Jason Collins Comes Out, Patenting Genes And More

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Friday, May 03, 2013

A look at the media fallout around NBA center Jason Collins' announcement that he is gay, how one company is defending its patent of two genes linked to breast cancer, and how filing a Freedom of Information Act request just got a lot more complicated. 

How to Be Gay in the NBA

NBA center Jason Collins drew media attention when he came out on the cover of Sports Illustrated this week. And while there were a few scattered criticisms, the response - from athletes, managers, and the general public - was mostly positive. So can we expect more active athletes to come out of the closet? Brooke talks to ESPN reporter Kevin Arnovitz about what we can expect to see from major sports teams and the journalists who cover them. 

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The Journalist Behind Jackie Robinson

Throughout the more than six-decade celebration of Jackie Robinson's desegregation of baseball, the journalist who brought Robinson's story to the world has remained unknown. Brooke talks to Los Angeles Times sports writer Bill Plashcke, who recently penned a portrait of writer Wendell Smith, who helped secure Robinson's place in American history. 

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New Limitations to Freedom of Information Act Requests

On Monday, the Supreme Court ruled that states have the right to limit public records requests to only residents of that state. Brooke talks to Mark McBurney, one of the petitioners in the case, and Mark Caramanica, Freedom of Information Director for the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press.

If you want to hear more on this story, listen to Brooke's interview with Michael Morisy, co-founder of open government website MuckRock on our blog.

Modest Mouse - Here It Comes

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Challenging A Monopoly on Genetic Information

As the Supreme Court decides whether genes can be patented, one geneticist has taken matters into his own hands. Dr. Robert Nussbaum is less worried about the owning of genes and more concerned about the monopoly that private companies have over genetic intellectual property – specifically what the mutations in a gene might mean for his patient's health. He tells Brooke how he’s challenging the stranglehold on that information one patient at a time

We contacted Myriad for comment and they responded:

“Nothing is more important to Myriad than helping to save and improve peoples’ lives and more than one million patients have benefitted from Myriad’s BRACAnalysis test for hereditary breast and ovarian cancer.  As a result of Myriad’s $500 million investment in R&D,  today more than 95 percent of patients in the U.S. have access to the BRACAnalysis test through private insurance or other coverage, and patients’ average out-of-pocket cost is only $100.  Myriad also offers financial assistance programs or free testing for uninsured patients or those in need."


Modest Mouse - Here It Comes

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Brooke Gladstone + Cyndi Lauper

For more than 30 years Cyndi Lauper has been a creative force, as a singer, songwriter, author and now composer of the music and lyrics for a hit Broadway play. Brooke Gladstone tal...

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