Accessibility links

Breaking News

AMERICAN MOSAIC - Shark Attack Victim / Inventors Hall of Fame / Oscar Nominated Songs - 2004-02-19

Broadcast: February 20, 2004



Welcome to AMERICAN MOSAIC -- a program in VOA Special English about music and American life. And we answer your questions.


This is Doug Johnson.

On our show today, we answer a question about the Academy Awards -- and we play some songs that are nominated for one of the Oscars.

We also tell about some of the people to be honored by the Inventors Hall of Fame. But first, a report about a girl who lost her arm to a shark, but not her spirits.

Shark Attack Victim


Researchers at the University of Florida say the number of shark attacks around the world dropped for the third year. There were eight fewer attacks reported last year than in two-thousand-two. Sharks attacked fifty-five people last year and killed four of them. Most of the attacks happened in United States waters. Steve Ember has a progress report on one of the victims.


Bethany Hamilton celebrated her birthday this month. She is now fourteen years old. She lives on the Hawaiian island of Kauai. On October thirty-first of last year, Bethany and her best friend went to the ocean to surf. Bethany loves to balance on a surfboard and ride the waves to shore. In fact, this teenager is among the best amateur surfers in the world.

Bethany was lying on her surfboard to rest, with her arm in the water. She does not remember much about what happened next. She says she did not feel the shark bite, but she knew her arm was gone when she saw the blood in the water. Her friend’s father was in the water nearby. He helped get her to shore. He tied a rubber surfboard rope around the top of her arm to slow the bleeding.

Bethany lost more than half the blood in her body and all but ten centimeters of her left arm. She was in the hospital for a week. Then, ten weeks after the attack, she returned to surfing competition. In January, she placed fifth in her age group in a National Scholastic Surfing Association event in Hawaii.

Bethany and her family also visited the United States mainland. This competitive surfer and skateboarder even learned another sport. She learned to snowboard in the western state of Colorado. On the way home to Hawaii, the family stopped in California. There, doctors gave Bethany a prosthetic device that she can wear in place of her arm.

Bethany Hamilton has appeared on television and gotten many other requests to tell her story. She says she believes the shark attack had some purpose. She calls what happened "part of God's plan" for her life.

Inventors Hall of Fame


Do you ever repair things with a drop of Super Glue? Do you even know what Super Glue is? How about the Dolby sound system? These are just two of the inventions whose creators will be honored by the National Inventors Hall of Fame. Faith Lapidus has the story.


The Inventors Hall of Fame is in Akron, Ohio. It honors people who have made important things for science, medicine and everyday life. One of these people is Harry Coover. He was a research chemist during World War Two. He worked with a group of chemicals called cyanoacrylates [SI-a-no-AK-ri-LATES]. He discovered that these chemicals could be used to attach one object to another. Harry Coover invented a glue that is often used in emergency medical operations to stop bleeding.

Cyanoacrylates are also used to make a product sold in stores. Superglue is known for being extremely strong. And anyone who has ever used it will warn you not to get it on your fingers ... they can easily stick together! Today, Harry Coover holds four-hundred-sixty patents.

Another American, Ray Dolby, invented a system that reduces the noise that was common in older sound recordings. He developed the idea during the nineteen-sixties as he recorded traditional music in India. Dolby technology is used in movie theaters and in cassette tape players. The Dolby Sound System makes recordings sound much more natural.

Among others who will join Mister Dolby at the Inventors Hall of Fame ceremony is French scientist Luc Montagnier. He will be honored for discovering H-I-V, the human immunodeficiency virus, in nineteen-eighty-three. H-I-V was identified as the cause of AIDS. The discovery of the virus led to the development of a test for finding the presence of H-I-V in the blood. Luc Montagnier has received more than twenty major awards for his work. And he continues to work in the fight against AIDS.

These are only three of the twenty inventors who will be honored by the Inventors Hall of Fame on May first. You can find a link to the Hall of Fame Web site at voaspecialenglish-dot-com.

Oscar Nominated Songs


Our VOA listener question this week comes from Liaoning, China. Chu Xiaoxu wants to know about the American movie award, the Oscar.

The official name is the Academy Awards. They are given by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. The academy began giving the awards in nineteen-twenty-nine.

This year the Oscars will be given on Sunday, February twenty-ninth. Filmmakers will receive honors for the best acting, directing, writing, editing and other work on movies released last year.

One of the awards will go to the best song written for a motion picture. Five songs are nominated this year. This one is from the movie “Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.” The song is called “Into the West." The singer is Annie Lennox.


Another song nominated for an Oscar this year is “A Kiss at the End of the Rainbow” from the movie “A Mighty Wind.” The third nominee is the title song from a cartoon movie, “The Triplets of Belleville,” sung by Ben Charest.


Two songs from the movie “Cold Mountain” have been nominated this year for best original song. One is called “Scarlett Tide.” The other is “You Will Be My Ain True Love.” It is performed by Allison Krauss.


To learn more about the Academy Awards and the nominees this year, listen this Monday to the VOA Special English program THIS IS AMERICA.

This is Doug Johnson. I hope you enjoyed AMERICAN MOSAIC. Join us again next week for VOA’s radio magazine in Special English.

Our program was written by Nancy Steinbach and Paul Thompson, who was also our producer. And our engineer was Tony Pollock.