally impossible to sell any of the land when they gave it to the university.

However, Mister Terman discovered there was nothing to prevent the university from permitting companies to pay the university to use the land.This idea led to the development of an area called Stanford Industrial Park. This business area was established in nineteen-fifty four. Several leading companies moved their offices there. These included the new Hewlett Packard electronics company. Successful businesses like Hewlett Packard influenced other companies to move into and near the Stanford Industrial Park.

The area became known as Silicon Valley at the beginning of the computer age. In the early nineteen-seventies, a reporter named the area Silicon Valley in a series of stories for a publication called Electronic News. Young computer engineers with little money started companies in this area. Many of these companies are now large international businesses. One example is Apple Computers.

Silicon Valley is a name that has become so popular today that it is often used to describe any area that is home to many electronics companies. But the first and most important Silicon Valley can still be found in California.

Lisa Marie Presley


American singer Elvis Presley is perhaps the most famous rock and roll artist of all time. Now his daughter Lisa Marie is recording her own music. Shep O’Neal tells us about her first album.


It is called “To Whom It May Concern.” Lisa Marie Presley wrote the words to all the songs. She says all the songs are about her. She says they tell who she really is. This song is about her family and how she found her place in the world. It is called “Lights Out.”


Lisa Marie was nine years old when Elvis Presley died. She left high school before she graduated because she said school had no purpose for her. She says she has been looking for meaning in her life ever since. That is why she recorded these songs at the age of thirty-five. Here is another song from the album, “Sinking In.”


“To Whom It May Concern” has already sold at least five-hundred-thousand copies since it was released in the United States in April. Now, Lisa Marie Presley is performing its songs in concerts all over the country. We leave you with the title song from her album, “To Whom It May Concern.”



This is Doug Johnson. I hope you enjoyed our program today.

This program was written by Shelley Gollust, Nancy Steinbach and Paul Thompson. Our studio engineer was Rick Barnes. And our producer was Paul Thompson.

Join us again next week for AMERICAN MOSAIC -- VOA’s radio magazine in Special English.